Counting the Cost

By , December 1, 2019

“Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
than a house full of feasting, with strife.”
Proverbs 17:1 (NIV)

Grandfather holding child

View in your web browser | View a PDF version | Download Adobe PDF reader

Recently I gathered with four generations of a family to plan a memorial service for the great grandfather who had just gone home to be with Jesus. I had met the wife, two of the sons and a granddaughter of the deceased prior to the planning meeting, but the other 30+ family members were all new to me.

As we sat together it was so evident the impact the elderly man had on the three generations that followed him. All the members of this family were gentle and warm hearted, just like the man whose memory we honoured.

Continue reading 'Counting the Cost'»

Rights and Responsibilities

By , November 30, 2019

“But I have not used any of these rights.”
1 Corinthians 9:15 (NIV)

Students demonstrating on the street

View in your web browser | View a PDF version | Download Adobe PDF reader

Ours is a generation where some people demand their rights but then seem to ignore their responsibilities. Excuses abound as to why people cannot do what they should in life. The idea that we “ought” to do certain things is sadly missing from the horizon of too many people today in the western world.

The Christian view is that we have many responsibilities in life and we seek diligently to perform the things that ought to do. So believers are quick to step up to the plate (a baseball term) in order to perform their responsibilities. However, as followers of Jesus, we know that we should not be aggressive in demanding our rights.

Continue reading 'Rights and Responsibilities'»

Rejecting Jesus

By , November 29, 2019

“They got up and drove him out of the town…”
Luke 4:29 (NIV)

Scene of a cliff

View in your web browser | View a PDF version | Download Adobe PDF reader

During His public ministry—which probably lasted about 3 ½ years—Jesus suffered two rejections in His home town of Nazareth. The first is described in Luke 4:16-31. The first rejection took place on a Sabbath when Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah. It was not the reading of God’s Word that incensed the leaders against Him. It was when He taught them from their own Scriptures that God had, at times past ignored the nation of Israel to bless Gentiles. Their national pride could not accept this information from their own Scriptures, and so they were livid with rage.

It was too much for them to think that God had blessed anyone besides themselves. So they sought to kill Him by pushing Him off the cliff at the edge of town. However, Jesus miraculously escaped. This incident of rejection took place near the beginning of His great work in the province of Galilee, in the north of the land.

Continue reading 'Rejecting Jesus'»

Where Do I Find Comfort?

By , November 28, 2019

“Let the peace of God rule in your hearts”
Colossians 3:15

Two children walking one with arm around the other

View in your web browser | View a PDF version | Download Adobe PDF reader

Words are the tools of my trade. I love to research words and how they came to mean what they do in modern usage. The word comfort is interesting when you consider the two Latin words from which it comes.

The Latin prefix “com” means “with”. The Latin word “fortis” means “strong”. So our word “comfort”—though redefined as sympathy over centuries of use—should be understood to mean an action by someone to make the wounded person strong again.

All too often, when we are in difficulties, we may be deceived into thinking that what we need is pity. A little pity goes a long way, like salt. Too much pity reduces us to people incapable of getting on with life. It can paralyze us if we take a large dose of it.

Continue reading 'Where Do I Find Comfort?'»

Could Things Be Worse?

By , November 26, 2019

“In my distress I called to the Lord;
I cried to my God for help.”
Psalm 18:6 (NIV)

Silhouettes of a caravan

View in your web browser | View a PDF version | Download Adobe PDF reader

In a previous devotional I made reference to the life of Joseph but the reference was to a particular point in time when he finally was living the good life for the rest of his life. What I would like to do is remind you of the whole of his life and have you consider how you would feel if that was your story.

Everything started well for Joseph. He was the darling of his father (Genesis 37:4). However, that fact sowed the seeds of hatred in the hearts of his older brothers. When he told his brothers of a dream that indicated they would one day serve him (Genesis 37:5-11), their hatred intensified.

Continue reading 'Could Things Be Worse?'»