Archive for August, 2012
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more” (Luke 12:48).
With the growing popularity of the Powerball lottery and those who foolishly participate, you often hear individuals speculating on what they would do if they were to win tens of millions of dollars. Their intentions are often noble–charitable offerings to the church, universities, shelters, soup kitchens, etc. God’s guiding principle of stewardship, however, isn’t based upon what you might do with what you don’t have, but what you are doing with what you do have. It is the expectation that we are to manage our resources and not be managed by them.
“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Have you ever considered why “love” is counted as the greatest gift and virtue? It is a reflection of the other two. Where faith and hope abides there also will be love. While some would fall in love with religious rules, we should seek to offer grace that errs on the side of love. Rules are quick to condemn; love anxiously seeks to redeem. It is the greatest virtue found among gracious people.
“When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes” (Matthew 7:28-29).
While the scribes were the supposed experts of scriptural interpretation, Jesus embodied them and translated them to flesh and blood. Thus, the people were amazed. It is nonetheless true today. People are still amazed when they cross the path of someone who daily and devotedly lives their faith, as opposed to those who only speak of it in voluminous and amplified tones in the public square. Our loving actions will amaze them long before our knowledgeable words.
“Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with joyful shouting” (Psalm 126:2).
Can you believe it? Laughter? Joyful shouting? The psalmist is describing believers who are actually enjoying their faith. Laughter is a wonderful gift from God associated with songs of praise to the Lord. Such joy and joyful expression is found on more than a hundred occasions in scripture and is considered an identifying characteristic of God’s people. Thus, I’m wondering, are you allowing yourself to enjoy your relationship with God?
“Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart” (Psalm 111:1).
“Please” and “thank you” are expressions of appreciation that do not occur naturally. No one is born grateful. It is a learned behavior and a mature response from individuals who recognize their dependence on others as they journey through life. So please, let us remember each day to express thanks to the Lord. Thank you!
“But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son” (Galatians 4:4).
The world needed a Savior. All of creation was groaning for the promised Redeemer. With each passing year, decade, century, millennium, God’s chosen people cried out for their Deliverer. God’s response? It came when the time was strategically just right for the greatest impact. Just as God has acted in history you can be sure that he hears your cries and, when the time is just right, he will redeem your circumstances.
“I am afflicted and in pain. I will praise the name of God with song, and shall magnify Him with thanksgiving. And it will please the Lord better than an ox” (Psalm 69:29,30,31).
It’s easy isn’t it? To praise God when things are going as you think they should? The real test comes in the face of adversity. This quickly clarifies one’s motives. The psalmist elects to praise God simply because He is God and worthy of praise. We should note that the psalmist ranks this praise as being of greater value than any animal sacrifice. While some would seek to bargain with God in their time of trial, saying, “I’ll try to be more sacrificial; I will do more religious things,” such attitudes reflect a shallowness of thought that God is some kind of heavenly “sugar daddy” that can be paid off to make our troubles go away. Our difficulties don’t make him any less God, and he is still worthy of praise.