The glorious will of God for you will happen as you keep adding one obedient day to another. (Matt 6:34)
For a long time now I have enjoyed reading the Bible multiple times each year. One of the blessings that grows out of this exercise is the powerful collection of proof that comes together, proof of the eternal and infinite qualities of the Bible. One of the categories that springs out from the sacred pages is what we might call: Echoes of the Old Testament that ring in the New. These many different kinds of echoes are so randomly scattered across multiple books and authors that they cannot be ... random! They are irrefutable proof, straight from the mouth of God.
Just one example: The Lord Jesus in John 13 warns His disciples about Judas, the traitor. And in that warning, He says, "I'm telling you this before it happens, SO THAT YOU WILL BELIEVE."
This is not at all the first time God used this kind of argumentation.
700 years earlier, Isaiah attacked the very concept of false gods with exactly the same line of reasoning! In the end, there is no blinder person than he who does not want to see.
Fortunately for all of us, the Lord is the Master who opens the eyes of the blind...
(Isaiah 41:22-23) Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come...Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.
42:9, Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.
As with everything God does, the closer you look at it, the more amazing it is--exactly the opposite is true of any man-made object.
This is a NASA picture of flares and a coronal mass ejection on the sun--whatever that is!
Two very different questions come to the human mind when it thinks about the morning ball of fire that marks each day of life.
WHAT makes it happen so precisely, so systematically, so beautifully.
Which question I end up trying to answer will become a determining factor in my eternal destiny.
Each of us today will make a decision between two ways to live.
BY SIGHT. We can live by sight, thinking and reasoning exclusively on the basis of the circumstances we see around us - family problems, church issues, financial challenges, health matters, etc... If we live only on this level we will always be bouncing back and forth, banged around by events that hit us from all sides, and life will be mostly sour.
BY FAITH. Or we can live by faith, understanding that reality is not only about what we see. In fact, what we see is the lesser factor. There is an invisible God who with infinite wisdom governs every detail of our life and of everyone else on the planet. Living with this perspective will bring peace and joy and hope.
THE CHOICE IS OURS
2 Corinthians 5:7
It was a cold, December night, and King Jehoiakim was sitting comfortably in front of the fireplace at his winter home. All of his ministers were there, watching him toy with a unique manuscript. It was a scroll, an original, just recently snatched from the prophet Jeremiah and his friend Baruch.
Sometime later Jeremiah was told that the king had read through it, had systematically cut it into pieces, and then fed those into the fire.
The horrible thing was… there were no copies.
That meant days and days of work…
But the Lord’s work went on without even a hiccup. And in this dramatic way, God would again teach His children of all ages an important lesson: NO HUMAN MISTAKE OR ACCIDENT OR EVIL CAN EVER DERAIL HIS PLAN.
Two weeks ago today I came back to my office from some errands, like any other day of the year. I tapped on the keyboard to wake up my main laptop and it started, then froze...
I am still waiting--the computer store has not been able to get a replacement hard drive from the distributor and the data recovery company in Madrid has not yet told me if they will be able to get anything off of the drive.
It could have been avoided--I made a huge mistake by not backing up current projects. Oh, I have my excuses: the computer worked flawlessly, the technician said, “one in a million of these hard drives fail”, many of the jobs were currently being worked on, etc...
However, in the end all I can say is that for some reason God allowed it to happen--in other words, all is good. Somehow, none of those pics, recordings, videos, projects, or writing, is essential to my life!
Have you ever lost anything to a fire, a robbery, an accident, a stupid mistake? Then you know the stunned feeling that constantly swells up and threatens to take over. It’s that mixture of frustration, helplessness, questions, anger… maybe Jeremiah had to fight them too?
It is no fun, of course. But for a believer this kind of hit can have great value. It can jolt us into thinking afresh about eternity, about what things really matter, about where we have our focus, about Who is really in charge.
And God knows how we often need that reminder. AB
God loves to surprise;
We are often broadsided with events we could never have imagined.
