Monday, October 25, 2010

A Lamp Unto My Feet

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. - Psalm 119:105

If you are like me (and I know I am) this verse brings to mind the great song that both Amy Grant and Rich Mullins performed (written by Grant and Michael W. Smith). Catchy melody + great word = a song that I won't forget! What a fantastic revelation that the Scriptures are to be a lamp to our feet, and a light to our path. This may cast our thoughts to the nature of ancient lamps. You may find some pictures of such oil lamps here: It is interesting when we consider our "light-polluted" world how dark the night can be without all of the street lamps and neon lights that are currently in place.

Yet imagine the small flame that these little lamps could provide. Could it be much more than a candle flame? When the Psalmist revealed to us that the Lord's word is a lamp unto his feet, the image was of a circle of light that would have only illumined the few feet immediately in front of the one holding the lamp. Compared to our modern flashlights, spotlights and headlights we may not find much comfort in this image. However, the Psalmist did pen it in comfort and trust.

When plagued with big decisions, or a crisis we so often look to the Lord for an immediate solution, cure or answer. We scour His word to find out why this is happening, or what is going to happen if I make this decision. Yet the Bible doesn't always give us the assurance of knowing what the next half mile will hold, it only tells us how we should take our next few steps: in faith. The Bible gives us the wisdom to make the right decision, however the right decision may not be the most comfortable. We must then act out in faith realizing that we only need to concern ourselves with the next few steps - our Comforter with us, our Savior before us, our Father above us

Monday, October 18, 2010

Do You Have a Nose for Jesus?

The great play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand tells the story of a man names Cyrano who loves a girl. However, he feels he is unable to approach her because of his incredibly large nose (Remember the movie Roxanne with Steve Martin - same story). Another young man comes into the story who is handsome, though not as good with words, and who does not bear the same authentic love for the female lead. Not realizing that Cyrano loves the girl the handsome captain enlists Cyrano's help to write (and in a particularly comical scene - speak) on his behalf. I won't spoil the drama for you, but the point is plain, neither man counts himself fully qualified for the task of courting this woman on his own.

Is there someone in your life you have trouble loving? Some task that you are certain you are simply not up to? Perhaps there is a person (or more likely a number of people) whom you are simply unable to treat as you know Christ would have them treated. Perhaps their words, mannerisms and actions all make them difficult to love. Often we find ourselves able to be only civil with these people (if even that!). I imagine for many of us the person is already in your mind. Like Cyrano we find ourselves with a desire to love this person, but an inability of some defect within us that makes it impossible. I have some good, sound, Christian advice for you: Stop trying.

Your realization that you can't love them is quite true. Did you come to expect more from your flesh and your "best efforts"? Furthermore, does that person really need YOUR love if they are ever to grow, heal or draw nearer to Jesus? No, they have needed HIS love all along. And now for the great news!

Jesus Christ, who dwells within you, loves them immensely! When you remember that the One who gave Himself up to save you also saved them it will become more clear: you are to rest in Christ and let He who loves you so very much, love them through you. The very hardest part is getting out of the way.
Perhaps something to this effect would be appropriate:

"Lord, I can't love this person, but You DO. To me they are an annoyance, a hindrance, a difficulty. To You they are someone that they loved so very dearly that you sent your Son to die on a cross to bring them into a relationship with You. To me they are unlovable, as I am unlovable, but You are the One who loves us both. Use me as Your instrument, Your letter, Your pen, to show them Your amazing love for us in your Son Jesus Christ."

Perhaps it wouldn't be bad to have this goal for those whom we think we love very easily!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How much Perfection can a day hold?

I may have to group all of these "perfect day" posts together and hide them under something heavy for another day when I will need them. This has been another one of those days/moments that I simply want to freeze in time.

After a somewhat turbulent night's sleep I awoke, had a great time of prayer. Enjoyed eating eggs with my kids (watching kids peel/eat boiled eggs is a great pleasure that is often overlooked). Then bustled off to church to get some things done there. Praying over the congregation here is such a pleasure and an honor I cannot describe it fully.

I did my morning reading and prepared for my days studies. Providence forced a change of locale and off I went to the local coffee shop. This coffee shop is a nice sized house to which a friend had given us a gift certificate. For just over $2 an "all day cup" is given and since 10:00 I have been sitting listening to my bluegrass music, slowly sipping coffee and building studies for our Sunday evening service, and our Thursday pm. Romans group.

The weather is getting cooler and I am in a comfortable sweater and my favorite hat. I am blessed with a wonderful, loving and supportive wife; and supported by the Body of Christ. But of course I haven't even mentioned my 3 happy, healthy children and the endless love and care with which Christ has filled me for them. How much perfect can you fit in one day? There is only one word to describe such perfection that I have no way of taking any credit for: Grace.

Monday, October 4, 2010

To the Praise of His Glory

to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. Eph. 1:12

This is a segment from our Sunday Night Service wherein we are studying Ephesians. Ephesians 1:3-14 uses this phrase "to the praise of His glory" repeatedly. These are some thoughts on that phrase.

There are two things here that should be very clear to the modern reader:

1) God is the one doing all of this.

2) It is for HIS glory that it is all done.

Again and again we see that this is all to his glory, not to ours, not for us. We are living in praise and glory of Him. It is our major purpose: To bring HIM glory forever! The amazing reality being that, by trusting in Jesus for salvation by His grace we become living, walking examples of how wonderful and amazing God is. The believer is a billboard simply on the basis of his totally unmerited salvation of God’s amazing character. In the saved believer God is shown to be gracious and loving (for saving an undeserving sinner), just and righteous (as the failures and unrighteousness of the believer were justly dealt with at the cross), holy and set apart (by making us perfect He does not have to compromise his own perfection to have communion with Him), sovereign and powerful (as His salvation cannot be overcome by our own demerit). What a magnificent reality that just by putting our faith in Jesus Christ we already exist as a resounding witness to the full and complete character of Almighty God!