Archive for March, 2012
“We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works with me” (Colossians 1:28-29).
The only work that gives meaning to life is that done in such a way as to give glory to our Lord. It is to this end that we labor. It is a very strong word meaning “to toil” and work to the point of exhaustion. While it may seem an impossible task the good news is that the same Spirit that empowered the Apostle Paul desires to empower you to no lesser a degree.
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit'” (James 4:13).
Whether it’s the silence and neglect of discussing it, or our efforts to camouflage the aging process, or by reckless living, we support the illusion of immortality; that we will never die. Instead of evoking fear and dread the reality that we will someday die should inspire us to seize the day we do have and to live it fully to the glory of our Lord. It is the best way to both live and die.
“They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42)
That the early disciples were “devoting themselves” comes from a word that means to be “stout.” As an adjective it means “dependable.” Whatever other qualities might be ascribed to the church, we must be a people found dependable when it comes to sound doctrine, a sense of community, and sincere prayer. It is these disciplines that make us stout disciples.
“When many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him, but their plot became know to Saul” (Acts 9:23-24).
Without being fatalistic, we must recognize that evil has its own plotted strategy against the mission of Christ and the furtherance of the Gospel. It beckons the church to be dissatisfied with status quo; its institutional presence; the antiquated methodologies that have seen their day. It’s only as we individually give strategic consideration to our daily opportunities to be a witness for Christ that we have any chance of being a collective witness as the church.
“But his disciples took him (Paul) by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket” (Acts 9:25).
For every high profile hero of the faith–Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, Paul–there are unnamed disciples whose faithful service makes the great events even possible. True faithfulness to the missional task is seen in those willing to work in obscurity. Behind the scenes and between the lines is where God’s most humble servants are to be found.
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:11).
In 2009 astronomers detected the most distant object yet seen from Earth. It was a gamma ray burst. The rays from that explosion took 13 billion years to reach the earth. When David wrote this Psalm, he had no idea how high the heavens were above the earth. But he knew the grace of God and that the heavens were unable to contain its vastness.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits” (Psalm 103:1).
In matters of employment, we live in a day when the benefits package offered by an employer is as important as a livable wage. In the life of faith, while we must disdain self-serving attitudes that always ask “What’s in this for me?”, there are certainly benefits to be had in following the Lord–He pardons, heals, crowns, and satisfies (Ps. 103:3-5); not to mention the incomparable death benefit and retirement plan.
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1).
If mumbo jumbo is defined as “language or ritual that causes confusion” then why do some hold so arrogantly to the expression of a verbal gift that so few understand to the exclusion of the language of love that is understood by all? The loudest statement we can make about our Lord is when we live in the Spirit of his love.
“All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do” (Exodus 24:3)
This was the collective cry of the Hebrews upon hearing from Moses the guidelines that would regulate their covenant with God. Verbal assent is a start but, in the end, the greater expectation and the truest test of belief is to be seen in our doing.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets”
God’s governing Law has both vertical and horizontal dimensions; responsibilities to God and to one another. We cannot choose to focus on one at the exclusion of the other. It is a symbiotic relationship; each is incomplete with out the other. If you are serious about you and Him, it will effect you and me.