Friday, December 31, 2010
It seems that there is always a lot of excitement surrounding the coming of the new year. Books, magazines, websites and television shows occupy themselves with the year that was. It is a time of reflection. It is a time to celebrate the year's victories, to let go of the defeats and even to say goodbye to those who have passed during the previous 12 months.
It is also a chance to look forward. There is a sense of newness regarding potential, challenges, opportunities and efforts to accomplish goals. Most everyone has high hopes for the new year and make plans to start fresh. Even the common greeting of "Happy New Year" is indicative of the optimism we share and the well wishes we extend to one another.
As Christians, there is every reason for us to share this optimism. The foundation of our faith is built upon leaving behind what was and pursuing what is ahead of us. We were brought out of the darkness of our sinful past into the light of God's love wherein we abide still. We were lost and without hope in this world, but have not been adopted into the family of God. We were destined to suffer the wrath but are now made to sit with Christ in heavenly places. Every single day that is granted to us, be it June 30th or January 1st, is a wonderful wonderful gift.
Beloved, though reflecting on the past, be it good or bad, has its value, it is far better to look forward. It is not where you start in life, it is where you are when it ends that truly counts. May we all continue to enjoy the richest of spiritual blessings and look forward to doing great things for Him who saved us in the coming year.
Happy New Year!
Thursday, December 30, 2010
There have always been those who feel that the word of God needs supplementation. Everyone has their view, opinion and interpretation of the already inerrant scriptures and wants to share them with anyone who will listen. Books have been written, television shows produced and movies made that propagate these views and often draw us away from the original source.
Beloved, the word of God stands on its own. It is a good and perfect gift that could not possibly contain God but tells us all we need to know to have a relationship with Him. It is estimated that 100 million bibles are sold every year. This does not include those that are simply given away. Whatever anyone writes on, about or for the bible pales in comparison.
It is important that we approach the bible like the manual of the soul that it is. It contains the very words of life. We should be drawn to it like heat to flame, for all things were made by being spoken into existence. But the God of the bible took what he spoke, formed it by His hands and breathed life into it. As we are products of the word, let us always desire it. In it is found not only our origins but our eternity.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
It is popular these days to ensure that we manage our image and create the proper impression. It is not nearly as important to some that their be sincerity and truth underneath these images and impressions. It is not about what is real, but what is perceived. Because of this we are less and less shocked when the mask is removed from our heroes.
This is not a new problem. Thousands of years ago, Christ instructed the Apostle John to pen these words and send them to Sardis, one of the seven churches in Asia. They were known for being a church with all of the right appearances but incomplete works that were seemingly driven by an effort to maintain their reputation.
Beloved, let us not be guilty of this charge in either our personal or corporate lives. It would be better to be known as a scoundrel who is trying to improve than one who claims to be righteous who is really a scoundrel. Let us live up to our calling rather than down to the lowest common denominator. In truth, we are not nearly as successful at maintaining the mask as we delude ourselves into thinking. And even if we are successful in fooling the world, Jesus has said, "I know."
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
The truth is that we will not always agree. The bible is our guide in so many ways, but there are many areas that are not specific and are up for interpretation.
In this case, there were two very good friends and brothers in the faith who separated over whether or not to include a young disciple. They both felt so strongly about their polar opposite opinions that they did not continue their work together.
On the face of it, this may seem a tragedy, in reality, however, it is not. You see beloved, the work continued, the number of young "interns" were doubled and separately, the two duos were able to cover more territory and do more work than might otherwise have been possible. Neither of these men who were so strong in the faith and so critical to the growth of the church were dissuaded from the faith because of their difficulties. They continued on.
Some may separate from us due to differences of opinion, but as long as the cause of Christ is served and the spreading of the gospel continues, we must trust that all things are working together for good as part of God's grand design. Let us also not give up hope on maintaining our fellowship one with another. Later, Paul reunited with Mark and described him as being valuable to his work. One way or the other, we will see each other again as long as we remain in Him.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Contemplate our lives without Christ. What meaning would there be? What hope would there be? It is only through our lives in him that we realize our purpose, potential and prize.
Our purpose in life is to glorify Him who created us. We can only accomplish this by having a relationship with the son. This is what is meant by "abiding." As Christians, Christ lives in us and we live through him.
