1. Perfect Peace
    12 Feb, 2018
    Perfect Peace
    All you have to do is turn on the TV to find that peace is lacking all over the world.  Generally speaking, most people think of peace as a lack of hostility, harmony and tranquility among men.  But as we have already established, the first three fruit of the Spirit are “God-toward” rather than directed toward man.  If this is the case, we need to explore further what the peace fruit really is. In Greek, the word for peace is eirene which has many meanings including:” tranquility, health,
  2. The Fruit of Joy
    05 Feb, 2018
    The Fruit of Joy
    As we have already established in last week’s post, the fruit of the Spirit is the different facets of God’s character which is demonstrated in the life of a believer who is controlled by the Holy Spirit.  We know that the primary evidence of the fruit of the Spirit is love. The second dimension is closely related to it – that is joy (cf. Galatians 5:22). Joy is something that most everyone desires, but few experience.  We often substitute true joy for happiness. Happiness is dependent on
  3. Fruit of Love
    29 Jan, 2018
    Fruit of Love
    Love is the first aspect of the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5. Some scholars believe that the eight “fruit” that follow are just other expressions of love, so that the fruit of the Spirit is entirely love.  Others believe that it is listed first because it is simply the most important of all the aspects of the fruit of the Spirit.  Regardless if you believe that every facet of the fruit is love or that it is simply the first manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit, the fact that it
  4. Fruitful Living
    22 Jan, 2018
    Fruitful Living
    There are Christians who solely focus on the gifts of the Spirit.  Others want nothing to do with them because they find them controversial.  Instead, they focus on the fruit of the Spirit.  However, there is a reason why both the gifts and fruit are found in Scripture.  We cannot properly operate in the gifts without the fruit and we cannot fully demonstrate the fruit without the gifts.  Wholeness and holiness can only be found when these characteristics are evident in our body, soul and
  5. Music and Worship
    15 Jan, 2018
    Music and Worship
    Music has been an integral part of worship almost from the very beginning.  Today we find much controversy over what kinds of music should be played in worship and what expressions and forms should be used. It seems as though everyone has an opinion, relegating worship music to a matter of personal preference.  But let’s look at what the bible says about the matter. In the Old Testament The Old Testament is full of expressions of worship.  In fact, the largest book in our bibles is Psalms which
  6. Old or New?
    08 Jan, 2018
    Old or New?
    How often have you heard the adage, “out with the old and in with the new?”This is how many of us think today.You get a new pair of shoes and you throw out the old.You begin to like a new artist’s music and you cast off your old favorite.We constantly try to keep up with current fashion trends rather than look like we are wearing last year’s style. Others love to hold on to things forever.They cherish the things of the past.Their attics are filled with antiques from a prior era.They read
  7. No Stable?
    17 Dec, 2017
    No Stable?
    The events of the Christmas story have been ingrained in our minds and hearts.However, much of what we know of this story doesn’t come from our study of Scripture and the culture of the day, but from tradition.Many of the details are misrepresentations of the actual events and are based on a fictional work by an anonymous Christian written two hundred years after the birth of Christ.This work is entitled The Protoevangelism of James and has nothing to do with James!This author was a non-Jew who
  8. A Celebration of Light
    11 Dec, 2017
    A Celebration of Light
    December is such a dark time of the year.  It is when the time of daylight is the shortest.  That is why all the lights we see this time of year are such a comfort.  We see all kinds of lights – icicle lights, colored lights large and small and even candles in the windows.  Some of you may even have Jewish neighbors who place a nine-branched menorah (candelabra) in their windows instead of decorating their homes with traditional Christmas lights and Christmas trees. They do this in celebration
  9. Recycled Anger
    04 Dec, 2017
    Recycled Anger
    One of the most muted characters in the Christmas story is Joseph. Scripture tells us little about this important man in Jesus’ life.However, we do have a glimpse of who he was in the description of him we find in Matthew 1:18-20 (ESV): Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame,
  10. Democracy or Kingdom?
    26 Nov, 2017
    Democracy or Kingdom?
