“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).
Ours is a culture that interprets freedom as the right to whatever one wants to the exclusion of responsibility and obligation. Thus, substantive moral, social, and political issues such as abortion or euthanasia are decided by the argument of individual rights with no consideration given to the greater good of those who must live together in community. We are enamored with personal rights and self-fulfillment. Freedom, moral or political, was never intended as license to do as we please, but a responsibility to act for a greater good.
“So Peter, seeing him (John) said to Jesus, ‘Lord, and what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!’” (John 21:21-22).
Instead of worrying about his own faithful discipleship, Peter is concerning himself with the fate of John. Given his track record, it seems Peter would give greater attention to his own ability to follow Jesus and how to obediently pursue that calling. Our faithful following of the Lord should never be determined by what others are doing or not doing. If our desire is to pursue in earnest the path that the Lord has set before us, then our plate is full and there is no time for the distractions of pettiness.
“If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6).
The work of grace that God’s salvation is accomplishing in our lives determines not only our eternal destiny, but it converts and transforms us here and now. Ours is not a salvation of works, but it is a salvation that works itself out. That is, it will manifest itself and bear the fruit of a life that has been born-again by the Spirit. To live in relationship with God is to have his light illuminating before us the path by which we should walk. He will never accommodate a lifestyle or a practice that his word has deemed sin. Don’t be deceived by the dark.
“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).
John’s spectrum of understanding in regard to the nature of God is extensive but not comprehensive. Elsewhere, he would declare “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8), and also, that “God is Spirit” (John 4:24). That God is light illumines our minds to an ever expanding awareness of who God is, and that no one descriptive term of who he is adequate to capture him fully. Thus, as we continue in the pursuit of living in relationship with him, and as we abide in him through the seasons of life, like John, we come to see him in ways that are new and fresh.
“For who has despised the day of small things” (Zechariah 4:10).
It’s the little things we do today that fulfill the hopes of tomorrow. The annals of God’s people are filled with the biographies of those who acted faithfully in the littlest of things and came to be counted as the greatest of saints. God’s kingdom work is not done by those who prayerfully daydream of some great task that awaits them on the horizon, but rather, it is those who are awakened to the opportunities before them and act obediently.
“Then the people rejoiced because they made their offering to the Lord with a whole heart, and King David also rejoiced greatly” (1 Chronicles 29:9).
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and now, Giving Tuesday. Just as I would offer a warning against the appeals of consumer spending, my counsel is no less cautionary when it comes to philanthropic pursuits. As the body of Christ, we are called to be intentional in the total stewardship of our lives; our contributions not withstanding. Thus, while many good causes abound, we recognize that the work of greatest benefit to this world is being accomplished by Christ and his church. Unlike secular charities, the church does not have multiple revenue streams to whom she can appeal for program support; she has only the people of God…you, and me. Our giving isn’t a “Tuesday thing”. It’s an everyday thing. It’s the life we live, and the life we give, resulting from a transformed heart.
First Lubbock Giving – http://www.firstlubbock.org/give.html
“Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons” (Deuteronomy 4:9).
The ability to remember is a powerful emotion and helpful resource when utilized not for the purpose of recovering the past, but rather, as a motivation for pressing forward into a future God is preparing. Did not an entire generation of forgetful, complaining, lamenting, disobedient Hebrews die in the wilderness before the next generation could experience the future God had in store for his people in the land of promise? It is the diligent recall of God’s faithful provision in days past that prepares us to fearlessly face the days ahead. This is the heritage we are to pass on to the generations following.