At the end of Mark 4, Jesus commands his disciples to make a small boat ready to depart and pass over the Sea of Galilee. His intention is recoup and get rest after spending an entire day ministering and teaching the crowds. Their boat, though, is caught in a violent storm, one that threatens to doom the heavenly kingdom which has only recently been inaugurated. But this storm was no accident; it was all part of God’s plans for his followers.
The Book of Ecclesiastes is, in my estimation, one of the more crucial books of the Bible with which to reckon. A right understanding of Solomon’s soul-searching invites one to embark upon their own such incisive quests. It does not call us to escape our broken world, but rather, to engage it — to enter into all the discomfort, discombobulation, and disaster of this fractured life and there tender grace.
In Ephesians 5, the apostle Paul continues his discourse directed to the Ephesian church in which he is describe what their spiritual walk, empowered by grace, should look like. He shifts the conversation of the letter from the Christian’s position to the Christian’s practice. After spending the majority of the early part of the letter expounding the boundless nature of God’s love, Paul begins to speak to their walk as God’s children. Without forgetting this love, then, how does God’s love inform our walk?
Mark 8 is, perhaps, the lynchpin chapter of Mark’s Gospel account. In it, we have the apostle Peter’s confession of The Christ. But it also records for us one of the strangest miracles written down in Scripture. As Jesus heals the blind man from Bethsaida, he was making a specific and significant point to his apostles (and us). Through it, he was revealing who he is and who he is for.
What happens when God says no? What’s your reaction to God’s denial? Do you throw a tantrum like a child? Or do you take it in stride trusting in his sovereignty? Your reaction to God’s negative replies reveals what you’re relying on and trusting in for your success, for you life. And learning from David’s response in 1 Chronicles 17, we are made to be encouraged, even when God says no.
The churchgoers that populate the pews every Sunday each come with their own backstory. For good or ill, they’ve been drawn to church. But notwithstanding their circumstances, God’s gospel perfectly speaks to them in their need. Whether you’re running from God in rebellion or trying to win God’s favor with your religion, his grace is for you.
To be quite frank, from a human perspective, there are portions of Scripture that can be difficult to read. Sometimes it’s hard to get through them; and they become a slog. I’m referring mostly to the genealogies that pepper the Old Testament and preface the New. These listings of “who begat who” are, at first, a chore to read. But when you are made to realize that these genealogies are made to point you to Jesus, they taken on an entirely new meaning.
The tragedies of life are the parts that remain the most perplexing. It is difficult to understand why a particularly traumatic season is allowed to endure. Sadly, some that have tried to explain these situations and reason away the pain and adversity have done more harm than good to those who are truly hurting. Thus, a fresh look at the apostle Paul’s discussion of suffering in Romans 8.