Our potential is to bear fruit. The seed of God's word and His love has been planted in the fertile soil of our hearts. This seed must grow down to become rooted and grow up to have life. Having been exposed to the sun, we are to grow to produce fruit, the works of Him who sent us. Inside this fruit are even more seeds for planting, growing and producing.
Finally beloved, is the prize. The prize is the promise of everlasting life with him whom we are connected. Through this connection flows the very essence of our lives. With him, our lives are eternal.
Friday, December 24, 2010
We so often find ourselves using the phrase, "light at the end of the tunnel" during times of trial, turmoil and trouble. It indicates that these are dark times but we are beckoned forward by the polar opposite of our circumstances. This is represented by light.
All of mankind has been in darkness since very near the beginning of our existence. It was we ourselves that extinguished the light that was created within us. As it is with life on this earth, our turning away from the sun does not extinguish it. It is always there. How fitting that God led the Magi through the darkness of night to the Light of Men by a star in the heavens. How wonderful it is to know that they were seeking this star, that they followed it and it lead them to the source of all things.
Beloved, as we celebrate the season of the coming of the Light, we must continue to seek the Light. We must walk in the Light. We must become the light and lead others out of the darkness of their individual tunnels.
A joyous and blessed holiday to all!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Not long ago, I heard for the second time but paid real attention for the first time, to a song that is probably the most beautiful I have ever heard. It was moving to me on every level imaginable. Singing it and hearing it sung with a group of worshippers who believed it with all their hearts was an experience that nearly brought me to tears.
I thought I'd share the lyrics, written and copyrighted by Mark Lowrey and Buddy Green, with you for your "all season" consideration. May the Lord richly bless you.
Mary did you know that your baby boy would some day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.
Mary did you know that your baby boy would give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when your kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.
Oh Mary did you know---The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb---.
Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great--I--- AM---.
Beloved, let us continually offer praise to him that is our salvation.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
To many, Christmas is all about gifts. Yes it is a time when families come together. There are celebrations of love, togetherness...and food. But the focal point is the gifts. It exceeds the scope of this writing to go into detail about the pagan origin of gift giving (or for a December 25th Christmas for that matter). Suffice it to say that some trace gifts to the benevolence of Nicholas, who would become the Santa Claus legend or the gift giving of the wise men.
We look forward with great anticipation to the things that we will receive. We are taught from an early age to make lists. When we were kids, we sat on Santa's lap and told him everything we wanted. Even now, we enter the season with many things that we desire in mind and sometimes on our lips. And on Christmas morning, we regale callers and well wishers with the great things we have received and likewise, ask the same of them. We even go so far as to mark the particular Christmas by what was received that year.
Beloved, why are we so focused on what we get? The question we as Christians should be asking is, "What did you give?" Surely, the giving is the superior part. In a day and age that most of have more than we need and have so many of our wants, why not concentrate on helping to provide for the needs of those who are challenged to obtain the very basics of life? Perhaps the best gift we can give is one that we ourselves have received. Let us give the gift of the love of God's only begotten, Jesus the Christ.
The season the world celebrates the birth of Christ is to many the most beloved and happiest of all times. People seem to be a bit nicer. The spirit of giving is awakened and so many feel an inner warmth and peace emanating from inside. We truly experience good will toward mankind.
Despite this season based on the bible, there are a healthy number of misconceptions and outright fabrications about what is written there concerning the advent of our Savior:
- Jesus was born on December 25th. In actuality, the bible does not mention the actual date of his birth. Many scholars feel that he was born in the September to October time frame but no one is sure. The bible, however, does mention in Luke 2:8 that there were shepherds in the field at night tending their flocks. During December, the temperature there is freezing with occasional snow. This is not typical pasture weather.
- Jesus was found in a barn full of animals. This is another guess based most likely on the manger, a feeding trough. Nowhere in scripture is a barn mentioned despite one being featured in most nativity scenes. Most animals were kept in caves or open pens. Luke 2:7 simply says that he was in a manger and wrapped in cloths.
