Archive for June, 2012
“For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established” (Romans 1:11).
A gift is meant for the benefit of someone else. Such is the nature of the spiritual gift that the Father has imparted to you. It is meant for the benefit of the church; the body of Christ. It’s only by the exercising of your particular gift for it’s intended purpose–the edification of others–that it becomes a blessing to you. Don’t get stuck on the side of the road being a spiritual hitchhiker; always looking for how the church can meet your needs. Instead, ask whose need you might meet?
“Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life” (Genesis 25:8).
The best way to come to the end of life satisfied and with no regrets is to live each day to it’s fullest–loving, laughing, giving, serving. It’s only as we embrace the truth of our own mortality that we can possibly be inspired to live each day with the fullness that the resurrected Christ intended.
“Beware, and be on you guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).
Greed has seemingly become an acceptable flaw. What God describes as being sin, American culture labels as a Type-A personality, a go-getter, a good work ethic. It is, however, a lifestyle that is aggressively self-centered; revealing an inferiority complex of such degree that one becomes blinded to the true Source of Life.
“Therefore, to one who knows that right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
Sadly, the life of faith is too often lived from a negative perspective; a preoccupation and satisfaction with just not doing certain things. While there are, certainly, destructive behaviors and attitudes that should be put away, a fuller understanding of the life of Christ is to be found doing those things that ought to be done and best exemplify the fruit of the Spirit. What best represents your faith? Doing? Or not doing?
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
I often hear someone say that becoming a Christian means you get to go to heaven when you die. While the statement is true, such a long look at the life of faith is too short-sighted. To live life committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ transforms your daily existence not just your eternal destiny. Looking only to the end is to miss the abundance of today.
“And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come, so that my house may be filled.’ Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:23,27).
While separated by only three verses these two statements express very different truths about God’s redemptive plan. Specifically, while God’s salvation is unlimited in scope–available for anyone and everyone who responds by faith and trust–it is not unconditional in demands. Salvation may be free but it’s not cheap. It will cost you your life.
“But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” (Matthew 10:29).
The question implies that there can be a non-neighbor; that some could be excluded. The parabolic response that Jesus offers in the actions of a samaritan, on the surface teaches that it is those in need who become our neighbor. Yet, there is a more pointed teaching–even our enemies are our neighbors. The Lord commends those who respond rightly; not those with the best of intentions.
“Then Job answered the Lord and said, ‘I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know’” (Job 42:1-3).
The reading of scripture reveals neither trouble free saints nor a trouble free Savior. Job aptly describes life: “Man that is born of woman is but a few days and filled with trouble” (Job 14:1). Job wanted answers for the hardships of his life. What God offered in response, however, was himself. Instead of an explanation, God gave Job an experience; an experience that opened his eyes to a greater reality that defies explanation. It was out of this experience, knowing that God was involved and would have the final word, that some sensibility began to emerge from his suffering.