Sunday, October 31, 2010

American Idols

While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. (Acts 17:16)

By education and training Paul was a Pharisee, steeped in Jewish religion and culture. The great Shema of Israel, “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One” (Deut 6:4) was the central rallying cry of Jewish belief and practice. For all the long centuries since Abraham it was monotheism, as much as anything, that set them apart from other nations. To such a man as Paul, raised in that culture, the very sight of so many idols would be upsetting.

And what about me, raised in a modern American culture? Plurality, diversity, tolerance, respect for other cultures, these are considered the enlightened mindset here. Does it bother me that so many false gods are worshipped in our society? I’m not talking about literal idols only, although there are certainly some idols in the Hindu temple near our neighborhood. I’m talking about the false gods of money, sex, food, power, pride, leisure and fame. If these don’t bother me like the Athenian idols bothered Paul, maybe it is because they form too much a part of my own thinking and values. Maybe I am prone to pause daily at their shrines and give my heart for a moment to them.

Lord, so many of these false gods still hold an appeal to me. Help me to recognize when I have transferred my affections or my trust from you to these idols that are worshipped by so many. Teach me to walk in your ways and live only for you. My heart is yours and I will not give it to another.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Don't Be a Beast

When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. (Ps 73:21-23)

Sin causes me to break fellowship with God. Harboring a bad attitude interrupts my communion with him. Yet he is always present. I am always in the palm of his hand. This verse paints an interesting image. When I have let sin interfere in my relationship with God, it is as though spiritually I have become blind, deaf and dumb before God. I am still in his presence, but like a brute beast I can neither communicate with him nor even recognize his presence. God is still present. I am still saved. I am still a child of God. The basic facts of my relationship with him haven’t changed. But I have begun to act and think like it has.

When I find myself in that situation I need to wake up! Confess, repent, and remember who I am in Christ. Why should I be so foolish as to break fellowship with the living God?

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Ps 73:25-26)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Rejoicing for Others

The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the brothers very glad. (Acts 15:3)

Have you ever received a gift, an award, or a compliment, and then been upset to learn that someone else received the same thing? Did it upset you more if it was someone you didn’t like? I sure have. It seemed to cheapen it somehow, especially if I thought they didn’t deserve it. That’s pride talking. It is nothing but the desire to exalt myself above others. The Jews had spent 2000 years thinking they were better than the Gentiles, because they were chosen by God. It would have been very easy for these Jewish Christians to resent the new Gentile Christians. But the Bible says they were very glad. Lord, help me to never entertain the idea that there are some people who don’t deserve salvation, because that’s not true – NONE of us deserve salvation. Convict me, Lord, when I feel resentment about something good that happens to someone else. Remind me that I am to love them, and should rejoice when you bless them.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Better Than Life

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. (Ps 63:3)

The apostles certainly believed that. Peter and John rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for the Name (Acts 5:41). James said to count it all joy when we encounter trials (James 1:2). Paul and Silas sang and worshiped in jail (Acts 16:25). They counted the love of God better than life, and their lips did not cease in praising the Lord, no matter how much they suffered. Lord, I will praise you in good times and bad, because your love is better than life.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Standing Against the Crowd

Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, and do not show favoritism to a poor man in his lawsuit. (Ex 23:2-3)

The Bible is full of exhortations for the rich and the powerful not to take advantage of the poor and the powerless (v6). And well it should be because throughout the ages the wealthy have often oppressed the poor. I think this verse might be unique, however, in seeming to stick up for the rights of the rich man. Marxism contains the idea of forcible redistribution of wealth, but this verse clearly speaks against that. The power of the mob does not convey the right to steal. Justice is justice, and should be impartial.

