Archive for September, 2013
“Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed” (1 Timothy 6:17-19).
In our affluent, consumer, me-first culture the idea of giving one’s life and resources to the building of an eternal portfolio presents a unique challenge. How we give is a reflection of what we love; of that to which we are committed. It aligns with our life mission; it is the evidence of where we want to make an impact and what we desire to see accomplished. Giving is but the action that springs forth from the divine quality of generosity that dwells within every believer.
“Those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. He said to the sons of Israel, ‘When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground’” (Joshua 4:20-22).
On their way to Jericho, God performed a great miracle enabling the nation of Israel to cross an overflowing Jordan river on dry ground. Yet, no memorial was established at the river site. That the memorial stones were placed at Gilgal, between the Jordan river and Jericho, is significant. It served as a reminder not only of where they had been but where they were going. God’s time is linear. The One who is making all things new has no interesest in preserving the past but leads his faithful to the discovery of their future.
“This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
The comprehensive scope of God’s desire that all would come to salvation should never be underestimated. To hold that the salvation God offers is for some but not others is to suggest that the atoning death of Christ was lacking; insufficient; inadequate; limited in it’s effectiveness. It is incomprehensible that God, who condemns the sin of partiality in James 2, would himself practice partiality.
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
While most have heard these words, I wonder how many have ever considered those twelve that surrounded Jesus; that he would have referred to as his friends. One was Judas, three quarreled over which of them would be the greatest in heaven, in the Garden three could not even stay awake to pray, at his arrest all would run in fear, and Peter would deny him. It’s just another reminder that it’s not our merits that garner God’s love. He loves us despite our demerits.
“Praise the LORD ! How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who greatly delights in His commandments” (Psalm 112:1).
To delight in his commandments is to know the reward of arranging one’s life according to God’s design. Is their any greater satisfaction in the life of faith than to respond to a situation in a manner that reflects one’s commitment in Christ, rather than having allowed our anger, frustration, or some other negative emotion dictate our response. We praise the Lord for we know it is his Spirit performing this transformational work.
“For by You I can run upon a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall” (Psalm 18:29).
Alone, and without armor David was prepared and confident to face his giant. While I don’t know what battles you’re facing or what obstacles stand before you, I’m confident that we are never overmatched. As in the life of David, overcoming life’s challenges is never dependent upon what we can’t do but, rather, what God can do.
“These thing I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:11).
Listen to individuals speak of their want of happiness in life and you soon discover why it has yet to be realized—their quest has evolved into a selfish preoccupation. The joy that Jesus offers stands in stark contrast to the happiness that the world seeks. Joy is the experience to be had by those who live life as a selfless pursuit for the benefit of others.