words :: books :: ideas

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Teach One Another

"teaching...one another..." - Colossians 3:16
Like instructing, teaching should not come from ignorance, but "in all wisdom." Wise teaching stems from letting "the word of Christ dwell in you richly" (Colossians 3:16).

The verse continues "singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." As the ESV Study Bible explains, these musical components are a means of teaching one another. Doctrinally-sound lyrics are a form of teaching God's truth. Could this then translate into other arts like biblically based literature and visual arts? There are many ways through which we can teach truth.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


This morning I attended church in German. I might not be able to understand everything, but it is wonderful to participate in worshiping God in another language.

I understand just enough to know that we are praising the King of this world and that. I find such delight in having enough comprehension to be able to follow along with well-known passages from the gospels.

Like when I studied Spanish, learning German makes me think about the greatness of the God I serve. He overcomes language barriers and understands any tongue. Worshiping God is not reserved for any one language or people-group.
Ich glaube an Gott den Vater, den Allmächtigen, Schöpfer Himmels und der Erden.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. - from the Apostles' Creed

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Be Devoted to One Another

"Be devoted to one another..." - Romans 12:10 (NIV)
Being devoted to each other involves what the ESV translates as "lov[ing] one another with brotherly affection." It is faithful dedication. It is committed loyalty. It is sticking together through the colloquial "think and thin." It is loving despite hardships caused by a fellow brother.

The command to be devoted to one another comes in the midst of a passage full of descriptions of the Christian life. This is how we can please God. This is how we are to live.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Be Compassionate toward One Another

"Be...compassionate to one another..." - Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
We are to be others-focused, showing sympathy and kindness. In the ESV and NKJV, "compassionate" is translated as "tenderhearted."

Showing tenderheartedness is something we should all do. After specifically addressing wives, then husbands, Peter broadens his audience to include "all of you," saying "have...a tender heart" (1 Peter 3:8).

Acting compassionately is part of living the new life in Christ. We are to replace wrong living with righteous behavior. Our new lives are to be modeled after Christ; we are “to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). Being compassionate or tenderhearted is just one aspect of this righteousness.

Although living "after the likeness of God" was already instructed, Paul further commands the Ephesians to "be imitators of God" (Ephesians 5:1). Being compassionate toward one another is closely connected with living a life that follows the example of and imitates God.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Be Patient with One Another

"Be patient...with one another..." - Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)
We are to "walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which [we] have been called" (Ephesians 4:1). Patience is an attribute listed in the description of this manner.

In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul lists three categories of people and explains how to interact with them. "And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all" (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Patience is the key in each of these situations.

Patience is something that we are to "put on" (Colossians 3:12). It is not easy to always be patient; however, we are not alone in this. We receive help from the Spirit "in our weakness" (Romans 8:25): patience is an aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Our patience reflects our love. "Love is patient" (1 Corinthians 13:4). Part of the way in which we love one another is through being patient toward one another.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Remember, Remember

It's the fifth of November. A day to remember.

One year ago at this time I was in England. At Capernwray last year the fifth of November was a day devoted to prayer. I didn't turn on my computer. I didn't listen to my iPod. I didn't even knit. I had nothing to do but "Be still and know that [He is] God" (Psalm 46:10).

To remember not Guy Fawkes Day but a Day of Prayer, below is an excerpt from my journal.

Thursday afternoon
5 November 2009

I've hardly said anything today. Most of my words have been directed toward God in song and prayer. It's strange to be around so many people, but really not be talking with them. Instead, I'm conversing with the One who is with me at all times.

Today I was stunned once again that God Himself, the Holy Spirit would take up residence inside of me. How awe-inspiring and strange and wondrous. Apart from His grace I am unworthy. He, however, chose to make me His temple and dwelling place. May I be continually amazed by this fact and may it change the way I live my life.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Serve One Another

"...serve one another." - Galatians 5:13
Our service toward each other stems from love. It is "through love" that we serve (Galatians 5:13). The visual imagery of wearing a glove comes into my mind. Although I may touch something while wearing a glove, it is not actually my skin that touches the object. It is the fabric of the glove through which I touch that truly comes into contact with the object. Love should make up the fabric of the proverbial glove of service.

