Archive for June, 2012
“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.
“Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, and trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the Lord! Now the Egyptians are men and not God, and their horses are flesh and not spirit;…” (Isaiah 31:1,3)
Solutions for a broken humanity are realized not by the super powers of the world that are destined to fall, but a suffering Savior who now reigns as Lord of lords and King of kings. While social action and political processes can offer temporary relief for the symptoms of a crippled world, Christ alone can transform the human heart and, thus, the human condition.
“But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13).
With the daily bombardment of negativity, doom, and pessimism, we are a discouraged world looking for an encouraging word. It’s out of such surroundings that we, the church, the presence of Christ, are given the opportunity to lift up and be the voice of refreshment. We must not wait until next time; a better time; maybe tomorrow, but today. Searching for opportunities to encourage keeps us attuned to the positives that God is accomplishing today.
“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
I take cardio work very seriously. Because the past two generations of Dagnel men have not lived past the age of 60, I am diligent to see that cardio work is accomplished each day. It is a non-negotiable activity in my daily regimen. As committed as I am to the condition of the heart that gives life to my body, greater still is my concern for the heart of my soul and spirit. It is with the same diligence that I seek to guard and condition it, for it is here that the issues of life are determined. The attitudes that are nurtured in the heart ultimately become the actions of my life.
“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12).
The very verb tense utilized by the Apostle Paul, when writing of our salvation, indicates that the true nature of the Christian faith isn’t what we have become but what we are becoming. While the work of God in Christ Jesus is a matter of the heart–an inward transformation–it is played out in our daily lives. Working out your salvation is the practical and visible side of a greater inward reality.