Christians have been awaiting the return of Jesus Christ since the very beginning of the church. In fact, as early as Amos (almost 800 years before Christ), people were looking forward to the Day of the Lord. And beginning with Amos, the prophets and apostles have warned us it won’t be a pleasant time.
The coming wrath of God is not a pleasant thought. Many Christians recoil because they can’t reconcile it with his love. But we must remember that every syllable of the Bible perfectly describes God’s love. Even the parts we don’t like. With that in mind, let’s take a careful look at 2 Peter 3.… Read the rest
The stories about Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, in the book of Daniel show that God is God not just of Israel, but God over all. In the last of them, Nebuchadnezzar must acknowledge him as the Most High God.
The Bible identifies God by several different titles. El Elyon, God Most High, emphasizes that God, creator of the universe is the supreme object of worship. He outranks all other power, and especially anyone or anything else that claims to be a god.
Nebuchadnezzar never claimed to be a god, but as ruler of the most powerful empire in the world, he considered himself supreme.… Read the rest
Does the Bible contradict itself? Isaiah 43:18 says, “Do not remember the past events; pay no attention to things of old” (HCSB). But plenty of other scriptures tell us to remember, including Isaiah 46:8-9, which says, “Remember this and be brave; take it to heart, you transgressors! Remember what happened long ago, for I am God, and there is none other.”
Of course, carefully examining the verses in context show what God wants us to forget and remember—and why.
Familiar rituals surrounding Christmas and Easter help illustrate the problem. They can draw our attention to God’s work. Or they can substitute for thinking about it.… Read the rest
God, who spoke the world into existence, can accomplish anything he wants by speaking it. Instead, he chooses to use flawed people as tools. And he deliberately breaks them. We will consider Jacob, but first, let’s look at tools in general, then how God uses tools in general.
Whenever I need a tool, whether it’s for the garden or the kitchen or something to do with the computer, I get the best I can afford. Then I do my best to take care of it and keep it in good condition.
If something breaks, I probably can’t use it anymore. If it can be fixed at all, it may not work as well as before it broke.… Read the rest
At Christmas time, advertisers want us to concentrate on gift giving. But did you ever stop to think that it’s also the season of gift receiving? And that God gives the gifts that give the season its meaning?
People can very carefully choose gifts that reflect their understanding of the people they’re giving to. Or they can put minimal thought and effort into the task.
People can receive gifts with gratitude. Or with indifference, disappointment, or rejection.
If you have carefully chosen a gift and the person you give to doesn’t appreciate it, how do you feel? Have you ever thought about what God feels?… Read the rest
According to Romans 1:18, the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. It seems at first that Noah’s flood could be Exhibit A.
Except that a careful reading shows that nowhere in the Genesis account of the flood does “wrath,” “anger,” or any synonym occur!
The first time “anger” occurs in the King James Bible is Genesis 27:45 to describe Esau. “Wrath” first occurs is Genesis 39:19, which describes Potiphar after his wife accused Joseph of attempted rape. Abraham asked God not to be angry in Genesis 18:30 when the two were bargaining over the fate of Sodom.… Read the rest
Jeremiah 29:11 ranks high on the list of favorite Old Testament scriptures. As much as we love it, do we really understand how much it promises? “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)
“Prosper” translates the Hebrew word shalom, a word (a noun, by the way) so rich it has no good English equivalent. It usually appears in English translations as “peace.” In fact, many English translations of Jeremiah 29:11 say, “plans for peace” or something similar.
“Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” has been a favorite American hymn for about 200 years. The second verse notoriously starts, “Here I raise mine Ebenezer.”
I say notoriously, because it has been generations since large numbers of church goers have understood the meaning of “Ebenezer.” It’s a stone of remembrance, set up by the judge and prophet Samuel on an occasion well worth remembering.