But He himself is never surprised.
Jer 33:3/Isa 44:6
Worry is much about our focus.
Our world is quite obviously a big mess; but maybe so is our family, our church, our city, or our nation.
Nothing has changed in a very long time. The nation Isaiah prophesied to 2600 years ago was fretting as well. Inside and outside their borders there was nothing but disaster and hopelessness.
So God sent a message: Isaiah 40:22-23
You can focus on all the grasshoppers jumping around, thinking they are the ultimate thing; or you can fix your eyes on the One sitting on the eternal throne, the One who supervises and governs everything from a tadpole to a galaxy.
As Christians we have a choice...
Or maybe we don't.
(It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: That bringeth the princes to nothing;)
For some it may seem like a strange title or metaphor for God.
But sooner or later, it will make a whole lot of sense...
When your world begins to shift.
When tragedy strikes and family members die; when a son or daughter walks away from the home; when your faith in a friend is shaken by a lie; when fellow believers let you down; when spiritual leaders fail you; when society changes course; when your plans fall apart; when the basic foundations of what you've always known begin to tremble...
You want something solid. Something that won't move or change. Something that you can count on.
And suddenly Moses does make a lot of sense.
HE IS THE ROCK.
I recently received a fascinating audio from one of my sons in which he described his first 100k (62 mile) run--he used about every adjective in the book! The anticipation, the excitement, the exhaustion, the agony, the cramps, the constant intake of protein, the effort for each step, the slippery paths, the steep climbs and dangerous descents, the knee pain, the blisters, all of it, with his mind focused on one thing -- just making it to the Finish Line.
Without that fierce determination to focus on the goal he would never have made it.
And this is nothing unusual.
Some people spend their entire lives focusing on a specific line of study. They plunge into the matter and research until they become experts in the field. This usually lands them some sort of career, with its source of income, and probably a measure of stability. Generally speaking, they are considered successful.
Others hone in on perfecting their skills in an art form, like music, architecture, painting, etc... Hours turn into years as they invest in mastering their specific field. Again, they may turn these interests or gifts into a lifetime vocation, and be rewarded with wages, and maybe even fame.
Then, there are thousands who zero in on an unusual ability in sports. Their capacity for endurance, or natural coordination, or unusual body characteristics, propel them into the limelight, as they break records and make the news.
Many more examples could make the list, but all of them would be linked initially and essentially to the mind, and it's incredible capacity for organizing and managing our energies and desires.
But one thing is sure. If that is all they focused on, it was a complete waste of a life.
None of the accomplishments gained by all of these intense mental disciplines in themselves will do one single thing for us the moment we fill a casket. They do not come with us. Sure, we may be remembered for centuries. Our family may reap benefits in comfort, style, or longevity. Our nation may honor us with a statue, or a street, or a holiday.
But that's it. At death it all stays behind and slowly fades from memory.
So in the light of this, what a marvelous truth is this one that Isaiah wrote in 26:3-Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.
It reveals the highest goal our intellect could ever give itself to--that of "staying our minds on Him", of having a clear and firm focus on God!
He who is before, during, and after our life on earth should be the one primary object of our thoughts. To grow in knowing Him should consume us, and the reading of His Word should be our overwhelming passion. He should be more than our job, our hobbies, our things, or any other person.
And then, the amazing truth is that we are given an incredible reward for doing it! We are offered peace. Perfect peace. Eternal peace. The kind of peace God always enjoys.
All of this is about pure grace. We have no claim to anything other than an eternal, irreversible, moral obligation to our Creator. But, almost unbelievably, it is He who cares and gives and loves.
So in this verse we find both the supreme purpose of the human mind as well as one of its greatest pleasures.
You have been given a mind with an unfathomable capacity to learn, to study, to recognize, to create, to appreciate, and to worship.
How are you using it?
One of the great Christian joys is to serve others in Jesus' Name--how sad to see some who never learn the lesson. It is one than can never be fully understood until put into practice. (Mk 10:45)
March 2017 video report