The larger issue here, as well, is that it is easy to get caught up in whatever everyone around you is doing, but we must resist that. We are always personally accountable to God for our actions, regardless of what “they” are doing. We teach our teenagers about peer pressure, but the temptation to go along with the crowd does not end when you become an adult. Lord, help me to be true to you and your Word, no matter what everyone around me is doing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No Easy Life

This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name. (Acts 9:15-16)

With these words the Lord Jesus commands Ananias in a vision to go to the newly converted Saul in Damascus. God saved Saul miraculously, appearing to him in a vision on the Damascus road. In the Lord’s words to Ananias, it is clear that before Paul had done a single thing in God’s service God had chosen him for greatness. And indeed, no man ever accomplished so much or suffered so greatly for the Gospel as Paul. Like Peter and John, Paul counted it a great privilege to suffer for Jesus. Once again I am confronted with the connection between suffering and serving God. If I insist on an easy life I will accomplish little. Can I follow the example of the apostles? Lord, I am willing to lay everything down for you. I know I can’t possibly do that in my own strength. Holy Spirit, accomplish in me what I cannot do in myself.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sometimes I Need To Fail

As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. (Ex 17:11)

I remember being very impressed with this story when I was a little boy in Sunday School. It seemed like such an amazing miracle. Of course, I'm not sure I got the point. Looking at it now I can see how God wanted the Israelites to know it was not their own prowess in battle that won the fight. God gives the victory. In this first battle after the Exodus, God wanted to drive that point home. And the sign he used was significant – Moses raising his hands to entreat the help of God and acknowledge his lordship.

Now it occurs to me to wonder, was the miracle that God caused them to win when Moses raised his arms, or that God caused them to lose when Moses lowered them? There must be times in our lives when we are trusting in our own strength, and God must see to it that we fail so we do not draw the wrong lesson from it. Perhaps especially in this culture, dependence on God is a hard-won lesson. In every one of us beats the heart of a little child who wants to say, “See, Daddy! I did it all by myself!” That is laudable in our children, because we want them to grow up. When they do they will be adults like us, and every bit as competent to live independently as we are. But our relationship with God is different. We are not his equal, and never will be. It is the height of folly to imagine that we can live independently from him. Lord, help me to see how much I need you and embrace that dependence. I lift my hands to acknowledge that you are my Lord and I need you.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fickle Followers

When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter…So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?” (Ex 15:23-24)

This was exactly three days after the people of Israel watched God destroy the army of Pharaoh in the Red Sea – one of the greatest miracles of all time! The rapidity with which they went from rejoicing to grumbling is almost comical. Yet don’t I do just the same? My heart is also fickle. Their fickleness seems striking here because in this event it is writ so large. But on a tiny scale this happens every day in my life. I will be driving down the highway to work, happily singing along with some praise song on the radio. Then another car cuts in front of me. Instantly my resentment flashes and I shout, “Jerk!” Talk about turning on a dime! The truth is I, too, am greatly lacking in constancy. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about God’s constancy. I think this is another one of his communicable attributes – character traits in him that we should reflect as part of bearing the image of God. And now this story forces me to confront my own lack of constancy by first recognizing it in the ancient Israelites. Lord, help me to be steadfast in my faith and constant in my devotion. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Ps 51:10)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Healthy Balance

Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches and they are gone, for they will sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle. (Pro 23:4-5)

We have a saying, “Easy come; easy go.” But it is also true that “Hard come; easy go.” All our hard-won wealth can vanish in an instant, and how foolish we will look if we have devoted our lives to acquiring it. We have another phrase we use about “working our fingers to the bone.” But for many of us today it might better be updated to “working our hearts to a heart attack” or “working our marriages to divorce.” How much do we forfeit in life when we make money and career our idols? The Bible says, “Have the wisdom to show restraint.”

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Raging Tempest

Our God comes and will not be silent; a fire devours before him and around him a tempest rages. (Ps 50:2)

I am continually amazed at how dramatically the Bible portrays God’s wrath and the judgment to come. I have the sense that most Christians today tend to focus on the loving side of his character. Certainly that’s the most popular image of God in the broader culture. But if love is all we know of God, what sense can we make of a verse like this one? “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb 10:31 ESV) We cannot fully appreciate who God is without holding in our minds at once both his wrath and his love. In his wrath we are due his judgment, but in his love he has provided a way of salvation through the sacrifice of his Son. He is a God of both justice and of mercy. When I meditate on this, I can now better appreciate his patience. Knowing of his wrath, I am amazed that he delays the day of judgment. But knowing his love, I understand why he does. Thank you, Lord, for your mercy.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Be Still and Know Him

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Ps 46:10-11)

God, the Great God, Creator of All Things, will one day be fully revealed in all his majesty and power before all men. He will be exalted in every land by every person. We can only dimly grasp his greatness and his glory, and even when he stands fully revealed our minds will not be able to encompass him.

