Tag Archives: Scripture

Such a Great Promise

(A two-minute read)

Holy Week looks a little different this year in the midst of Coronavirus Craziness (but we can still make it ‘holy’).

It’s traditional on this day, Maundy Thursday, to read the story in John’s Gospel about Jesus washing His disciples’ feet. Before He does this, we’re told that Jesus knew ‘that the Father had given all things into His hands’ and that ‘He came from God and was going to God.’ (John 13:3)

In other words, the Bible says, Jesus was (and is) the boss of me. Of you. Of everyone. Of everything. So, how did He respond to being made boss? Did He become bossy?

No, he humbled Himself as a servant and washed the filth off His own servants’ feet.

He washed them and He washes us. You and me. And, whenever we choose, we can step into that eternal world where He meets us – in whatever pile of dirt we sit in – to help us out of it. And then, He cleans us up.

But the good news doesn’t stop there.

Jesus also ended a time when rules and regulations were needed to get us close to God. Israel learned the hard way that its law only bred more lawlessness. They failed, but through Jesus, you and I can succeed.

Jesus teaches us that its not what we do that counts. We can’t do anything to earn the Father’s love. God already loves in spite of who we are. That’s what’s important – who we are, and who we’re willing to become.

Self-actualization is a myth and a fraud.

If you want personal growth, true personal growth, you have to turn to the Lord. Our best human tools may change us. But only God can transform us.

We are born more than halfway there.

The Bible says we’re born already knowing God. We know him deep inside, whether we’re aware of it or not. God’s in there, waiting expectantly for you and me to open the doors to our hearts and let Him in.

I challenge you, right now, to stop reading, close your eyes and make a demand of God (even if you don’t believe in Him yet): ‘God – Please reveal yourself to me. I’m ready!’ I know He will eventually answer if you keep listening.

Even if you don’t have the moxie to do that right this moment, I promise you (because I know from my own personal experience) that He stands ready to answer that demand whenever you decide to make it.

As God says often, ‘Don’t be afraid!’

I hope you will do this. Your life will never be the same. It will be better, and richer, and you’ll know His peace – even in the face of others’ mindless fear from Coronavirus Craziness. Best of all, you’ll know His joy.

Because the joy of the Lord is our strength, (Nehemiah 8:10) free for the asking.

Listen to what the prophet Jeremiah wrote about this ‘new covenant’ more than 500 years before Christ was born:

‘“I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’

‘“For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know Me already.” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness and I will never again remember their sins.”’ (Jeremiah 31:33-34)

What an offer.

Best of all, it’s not a Once-in-a-Lifetime offer. It’s a Once-for-Eternity offer. How can we say no to that?

From my most frequent correspondent

Time to Repent

I had to undertake some serious repentance this morning.

My thinking was all wrong.

Two days ago I wrote about being deemed a so-called ‘Vulnerable Adult,’ at a heightened risk of a serious run-in should I contract what’s going around.

I wrote, So, I’m now locked in my home for 12 weeks. I have 81 days of confinement remaining, as of this writing.’

For this, Lord, I am sorry.

Here’s where I was wrong.

My mindset had me counting down to freedom. My eyes were only set on the day when I will no longer be confined to my home.

But what is freedom, really? Is it truly measured by my ability to come and go as I wish? Do I define it only by an untrammelled lifestyle? Or is there more to it than that?

What hauled me up short this morning was the reminder that I am not my own. When I gave my life to Christ, I set myself at His bidding and I look to Him for my freedom, not the ability to pass through the door of my flat.

I am so, so wrong to dumb down my definition of freedom to something mundane.

The classic verse on this is Galatians 5:1, ‘For freedom Christ freed us. Stand fast therefore and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.’

Or, put another way, ‘Let me be clear, the Anointed One has set us free – not partially, but completely and wonderfully free! We must always cherish this truth and stubbornly refuse to go back into the bondage of our past.’ (TPT)

Again it begs the question, how do I define my freedom? If my freedom comes from surrender to Christ, I can hold onto that freedom wherever I am and whatever I’m doing.

There are lots of memes floating about on social media right now about how Paul wrote half the New Testament while under house arrest, and how Sir Isaac Newton developed his theory of gravitation while ‘self-isolating’ from the plague.

That’s all well and good, but puts the focus in the wrong place. That focus is still on doing. We need to focus on being. It’s out of a state of being that all our doing becomes well-anchored, and makes sense.

Remember, God doesn’t call us to a life of doing to earn His love. He calls us to a relationship of love with Him, which stirs our hearts to then get busy and do, which is how we love others.

He calls us to take action out of love, not just be people who love to take action. There is all freedom in the former and less freedom in the latter.

‘Beloved ones, God has called us to live a life of freedom in the Holy Spirit. But don’t view this wonderful freedom as an opportunity to set up a base of operations in the natural realm. Freedom means that we become so completely free of self-indulgence that we become servants of one another, expressing love in all we do.’ (Galatians 5:13, TPT)

Back to my need to repent, and change my thinking.

I’m no longer counting the days to freedom. That would leave me ‘setting up a base of operations’. I’d be hunkered in my bunker, waiting to be let out.

The truth is that I was released from prison the day I gave my life to Jesus.

I have my freedom today. The only question left is, what shall I do with it?

After I celebrate with joy, that is.

Reverse Direction

A Special Bulletin

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program for a special bulletin.
You have no need to fear.

Yes, there’s a pestilence loose in the world right now.
But you have no need to fear,
Unless you put your faith in your health.

The stock markets are crashing and the economy seems to be dissolving.
But you have no need to fear,
Unless you put your faith in money.

Someone you love dearly may be ill, or may even have died.
I am with you in your grief, but you have no need to fear,
Unless you put your faith in people.

You doubt the government knows what it is doing.
But you have no need to fear,
Unless you put your faith in government.

The media keeps harping on how bad it all is.
But you have no need to fear,
Unless you put your faith in the media.

The medical system may seem to be failing you.
But you have no need to fear,
Unless you put your faith in medicine.

Your church gives no answers about why this is happening.
But you have no need to fear,
Unless you put your faith in your church leaders.

It’s time to put your faith in the place where there’s never a doubt or failure.
Put your faith in God,
Jesus Christ says you have no need to fear.

“Don’t be afraid,” He said. “Take courage. I am here!” *
Yes, even in your self-isolation.

 

 

*Matthew 14:27 (NLT)

[Photo: Frisky 007 via Wikimedia Commons]