Archive for May, 2013
Be happy today. Praise God. Sing to him and about him. It is a good thing to do.
“We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:3–4)
Interesting job description. Prayer and ministry of the Word — that was what the apostles spent their time doing. We need men who will dedicate themselves to those same things today, and we need others who will support them to make that possible.
” ‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen;’ says the Lord Almighty. (Zechariah 7:13)
You cannot ignore God’s words to you and then expect him to pay attention to you when you speak to him.
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.” (Mark 14:22–24)
It’s called the Lord’s Supper. It’s a simple memorial meal that Christians eat every Sunday. We take and eat bread to remember his body. We drink juice made from grapes to remember his blood. By means of that uncomplicated act, we join a chain of believers who have done the same thing every first day of the week since Jesus was crucified.
Filter every action today through the eyes of love. Everything we do today must reflect our love for God and for our neighbor.
Funerals. As a Minister and Elder, I conduct a lot of funerals, and I also attend a large number of funerals every year. I am struck by the various forms of grief behavior I witness. I have seen people wail at the loss of a parent only to find out that they rarely visited and never helped with the end of life care. I have heard public proclamations of what a wonderful person the deceased was, and then heard everyone in private talk about how bad they were. Of course, I also see various responses to death even among the Christian community. Some think that Christians should be so happy about heaven, that funerals are more like parties and tears are seen as a lack of faith. And I have seen Christians mourn so strongly that it seems as if there will be no tomorrow.
So let me share the way God would have his people react to the death of loved ones. Grieve with hope. God said it this way:
Brothers, we do not want you … to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
I Thessalonians 4: 13
Christians do grieve the loss of loved ones. We bury babies, children, and parents. We grieve their passing. We miss them. We hurt for the family left here. We mourn and we cry. Of course we grieve. But not like other people grieve. We grieve with hope. We believe that death is not the end. We believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and that he will raise us from the dead also. We believe we will see our loved ones again. We believe that we will live together in the presence of God forever.
And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. I Thessalonians 4:17-18
So death – and funerals – are different for us because real life awaits.
“The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man through whom we can inquire of the LORD, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad.” (2 Chronicles 18:7)
What makes for a good preacher? Someone who tells good stories? Who makes us laugh? Who makes us feel good?
No, a good preacher speaks a message from the Lord, even when it’s not what the people want to hear.
This life is hard and trouble comes. It sometimes seems as if we are literally in the pit of despair. Call on God. He hears and he cares.
“If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.” (Matthew 12:7)
“I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” God isn’t looking for perfectly conducted rituals nor precisely performed acts of worship. He is after a heart dedicated to him and lives that mirror his love.
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. (Revelation 7:9)
If you believe in Jesus, this is your future. Someday. Live in anticipation of that day.