We continue our journey in the New Testament book of Romans as we focus on chapter 7, verses15-25a. The issue is that of internal struggles, particularly the carnal will of the flesh versus humanity’s spiritual aspect. There is a timeless quality about the struggle between what we want to do and what we actually do. In this way, Paul is referring to a universal human condition of internal struggles. Paul admits candidly that his appetites and desires are difficult to manage. We’re not sure of the specific issues Paul was referring to, but the point is that Paul’s self-confession reveals that even someone with hisRead More →

Today’s topic from the lectionary is freedom of faith, what the author Paul describes as an enjoyable state since we are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6:12-23). “Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions” (Romans 6:12). Here Paul encourages us to no longer be captive to our sinful nature. This is great advice because once we become followers of God we have declared ourselves to be free from sin’s eternal grasp. The difficult part involves thinking, feeling and acting in a manner that demonstrates a liberated spirit. We mustn’t ignore some of the implicationsRead More →

If you’re reading this, you are alive. I’m glad of that! Today’s message from Romans 6:1b-11 reminds us that we were once dead in sin. Thankfully, by accepting redemption from God we are revitalized and transformed, hence wonderfully empowered creatures with a new lease on life. We are reminded to claim God’s promises and embrace every moment living in a changed manner, a way of life that sets us apart from mere existence. Paul spoke about this wonderful truth. “. . .[J]ust as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we to might walk in the newness of life”Read More →

Today’s message is drawn from two lectionary readings, Romans 5:1-8 and Matthew 9:35 – 10:8. The Romans passage begins with the great theme of faith, which contributes to our peace with and hope in God. “Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). The wonderful news in the Romans verse is that peace with God frees us for a life of renewal and wellbeing. What stands in our way? Challenges are not completely bad because Paul the author suggests a promising process if we do our part. Beginning with suffering, each person has aRead More →

Today’s lectionary selection in Matthew 28: 16-20 reveals a “good-bye” and important instructions still relevant today. Jesus’ words are critical because he wanted to instill guidance about what his followers were supposed to be doing after his imminent departure. What did Jesus tell his eleven followers about their mission going forward? Those who had gathered for Jesus’ parting words were told to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations . . .” (Matthew 28:19a). This magnificent statement is also known as the great commission, which is what we’re supposed to be sharing with the world. Jesus emphasized this missionary aspect of the gospel whichRead More →

Brace yourself for a potential jolt. Celebrated as Pentecost in Acts 2:1-21, today is therefore a very special Sunday. We’re recognizing nothing less than the core of Spirit, God’s very essence and the root of God’s Being. God is spirit, and since we are created in God’s image we also are spiritual beings and we can claim connection to God, spirit-to-Spirit. Jesus promised that shortly after his departure he would send the energetic, marvelous Holy Spirit. Jesus did this in part because he didn’t want his followers to be left as powerless orphans in a fledgling new religion. A basic biblical message about God’s SpiritRead More →

God’s promises are great. As an example, read this one from today’s lectionary selection in 1 Peter:   “And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10).   This aforementioned verse is deeply reassuring in that it reminds us of God’s care. We can offer a succinct interpretation such as this: When things go bad, God will provide revitalization. We need to immerse ourselves in such promises. Sometimes a person experiencing trouble does not sense God in the midstRead More →

Many spiritually-oriented people live in a world of eternal possibilities. What drives this? For one, there is a rich world waiting to be uncovered by those who embrace love and who seek truth. Opening ourselves to God’s spiritual direction can help us grapple with the Bible’s complexities and controversies. The Bible is full of statements which raise eyebrows—and tempers.  Christianity has always been home to theological difficulties.  Even while Jesus walked the earth, controversy was his constant companion. Jesus’ teachings have given rise to core religious doctrines, crucial creeds, and his words have been cherished by generations of believers. And here we find them today,Read More →

The Bible is loaded with the metaphorical use of language through, for instance, the use of analogies, figures of speech and hyperbole. The biblical writers understood the power of rhetoric and the creative use of words. In both ancient times and in the present, the effective use of language can grab attention and make a point with the power of poetic persuasiveness. Today’s message from John 10:1-10 is a case in point, where the writer compares Jesus to a gate through which shepherds and sheep enter. Jesus is not a literal gate, but the suggestion is that Jesus functions as the portal or entrance throughRead More →