But for now he is hidden, known only in the hearts of the wise – for fools even deny his existence. And today, while we walk by faith, God says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” The God who will one day be exalted before all men lives today in my heart. I can know him, if I will settle myself and pay attention. The Lord Almighty, who is now hidden but is always with us, is our strong fortress. He protects, defends, and strengthens us. How astonishing that I can commune in stillness with Almighty God, the very one who will someday be exalted in all the earth!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Worthy of Suffering

The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. (Acts 5:41)

I wonder how many of us have fully captured this attitude which the apostles had? Of course, it was a pretty extraordinary time. What had their previous 48 hours looked like? Miracles (v16), jail (v18), miracles (v19), flogging (v40). I see a pattern here. What comes next? Miracles, of course!

But what were they rejoicing about as they left the Sanhedrin? Not the miracles, but the flogging! And not the flogging per se, but rather the fact that they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for Jesus Christ. They regarded it as a high honor. If I really love Jesus and I am really anxious to see his Truth known and his Name magnified, then being persecuted is a sign I am doing something right. My witness must be having an impact if the enemies of God feel threatened enough to retaliate. And now, the fact that I suffer so little persecution becomes an embarrassment for me. My first instinct is to play it safe, and in so doing I limit the impact I can have for the Gospel. Lord, make me bold!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Never Forsaken

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Ps 42:5)

The psalmist speaks of a time of trouble in his life, when tears are many and God seems far (v3). In the midst of his despondency, the psalmist reminds himself of the hope we have in God. Indeed, his longing for God has never seemed stronger (v1-2). The very distance he feels from God strengthens that longing.

But there is hope! Even as he wonders why God seems to have forgotten him (v9), his faith is strong. Times of refreshing will come again. What the psalmist recognizes is that his feelings of rejection and abandonment do not reflect the way things really are. God is present. God will save. Despair will give way to joy, and praise will once again flow freely from his heart.

It is natural for us to feel down when times are hard. But we must never forget that faith is not based on feelings, but on what we know of the character and constancy of God. He never leaves us. He never changes. I will put my hope in God.

Monday, October 18, 2010

What Happened to Peter?

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. (Acts 4:31b)

After he received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Peter seemed to become fearless. He was bold to preach, bold to heal, and bold to stand up to the Sanhedrin. What happened to the fear? He knew the truth of his message and the power of the Spirit. He was a man with a mission. Lord, give me the boldness of Peter. I know your Word is true. I know you have all power. I know I have a mission. Make me bold!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Please Pass the Honey

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Pro 16:24)

How easy it is to bless someone! All we have to do is say something nice to them! A word of thanks or a sincere compliment will lift the spirits of friend and stranger alike. Parents are often told to catch their kids doing something right. But that is true of everyone! I will try to catch people doing something right today, and tell them about it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Blinded by Pride

For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin. (Ps 36:2)

How many of us know someone like that? Someone whose pride blinds them to their own flaws? C.S. Lewis said of pride that there is no sin we dislike more in others, or are less conscious of in ourselves. And that’s the problem – how often are we ourselves guilty of pride but don’t see it? It takes the conviction of the Holy Spirit to confront our own pride. 

Some of us have the opposite problem. We are forever comparing ourselves unfavorably to others. We need to remember that we are precious in God’s sight, and that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps 139:14). I think I am guilty of both. I am given both to preening pride at times when I have done well at something and harsh self-criticism when I fail. In every case I need to remember Paul’s injunction to think of myself with sober judgment (Rom 12:3). I am a child of God, and precious in his sight. Every gift I have is from him. Every success is to his glory. And when I fail, he still loves me as his own.

