Monday, February 22, 2010

As the snow come down from heaven...

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there without watering the earth ... so shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth
Isaiah 55:10-11
We know that everything basically living needs water to survive, be it plant, animal or human. Hydration is vital. We have found no sign of life without water. And this water graciously comes down from heaven above by the Creator's gracious command to accomplish the purpose for which He sends it: "watering the earth, and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater." (verse 10)
This is beautiful, real picture of what the Word of God does also! It comes down from heaven above and does not return 'without' accomplishing the purpose for which He sends it: to create faith, to make it grow and sprout.
And what primarily does this Word of God accomplish? God answers in verse 7: "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." This is none other than the constant theme of the entire Bible: repent for your sins and believe that Jesus came do live the perfect life for you, be crucified, dead and buried and rise again for your forgiveness.
Does this make since to our natural way of thinking about us and God? No, for our thoughts are not God's thoughts, our ways are not God's ways! (verse 8-9) So, let God change your thoughts and ways to His Way and Truth: Jesus! (John 14:6) His Word changes our thoughts and ways to His, and they do accomplish the purpose for which He sends it: to forgive our sins for Christ Jesus' sake.
Repent and believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Learn to be Content

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Philippians 4:11

We should be so glad that Paul here confesses that he had to learn contentment in every situation. Sometimes some Christians speak of having good spiritual characteristics in the sense that they come too easy for them, while the rest of us struggle like crazy to achieve them. Not here with Paul, he relates that it took a learning curve for him, and thus for us too. He has had times where he had an abundance and he also had times when he had scarcely enough.

Paul is valuable because he just doesn't talk a good Christian life, but he lives it. And he shares with us as a mentor in our living for Christ too. Contentment is such a valuable asset! It is the opposite of striving for more! Our world and culture today wants to always keep us from being content--it wants us to always seek more, another, upgrade, etc.

Most of the time the situations in which we find ourselves are not of our choice, and thus we are malcontent with them and seek to remove ourselves from them quickly. We are typically not too peaceful until these situations are changed. Contentment is called for in all these situations for the Christian. We believers in Christ are to accept them as our gracious and loving God's will for our lives at that time. We are to rely on His judgment and care for us in EVERY situation, for He loves us and His mercy endures forever!

Contentment is knowing who we are: we are the Lord's! Contentment is knowing where we are heading: we are heading to eternal life with Him! Contentment is trusting in Him always: we are totally dependent on His promise to always be with us and work all things to our good.

This prayer says it well: "Blessed be the Lord God, who has not left us to suffer in our own folly, but has called and enlightened us to live according to His mercy in Christ. Amen."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It's Your Thing; Do What YOU Want to Do

You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes, for you have not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance that the LORD your god is giving you... Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.
Deuteronomy 12:8, 32

Christianity is not a religion of the individual, to do what you want to do, but a conforming one. It is conforming to the will of God as revealed in His Word and Word Incarnate, Jesus Christ.

Our natural tendency as sinners is to want to rebel against this conformity to be God's beloved children and do what we want, not what He wants. This is at the very heart, we should understand, of the Satanic Bible, 'do what thou wants'. So, we desire to stand out, to be different from the rest, to set off in directions and to frontiers where no one before us has dared to go. And there is strong pressures in our culture and world to make us conform to this "do your own thing mentality." This is deceptive and false when it comes to our relationship with God and our desire to enter the Promised Land of Heaven. As Paul writes so powerfully in Romans 12: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." The power to do this resistance to conforming to the world's mold of "do your own thing" is the Gospel. The Good News that Jesus died for our rebellion to God's will and this saving work powers us now not to live for ourselves and do what we want, but live for Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. (Galatians 2:20)

In Deuteronomy Moses was giving a sermon series on God's revelation to His people before they entered the Promised Land, having come through the wilderness. Their was to be no individuality in their life with God, of doing what they individually thought was right and proper before God, but was to be governed solely by His Word. We too are on the edge of the Promised Land of heaven having been in the wilderness of this world. We too are to be governed by His Word, with no additions or subtractions from it as our guide. We are too resist our world's strong influence to change God's to whatever we desire, like or want--whatever is right in our own eyes. For our eyes have seen the marvelous salvation from our sins in Jesus' cross and empty grave and that transforms us to conform our hearts and lives to His truth found in Sacred Scripture.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Eyewitness Testimony for Jesus

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our own eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life--what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:1,3

Even in today's courtrooms in our country, the highest form of evidence permitted is the credible testimony of an eyewitness. Consider how the trial of OJ Simpson would have gone if there had been a credible eyewitness to the murder?

Such is the case with the life and ministry of Jesus! There are credible eyewitness accounts in the Bible of what Jesus did and said, as the Apostle John here proclaims. We have credible eyewitnesses because they did not change their testimony even in the face of suffering, persecution nor even death. They were not known to be habitual liars, nor were they known to have been controlled by substances that could have affected this testimony. The great jurist Simon Greenleaf, a Yale Law School professor who is known to have written the definitive book on what is admissible in a trial as evidence, examined this eyewitness testimony of the apostles in the Bible and found it to be easily admissible eyewitness testimony in a courtroom trial and wrote a book on this.

And just what does the eyewitness John say is the point of all this eyewitness testimony that he shares? That we have fellowship with him and Jesus and that this fellowship (sharing something in common, here Jesus' righteousness) cleanse us from our sins! (1 John 1:7)

We must be more aware that Christianity is a very historical religion based on the eyewitness testimony and the words and life of Jesus of Nazareth. As John proclaims the writing of his for us in John 20:30: "that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."