Jesus spoke in parables, and often the greater lesson in these can be difficult to understand. What lessons are there in this story from Luke 15:11-32? Watch this short video to get you started with your own study.
Marriage was established and blessed by God in the Garden of Eden and the scriptures give man free choice regarding the decision to marry. The Apostle Paul, who was unmarried, encouraged Christians to consider doing the same. "I wish that all people were as I am." He reasoned that an unmarried person is able to devote 100 percent of his time and opportunities to serving the Lord. How do you know which one to choose?
Mercy or justice? We want people we think are "bad" to be punished and people we think are "good" to receive mercy (and normally that includes ourselves!). Too often our judgments are based on emotions. Is God both merciful and just, even though everyone around us suffers and dies?
“The best things in life are free.” That certainly can be true, but as always there is more to the story. Take love - the love that is between a husband and a wife as a for instance. While this love certainly should be free – freely given and freely received, it does have a maintenance schedule attached to it. Funny thing is, we never hear much about love’s maintenance schedule as it can be difficult, demanding and even daunting. The good news is that if we stick with the schedule, the results will literally last a lifetime and the love that we were freely given will have become a most valuable admired and cherished part of our lives! So, how do we get there? How do we learn what to do and how to do it so our love will last a lifetime?
Defining God is a monumental task. The measure of its difficulty is such that very few will ever follow through with it, for the world is overrun with contradictory myths, stories and legends about the nature and purposes of God. So many stories, so little truth! Defining God requires us to look into things beyond our natural sight. It requires us to grab hold of things beyond our physical reach, and it requires us to believe in things that are beyond our earthly capacity. To know who God is means we would know His character, His mind and what drives Him. Can we know these things? Can we know God’s heart and mind? Can we know God’s plans and purposes? Will knowing God help us to better know ourselves?
We live in a time of great contradiction. There are voices that shout, rant and insist for all in our society to embrace and accept everyone no matter what their choices in life are and no matter what their actions in life may be. Their message in many ways is framed as one of love – love for those who are opposite, love for those who are different. Then there are those like myself who say that while I am willing to accept and love people regardless of their choices, I will not embrace anything I believe is not moral or righteous. I will love the person but not the action. For this I have been called a "hater" by those who preach that you should embrace those who are different than you. Jesus told us to love our enemies, but what exactly does that mean? Am I not loving enough? Do I need to change?
Long relationships mean a lot of "ordinary" can creep in, and some think ordinary is boring and humdrum. Sometimes we take key relationships, like that with our spouse, for granted. These biblical principles helps ground us so we can realistically honor God and our spouses.
God is love! We as Christians love to bask in the magnitude of that statement as it gives us comfort and confidence that our faith is in a Being that possesses understanding, compassion and wisdom. God is love – that statement just makes us feel good! So was that the reason John wrote it - to make us feel good? Or did he write it to help us not only unlock the depths of God’s character but to also unlock the potential depths of our own characters? Stay with us! This is love as you have never seen it before!
Anger and rage – these are two emotions that are all too familiar in our present day. How often do we hear of random acts of violence? Think about what that means – it is something done that causes hurt to others who just happen to be in the way. Where does all of this anger come from? How can we better control our anger? Can anger ever be a good thing?
Homosexuality and the Bible are hotly debated, usually surrounding specific texts that are interpreted in the favor of each side. What is correct? What are our responsibilities if we are gay or straight? Is homosexuality the sin of all sins? (The answer is no...)