Serving also stems from freedom. Paul emphasizes the importance of how we use our freedom. Although we could easily use it for selfish purposes, Paul encourages the Galatians to seek loving service toward one another. We should follow Paul's example who said, "though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them" (1 Corinthians 9:19). Paul knows that he can be more effective if he uses his freedom to serve rather than be self-seeking.

So how can we serve? As Christians, we have received spiritual gifts; we are to use our gifts as a means of serving each other. Doing so shows that we are being "good stewards of God's varied grace" (1 Peter 4:10). Rather than basing service on our own ability, our serving comes "by the strength that God supplies" (1 Peter 4:11). God gives us the gifts to use and gives us the strength we need to use them. When we use our gifts to serve others, we glorify God, to whom "belong glory and dominion forever and ever" (1 Peter 4:11).

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Concerning Peace

Becoming more godly involves peace. As well as pursuing peace with one another, we receive it from God.

Jesus told His disciples that God would send the Holy Spirit after His own departure. Jesus also promised to leave peace with them. This is not worldly peace, but His own peace (John 14:26-27). Our peace with God comes through Jesus (Romans 5:1) and "the blood of his cross" (Colossians 1:20).

This peace is authoritative and protective. We are to "let the peace of Christ rule in [our] hearts" (Colossians 3:15). We need not be anxious "about anything," but give all our requests to God; His peace, "which surpasses all understanding, will guard [our] hearts and [our] minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).

Peace is revealed in our lives as an aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). As my favourite Psalm also states, we are to "seek peace and pursue it" (34:14).

I find it interesting that all three Persons in the Trinity are characterized as having the attribute of peace.
  • God the Father is referred to as "the God of love and peace" (2 Corinthians 13:11).
  • God the Son is titled "the Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).
  • God the Spirit gives us peace. "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).

Friday, October 29, 2010


Sometimes I am so overwhelmed with the blessings in my life that I just sit on the kitchen floor and say 'Thank You.'

'Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!' - Psalm 34:3

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Be at Peace with One Another

"...be at peace with one another." - Mark 9:50
Peace is connected to agreeing with each other (2 Corinthians 13:11).

After commanding the Thessalonian believers to respect and esteem those with authority, Paul tells them to "be at peace among yourselves" (1 Thessalonians 5:13). Where tensions could easily arise, we must be especially diligent at working toward peace.

Peace is another attribute that does not simply come; we must "pursue what makes for peace" (Romans 14:19). Recognizing the difficulty of doing so, Paul writes to the Romans, "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all" (12:18). It might be hard to attain, but we should nevertheless "strive for peace with everyone" (Hebrews 4:14).

Doing so results in closer communion with God. We are to "live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with [us]" (2 Corinthians 13:11).

Monday, October 25, 2010

Be Kind to One Another

"Be kind to one another..." - Ephesians 4:32
We are to "put away" characteristics like bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander and malice (Ephesians 4:31). Instead, we should act with kindness toward each other.

Kindness stems from remembering God's grace toward us. This attribute is one aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Our character becomes more like God's character as we develop our relationship with Him and are indwelt by His Spirit.

Behaving kindly, however, is not passive. To the contrary,Colossians 3:12 says we are to "put on...kindness." It is something that we actively have to choose to do.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nothing on Earth...

Not the Austrian Alps.
Not the Sistine Chapel.
Not the Yorkshire Dales.
Not the sculpture of Michelangelo.
Not the Scottish Lochs.
Not the Lindisfarne Gospels.
Not the islands of Greece.
Not the paintings of Monet.
Not the Pacific Ocean.

I have seen some beautiful things on this earth, but "nothing on earth is as beautiful as You."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Build Up One Another

"...build one another up..." - 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Building up is closely linked with encouraging one another. As previously written, this has to do with our hope of heaven and life in Christ. What a reminder that "whether we are awake or asleep we...live with Him" (5:10).

We are to "pursue what makes for...mutual upbuilding" (Romans 14:19). "Pursue" is an active verb that requires actually doing something. As the surrounding verses explain, we build each other up through acting selflessly and not putting hindrances in the way of a weaker Christian. In order to build up someone weaker, "let each of us please his neighbor for his good" (Romans 15:2).

Building up also relates to the use of spiritual gifts. Specifically regarding tongues, Paul writes that we should "strive to excel in building up the church" (1 Corinthians 14:12). How different would our churches look if we did exactly that?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stir Up One Another

"Stir up one another..." - Hebrews 10:24
We are to "consider" how we can stir one another up. This means to actively think about others and how to encourage and excite them (through "meeting together," in our manner of speaking to one another, etc.).

