Archive for May, 2015
“Forget the former things; do not dwell in the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-19).
Dwelling on the past–the failures and the successes–is emotionally and mentally draining, and an utter waste of time since it cannot be recovered or redone. The greater tragedy, however, of being preoccupied with the past is that it causes you to miss what God is seeking to accomplish today. Faith is always a view forward; an optimism that, even in the dry, parched seasons of life, looks to the horizon ahead for the streams of hope that bring refreshment to our soul and a renewal of our strength.
“Because Jesus himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).
Just as there is a power the Tempter uses to lead us down destructive paths, there is a power the Savior uses to deliver us from the temptations set before us. We can never deflect blame—“The devil made me do it.” Just as the forces of evil ably provide the means necessary to fulfilling your temptation when you choose to act upon it—which then becomes sin—our Savior is faithful to provide the power to walk away from temptation when you choose to do so. The choice is always yours.
“Before him there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him” (2 Kings 23:25).
If family background is any indicator of future possibilities, Josiah didn’t have a chance. Both his grandfather, Manasseh, and his father, Amon, did evil in the sight of the Lord and were considered the worst of the kings in Judah’s history. Even so, Josiah receives the highest commendation for the life he lived and the leadership he offered. It’s the needed reminder that Godly transformation will always trump genetic predisposition. We are not hapless puppets dangling on strings of DNA. The encoding of the Holy Spirit opens the door to endless possibilities.
“Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, ‘I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord’” (2 Kings 22:8).
For 75 years the people of God have been without their bible; the Torah; the book of law. It is a reminder to every generation of believers of the responsibility that is ours in keeping the sacred text before the generations coming after us. No less miraculous than the Divine inspiration of the scripture itself is its Providential transmission to the succeeding generations. That the book of the law could be lost in the house of the Lord is a frightening indictment. The “Lost and Found” box of church offices everywhere is no place for God’s word.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him” (Psalm 28:7).
Nine personal pronouns in one verse depicts well the intention that faith is to be rooted in a relationship that is deeply personal. The confidence of the psalmist emerges not from his doctrinal knowledge or theological expertise but, rather, his intimacy with God. Out of such closeness comes forth a song of thanksgiving. Whether one is singing or complaining is a matter of the heart.
“And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, and I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord” (Psalm 27:6).
Fear is such a debilitating emotion. It seems the older we get; the more we experience; the more we know; the more our responsibilities grow the more fearful we become. In the face of his enemies, David’s response was to offer forth such effusive praise and adoration that fear never has a chance to raise its ugly head. Shouting down fear with praise is the way to rise above any sense of impending threat.
“She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations…” (Luke 10:39-40).
By her actions, Mary depicts well the kind of attentive and contemplative listening necessary to the internal life of faith. Martha embodies the active servant spirit required in the external life of faith. One is not to be interpreted as superior to the other but, rather, together they capture the balance needed in the eternal life of faith. Jesus doesn’t tell Martha she needs to be like Mary. Both of these spiritual/personality types need one another and are necessary in the rich diversity of the body of Christ.