- Three Kings were present at Jesus birth. Matt 2:1 mentions that magi came from the east. Magi is the word from which we derive magician. They are also known as wise men. The understanding at the time, was that they were men of astrology and science. They are never referred to as kings in the bible. Further, they are never numbered. Though they brought three gifts, it may have been 2 or 52 magi. Finally, Matt 2:10 says that they were led by a star to the house where the baby was. In fact, it is likely that this occurred as much as two years after the birth. Matt 2:16 says that threatened King Herod began killing boys two years and younger based on the time the magi had told him.
Beloved these are just a few examples of biblical misconceptions. The better we know the word, the more readily we will be able discern truth and recognize error. Only when we have a good understanding of the scriptures can we live lives aligned with them and in turn, correctly share it with others. Nothing less than our very spiritual lives depend on this. Let us not be guilty of having zeal without knowledge.
Monday, December 20, 2010
There are some 300 prophecies concerning Christ. As hope filled as each of them was, nothing matched the actual announcement of his birth: "But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. " This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, " Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." Luke 2:10-14.
The prophecies had been fulfilled. The Messiah had arrived. Reconciliation with God was now possible. The gift of salvation was now available. Our great benefit found its genesis at this moment. The question, then, must be, "what now?"
Beloved, I suggest that we now do what those who first heard the best of all news did. They glorified God, praised Him, and according to verses 17 and 18, they shared the good news with others. You see, it is not important when Christ was born but that he was born. God is surely to be praised for the amazing gift of his only begotten son. For our benefit as well as that of all mankind, it is a gift that can be shared with any and everyone to the glory of God.
As you consider what you will give, consider giving the greatest gift of all: the good news of the Savior.
Friday, December 17, 2010
No consideration of Christ's birth could be complete without recognition of his lineage. To the glory of God, we know that His Spirit came upon Mary and caused her to give birth to the Savior despite the fact that she was a virgin. Nevertheless, a lineage through Mary and Joseph are provided in the Holy and Divinely inspired scriptures. It requires study that exceeds the scope of this writing to prove that the Luke genealogy went through Mary but suffice it to say that Romans 1:3 unquestioningly shows that Christ is a fleshly descendant of David which would necessarily include Mary.
The point to be made here involves the individuals who are members of that genealogy:
- Tamar (Gen 38:6) was both a deceiver and a Canaanite
- Rahab (Josh 2:1,17) was a harlot and a Canaanite
- Ruth (Book of Ruth) was a Moabite
- Bathsheba (2Sam 11:12,24) was an adulteress and a Hittite
- Solomon was an idolater
Beloved, from this list, it can be seen that God's love covers both sinners and foreigners. He could very easily have inspired a purer genealogy for His only begotten, however, Jesus was sent to be an atoning sacrifice for all mankind. Our entire faith rests on the fact that our Creator put on flesh and came to this earth to save us from ourselves. And he did so, not by being born rich in a palace or as an elitist, far above the reach of the poor and wretched that needed him most. No. Even his lineage contains the poor and wretched. If the Son of Man is of us, surely he is for us. "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin." Heb 4:15
Let us reflect on this amazing benefit as we consider his birth.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
It is this, a scripture that is among the greatest and most important prophecies of all time, that heralds the coming of the Messiah: the Savior of all mankind. During this time of year, more than any other time of the year, most of the world turns it's thoughts to the birth of Christ.
The goal is not to debate the timing of the birth of Christ. The bible gives us clues that it probably did not occur during the winter, but does not reveal to us the date or time of his advent. This being the case, it can only be taken that the information is not critical to our salvation or our relationship with the Lord. The relevant issue is that he was born. His birth and life, death and resurrection fulfilled all scripture.
Beloved, regardless of when we mark the time of his arrival, we should always celebrate the fact and more importantly, the result, in our hearts. He came that we might have life and that more abundantly. He came to seek and save the lost. He came to feed, heal and teach. And he came to prepare us. He came to love.
This (and all) season(s), let us give glory and honor to God for his bountiful gift of the son.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
We live in a world that is all about gratification. Celebrities that make millions and millions of dollars are our heroes. There are television shows and magazines whose whole business is watching and reporting on these people. More often than not, the more reprobate they are, the more viewers, listeners, followers and readers they will generate. Many, in turn, emulate these behaviors in an effort to be like their heroes.
We are called to a different life. When we find ourselves giving in to the desires of our eyes and our flesh and become subject to those things that increase our self importance (the pride of life), we become the enemies of God. We are counseled to resist these things. As Eve found out, they lead to death.
