Friday, August 24, 2012

Describe yourself in one sentence

John 1:4  "In Him was life, and that life was the light of men."

To boil one's identity down to a one-line description seems impossible.  One line is not enough, it seems, to describe the complexities and many facets of a person. 

There are many one-line descriptions of Jesus we could extract from the Bible.  Each of the one-line descriptions of Jesus are severely incomplete and all encompassing, all at the same time.  While Jesus had complexities to Him and many characteristics and facets one could choose to include or exclude from a one-line description of Him, His true mission and identity was really very simple to state in a single line. While different words or characteristics could serve as the subject, all true descriptions of Jesus ultimately communicate the same message about who He is and why He came to live among us. 

When you have a central theme, identity or purpose, all roads lead to it.  Everything in your life is a reflection of your priorities and what you believe is your purpose.  What is my one-line description?  What is the central theme of my life that all one-line descriptions of myself should point toward?

Monday, August 20, 2012

What song am I singing?

Psalm 98:1  "Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things;  His right hand and His Holy arm have worked salvation for Him."

What song am I singing to the Lord?  Am I even singing to Him at all? 

David's psalm reminds us of the joy and thankfulness we should constantly feel toward the Lord.  He goes on to talk about His work of salvation and our eager anticipation of His return.  If our focus is on Him and what he has (and will) do for us, the only song we could be capable of singing to Him is one of joy and praise.

It is when our focus turns inward- toward ourselves, our problems, our circumstances, our battles- that we sing a song of despair, worry and impatience.  God is always present to hear us when we cry out to Him and to help us when we ask.  But the song we sing to Him during these times shouldn't be the only (or even the most prevalent) song He hears us sing to Him. 

It is a matter of focus, and our default stance toward God should be one of praise and thanksgiving.  I tend to remain a little too silent when all is well, while singing with great volume when I need something.  I'd be well served to reverse this.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The One True Path

Psalm 119:104  "I gain understanding from Your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path."

God's wisdom is gained through constant study, meditation and application of God's Word.  Scripture is God's direct revelation to us of Himself and His wisdom.  It is not just His opinion or His philosophy that He hopes to convince us to adopt as our own.  He reveals to us the underlying laws that serve as the foundation for the world and everything in it.  It tells us how life is supposed to work, in accordance with how He created it.  It is the singular Truth from the singular Creator.

Meditating on His Word and gaining a true understanding of it leads not only to a desire on our part to follow its path, but a hatred for wrong paths.  Again, the goal is not simply to convince ourselves that His path is preferable to the vast array of paths and choices that lay before us.  True understanding shows us that there is only one path- God's path.  The others may appeal to us in some way, but they are a path to destruction and separation from our Father.

Love the one true path and learn to hate all of the others.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The source of ever-present comfort, hope and joy

John 14:1  " 'Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in Me.' "

Our hearts can become troubled over a wide variety of things.  Our current circumstances, good or bad, tend to rule the day when it comes to the peace or trouble we feel in our hearts.  When trouble is present, we worry because we can't clearly see how situations will work out.  We may worry over the ramifications of certain possible outcomes. 

The truth is, we don't know what will happen in our lives.  No matter how well we plan nor how carefully we live, the outcome is out of our hands.  This uncertainty can be very unsettling, because as human beings we thrive on a certain level of consistency and predictability. 

Our comfort, hope and joy can't be based on our circumstances if we desire that comfort, hope and joy to be ever-present in our lives.  Only by focusing on the Great Orchestrator can we find permanent, unshakable comfort, hope and joy.  We can't trust the world to be fair or circumstances to go in our favor if we simply do our part.  But we can trust fully in the Creator, who is constantly interceding on our behalf and constantly offering Himself as our shelter and our strength.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

God is at work even when we can't see it

Colossians 1:6  "...all over the world this Gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth."

When we think of the Gospel bearing fruit, we can think of it in large scale such as the missionary work going on right now all over the world.  We may also think of large scale efforts being conducted by churches and other organizations to show the love of Christ through service and evangelism in our own country and in our community.

These examples of "bearing fruit" on a larger scale can be easier to see than the minute ways the Spirit bears fruit sometimes in an individual.  In our "instant" society, we want to see the results and progress now, and get easily frustrated by a lack of what we perceive to be tangible progress.

But like the immeasurably small movement of a glacier or a continent, the fact that we can't readily see the movement doesn't mean it isn't occurring.  And, it is occurring at the pace in which God wants it to occur. 

Don't lose patience with yourself or others because the fruit being borne is not always abundant and easily seen.  Rest assured that God is working, and He isn't finished with any of us yet.