We do not aimlessly stir each other up, but do so with purpose. Intentionally, we should encourage one another toward "love and good works."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Instruct One Another

"...instruct one another." - Romans 15:14
We are to instruct one another with knowledge. This instruction should not be ignorant, but should stem from ability and competence (as translated in the ESV and NIV respectively).

It is important to pair instruction with love. Imparting knowledge without love is annoying and counts for "nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:2). Used poorly, "this 'knowledge' puffs up, but love builds up" (1 Corinthians 8:1).

Not simply instructing, but how this instructing is carried out is vital.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Be Hospitable to One Another

"Show hospitality to one another..." - 1 Peter 4:9
We are to show hospitality "without grumbling" [which is much harder to do than with complaining]. Furthermore, we should not be passive about it, but actively "seek to show hospitality" to each other (Romans 13:13).

Although "one another" may focus on other believers, the author of Hebrews states that some who have shown hospitality to strangers "have entertained angels unawares" (Hebrews 13:2). To me, that sounds pretty exciting.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Submit to One Another

"Submitting to one another..." - Ephesians 5:19
Part of wisely walking in the Spirit is submitting to one another, specifically the authorities God has placed in our lives.

The reason for doing this is "out of reverence for Christ." Honouring Christ should be the main goal of our actions, rather than just seeking the favour of others.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Speak to One Another

"Speak to one another..." - Ephesians 5:19 (NIV)
We should not simply have idle conversation, but speak together "in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs...giving thanks always and for everything to God..." (Ephesians 5:19-20).

This manner of talking results from being continually filled with the Holy Spirit. Paul contrasts this with being filled with alcohol, "which leads to debauchery" (5:18).

Our conversation should "be done for building up" (1 Corinthians 14:26). We should seek opportunities to speak to one another in a godly way.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Forgive One Another

"Forgive...one another..." - Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
In the preceding verses, Paul lists numerous sinful deeds and characteristics, saying, "in these too you once walked" (3:7). He encourages the Colossians to rid themselves of this behaviour, replacing it with godly attributes. Like us, the Colossians were sinners, saved by the grace of God.

Because of this, grace toward one another is necessary. We are to forgive each other.

Paul writes, "as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive" (3:13). Christ demonstrates forgiveness toward us; likewise, we are to forgive others.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Honour One Another

"Honor one another above yourselves." - Romans 12:10 (NIV)
We are to honor one another more than we seek to be honored. The ESV is translated, "Outdo one another in showing honor." It is like a competition; instead of "Who can do the most push ups?" it is "Who can show the most honor?" This competition, however, does not stem from rivalry or seeking the honored title of being "Most Honoring."

We are to humbly consider others "more significant" than ourselves and honor them by guarding their interests as we guard our own (Philippians 2:3-4).

As Paul writes, we are to give honor to those "to whom honor is owed" (Romans 13:7). We should not let an opportunity slip past to honor those who deserve it.

Peter goes further, commanding, "Honor everyone" (1 Peter 2:17). All men deserve respect. We should seek to treat everyone in a manner that honors them.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Comfort One Another

"...comfort one another..." - 2 Corinthians 13:11
In the midst of instructing the Corinthians to seek restoration, agreement, and peace, Paul tells the believers to comfort one another. Although we may be experiencing various struggles (even with fellow Christians), we can and should be a comfort to one another.

Just as Paul closes this letter by speaking of comforting each other, so he opened the book: it is the "God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

As you might have noticed, that is a lot of comfort. God is our source of comfort. One of the reasons He comforts us is in order to give us the ability to share that comfort with others.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Greet One Another

"Greet one another..." - Romans 16:16
Often in the closing verses of a book, Paul and others encourage their readers to "Greet one another" (1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Peter 5:14).

This is supplemented by giving "a holy kiss" or "a kiss of love." Culturally, a kiss may not be appropriate, but we can still greet one another in a holy and loving manner.

Instead of ignoring others, we should purposefully involve them in our lives through simply greeting and perhaps physically demonstrating our brotherly love and holiness.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Live in Harmony with One Another

"Live in harmony with one another..." - Romans 12:16
We are to live in harmony with one another, having a "unity of mind" (1 Peter 3:8). It is "the God of endurance and encouragement" who gives us the ability to live in this manner (Romans 15:5). With His grace as our example, we can be gracious to others.

