Archive for July, 2012
“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).
A continued reading of the parable of the talents reveals that when it came time to settle, that of the servants having received the five and two talents, each one needed only 14 words to account for the responsibility entrusted to them. The one who did nothing, however, utilized some 42 words to explain his irresponsible behavior. We either seize the opportunities that each day are presented to us to act faithfully and responsibly, or we spend each day filling the pages of our life history with the verbosity of making excuses and blaming others.
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
He knew the last thing the world needed was another religion; more contradicting rules; more empty rituals; more human efforts to appease an unknown god. To avoid this God himself entered into our world; God took the initiative; God acted. For Him it was personal. Is it for you?
“We have here only five loaves and two fish. And He said to them, ‘Bring them here to Me’” (Matthew 14:17-18).
The broken world in which we are called to live and minister presents needs that are daunting. The magnitude of the spiritual hunger pangs that cry out for our attention seem only to amplify the insufficiency of what we could possibly offer as a remedy. Our sense of inadequacy and meager resources, however, become the very means by which God reveals his presence and sufficiency to those he providentially brings before us.
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3).
Learning to ride a bicycle and, more especially, the process of turning it was, for me, a frightening process. To lean in the direction you want to go seems to defy logic. Intuitively, it feels like you will fall. By leaning, however, a new direction is discovered.
We are in a similar situation with our faith. To guide and give direction to our lives we must lean upon it, even when it seems counter-intuitive. “Steadfast” means “to lean upon.” Set your mind upon leaning on the Lord and he will give you perfect peace.
“Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock” (Isaiah 26:4).
In a revolving world of turbulence and ever-changing uncertainties, we long for something that is secure and unchanging. One of my favorite descriptive qualities of our Lord’s nature is that of an everlasting Rock. It’s the picture of a dependable fortress or trusted defense. Though the circumstances of your life may seem like the shifting of tectonic plates, they cannot move those who stand upon the everlasting Rock.
“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
The most freeing and redeeming prayer is the one offered in complete transparency. It is a prayer that reflects the depth of our confidence and trust in the redeeming and inviting grace of our Lord. The phrase “with confidence” carries the idea of a “complete openness of speech.” I can be completely open, knowing with full confidence that not only will I not be rejected, but much more so that I have been accepted.
“Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart” (Luke 18:1).
It is only as we maintain a constant vigil and spirit of prayer that we are prepared to face the unceasing adversities of life, and offer responses that best give testimony to our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus. As witnesses of the Christian faith, our reaction to the unexpected turns of life can be of eternal significance and influence in the life of others. Unceasing prayer is our preparation for a supernatural response to the natural circumstances of life.
“Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:17).
From the teachings of the Old Testament to the life exemplified by Jesus, we discover that the life of faith, when rightly understood and practiced, is an affront to those who perpetuate injustice, who sit in power, who build their wealth and kingdoms on the backs of those who are defenseless; who have no leverage and no voice. Faith is to confront the up and in with the issues facing the down and out.
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
Hide and Seek was one of my favorite childhood games, but I never liked being “it.” To be “it” meant having to go find everyone that was hiding. It was a laborious task because of the unlimited number of possible hiding places. In contrast, God’s omniscience gives him the knowledge of all our hiding places and he delights in searching us out and finding us.
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?‘ Then I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” (Isaiah 6:8).
A vision of God’s grandeur and his grace-filled salvation always elicits a burden of responsibility that desires to respond; that longs for others to see and experience what the Father has done and is doing. His is a story waiting to be told by those willing go forth.