Archive for June, 2011

WIDE-COUNSEL

“Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).

You have had life-experiences that I haven’t and vice versa.  In facing the adversities and demands of everyday life we need not think we are alone or plowing new ground.  Others have been there before and, in the routine of the day, it’s these that God brings across our path.  Wisdom comes in wide-counsel.  Don’t be afraid to ask.

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WHO WILL TELL?

“Come and hear, all who fear God, and I will tell of what He has done for my soul”(Psalm 66:16).
 
While I appreciate the wisdom of the words attributed to St. Francis of Assisi—“Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words”—and the importance of living what we profess; it is an incomplete witness of our faith.  To simply live our faith and never speak of it says too much about us and too little of the gospel.  Living it and telling it are inextricably bound together.
 
Each day brings Divine appointments to speak of God’s faithfulness.

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IT MAKES SENSE

“The naïve believes everything, but the sensible man considers his steps” (Proverbs 14:15).

When you get where you’re going, where will you be when you get there?  Do you have a plan?  Goals?  What deliberate, proactive steps are you taking to see them accomplished?  Each day presents choices and decisions that either move us toward our goals or detract from them.  To consider your steps is to consider the consequence of any action. We cannot naively meander through the day thinking that things just happen.

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KEEPING AN UMBRELLA NEAR

“You visit the earth and cause it to overflow; Your greatly enrich it; The stream of God is full of water; You prepare their grain, for thus You prepare the earth, You water its furrows abundantly, you settle its ridges, You soften it with showers, You bless its growth” (Psalm 65:9-10).

As the dryness of our soul is quenched by Living Water, so our parched land is thirsting for sweet rain from heaven.  As the Psalmist was fully confident of God’s abundant provision, let us pray and wait with that same certainty.

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REMEMBER

“Remember also your Creator…Remember Him…” (Ecclesiastes 12:1,6).
We are inundated with information.  THINK magazine states the human brain, over the course of a lifetime, has the ability to store 700 images a second with no strain whatsoever.  In practical terms, however, it seems we forget more than we retain.  Even so, the Wisdom writer reminds us of the one thing we must never forget.  It is the uninterrupted memory of our Creator, the One who gave his Son, that informs our every decision, attitude, and spoken word.

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WHEN…NOT IF

“And He said to them, ‘When you pray…’” (Luke 11:2).

It is the assumption of our Lord that his people will be a praying people. Prayer is the life-breath of the child of God. Our very life in Christ was birthed by a prayerful heart longing for and crying out to God. Throughout our day, it is that same spirit of prayer that focuses our hearts and minds toward actions and attitudes that bring delight to Him and glory to His name. Pray always and never let it become a matter of “if.”

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A DISRUPTIVE KINGDOM

“Your kingdom come.  Your will be done” (Matthew 6:10).

It seems such a harmless petition.  We have recited it so repetitiously that it has become innocuous; it’s disruption to the present kingdoms in which we live our lives has been lost.  Perhaps you are unaware of your kingdom.  It is the matrix and framework in which you live your life.  It offers you a sense of security, manageability, and predictability (words that stand in contradiction to the life of faith).  It is a kingdom you seek to preserve, strengthen, and stand in opposition to anything that brings disruption.

Now, pray again the passage.

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TORN BETWEEN TWO LOVERS

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and wealth.  For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life…” (Matthew 6: 24-25a).

Our sense of security is going to be sought in one of two places—in relationship to the world or our relationship with the Lord.  One of these is going to be our true object of our affection.  Thus, the amount of worry we experience in life is in direct proportion to the level of intimacy and commitment offered to the true love of our life.  We worry because we are torn between two lovers.

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FAITH BEYOND THE RULES

“One of the scribes asked Him, ‘What commandment is the foremost of all?’  Jesus answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.  The second is like this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no other commandment greater than these’” (Mark 12: 28, 30-31).

Despite the warnings of Jesus, and the freedom he has afforded us the resurrected Christ has afforded us, there is a preponderance of the faith community that continues in their love affair with rules and regulations, and consider them the standard-bearer for their “religious performance.”  It’s a minimalist approach to the life of faith—what’s the least I can do and still have favor with God.

It’s out of this labyrinth of religiosity that Jesus offers a clear and concise word.  Of all the commandments (613), the One who came not to abolish but to fulfill the Law, offers a two point synopsis—love God and love your neighbor.  These embody, fully, both the vertical and horizontal dimensions of covenant life in Christ.

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SOMETHING NEW

“And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4-5).

Scripture and experience teach that the “first things” associated with this present life are difficult; characterized by tears, death, mourning, crying, and pain.  What God has promised is a progression toward something new; better; a place that stands in contrast to our current condition and world of brokenness.  Cries for the “good old days” reflect a lack of faith in what God is doing.  The very best of your memories pales in comparison to the very best God has for your future.

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