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The Messiah's Peculiar Forerunner

We all sin; this is a fact that Scripture emphasizes (cf. Rm 3:9-20), but how we respond to our sin is a key reflection of our hearts. When I sin, my flesh wants to cover it up to prevent others from knowing about it and to minimize my feelings of shame. According to 1 John 1:6-9 to respond this way removes the possibility of fellowship with God and forgiveness from God. But when I am able to suppress my flesh and bring my sin to light through confession, I initiate repentance, find forgiveness, and restore fellowship with God. This is not easy. My flesh loves to think that if I can only hide my sin and prevent others from seeing it. Then people will like me and I will retain my position of influence or acceptance. But my greatest need is not to influence people or to be accepted by people. My greatest need is to be right with God, and repentance is the only way to find it. May we all repent as the Kingdom continues to draw near. Read More

Faithful Suffering

My typical response to suffering is surprise and dismay. I want a comfortable life of ease, and I’d prefer to avoid suffering altogether. But as we think about our suffering, two responses should dominate: 1) If we are practicing sin, we should respond to our suffering with repentance. In this case our suffering serves the same purpose God had for sending Israel and Judah into exile, as a warning to return to God. 2) If we are practicing repentance, we should respond to our suffering as an opportunity to share in the sufferings of Jesus and to glorify God in Him. God has a purpose in every suffering, no matter how much it hurts. Our responsibility is to consider our suffering carefully and respond to it as God desires. Where I tend to fail in this is in my trust in God. I want my trust in God and His sovereignty in my suffering to exceed my desire to be comfortable. May suffering continue to change me and all of us! Read More

The Messiah's Divine Protection

Living in this world can discourage us about the probability or possibility of God fulfilling His promises. We see our culture suppressing God’s truth and turning further and further away from Him. How can Christ build His church in such an environment? Will God really finish the work He started in us? Why does it feel like God has forsaken us, in spite of His promise? These and other questions haunt our minds and tempt us to doubt. However, when we look at the Scriptures and history, we are reminded that God has always accomplished His Word in spite of opposition. In Christ’s day, God preserved His Messiah in spite of Herod’s raging. In the first century, the church thrived in spite of persecution. In the middle ages, God preserved a remnant of pure faith in the midst of growing corruption in Catholicism. Why would God do any differently in our day? God is faithful; His Word will accomplish His purpose; and we can trust Him. May His faithfulness drive our trust in Him regardless of the circumstances. Read More