Showing posts with label Priorities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Priorities. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

The Cost of the Chase

“They … have gone after the Baals, as their fathers taught them.”

Do you ever wonder why so many unsaved people get increasingly bitter as they age? I believe it’s because you become like the things you chase.

Idolatry is the quintessential Old Testament sin, but it also serves as an analogy for other types of extreme self-interest. The word Baal simply means lord or owner, and the New Testament teaches us that ownership of the human heart comes in many guises.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Mining the Minors: Haggai (3)

When things are going wrong around us and the obvious blessings of God a distant memory, it’s natural to wonder why. Scripture offers us a variety of possible explanations.

Job suffered because Satan was trying to break him, and God allowed it for a time in order to prove a point. David spent years on the run from Saul in fear of his life because it was not yet God’s time to give him the kingdom. Israel slaved away in Egypt in order to give the Amorites sufficient time to repent and to become a great nation, among other things. The tower of Siloam fell on eighteen people and killed them, and the Lord told his disciples the victims had done nothing out of the ordinary to deserve their fate. Perhaps it was “just one of those things”. A man was born blind in order that God might display his works in his life.

Things go wrong for all sorts of reasons, don’t they. It’s not all one thing, and we may never know the real reasons in this life.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

In Which I Equivocate

Your local church is dull.

To be fair, they probably can’t help it. They wouldn’t know how to be any other way. It’s who they are: older, more traditional, kind of set in their ways, and it seems to suit them. Sure, the Bible teaching is sound and Christ-centered, but the singing is dreary and antiquated. You’re not looking for charismatic excess, but a little genuine emotion once in a while would be nice.

Shouldn’t true faith transform the heart as well as the head?

Friday, April 28, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Billy Graham Regrets …

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Evangelist Billy Graham, in a 1977 interview with Christianity Today:

“One of my great regrets is that I have not studied enough. I wish I had studied more and preached less. People have pressured me into speaking to groups when I should have been studying and preparing. Donald Barnhouse said that if he knew the Lord was coming in three years he would spend two of them studying and one preaching. I’m trying to make it up.”

Tom: Does that quote surprise you at all, IC?

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Everything Louder Than Everything Else

Ian Gillan of the seventies metal band Deep Purple reportedly once asked the sound engineer mixing the band’s live album, “Could we have everything louder than everything else?”

I’ve always loved that line. It just sounds like a title for the perfect rock and roll anthem.

But when you think about it for half a second, the request is absurd. If the bass is louder than the high hat, the high hat cannot simultaneously be louder than the bass. If you mix the snare drum louder than a guitar cranked up to eleven, you cannot make that guitar louder in the sound mix without reducing the volume of the snare. It’s absurd.

“Everything” cannot be louder than “everything else”. It doesn’t work.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Time and Chance (16)

We all know people who we think work too hard. But what is “too hard” really? If we are honest, it’s a bit of a subjective call.

John the Baptist got by on locusts and wild honey, and was happy with one coat of camel’s hair and a leather belt. It’s pretty clear he didn’t have a day job. The Son of Man had nowhere to lay his head, and while he certainly labored non-stop, it was not with a view to acquiring earthly possessions. Still, nowhere in scripture do we find the expectation that all should live life the way Jesus or John lived. In fact, one of the reasons both John and the Lord Jesus were morally free to devote their lives to their respective missions was that they had incurred no earthly financial obligations to others.

For most of us, life is a bit more complicated. Not better, necessarily, but certainly more complicated.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Too Hot to Handle: Billy Graham Regrets …

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

On the Mount (22)

Towards the end of the children of Israel’s multi-century sojourn in Egypt, they were enslaved by a king with no appreciation for the history his people shared with the Hebrew minority living among them, and no understanding of how Israel’s presence in his land had been of unprecedented benefit to his nation. So Pharaoh used force to put God’s people to work, and they built him his legendary treasure cities, places where the king could store up his excess goods against the remote possibility of bad times.

The irony is that it was Joseph, a son of Israel, who had first taught the Pharaohs the principle of laying up excess wealth as insurance against those all-too-frequent “evil days”.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

What Is Job One?

An atheist who calls himself “Pointman” is infuriated that Christians do not make it our first order of business to take a public stand against the devastating effects of climate change activism in third world countries.

He provides considerable evidence that the efforts of environmental extremists, far from helping, are actually hurting the poorest of the poor. Western nations threaten to withhold foreign aid from countries that permit the use of DDT, so millions in those countries die of malaria. Changes in North American laws under pressure from environmental lobbyists incent farmers in developing nations to grow profitable biofuel crops rather than food staples, leading to price increases of up to 75% in basic foods, and resulting in food riots, starvation, malnutrition and death.

Notwithstanding his penchant for hyperbole, Pointman may well be right.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hats Off to the Imam

The Portage Daily Graphic has an interesting piece on Imam Bilal Philips, accused by the Philippines of “recruiting and inciting people to commit terrorism”.

Philips runs an online Islamic university he says has 180,000 students — out of Qatar, of all places — and has been banned at various times from the U.S., the U.K., Kenya, Germany and Australia. His YouTube videos explain the penalties for homosexuality under Islamic law. Needless to say, he has generated his share of controversy.

Oh, by the way, he’s back in Canada. From a citizenship standpoint at least, he’s one of ours. Which of course is neither my call, nor is it really any of my business.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Everything Louder Than Everything Else

The most recent version of this post is available here.