Guilt by Association (Matthew 8:1-13; Luke 7)

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ (Luke 7:34) Jesus was never concerned about being guilty by association.  If anyone could be accused of having an interesting set of relationships and people whom he hung around, it would be Jesus.  There were tax collectors, sinners, ... [Continue Reading]

A Twisted Family History (Matthew 1; Luke 2:1-38)

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife... (Matthew 1:6b) Legacy matters, doesn't it?  I love hearing stories of my grandparents who are no longer around... and stories of their parents and siblings.  What's amazing about their stories is that they affect my own story.  The legacy that someone else in your family leaves does have an impact on ... [Continue Reading]

Heart Surgery (Nehemiah 7:1-5, 66-73; 8-9)

They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God. (Nehemiah 9:3) There's a sense in which spending time reading the Bible is like allowing God to perform open heart surgery on your life.  Some read the Bible for the sake of simply ... [Continue Reading]

Be Careful, It’s Your Heart (Zechariah 6-10)

In your hearts do not think evil of each other. (Zechariah 7:10b, NIV84) One of my favorite movies at Christmastime is Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.  In the movie, Bing sings a song called "Be Careful, It's My Heart."  Aside from being a love song, there's an important lesson to learn about the fragility of our hearts. When someone hurts you, it ... [Continue Reading]

The Watchman (Ezekiel 33-35)

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes ... [Continue Reading]

How Far is Too Far? (Ezekiel 14-16)

You adulterous wife!  You prefer strangers to your own husband!  All prostitutes receive gifts, but you give gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from everywhere for your illicit favors.  So in your prostitution you are the opposite of others; no one runs after you for your favors.  You are the very opposite, for you give payment and none is given to you. ... [Continue Reading]

The Great U-Turn (Jeremiah 1-3)

They say to wood, ‘You are my father,’ and to stone, ‘You gave me birth.’  They have turned their backs to me and not their faces; yet when they are in trouble, they say, ‘Come and save us!’ (Jeremiah 2:27) If you were heading down a road that suddenly led you into a bad part of town, you might think about turning around because of the danger that you were about to be ... [Continue Reading]

Money Can’t Buy Me [God’s] Love (Zephaniah)

Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord’s wrath. (Zephaniah 1:18) Money is a dangerous possession as it gives a person the mirage that his or her life is together.  If I have money, then that means I'm successful.  If I have money, then I can go out and provide for my needs without relying on anyone else.  If I have money, then ... [Continue Reading]

In Common (Isaiah 49-53)

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6) Did you know that, no matter where you're from, no matter what kind of lineage you have, and regardless of your socio-economic status you have something in common with every other person on earth?  Whether you're rich or poor, ... [Continue Reading]

Just Like Everybody Else (Amos 1-3)

This is what the Lord says: “For three sins of Judah, even for four, I will not relent.  Because they have rejected the law of the Lord and have not kept his decrees, because they have been led astray by false gods, the gods their ancestors followed...” (Amos 2:4) There's a tension as it comes to Christianity.  It's complicated, really.  The tension is that we receive ... [Continue Reading]