Resurrection Power

•April 7, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Resurrection Power: that’s the name of the musical our Worship Pastor put together for Easter Sunday morning this year.  So what’s Resurrection Power all about?  A follower of Jesus Christ from long ago, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, wrote to a church in the ancient city of Corinth these words:

19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. 20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.

How could this man, Paul, be so sure Jesus actually was resurrected?  The bible records that the man was converted when he encountered the risen Christ personally.  You can read the story in the book of Acts, found in the New Testament.  Paul, first called Saul of Tarsus, encounters the risen Christ in chapter 9.  From the words he wrote to the Corinthians, Paul is convinced of the reality of the resurrection.  The impact on Paul’s life was so dramatic that he was transformed from being the most aggressive opponent to the claims of Jesus to being the greatest spokesman and missionary!  Talk about power!

What about us, today?  How does the resurrection of Christ impact a person living in the world of our times?  Does the resurrection power still have the ability to transform lives?  I would say emphatically, “Yes”!  Every time a former addict comes to Christ and finds deliverance; every time a skeptic studies the evidence supporting the resurrection of Christ and becomes a believer; every time an ordinary person surrenders their entire life to Christ and becomes an extra ordinary witness of the life-changing power of the gospel, resurrection power still triumphs over the grave!  Check it out for yourself.  Research the evidence and see how God works.

Reflections on Life View

•December 3, 2016 • 1 Comment

After a conversation with someone on the subject of our world views, I found myself thinking about what I am calling my life view.  I started thinking about whether I see my life from the vantage point of how God fits into my life or from the perspective of how my life fits into God’s plan.  The difference seems significant.

When I think about my life being my own and I see God having to fit into my plans, my career ambitions, my goals, I discover that I am placing the sovereign God of All Creation in a very small box.  I begin to realize that such a view, while perhaps held by many, is not at all a view of life that makes any sense.  The very concept of God, a being who is so vast and so powerful as to be the author of all things, precludes me from seeing Him as having to fit into my life or as having to approach me on my terms.  Instead, the concept of God, at least from the perspective of a God who created all things and who rules over them, calls for me to take the view of life that my life must fit into God’s plan.

When I take that life view (the view that God has a master plan and is working out His purpose and plan in all things), I discover that my objective is to seek understanding of how my life fits into God’s design.  I find that there is a purpose, not my own, for which I exist.  My life is a gift from my Creator and He has designed me and created me for His purpose.  Thus, my joy and satisfaction in life will never be found in following my own passion and ambition.  Instead, this life view teaches me that true and lasting happiness and fulfillment are found in yielding to the plan God has for me.

What’s your life view?

Proverbs Challenge, October 2016 – Day Thirty-one

•October 31, 2016 • 1 Comment

On this final day of the October, 2016, Proverbs Challenge, I am drawn to think about the opening phrase of verse two – “What should I say, my son?”.  It seems that King Lemuel opens with his own reflection as to what advice, what wisdom, what instruction he could offer that would best benefit his son.  As I read those words, it comes to me that all of us need to consider the legacy we will pass on to those who come after us.  What should I say?

Proverbs 31 goes on with several verses offering some wisdom and insight into about things like maintaining a right focus for our energy (verse 3); some caution about intoxicating beverages (verses 4-7); and some exhortation to speak up for those who are oppressed and needy ( verses 8-9). Then comes the section that deals with the attributes of a godly woman (verses 10 and following).  In light of my thoughts above, I wonder if King Lemuel answered his own question when he decided to take some time to provide guidance about one of the most critical of relationships – that of husband and wife?

Those verses that describe a virtuous woman and speak about how a husband who finds such a woman as his wife can safely trust in her and about how her children rise up and call her blessed may be verses intended to suggest the most important legacy we can leave to those who come after us is the legacy of taking care to choose wisely in selecting our spouse.  Maybe the point is that the marriage relationship and the roles of the man the wife working together as God ordained is such a critical part of society as a whole that leaving wisdom about the choice of a bride was the answer to the question “what should I say, my son?”.

Closing out the challenge for the month, I am thankful that God has given me a wife who models the traits in Proverbs 31.  May God help us both to build the legacy that honors Him and inspires and motivates those who come after us to do the same!

Proverbs Challenge, October 2016 – Day Thirty

•October 30, 2016 • 1 Comment

It’s a little saddening to me that tomorrow is the final day of the October, 2016, Proverbs Challenge.  The journey through one chapter of Proverbs in the bible each day has gone by quickly.  It does not have to end tomorrow.  You can go on reading a chapter a day.  You can continue devoting time each day to digest a thought from God’s Word.  Why not press on even after we conclude this month’s challenge?

