Repenting For Nothing

Princess Tamatori retrieves a precious pearl from the Dragon King in this illustration of the medieval tale Taishokkan. (Vignette from The Great Woven Cap, Edo Period (1615-1868) Japan, Metropolitan Museum of Art.)

No one wants to be like a dragon. That is, we don’t admit – at least publicly – that a dragon is our role model. But then, did we ever stop to think how closely our most precious thoughts, desires, and dreams might resemble those of a dragon?

Job 13:15-16, 41:1-34, 42:5-6; Isaiah 14:12-15, 27:1; 53:1-12; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Philippians 2:1-11; Hebrews 5:8-8; Revelation 12:1-17

Click here to listen to the podcast: Repenting For Nothing

Click here to download the transcript: Repenting For Nothing.pdf

Music: “Finlandia,” Jean Sibelius, Sir Adrian Boult and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Jean Sibelius: Symphonies No. 5, 6, & 7 Tone Poems, IndieBlu Music 2003.

The Echo of Eternity

BFB210627 Eddie Balchowsky v1
Eddie Balchowsky in 1937 as a volunteer of the Spanish Republic’s Abraham Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. (Photo via The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives.)

Bad things happen even to good people, and good things happen even to bad people. It’s futile to try to figure this out, but the struggle of life is hardly futile in the greater context of eternity.

Ecclesiastes 1:12-18, 3:11-14, 12:1; Isaiah 53:4-6; Hebrews 5:7-10

Click here to listen to the podcast: The Echo of Eternity

Click here to download the transcript: The Echo of Eternity.pdf

Music: “He Went to Paris,” Jimmy Buffet, Boats, Beaches, Bars & Ballads, MCA Records 1992. Listen to the song at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwaqJOsm9Lk.

A Man of Righteous Sorrow

DSC_0034
Football: a Southern rite of passage. This photo by David Clow is from the game between Kent Island and North Carolina high schools in Stevensville, Maryland, on November 14, 2009. (Photo via Flickr.com).

Why do bad things happen to good people? Maybe it’s because they are far better able to handle adversity than those whose connection to the Creator is tenuous. Maybe the righteous suffer not only because they can endure trials, but because their Redeemer wants to refine them for something eternal.

Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Matthew 25:14-30; Hebrews 12:4-11

Click here to listen to the podcast: A Man of Righteous Sorrow

Music: “I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow,” Carter Stanley, performed by The Soggy Bottom Boys, O Brother Where Art Thou, Sony BMG, 2000″.

Justice the Right Way

Sculpture of King Arthur at Tintagel, Cornwall, England. (MonikaP (pixabay.com)). Music: “Save the People,” by Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell (Original Off-Broadway Cast Recording), Masterworks Broadway, Arista Records, Inc. (P) 1997.

It’s not enough to seek justice, and it’s not enough to seek righteousness. We have to seek both, and do so in a spirit of compassion and mercy. But is that just a government thing, or is it something we can do in our daily lives?

Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9; Isaiah 51:12-53:12; Matthew 25:20-25; Luke 18:1-8; Philippians 2:5-11

Click here to listen to the podcast:

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-72ksg-e83636

The Most Interesting Thing I Have Learned This Month

Abraham and Isaac Anthony van Dyck
Abraham and Isaac
Anthony van Dyck

Having walked this path of faith for several decades, I have come to understand that the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob does not require His people to do anything that He Himself is not prepared to demonstrate by example.  In other words, whatever requirements He places on us in the form of commandments will have some corresponding requirement He has placed on Himself.  For example, in the famous Akedah, the Binding of Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19), YHVH calls on Abraham to take his only son Isaac and offer him as a sacrifice.  Abraham obeys, and on the way to the place Isaac asks him where the lamb for the burnt offering is.  Abraham answers, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering” (Genesis 22:8).  Many centuries later, we find that Messiah Yeshua fulfills that role of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29-36, Revelation 5:1-14), just as prophesied in Isaiah 53.  The holy example is that God Himself gave the His very own Son, withholding nothing to redeem mankind, and therefore demonstrating that those who choose to follow Him must hold nothing back in their obedience to His will.

If this principle of “heavenly reciprocity” is true, then there should be some equivalent to the Lord’s requirement of His people to love Him and love one another.  Yeshua identified these as the two greatest commandments, and the authorities who questioned Him had no disagreement on that point:

Please click here to continue reading