Archive for April, 2013
“Sing to the Lord a new song” (Psalm 96:1)
Those in a dating or marriage relationship will respond to a certain tune, “That’s our song.” To hear it is to be reminded of some special time or quality in that relationship. The admonition of the psalmist begs the question of what song our lives might be singing in the light of our relationship with the Maestro of creation. Is it a song of salvation? A melody of hope? A tune of forgiveness? It is a song we must sing together.
“When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and was imploring Him to come down and heal his son; for he was at the point of death” (John 4:47).
In desperate circumstances we desperately ask of God. Understandably, we long for a miracle. Our faith is the seed of our imagining that God will do something. Perhaps what we need is a greater imagination that allows God to work in ways that reach miraculously beyond the limitations of our asking. We must not allow desperation to blind us to other possibilities. Dare to ask of God and expect more of an answer than your circumstances would ever ask of Him.
“For You, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands” (Psalm 92:4).
Try as we may to plan, engineer, and construct our lives, it is soon realized that our best laid plans crumble and change as circumstances, people, and any number of other variables leave us disappointed and unfulfilled. It’s only what God has done; the works of His hands that, ultimately, makes us glad. It is His divine work of creation and redemption that causes our hearts to respond with worship and praise.
“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).
In the construction of a masonry foundation the setting of the cornerstone is of utmost importance since all other stones are set in reference to this one. It is the setting of this first stone that determines the position of the entire structure. To build on the firm foundation of Christ, it is how we first set our mind that determines the positioning of every facet of our lives. Paul’s statement is but an echoing of the wisdom writer…”For as man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
“By You I have been sustained from my birth; You are He who took me from my mother’s womb; my praise is continually of You” (Psalms 71:6).
By reflecting upon the faithfulness of God in days past, we find the confidence to stave off the worries of tomorrow. The grace of God that has brought us to where we are today will deliver us to the place He desires for us tomorrow. That He was sovereign and present over our beginning means He will prove sovereign and present when our days are completed.
“Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
For every fisherman, each cast of the lure is a toss into a liquid abyss of uncertainty. However, when it comes to casting away the various, anxiety inducing concerns that each day brings, Peter offers a greater certainty. For believers, we are not casting these things into a blind hole but upon the Lord. Knowing that He cares, we offer our concerns to Him because we desire His will to be accomplished. Thus, our challenge is to pay attention to what He is doing with those things we hand over to Him, so we are in a position to follow His leading. In so doing, uncertainty gives way to certainty.
“And be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Ephesians 5:21).
In this section describing how we are to walk and relate to one another, Paul’s concluding admonition is one of subjecting ourselves to others. It’s the embodiment of the servant spirit that is willing to forego one’s personal rights and privileges for the well-being of those around us. It is the desire to see others realize their full potential. He then applies it to marriage and the church. We see daily a world that is self-obsessed and preoccupied with self-expression. Can we even imagine a world that is about others and not us. It is a subjecting subject.
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
If the adage is to be believed–that there is strength in numbers–then the odds are stacked against the church. We are but a little flock. Yet ours is a royal existence and ending. The promise of kingdom life should never be reduced to an endless, eternal state or undisturbed rest. Kingdom life isn’t just the sweet bye and bye but the ugly here and now. Our confidence isn’t in our numbers but the work God is doing with us and through us in our present tense existence.
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27).
The remedy for troubled hearts is the assurance of His abiding presence. So much does Jesus want us to be comforted that He brackets this passage with the admonition to not be troubled (v.1, 27). Even in the context of death, as this passage is, the comfort He promises is another Helper like himself. He abides with us through the Spirit. Be comforted! No matter the circumstances, He is never absent.
“Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you no, but rather division” (Luke 12:51).
From the pulpit to the pew we recognize the gospel of Christ as the very thing that brings disruption. Every disciple points to the gospel as that which brought a provocation of such degree that it would eventually bring forth a transformational rebirth. By it’s very nature the gospel is unsettling; it gets under your skin; it speaks to the sin of our lives. Strangely, it is this antagonistic gospel that becomes the protagonist of peace for those who believe.