Beloved, we should not aspire to fame and fortune on this earth. Instead we are called upon to store up our riches in heaven. It takes discipline to follow the path less traveled. It takes will to not give in to the sensual. It takes vision to see the benefit of staying in the light. It takes love and faith to remain obedient. We are told in God's word that, "godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come" 1 Tim 4:8.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Jesus had just performed the miracle of feeding 4000 people, including his disciples who ate from the overabundance. He left the area with his disciples and arrived at Dalmanutha where he was challenged by his adversaries who demanded a sign from heaven to prove his claims. Having refused, Jesus decided to go back across the Sea of Galilee toward Bethsaida. Using an analogy, he warned his disciples to "beware the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." During this important teaching, the disciples were a bit distracted. You see it seems that Jesus' use of yeast in the story reminded them that they had brought no bread with them on their journey.
How often beloved, do we miss the high spiritual messages that the Lord puts right in front of us because we are too concerned about very basic physical needs? It is clear from his use of parables that his messages were often targeted to those who were sincere of heart and discerning in spirit. At least one of these requires that we lift our gaze beyond our stomachs (or other base needs) and attend to the things of God.
Jesus chastises them by questioning their faith in view of the fact that they were so recently fed to the point of satisfaction after witnessing him feeding so many with so little. We, like they, need not worry about that which he supplies in abundance. He knows our needs before we do and he supplies every one. He reminds," ...when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?" They said to Him, "Twelve." "When I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?" And they said to Him, "Seven." And He was saying to them, " Do you not yet understand?" Mark 8:19-21. To be sure, this is a question worth careful consideration.
Monday, December 13, 2010
A man by the name of Dan Seaborn is widely credited with organizing a grassroots campaign that came to be known as "What Would Jesus Do?" back in the 90s. This was not, however, the first time the phrase was heard. In 1896, Charles Sheldon published a book entitled "In His Steps" but was subtitled, "What Would Jesus Do?" It is likely that it was heard even before that. Clever slogans and book titles do not the Christian faith make, though even the most casual adherent can certainly appreciate the sentiment behind it.
To be a disciple is simply to be a learner or pupil. In order to be a disciple of our Lord we must first be willing to learn from him. God, in his great benevolence has supplied us with everything we need in the person of the Holy Spirit and the word of the bible. The more we attend to it, the more we learn about Jesus. The more we learn about Jesus, the more we can become like him.
Beloved, learning is not the entirety of the matter. Along with learning, there must be doing. It does us no good to ask what Jesus would do in any given situation if we are not willing to do likewise. Our highest goal, privilege and blessing is to be like our Savior. From our studies, we know what Jesus did. We can take principles from what he did in order to determine what he would do. Only when we do what he did and would do to the best of our ability are we truly his disciples.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Jonah suffered from what used to be know as a hard head. It is clear from scripture that Jonah was God's man; he was a prophet. A prophet's whole reason for being was to carry out the will of God, in part, through the sharing of His word with the people. God sent him to a place called Nineveh, home of a people who were the enemy of God and His people, to preach repentance. Because Jonah did not agree with what God said to do, he found himself pursued, then caught by God and ultimately banished in the belly of a great fish.
Beloved, how often in life do we think we know better than the Father? How often do we decide to go our own way despite what He has told us to do? Sometimes we think ourselves crafty and somehow able to outsmart Him by hatching and executing our own plans. Nevertheless, things always seem to catch up to us: "For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light," Luke 8:17.
Be careful about attempts to confound the will of God. As Christians, we should especially know that His will be done, if not by and through us, then certainly by and through someone. And if you find yourself in an uncomfortable and restricted position not of your choosing, give the air a sniff to see if you detect the scent of fish. God may be trying to get your attention.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
When Jesus made his triumphant yet ill fated entrance into Jerusalem, the bible records that the people spread their clothes on the ground for his mount to walk upon and that "they began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen." Naturally, not everyone felt that same jubilation. In fact there were those who did not understand what all the fuss was about and were clearly irritated. They asked Jesus to shut them up.