In today’s reading from Proverbs 30, I am meditating on the content of verse five.  Verse five tells me that “every word of God is tested”, meaning I can rely on the certainty and truth of it.  God’s word has been proven true through testing and His word has proven reliable through the testing.  Thus, the second half of verse five reminds us “He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him”.  As I think on these words, I am reminded of the opening verses of the Gospel of John – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men”.  Those words give me a clear indication of who Proverbs 30:5 refers to when it says “He is a shield”.  I become even more convinced the saying refers to Christ when I remember the words of Hebrews 4:14-16 (14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 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.).

Yes, the Word of God has been tested.  He (the Word) proved True (without sin) in all things.  Those who run to Him find refuge (salvation).  What great confidence and assurance can be ours in Christ!  Have you discovered it for yourself?

Proverbs Challenge, October 2016 – Day Twenty-nine

•October 29, 2016 • 1 Comment

On this twenty-ninth day of the October, 2016, challenge in Proverbs, I am reflecting on Proverbs 29:13.  In several translations, the verse reads “the poor man and the oppressor have this in common-the Lord gives sight to the eyes of both”.  I found it interesting that the Darby Bible Translation uses the terms “the indigent and the oppressor”.  I am also reminded that we have seen this wise saying, or at least something very similar to it, previously.  Proverbs 22:2 reads “the rich and the poor have a common bond. The Lord is the maker of them all”.

It comes to mind as I think about this saying that God rules and reigns over all people.  Sometimes I tend to think of people as being in one of two buckets.  Either a person is in the “good” bucket or the person is in the “bad” bucket.  The reality is we are all in the “human being” bucket.  Every one of us has been created by a sovereign God and He made each of us for a reason.  The bible tells us that God knew us before He formed us in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5).  It tells us that God even made “the waster to destroy” (Isaiah 54:16).  Since God made us all, we are all in the same bucket.

The thirteenth verse of Proverbs 29 reminds me that God is in control.  It also reminds me that it is by grace, through faith, that we humans come to know the salvation of God (see Ephesians 2:8-10).  I pray that God will help me to always remember that I can walk by faith in Christ, knowing that God has made both the poor and the oppressor.  He, the Creator of all things, is Lord over all!

Proverbs Challenge, October 2016 – Day Twenty-eight

•October 28, 2016 • 2 Comments

Today’s reflection in the twenty-eighth chapter of Proverbs led me to verse nine – “He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination.”  It is worth noting that God has inspired the writer to capture this statement.  When we turn away our ear from listening to the law, our very prayer becomes an abomination to God!  In other words, when we reject the offer of life in Christ God provides, we cannot even lift acceptable prayer to God.  God loves us and cares for us so much that He doesn’t even listen to those who ignore His love, grace and mercy.

My prayer is that God will help me listen more and more to His Word.  I am asking Him to help me turn my ear to His law, obeying Him in all things and seeking His will in my life day by day, moment by moment.  I want, I need my prayers to be acceptable to God!  I need to know He listens and hears when I pray.  So I need to commit to listening to what He says.  How about you?

Proverbs Challenge, October 2016 – Day Twenty-seven

•October 27, 2016 • 2 Comments

Today’s challenge chapter seems to open with a caution about making the most of today because we do not know what tomorrow will bring (verse 1, Proverbs 27).  The chapter concludes with an exhortation to pay attention to the condition of the flock, an expression meaning basically to keep priorities in order and do what needs to be done.  The final verses (26 and 27) then tell us that the result of heeding this wisdom will be sufficiency for our needs.

In America today, we have so many who lean more towards procrastination than toward industry.  We have a tendency to put off until tomorrow things that we know should be done today.  In other words, we tend to run contrary to the wise sayings of Proverbs 27, which teach us to make hay today and take of business now that we might have supply for our needs and those of our household.  I am praying that God will help me practice being more industrious in my life.  How about you?

Before I end today’s thoughts from the October Proverbs Challenge, let me just mention two other verses in Proverbs 27 that seem to speak to my heart today.  The first is Proverbs 27:17 (Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another) and the first part of Proverbs 27:10 (Don’t abandon your friend or your father’s friend) [both quotes from the Holman Christian Standard Bible].  The Word of God has a good bit to say about friendship and the benefits of friends in each other’s lives.  Have you been faithful to your friends?  Sometimes we neglect the reality that we are made to be in relationship and we withdraw unto ourselves.  Our friends, or at least those who thought they were our friends, are then left with an emptiness and sense of loss.  We, on the other hand, grow dull in our own life because we have lost the sharpening effect of our friend and their input to the shaping of our character.  Maybe its time to ask God to help us be better at being a friend, no?