The reason for living in harmony is so "that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 15:6). It is all about honouring God with our behaviour toward each other.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Accept One Another

"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." - Romans 15:7 (NIV)
We are to accept one another, specifically those who are weaker. This acceptance is not begrudgingly saying someone is okay, but involves joyfully receiving, seeking to please and build each other up. Like guests into our homes, the English Standard Version says we are to "welcome one another."

Christ is our example. Although it may be hard to accept some individuals, think of the greater act of God accepting and welcoming us, sinners to become His children. It is not based on our merit, but on God's abounding love that we are accepted. It is not based on their merit, but on God's abounding love that we accept others.

We are not to accept one another simply because it is something we are supposed to do; instead, we should do it "for the glory of God" (Romans 15:7, ESV). What we do reflects our beliefs about God. Our behaviour toward others either honours or dishonours God. An act of acceptance toward one another is an act of praise toward God.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Exhort One Another

"But exhort one another every day..." - Hebrews 3:13
We can help keep each other accountable by exhorting one another. Temptations to unbelief, falling away, hardness of heart, and sin come daily. Exhortations must also come daily.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Encourage One Another

We are not without hope. Christ will return. The dead will live. All believers will join Him. Forever.
"Therefore encourage one another with these words." - 1 Thessalonians 4:18
We are to encourage one another with the hope of heaven. We will live with Christ forever! What could be a more encouraging motivation than this?

We are to continually encourage one another "all the more as you see the Day [of Christ's return] drawing near" (Hebrews 10:25).

Saturday, September 25, 2010


One year ago today I embarked upon a grand adventure.

Searching for my seat, lyrics ran through my head: "I'm leaving on a jet plane; don't know when I'll be back again." The words were literal. Untold hours later, I had flown across a continent and an ocean. I was in England.

I spent the next nine months studying at Capernwray Hall Bible School, learning, building friendships, growing, traveling, and having adventures. How can I express in words all that occurred during those nine months?

Today, another group of students will have arrived at the castle, jet-lagged but excited. What a year they have ahead.

"Remember the wondrous works that He has done..." -Psalm 105:5.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Listen for Wisdom

Over the past couple of days, my readings in Proverbs have stirred me to contemplate listening to the wisdom of others.

So often, I think I know something. In pride, I don't want to lose face by asking for help or admitting that someone else is more knowledgeable in a particular area.

This habit is foolish. I need to be open to what I can learn from others.

Admitting that I have something to learn is not admitting stupidity; it is showing wisdom. Instead of showing a lack of knowledge, a desire to learn shows wisdom. Rather than remaining satisfied with a low level of competence, a willingness to receive advice shows wisdom.

Instead of acting smart, I need to listen and develop wisdom.

Friday, July 23, 2010


I want to increase my awareness of God. To live as though He is present at all times. To think about Him regardless of what I am doing. To do everything with the perspective of doing it for Him. To truly have Jesus as my centre.

I want to fill my mind, my heart, my life with Christ.

Essentially, I want to "take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Work in Progress

I want things to work right. I want them to be right on the first try. I want it to be easy. I want it to be good and happy and perfect.

But it is not.

My shelves get dusty again. My clothes get unorganised again. My desk gets cluttered again. I waste time. I get frustrated. I fail.

I want to jump to the part where happily ever after happens, but I am in the middle of the story where things are messy and sometimes unpleasant and don't go right.

This is the place where learning happens. Where character is forged. Where progress is made. It might be slow, but when I look back I see the progress. There is much more to be accomplished, but there is progress.

I am a work in progress.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


On Sunday evening, I read a play by A.A. Milne [most notably known for writing Winnie the Pooh] called Success. I keep thinking about it.

The narrative questions the meaning of success by highlighting the life of a seemingly very successful man. R. Selby Mannock has it all: an excellent career, wealth, a handsome wife, daughters who have married well, power, fame, respect, and surely a future that will bring only more success.

But then Mannock encounters a childhood friend whose life contrasts sharply with his own. This second man doesn't have all the nice things: he doesn't have riches, fame, or power; he has to work hard for a living; his only son died in the war. He lives an ordinary life.

