June 2010

We have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

1 Timothy 4: 10

Most of us need something to hold onto; we want to believe that there is a future that will be better than the past and that will exceed the present in quality. This thing that we call hope becomes an anchor point for us that helps hold us upright when things get crazy in our world, and it gives us the will to face the new day when otherwise dawn promises little beyond frustration and futility. Yet, many of the things that we can attach our hope to prove to be weak, temporary, or futile, themselves. Christ is the only point of attachment that is anchored at the center of all Creation; thus, when we seek to find our hope in Him, we are looking to its true source.

God has made this same potential available and possible for all people. He brings the brightness of His glory into the lives of everyone who will turn to Him, and the Lord does all of this with a willingness that indicates His great desire to have everyone live in the fullest expression of peace and love. However, in order to truly know the hope that God brings into this harsh world, we need to accept His gift of grace that leads to salvation through a relationship with Jesus.

So, it becomes the responsibility of all of us who have come to enjoy the benefits of living on the inside of this new, hope-filled relationship with God to spread the word about the peace, joy, and freedom that we have found in and through Christ with people who are still seeking their hope in the things that they can do, the work that they perform, and in the status that they can achieve. Hope in Christ is to be embraced, pursued, enjoyed, and shared with others.


Though I am free from all people, I have made myself a slave to all that I might win the more.

1 Corinthians 9: 19

Freedom is something that almost all people prize; it seems that the idea of being free runs at the deepest levels of our beings. It is something that people are willing to fight and to die for; it is a concept that has formed the under girding of numerous revolutions, and freedom is often the life blood of people’s passion for individual and corporate rights. We tend to work very hard to gain our freedom, and the desire to increase it is a major driving force in much of our efforts to gain education, societal status, and personal wealth. Still, freedom generally remains both elusive and situational; for, the more we have of it, the greater the weight of responsibility tends to become, and we also start to identify more and more of the potential infringements upon our freedom that are waiting out in the world to pounce on our backs.

There has been only one person who ever lived who was totally and completely free, and that was Jesus. Unlike the rest of us, He had no debt to pay to sin, and He was not trying to overcome the remaining forces of sin on his heart and mind. Yet, even Jesus was willing to place Himself under the authority of God, the Father, for He understood that obedience was necessary in order for Him to completely serve God’s will by living to serve other people. Although this brought about hard times, momentary pain, and caused Him to live a humble existence; Christ experienced the complete and the absolute approval and pleasure of God, and He brought love, grace, and salvation to anyone who would listen and respond to Him.

Although we have been granted total freedom by God through Christ, we are asked by God to follow after the model that Jesus established. We need to look for ways to serve the needs of others in our world; we are to seek understanding and reconciliation with even the most stridently difficult people; and we are to be the last to assert our own wants, wishes, and desires. The Lord wants us to trust Him to the level that we can take the risk of leaving behind the security of our freedoms and enter into the lives of others with an attitude of submission and loving service.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in holy array.

Psalm 29: 2

It’s Sunday; thus, it must be time to worship God. This is the day where we set aside a few hours for this purpose, and that is a good thing to do. Maybe your dedicated time was yesterday; perhaps, it is on Wednesdays, or you give some time throughout the week to spend with God. All of that is good and worthy; yet, none of it truly responds to the sort of worship that the lord wants us to give to Him, and it doesn’t correspond with the desires of our own redeemed and transformed hearts, either.

When I consider the sort of credit and the praise that is due to God based upon what He has done for me and the work that He continually performs in me, in other people, and in the world, I am faced with a task that is impossible to perform in a limited amount of time or in any one specific location. God’s glory is the light that brings life saving clarity to challenging situations, and it provides the heat that melts away the heart-numbing chill of sin. The glory of God reaches into every corner of this world and seeks to provide a loving and a nurturing environment for each individual soul on this planet. In order to truly recognize the Lord and to give Him the credit that He is due, I need to make worship the primary activity of my entire life; thus, the way that I live, the manner that I deal with other people, and the respect that I exhibit for creation are continual acts of worship for God, the Creator of it all.

Additionally, the Lord does want me to dress in my “Sunday Finest” when I engage in worship; however, I really don’t think that He cares much about what it is that I am wearing. The Lord wants me to respect Him and to honor Him by seeking to grow deeper in my knowledge of His ways, in my understanding of His will, and in the continual practice of righteous love. These are the garments of a truly holy array; for, God wants the world to see Christ when I interact with it. When that happens, true worship is the result.

Of the Son, God, the Father, says,

“Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom.”

Hebrews 1: 8 (quoting Psalm 45: 6)

We people make decisions about allegiances and memberships all of the time; we join a group that looks like it has common goals and values to us, or we pay the fee and gain admittance into a society that promises to provide us with certain things that we desire to have. Some of these affiliations and relationships are long lasting and some have very short lives; yet, most of us put a significant amount of energy into the process of selecting them and into maintaining them. Still, all of these human connections will suffer from imperfection and instances of failure, and we will wind up abandoning many of them.

