We search out people who tell us what we want to hear. Those who tell us otherwise we avoid, ignore, or despise.

The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man through whom we can seek the LORD’s will. But I despise him because he does not prophesy prosperity for me, but disaster. His name is Micaiah son of Imlah. Jehoshaphat said, “The king should not say such things.” 1 Kings 22.8 NET Continue reading

When Christ’s word doesn’t agree with our idea, we immediately conclude that it must mean something else. After all, our idea is right!

But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.”
Matthew 15:15 NET

In chapter 13 Jesus explained everything to the crowds by parables, without which he taught nothing. Now, the Lord makes a clear and direct statement. Peter, however, doesn’t understand it, because it contradicts everything that he has learned. He thinks that, if it disagrees with his opinion, it must then be a parable, with a meaning besides the obvious.

This is why he asks the Lord to explain the “parable,” when it is no such thing.

We do the same. When Christ’s word doesn’t fit our theology, it then must be a figure of speech, or limited to that age, or an insertion by later disciples and therefore not genuine.

Anything besides a word that contradicts us!

FaithfulnessIt’s not uncommon in some sport or race for the favorite to lose the competition. The one that everyone thought would arrive first, for some reason fails to live up to the expectations. So it was with Israel. The people had so many advantages, but in the end wound up outside the kingdom of God.

To them belong the patriarchs, and from them, by human descent, came the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever! Amen.
Romans 9:5 NET Continue reading

words of great effectWe underestimate the power and effect of words today. Hypocrisy and inconsistency have become the chupa-cabra, the blood-suckers of words. Skeptics say that it’s easy to speak words, but the challenge is in the doing. Nor are they completely wrong, but still it is not so easy to speak well and to effect great results through our words.

I have told you all these things so that you will not fall away.
John 16:1 NET

Jesus speaks words that preserve the hearer, that keep us from losing our faith. His divine and inspired words transform the soul and secure God’s purpose in the heart.

When we use his words, when his truths become ours, our words also acquire the power of great effect for good, to conduct people to eternity. Continue reading

Before this poem would work, I had to change both the rhyme scheme and the meter. I’ve been working on it all day, off and on (on my day off), and here it finally is, at day’s end. The rhyme scheme is my own as far as my limited knowledge goes), chiastic: A-B-C-B-C-B-A; the meter, the old standard iambic pentameter.

by J. Randal Matheny © 2011

God spoke for light and showed his narrow way;
The Spirit’s prophets wrote the Testament pair,
For sin’s restraint, to set the bound man free.
The living word of God has power to spare,
To raise the dead or judge the Pharisee:
The cutting sword lays heart and marrow bare,
The Book will judge us in the final day.

So I said it works, at least, it does for me. Maybe you don’t think so? Chime in below, share it around.

These poems and other goodies are still going to the UPLift email list.

You’ll note an allusion to Genesis 1:3, to creation, in the first line; to 2 Peter 1:20-21 in the second; to Hebrews 4:12 in the third and fifth; to John 12:48 in the last.