Archive for July, 2013
“Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:16).
Have you ever wondered why God performed the work of salvation in your life? The temptation is to contemplate this introspectively–focusing on one’s own life, merit, potential, or just the plain wonderment that he did it at all because we are so undeserving. Yet, Paul offers this reminder that salvation is never really about us, even if we refer to it as something personal. It first is about the sovereign reign and goodness of God and what he is accomplishing. Secondly, it is the example our salvation provides for others in the hopes that they, too, might believe. In other words, he has saved you for the benefit of someone else.
“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful” (1 Timothy 1:12).
A constant source of strength and encouragement in the life of faith should be the fact that Christ has considered us, even when we were undue consideration. Even in the light of who we were as lost sinners, and who we are as struggling saints, he considers us faithful. What a remarkably gracious God and sufficient Savior we serve.
“I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11)
Of the various Greek words that could have been translated as “good” in the English language, Jesus utilized the one that manifests itself in a form of goodness that is beautiful. In other words, the goodness of his life was portrayed in such a way that it was attractive. While religion can often portray goodness and moral uprightness in a way that is repulsive, the winsomeness that is to characterize the Christian faith is borne out of our relationship with Christ, the good and beautiful shepherd.
“But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make” (Jeremiah 18:4).
The providential care of our Heavenly Father should be an ever present reminder that the negative, external forces of our broken world do not have to shape our lives. In his own purposeful and omnipotent way, God is able to take the negative that was intended against us and use it in a transformational way to mold and shape us into the people he has designed us to be.
“Do you wish to get well?” (John 5:6).
A latent fear to which I confess is going to the doctor. It’s because I know the visit will never be as simple as receiving treatment for my discomforting symptoms. The examination is always more extensive, comprehensive, and invasive than I would have desired. A good physician is concerned not only with a patient’s current sickness but their overall wellness. What is true of a good physician is nonetheless true of the Great Physician. While the desire for relief and rescue might cause you to turn to him in the painful moments of your life, doing so brings far greater implications. His concern is not only for the pain of the moment but the holistic wellness of our lives.
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Romans 13:14).
To put on the Lord Jesus Christ is to clothe oneself in the garments appropriate for the life of Christ that we are to make known. It is the daily, regimented means by which the internal reality of who we are in Christ is played-out with growing consistency. Just as our childhood games of “good guys” and “bad guys” were enhanced by dressing up to look the part, the wardrobe of Christ is necessary to playing the role God has written for our lives.
“Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Peter 2:2).
While “Got Milk?” is an advertising campaign encouraging the consumption of cow’s milk, Peter is advocating the milk of God’s word and the necessity of its ingestion for growth in the kingdom life of salvation. Just as a newborn has a single-minded, intuitive desire for the milk of the mother’s breast, being completely unaware of other alternatives, we, too, must turn away from other formulas and alternative food sources that a spiritual culture seeks to offer in the place of God’s word. Our’s is a life utterly dependent upon the milk of the word.
“For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well” (2 Timothy 1:5).
The New Testament representation of the church is always multi-generational and never demographically focused. The healthiest churches will not only be a cross-section of the full spectrum of ages but the benefits of such representation in congregational life will be desired. Each generation benefits from the one that comes before and after. It’s too easy for any one generation to narrow Jesus down to our Jesus; our experience; our way of knowing him. As we, together, share our stories and witness of faith each generation benefits.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves” (John 6:53).
The incarnational Christ came not to just exist in human form, in a particular geographical location, at a certain time in history. He came, rather, to be the very source of our existence; His present reality affirmed in the daily bread and drink that is received any time and any place.
“Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God” (1 Peter 2:16).
While a nation celebrates with fireworks the anniversary of its declaration of independence from a tyrannical king, the church universal celebrates with lives of obedience the freedom afforded us by the King of kings. The truest demonstration of freedom is seen not in the life of those who do as they please, but those who live in a way that pleases God.