Archive for March, 2015
“Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:17).
Praying is the means by which our eyes are “re-visioned” to view life through the lens of faith. A cynical and unbelieving world lives by the mantra, “Seeing is believing.” In contrast, the distinctive credo of the people of God is “Believing is seeing.”
“Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (2 Kings 6:16).
Though there were just two of them, Elisha and his servant, the prophet was able to see more than the eye revealed. Too often we allow circumstances to dictate our view on life instead of our view on life shaping our circumstances. Faith enables us to see a bigger picture than the circumstances of the moment – obstacles become opportunities and problems are possibilities. Though our senses may say otherwise, God’s presence is our theological reality.
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name,
O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night, with the ten-stringed lute and with the harp, with resounding music upon the lyre” (Psalm 92:1-3).
As a beat gives rhythm to music so our faith gives rhythm to life. As varied are the instruments in today’s text, so are the many ways we can praise and worship the Lord with the music of our lives. We, too, are an instrument of ten strings, playing out our commitment to the Lord each day. With our two feet, we walk in the paths of righteousness. With our two hands, we reach out to offer the healing touch of God’s grace. With our two eyes, we see a broken world around us and the opportunity to minister in His name. With our two ears we hear the cries of those wounded and wearied by life. With our mouth, we speak words of hope and encouragement. With our mind we dwell upon all things good, right, and holy. Play well this day…make beautiful music for the world to enjoy.
“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods your fathers served which were beyond the river, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
At some point in life, usually when we leave home, we are confronted with the necessity of examining our faith. Is mine a truly personal faith that defines who I am and what I am about? Or have I just been riding on the coattails of my parents faith? My grandparents? Or friends?
Each day we are confronted with the call of various gods competing for our allegiance…the god of leisure, the god of pleasure, the god of materialism, the god of mediocrity; the list is endless. The Lord our God, however, refuses to coexist with any if these. This us why he challenges us each day to choose who we will serve. Choose well.
“Elijah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people did not answer him a word” (1 Kings 18:21).
Belief is never imposed but offered–an offer that is either taken or rejected. Elijah’s warning is that sitting on the fence is an unacceptable position. Those who would be the people of God must decide one way or the other. Where commitment and dedication is absent, opinions abound. Let there be no hesitation in our answers nor our actions.
“Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?'” (1 Kings 19:9).
In typical form, a great high is followed by an incredible low. For Elijah, the exhilaration of defeating the prophets of Baal has given way to depression resulting from the threats of Jezebel. Not even prophets are exempt from the color-blinding effects of depression…an insidious mental condition that robs one of the vividness of life. God’s question to his prophet, and the narrative that follows, isn’t psychologically concerned but is exclusively theological. The promise is that even in such seasons, we can have faith in God–that he is near, ourselves–that our lives matter, and others–that we are not alone. There is more of your story to be written. This is the upside we cling to even when down.
“If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, how will you do in the thicket of the Jordan” (Jeremiah 12:5)?
Ever had your day ruined because you received only 3 bbq sauces with your 20 piece chicken nuggets? Frustrated because the hot water ran out after being in the shower for only 30 minutes? Upset because the first leg of your dream vacation was diverted to LaGuardia instead of Kennedy? These silly questions are but parodies of very real, everyday laments that can be heard in conversations and on social media. If the travesties of first world life bring such “devastation” to the lives of so many, how will they withstand genuine hardship? People of faith should stand ready to offer another perspective before the whiny masses–a life of steadfastness undergirded by a spirit of thanksgiving.
“This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life” (1 John 2:25).
When the medical community speaks of someone as being terminal, it indicates a condition that causes or ends in death. The Great Physician, however, redeems and redefines the idea of terminal. It is a condition of faith that causes and ends in eternal life. For the faith community terminal isn’t about dying but living.
“and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” (Colossians 3:10).
Our most meaningful relationships are dynamic in nature; alive with change; subtly growing and evolving with each passing day. Those married for 30, 40, 50 plus years experience a richness, oneness, and fullness that could have never been anticipated when the courtship first began. What is true in such marriages is but an example of what should be anticipated in our commitment to Christ. A living faith evokes daily renewal and transformation that sets us on a path of progression, while dead religion brings a regression in participation and obedience.
Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink ?” They said to Him, “We are able” (Matthew 20:22).
Whether or not the disciples could drink from the cup was a question of their willingness to embrace the responsibilities associated with being a follower of Jesus. It is a cup of sacrifice; never convenient, and comes at great personal expense. It is a cup filled with duty and a cost of such degree that Jesus prayed and asked the Father to “take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Matthew 22:42). This is the bottomless cup from which we drink throughout the day.