This psalm was to be sung on Sabbath. It’s the only psalm in the entire canon where Sabbath is mentioned and it sums up the spirit with which Moses taught the Hebrew slaves about the need to observe a day of rest. In Deuteronomy 5, Moses links the observance of Sabbath with God’s deliverance of the Hebrews and his promise of freedom. They were to stop all work and remember a sea that had parted, a pillar of fire, rocks from which water had gushed, sweet food that fallen from heaven.Read More
In this brief three-verse passage, Jesus has just had it out with his opponents, the religious obtuse, the scholars of appearance, the powerful men who he knows will have him killed before long.
He has told them the facts, that they’re liars and murderers, and that, in his omniscience and ability to see over the sweep of history, he sees the blood on their hands and will hold them accountable.Read More comfort, freedom, loving parent
We have not finished with Simeon. As he blessed the young family he also, under the inspiration of the Spirit, added words that introduce the first ominous hint into Luke’s story. Jesus is the promised Messiah, yes, but the light of his truth introduces a foreshadowing of conflict. Mary will suffer, beyond anything we can imagine, as she watched her own dearly loved son, crucified. The blessing comes with unspeakable pain.Read More freedom, service, suffering
Do you remember the first time you got to stay at home alone for a weekend? There’s something heady about being trusted.
What is the sensation? Is it feeling the power of choice … the freedom to do whatever you want – whenever you want? In the back of your mind you know what your parents expect. They look around when they come home and give EACH OTHER a high five!Read More freedom, stewardship
In this short chapter, God again commands his prophet to attach himself to an unfaithful woman. Yet this was to be a relationship without benefits. The woman was to remain entirely chaste. Despite her adventurous history, she was to refrain from sexual relations, even with the man who brought her into his home.Read More freedom, unfaithfulness, consequences
Paul is passionate about the gospel he proclaims. He recognizes human failure, but that is background only. Against that backdrop he shows how the grace of God has been moving through people’s failures to accomplish his purposes. As Paul finished his sermon he restates the major events in the life of Jesus, and rehearses the ways that people responded to him.Read More freedom, forgiveness, invitation, good news
Read Reflect In this moving story we find four miracles of grace. First, a slave girl is set free. In the name of Jesus she is freed from demonic possession and from human economic exploitation. Thank you, Lord! Second, human beings worship God in really crummy circumstances. Luke says that around midnight, while lying on […]Read More grace, freedom, miracles
Read Reflect Sin controls everyone (v 22), and obeying religious laws, rituals or rites does not put us in right standing with God. How so? If it were possible for us as sinners, through our own efforts, to attain the perfection required by God, then law-keeping would have been a means of salvation. Then it […]Read More gift, law-keeping, salvation, freedom
Read Reflect There are many things in the Old Testament story that stand as symbols of things that would later come true. We call these symbols (persons, places, objects, or events) ‘shadows’ or ‘types’ of things to come. The story of Hagar and Sarah is a shadow/type of the two integrated topics in Galatians, that […]Read More freedom, bondage, type, symbol
Read Reflect What is the true meaning of freedom? Is it a right, the absence of constraints, or liberation from moral absolutes? For the Christian, it’s none of these. Freedom isn’t entitlement or self-indulgence. Nor is it a license to sin. Rather, it’s a sacred trust—a responsibility of the highest order. It’s doing what we […]Read More self-sufficiency, freedom, independence, chains, inter-dependence