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Christmas and Sin … (December 2018 Update) 

When we celebrate Christmas, sin is probably the last thing we think about. After all, “’tis the season to be jolly.”  Right?  Yes and no.  First of all, Christmas is about sin. The reason for the season is because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Without a right understanding of sin as part of Christmas, we have no real reason to rejoice. 

The Christmas story actually begins in Genesis.  Adam and Eve lived in a God-created paradise. God gave them only one requirement – to not eat of the tree of life.  Satan deceived Eve telling her that God’s word was not true.  If they ate, they would surely not die. So they ate and God put Adam and Eve and the whole world under a curse that still affects us all today.   Continue Reading »

Oh the Depths! … (November 2018 Update) 

In Romans 11:33, Paul reminds us about the greatness of our God.  He says, “Oh, the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of our God!” In crossing the ocean by ship, this verse continued to refrain in my mind, “Oh, the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of our God!” For 7 days, we were at sea with no land in sight (except at the beginning and the end of our journey).  Just waves and waves of a constantly rolling, deep, deep ocean.  Each day as we looked out on the ocean, we were reminded that, as deep and vast as the ocean was, the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God are far deeper and more vast than any ocean.  Continue Reading »

Strength for the Weary! … (October 2018 Update) 

Isaiah 40:29-31 has been a favorite passage of mine since college.  “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” It has encouraged me in many situations but I have never experienced its truth and power as clearly as when I was teaching last week (more below).   

This passage was given to the nation of Israel when they were discouraged and without strength. And God reminded them that He gives strength to those who are weak. Notice, first, that this passage is a comparison between God’s strength and man’s weakness. It compares the strongest, most vigorous of mankind – young men – with God’s strength. But even the strongest will grow tired and faint.  But those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.   Continue Reading »

Teaching about the person and work of Jesus is one of the great privileges of being a seminary professor.  Nothing thrills my heart more than teaching about Jesus and what He did for us.  I had that privilege once again this month teaching Christology and Soteriology with Eric Oldenburg at Kiev Theological Seminary. The Bible is full of passages that remind us of His glory and the wonderful salvation He provided for us! Paul reminds us that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). John reminds us: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:19). Peter declares: “Christ dies for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). In Revelation 5:9, the elders fell down before the Lamb and sang a new song: “Worthy are you to take the book and break its seals; for you were slain, and purchased for God with your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” All of this makes us cry out with the angels: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing…. To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever” (Revelation 5:12-13). What a wonderful savior indeed!  Continue Reading »

August is a month of preparation for us.  With classes starting at the end of the month and time to put syllabi together and post online, August can be very busy.  There are many opinions and views about the return of Christ.  But two things are absolutely certain: Christ will return, and we must be ready! While there is a lot of debate over various approaches to eschatology, all views agree with these two certainties.  But many often neglect being prepared for His return by spending lots of time searching the Scriptures to find a prophetic clue about the time of His return instead of using the time to serve Him more fully.  Jesus warned: “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” He then reminds us about what is most important: “Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.” What matters most is not our eschatological view, but being ready—waiting and watching and serving while we are waiting for His return.   Continue Reading »

Rest … (July 2018 Update)

Probably nothing is more difficult for me than learning to rest. Even when I take a vacation, it takes me a few days to slow down and stop thinking about the things I need to get done! This is doubly true spiritually.  If you ask me, “What is the hardest thing for you spiritually?”  I would answer, “Learning to rest in the Lord.”  I think most other believers would say the same.  While the Bible is full of admonitions to rest in the Lord, it is the one area we struggle the most with.  So, I’m learning to rest – but it is the hardest thing for me to do! Continue Reading »

Progress … (June 2018 Update)

In 1 Timothy 4:15, Paul tells Timothy, “Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all” (Christian Standard Bible, Holman). He is speaking about the importance of developing and using the spiritual gifts that God had given to Timothy.  Progress is essential to the Christian life — If we are not growing, we are actually slipping back. While this is most important spiritually, it is also important in every area of our lives.

If anything could describe this last month, it would be the idea of progress. This month has been a difficult one but thankfully, not as tough as last month!  In every area, we have see much progress — hopefully, our spiritual progress however, will be most evident to those around us. Continue Reading »