Here God is pointing the way to entering into the one and the only truly permanent relationship that exists in the universe; for, the Lord is telling us that Jesus is the ruler of Creation, that the His reign has always existed, and that it will never stop. If I want to find consistency, truth, and real durability in this life, then I need to start with the foundation from which all of these things are built. Jesus brings the understanding and the wisdom of eternity to my weak and wandering heart and mind, and He also has the authority, the power, and the desire to actually cause my world to change. 

Before I sign one more membership application, pledge my loyalty to any other group, or commit to a new affiliation, I need to be certain that everything that I am doing fits into Christ’s plan for working through me to redeem this world. He rules the world with righteousness, and He wants all of His people to bring that righteousness with us into every minute of our days. To follow Jesus is to follow the only ruler who will absolutely still be reigning over all at the end of the day. To follow Jesus is to join Eternity’s select group.

The angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with it’s twelve kinds of fruit, yielding it’s fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 22: 1,2

These are hard times; there is uncertainty and concern on almost every mind. People are being required to make hard choices about careers, family, and life goals. The assault of bad news seems relentless; so, we desire relief. Most of us have been focusing a lot of attention and putting a great deal of energy into the American political process. I fear that we have anticipated that relief from most of our current national ills would be found in the election of a specific candidate. Where that anticipation is true, there will be immediate disappointment for those whose candidate didn’t win.

Additionally, disappointment is guaranteed for everyone who has placed hope in a political process to cure the ills of our world. No individual, no political party, no national system of governance can do this type of healing. This failure is not the result of weakness on the part of any individual, not due to improper political affiliations, nor is it the outcome of following a flawed or a corrupted Constitution. The rub of it all is that the most principled of elected officials, crafting the most worthy of legislation, and following the absolute intent of out founding fathers will not change the real status of the world that we live in.

There is only one source for the type of healing that will actually change our world; there is only one form of restoration that will not fade and disappoint. I am not saying that we should not be involved in the political processes of our country, for God says that we should. In fact this is the time to be very involved; this is the time for Christians to speak out, to embrace the direction that God has taken us in and to let Him speak through us with real clarity. People need to be shown how to look to the only true ruler, to the Lord, for answers. Our greatest political calling is to bow down before the throne of God; then, take the leaves of healing to a hurting world, and share the one morning after the election news story that has universal and lasting importance: the only true river of life flows from the throne of God, and the tree that grows along it’s banks provides the only effective source of healing for all the weary and tormented souls of the world.

In Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.

Ephesians 1: 7

There is an amazing fact of life that I find personally too true and way too frequently my current state of affairs and that is, even after many years of living in a relationship with God through Jesus, I am still in need of redeeming. I seem to find myself stuck up to the axles in mud holes that I should have and certainly could have avoided; I am disagreeable and cause other people pain; and then there is the way that I waste the talents, gifts, and resources that God has blessed me with. What I find even more disturbing is that this list barely scratches the surface of the ways that I continually test the Lord’s redemptive grace.

Yet, He never stops coming to my side with His sleeves rolled up ready to do the heavy work of getting me out of the deep mud of sin, the Lord brings the cleansing of His truth into my life, and He shows me how to move forward with the ability to avoid the old errors. Christ does much more than this, too; for, He doesn’t just take us back to where we were before; instead, the Lord’s view of restoration moves us ever closer to Him and makes us continually more like the God-image bearers that we were created to be.

It is important to remember that the grace of Christ is greater, deeper, and more prevalent than any bad actions or misdeeds that we can ever engage in; also, we need to focus on the fact that God wants to walk with us through this life and that He seeks to bring the sin-healing properties of redemption into each of our lives. Whatever the current state of affairs in your or in my world, Christ’s blood has already paid the price for our admission into the continual presence of God. We need to accept that fact as our personal reality; then, we need to start seeking the redemptive changes that will continue to fill our days fully with the sweet aroma of Christ’s righteousness.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.

Psalm 29: 2

Sometimes I am forgetful, and at other times I seem to have my eyes closed tightly, for there are too many days that go by where I don’t appreciate the Lord for even a small portion of who He is and for what He does. Days like these may be the ones where I am way too self-focused, or they might be times when I am caught up in the importance of my own influence and impact on my universe; yet, when this is true, I am suffering from a lack of accurate perspective, and the quality of my life is diminished because of this.

Everywhere that there is true beauty, and all of the splendor of this world are the handiwork of the Lord; He is the master painter, the skilled architect, and the perfect designer of the environment that sustains life, delights my senses, and that feeds my soul. It is up to me to open my eyes and to allow my heart to soak in all that God has placed before me during each day. His love is expressed in the colors of flowers, in the fragrance of the wind, in the vitality of a hummingbird, in the warmth of a smile, and in the comfort of a friend.

O Lord, let me be aware of You, of Your presence, and of Your loving grace. I pray that I will be like the multitudes that surround Your throne in Heaven with my heart lifted up in continual appreciation and praise of You, my God and Creator. Let my eyes never stop seeing You as I travel through my day; guide my thoughts and direct my actions so that my life will be a living expression of Your glory and righteousness.

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