    Democracy has been long called “the great experiment.”  It is a form of government by which the people or those elected by the people rule.  Of all man’s ideas about government it is viewed as the greatest of ideas because it promotes freedom.  Our founding fathers envisioned a republic by which people from all over the world could enjoy freedom as they understood its principles.  Today many believe that this form of government is in jeopardy because of the influence of other man-made
  11. Thanksgiving a Jewish Holiday
    18 Nov, 2017
    Thanksgiving a Jewish Holiday
    It is surprising that so many Americans have forgotten the true meaning of Thanksgiving.  For many it is simply a day to appreciate friends and family, eat a huge meal and watch football. We know that the Pilgrims had a difficult time when they landed on Plymouth Rock.  Had it not been for friendly American Indians teaching them how to fish and plant corn, they probably would have perished.  What many of us do not realize is that some of these Indians had been taught by Christian missionaries
  12. He Rebuilds My Soul
    06 Nov, 2017
    He Rebuilds My Soul
    Trying to rebuild something is much harder than creating something from scratch.  The book of Nehemiah records the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem which had been left in ruins over a hundred years prior by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.  Jews began to return to their homeland 94 years before Nehemiah, but were unable to complete the daunting task of rebuilding the city which had been left in rubble. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah were originally one volume.[i]  They were divided by Christians
  13. Darkness or Light?
    30 Oct, 2017
    Darkness or Light?
    Halloween is a dark time of year.  Dark—not only because the days are short, but spiritually dark as well.  All you have to do is turn on the TV to see that the emphasis of the day is death and violence, horror and fear, and other occultic activities.  It is the official high holy day of Wiccans (witchcraft) and more occultic sacrifices—plant, animal and yes, even human—are reportedly made on this day. Halloween is an obvious reminder that there is a battle between darkness and light.  As we
  14. Why Walls and Gates?
    23 Oct, 2017
    Why Walls and Gates?
    Jerusalem was in shambles.  Both the walls and the gates needed to be rebuilt.  The walls were reconstructed using the rubble that was already there.  The new gates were hung on these walls.  Within 52 days, a makeshift wall was up which ensured some protection from their enemies (cf. Nehemiah 6:15). In Isaiah 49:16, the Lord says, Your walls are continually before me.  These walls represent our soul.  God will use the rubble of our lives to rebuild our mind, our emotions and our self-control.
  15. Pray Your Manna Quest
    16 Oct, 2017
    Pray Your Manna Quest
    In order to get the most of of your Manna Quest, you should be incorporating the material you are learning into your prayer life.  Early in my Christian walk, I realized that I could touch the heart of God in a special way by simply using His Word! Prayer should be a two way communication between us and God.  We should not only be speaking, but also listening.  Engaging in a Manna Quest is a way to hear God’s voice to you personally.  When we do this, God initiates the conversation. Jesus said
  16. Finding Paradise
    09 Oct, 2017
    Finding Paradise
    When someone mentions paradise, different pictures come to mind. I think of an island somewhere, quiet and serene with beauty all around. When one speaks of paradise in a Biblical context, most people think of the Garden of Eden. However, the rabbis in Jesus’ day would have a different picture in mind. They immediately would have thought about the Torah (the Word of God). The rabbis believed that there were four ways to hear a text. We remember it with the acrostic P-R-D-S. When we add vowels
  17. Manna Meditation
    02 Oct, 2017
    Manna Meditation
    One of my favorite movies is “Fiddler on the Roof.”  It is the story of a poor Jewish milkman named Tevye in imperial Russia in 1905.  Although the music is memorable, what I love best about the movie is Tevye’s articulation of his thoughts to God.   He works through his life problems by verbalizing them along with scriptural principles.  This is a classic example of Biblical meditation. Meditation means different things to different people.  In Eastern thought, meditation includes emptying
  18. Thinking in Blocks
    25 Sep, 2017
    Thinking in Blocks
    Many people, including Christians, believe that scripture contradicts itself. In other words, they believe that one truth cancels out another. Maybe you are one of these believers. We can fall into this erroneous thinking because we do not understand Hebrew thought upon which scripture is based.  In the West, we have been educated in and influenced by Greek logic which some call “step logic.”  This is reasoning from a premise to a conclusion with thoughts that are arranged in a step fashion.
  19. Tracing the Outline
    19 Sep, 2017
    Tracing the Outline
    As the children begin to return to school, my mind somehow was drawn to my ninth grade history class.  It wasn’t that I enjoyed the class, in fact, I really hated it.  One of the reasons was that our instructor, Mrs. Marshall required that all the textbook reading be outlined by hand each evening in order to pass the course.  For me, this was a real burden, especially in light of all the other homework I had from other teachers. (How come every teacher thinks they are the only one giving