Archive

Archive for September, 2014

The Caring Christ

September 30th, 2014

News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.

Matthew 4:24

Christ is the Man for All Seasons, the One who is always ready to help, and His help is constant because His love is constant.

Matthew described four types of serious problems - severe paid, demon possession, seizures, paralysis - these were physical and spiritual problems that where critical and mysterious in Jesus’ day. Science was not unknown and all we need is to look at the achievements of engineering of that day through archeology to be impressed with their knowledge - these were not people who lived in caves and had no grounding in objectivity. They were bright, intelligent, and logical, yet medical science was still in its childhood and it would require many more centuries, more than a millennium, before bacteria and viruses would be discovered.

But if we look down on them for their lack of medical and scientific knowledge, we must also admire than for having experienced and witnessed the power of God in Christ. What would it have been like for our eyes to have seen Christ healing the incurable sick, of providing not only hope to the hopeless, but help and wholeness as well. Christ came in compassion into His world, and He comes the same way into our worlds today. He can help and heal what no one else can.

Our knowledge today tends to make us depend more on ourselves and our science than on God. Yet the greatest need we have is not to be merely healed of some physical disease, but to be embraced by the compassion and love of God in Christ, to hear Him say to us by His Word and by His Spirit that He loves us. God desires you to be whole and complete, healed and made well. Our bodies will all one day die, for “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 15:50), unless we are alive at the return of Christ, and death is God’s healing act for the believer.

But for us today there is still mystery in our problems. we have merely scratched the surface in scientific knowledge, the mysteries of the spirit world are also beyond us to fully grasp, and, if we were honest, we would say that we do not even understand our own hearts. We can, however, look to Jesus and rest in His compassion and help. Are you troubled by unknown factors? Are you worried about what may happen to you? None of us knows the future, but the love of Christ for us should lift our spirits and remove fear from our hearts. Whatever problems we face, however mysterious and daunting they appear, He can help. Rest in His love and let this reality guard your heart.

encouragement

Toward a Brighter Day

September 26th, 2014

The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.

Proverbs 4:18

This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible, and one from which I derive constant encouragement and strength. The “righteous” are those people who put God’s concerns ahead of their own, who do not become overwhelmed in selfishness or self pity or bitterness, who grow past immature jokes, who grow in their love for and service to God. They are characterized by the fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, etc. (Gal 5:22-23) - and hope is their constant reality. God’s hope leads them through every challenge and every difficulty, up every hill, through every marshy bog (Bunyan’s “slough of despond”) and constantly into the light of the love and grace of God.

This morning I did something unusual - at least for me - I sat down and scrolled through my friends’ postings on facebook. I have to admit that there have been a few over the years that I have chosen to “hear less from,” and I gravitate toward positive people. But it was for me a clear picture of the difference in the lives of those who choose to walk with God.

Briefly, I read about:

  • A son went to serve for five months in short term missions
  • A daughter serving for a year in missions in Africa
  • A friend whose mother passed away and he rejoiced in the reality of Christ’s promise to be with us always, “even to the end of the age.”
  • A part-time children’s worker at our church who just completed his engineering degree, who yesterday I saw working on the worship set for this Sunday’s children’s program
  • A wife whose evangelist-husband just passed away celebrating over the victorious funeral service and the many letters of support
  • Shares about a great pastor and friend who just passed away
  • Encouraging scripture quotations
  • People sharing pictures of Christian outreach projects to the poor
  • Pictures of a pastor friend from his hospital bed, with family surrounding him, who had a smile on his face despite the fact that his life hangs by a thread

And there were many pictures and postings of people just enjoying life, rejoicing in the achievements of their children, in the friendship of their community, in the past blessings of their lives. They are living examples of the truth of the scripture above - their path grows brighter every day. Of course, there are a few whose postings reflect self-pity, the “woe is me” complaint, or the angry tirade against, well, against almost anything. There were a few who managed to combine anger, indignation, outrage, with the Christian faith - not realizing that their spirit reflected more worldly fear that Godly peace. But I was impressed by those living the spiritual reality proclaimed in Proverbs 4:18.

And I believe that is how God intends it to be. We will all face challenges, experience loss, lose friends, miss our children, get old and frail eventually - but for those who walk daily with Christ, they go from strength to strength, in the gracious blessings of God. Peace, love, joy are their realities, not anger, self-pity, fear, or hatred.

Which do you choose to be today?

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