Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Best Way to Live

" Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked

or stand in the way of sinners

or sit in the seat of mockers.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD,

and on his law he meditates day and night." (Psalm 1:1-2)

Often, it is easier to follow the advice of people who have their own interest in mind rather than do what we know to be right at the risk of alienating them. It can be much easier to take popular stands rather than stand against what we know to be wrong. It is much easier to criticize than to create. The world is filled with people who show ironic detachment rather than positive engagement.

But the easiest way is rarely the best way, the blessed way. God blesses those who are faithful to the guidelines of Scripture, who stand up for Christ, who work to build God's kingdom through acts of mercy, love, and kindness.

The key to doing these things is to spend much time not just reading the Bible, but meditating on it throughout the day and night. Read not just to discover what's in there, but to discover what in there will help you live out here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dream Come True

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be
done on earth as it is in heaven.
(Matthew 6:10)

To pray for God’s kingdom is to dream of a better world.

The world often teaches us to pursue our own dreams. But it isn’t our dreams we are meant to pursue. Or, said better, it is only when our dreams are consistent with God’s that we are to pursue them. Only then we will experience life to its fullest.

Brian McLaren writes -

"Perhaps all along my deepest joy has never been to have all my dreams come true, but rather to have God's one dream come true: that this world will become a place God is at home in, a place God takes pride and pleasure in, a place where God's dreams come true."

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Something Old, Something New

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:16-17)

One thing I’ve learned (and continue to learn) is that there is no one-size-fits-all ministry for different churches. Take, for instance, the ministry of music. In some churches, the blending of contemporary praise songs with traditional hymns is possible. Other churches required that a separate service be created. Still other churches do just fine with only traditional hymns.

The key is discovering what is both right and what is fitting in any given situation. At times, the best way to do things is the way they’ve always been done. Other times, the best way is a new way. Part of spiritual discernment is discovering what to do, in what way and at what time.

I like what a man named Dean Inge says -

“There are two kinds of fools: One says, ‘This is old therefore it is good.' The other one says, ''This is new therefore it is better.'”

Monday, May 28, 2007

True Joy

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! “ (Philippians

Sometimes it's very difficult to put on a happy face. The good news is God doesn't expect us to. To rejoice is not necessarily to cheer. It is something much deeper. As Colleen Townsend Evans puts it -

“Many of us tend to confuse joy with something much less than joy. We think of it in a very shallow way. We think of it as prosperous circumstances or happiness or pleasure or maybe even fun. These things can co-exist with joy but they are not joy. Joy is something that is so deep and so different it is like marrow in a Christian's bones, and it is something that the world cannot take away from us. It is untouched by the various trials that might come our way.”

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Losing Faith

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. (Philippians 1:27-28a)

Faith is not a private possession we can either obtain or dispose of according to our personal desires. Faith is a gift from God in Jesus Christ. The question is - what do we do with this gift?

The Scriptures tell us to stand firm in faith, to let the faith of Christ be the foundation of our lives. When we have genuine faith, we need not be worried about losing it.

As Georges Bernanos puts it -

"Faith is not a thing which one loses, we merely cease to shape our lives by it."