Friday, October 15, 2010

God of Great and Small

From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth – he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. (Ps 33:13-15)

The same God who spoke the universe into existence concerns himself with every tiny detail of our lives. What an astonishing thought! The one who forms “the starry host by the breath of his mouth” (v6) has even numbered the very hairs on my head! (Lk 12:7)

When I consider that the God of such majesty and power watches everything I do, I am ashamed. He is there when I am “alone” in my car and call other drivers bad names. He is there when choose to watch a TV show I shouldn't. He is there, too, when I roll over and go back to sleep in the morning instead of getting up to spend time with him. Lord, you have the power to form the heavens by your word; I know you have the power to transform me into your image, if only I will let you. I surrender to you. You made me and I am yours. I know that you love me. Thank you for your mercy and your patience. Amen.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Word of Mouth

By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. (Ps 33:6)

Psalm 33 is a great hymn of praise to the Lord. In it the psalmist directs us to consider how great and powerful God is. This verse reminds us that God created the heavens by simply speaking it into existence. He did not need a creation machine to form the heavens and the earth. He spoke, and they came to be (v8). How marvelous and mighty he is!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Older and Wiser

And Israel worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. (Gen 47:31b)

What a great image! That’s the kind of old man I want to be! Jacob was 147 years old at this time. I picture a wizened old man with a deeply lined face. He is hunched over his staff, his robe drawn close around him. His eyes are weak, but wisdom is reflected there. He has suffered many hardships and done many foolish things, but God has been faithful and has blessed him. Jacob wrestled with God in his youth, but in his old age he worships. With the wisdom of old age he knows well both the sovereignty and the benevolence of God. Lord, you are worthy of worship! You are the great and mighty King, the Ruler of all that is. You created us and sustain us. You know every hair on our heads and yet you love us. Praise you, Lord. Glory to you, Almighty God.

I think a lot us are like Jacob. When I was young, I wrestled with God. I challenged him and argued with him. I demanded that he explain himself to me. And I insisted that I would only come to him on my terms. Like Jacob, I found out that approach doesn’t work too well. When we wrestle with God we are out of our weight class! But we were young and stubborn and we had to find out the hard way. Finally we figured out that the only right way to approach God is in humble submission, with a worshipful heart. Now we spend the rest of our lives practicing to learn how to do that. After 147 years Jacob had it down pretty well. I only hope I can get there, too – a little quicker if possible!

A God who can be encompassed by human thought is no God at all.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Teach Me, Lord

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. (Ps 25:9)

If I’m ever going to learn anything I have to be humble. The number one obstacle to learning is not having a teachable spirit. That’s true in school, it’s true at work, and it’s certainly true of our walk with God. Lord, teach me your ways. I confess that I often let pride get in the way of receiving correction. Forgive me, also, for setting boundaries on your truth – when I think it has to be my way and no other. I humble myself before you to learn from you. Teach me, Lord.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Following the Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. (Ps 23:1-2 KJV)

Most of the time I regard being compared to a sheep as an unflattering analogy. What makes this different? If God is my Shepherd, then I am his sheep, and I should be ok with that. In human affairs I would bristle at being called a sheep because it would suggest that I am docile and dumb. My pride would be wounded. I want to believe that I am every bit as smart and qualified to lead as the other guy. But that’s where God is different. Let me be under no illusions about how my intelligence and leadership stack up against his. It is folly for me to think I will be better off to ignore his leadership and chart my own course. My Shepherd is all-knowing and all-powerful. He is perfect in wisdom and love. I can follow him without question and know that he will never fail me. Lord, thank you for leading me. Teach me to follow you without question.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Playing a Deep Game

So, then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household, and ruler of all Egypt. (Gen 45:8)

God’s plans are really deep! Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. That certainly seems like it would not be God’s will. But God was able to turn it to good in a miraculous way. Joseph became ruler of all Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself. Then God sent famine, which brought Joseph’s starving brothers to Egypt. But Joseph treated them with honor. Instead of starving to death in Canaan, they were allowed to move to Egypt and live in the rich land of Goshen. What an amazing turn of events! But God’s plan was even deeper. In later years, a new Pharaoh came to rule over Egypt who oppressed them and made them slaves. All of these events were an essential prelude to the coming of Moses and the miraculous Exodus from Egypt. And this event became the defining moment for the people of Israel. From it God made a new covenant and forged a nation that 1400 years later gave birth to the Messiah. It was the Exodus that created the enduring national identity of the Jews, which has persisted down through the years even to today. And none of it would have been possible if Joseph had not been sold into slavery in Egypt. God plays a really deep game!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Great Motivator

