What “normal” person stakes all their hope on a dying and rising Messiah? Following Jesus means saying “no” to many of the things the world loves and considers normal. It often means offending others for the sake of obeying Jesus.
Worship is not something confined to the Lord’s Day or to a building. Though gathered worship provides a venue for us to center on God corporately as His church, God should be at the center of our lives continually.
One of the most remarkable characteristics of the Bible has to do with prophecies about the future. Have you ever taken time to examine some of the things that were prophesied in the Old Testament and then fulfilled hundreds of years later?
Everyone does it. We live to possess and experience the things on which we’ve set our hearts. We’re always living for some kind of treasure. And every treasure you set your heart on and actively seek will give you some kind of return.
It’s here in the U.S., in the Western world more generally, where so much less is at stake that we offer up such pathetic reasons (at least I suspect God considers them pathetic) for not joining together with fellow believers on a regular, weekly basis. And almost all of the excuses are anthropocentric rather than Christocentric.
When ancient authors put quill to papyrus (or parchment), we need to remember that they had a limited amount of space, a limited amount of time, a limited number of goals, and often a very specific purpose for which they wrote.
If Scripture teaches that we have both a brain and a mind (or inner man), then categorizing depression solely as a dysfunction of the brain and turning to medicine first will unavoidably impede the important heart-work that God-ordained suffering is meant to produce.
What I mean by “not to be blessed” is not blessed in the way we think we should be. Or the way we want to be. God is so wise that sometimes he withholds blessings from us because he knows we couldn’t handle them.
Students of Bible prophecy have generally overlooked an important tool for understanding this chapter; mainly, the archaeologist’s spade. Archaeology has a direct bearing on this passage from two different angles.