Beloved it is right for the people of God to praise Him. The scriptures are replete with encouragements to "praise ye the Lord!" There are also many scriptural examples of people who stood against the Lord and those that praise Him. Now as then, the sons and daughters of the Almighty should never allow anyone to legislate nor dictate our adoration for the Lord. He is indeed worthy of any and all glory and honor we can muster, for He is the great I AM! The redeemed of the Lord who have seen His mighty hand ought to say so!
If we do not praise our Father for all He has done, is doing and is about to do, the very stones of the earth will cry out. I don't know about you, but I'm not about to let a rock out praise me!
PRAISE THE LORD!
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Being a parent is one of the most challenging blessings many of us will ever enjoy. Even while we remember the struggles of our own childhood, often recalling with a wince the things we put our parents through, we still contend with our own mightily. Every generation seems to have its own unique set of circumstances that put a strain on the relationship between parents and children. Some may recall the differing perspectives (depending on what side of the generational gap one finds oneself) regarding things like blues music, rock and roll, recreational drugs, "free love," hippie and psychedelic culture, rap music, parental advisory lyrics, the advent of the Internet and reality television. It is these and other things that contribute to driving the wedge.
Parents often attempt to keep the negatives at bay in a variety of ways, one of which is the use of severity. We criticize their choices, influences and activities and often proactively punish them without fully understanding the culture and times in which they are growing up. We seem to have lost sight of the fact that we wished our parents would try to understand our lives when we were growing up. This is not to say that certain activities do not need to be addressed or even nipped in the bud, but the bible speaks about the way this is to be done.
A Christian parent's role is to guide, direct, instruct and correct if necessary. To punitively punish when it may not be warranted is to provoke the children to wrath, which typically serves only to push them further away. This usually happens as the children enter their teen years and sometimes become more subject to the influences of friends and other outside sources then that of the parents. Though we need not necessarily endorse their choices, it is best to first attempt to gain understanding which, in turn, will provide a platform to discuss those choices from a godly perspective.
That having been said beloved, if these occasions prompt the introduction of God into the home, the proverbial horse may have already left the barn and closing the doors at this point is tantamount to an exercise in futility (though hope springs eternal). The clearly stated key here is to nourish the children with the sincere milk of the word of God as part of their diet throughout their growth and maturation process. Doing so will fortify them against the many negative influences that society is continuously refining and redefining. Of course, the children will, as we did, make their own choices and ultimately have to make their own way, however, it is our responsibility to put them in proximity to God in the hopes and prayers that their own relationship with Him will ignite and burn brightly, warding off the darkness that so vigorously pursues them.
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
2 Tim 4:3
The apostle Paul gave this great warning to his young protege, Timothy. Though it is a message to ministers even to this day, it is likewise a message to all believers. In fact, the men of God have always been unpopular among some. Noah, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Jesus, among others, come to mind as those whose message was not welcome.
Now as then, people do not want to hear the things of God that are contrary to the sensual way they wish to lead their lives. Whether it involves worshipping other gods, indulging in immoral lifestyles, failure to obey or consistently indulging in a variety of temptations, most have no desire to hear that they are wrong and that their habits are outside the will of God.
This is a big enough problem but it multiplies exponentially when we warp the worship of God around our indulgences. Whether this is building a religious organization around something God condemns or simply hiring a preacher that only talks about the "good and happy stuff," the issue is the same.
Beloved, all of God's word is for us. Through it, He blesses us and chastises us. He does both of these because He loves us. We need to hear that Jesus came to seek and save the lost. We also need to hear that we were lost because of sin. We need to hear that all of our needs will be supplied. We also need to hear that it is more blessed to give than to receive. We need to hear that we should love each other. We also need to hear that we should love our enemies.
Let us always pursue the whole will of God and not just the parts that we want to hear. The soundness of the doctrine (teaching) is in its truth and its completeness.
Monday, December 6, 2010
What must it have been like to cause His only begotten to "become sin?" Everything we know about our God involves holiness and righteousness. We also know that he cannot be around sin and ultimately forsook Jesus, for becoming the sin he came to earth to be.
Interestingly enough, it is we who first committed sin. Through the temptation of Satan, our ancestors committed the unpardonable and passed on to every living human being that very same nature. Over time, we progressed from lying and disobedience to everything we know sin to be today. This being the case, we find ourselves outside of the original relationship God designed for us to enjoy with Him.