His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness.” (Mt 25:21)

That famous phrase, “Well done, good and faithful servant” is a great motivator for many of the finest Christians I know. It motivates me, too. I hope I live every day in light of that Great Day when we will stand before our Heavenly Father. How I long to hear those words!

Non-Christians so often assume that we are motivated to do good works to avoid being sent to Hell. But of course that’s not it at all. Salvation is a free gift. My eternal destiny is already determined. No, we are motivated by our love for God – compelled by it, as Paul said (2 Cor 5:14). What greater reward can I have but to know that I have pleased God? I was created for that purpose, and every fiber of my being senses whenever I am living according to it.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Secret to Sanctification

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. (Ps 18:32)

We make much of obedience, and rightly so. Sanctification is the process of being conformed to his image and obedient to his will. But we must not forget that it is God who sanctifies us. It is the Holy Spirit who gives me strength to face each challenge and trains me in righteousness. The secret to sanctification is utter dependence on him.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wide Open Spaces

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. (Ps 18:19)

David was in danger from his enemies – hemmed in, entangled, surrounded (v4-5). But God brought him out of that place and into a spacious place, where he could roam widely and freely, without fear. God rescued David because he delighted in him. David was the "man after God’s own heart.” But God delights in us, too. He rescues us all from sin and death. We, too, were entangled by cords of death, overwhelmed by torrents of destruction. We were powerless to resist and bereft of hope – until God stepped in. The light of truth pierced the darkness and we turned toward it. But before we could move to it, the light came to us. Our Heavenly Father plucked us from the snares of death and brought us into his Kingdom of Light. Now I sometimes feel ensnared, but I am bound only by my own fears. My freedom has already been won. I need only open my eyes to see that I am free.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Audience of One

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. (Pro 29:25)

In my comfortable, safe life I do not fear physical injury from others. My fears are all about embarrassment, rejection and scorn. But in these things, too, whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. Certainly I want the good opinion of others. More specifically, I want to deserve the good opinion of others by being the godly man I have been called to be. As long as I have been obedient to that calling I need not fear any hostility and rejection I may encounter, because my reward is the approval of my Master. In that sense I play to an audience of one. Whatever men might say or do, my self worth is based on God’s love for me, which I did nothing to earn and can do nothing to diminish. My trust in God is sure, because God is constant and steadfast. I can trust him never to reject me or condemn me. Jesus suffered the Father's rejection and wrath for my sake. There remains only love. Discipline, to be sure, but always love.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Wrath of God

The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath. (Ps 2:4-5)

I think one reason many of us do not feel more compassion for the lost than we do is our failure to fully appreciate the wrath of God that Jesus saved us from. His wrath burns like a white heat. I imagine being only a few feet away from the open door of a giant blast furnace. The only reason I do not perish is that I am standing behind a small wall which shields me. But I can see all around me the effects of that brilliant heat. I know I am secure behind that wall but I experience viscerally the fearfulness of that great force of nature. Or I can imagine being in a great spaceship and approaching the sun far closer than the orbit of Mercury. At this distance it fills the entire window in front of me, even though it is still many millions of miles away. The surface boils and churns like a cauldron of incandescent gas, and only the incredible shielding of the spaceship wall and window prevents me from being incinerated.

