Archive for May, 2018
“Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18).
The most convincing expression of the faith is to be found not in what we say but what we do. Thus, we are at our best when practicing the verbs of our faith. Verbs are action words like going, offering, blessing, sacrificing, obeying, welcoming, conquering, receiving. If actions speak louder than words, we don’t want to be caught sitting around reflecting upon majesty, glory, adoration and other flowery nouns that never get translated into deed and truth.
“Pray then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven…’” (Matthew 6:9).
Just the simple and humble acknowledgement of our heavenly Father puts everything in a different light. Most prayers are prompted by circumstances. While the things that bring us to our knees may seem at the moment insurmountable, they become diminutive when offered to the care of our glorious God. Prayer moves us beyond our situation to the sufficiency of God.
“Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour” (Matthew 25:13).
If time had to be purchased, would it impact the way you would spend it? The answer is obvious. You wouldn’t waste a moment. No time would be wasted on trivialities. Careful attention would be given only to those things that mattered. The last thing we want to hear is that there is no time left; that it is too late. After the final exam it is too late to study; after the children are grown it’s too late to be a better parent; after the divorce it’s too late to make amends. Now is the only time you have to do something effectively.
“Remember what my span of life is; for what vanity You have created all the sons of men” (Psalm 89:47)!
The greatest nemesis to today’s productivity is tomorrow. Tomorrow is the leading excuse offered by those choosing to do nothing today; it is the constant alibi of good intentions. Today is your most important frame of time for it’s all you have. Every hope, dream, aspiration, and intention that you have for the future is dependent upon what you do today. Don’t let tomorrow steal today.
“He laughs at fear and is not dismayed; and he does not turn back from the sword. With shaking and rage he races over the ground, and he does not stand still at the voice of the trumpet” (Job 39:22,24).
As God speaks of the characteristics he has woven into the animals of the field, we must know that all the more capabilities have been given to us, the crown of his creation, the ones given dominion over all the earth (Genesis 1:26). Thus, when the battle line of life comes to your doorstep, you cannot wilt and shy away. When life is being lived in the pursuit of following the Lord Jesus, any adversity and trial you might face is the very thing you have been training for.
“So when the people set out from their tents to cross the Jordan with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant before the people” (Joshua 3:14).
A key to experiencing the faithfulness of God’s promises is a life pursuant to living obediently according to his word. Everyone wants to claim the promises of God while ignoring the premises upon which they are based. The Hebrews finally experienced their land of Promise when they obediently followed the instructions given them. They didn’t say, “Let’s pray about this,” which is “spiritualized” code language for, “I don’t really want to do this, so let’s find a way to delay it.” What God’s word prescribes does not need to be prayed about, only obeyed.
“You shall, moreover, command the priests who are carrying the ark of the covenant, saying, ‘When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan’” (Joshua 3:8).
What do you do when your world shatters? When life just stops, leaving you standing on a bank, peering across raging waters into a land filled with the unknown? You cross over with expectancy. The Divine instructions given to Joshua do not reveal exactly what will happen, but it creates the expectancy that something is going to happen. The only way to discover the future God has in store is to plunge ahead expectantly. “Let go and let God” may sound more “spiritual,” and makes for a good bumper-sticker, but a more accurate theology is “Trust God and get going.” If God is the one making all things new, then the best theology is oriented to the future, not the past.
“Now the Lord said to Joshua, ‘This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you’” (Joshua 3:7).
God has a vested interest in the well-being of his people. When blind-sided by life and brought to a place of transition, where a familiar past has been ripped away by an uncertain future, we do well to listen to the possibilities of what God is doing. It’s in such times, when the foundations are shaken, that many will turn to God only to discover that he’s the one doing the shaking. Your transition is a catalyst to something bigger in the purposes of God.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).
Out of a unique understanding of the relationship between a shepherd and his sheep, David offers us one of the timeless affirmations of God’s character. As a shepherd knows his sheep individually, so God knows you. As a shepherd offers a constant vigil, so God abides with us. As a shepherd provided for every need of his sheep, so God provides for us.
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2).
The danger of judging others is, in doing so, we set the standard by which we ourselves will be judged. It is a faulty standard because when we dare to judge another, we do so on the basis of speculation and hearsay; without factual information, we presume to know the heart of the one we judge. Which will you choose for the judgment of your life? A standard established by you and your faulty practices or God’s measure of grace and mercy?