Saturday, April 22, 2017

Insight




Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you…” Matthew 16: 16-17  NIV

I think often in popular culture Jesus is presented as some kind of always-affirming hippie. But in the Gospels, Jesus did not go around telling people how wonderful they were.  Rather he reprimanded them and pushed them beyond their comfort zones.  Sometimes he sounded frustrated with his disciples as they struggled to grasp the truth that he was giving them.  Jesus healed people, forgave people and taught people but he never fed their pride. He loved them too much to do that.

When Peter made his declaration that Jesus is the Christ, Jesus replied that Peter was blessed because the Father had revealed this to him.  Jesus didn’t tell Peter that he was clever, insightful, super spiritual or any other adjective that might suggest that Peter was a cut above the other disciples.  He was told that he had been given a very special gift from God. God’s decision, not Peter’s merit.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Gloating




Do not gloat when your enemy falls: when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice.  Proverbs 24:17 NIV

Sometimes I wish the Bible was just full of nice sayings.  It has a habit of making me feel uncomfortable with verses like this one.  How hard I find it not to gloat when someone who I think deserves to go for a fall experiences some kind of misfortune.  I have no right to judge that person or to presume to know what their life ought to be like.  There are times when I see God extending his mercy and goodness to someone that I believe could do with a little correction.  It’s a good thing that God is in charge and not me. How often God has to remind me that I know so little about other people’s state of heart and mind. Only He know how best to nurture his people.
I need to be ready to rejoice with my brothers and sisters in their good times, and be available to help support them in their difficult times.  At times, we all suffer from our mistakes. l don’t want to make it worse by having a superior attitude towards anyone when they stumble.  I’ll be next soon enough.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Equal




Rich and poor have this in common: the Lord is the Maker of them all.  Proverbs 22: 2  NIV

Our world is full of competition.  Who is smarter, better looking, richer, funnier, more athletic, and on and on.  What a tedious thing is all this comparing and trying to figure out where in the hierarchy we belong.  The reality is we are all on a level playing field.  We are all created people, made by God.  Any talents or beauty or any other characteristics about us are simply God’s fashioning.  Does God favour one person over another?  Does he line us all up and say someone is worth more than someone else? No, we are all equal in his sight, different but equal.  He loves all of us. 
He has, however, given us the gift of free will, of choice.  He has offered us his salvation but it ours to accept or reject.  Love can never be imposed but has to be gladly received.  He loves us all, but we don’t all love him. Sad but true.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Shepherd's Care




The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
 he leads me beside quiet waters,
 he restores my soul.   Psalm 23:2-3  NIV

I have heard this psalm so many times but it still reaches deep into my heart. What a picture of care
in every way.  With God as my shepherd, all my needs will be met.  I will have physical and spiritual nourishment; I will have  his living water that is easy to access in a peaceful way.  He promises to restore my soul.

The image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd has always been very meaningful to me.  The pastoral symbols are precious.  Perhaps for urbanites, it is hard to relate to shepherds and sheep but for me this metaphor is really powerful.  It reminds me of my vulnerability but also of his protection.

What a treasure to have such a beautiful psalm to remind us of God’s love for us.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Perfection




The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.  Psalm 19:7  NIV

The world is full of imperfection. People are imperfect in their attitudes, in their thinking, even in their health.  Governments are far from perfect and, even if they wanted to , wouldn’t know how to get there.  Our houses wear out  or even have imperfections like leaky roofs when they are new.
How refreshing to know that something is perfect.  The law of the Lord is perfect.  Not just good, or good enough, but perfect – no need for improvement.  It has covered all the bases and done it absolutely right. That thought alone revives my soul.  But better yet is the promise that the law of the Lord will revive my soul when it feels weary .  It makes me think of CPR.  Even if I was at the point of dying of despair, God’s law and love would resuscitate me. I don’t need to worry because I am not perfect.  God has all the perfection necessary.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Trees




He is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season… Psalm 1: 3 NIV

The Bible often uses trees as symbols.  This tree is a symbol for a man who walks in the way of the Lord.  It is tree that is always watered by the spirit of God and that yields the fruit of the spirit : love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  What a pleasure to know that as we follow God and allow him to mold us that we’ll be like great big mighty trees – maybe like an oak, or a maple tree that glows in the autumn.  Trees  produce food and shelter for animals and people.  It’s nice to think that I will be a shelter and provisioner for others.
Like a tree it takes time for a person to grow spiritually.  A tree often has to be quite large before it produces any fruit.  So I need to be patient.