Tuesday, February 25, 2014

C'mon... Again?


   “And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.”...” (Genesis 20:2, ESV)

The more I've read this story, the more indignant I get.

For the second time (Gen 12:13 being the first), Abraham tells everyone that his wife, Sarah, is merely his sister in order to protect himself from the local powers. Then (for the second time!), Sarah gets handed off as a wife to the local ruler.

The first reaction I have: "What kind of man are you?!" The second reaction: "C'mon! Are you seriously doing this again?" (The third? "Oh Sarah, the things you put up with...")

But then I have a more productive reaction: Our God is so gracious with us. If anyone was outraged by this, it was God (thus the plagues and death threats accompanying Sarah's additional marriages, tell me that's not a fatherly reaction.).

Yet what does God do? He doesn't strike Abraham down and move on to a better follower. He blesses him and makes him the father of a multitude. When the father of the faith fell flat on his face (twice), God responded with grace and not justice.

For all my indignation, I'm too hard on Abraham. His worst moments were recorded for all posterity. I bear a much lighter load that my own sin is not nearly so public. But public or not, the grace I need is the same grace Abraham needed.

Thank God that he does not give us what we deserve!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Better than we realize


   “Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29–30, ESV)

Jesus doesn't mince words, there's no doubt about it. He promises that suffering and persecution will accompany, even characterize, a life lived in his footsteps. But do we realize there's more to it than that?

Jesus promises more than stoic suffering. He unabashedly promises that the sacrifice will be worth it. Indisputably worth it. Worth the tears, the doubts, the betrayals, the heart ache and everything this world can scourge us with. Not a single person welcomed into the kingdom will wonder about whether it was worth it.

But even though we're promised so much more, we don't seem to get past the stoic suffering part. Christians live somber lives. Lives consumed by the stress and needs of this life. To them, Christ says, "Look at me. You must suffer, you must persevere through this, but keep your gaze on me. Keep your gaze on eternity."

To the non-Christian, I would ask for a simple clarity in the discussion. Christ does not expect suffering for nothing. He does not ask you to forsake yourself for nothing. He does not call you to repent of your life of sin for nothing.

He promises a fullness of life different and better than you've ever experienced. He promises riches that will never fade, glory without end. He promises to make you right with your creator, to bring you in as an heir in the royal family.

If anyone understands this life, it's Christ. If anyone understands suffering, it's Christ. This faithful friend, this man of sorrows, he beckons to you and says, "Come. Suffer the trials and turmoil of this world. You will not regret it... for I will be waiting for you at the end."

Everyday Devotionals

Everyday Devotionals is my effort to more purposefully translate my time in the Scriptures into personal and corporate blessing. I find that the more I attempt to communicate what I read, the more deeply I appreciate it.

The choice of passages generally just relates to my daily readings. I hope these are a blessing to others as well!

God bless,

Jason