Archive for January, 2013

PAINFULLY FREE

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32).

If we dared to be honest about the truth, we might confess that we would prefer to be left to our self-deception. We might also admit that what we most often say to others is what we think they want to hear instead of that which we both need to hear. Let’s be honest, embracing truth as one’s reality is hard, even painful. To withhold truth, from ourselves or others, is the gravest deception.

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FROM BEGINNING TO END

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:13).

The daily pursuit of our faith is a pilgrimage fraught with multiple and unexpected beginnings and never-imagined endings. The twists, turns, starts, stops, backroads, and detours experienced on this journey bring the frustration of a seemingly delayed arrival to our desired destination. Through each beginning and ending we learn something about ourselves. More importantly, we learn much regarding the faithfulness of our God. Things don’t just turn out right; they are accomplished according the One who causes all things to work together for good.

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PRAYER “STUFF”

“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6).

The “stuff” of life is to be the “stuff” of prayer. This “stuff” is the “stuff” we seek to hide and cover up with the outward displays we construct for public viewing. Effectual prayer is discovered in the inner room of our heart; where transparency before God replaces our secrecy before men. While there is always the possibility of being rejected by men, prayer reminds us of our acceptance before God.

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DON’T MISS OUT

“But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came” (John 20:24).

If only he had been where he was supposed to have been on Sunday, gathered with the other disciples, he could have avoided the unfortunate nickname, Doubting Thomas. In both the testimony of scripture and the history of the church, the resurrected Christ has used Sunday’s to reveal himself to his disciples in life-changing ways. It’s experienced only when you are present. Otherwise, you are left to your doubts.

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INTENTIONAL LIVING

“Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air” (1 Corinthians 9:26).

Aiming for nothing assures that nothing will be achieved. Aim has to do with the focus of one’s life. This focus so defines one’s life that any superfluous distraction is set aside and, instead, all energy and effort is directed to the attainment of our true affection. For the follower of Christ, this means that our aim is to glorify Him in all things to which we put our hand.

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GET UP AND GO

“Get up, let us go from here” (John 14:31c).

This admonition concludes our Lord’s teaching on the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. This will not come to pass unless He leaves–He leaves; He comes. It should not go unnoticed that the life of faith is always taking you from where you are. Where we are isn’t where we should desire to stay; what we are isn’t what we should desire to be. What does the Lord have in store? There is only one way to find out–”Get up, let us go from here.”

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BLOSSOMING THANKS

“Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being” (Psalm 146:1-2).

Praising the Lord is simply the blossom of a spirit of gratitude. While there are certainly those occasions of spontaneous praise, to praise God in one’s being is a lifestyle of praise embraced by those who have disciplined their faith to see the good things that happen to us each day–even the worst of days. Blossom where you are.

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INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE

Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher) (John 20:16).

With just one word, the calling of her name, Mary’s world was forever changed? Three days of despondent weeping gave way to eternal hope and assurance. As Jesus knew Mary, so he knows you. The Good Shepherd knows his sheep and calls them by name. Just listen…

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CURING HEART TROUBLE

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1).

Our Lord’s statement is found in the troubling context of death. It seems always to be standing at our elbow; nudging us with gentle reminders of its presence. As followers of Jesus the nearness of death should not trouble us but compel us to live an uncommon life. To view our mortality with a foreboding morbidity is to miss the greater theme of life’s precious value and the limited opportunities we have to truly lay down our life for Him.

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LET IT BE SO

“Truly, Truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy” (John 16:20).

 “Truly, Truly” is literally “Amen, amen.”  We most often hear the word “amen” utilized to offer affirmation to a statement made by someone else.  A more appropriate understanding is to interpret “amen” as “let it be so in my life.”  What, then, are we to “amen” in today’s scripture.  While both the religious and secular world of his day would celebrate his removal from the picture, the resurrection of Jesus would turn the despair of his true followers into joy.  When trials of uncertainty come, we must continue in our “amen’s” as an expression of our desire to abide in the hope of resurrection joy.

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