The Tent

“For if we know that the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (II Corinthians 5:1)

People refer to their bodies in numerous ways, each of which probably gives you a glimpse into their worldview. Here as he opens II Corinthians 5, Paul refers to our fleshly bodies as “our earthly tent.”  This is a good and needed reminder for many of us: Continue reading

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On Heroes and Pedestals

Cam Newton and Peyton Manning, two of the sporting world’s biggest heroes, took some hits Sunday — and not just on the football field.

Newton had a disappointing performance in the eyes of many of his team’s fans. His fumbles that led to Bronco scores were basically the difference in the game.  And some criticize his abrupt departure from the post-game press conference as demonstrating a lack of sportsmanship. But if the turnovers could be excused as not entirely his fault, and the departure attributed to a competitive spirit, the “inexcusable sin” to many observers was his hesitation to dive after his second lost fumble. With the game on the line, it looked more like a calculated decision of self-preservation than the actions of the hero that Panther fans were counting on to win the day. The video of “Superman” not going after the ball could haunt Newton for years to come.

But although Peyton Manning was the “winner” of the game, his reputation took a hit as well. Even Carolina fans indicated that they respected Manning’s example and hard work ethic, and that it would not be the worst thing in the world if he went out with a championship. But many of those who were expecting a classy send-off from Manning were likewise disappointed in their “hero.” Not once, but twice, virtually verbatim in what could only be calculated language, the revered quarterback indicated in nationally broadcast post-game interviews that he was going to celebrate by drinking a lot of Budweiser that night. Regardless of one’s belief regarding total abstention from alcohol, the message that Manning sent to millions of elementary and high school fans was that when you win, you celebrate with a lot of drinking. How many lives may be wrecked as a result of those words, which were undoubtedly absorbed by millions of young men?  Then there was his half-hearted nod to “The Man Upstairs”, which many view as a flippant and irreverent treatment of the glorious God of the universe.  All in all, it just wasn’t quite the message you were hoping to hear from your “hero.”

So both quarterbacks were knocked off — or one might say, chose to “step” off — of their pedestals Sunday night. The lesson? Maybe they shouldn’t have been on those pedestals in the first place. Continue reading

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Looking At What Is Unseen

“We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (II Corinthians 4:18)

The Apostle Paul gives us an insight here on how we should evaluate our service at church and other Kingdom enterprises — as well as the state of our own spiritual lives: Continue reading

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“The Disciple’s Character: Meekness” (Matthew 5:5 sermon)

Several years ago, Chuck Norris, the actor and martial arts expert (who is also a Christian) had finished a long day of acting in a Texas town, and had gone to get dinner. While he was sitting in the restaurant, a man came up to him and said, “You are sitting in my booth.” Norris didn’t like the man’s tone, but he just got up quietly and moved to another booth. A few minutes later, the man came back to him and said, “You’re Chuck Norris, aren’t you?” He said he was. The man said, “You could have kicked me around just then, but you didn’t!” And Norris proceeded to talk to the man, and made a friend of him. Chuck Norris illustrates the meaning of the quality we are looking at today in Matthew 5:5, the quality we call “meekness.” “Meekness” is not “weakness”; it is strength submitted to the control of God and His will.

This morning we are continuing our study on “The Disciple’s Character” – at how the Beatitudes of Matthew 5:3-12 are composed of eight character qualities of Jesus Christ, which God is working everything together to build into your life. We have seen that the first, and indispensable quality is that of poverty in spirit – dependence upon God. You must totally depend upon HIM to even enter the kingdom (“nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling”), hence “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Then last week we looked at the quality of mourning, that if we mourn our sins, and the sins of others, and turn them into tearful prayers, God will hear and answer those prayers for ourselves and others. And of course, Christ exemplifies both of these qualities.

But this morning we come to a quality that is perhaps the most misunderstood of any of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the meek” (or some translations say “gentle.”) Whenever a person uses the word “meek”, there is picture that comes to mind: timid, mousy, fearful, weak. That is not what the word means. Chuck Norris in that restaurant was not “weak”; he was “meek.” There is a big difference. Let’s look at what the Bible tells us about this important quality … Continue reading

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3 Reasons For Comfort In Affliction

“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” (II Corinthians 4:17)

The Apostle Paul gives the Corinthians — and us — three reasons in this verse why we can find comfort regarding the afflictions that we as Christians have to endure here on earth: Continue reading

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Christians & The Super Bowl

Tens of millions of people are excited today, because it is “Super Bowl Sunday”. They will gather to watch the biggest football game of the year. Multiplied millions of dollars have been spent — while out I saw a pickup truck yesterday with a new 65″ big screen tv in a box in the back; no coincidence that he bought the tv the day before the big game! Snacks are being prepared; and the internet has been filled with recipes for snacks for the big event. And many Christians, including myself, will be joining in. But there is a difference for us. Continue reading

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Day By Day

In II Corinthians 4:16, the Apostle Paul wrote: “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, our inner man is being renewed day by day.”

We looked previously at how a Christian does not become holy all at once, in a crisis experience, but in the “process” of sanctification, “day by day.” (See devotion on that topic here).

But this should also lead us to consider our daily walk with the Lord. Continue reading

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