Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Game of Life

First baseball game of the season. New team, new coaches, and a whole lot of shuffling going on as staff adjusts players' positions for best results. Of course, they've been doing that in practice; but there's nothing like a real live game against real live opponents to point out defects.

To win games, players must be willing to play where the coaches place them. Whether infielders, outfielders, pitcher, catcher, or shortstop, individuals are called upon to put the welfare of the team ahead of their own personal interests. Each position must be filled with the player who is best suited for that job.

Got me to thinking about the walk of a Christian. He suits up and shows up for the game. Then, like the baseball player, he submits to his Coach to place him where he is best suited in the Body of Christ. Perhaps Christian always wanted to be the eye, but God makes him a foot. Does Christian pout and sulk or does he trust and obey his Coach?

"If the whole body were an eye, 
where would the sense of hearing be?
If the whole body were an ear, 
where would the sense of smell be:
But in fact 
God has arranged the parts in the body,
every one of them,
just as he wanted them to be."
~I Corinthians 12:17-20

After all, we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).  God knows the "game of life" and knows the position He wants each of us to play. He will, therefore, provide all the gear and gifting we need to do our part in the game of life in order to bring Him glory.

We have a winning Coach: we are a winning team! 
All for One and One for all! GO, FIGHT, WIN!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Instruction. Who needs it?

Who needs instruction and discipline? The wise? The fool? The good? The wicked? Everybody needs it: we just don't all recognize our need.

Consider a few proverbs.

"Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still" (Proverbs 9:9)

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline" (Proverbs 1:7)

The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him;
the cords of his sin hold him fast.
He will die for lack of discipline,
led astray for his own great folly: (Proverbs 5:22-23)

God's instruction in Scripture is available to all, but only those who fear the Lord are given the keys to understanding (Proverbs 1:7).  

Perhaps you've wondered how your unbelieving friends can read truth in Scripture and not "get it." This is why: the fear of the Lord is the jumping-off place, the beginning, of knowledge. Without that foundation, there is no basis for understanding.

Pray for your friends, that their eyes may be open to their need for God and His wisdom.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Welcome Back!

After a string of gray rainy days, we woke up to blue skies and sunshine this morning! Welcome back, Mr. Sun-- Mr.Yellow Balloon on your mission around the world. What detained you?

     "I've been here every day, like clockwork."
     Huh-uh. We never saw you once.
     "Were you looking up?"
     Of course.
     "Not far enough. Your eyes were stuck on the clouds. I was above them."

Isn't that the way we are with God? Our eyes get stuck on our troubles so we think He isn't there. But, like the sun that He placed in the sky for our good, He is ever looking upon us, comforting us even when we don't "see" Him.

Someday He will say to us, "Welcome home child, enter into the joy of thy Lord." That's when we'll discover that it wasn't the sunshine at all that lifted our spirits, for in heaven--that most joyous of places--there is no need of the sun. "The glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Questions That Count for Eternity

In Bible study today, we wrestled with an esoteric question: When will we know it all, i.e., when will we be privy to God's wisdom . . . as soon as we are clothed with immortality? Or will God school us in the ages to come?

Since no living soul can answer such questions, it's useless to spend much time discussing them. Far better to simply trust that God will tell us what we need to know when we need to know it . . . and it will all be good.

Perhaps we could better invest our time finding out what pleases the Lord and making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:9-16). Evil? Watch the evening news on television. Read the morning paper. The world's a mess: what's wrong with people anyway?

Steve Green recorded a beautiful song, "People need the Lord." They need to hear the Good News that God loves them . . . that Jesus died for their sins and offers forgiveness, full and free.

Yet how will they hear unless someone tells them? Now this is a question we ought to answer, a question that counts for eternity. It's all part of trimming our wicks and occupying until He comes. Can you think of someone in your sphere of influence who needs the Lord? Who, besides yourself, can you count on to tell them?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How Do You Trim Your Wick?

Yesterday we concluded that we should strive to spend our days preparing for the Bridegroom's return by filling our spiritual lamps with oil and keeping our wicks trimmed. I don't know about you, but the only time I worry about a trimmed wick is when the power goes out. How can we apply this important concept to our own lives and times?

We trim our wicks when we:
  • have a heart's desire to get to know Jesus better
    (and expend the effort to make that happen),
  • spend time reading His love letters to us in the Bible
    (and apply His teaching to ourselves, not everyone else),
  • bow before Him in prayer
    (and wait for Him to speak to our spirit),
  • submit ourselves to His will for us
    (and do so quickly and without grumbling),
  • learn to love His other family members
    (even those we find unlovely),
  • esteem others better than ourselves
    (even those we know don't deserve it),
  • obey His commandments
    (all of them, not just those we find easy),
  • desire that His name be honored
    (at all times and in all places),
  • rejoice
    (even when it hurts)
These are only a few ways we can trim our wicks in our day and age. Please take a moment and add others to our list. Thank you!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Day after Resurrection Day

Good Friday, we mourn . . . . Holy Saturday, we mourn and meditate. Resurrection Sunday, we rejoice! It's a week-end of emotional lows and highs. Then comes Monday. What do we do on Monday? Do we fall back into old patterns of living? Or will we remain changed by the spiritual reawakening we have just experienced?

Perhaps we can learn from my friend Anne's three-year old son. After an emotionally-charged Easter service, the family was driving to Grandma's house for dinner. Little Jimmy was in the back seat singing at the top of his lungs . . . mostly gibberish until the following refrain filled the car:

"Up from the grave He arose
with a mighty triumph o'er His foes . . . .
then he waved good-bye
saying don't you cry
I'll be back again someday."

Now the little fellow had clearly mixed up two favorite seasonal songs. However, he inadvertently sang something profoundly deep. Yes, Jesus rose from the grave. Yes, He was victorious over His foes. And yes, he is coming back someday so . . . don't you cry!

Instead we are to spend our days preparing for His return. Beginning Monday, let's live each and every day filling our spiritual lamps with oil, trimming the wicks, preparing for the Bridegroom's return.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Up from the Grave He Arose

Up from the grave he arose;
with a mighty triumph o'er his foes;
he arose a victor from the dark domain,
and he lives forever, with his saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!
Text: Robert Lowry, 1826-1899