Learning from the Master

“Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1 Years ago I was privileged to develop a relationship with a veteran preacher and Bible scholar who later became a mentor to me in many ways. We first met while serving together on a Bible college faculty. Some years later, when he was serving on a local church board, he contacted me to inquire whether I would consider becoming the church’s pastor, which I later did. When it came to preaching on the major themes of Scripture, there was no one I enjoyed listening to more than S. I. Emery (1895-1977). He would … Continue reading “Learning from the Master”

The Generosity of God

“’Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.” Matthew 20:15-16 We should neither question nor be surprised at our Lord’s generosity toward undeserving mankind. We “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). None of our righteous deeds or good works can ever merit God’s salvation: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, … Continue reading “The Generosity of God”

“The Lord is Our Righteousness” (Parts 1 & 2)

“And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’” Jeremiah 23:6 We are either trusting in our own righteousness or the Lord’s. If we trust in our righteousness, we become legalistic, arrogant, hard, and disdain those we perceive less righteous than ourselves. The typical Pharisee in Jesus’ day was the embodiment of self-righteousness. These men were socially aloof and detestably smug. In their presence the common man felt uncomfortable and unwelcome. They were without mercy and showed little compassion. They were men of the letter; they were devoid of the Spirit. There was a … Continue reading ““The Lord is Our Righteousness” (Parts 1 & 2)”


In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  – Genesis 1:1 The one and only true God is alone capable of creating, for only God can bring something into being that had no prior reality; he is the God who “calls into existence the things that do not exist” (Rom. 4:17). God spoke the “heavens and the earth” into being. We believe this because we believe the inspired written record; it is a matter of faith; it is a matter of taking God at his word: “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of … Continue reading “Beginnings”


“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 God has called his people to steadfast faithfulness. He has marked out a course for each of us to run, and we can either run the course faithfully to the finish, or we can fail and even drop out. Life can be hard, but God is good. As he was sitting in the open-air one dreadful day in a Russian gulag, Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) felt despair and gloom settling over him. … Continue reading “Steadfastness”

Kingdom Identifiers

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17 Several years ago, the brakes on my wife Emily’s vehicle began making an abnormal sound. The company’s laboratory in Texas discovered the local mechanic had added transmission fluid to the brake system instead of brake fluid; they could make such a determination because their fluids contained special “identifiers.” The Apostle Paul wrote about kingdom “identifiers” which mark the people of God. There were those in the Roman Church who had been exulting in their personal dietary regulations … Continue reading “Kingdom Identifiers”