Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Everyone Aches for Jesus

In one of their more popular songs, Irish rock band U2 proclaims, "and I still haven't found what I'm looking for.."

Peoples hearts and minds are often unknowingly transfixed on Jesus. We hear this in song, we read it in books and we see it in how people live. Until the touch of Jesus awakens our hearts and grabs our hand as we fumble in the dark, we remain blind to what we really need.

It is precisely for this reason that Christians can not look "down on" those who have yet to see Jesus as precious. To do so, would discredit Jesus' saving act on our life and would put us as the boasting initiator. We love, because He first loved us.

Lord, help us to see that all around us your creation aches for you. And, help us - who have been mercifully rescued - to reach out and lend a hand to those yet fumbling about. For your great name, Jesus. Amen.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Life Aimed at Eternity III

Knowing your future can make the difference in how you live in the here and now. If you know where your final destination will be, your life will reflect that.

For those who follow Jesus - our destination is in view. It is very hard for the christian to lose all hope when a final destination is set. A fully hopeless christian is like a bird afraid it will die in a fall from a tree - all the while forgetting its wings! And, like that bird, we so often forget that we have Jesus! And, a home with Him.

Oh Lord, help us to remember daily, our final destination!

Monday, September 11, 2006

When Evil Strikes

In His sermon on the mount, Jesus made a bold declaration about how we ought to respond when evil hits us.

"You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. "

For most of us, these are words which are hard to swallow. Retaliation seems to be in our "blood" (or, I should say - our flesh).

Jesus went on to say something even more profound after this. He said we ought to love our enemies and even pray for them. Wow. Can you do that? Certainly, not on our own.

We hear the words of Christ, but then ask - "is self-defense ever justified? Is it morally right to wage a war? It is ever justified?" Does God then mean for us to avenge evil? Not so fast. Over and over, Christ provides an example of resisting retaliation and gives us the admonition to "wait".

When Peter pulls his sword and cuts the ear of the high priest's servant, he incurs a strong rebuke from our Lord, "Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword (Mt. 26:52)"

And, then he calls those who have been wronged, to wait: "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord" (Rom 12:19).

Lord, kill pride in us. That when we are wronged, we see the throrn pierced brow and the lashes on your back. Nailing you to the cross, was the greatest offense ever committed. And, yet you endured it willingly that you might vindicate your Father's righteousness and as a by-product, offer life, freedom and forgiveness to the same people who killed you. Help our first reaction to be that of love - and not retribution.

(HT to DG)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Jesus Wept

It's the shortest verse in the bible. But it's profound and gives us a glimpse into the heart of our Savior.

"Jesus wept" (John 11:35).

Having already foretold that Lazarus would rise again, it's likely that Jesus' tears were not just for a man fallen asleep, but for a world stricken with death and sin.

Oh Lord, thank you for the freedom we have in you - and the ability to now say, "o death, where is your sting!?"