Archive for February, 2014
“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1).
Whether staying home, going to work, or attending class this day can be filled with meaning. To live vocationally is to understand that this day, and all the circumstances it will present, is the providential stage upon which you have been cast to fulfill the Great Commandment of loving both God and man. One’s chosen career is always less important than than the commitment to serving God and neighbor in every facet of life. Do honor to this day.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31).
It’s easy to assume that God would be interested only in the big things–life and death issues. Jesus reminds us, however, that God is like a doting father, interested in the most minute details of life. Since the challenges of life are delivered by thousands of minnows and rarely a killer shark, it is comforting to know that our God is the Lord of even the smallest of things.
“For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Because you have been bought with a price not only has the ownership of your life been once and for all settled, but also your identity and purpose. God’s transaction of salvation accomplished in the person of Jesus Christ results in a transformational faith that embodies the totality of our being. This spiritual reality impacts every dimension of our existence–physical, mental, emotional–and devotes them to the glory of our Redeemer.
“We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ” (Colossians 1:28).
Most people see only symptoms and seek practical solutions; expedient to the given circumstance. Many of life’s conflicts, however, are the result of a spiritual condition that transcends the present situation. The apostles proclaimed Christ because they understood that when his Lordship is truly embraced and practiced it overcomes and staves off many of the issues that bring conflict to life and sets one on the path to completeness. Our problems may not be as much marital or financial as they are a Lordship issue.
“Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know that they are doing evil” (Ecclesiastes 5:1).
Coming to the house of God for any other reason than to encounter him in worship–through his word, through song, and through prayer–is to entertain things that do not matter; it is to offer the sacrifice of fools. Whether choosing a church or going to church it should never be done impulsively or in haste. It must be done in a way that is guarded, calculated, intentional; we must know that what we are about to enter into has eternal consequences.
“Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this–not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way” (Romans 14:13).
A basic maxim learned by every healthcare student–Do No Harm–is nonetheless true in spiritual care. While it is one thing for us to stumble in our own walk, it is even more irresponsible to cause someone else to stumble. The influence of our faith is best evidenced in posturing others for spiritual victory and the realization of their God-given possibilities.
“Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge” (2 Corinthians 5:5).
Wind, fire, the very breath of resurrection life…Scripture utilizes each of these to portray the glorious power of God’s Spirit. Even so, the Spirit we have received, as a pledge against the inheritance that is to be later received, does not now remove us to glory but equips us for the most inglorious life of service here on earth. In another of heaven’s humbling paradoxes the power of a Prince is best evidenced at the feet of paupers.
“Those who regard vain idols forsake their faithfulness, but I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving” (Jonah 2:8-9).
Idols reflect and are fashioned by the selfish desires of the human heart. Something is always going to be the object of your affection and receive your undivided attention. Giving thanks is counted a sacrificial act because it forces the heart and mind to redirect from oneself and to acknowledge the One who gives, sustains, and takes life.
For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God (1 Peter 4:17)?
For those counted in the household of God, his forthcoming judgment should never be considered in terms of fear and dread. His faithful servants view this as the culmination of faith and the fulfillment of the hope within us.
“For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges” (1 Corinthians 5:12).
The responsibility of Christian belief, behavior, and witness belongs to the church alone. The poorest substitute for this obligation is when the church chooses, instead, to criticize the world for its behavior. It’s unreasonable to expect an unregenerate world to live by God’s standard. Is this not why he sent Jesus? Is this not why Jesus has sent us?