To Pray or not to Pray? (The Sin Leading to Death)

John is speaking of the confidence we have in prayer in 1 John 5:14-15. Building on the theme of assurance that runs throughout the letter (note all the places where the word “know” is used), he wants us to understand that when we ask anything according to His will, it will be granted! God isn’tContinue reading “To Pray or not to Pray? (The Sin Leading to Death)”

Overcoming Bad Choices

1. All choices have consequences. I throw a rock into a pond and the water ripples. The ripples are the result of me choosing to throw the rock. 2. You cannot have choices without consequences—life doesn’t work that way. If I choose to throw a rock into the pond (unless it is winter and the pond isContinue reading “Overcoming Bad Choices”

The Glories Of God’s Kingdom

The story featuring the question to Jesus about fasting is the third in a series of five stories of conflict (Mark 2:1-3:6). The first two stories (the healing of the paralyzed man, Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners) celebrate the power and scope of forgiveness in the kingdom (2:1-17), while the last two (theContinue reading “The Glories Of God’s Kingdom”

Joseph’s Brothers

It shouldn’t be that difficult for us to understand why Joseph’s brothers have a problem believing that he has forgiven them.  After all, they were used to treating others in a manner that was much less than what they deserved (see Genesis 34 & 37), so they can’t relate to someone treating them better than they deserve.  I don’t think they’reContinue reading “Joseph’s Brothers”

Hope And The Upward Pull (Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close)

Hope is like a swing that pulls us upward. At least, that’s what the movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close would have us to believe.  Oskar Schell is a nine-year-old boy who lost his father and his way in the events of 9/11 or as he refers to it, the worst day.  He has some form of autismContinue reading “Hope And The Upward Pull (Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close)”

Taking Jesus at His Word

We’re not sure where the story found in John 7:53-8:11 belongs. This is why in most translations it is set in italics, bracketed, or even put into a footnote. Textual authorities tell us that it’s not in the two earliest manuscripts we have of John which date back to the beginning of the third century.Continue reading “Taking Jesus at His Word”

John’s baptism and ours

Brandon asks, Why is baptism used before Jesus? I thought baptism signified Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Why would baptism be used by John if that’s what it is for?  As the question suggests, the two baptisms are closely related but also have important differences.  Think of it like an engagement ring and a wedding ring.  The engagement ringContinue reading “John’s baptism and ours”