Archive for May, 2012
“Pray then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven…’” (Matthew 6:9).
Just the simple and humble acknowledgement of our heavenly Father puts everything in a different light. Most prayers are prompted by circumstances. While the things that bring us to our knees may seem at the moment insurmountable, they become diminutive when offered to the care of our glorious God. Prayer moves us beyond our situation to the sufficiency of God.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).
Out of a unique understanding of the relationship between a shepherd and his sheep, David offers us one of the timeless affirmations of God’s character. As a shepherd knows his sheep individually, so God knows you. As a shepherd offers a constant vigil, so God abides with us. As a shepherd provided for every need of his sheep, so God provides for us.
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2).
The danger of judging others is that by so doing we set the standard by which we ourselves will be judged. It is a faulty standard because when we dare to judge another, we do so on the basis of speculation and hearsay; without factual information; we presume to know the heart of the one we judge. Which will you choose for the judgment of your life? A standard established by you and your faulty practices, or God’s measure of grace and mercy?
“Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?” (Matthew 20:15)
The laborers in the vineyard are grumbling over the inequity of those who have worked only one hour having the received the same wage as those who worked the full day. It begs the question, “Is God just and fair?” The answer is no! In his desire to redeem and have a relationship, he has chosen instead to deal with us according to his mercy and grace. I don’t know about you, but I’m grateful that He doesn’t give to me what I deserve.
“So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done’” (Luke 17:10).
“I’m done.” “I’ve served my time.” “I’m taking a break.” “Let someone else do it.” Examine these often heard statements in the life of the church in the light of today’s scripture. Any kind of supposed commitment to Christ that can be explained only in terms of past tense; that has no impact on the present tense is, in fact, only a pretense. Our calling and the work to be done is never complete.
“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
I had rather go to heaven beaten and bruised from having stood against the tide of a Christless culture, than slide unscathed into hell because I sat indifferently among the crowd-following masses. The one you fear–man or God–determines both the path and destiny of your life.
“To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey” (Matthew 25:15).
When reading the parable of the talents it’s tempting to see God as being somewhat harsh in his judgment of the man given one talent. After all, he didn’t embezzle the money. He wasn’t like the prodigal son, who wasted his holdings on wild riotous living. No, the judgement against him wasn’t for what he did, but what he failed to do. The Master entrusts us with talents according to our ability. While I may not be expected to do as much as the one with five talents, I am expected to do something. The sin of doing nothing is the worst sin of all.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face ; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known (1 Corinthians 13:12).
There is certainly more to be known about God than we now know, but we now know everything we need to know about God. In him are the words of life.
“I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).
Regarding your standing before the Father, is your confidence in your religious performance or in what Jesus has accomplished on your behalf? In other words, does salvation reside in you or in Christ? The word “entrusted” is a banking term. It means to make a deposit for safe-keeping. As we would confidently deposit our paycheck into a bank, with all the more confidence we deposit our life with the One we know can keep it secure.