MY ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION

Considered in the past tense here at summer's end, the six cumulative weeks recently spent in three Houston hospitals appear more and more purposeful and increasingly less a matter of waste. The metaphor persistently recurring in my mind is a summer program in alternate education. A typical school catalog might describe it as "an unconventional approach to learning, featuring hands-on courses in … [Read more...]

HE KNOWS OUR HEARTS

I cannot help but notice her as I approach my gate seating area at Houston Intercontinental Airport. Medium build, cropped brown hair, loose fitting slacks and shirt, and only one arm. We are both an hour early for this flight to Lubbock, where I am to speak six times over the weekend about God's guidance I am carrying my Bible and notes in a cloth tote bag that says "State Bar of Texas." The … [Read more...]

‘BORN OF WATER AND SPIRIT’ (2)

A gracEmail subscriber writes, "Jesus says that 'no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit' (John 3:5). I have heard for many years that this means that unless you are baptized, you cannot be saved. Is this a reference to baptism in water?" * * * Every human is born "of water" or "of flesh" into this world, and has a nature that "is flesh." Only those "born … [Read more...]

‘BORN OF WATER AND SPIRIT’ (1)

A gracEmail subscriber writes, "Jesus says that 'no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit' (John 3:5). I have heard for many years that this means that unless you are baptized, you cannot be saved. Is this a reference to baptism in water?" * * * These words are part of a conversation between Jesus and a ruling Pharisee named Nicodemus, in which Jesus … [Read more...]

JESUS’ SECOND MIRACLE

Text: John 4:43-54. Purpose: To grow in faith by seeing this example of faith which grew. To see the development in John's Gospel of faith among the Gentiles, and to understand the superiority of faith which does not depend on signs and wonders. Introduction In a world which honors "first's," many noble "second's" often go unnoticed. Students in history do not remember the second person … [Read more...]

CHRIST IN THE PSALMS (2)

Psalm 118:22-23 foretells Jesus' rejection by others, as it portrays the rejected building stone which God selects and uses as the cornerstone for his Temple (Matt. 21:42; Acts 4:11-12; Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Pet. 2:4-8). Psalm 16:7-11 expresses the faith of a righteous man that God will have the final word over death, and it is fulfilled in Jesus' resurrection from the dead (Acts 2:31-32; 13:34-37). … [Read more...]

SABBATH AND LORD’S DAY

Someone asks: "When did the early church actually make a shift from the Sabbath (Saturday) to Sunday? We see disciples meeting on Sunday in Acts 20, and a reference by John to the Lord's Day in Rev 1. Was this change commanded by God, or was it to celebrate the Resurrection and to honor Him because of that?" * * * The historical data is found in various books on the topic. Scripture gives no … [Read more...]

TITHING

GracEmail subscribers in several countries and in different denominations have asked what the Bible teaches about tithing, and whether Christians are required to give one-tenth of their income to the church. * * * The Law of Moses required the Jews to set aside a tithe (one-tenth) of their agricultural produce to support the Levites, the priestly tribe that did not receive a land inheritance. … [Read more...]

One Life, Death & Judgment

"As It Is Appointed Unto Men... "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many: and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation (Hebrews 9:27-28). What a familiar text -- but how often its chief meaning has escaped notice through sheer familiarity! You live once, die … [Read more...]

THE ‘WORMS’ AND ‘FIRE’ OF HELL

A Bible student writes, "I am sympathetic to your position of total destruction instead of everlasting conscious torment. But how do you explain the verse which says: 'where the worm dies not and the fire is not quenched?'" * * * The phrase you cite first comes from Isaiah 66:24, which portrays the righteous going out of the city of Jerusalem, following God's final judgment on the wicked, and … [Read more...]