Friday, May 11, 2007

Life Forever

The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand
(Isaiah 40:8)

This is good news. But it can be disturbing for people without faith. Many people in the world want to live forever. But this simply can’t happen. We aren’t built this way. Nothing in creation is. And who would want to live forever? Life is precious partly because it is so short. But for people of faith, life does go on forever, in Jesus Christ. It’s simply that life takes a different form. We live – not for ourselves – but in Christ. Christ is the Word of God that stands forever.

The end of life, sad as it can be for loved ones, can be an occasion for celebration. Tony Campolo illustrates this well when he writes -

“When you were born, you cried and everybody else was happy. The only question that matters is this: When you die, will YOU be happy when everybody else is crying.”

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Put Up With It

Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another,
forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must
(Colossians 3:13)

Sometimes – in a marriage, in families, in work relationships, and in the community, it’s hard to put up with people. Things they do irritate us until eventually we want to shout out - “Would you just STOP it!” As patient and forgiving as we try to be, we all have our limits.

Reflecting on this passage, Matthew Henry describes this dilemma well –

“Many can bear a short provocation who are weary of bearing when it grows long. But if God is long-suffering to us, under all our provocations of him, we should exercise long-suffering to others in like cases. We have all of us something that needs to be endured, and this is a good reason why we should bear with others in what is disagreeable to us.” (Matthew Henry)

In other words, put up with each other just as God puts up with you.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

No Strings Attached

[Jesus said], “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled,
the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot
repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

(Luke 14:14)

If you only show hospitality to those who have the means to return the favor, you’ve given to no one but yourself. True giving is sacrificial, with no strings attached.

This is a challenge for all Christians and for the faith community. Do we give sacrificially, or do we give in order to receive? The church struggles to carry out our mission in a climate of distrust, particularly when it comes to finances. On the one hand, some have a genuine desire to see that their gifts are used well for the glory of God. This holds the church accountable and is a healthy concern. On the other hand, some only give to the church when they can benefit from it or manage how it is spent. From a church perspective, we receive gifts of all kinds and pray that we can faithfully put them to use for the kingdom of God.

The Bible encourages us as we give to focus on God, not how our gift is received or whether it is returned. Give freely and cheerfully and you will be abundantly blessed – in this life and in the life to come.

Sunday, May 6, 2007


Create in me a pure heart, O God. And renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)

King David is crying out to God for forgiveness after committing adultery with Bathesheba and having her husband Uriah essentially murdered. David wants to be made pure, to be given another chance.

In the same way, the followers of Jesus all gave in to sin when they betrayed, denied, and abandoned him on the cross. But, and this is an essential distinction, they did return to faith. In this way, they were unique, and their faith became contagious.

Billy Graham writes –

“The men who followed Jesus were unique in their generation. They turned the world upside down because their hearts had been turned right side up.”

When Christ convicts our hearts of sin, when the Holy Spirit sets us on a good and level path, there is no stopping us. The world will never be the same.