Beloved, God still desires that original relationship. Due to His requirements regarding truth and justice, it was necessary that a sacrifice be made, a payment be given to satisfy the debt we created. Due to his perfection, Jesus' was the only sacrifice sufficient to pay that debt. He was able to do so by taking on (becoming) all the sins of mankind. What a marvelous and remarkable gift! Through Christ, the righteousness that we once lost is now available to those willing to reconcile through him. Praise be to the Father for His unsurpassed love, grace and mercy.
Friday, December 3, 2010
The thought of being a "born again Christian" still has resonance in our society, but what does it really mean? Aside from the fact that Christians are not born again, but created through sinners being born again, what is the relevance of the phrase?
Jesus famously told Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council who came inquiring of him under cover of darkness, that it was necessary. He said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3. If we ever want to see our creator, our original birth is necessary but wholly insufficient. There must be a second creation to live a second life.
Nicodemus understandably asked how this could possibly be accomplished. Jesus replied that it involved water and The Spirit, saying that things born of the Spirit are spirit. Rather than get into the argument about the presence of water at our original birth, suffice it to say that when we are baptized, we come into contact with water by immersion and the Spirit meets us there. Physically, we simply get wet, but spiritually, a great transformation takes place when we are brought out of the water by the Spirit, leaving our past lives dead and buried in the water while we experience being reborn into the Spirit by coming newly created and alive out of it. It is the closest we come to Jesus' resurrection until we all experience it ourselves just before judgment.
It must be said, however beloved, that being baptized, in and of itself, neither saves your soul, nor makes you a Christian. You must first believe and then a transformation must take place in your mind, heart and body. Revelation 2:10 states that we must live faithful lives until death to receive our great reward. And that great reward, consisting of far too many things to list here, is what being born again to become a Christian is all about. Oh blessed be our God and Father who loves us and His son who sacrificed that this may be possible.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
What an amazingly elegant but simple metaphor for Christian duty. One of the great things about Christ and his method of teaching is that he always used common examples and parables to make deep and relevant points. They were simple enough for a child to understand, but could confound those whose hearts were not humbled and whose vision was not tuned to the spiritual.
In this case, there are truths that we all understand about salt. First, it adds flavor. We as Christians have been both empowered and commanded to enrich the lives of others. We have the responsibility to provide an other-than-worldly view and example. Through our relationship with the Lord, we can share a way of life that accomplishes good and looks to eternity. What has become known as the beatitudes in Matt 5 come to mind.
Salt also preserves. Before there was refrigeration, there was salting to keep meat fresh and consumable. To be sure we are preserved against the fate of those who do not believe. Similarly, by sharing the faith, we can, "...let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins." James 5:20.
Finally, salt was once used as currency because of its surpassing value and necessity. We have the ability to add value to whomsoever we meet. We do so in a variety of ways that include being examples, "doing good to all mankind," "loving others as we love ourselves," being more blessed by giving than receiving and sharing the good news of the gospel of Christ.
Beloved, we must also know as Christians that without these and other qualities, we serve no purpose but to be walked upon in disregard. Let us always endeavor to be the salt of the earth.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Imagine being on the mountain of transfiguration and seeing wonders never before seen by anyone. Our Lord, with whom the disciples walked, was for the first time revealed in his glorified state. To compound this, they saw men of their own history (Elijah and Moses), revealed, present and talking with the Lord. This must have been a sight their minds could scarcely contain.
Jesus' closest friends thought it appropriate to build three tabernacles to commemorate this occasion. It was then when God Himself spoke those immortal words.
You see beloved, the apostles, even after the time spent with him, still did not fully understand who Jesus is. Tabernacles are worship places. They were conceived and designed by God for His worship. Ultimately, they gave way to Temples. The apostles, in their enthusiasm, were ready to set up worship places for other men. As famous, historical and spiritual as they were, they were still just men.
Sometimes it is necessary for God to redirect us. Too often we want to worship the wrong thing or person. There is only one God. He has only one begotten son. It is in him whom we live, move and have our very being. Though it will be exciting to one day see Moses, Elijah and all of our other spiritual forefathers and heroes, it is Jesus who will have made it possible through his ultimate sacrifice. It is all and only about him.