Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I need to believe

For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16, ESV)

Paul didn't seek bonus points for preaching the Gospel. That was just what he needed to do. The truth of Christ and the calling of Christ demanded that he live his life a certain way. There weren't any options.

Knowing what is necessary in life is a mark of wisdom. Living in light of that knowledge is even more so.

The question of true necessity shines painful light on my life. To be clear, I don't mean "necessity" in the sense of "eat rice and beans everyday and smile only when absolutely necessary." I mean necessity in the sense of what makes an image bearer of God tick? What causes a child of God to thrive? What feeds my soul?

When I ask these questions, I start evaluating why I spend my time the way I do. I start doubting why I fill my life and mind with distractions. I start questioning the value of the fluffy stuff and start wondering about what's really worthwhile.

As it turns out, I already know the answer. You probably do too. My soul needs my Savior. My soul needs the words of life. I think there's more, but that alone is a worthwhile foundation.

Live today as one who knows what is necessary. Live for your soul's good and your God's glory.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

But we trust in Him

   “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:7, ESV)

What makes for a stable life?

Is it wealth and comfort? Is it talent and health? Is it family and friendship?

Well, sure, the answer on this blog is easy. It can't possibly be one of those things. Everyone of them can be taken. The wealthy go bankrupt, comfort is fleeting, the talented suffer injury, the healthy get sick, families fall apart and relationships dissolve.

So what's left?

Like Israel so long ago, every day we are faced with the temptation to trust something else (sometimes anything else!) rather than trusting God. We are tempted to populate our lives with "gods" and abandon the blessing and security of the one true God.

The blessings of the Lord are indeed blessings. Let no one look down on their "chariots" or their "horses." But these blessings should never be used to look away from God, rather each blessing reminds us of our dependence on God. Each blessing reminds us of grace.

We don't need a stable life, we need eternal life. Our stuff and our circumstances don't save, but Christ does.

Keep the world in its place. Trust the One worth trusting.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Is there anybody up there?

During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.” (Exodus 2:23–25, ESV)

Have you ever cried out to the heavens? Or sobbed pleading prayers into the darkness of your bedroom?

Israel knew this pain. The people of God under Egypt's yoke knew much more about enduring sorrow than we might think.

Israel before the exodus knew nothing of the miraculous fulfillment they were about to see. What they knew was generation after generation of burden and slavery. And as the burden grew, they did not just stoically endure, they staggeredthey cried out to God.

Crying out to the heavens feels bitterly empty. The loudest cry dissolves into the expanse, leaving no evidence it ever existed, even less does anything actually seem to change. The weeping prayer is no less disappointing, our idealism has led us to believe that those quiet moments might birth miracles.


When Israel cried out, they had no idea whether the heavens heard them. They didn't know whether their groans and cries mattered in the least.

But God heard them. God had never left them or forgotten them. Though the heavens might seem deaf and blind, our God is not. God knew the trials of his people and he also knew his plans for them.

Child of God, you are not forgotten or forsaken. Your tears and trials are not overlooked.

Don't let the silence of the heavens deter you. God knows.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Handcrafted gods

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. (Exodus 32:1, ESV)

Panic rarely inspires clear thinking. Israel's situation is no different. Panicked that they have lost their connection to their divine Liberator, they call upon Aaron to make them gods who will go before them.

Consider what they've seen thus far. In Egypt alone, they'd witnessed power they'd possibly never even imagined. God rained plagues down upon idolatrous Egypt and no one could stop him. God's people had witnessed the unmistakable power of the almighty God.

And what were they about to create?

A clumsy golden calf, crafted by their own hands. How would this god go before them? How would it guide them or protect them? It wouldn't. It would have no power, no will and no ability. Ah, these ancient, foolish people. Good thing we have come so far since their time...

Unfortunately, mankind's propensity for idolatry perseveres. We are likewise glad to make our own feeble idols instead of trusting in God.

Christ offers eternal life, we're glad to just have a comfortable living. Christ offers to make us a new creation, we'd rather just have an occasional dose of self-improvement.

Our idols are just as feeble as Israel's were. Our folly is just as great.

Today, may we despair of every idol's false promises. Instead, find life and hope and strength and grace and love in Christ's abundance alone.