Archive for November, 2017
“And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
Wish you were richer? Taller? Stronger? Faster? The wish list is seemingly endless. Do such things really matter to you? Dollars? Inches? Pounds? Speed? Really???? These are things humankind have deemed important; things by which they can measure one another. If this is your wish, to be esteemed by men, you will never find contentment and self-satisfaction. In God’s eye, whether rich, poor, tall, short, strong, weak, fast, or slow, we are all equal. And in the end, we will all be equally dead. Thus, our days are best spent valuing God’s measurement of our lives because in the end, his is the only opinion that matters.
“That in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind” (Ephesians 4:22-23).
How many hours do you give each day to reading the morning paper, perusing partisan charged editorials online, watching 24-hour news networks, allowing the “shapers of thought” to influence your thinking? Compare that to the amount of time given to the messaging God would have us hear through word, proclamation, and prayer. We can choose to focus on that which distracts, discourages, and upsets or we can turn it off and choose, instead, that which brings peace of mind, a calm spirit, and hope for the future.
“The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil” (Proverbs 16:4).
The Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, wrote, “If you’ve seen the present, you’ve seen all things, from time immemorial into all eternity.” This stoic offering captures the pessimism of a secular perspective on all of history—that it only repeats itself. In contrast to this cyclical view, a Christian understanding of history is linear and, thus, more optimistic. That is, history is moving forward to a destiny that has been purposed by God.
“Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground” (1 Samuel 17:48-49).
To compete with competence requires not only a knowledge of the enemy’s tactics and tendencies but also a keen sense of self-awareness. In ancient days, warring armies walked to the battle lines and fought in close proximity. For David, however, hand-to-hand combat would have been a losing proposition. Understanding his own God-given-giftedness, David changed the parameters of battle, sprinted to the battle line and slung the stone from a safe distance. It is not necessary to be a volunteer victim in life. Perhaps your giftedness can change the circumstances of the battle you are fighting.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits” (Psalm 103:2).
In matters of employment, we live in a day when the benefits package offered by an employer is as important as a livable wage. In the life of faith, while we must disdain self-serving attitudes that always ask, “What’s in this for me?” There are certainly benefits to be had in following the Lord—He pardons, heals, crowns, and satisfies (Ps. 103:3-5); not to mention the incomparable death benefit and retirement plan.
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1).
If mumbo jumbo is defined as “language or ritual that causes confusion” then why do some hold so arrogantly to the expression of a verbal gift that so few understand to the exclusion of the language of love that is understood by all? The loudest statement we can make about our Lord is when we live in the Spirit of his love.
“‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless” (Matthew 22:12).
Wedding garments are a metaphor of a life transformed by faith and the redeeming mercies of God. It’s a reminder that the journey of faith doesn’t end with an intellectual belief in the truth of the Gospel; that no satisfaction or fulfillment is realized in the performance of perfunctory religious acts. We would benefit greatly by daily asking ourselves a form of the question Jesus posed to the wedding crasher, “How did I get into the church of the Lord Jesus Christ?” We need not be at a loss of words. The answer is grace alone.