Archive for September, 2011
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father” (John 14:12).
Have you ever thought of yourself as a miracle worker? As Jesus speaks of his coming departure, he is also looking ahead to a day, what would be the Day of Pentecost, when the Helper, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the living Christ would abide in the life of his people. As a result, his redemptive purposes in the world and miracles of salvation are being accomplished to a greater degree than could have ever been realized in his life-time and ministry in the flesh.
By the power of his Spirit, he is using you to draw others to him. You are a miracle worker.
“Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
Often our understanding of sin is limited to those things we did wrong–sins of commission. To be fully understood, however, our definition of sin must be expanded to include the opportunities we failed to right–sins of omission. Experience teaches us that we will soon get over the things we did wrong, while the things we failed to do right haunt us for the rest of our lives.
Opportunities for good must be seized; knowing they will never pass this way again.
“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” (James 1:22)
The scriptures are adamant that faith is proved out by “doing.” That is, the genuineness of our relationship with Christ is evidenced by our obedience to him. Too often Christians portray a caricature of the Christian faith that is based upon not doing; that as long as I am not doing certain things then I have reason to feel good about myself and my walk with the Lord. A more mature understanding, however, recognizes that there is more to the life in Christ than just withdrawing or abstaining from certain behaviors. We are to be known not for our not doing but our doing.
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Matthew 24:36).
For 2000 years there has been much speculation regarding the return of our Lord. The graveyard of history is filled with the gravestones of skywatchers and doomsayers. All we really know about this anticipated event is that it is veiled in secrecy; known only by the Father. Our responsibility, between now and then, is to be diligent in living our lives faithfully for Him. The best preparation for the coming of the Lord isn’t a calculator for guessing but a cross for carrying.
“The Lord looked at Gideon and said, ‘Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?’ He said to Him, ‘O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house’” (Judges 6:14-15).
What is required of those that God would use in his service? Fortunately for us, he is not searching for those who are perfect but, rather, those who are doing what they can with what they have. The one aware of their own inadequacies; one possessing a healthy reverence toward God; one who fears God more than they fear others, determined to live life in obedience to the Father. Could it be you?
It’s not the obstacles in front of us that block our way, but the excuses within us that hold us back.
“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is heaven” (Matthew 10:32).
Faith is personal in that every individual must make the determination of whether or not they are going to live life in commitment to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It is a decision that others cannot make for you. Even so, while it is a personal decision it can cannot be lived out in isolation. According to scripture, faith is to be lived out in the context of community and never apart from the ecclesia—the church. A personal faith places us immediately into the context of family. True faith is never realized by a stay-at-home religion.
“And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10: 24-25).
Instead of the usual “high five” that he gives me each Sunday as I walk up the aisle to greet exiting worshippers, the elementary-aged boy handed me a tightly folded note. Unraveling it as walked, I glanced down to see the most heart-warming words—“I love my church.” We’re certainly not a perfect church. Like every church we have those that others refer to as hypocrites. It’s a place where you can even get your feelings hurt by those who are rude and act in ways that are less than Christian. Every church is an imperfect place led by imperfect people.
The eye of a child, however, focuses on the greater reality of the church—she is the bride of Christ, both the object and messenger of his love; broken people united by a beautiful Savior. Aren’t you grateful to be a member of the family of faith. With the eye of a child, we are able to say, “I love my church.”
“Peter said to Him, ‘Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.’ All the disciples said the same thing” (Matthew 26:35).
Just as we know the true outcome of the disciples declaration, we also know the truth of our own lives—none of us will honor the Lord perfectly in every way on every occasion. Our opportunities to stand for Christ rarely come in the face of howling winds. More often such occasions arise in the subtlety of a gentle breeze. Peter’s denial took place not before an official tribunal or council, but in a casual setting; an informal conversation; when least expected. The challenge to your faith will not come from a gun-toting communist or a red-suited devil worshipper demanding that you renounce Jesus. Opportunities to either betray or affirm our Lord are much more subtle. They are found at the water-cooler at work, in the hallway at school, at home in the way you treat your children and spouse.
By every action, we affirm or deny him.