Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Perfect Law

Whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it -…they will be blessed in what they do.  James 1: 25

How do I look into the perfect law? What is the perfect law?  I think the teachings of Jesus and his apostles are the perfect law.  It is the law that promises forgiveness if we ask for it, the law that says that Jesus is our atonement. By keeping Jesus present in our consciousness we are transformed by his Holy Spirit more and more into his likeness.  And that’s where the freedom and blessings come.

Jesus himself was totally free because he had his will under control.  He did whatever he wanted which was what the Father wanted. Jesus’ work was not impeded by pride or greed or fear or lust.  He was free to love completely . The freer we become in Jesus, the more love will fill our hearts and that will be our best blessing.  We will love God more and we will love other people more.  What can be more significant and satisfying than that?

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Power of God

People will be lovers of themselves…having a form of godliness but denying its power. 2 Timothy 3:2,5

Denying the power of God. I think this is closely linked to denying the sovereignty and authority of God. Whenever I decide that I know better than God and choose to follow some pop psychology type of Christianity rather than Biblical Christianity, I am falling into a well-worn trap.  Instinctively, I want to do my own thing, in my own way, following the advice of people who stoke my pride fires.  I will be encouraged to love myself first, to meet my wants first, to demand my supposed rights first. I will be told that I should think that I am great and will be filled with platitudes about self-esteem.  I will be helped to build a very pretty house on sand.

What did Jesus say? Put others first. Deny yourself. Be a servant. Not much candy there.  I need to remember the life that Jesus led and how he sacrificed himself with great suffering. His life is the truth.

I pray that God will not let me live a form of godliness that denies the truth of who God is because only the truth can set me free, and I would like to be free.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Not Shaken

With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices. Psalm 16:8-9 NIV

My heart is glad , not because I am wonderful or in control, but because God is guiding and protecting me.  He will keep me from being shaken to pieces by the challenges of this life. I won’t fall apart even when difficulties arise. I am glad because it’s not all up to me.  I am not on my own. I am blessed to have an unchangeable, unbeatable, unstoppable, loving, caring, nurturing, forgiving God who is, figuratively, at my side all the time.

I can sing songs even in dark times and I can smile at adversity.  I can encourage others because I know that God can bring them through the deep valleys, too.  Other believers encourage me, as well, and the spirit that binds us together speaks words of wisdom to each of us.  I may be buffeted but I will not be shaken; I will be able to stand firm.

Be Still

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 NIV

My elderly mother is not feeling well and I am anxious about what lies ahead for us in the next while. I don’t deal well with medical crisis. I feel a general swirling in my brain that makes it hard to focus. This verse is my go-to verse today. I take a deep breath and remember that God is in control. I can be still and calm in my mind if I keep going back to God and his sufficiency. I have to ponder this verse repeatedly but slowly I start to feel like the swirling is slowing down.  I can begin to do some everyday tasks and pull my mind away from the what-ifs.

Be still. Here is command to stop racing around mentally and perhaps even physically. Sometimes when people are hysterical what they need is a sharp rebuke or maybe even something physical, like cold water on their face, to startle them out of their panic. This abrupt verse seems to me to be similar in its intent. Stop! And then remember who is in control of the universe: God, who loves me and cares for me, and who will be with me no matter what happens.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Cherry Picking

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. James 2:10 NIV

The law of God is not like a school exam.  51 % does not equal a pass. God’s law demands perfection, 100%. Of course, none of us can do that. James is reminding me that good enough is not the same as righteous. 

I need to be careful that I am not cherry-picking from the teachings of Jesus. Am I focusing on the love of Christ for me and forgetting that he tells me to love my enemy? Am I feeling smug because I don’t steal even though I am coveting what others have? Do I expect others to be kind and compassionate to me all the while being critical and hard-hearted to others? I have so many sins of commission and omission.

How blessed I am to have a way out, to have forgiveness.  At the end of it all, I will see my Saviour and he will transform me into his likeness. Love will conquer all.