Grace and Permission to Live

“And Gideon understood that he was the Angel of Yahweh. And Gideon said, ‘Oh, Lord Yahweh, it seems that I have seen the Angel of Yahweh’s face to face!’ And Yahweh said to him, ‘Peace be with you! Do not fear, you will not die.’” (Judges 6:22-23) “So Jacob called the name of the place,… Read More

The Reality of Grace in You

“Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, particularly the ones in Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is with your spirit.” (Philippians 4:21-23) And thus the Apostle Paul concludes his letter to the Philippian church. As we noted at… Read More

Grace and Peace to you…

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:2) When you greet others who are Christians, how do you greet them? Do you have a sincere wish for them that God would give them grace and peace or do you greet them begrudgingly, perhaps because of something that… Read More

God’s Faithfulness

“To declare your chesed in the morning; And of your trustworthiness in the night; Upon the ten strings and upon the harp; With the sound of the zither.” (Psalm 92:3-4 [verses 2-3 in English])   Again we find an emphasis on singing praise accompanied by the sound of instruments. The reference to the “ten strings”… Read More

Crucify! Crucify!

“Thus, when they saw him, the chief priests and the assistants screamed out, ‘Crucify! Crucify!’ Pilate said, ‘Take him yourself and crucify, for I find no cause in him.’” (John 19:6) Pilate is playing a dangerous political game with the Jews at this point. On one level, his contempt for being manipulated by these Jewish… Read More

Honesty, Humility, and Grace

“And he went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:62)   Though it has already been mentioned, Peter’s reaction to his sin is worth dwelling on for a moment longer. How great the contrast is between Peter and Judas. Both committed great sins against their master and both grieved deeply as a result of their sins.… Read More

The Rooster’s Second Crow, the Look, and the Tears

“And Peter remembered Jesus’ word when he said, ‘Before the rooster crows, three times you will disown me.’ And he went out and he wept bitterly.” (Matthew 26:75)   “And at once the rooster crowed a second time and Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows twice, three… Read More

Christian Hospitality

“He said, ‘Come in, blessed of Yahweh. To what end do you stand outside? I have tidied up the house and a place for the camels.’ And the man went into the house and unharnessed the camels. He gave straw and fodder to the camels and water to wash his feet and the feet of… Read More

Hope in the Name of God

“I will praise you forever, because of your work; I will hope in your name, because it is good in the presence of your saints.” (Psalm 52:11 [verse 9 in English translations])   And here, David, in the midst of the grief and sorrow of loss turns his heart to praise. What a remarkable statement… Read More

The Seed and the Gates of Hell

“And the Angel of Yahweh called to Abraham — a second time from heaven. And he said, ‘In myself I swear, utters Yahweh; because of this thing that you have done in not sparing your son, your only one, I will surely bless you and your seed will surely be great as the stars of… Read More

The Ram in the Thicket

“And Abraham lifted up his eyes and he looked and beheld a ram behind him caught fast in a thicket by its horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and went up to make a whole burnt offering of it instead of his son.” (Genesis 22:13)   Substitution is perhaps the word for the… Read More

Bread and Circuses

Let me paint a picture for you of a culture where the Senate ruled over the people and the “commoners” had little say over what laws were enacted in the land. The culture that I am describing was one where many flocked to the cities of jobs, though they would only earn poverty level wages.… Read More

Embezzled Grace

“Nevertheless, love those who are hostile to you — do good and lend money without disappointing anyone — and your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is benevolent to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be compassionate just as much so as your Father is compassionate” (Luke… Read More

God’s Promises

“And she said, ‘Who would have repeatedly announced to Abraham that Sarah would be made to suckle children? Yet I have borne a son in his old age.’” (Genesis 21:7)   This is one of those spots where our English translations are not helpful in assisting us to understand the depth of the statement that… Read More

The Laughter of the Saints

“And Sarah said, ‘Laughter, God brings to me; all the ones who hear will laugh with me.’” (Genesis 21:6)   The emphasis that is placed here is on the laughter. Usually, this word refers to the way we might mock someone by laughing and jeering at him, but in this context a very different sentiment… Read More

The Sleep of the Beloved

  “It is vain for you to get up early and go late to your dwelling, Eating the bread of toil; For he gives to his beloved sleep.” (Psalm 127:2)   It may be granted up front that there is some discussion as to how to interpret the last line of this verse. Commonly it… Read More

Ego Deficiam

“I will fail them.” The early church fathers reflected on the relationships between pastors, the world, satan, and the church flock and developed a series of statements that described each relationship. The first of these statements was that of the pastor with regard to his people: Ego Deficiam (I will fail). At first, our response… Read More

Angry with God’s Mercy (Jonah 4:1)

“And it was evil to Jonah—a great evil—and he burned over it.”  (Jonah 4:1)   In case you hadn’t noticed Jonah’s attitude toward the Ninevites by his lackluster sermon in Nineveh, the true feelings of our wayward prophet come out as we move to the final chapter of this story.  Most of our English versions… Read More

Strong Horses: Zechariah 6:1-8

“When the strong horses came out, they were impatient to go and patrol the earth.”  -Zechariah 6: 7a, ESV   How impatient are the angels of God that have been ordained to extend Justice to the world and how great is God’s grace, even toward unbelievers, in staying their hand until His time is at… Read More

Not in Vain (1 Corinthians 15:10b)

“and his grace towards me is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:10b)               Admittedly, nothing that God does is done in vain.  He effectively works out all things according to his divine purpose and pleasure, and praise God that he does, because if things were left to us, we would usually make a colossal… Read More

God’s Grace (1 Corinthians 15:10)

“Yet, by God’s grace, I am what I am, and his grace towards me is not in vain; rather, I toiled more than all of the others, yet not I, but the grace of God which is with me.”   (1 Corinthians 15:10)               Paul reiterates his point once again.  His apostleship is a result… Read More

Sanctification (1 Corinthians 15:2)

“and through which you are being saved. if you hold to the words which I preached to you—assuming you did not believe in vain.”  (1 Corinthians 15:2)    There are two things in particular that I want to highlight about this verse.  The first thing is the word sw/◊zesqe (sozesthe), which is the passive form… Read More