Archive for September, 2012
Edgar Allan Poe is one of the better known American authors from the 19th century. His tales of mystery and suspense have captivated audiences around the world. One of my favorites is one of his lesser known tales: “The Sphinx.”
In this story, Poe writes in first person of leaving New York City during a cholera outbreak and visiting a friend who lived in the country. While looking out the window one day, the author sees a horrific site: an enormous monster coming down a nearby hill. Poe screams in terror and falls unconscious to the floor.
Days later, Poe’s friend discovered the identity of the “monster.” It was a moth, the so-called Death’s Head Moth. It had only seemed large because it was on the window, just a few inches from Poe’s face.
I can relate to the narrator in this story. I’ve had problems in my life that seemed monstrous at the time, yet now seem almost laughable. The things that seemed so important five years ago are hardly remembered today. And I know that today’s monsters will someday be revealed as nothing more than moths on a window pane. It’s all about perspective.
It’s hard to have proper perspective when you’re in the midst of a problem. That’s why the Bible encourages us to take our worries and give them to God. The apostle Peter wrote, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) The apostle Paul said, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
God can take our worries and replace them with peace because he can see things from the right point of view, the eternal perspective.
“Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:17–18)
It’s so easy to want to say, “Look what I did. I achieved this. I made this.” We need to be careful and remember that everything we have, everything we are, everything we do is because of God.
God is a healer. He heals spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Ask him. And if you are one he has healed, thank him and tell others of his goodness to you.
“This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:8–9)
It’s easy to talk about being a Christian, easy to go to church and basically live a good life. But God wants more… he wants our hearts. He wants us to worship him on Sunday… and on Monday through Saturday as well.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (II Corinthians 5:17)
Jesus is in the business of making new people. The old person of sin, regrets, and disappointment is gone. You can start again and be the person God designed you to be. Start new today.
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David” (Luke 1:68–69)
God has visited his people. He has come to redeem us. He is not a distant god; he is the God who became flesh and lived among us, bringing us the hope of eternal life.
When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened. (Jonah 3:10)
God knows when we live in rebellion to him. He sees when we change. His heart hurts for us and rather than destroy us, he saves us.
1. What do I have to know? The apostle Paul explains it in I Corinthians 15.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…
If you want to follow Jesus and be saved, that is what you have to know.
2. What do I have to do? Paul explains it in Romans 6.
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
If you want to become a Christian, you participate in the most important thing you have learned. You die with Jesus, you are buried with him, and you are raised to new life. It is called baptism, but it is when you are crucified with Christ.
3. Then what? Again in the words of Paul in I Corinthians 10.
Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
After you become a Christian, you meet with other Christians to participate together in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. We exist together in a community of believers, reminding ourselves of our shared decision and commitment.
“And when you saw that Nahash the king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when the LORD your God was your king.” (1 Samuel 12:12)
When people let fear run their lives, bad things happen. When people turn away from God and look to other humans for protection, things only get worse. Make God the king of your life. Trust in him for your salvation.
For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. (Hebrews 4:2)
It is not enough to know the facts about Jesus. That does nothing for you. Believe in Jesus. Know it, then act on it. That is what makes Jesus invaluable.