Friday, April 29, 2011
A friend of mine reminded me of a passage in Jeremiah that got me thinking. He was captivated by the contrast of the passage. Let me share the passage and let's talk about it-
Jer 17:5-8- Thus says the LORD, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankindAnd makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the LORD. "For he will be like a bush in the desert And will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, A land of salt without inhabitant. "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. "For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.
God is sure good at making things clear. He leaves us with no confusion about the lives of those who trust in him and those who don't. What a contrast! God makes it clear how these lives will turn out, doesn't he? To be a "tumbleweed" or a tree with an endless supply of water....let's see...which would be better? Wow, what a contrast. So it's obvious that who you trust in is really important. Trust in one who gives you some stability and life or trust in one who leaves you driven and tossed by every wind.
Sounds like it should be an easy choice, but I'm always surprised by my choices....I often realize that I have trusted in man in one way or another, and I am like that old tumbleweed when I do...unsure, unstable, not attached, not secure, wandering. Trusting in man is an unstable place to stand. I know better, but I do it so easily....that trusting in man thing. Trusting in man, at its best, will leave me dry, brittle, unstable, driven by every wind of emotion, lifeless, temporary.
But what a difference to trust in God...a tree by the stream...deep roots getting water...green leaves...not worried about drought. Now that's stability, security, life. I truly want to be like that tree- stable, strong, alive, productive, enduring.
Lord, help me to trust in the right things. Help me to keep my eyes on you. Help me to trust in you alone. I want to be like that tree by the spring...green and alive even in a drought. Make me aware of when I foolishly put my trust in man, and help me quickly deal with that sin. Thanks for being my stream of living water.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Fear is a vicious monster. It sprouts wings. It breathes fire. It threatens death and destruction whenever and wherever it appears. None of us are immune to its power. None of us escape its impact in our lives.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Sunday, April 24, 2011
The first day was Saturday. The day after the cross. It was a sabbath day. A time of rest, but a time of grief for Jesus' followers and probably the worse day of their lives. I can't imagine how they felt on that day as they thought through the last three years. The thoughts had to be about their hopes, their expectations. I'm sure they talked about it all. I can imagine the words, "but Peter, I thought he was the Messiah! How could he die like that? Were we fooled? What do we do now? Where do we go? What will the Jews do to us, we followed him for these last three years. How could the people vote for his crucifixion after he had done so much for them?" The questions had to be overwhelming, the discouragement, the depression must have felt like a dark cloud they couldn't escape.
But then Sunday happened. Jesus rose from the dead. It took nearly the entire day for the events of that morning to sink in. It wasn't until Jesus showed up in person that they finally understood....he was alive! And suddenly, in one day, everything changed.
Then comes the day that, as I thought about it, contrasts Saturday in a most dramatic way. Imagine these same men on Monday! Only one day between Saturday and Monday, but oh what a day that was! That day made all the difference. Imagine these same men on Monday. Smiles all around, giggles here and there, the cloud was gone, I'm sure the grief of Saturday was a distant memory. Now, in only a day, everything had changed. Now, in one day, all of humanity has changed. Hope was alive because Jesus was alive. One man changed everything in just a day....simply because he loved us.
"Jesus Christ truly claimed He would rise from the dead. Only a small handful of self-deceived men have ever even suggested they might actually rise physically from the dead & their claims were eventually proven false. No one in human history did what Jesus did. He repeatedly & publicly predicted His death & resurrection, not only giving the specific manner of His death, but also the specific day of His resurrection." -John Ankerberg
Saturday, April 23, 2011
"The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the crowning proof of Christianity. If the resurrection did not take place, then Christianity is a false religion. If it did take place, then Christ is God and the Christian faith is absolute truth." -Henry Morris
Friday, April 22, 2011
John 3:16-18 (The Message)
16-18"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Those words have been an encouragement in difficult days for millions over the centuries. These are rich words of promise, hope and reassurance from God that he will never stop loving us, but even more wonderful is this...nothing can separate us from his love. We are more than conquerors because God loves us. Victory comes not in battle, but in relationship. Conquest comes for us not in power, but in God's presence. Peace comes because in the midst of anything, any problem, any struggle, any pain, one thing is sure....God loves me.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.”
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Friday, April 08, 2011
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
The words of a commentary come to mind this morning as I start my day, "The best word to describe someone who has not trusted Christ as savior is 'without.'" It's part of a commentary on the book of Ephesians. As those words came to me early this morning I thought, what would be on the list of the things that someone would be without? What is the man or woman missing if they don't trust Christ?
The world would say that if you become a Christian "you will really miss out." The implication is that there is a lot of good sinning to be had and if you become one of those Christians you can't "have fun." But, I wonder, what would be on the list of the things a person without Christ would be without. Here's a few as I think about this,
1. without hope
2. without a promise
3. without a future
4. without God
5. without peace
6. without joy
7. without direction
I'm working on the list, but those few come to mind in a moment of typing. It strikes me that if you are without Christ you are without a future, without direction, without a promise, without God in the world. Instead of "missing out on the fun" the Christian is really the most blessed of people because they are no longer "without."
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
"When I was with them, I WAS KEEPING THEM in Your name which you have given Me; and I GUARDED THEM and not one of them perished..." John 17:12
It strikes me that Jesus did his best defensive work on his knees. He prayed for these men. He appealed to the sovereign of the universe and kept them, guarded them even when they had no sense of threat or trouble. Kept and guarded. What interesting words to use. Kept from what? Guarded from what? What did Jesus know that these 12 did not? What was happening that they were completely oblivious to?
I realize this is still happening. Jesus is still praying to the father, interceding for us, keeping and guarding us from dangers and problems we are completely unaware of. Kept and guarded, what a wonderful reality for the believer today. As we walk through each day there is a sovereign God walking with us, protecting us, guarding us, accomplishing his perfect will in our lives. I look forward to the day when I discover all that he has done in my life to keep and guard me from the enemy, from the world, from my own flesh. It will be another opportunity to praise him for his wonderful love as we see all that he has done for us. Kept and guarded....how blessed we are.