Archive for February, 2010

At His Word

 In all my reading, pondering and writing, most days I feel that it is all for a purpose beyond myself.  Occasionally though, I will have a day like I had this past Sunday.  I felt like it was all for nothing; like it didn’t fit in.  It was paralyzing.

The next morning I saw in Luke 5, Simon who had worked all night and caught nothing, a leper, who because of his leprosy didn’t fit in, and one who was really paralyzed.  I couldn’t believe the parallel. 

At Jesus’ word, Simon’s work would finally pay off.  At Jesus’ word, the leper was healed and immediately fit in again.  At Jesus’ word, the one who was paralyzed stood up. 

The Lord used these stories to assure me when I was feeling that all was for nothing.  He used them to help me see how what I was doing would eventually fit in.  He used them to help me stand back up. 

We have a very real enemy that that is forever trying to steal, kill and destroy the work He is trying to accomplish in us.  But we also have a helper, and at His word, He speaks life back into us.  At His word, our work will finally pay off.


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For years people had been told what they must do and not do to please God.  When John comes on the scene with his two cents worth, people in that age old mindset know no other way to respond than, ‘what must we do’?  John, as he represents the end of the law, and he too knowing no other way to respond, answers accordingly; ‘you should do this and you should not do that’. 

But he is at least aware and wastes no time in pointing out that there is one coming that has much more.  As the law had become an unbearable weight that man did not have the nature to live by, the One coming would put within them a new nature out of which would naturally flow the conduct which the law was intended to produce. 

The One coming would put within them the Holy Spirit—the nature of God Himself.  This new nature is like any other new birth and will grow as it is fed.  It has the potential, if fed enough, to be like a fire that not only burns out the old nature but also burns in the new.  It can also be fed too little and burn relatively nothing.

As with any fire, the size depends directly on how much it is fed.  Is your fire all but out because you seldom add wood to it?  Do you add a stick now and then just to keep it going?  Do you add often to keep it ‘rippin’?

There is no substitute for personal time with God.  The occasional or even regular stick of church attendance is not enough.  It might keep your fire going, but it will not ‘rip’ as it could.

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A Little Good News

“The word of God came to John.”  I have had ‘the word of God’ come to me before.  It is unmistakable.  In the midst of a sea of my own thoughts that are as unstable as water itself, finally . . . His thoughts are heard.  It is exactly what is needed.  It is direction that can be counted on.  It firms up the unstable ground.  It is life.

This is the kind of word that came to John.  It firmed up what he was to do—what he was to say.  His words would be the beginning of the good news that would come to be known as the Gospel. 

First was a new means by which sin would be forgiven.  It had required the sacrifice of animals – the regular shedding of blood.  When someone sinned (did something that was contrary to what God required), to be forgiven for it, they would bring an offering to be sacrificed for atonement.

This new means, ‘repentance for the forgiveness of sins’, would accept Jesus’ offering – His one time shedding of blood – His one time sacrifice for atonement.  Can you imagine after thousands of years of bloody sacrifices, how good this new news would have been?      

But it didn’t stop there.  It is not just a better way to handle offenses; it is much needed help in life’s difficulties.  Valleys will be filled in, mountains and hills will be made low, crooked roads will be made straight, and rough ways made smooth. 

It does not mean He will take away your problems.  The valleys, mountains, crooked roads and rough ways will still be there; but knowing nothing is greater than what He can handle, that nothing is too hard that He cannot make a way, if you can stay focused to see the way He clears, it is the equivalent of filling in, bringing down, straightening and smoothing.

And there you have the Gospel (the good news) in a nutshell.  A better means has been provided for which offenses are paid for and forgiven.  Plus you can be assured of help through life’s difficulties.  If you can remember that nothing you face is greater than creating the sun and setting it place (think about that) you can have assurance that nothing you face is greater than what He can handle.  Would you not agree that that is indeed a little good news?

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Losing the Son of God


The feast was over.  Jesus’ family was on their way back home but was unaware that He had stayed behind.  “Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day.  Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends.  When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.” 

Can you imagine Mary and Joseph’s perspective; ‘We have lost the Son of God’?

Have you ever ‘lost the Son of God’?  Have you ever had to pull away from family and friends to go back to where you last remember being with Jesus to find Him again?  Isn’t it all so subtle?  Isn’t it all so easy for it to go unnoticed?  It only took one day to lose Him, but it took three to find Him again.  Isn’t that the way it often is? 

How long does it take ‘to’ notice?  Once we realize we have lost Him, do we abandon all to find Him again as they did?  Do we put forth the extra effort it usually takes to find where we lost Him?  He stopped and we went on.  He turned and we went straight.  As much as it sometimes takes our all to find Him, it also takes our all to not lose Him.

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I’m sure most women today would have griped just a little bit, but Mary found treasure.  She and Joseph had just traveled about 75 miles to Bethlehem; means of transportation . . . sandals.  Can you imagine doing that today—while pregnant and at full term?  Plus the fact, that not having made reservations, when they got there, there were no rooms available at any of the hotels. 

I can see it just as clearly as I am seeing these letters as I sit here typing.  Just about the time they find out there are no rooms available, when you think it can’t get any worse, it does.  Mary is ready to have her baby.  Because there is nothing else available, they clear out a place in a stall and make the best of it; her first born child, the Son of God of all things, born in a stall.  There was no epidural, no ice chips, no soft bed to lie in after it was over, no hot shower or bath; just family, a little straw and a few animals. 

You would think that God would have seen to it that she could have had an easier way of it all.  Instead it appears it pleased Him to let it be as difficult and as lowly as one could imagine.  But . . .  He knows how, in our difficulty, to make it all worth it.  He sent shepherds to confirm what she knew in her heart about the child she had just given birth to.  In her difficulty He was able to give her treasure.

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