Archive for May, 2016
“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4–6)
As we deal with differences in opinion, let’s never forget that the things that unite us are greater than the things that threaten to divide us.
I am the Lord who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy. (Leviticus 11:45)
There is a reason why we live the way we do. It is not because we are holy, but because our God is holy. We are his people, his children. Live like him. That is our desire. To be holy because we want to be like our Father.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.” (Revelation 2:11)
Death is a part of the human condition. Unless the Lord comes first, we will all die.
But we need only die once. Those who are in Christ, who are covered by his sacrifice through their faith in him, these people will live again. Though we die, we shall live again. Forever.
It is always tempting to decide for yourself what is the right thing to do. Instead of molding our lives to be like God wants, we attempt to mold God into what we want. God knows best. Better to follow him.
Even as we live in a personal relationship with God, enjoying fellowship with him, we still respect him. We fear him, in a healthy sense of the word. He is still God. He is still the Creator, while we are the creation. God deserves our respect.
“Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him…” (Acts 7:9)
This is from the famous sermon Stephen preached after Pentecost. He uses stories of God’s work among his people. It is still a wonderful way to talk about God: tell what he has done among his people.
It’s no small thing to God when his people die. He is aware. He is present. He will save.
And he will resurrect.
Then celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the Lord your God has given you. (Deuteronomy 16:10)
How much should you give to God? Giving is part of celebrating what God has done for you. It is a gift you freely offer because of what God has done for you. You give out of what God has given you.
It is hard to imagine how he could make a bigger mess of his life. David slept with the wife of one of his officers. He first tried to hide his sin. When that did not work, he had her husband killed during a battle. David knew better. He was the King over God’s people. But I understand how it happened. So do you. We have all done things that we knew we should not do. We have tried to cover up our sin. And sometimes, we have involved others in our sin. We have hurt others.
But the story of David does not end there, and neither does our story.
David repented of his sin. In fact, you can read David’s reaction to his sin in Psalm 51. He begs God to cleanse him from his sin. He asked God to wash him whiter than snow. David wants God to hide His face from his sins and to blot out his iniquity. David asks for forgiveness. He brings to God a broken and contrite heart.
David also wanted to have his relationship with God restored. He wanted a clean and pure heart. He wanted God’s Holy Spirit to stay with him. He wanted joy and gladness in his life again. He asked God to restore the joy of His salvation and to renew a willing spirit within him.
David repented and he sought restoration. But David also committed to a lifestyle that reflects this repentance. When God forgave and restored him, David did two things. He sang of God’s righteousness. He was going to live a forgiven life praising God. He also committed to tell other sinners the ways of God so they too would repent and turn to God.
That is a story that you are invited to live out in your life. God loves you. When you sin, seek forgiveness and restoration. Then worship God with thanksgiving for what He has done for you. Do not be selfish with the good news. Let others know that God’s forgiveness is readily available. We Christians are not perfect, but we are forgiven and restored. We live forgiven lives of praise and testimony to what God has done – and is doing — in our lives.
If you are not a Christian, that is the life we invite you into — a life of forgiveness, restoration, and purpose.
“Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.” (Isaiah 44:8)
There are plenty of things that make us want to tremble and be afraid. But none of them are worth it, for our God is in control. And there is none like him.