On September 23, 2014, my oldest sister Pamela Drake went to be with the Lord. She was alone in her apartment when she died. I received the word from her daughter, my niece Jennifer Phillips late that evening. Needless to say, I was very shocked. I had not spoken to her since a couple of months ago, and had not seen her since our family visited her back in 1999. That, unfortunately I do regret. However, this post is not about what should have been. This post is about what it truly was, and I was incredibly surprised.
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Tim 1:7
As a child, I pretended I was various superheroes. I did not mimic any specific ones, but pretended I was someone who could save lives and become adored by all who knew me. Moving into adolescence, my ideas of what I wanted to be morphed, for the most part into the idea of how I could be accepted by those in my school and church. I was a lonely young man who had few friends, and was the butt of everyone’s jokes. I was an easy target for bullies who did not waste many opportunities to torment me. At home, it was pretty much required that we children be perfect, and any mistakes we made were open to be used as instrument of public humiliation. I had a poor sense of who I was, and wanting to be accepted, would do just about anything to make it happen.
“Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him.”
In the above verse, when Jesus was brought before Pilate at the request of the Jewish leadership, Pilate asked an intriguing question. What is Truth? I have been musing on this question lately as I look at American culture, and I believe that we, as a society, do not have a satisfactory answer to this question. There are individuals who do, but as a whole we are lacking understanding of what real truth is. People are looking for truth, but without an adequate foundation on which to base it on, it will elude them. The only adequate foundation for truth is an unchanging, all knowing being who transcends truth, and in fact is truth Himself. Without this unchanging standard, truth becomes relative and unknowable. And our culture is slowly but surely removing this standard from American life. And I am afraid that those who do not have this solid foundation will only discover a new truth, which in reality is no truth at all. Read more…
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Cor 5:17
This past weekend, I received an interesting question I have heard many times before, and have tried to answer, but out of a sense of humility, the answer is not readily accepted. “How important is it, for a Christian, to tell God when we pray how terrible and unworthy we are?”. This seems like a reasonable thing to do. We want to be humble before God, and what a better way to show humility than to recognize ourselves as a totally worthless individual that could not do anything ourselves to make us worthy, and understanding our reliance upon God to do what we are incapable of doing on our own? This is a noble sentiment, however, it is partially wrong. Not the fact that we cannot do anything toward our salvation, but the idea we are worthless.
“Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.‘” John 20:29
If you ask any Christian if they believe there is a Heaven, he will most likely say “Yes”. And if you were to ask any Christian if God loves them, you would probably get the same answer. We have been taught all our lives that Heaven is a real place and that God loves us. We say with little hesitation that we believe the words of the bible are true, and we really mean it. However, have we ever examined what we say we believe, not to validate the truth of them, but rather if we truly believe them? Read more…
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Php 2:3
A couple of weeks ago, I decided it was time to redo my office and study. It had devolved into such dis-array I never wanted to come down here. However, now that I, with the help of my family and Brandon, a good friend of our family, have been able to bring order out of chaos, I am back now doing some of things I love, reading, writing, and just enjoying quiet and de-stressing times at my desk.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
This coming week, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. We all know what this day is about, giving thanks to God for all the gifts and blessing He has given us. There is so much for us to be thankful for; our jobs, family, friends, the things we have, etc. However, I would like to spend a few moments talking about probably the greatest gift we have ever received.
“”Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?” Haggai 1:4
As I find myself sitting in the Student Center at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary(NOBTS) in, you guessed it, New Orleans, I finished my summary of the book of Haggai for the Old Testament Theology class I am taking for my Doctorate in Theology. I am not attending NOBTS, rather I am getting my degree from another Seminary, however, I joined my son for His trip here as he takes some of his classwork at the seminary, required if you are attending from a hub campus as he is doing. As I was studying Haggai, God showed me something that I want to share with you that I hope helps you in your Christian walk. However, before I tell you, I would like to give you some background information that will help you understand my thoughts.
“and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
Jacob woke up from a hard sleep, wondering somewhat where he was. He looked around to get his bearings, and then began to rub his eyes. He looked down at his side table, and noticed a book that had not been there when he dozed off the night before. He sat up, very curious. Living in a small eight by twelve foot space in the middle of a large open building, his world, where no-one is allowed to leave their life space, and especially enter another’s, makes this rather puzzling. Should he open it and see what it is? Was this a trap set by the Ultimate Ruler to determine who was faithful and punish those who were not? He was confused. Who could have placed it there? He stared at the book. It was enticing him to open it. He perused the area around his room. No one was looking. He reached out and touched it, then quickly pulled his hand back. Nothing strange. He looked around again, and slowly turned to the side of his bed and carefully picked up the book. He lifted the cover and found one sentence on the page. “Take heart; I have overcome the world.” (Joh 16:33b)
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,” 2 Tim 1:8.
What comes to mind when you think of someone’s testimony? If you were to ask some people, they would say that it is their story on how they became a believer and follower of Christ. And they would be correct, sort of. That is a part of what a testimony is. But our testimony is anything we have seen or experienced that proclaims the truth. From a Christian context, it is a declaration of anything that God has done for us or made us aware of.