Posted in Biblical Reflections

Day 2 of VBS: A Fragrant Offering

“…walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.” Ephesians 5:2 (emphasis mine) Ever wonder what Jesus smelled like? Can you imagine His odor on the cross? Or, how He smelled when He walked out of the leper colony? Or what could be detected on his clothes after leaving Matthew’s party? I cannot imagine He smelled like a bouquet of roses after He washed 24 feet in the Upper Room. To the Father, He smelled incredible. Like walking in your neighborhood and catching a whiff of someone grilling meat...

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Strawberry Picking and John 15

Recently, my wife and I had the opportunity to go and pick strawberries together at a nearby farm. Jesus’ words from John 15 came to mind. I came away with a couple of thoughts that I hope encourage and challenge you. #1. Bearing fruit is slow. It takes time. Strawberries can only be picked at certain times throughout the year. They aren’t always available, nor can they be produced overnight. It takes time. The weeks and months when they aren’t being picked? Well, they are being cultivated into maturity. Producing spiritual fruit is similar. It cannot be mass produced on...

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Gospel at Arm’s Length

8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who prophesied about the grace that would come to you, searched and carefully investigated. 11 They inquired into what time or what circumstances the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating when he testified in advance to the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you. These things have now been announced to...

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Follow Your Heart?

I’ve always hated the phrase, “follow your heart.” Mainly because God tells us through His prophet Jeremiah that our hearts are one big wicked pile of messed up selfish motives and agendas (Jeremiah 17:9). Jiminy Cricket’s advice to “let your conscience be your guide” has always been heretical to me. This is good, solid, and wise. Yes, our hearts – left to themselves – are bad. Our conscience will guide us straight into an empty and black abyss, a pit of misery (“Dilly, Dilly!”). But if we aren’t careful, we will ignore some things going on in our hearts to...

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No Self-Guided Life Tours

James 4:13-17 13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” 14 Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are like vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes. 15 Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So it is sin to know the good and yet not do it....

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Barzillai

Imagine with me a conversation between Barzillai and his wife Phoebe (fictional name) after the events of 2 Samuel 19 (specifically 2 Samuel 19:31-39). “Well that’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life!” Phoebe was furious, mixing the bread dough with increasing intensity. “What do you mean you told the king you would stay here? You mean to tell me you sent Kinham? What were you thinking? Now Kinham gets to be with the king and enjoy all the accompanying benefits while you and I sit here and rot. I don’t mind saying it, Barzillai, but...

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“I Love You. Do You Love Me?”

“Mom, I love you. Do you love me?” I vaguely remember repeating these words to my mom before I was old enough to go to school. My parents confirm this. As a young boy, I would need constant affirmation that I was loved. I am told when various people came in and out of our house (the exterminator, electrician, plumber, friends) they would look puzzled at my parents because I always expressed my love and asked for it in return. If I am being honest, I still have that need. I don’t go around declaring it constantly and I certainly don’t...

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I Need a Donkey, Please

I have often wondered what the disciples were thinking when Jesus told them to go get a donkey. Crowds were gathering. Blind men had just received their sight. Excitement was brewing. Vendors were walking up and down the streets with popcorn and cotton candy.  Neon glow bracelets were selling like hot cakes. The anticipation of what was to come was at an all-time high. Surely the disciples were getting excited, too. I mean, this is what they had signed up for, right? To be at the Messiah’s right hand when He took over? To be on the “inside” when He...

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Why Did You Doubt?

Imagine with me a conversation between Peter and his brother Andrew the evening after Peter walked on water (see Matthew 14:22-33)… “Can you believe the nerve of Jesus out there today?” Peter was fuming, venting everything to his brother Andrew. “The lake was incredibly choppy. The wind was severe. We had been rowing at His command all night long. I ask Him for help when I began to sink and He asks me why I would doubt! Who wouldn’t doubt in a moment like that? I mean, do you know of anyone else who has ever walked on water! I...

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Jesus Sleeps through the Storm: Imagining with Bartholomew and Naomi

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” Imagine with me how a conversation between one of Jesus’ disciples (Bartholomew)...

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