In that situation wouldn’t you have great compassion for anyone stuck outside with only their flimsy spacesuit to protect them? The whole ship would turn and begin emergency procedures to rescue any human being trapped outside. The urgency of our efforts would be driven by the ever present thought in our minds of the intensity of that heat. I am secure in Christ and I do not fear his wrath. But I must never forget about the great danger that faces all my unsaved friends and loved ones. God withholds his wrath today, out of his great compassion and patience. Indeed he blesses all mankind with life and sustenance, “sending his rain on the just and the unjust" (Mt 5:45). But judgment is coming, and the folly of those who would continue their rebellion against Almighty God will be revealed in the Day of Judgment. That is the picture of this verse in Psalms. A day is coming when it will be too late for them. The starkness of the choice before each of us is astonishing. How can we be complacent? Lord, I do not want to be driven by simple fear, but I pray that you would remind me daily of the urgency of the Great Commission.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Wonders of Creation

Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,
that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?

(Job 38:12-13)

In chapters 38 and 39 of Job, the Lord describes the wonders of his creation. By one rhetorical question after another he reminds Job that it was he, and not Job, who created it in all its splendor. Creation is vast beyond measure, intricate beyond our understanding, and powerful beyond our control. I think chapters 38 and 39 are some of the most beautiful poetry in the Bible. And I stand in awe of creation not just because of its vastness, intricacy and power, but also because of its beauty, which is so richly conveyed here.

It is interesting as well to read this passage 3000 years after it was written. Our modern knowledge of nature is many times greater than the ancients – when God asks Job his rhetorical questions, some of them we can now say yes to:

Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn? 

(Job 39:1)

To which anyone who watches National Geographic TV specials could probably say yes. But the larger point is still intact and powerful. God knows when every mountain goat gives birth, and watches every fawn being born. In fact, as we learn more about creation we appreciate even better than the author of Job how vast, intricate, powerful and beautiful the universe is. But modern man no longer looks beyond creation to see the power and majesty of the Creator. They call it Nature now, with a capital N, and worship it instead of God. They have mastered the trick of looking at the most beautiful and well designed system imaginable and ascribing its origin to pure chance. Lord, open the eyes of the blind. Let them see you in your creation. Let science once again be practiced for your glory. Praise you, for you are the Creator and Lord of All! Amen.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Blogger's Proverb

A fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions. (Pro 18:2)

This should probably be known as the Blogger’s Proverb. It leaps out at me because I delight in airing my own opinions. Hopefully, it cannot also be said of me that I “find no pleasure in understanding.” But the cautionary note is well-applied to all of us, because the delight in our own opinions is a symptom of pride. The blogger must beware more than most. Yet the proper corrective action is not necessarily to stay silent, but to speak in all humility. Every word motivated by pride must be left unsaid. Silence may often be the wisest course, but there is a time for humble speech. There is never a time for prideful speech. Lord, help me to share my thoughts for the right reasons and in the right way. Let me not speak except to be a blessing to others. Amen.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Hate Evil

To fear the Lord is to hate evil. (Pro 8:13a)

If we really understand who God is we will hate evil. We should hate it both for the bad consequences that it produces and for the punishment that follows it. It is foolish to provoke the wrath of God and foolish to break his commandments which were given to us for our own good. To “fear God” is to know him and to acknowledge him as Lord. Because he is good we know his commandments are good; to violate them will have bad consequences. Because he is just we know that all evil will be punished. Because we are saved by the blood of Christ we need not fear his judgment, but we still must suffer the natural consequences of sin. Also, because we know Christ we have another reason to obey his commands: because we love him. As Christians we must hate evil – the evil we find in the world and the evil we find in our own lives.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Reflecting Jesus

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. (Mt 5:14)

In Jn 8:12 Jesus says, “I am the light of the world” – one of the seven great “I am” statements of the Gospel of John. How astonishing then that in Matthew 5 he told his followers, “You are the light of the world.” Clearly, we are to shine by reflecting his light, for “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (I Jn 1:5)

What does it mean for me to be the light of the world? If those around me are going to see Jesus, they will see his life reflected in mine. If those around me are going to hear the Gospel, they will hear it from my lips. I have an awesome responsibility to speak Truth and live by its light, so that those around me will experience the love of Jesus through me. Darkness cannot reign in my little corner of the world if I set my lamp on a lampstand, proclaiming and living by God’s Truth. Lord, help me be bold, and be true to my calling, so that those around me will see my life and my words as a beacon of hope.