Testifying of Christ

After the Jews began persecuting Jesus for healing a man on the Sabbath (John 5:16), Jesus began discussing His equality with the Father (John 5:17-23), the future resurrection (John 5:25-29), and the proof that He was who He claimed to be (John 5:33-47). This final point was critical. Not every claim that one may make of himself is true. This is why Jesus said, “If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true” (John 5:31). He was not saying that He might make false claims. After all, He “always” did the will of the Father (John 8:29). Yet there was a difference between what Jesus claimed about Himself and what others – His enemies, in particular – claimed about Him.

How could the people know that Jesus was the Christ and not an imposter? They would need to have evidence. Jesus explained that this evidence came in the form of witness testimony that verified His claims. In this passage, He described four witnesses that testified of Him and confirmed His claim as the Christ, the Son of God. Let us notice these briefly.Continue Reading

Lifting Up Our Soul to the Lord

To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in You I trust, do not let me be ashamed; do not let my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed; those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed” (Psalm 25:1-3).

This psalm is about our dependence upon God – something that each one of us needs to be reminded of from time to time. The text describes three areas in which we are dependent upon the Lord.

The psalmist explained this by describing himself as lifting up his soul to the Lord. This denotes a surrender of oneself to Him – a complete trust in God that carried with it a confidence that he would not be ashamed.

Let us consider what this psalm teaches us about our need for the Lord and the three ways in which we are dependent upon what He provides.Continue Reading

Here I Raise My Ebenezer

From time to time we sing the song, “O Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” The second verse begins with the phrase, “Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I’ve come.” This term (Ebenezer) is not one we use today, yet it is important for us to understand the words we sing. Paul said we are to “sing with the spirit, and…with the understanding also” (1 Corinthians 14:15, KJV).

In this article, we are going to look at the story in the Old Testament about the Ebenezer. This was a stone set up to remind the Israelites of an important lesson. As we look at this, we will see some lessons for us as well.Continue Reading

Jesus Christ – Our Perfect Example

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:21-24).

In this passage, Peter explained that Jesus left an example for us to follow. There are many people we may look up to as examples in life – parents, peers, older Christians, successful individuals, and more. Yet Jesus was not just an example; He was the perfect example. This passage shows us how He left a perfect example for us.Continue Reading

Jeremiah and the Parable of the Sower

The Sower

One of the more well-known parables of Jesus is the parable of the sower. It is a simple parable and its basic point can be explained quickly, yet it teaches an important lesson. However, it is also one in which we can draw out other points. In this article, we are going to consider this parable and build upon it with lessons learned from Jeremiah.

And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, ‘Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear’” (Matthew 13:3-9).

In this parable, Jesus described the sower scattering seed on four different types of soils – the roadside, the rocky ground, the thorny ground, and the good soil. The seed was scattered regardless of the type of soil. However, the results were affected by the soil on which the seed fell.Continue Reading

The Fruit of the Spirit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

In the passage above, Paul talked about the fruit of the Spirit. He listed several characteristics that would be included in this category. Those traits are what the fruit of the Spirit looks like.

He described this as fruit for a reason. Fruit is what grows on a tree or plant of some sort. It does not grow independently; instead, it is a natural product of the life of the plant. In the same way, these characteristics do not spring up independently in our lives; they are the natural product of the Spirit’s influence on our lives. This influence will affect our conduct as we “walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16) and will impact our decisions as we are “led by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:18).Continue Reading

New Every Morning

Sunrise

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him’” (Lamentations 3:21-23).

We sometimes hear it said that each day is a gift. This is certainly true, yet we need to know why this is true. It is about more than the simple fact that we are still alive. Each day is a gift because of God and what He provides for us each day.

In the passage above, Jeremiah reflected upon the goodness of God even as he and the nation were going through severe suffering (hence the name of the book Lamentations). There was still evidence of God’s care for them and a reason to have hope if they would focus on Him more than their present troubles.Continue Reading