Monday, June 27, 2011

Hope that is Sure

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5

Elie Wiesel survived the Nazi concentration camps. He gives an account of a man who was sure redemption was coming on a certain day. That day passed and his anticipated liberation did not arrive. The very next day that man died. He had endured incredible physical distress, but when his hope was lost, he died. It is clear that humans are not designed to operate without hope. We can endure incredible duress and difficulty, but hopelessness destroys us. God created us with this need for hope, and He supplied this great need for us in Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ alone. Where is your hope? In your pain, in your stresses, in your difficulty there is only one Hope that will not disappoint. That Hope is in Jesus Christ. That is not just hope for the future, it is hope right now in His indwelling Holy Spirit. Hope in Him, and Him alone.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Remain Seated

"even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus... (Ephesians 2:4-5)

"Please remain seated until the ride comes to a full and complete stop." Boomed the voice overhead as the roller coaster eased its way into the station. I had my doubts as to whether I would be able to get up once the safety restraints were removed. The roller coaster had spun, slammed, whirled and twisted so quickly that all sense of gravity was ripped from me, leaving me quite dazed. I could call it "fun" because there was a safety restraint holding me. Were I to be responsible to hold myself in the cart it would cease to be fun and be only horrible, terrifying and likely fatal. Our relationship with Christ is similar. If we remember in Whom we are seated we can enjoy the ride in faith that we will ultimately arrive at the destination He has set out for us - being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). Remain seated in Christ this week.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Healthy Words

But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine...
Titus 2:1

As a culture we are quite concerned with the idea of "health". Many restaurants will have a portion of their menu dedicated to "healthy choices". Many television shows and writers have a steady following in promoting "healthy living." The word translated "sound" in Titus 2:1 carries the connotation of "healthy" and is the basis for our English words "hygiene" and "hygienic". We seek to understand and teach the Bible correctly, not so that we can be "right" or puffed up, but because a correct understanding of the Bible brings about spiritual health. We find that when our words convey the true message of the the word of God a healthy spiritual life flows naturally, both for ourselves and for those to which we speak. May our words be healthy words that spur ourselves and others on to a relationship with the Living God through the completed work of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ready for Battle

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
Ephesians 6:17

Each of us pursues excellence in our respective field (or fields) of expertise. The excellent tradesman is constantly refining his technique, caring for his tools and learning about new products. The excellent parent is considering constantly how they might better "train up a child in the way that he should go." The excellent gardener spends hours watering, weeding and considering what plants will thrive in a given garden. Soldiers spend hours learning how their weapons work, and how to use them with accuracy and control. As we looked at Psalm 19 we saw the wonderful perfection and power of God's word in the life of a believer. It is unthinkable that a painter would show up to a job without brushes, rollers and sprayers. It is yet more unthinkable that a soldier would come to a battle without his weapon. It should be most unthinkable that any follower of Jesus Christ would allow him or herself to be separated from the Scriptures...