Archive for February, 2014
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:2).
When the Maestro of our faith calls for the last trumpet to play, it will be a tune familiar only to those who have lived in the rhythm of his grace. If you march to the beat of a different drummer, now is the time to get in step with the One who desires to put a new song in your mouth (Ps. 40:3).
“Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel” (Philippians 1:12).
Things are going to happen to us. When they do, something is going to happen in us. When it does, things are going to happen through us. What happened to Paul was an unexpected imprisonment. What happened in Paul is an attitude that responds in hopeful and providential expectation. What happened through him was the furtherance of the gospel. It reminds us that external circumstances are uncontrollable; internal responses are memorable; and external consequences are immeasurable.
“Lord, You will establish peace for us, since You have also performed for us all our works” (Isaiah 26:12).
In the quest for peace, control freaks fastidiously labor to command every circumstance of their lives, only to discover that the turmoil isn’t without but within. It is not the work of our hand but the work of Christ that brings peace to the human heart. While circumstances may cloud the moment it is Christ who controls the mind. Jesus freaks have something control freaks will never have–peace of mind.
“As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!” (Haggai 2:5).
From the beginning God’s Spirit has been an abiding presence…”moving over the surface of the waters” (Gen. 1:2). The prophet reminds us of the continuing activity of the Spirit in fulfilling the covenant promises of God in history. Prior to his ascension, even the departing words of Jesus offer the assurance of the Spirit’s abiding presence among his people–”and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:20). And as the body of Christ, we bear testimony to the work of the Spirit in the world today.
“I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:4).
A gift given can be easily forgotten or taken for granted. God’s grace, however, is a gift that should have a glaring presence in our daily lives. That we fail, in so many ways, to live up to the standard of faith set before us serves as another confirmation that salvation is, by necessity, God’s doing and not ours. He has accomplished and is accomplishing in us what we could not.
“The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand” (Psalm 121:5).
While the term “blindside” is most currently associated with football and the need to have a large, athletic left tackle to offer protection behind a right handed quarterback, it also captures the watch-care of our Heavenly Father in shielding even the most vulnerable areas of our life. That the Lord is our shade is a metaphor for his protection. In ancient battle the right side was more vulnerable since the shield was held in the left hand. Whether left or right-handed, and no matter what your battle, the Lord has your back.
“The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made both of them” (Proverbs 20:12).
Scripture often uses the ear and the eye as metaphors for hearing the word of God and seeing his handiwork. This kind of hearing and seeing is not dependent upon the literal, physical presence of eyes and ears. For even those deaf and blind but who thirst for God see and hear him. The greater tragedy is to possess sight and not see; to have ears and not hear.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:15)
While God is not the author of confusion, many are conflicted in their existence by the competing golden calves that vie for your heart’s allegiance. God desires for us a peace that surpasses all understanding. It is the byproduct of a single-minded devotion to the preeminence of Christ and a thankfulness for what one has, and nary a thought for what one hasn’t.
“Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction” (1 Corinthians 10:11).
The “things” referenced in 1 Corinthians 10 were the sins of Israel–idolatry, immorality, and grumbling. While these things were detrimental for the Israelites, you and I can benefit from the error of their choices. The question is always one of whether we have the wisdom to learn from the mistakes of others or must we, foolishly, learn them the hard way of personal experience. We can be instructed by others or self-destruct.
“for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:10).
As the recipients of God’s mercy, we have become the fulfillment all things promised to an ancient people–a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession (v.9). God’s action has moved us from one place to another; from a to the; from a subjective people to a definitive people. Our “a” to “the” must now be missionally perpetuated from us to others.