Archive for July, 2013
But see, there is joy and revelry, slaughtering of cattle and killing of sheep, eating of meat and drinking of wine! “Let us eat and drink,” you say, “for tomorrow we die!” (Isaiah 22:13)
That is certainly one way to face your mortality. If you really knew you would die tomorrow, how would you live today? I don’t know about tomorrow, but I do know that one will be the day before you die. Live what matters.
What do we owe Caesar, that is, the government? Respect. Obedience to just laws. Payment of taxes.
But we don’t give Caesar what belongs to God: Worship. Devotion. Allegiance.
Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but also to the interest of others. (Philippians 2:4)
Of course you must take care of your needs. But do not focus only on your concerns. Look out for others also.
Imagine that you have been diagnosed with a terminal disease. The doctor informs you that there is one cure that is 100% effective. But only one. Would you be interested? Or would you insist on the need to have multiple options?
What if you are traveling to a famous historical site and are told that there is only one road that leads to the venue? Would you return home in protest, refusing to be forced into a certain pattern of behavior?
Picture wanting to buy something that you’ve wanted for a long time and discovering that this item is only available in one store. Would that make you desist from getting what you’ve been longing for?
Now imagine that a man comes along claiming to offer the only path to knowing God. Do you reject him for his audacity? Criticize his intolerance?
When his followers repeat the claim of exclusivity, how should they be viewed? Will we write them off as closed-minded bigots?
Jesus made the following claim: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
Pretty outrageous, when you think about it. It’s one thing to claim to be one of many ways, to hold a truth among other truths and to offer one lifestyle among many. It’s quite different to claim to be “the way and the truth and the life.”
Openness and tolerance would seemingly require Jesus to offer many options about coming to God. But he didn’t. He said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Then his followers came along and said the same. Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, had the audacity to say, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Whoa! Wait a minute! Salvation in Jesus and in no one else? No other name by which we can be saved? Not exactly a model of inclusiveness.
But you see, there are times when we have to face the truth that not every option is equal and not every choice is valid. When it comes to eternal life, to salvation, to having a relationship with God, there’s only one way: through Jesus Christ.
“If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” (John 15:10)
Love. Commands. Obedience. We forget sometimes that these things go together. God has given us commands as part of his love, commands for our good, not our harm. Because we love him, we obey those commands. If we reject his commands, we reject his love and cannot claim to love him.
Love. Commands. Obedience.
“Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness, his upper rooms by injustice, making his countrymen work for nothing, not paying them for their labor. (Jeremiah 22:13)
You may “get ahead” by taking advantage of others, but do not think you got away with it. God notices. He knows.
“I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.” (1 Chronicles 17:14)
These words were fulfilled hundreds of years later when Jesus came into this world. He is the descendant of David who became the eternal King.
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all timees and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. (II Thessalonians 3:16)
Let this be your blessing today. Following Jesus brings peace.
““The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”” (Matthew 1:23)
God with us. What a beautiful phrase.
God with us. Not us traveling miles and miles searching for God. God coming to be with us.
God chose to be with us. Now it’s our turn to choose to be with him.
You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. (Psalm 45:7)
When you love what God loves and hate what God hates, he will bless you in this life and the life to come.