Archive for November, 2012
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (I Peter 1:3)
I celebrate today because I have been born again into eternal life. Jesus was raised from the dead. I died with him, and I too will be raised to live with him forever. Praise God.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
Christians have been called to be witnesses. Not eyewitnesses of what happened while Jesus was alive, but witnesses to the power of God at work today, to the message of salvation that has been given to us. We are to tell these glad tidings to the ends of the earth.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100:5)
God’s love and faithfulness have stood the test of time. Generation after generation has seen his goodness. Remember that lesson today.
“I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.” (Nehemiah 2:18)
People need to hear good news. They need to hear of how God is at work. They need to hear how others have done good things. Then they will be encouraged to do good things themselves.
The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice. (Exekiel 22:29)
It does matter how we treat people, especially those who are downtrodden. Today let us be honest, generous, and kind to those in need. Do not treat them as so many others in this world do.
She made a mistake. A big one. It was over a quarter of a century ago, but it haunts her daily.
She got pregnant. And, despite being totally against it in principle, she had an abortion.
Now it’s 2012, and she’s reaching out by phone, calling a Christian non-profit, desperately seeking some words of comfort and hope. Her family doesn’t know. Her minister doesn’t know. The one other person who knows doesn’t seem to share her pain and remorse, though he was just as responsible in the situation as she was.
She talks to me, a stranger. She won’t even tell me her first name. She cries most of the time. She speaks of her fear of one day facing her unborn child. She speaks of her fear of being found out by family and friends. Most of all she speaks of her fear that God will never forgive her.
What she hears from others offers no comfort. Christians saying that everyone involved with abortion is headed straight for the lake of fire. Family members saying that baby killers deserve any and all punishment that God gives them. Church leaders taking a strong stand against abortion, unwittingly heaping increasing loads of guilt on this woman’s shoulders.
I don’t know that I was able to help. She said that I was the first that had given her any hope, and I pray that I was able to do just that. [Wish I’d remembered this passage from 1 John: “This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” (1 John 3:19-20)] . I did tell her that God is bigger than any sin that we might commit, that his grace can cover even our worst misdeeds. And we prayed together.
It’s a reminder to me, a call to gentler speech. This is a reminder to you, about the same. It’s easy to grab the rocks and hurl them against the sinners: the abortionists, the drug dealers, the adulterers, the homosexuals. It’s also wrong.
I need these words engraved on my heart: “Whichever one of you has committed no sin may throw the first stone.”
We need to know how to take a hard stand against sin without trampling sinners in the process.
“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7:38)
Christianity isn’t about receiving a “Get Out Of Hell Free” card from God. It’s not about having something to do on Sunday morning. It’s about God living inside of us, flowing out of us to the world around. It’s about a life-changing relationship with God’s Holy Spirit.
It is easy to find suggestions on how to prosper in this life, and almost every one of them is about what you can do for yourself. But real prosperity comes from your relationship with God and what he can do.
“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.” (Deuteronomy 8:10)
Give thanks to the Lord. Praise him for what he has done for us. Never fool yourself into thinking that what you have is because of your own goodness, your own talent or your own hard work. All good things come from God. Be thankful to him and praise his name.
In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you, says the Lord your Redeemer. (Isaiah 54:8)
So often I do things that must make God so angry that he should strike me dead. But God does not stay angry at me, but has compassion on me. Today I will be thankful for God’s love and compassion — even when I don’t deserve them.