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Archive for September, 2009

Rescued!

September 30th, 2009

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1:13-14

 

The story of redemption is a graphic tale of the God stooping down in His mercy to rescue us from the power of darkness. Darkness is not only a force but a dominion, a power, an organized force of evil that seeks to enslave us. “Rescued” is a strong word and has the idea of someone in captivity or sinking in the ocean or overwhelmed by circumstances – perhaps of his own making – being removed from danger. The gains of the new life in Christ are not merely the removal from danger but entrance into the kingdom of light and of love, to be placed under the protective rule of the Son of God. This is redemption in its fullest sense, taking us from death and bringing us into a higher kind of life than we previously had or could ever imagine.

 

Three stories of being lost and becoming found were placed by the Spirit side by side in the fifteenth chapter of Luke. The parable of the lost sheep reveals the seeking shepherd heart of the Savior – who scours the hillsides of the world bringing the lost that have wandered off the path back to Himself. The parable of the lost coin reveals the amazing grace of God that seeks for lost people like someone would sweep the house to find a precious item that is lost. Yet in the third parable of the prodigal son no rescuer is sent out, the Father waits longingly at the home, and the prodigal must come to himself, must realize the helplessness and hopelessness of his circumstance and in personal desperation return to the father. There is a great difference between finding lost sheep and coins and finding lost sons – the son must return of his own volition. Though the Savior knows we need rescuing, we are often blind to our need ourselves and must flounder in our moral failure and spiritual blindness before we are willing to be rescued. We must see our need of Christ and turn to Him, see Him as the Rescuer and Savior of our souls.

 

You might know someone who needs rescuing and perhaps you have prayed often for this person, perhaps with tears, for them to wake up and return to God. God hears your prayers, but, as with the prodigal, a human being must be willing to be rescued by God. Some people, like the prodigal, will not come to realize their need until they are in the pigsty, struggling with all the problems that accompany being under the dominion of darkness. Perhaps writing them a little note of hope, encouraging them about God’s love for them, will be a tool to remind them of the bounty at the Father’s table.

 

One of the misconceptions we Christians often have in today’s world is that when people come to the church they are somehow doing us Christians a favor. That is the absolute reversal of reality: Christ rescues people from the darkness of life without Him. We are, of course, glad for people to come and join our fellowship, but the real focus must be on the need all people have of the life of Christ. We do the world a great service when we share the love of Christ, whether in message or in acts, for there the light of God is shining in the darkness.

 

Prayer:

 

Lord, let us be Your tools to shine Your love in the darkness around us. Thank You for rescuing us from the dark dominion and bringing us into the kingdom of light and love and of the Son. Amen.

 

Evening Devotionals , , , , ,

During the Night

September 29th, 2009

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

Psalm 143:8

 

One of the reasons I began this website was the realization in my own life the many temptations that come at night. Jesus said, “Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 4:19-20). Christ was speaking of spiritual darkness, not merely physical darkness, but the point still applies. Darkness and night time can open us up to a different way of thinking, toward impure thoughts, doubts, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, pride, lust, worry, and depression.

 

Elsewhere David wrote, “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5b). The night passes and the morning comes. Times of temptations are temporary, if we resist, and we find the strength of God returning to our souls. The weeping referred to in Psalm 30 is not limited to the weeping of sorrow from the events of life; that is not even what he referred to mostly. He was writing about the judgment of God for our sins, those moments when we reap what we have sown, but he assures us that “His anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime” (Psalm 30:5a).

 

Of course, we can worship God on our beds in the evenings. We can sing praises to Him at all times, but if dark thoughts seem to crowd into your mind in the evenings, rest in the reality of the love of God. We can pray as David did, “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love.” The dark times of doubt, whether they come to you in the evenings or at another time of the day, are only allowed by God to be with us temporarily. They will pass and His light will shine.

 

Prayer:

 

Lord, as we trust that the sun is still shining when it is night, let us also trust that You are still love when doubts cloud our horizons. Let us rest in Your love even when we do not feel its reality. Amen.

 

 

Evening Devotionals , , , ,