This childhood friend, however, has something Mannock does not. He does what he truly loves. He is married to the woman he truly loves. He sacrificed for the country he truly loves. He lives with satisfaction and he lives with the hope of heavenly reunions.

So who is successful? The man who pursued it and found "it closes in on you"? (p.61). Or the man who lived a hard life, but one full of love?

I don't want to live a life in which I find myself saying, "I've thrown them away--all the lovely things of life, all the precious things. I've thrown them away--for nothing" (p.61).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

German Time

Because every time I see a clock tower, I think of my cousin.






[plus a few more]

Monday, July 12, 2010

Present, Past, and Future

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).

I generally focus on what God has already done or look forward to what He is going to do. I forget that He is working right now.

God has done something in the past. We are instructed to remember these wondrous works (Psalm 105:5).

God is going to do something in the future. Because of this we have surety and hope (Proverbs 23:18).

God is also doing something in the present. He does something new right now (Isaiah 43:19).

At all times, God is at work -- past, future, and even at this moment.

I am to live with remembrance, with hope, and with the knowledge that now matters too.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I am Sick.

Just a cold, but it is still annoyingly disruptive for the end of the term.

While sick, my focus shifts; the fact I am sick becomes the center of my attention and consumes me. It changes the way I think, respond, and act. I live differently because I am ill. People around me can see the difference and know I am sick.*

Pondering this made me think about my relationship with Jesus.

I want my life as His follower to affect me like sickness does. I want Jesus to be my focus, the center of my attention, the thing that consumes me. Christianity should change the way I think, respond, and act. I should live differently because of my relationship with Jesus. People around me should see the difference in my life and know I am a Christian.

*The perk of being sick is that I feel so well taken care of. My friends are giving me tea, fruit, vitamins, and medicine. Throughout the day, I am asked as to the state of my well-being and encouraged to get better.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sunshine and the Sea Revisited

Kintyre, Scotland

Kilbrannan Sound

Kildalloig Bay

Atop Davaar Island

Atlantic Ocean

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sunshine and the Sea

Six hours of driving (north, then west, then south) along winding roads might be worth it.

Kintyre, Scotland

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Picturing Grace

At Capernwray, half of the school attends a seminar on Friday while the other half works. The next week, they switch. I am on the team that listens to the seminar first.
Last week, however, I missed the seminar due to leaving for my outreach in the morning. I enjoy listening to the speaker, so was disappointed to miss it. Yesterday, while the other team attended the seminar, my team had work day.
I attempted to request to go to the seminar, but the rota had already been made and I was needed to help with the duties. My job would be working on some craft projects. I know I cannot skip, and honestly do not mind doing the work, but I still wanted to go to the seminar rather than attempt to listen to the recording.
On Friday morning, prepared to do my duty, I went early to talk to my supervisor. Upon briefly explaining my situation, she immediately said, “Go to the seminar!” Expressing my thankfulness, I hurried to the conference hall. All I could think was, “Thank You, Jesus!” This is an illustration of God’s grace to me. My request could easily have been rejected. There was no reason I should skip work, but my supervisor allowed it. She didn’t even want me to make up the work later. There is no reason God should forgive my sin, but He did. I cannot earn God's favour, it is freely given.
I think I enjoyed the seminar even more than I would have otherwise. Knowing I could have missed it increased my gratefulness to attend. I was glad to be there and very encouraged by it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Having to do with Weather

Creation’s revealing His majesty,” declare the lyrics of the song “Indescribable” by Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio. In concurrence, Romans 1:20 states that God’s “invisible attributes…have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made…” The last several chapters of Job depict this, enlarging my view of how the elements and creation bring glory to God and reveal the Creator’s power.
Elihu, Job’s friend, describes various aspects of the weather, using each one to point to God. He expresses rain as “his mighty downpour” (Job 37:6) and says, “By the breath of God ice is given…” (Job 37:10). The clouds and lightening “turn around and around by his guidance, to accomplish all that he commands them on the face of the habitable world” (Job 37:12). Concerning lightening, Elihu additionally proclaims, “its crashing declares his presence” (Job 36:33).
After recounting each of these weather conditions, Elihu exhorts Job to “consider the wondrous works of God” and rightly asserts that “God is clothed with awesome majesty…he is great in power” (Job 37:14, 22-23). As the Creator, God formed the elements and has dominion over them. The book of Job shows that He is immanent, directly involved with creation. Like the psalmist relates, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1).