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Professor Joseph Lau

Questions to Ponder

“How are the dead raised up?

And with what body do they come?”

(1 Corinthians 15:35)

The above text presents us with two special questions to ponder this Easter season.

Let’s examine the second first: “And with what body do they come?”

If you are like me, every year brings with it evidence of bodily deterioration: reading glasses signify failing eyesight; recuperation time lengthens after vigorous activity or illness; joints ache for no apparent reason.

And if there is anything certain in this life, it is that aches and pains will continue to get worse!Read More »Questions to Ponder

Did Not Our Hearts Burn Within Us?

How many of us recognize the words of the title?.

I have often wondered what it must have been like for those who heard Jesus preach directly to them. Their hearts must have burned within them as the Holy Spirit used the Savior’s own words to create and sustain faith.

As the risen Savior joined them on a walk to Emmaus, Cleopas and a friend had this amazing opportunity. Jesus asked them what made them sad. They told Him that “He who was to redeem Israel” had been crucified.Read More »Did Not Our Hearts Burn Within Us?

Word Associations

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

If we were to play a word association game using the word education, what thoughts would first come to our minds?

Those who live in Wisconsin as I do, would no doubt have fresh memories involving a year of turmoil in our public school system. Words such as tenure, benefits, contracts, standards, recall, and vouchers have been bandied about.

But the problems don’t stop there. Along with challenging political issues come a myriad of social concerns. Words such as bullying, sexting, broken families, drug abuse, metal detectors, gay-straight alliances, early childhood sex ed, have also… and unfortunately… become commonplace when discussing the education of our youth.

What about Christian education? Is it immune to the political and social problems of society at large? … in our Christian homes children are besieged by the devil, the sinful world,and their fleshly desires (as are their parents and teachers).

What about Christian education? Is it immune to the political and social problems of society at large? Of course not. Both in parochial schools and in our Christian homes children are besieged by the devil, the sinful world, and their fleshly desires (as are their parents and teachers).Read More »Word Associations

The Means of Grace

During the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century an insidious philosophy – namely, rationalism — spread throughout Europe and America. Rationalism’s proponents asserted that human reason, unaided by divine revelation, is the sole guide to all attainable religious truth.

Means of GraceHuman reason became the new god. The idea put forth was that if the human brain could not figure something out, it could not be true.

People began to turn away from the “other-worldly” focus of the Middle Ages toward the more worldly focus so prevalent in our day.

The Bible, however, speaks of a whole different concept of attaining truth.

The “carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7). Without God’s Spirit, people walk in darkness, unable to find truth. “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Read More »The Means of Grace

On the 12th Day of Christmas…

The twelfth day of Christmas is January 5th,

the last day of the traditional Christmas season. It serves to usher in the next church season — that of Epiphany. Historically, Epiphany was much more widely celebrated in Christian churches than was Christmas.

Epiphany is not a word used in the Bible, but it does convey a  Biblical concept. Epiphany (from the Greek word epiphaneia) means “manifestation” — or a “showing forth.”

This season of the church year varies in length but lasts until the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.

During the Epiphany season Christian churches often communicate three events in Christ’s life in particular: the visit of the Magi, His baptism, and His first miracle at the wedding of Cana.

The Magi Visit

In what way was the visit of the Magi an epiphany?

The Magi were “wise men” belonging to a priestly sect from the East. Contrary to what is often depicted, they were not present at Jesus’ birth. Rather, they followed a star to Jesus’ house and there knelt down to worship the “young Child” and presented Him with precious gifts from their homeland.Read More »On the 12th Day of Christmas…

Thanks, But No Thanks

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” — Psalm 100:4-5

I invite you to consider with me two common expressions with the word “thanks” in them, and to apply them to spiritual matters.

The first is “Thanks, but no thanks.”

This expression is used in our society as a polite way of acknowledging the generous offer of someone but then for whatever reason declining the offer. Perhaps we don’t want the contents of the offer or we may think that the offer is too much and we are undeserving of it.

During this month our country as well as many others set aside a specific day to remember to give thanks for what we have been given.

Thanksgiving was declared a holiday by our government in 1863 during the Civil War, and a fixed day—the fourth Thursday in November–was set by Congress in 1942 during World War II.

Surely there is nothing wrong with a day devoted to giving thanks, although for a Christian it is appropriate to do so every day. And certainly there are many reasons for Americans to be thankful–food, shelter, family, freedom, and so on.

But this holiday, like many others, would be empty without the main reason for giving thanks to God. That reason is Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32)

Unfortunately, many people are blind to this true reason for giving thanks. Perhaps they don’t want what Jesus has to offer. Perhaps they feel the offer of forgiveness of sins is too much and they are undeserving. For them it is “Thanks, but no thanks.”Read More »Thanks, But No Thanks