Sep 24, 2014

Why Should We Avoid Drunkenness? Part 2

Ephesians 5:18
In yesterday’s reflection , we began to consider why we should avoid drunkenness. Ephesians 5:18 answers this question by pointing to one result of inebriation, namely, debauchery, or “vicious indulgence in sensual pleasures.” The Apostle Paul had no doubt witnessed the causal link between drunkenness and debauchery. Alcohol abuse was...Read more +
Sep 23, 2014

Why Should We Avoid Drunkenness? Part 1

Ephesians 5:18
Ephesians 5:18 states clearly, “Do not get drunk on wine.” Of course, this verse does not imply that it’s fine to get drunk on other alcoholic beverages. In the first century A.D., wine was the predominant alcoholic beverage. In today’s world, with all kinds of wineries, breweries, and distilleries, we...Read more +
Sep 22, 2014

Should Christians Drink, Smoke, or Chew or...

Ephesians 5:18
Growing up in a conservative Christian church, I sometimes heard the ditty, “I don’t drink, smoke, or chew, or go with girls who do.” This was usually said humorously, but the underlying message was one we took seriously. There were certain sins of the flesh good Christians should avoid as...Read more +
Sep 21, 2014


Romans 15:4
"Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble." 1 Peter 3:8 My father was what you would call a self-taught man. He left formal schooling ‘round about seventh grade. He was born into oppressive poverty of the physical, emotional, and spiritual nature, but...Read more +
Sep 20, 2014

What Does the Bible Say About Performance...

Proverbs 27:17
My wife and I have had the same stainless steel kitchen knives since we got married in 1995. When the blades grow dull, I enjoy grabbing the sharpening steel and scraping metal against metal until everything is nice and sharp again. The sound makes my son crazy. “Like fingernails on...Read more +
Sep 19, 2014

How Does God Lift Up the Poor and Needy?

Psalm 113:1-9
Psalm 113 celebrates the greatness of God. It calls us to praise the Lord because he is “high above the nations” (113:4). Yet, though he is “enthroned on high,” God “stoops to look down on heaven and on earth” (113:6). He not only looks, but also acts: “He lifts the...Read more +
Sep 18, 2014

How Can I Know God’s Will for My Life?

Ephesians 5:17
As a pastor, I have often been asked, “How can I know God’s will for my life?” This question was presented to me dozens of times when I was a parish pastor. I still hear it from my “flock,” often in the form of emails from folks who receive these...Read more +
Sep 17, 2014

Don’t Be Foolish!

Ephesians 5:17
When I read Ephesians 5:17, I hear echoes from my past. “Mark, don’t be foolish,” my mom would say. Or, perhaps she’d declare: “Mark, use your head.” I’d hear these exhortations when I was tempted to do something silly, to do something I knew I shouldn’t do. Perhaps I was...Read more +
Sep 16, 2014

The Time That Is Given to Us

Ephesians 5:15-16
I cannot leave Ephesians 5:15-16 without sharing a bit of Gandalfian wisdom (or, if you prefer, wisdom from J. R. R. Tolkien, spoken by his character, Gandalf). It comes early in The Lord of the Rings series (though somewhat later in the movie). Gandalf, the wise wizard, was visiting the...Read more +
Sep 15, 2014

Ransoming Time

Ephesians 5:15-16
In last Thursday’s reflection , we investigated the meaning of the phrase “the days are evil” in Ephesians 5:16. We saw that it’s not so much that literal spans of time are evil as that they are in the clutches of evil. The days in which we live are dominated...Read more +