Archive for July, 2012
“I have become a marvel to many, for You are my strong refuge. My mouth is filled with Your praise and with Your glory all day long” (Psalms 71:7-8).
Disappointed by the betrayal of friends? Overtaken by negative emotions that leave you feeling like a castaway; forsaken? Ever sensed that adversaries are overtaking you? Have troubles and distresses left you in the depths of the earth? Such was the circumstances of the Psalmist and, yet, those around him marveled at his testimony to the faithfulness of God. Today, you are or will be facing some adversity. For those around you, how you respond is a witness and testimony of your faith and confidence in the provision of God. Let them marvel.
“And some men were carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him. But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus” (Luke 5:18-19).
Institutional religion requires everyone to come through the front door in ways that bring no disruption. It prefers the uniform, the standardized cookie-cutter approach that assumes everyone is of the same background and experience. It stands in stark contrast to the message and mission of Jesus. Ours is to be a missional faith; willing to improvise, take creative measures, and unconventional approaches that others might have the opportunity to meet the Savior. Find and become a part of a church that is intentional in the performance of its missional task and is willing to raise the roof that others might see Jesus.
“For lack of wood the fire goes out” (Proverbs 26:20).
If you neglect a campfire it will eventually die out. If schoolwork is neglected, grades will suffer. If a constant emotional investment is not made into a marriage it will eventually lose all of its life and vitality. It is a timeless principle with broad application–some things demand our constant time and attention–and it is nonetheless true in our relationship with Christ. Daily attention to word, walk, and worship are key to stoking the fires of faith.
“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.