Thursday, May 31, 2012


This is a guest article by a friend of mine: Ian Terry. Ian is an evangelist from the churches of Christ in Houston, Texas. He teaches on how to effectively share the gospel to people of other faiths. His website is:

When I lived in New Zealand there was a huge slaughterhouse located just outside the city of Wellington. Great herds of cattle and flocks of sheep were processed daily for the export market. You could see these animals waiting quietly but nervously for their turn on the killing chain.

As the animals were slaughtered their blood was hosed down channels that carried it out to a stream which flowed past the meat-works and on into the sea. It was a river of blood, and there was a spreading crimson stain at the place where the river ran into the ocean.

In the Old Testament, God required that animals be sacrificed as offerings for sin. Even though countless cattle, sheep, and goats must have been slaughtered throughout that period, the Bible teaches that no actual sin was forgiven (Hebrews 10:4). The purpose of the sacrificial system was to render a provisional forgiveness until the real price was paid by Jesus on the cross (Romans 3:25, Hebrews 9:15, 10:3).

Since it is, “...impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4), if every clean animal that has ever existed was sacrificed, the price would still not be enough to procure the forgiveness of a single sin!

In fact, if every human being who ever lived was sacrificed, even that price would not be enough to purchase the salvation of one soul (Psalm 49:7-8).

The magnitude of the sacrifice required to redeem the souls of men is so great that only God Himself has sufficient holiness and merit to pay such a price. And this He has done through the infinite value of the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross (Hebrews 9:11-14).

The Bible says that Jesus is the one who, “...loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood...” (Revelation 1:5).

God cares for the souls of men. He was willing to pay the ultimate price to redeem them. Do we care enough to do what we can to minister that salvation to the lost souls of our community?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Breath of Life

In the book of Genesis we read of the creation of the universe and mankind. It is clear that the creation of mankind is the most wonderful creation of God, and it is because man was created in the image of God. Let us now look closely at the way God created the first man - Adam.

Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7, New American Standard Bible)

So God breathed life into the man and the man became a living being or, according to the King James Version, a living soul. It is also interesting to note that this 'breathing method' - the breathing to impart life or soul - is practiced by God alone in the Old Testament. This 'breath of life' is what keeps every human being alive as David rightfully asserted in Psalm 39 (v. 5,11).

In the New Testament the 'breathing method' makes a comeback, but this breathing is used to impart an entirely new form of life - not the physical life describe in the creation account but the spiritual life of which Jesus speaks in John 3.

After His resurrection, the Lord paid a visit to His disciples.

So Jesus said to them again, “ Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:21-22, New American Standard Bible)

The Lord breathed the Holy Spirit into His disciples and with the second Adam - Jesus - began a new creation and a new life. This second breath - Holy Spirit - extended into more men and women on the day of the Pentecost when about three thousand people were baptized into the church of Christ (Acts 2). This new life that was imparted into mankind would forever change the relationship between mankind and its Creator.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. (John 1:1-4, New American Standard Bible)

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Dove

In the book of Genesis we are told of the story of Noah and the flood. During Noah's time the world was filled with wickedness. Evil had consumed the world so much that God decided to drown all of mankind in a flood that would last a hundred and fifty days. God revealed to Noah that only his family would be spared, and so He gave Noah the tasks of building an ark and gathering a pair of each species of animals for the continuation of life.

After forty days of being trapped inside the ark, Noah did a curious thing to check if the waters had receded outside.

After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him. (Genesis 8:6-12 NIV)

One of the most popular symbols of world peace is a dove. Noah first sent out a raven and the bird kept flying around rather than report back to Noah! I remember having a good laugh with my Muslim friends about the raven's shrewdness. The dove, on the other hand, kept coming back until finally it disappeared. Where did it go?

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22 NIV)

Isn't it ironic that the Holy Spirit descended upon our Lord in the likeness of a dove? Peace itself would not become subject to man. Man often tries to send a dove of peace to his adversaries and in the process man tries to glorify himself. It is Jesus who is the real Prince of peace, without Him there can be no peace.

Theologians and historians may laugh at this explanation of why Jesus is the Prince of peace, but our God often catches the eye of the poet in our midst.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Focus on Jesus

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:41-52, NIV)

The gospel of Luke never ceases to thrill or amaze me. This book, written by a Gentile-Christian, narrates the only account of the child Jesus. The account is that of Jesus and His parents' visit to the temple in Jerusalem. On the return trip from Jerusalem, Jesus' parents lose track of Him and that itself is an incident to ponder upon. Joseph and Mary knew that their child, born out of the miraculous conception of the Holy Spirit, was the Son of God. They knew that Jesus was the Messiah and the Salvation of God, and yet they lost track of Him! Note that they were only fulfilling the ordinances of God. Do we lose track of the Lord at times in our lives, especially when we follow God's commands? Food for thought!

Vance Havner once wrote, “Jesus’ parents lost Jesus at church, and they were not the last ones to do so.”