Archive for April, 2013
“Bless the Lord, all you works of His, in all places of His dominion; bless the Lord, O my soul!” (Psalm 103:22).
While humankind can proclaim the Good News of God’s love in a few hundred languages, creation echoes the presence and provision of God with an infinite number of voices. Too often, because of life’s distractions, our eyes and ears do not hear and see the fullness of God’s communication. Our responses become that of the passive pew-dweller; offering a token “Good job, God,” to the fleeting glance of a beautiful sunset just as we might say to the preacher, “Nice sermon,” as we walk out the back door of the church. It’s only as we anticipate and hunger for more that we discover the blessing of hearing and seeing more of God’s creative wonder.
More important than knowing the Bible is knowing the One to whom it points. Thus, it is a very real possibility that one can be a student of the Bible and miss the point entirely. By it’s very nature, Scripture has been inspired for no other purpose than the discovery of Christ Jesus.
“They found a a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said, ‘Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’ So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:2,4,8).
Whether it’s the initial challenge (Genesis 1:28) of being fruitful and multiplying, and filling the earth, or being the church on mission, it was and is the intention of God that we be not a settled but scattered people; a people who go forth. He is a God with a plan and will work to keep us on that plan.
“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary” (Psalm 107:2).
Evil and suffering seek to break the human spirit and, thus, mute our voices. This is why we must testify even more of the things of God; that even out of our desert experiences, when life has left us exiled and despairing, if we have have lived to face another day we must speak of God’s faithful provision. It is the collective voices of wounded disciples that stand as the counter-argument to those who say God does not care or even exist. Our saying so is an affirmation of God’s grace.
“I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, they have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them” (Isaiah 1:14).
Hate is such a strong, unsettling word that most of us don’t even allow our children to say it. Yet, as God speaks through His prophet, this is the very term utilized to describe how much He detests religious performance; religious expression that is void of relationship. What it is intended to capture is how much more He desires for us–a life not held captive by the religious expressions of a dead past but an ever-unfolding, dynamic future driven by a personal intimacy with the One making all things new.
“When The Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, ‘Do not weep'” (Luke 7:13).
Though ours is a world filled with social media, never has our existence been more impersonal. Because we are always in a hurry, running behind; our every moment filled with “busy-ness”, my attention was captured by the simple observation that Jesus “saw her.” Not only this, but that he had compassion for her resulted in Him taking action. I pray that tweets and posts never become a substitute for real life engagement.
“For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. But He answered them, ‘My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working’” (John 5:16-17).
Historically, man has preferred to exercise religion within a system that offers a self-measuring sense of satisfaction…most often associated with certain days, places, and “dos” and “don’ts”. The reason Jesus is so disruptive, both then and now, is because His work grows out of a relationship with the Father; where the Father is working, Jesus is working, and rarely is this within our comfort zones and the boxes we build to define and hold God hostage.
“No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
The life of faith is a forward journey that plows new ground. Like Abraham, it is going forth into a place of not knowing. To look back reflects a tentative commitment; being distracted by earthly concerns; a desire, perhaps, to go in another direction. If not appropriately dedicated to the task of discipleship, the voices of the dead past will drown out the voice of the One who calls us into the future of all things made new.
“He said, ‘It is finished’” (John 19:30).
“It is finished” means more than we could ever imagined. What is finished is living under the law, living with no hope, living with no grace; no forgiveness; no future. What is finished is living in fear of death. “It is finished” was but the beginning of endless possibilities.