Archive for August, 2017
“But the greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 23:11).
The irony of self-discovery is that it does not lie within oneself. Only by losing ourselves in selfless service to others do we find ourselves. To search for meaning through inward reflection is just another vain-filled pursuit. Outward expressions of selfless living, alone, bring lasting fulfillment.
“Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12).
A more appropriate understanding of eternal life isn’t a detached preoccupation with the sweet bye and bye. It is a life to be fought for in the ugly here and now. Taking hold of eternal life is to choose one’s battles wisely. Will my energies be used to fight for man-made structures that segregate and categorize or will I fight for that which draws all people in the light of God’s grace? Fighting against something is to focus on the things you fear and hate. In contrast, fighting for faith lovingly focuses on the One who called us to love.
“For each one will bear his own load” (Galatians 6:5).
The mirror is an indicting piece of glass. Gazing into it, the blemishes and imperfections seen belong to no one else. Imagine taking that perspective with you each day; where no one else is to blame for all the wrongs you perceive; where the other person wasn’t rude, it was just your sensitivity; where the broker didn’t cost you thousands, but your risk was too great. The blame game is a never ending saga of excuse-making. The only reversal is to begin, one day at a time, taking ownership of your life. It is the only way to “grow” forward. The buck is going to stop with you, so it may as well start with you. Go ahead, take a long look in the mirror. It’s you, and no one else.
“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you’” (Isaiah 41:13).
While rational capabilities make you aware of your disadvantages, the same rational mind has the power to think and assess things differently. Obstacles become opportunities not with a change in circumstances, but with a change of attitude. The parent/child relationship depicted in today’s passage is an assurance of God’s power and presence. The raised right hand is the Father’s defense against the enemy while his left holds securely the hand of his child. Thus, in any situation, we are in the advantaged position.
“Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, ‘if this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner'” (Luke 7:39).
While often criticized for his associations, you never find Jesus turning away those whose sins were too great or needs too many. A fresh start awaits those who drop all pretense and self- righteousness. Taking hold of God’s forgiveness opens the door to a new life.
“And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’” (Matthew 14: 29-31).
Just as walking on water is humanly impossible apart from Divine help, so is living the Christian life. It’s a supernatural act, accomplished only as we allow the Holy Spirit to play out the purposes of God in our life. Try it on your own determination and self-sufficiency and, like Peter, you soon find it to be a sinking proposition. Faith releases God’s power and opens the door to other possibilities.
“For I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts” (Colossians 4:8).
Things will happen to you—count on it. Things will then happen in you—your perspective on life will be forged; either wisdom and compassion will emerge, or bitterness and anger. Then things will happen through you—your influence within concentric circles around you will be for good or bad. Regardless the circumstances of life, as they happen to you, in you, and through you, these can be an encouragement and inspiration to others.