Archive for February, 2011
“The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling place, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest” (Isaiah 32: 17-18).
Each of us chooses our dwelling place. By the hundreds of choices and decisions that are made each day, we are building a structure, a framework, a house, a paradigm, or context in which we will live our lives. If our choices are a reflection of our commitment to Christ and the teachings of His Word, our dwelling place will be firmly established, giving us peace and confidence as the storms and trials of life come against us.
Choose well! Build well! Live well!
“Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will have received what he has promised” (Hebrew 10:35-36).
If the truth is told, everyone, at different times in their faith journey, has questioned the injustice of seeking to do everything right only to see everything go wrong. Maybe you have wondered if the life of faith is worth it. The more important question to be considered when confronted by the perplexing inequities of life is, once you have thrown your faith away, what do you put in its place? There simply is no adequate substitute. Though our confidence may be broken in times of hurt and disappointment, it is a confidence being restored and fulfilled time and time again as we persevere, with the anticipation of what He promised we will receive.
Hang in there!
“Forget the former things; do not dwell in the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-19).
Dwelling on the past–the failures and the successes–is emotionally and mentally draining, and an utter waste of time because it cannot be recovered or redone. The greater tragedy, however, of being preoccupied with the past is that it causes you to miss what God is seeking to accomplish today. The view of faith is always a forward look; an optimism that, even in the dry, parched seasons of life, looks on the horizon ahead for the streams of hope that bring refreshment to our soul and a renewal of our strength.
“When they had arrived and gathered the church together, they began to report all things that God had done with them and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27).
Have you ever noticed how the media and news outlets are filled with negativity? Only the worst of humanity seems to be showcased and headlined. A constant inundation of this can skew one’s perspective on life. That’s why a major part of a believer’s life is the rhythm of faithful church attendance. It’s in church, gathered with other followers of Christ, that we hear and celebrate the faithfulness of God in history and in our lives. Sometimes we need a reminder of all the things that God has done and is doing.
See you in church!
“Because Jesus himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).
Just as there is a power the Tempter uses to lead us down destructive paths, there is a power the Savior uses to deliver us from the temptations set before us. We can never blame the devil—“The devil made me do it.” We have only ourselves to blame when we concede to temptation. Just as the forces of evil are faithful in providing you the means of fulfilling your temptation when you choose to act upon it—which then becomes sin—our Savior is faithful to provide the power to walk away from your temptation when you choose to do so. The choice is always yours.
“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11).
The most prayerful need for the devoted follower of Jesus isn’t the knowledge of his will, but that his will might be accomplished in our lives. For too long, many have led us to embrace the notion that the will of God is some sort of mystical conundrum; veiled secret; revealed only after much agonizing prayer, weeping, and gnashing of teeth. While this seems to offer the appearance of being more “spiritual” it simply does not fit the nature and character of our Father in Heaven. As a father, with all my imperfections, my children have never been left to speculate regarding my desires for them. While my will for them was always clearly understood during their formative years, the greater challenge was whether they would obediently accomplish these aspirations.
If we are honest, we must confess that the will of God is clearly understood. At the heart of the matter is whether or not we will make the choices and decisions each to see His purposes accomplished in our lives. He has not left us ignorant. He has given us His Word, both in the flesh and in inspired textual form.
Begin your day’s journey with the knowledge that the path is clearly marked before you.
“I will listen to what God the Lord will say, he promises peace to his people, his saints” (Psalm 85:8).
The bombardment of competing voices that daily vie for our attention can bring great angst, anxiety, and stress. Perhaps this is why I find such meaning in this verse. In the midst of all the “noise” that each day brings, when my ears are attuned to voice of God, I find peace and rest.
I know your room, your office, your classroom is filled with noise, but listen. Listen! Listen! Shhhhhhhhh…..Did you hear that?
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Ephesians 3:16).
Plodding along each day in a world that bombards us with the negatives and impossibilities, you and I have something that the average “plodder” does not. Because we abide in Christ and Him in us, we have the assurance of God’s Spirit dwelling in us. Our plodding is with a purpose—to glorify the One who is even now transforming us and our circumstances. The difference between the impossible and possible lies in His presence.
Do something unusual today, if not impossible.
“Jesus said, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me’” (Luke 9:23).
For the three years of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He created a great deal of interest. This was especially so during the first 18 months; prior to His emphasis on the suffering servant role that He must embrace, and would be the theme of His preaching and teaching leading up to the cross. Because so many found His words to be hard, there was a great falling away during the latter half of His ministry. The words documented by Luke sum up clearly and succinctly the cost of discipleship—“Deny himself”…it’s not about you. “Take up the cross daily”…anytime you see “cross” think hard, difficult, painful, uncomfortable, death; not entertaining and compatible with how I want to live. “Follow me”…Study me, get to know me, duplicate me in your actions and attitude.
No matter how long you have been a follower of Christ, I think it healthy to revisit this statement by our Lord and be reminded of the significance of who we are, what we do and how we do it.
Blessings on your cross today.
“The fear of others lays a snare, but one who trusts in the Lord is secure” (Proverbs 29:25).
A fear of others is the by-product of one’s own insecurities. It emerges from a fear of rejection. On a daily basis individuals tend toward the compromise of their identity and distinctive personality because of the desire to “fit in” and be accepted by certain people or groups. Once trapped by this tendency, you not only lose touch with who you are but you deprive others the privilege of being impacted by your life and the unique God-given qualities that make you who you are. Don’t stoop to being a copy when God has fashioned you to be an original.
As you face the new day, remember that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Be Brave! Be You!