Archive for August, 2018
“Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10).
Political rhetoric has led many to a false assumption that the preservation and perpetuation of the Ten Commandments is dependent upon their being displayed in public places. The biblical teaching, however, is that the laws of God will have their desired impact only when they are written upon the hearts of God’s people and lived out in their neighborhoods. In fact, we hate our neighbor when we fail to do so.
“The end of a matter is better than its beginning; patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit” (Ecclesiastes 7:8).
Whatever the grueling task might be, the often heard phrase is, “I just want to finish strong.” Honest observation, however, reveals more things are started in life than finished. When starting something, people assume they will finish. Unfortunately, assumption is the root cause of disappointment. Things don’t get done simply because we assume they will. Finishing isn’t accomplished with rhetoric, but action. Give yourself the gift of no regrets. Finish!
“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13).
You are not an accident; nor are you simply a biological phenomenon resulting from the union of a sperm cell and an egg. You are more! What you think about yourself plays a vital role in what you are becoming. The only remedy for a diminished view of who you think you are is a Divine understanding of who you really are…A son/daughter of God.
“If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me” (Psalm 139:9-10).
While it may seem more “spiritual” to pray and agonize over whether the will of God is here or there, I find in passages such as these (v.7-12) the reassurance that wherever I choose to go, God is present and his purposes will be fulfilled. I’m not in the will of God when I stand here and out of the will of God when standing over there. The will of God is that wherever I’m standing, I seek passionately to honor and glorify him.
“You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways” (Psalms 139:3).
What God says of you is of far greater importance, and reliability, than what you say of yourself. It’s saddening to hear individuals who have fallen into a habit of speaking negatively of themselves. Escaping from the ruts of life and the self-fulfilling language of diminishment begins with a new script and a hopeful voice. You must allow the words of God to define who you are, not the misleading voices of culture and public opinion.
“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
The most freeing and redeeming prayer is the one offered in complete transparency. It is a prayer that reflects the depth of our confidence and trust in the redeeming and inviting grace of our Lord. The phrase “with confidence” carries the idea of a “complete openness of speech.” I can be completely open, knowing with full confidence that not only will I not be rejected, but much more so that I have been accepted.
“Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart” (Luke 18:1).
It’s only as a constant vigil and spirit of prayer is maintained that we are prepared to face the unceasing adversities of life, and offer responses that best give testimony to our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus. As witnesses of the Christian faith, our reaction to the unexpected turns of life can be of eternal significance and influence in the life of others. Unceasing prayer is our preparation for a supernatural response to the natural circumstances of life.
“For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I have placed you as a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the end of the earth’” (Acts 13:47).
When Jesus commissioned his disciples to be witnesses into the remotest parts of the earth, they had no idea how much of the world was yet unmapped. The same was true of Paul and Barnabas when they spoke these words. While the world is vast, uncharted territory is not. In both pursuing it and sharing it, the life of faith takes us to places we would have never imagined upon that initial step. Living on mission is never a question of near or far, but right now…wherever you are.
“Now for this reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless or unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8).
If Jesus Christ is the “Why” of our faith, “Why” we do what we do, the motivation and driving force for the life we live and pursue, values, then, become the “How” of portraying a true knowledge of the resurrected Christ. These values become the standard by which we measure all of our choices and actions: Will this move me closer to or farther from the One I’m seeking to honor?
“Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.’ But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity’” (Job 2:9-10).
As long as life is hitting on all cylinders, the masses will praise the goodness of God. The strange irony, however, is when adversity strikes, all praise ceases. Not only this, but there has arisen on many fronts within the American church a prevalent self-absorbed whininess that interprets any hardship as God somehow being absent. The omnipresence of God is a theological assumption, regardless of my life circumstances or yours.