Friday, January 18, 2019

OVERWHELMED BY THE VISION OF JESUS

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”  (Colossians 1:15-17 NIV)

Jesus was a little baby born in Bethlehem, but He’s more than that! He was a preacher and a healer, but He’s more than that! He was the Savior nailed to the cross whispering forgiveness to the world, but He’s more than that! In the magnificent words of Paul, He is the image of the invisible God, the One through whom all things were made and in whom everything holds together. When we are overwhelmed by this vision of Jesus, our response can only be “Jesus, You are the One I want to love and follow.” 

-- Trevor Hudson and Stephen D. Bryant in “The Way of Transforming Discipleship”


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Thursday, January 17, 2019

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

“Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!’”  (Matthew 8:24-27 NIV)

Answers create more questions than they eliminate. Every discovery opens the door to new possibilities. The crest of every hill reveals new twists and turns in the road ahead.

Take the Wright brothers, for example. Their primitive contraption lifted off the ground at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903, and flew for a grand total of 120 feet in twelve seconds. During the twelve-second period, many questions were answered. But for every one that was answered, ten more were created. That’s why, after a brief celebration, the brothers went scurrying back to their bicycle ship. They knew their research was just getting started.

Likewise, the disciples learned something important about Jesus when He calmed the waters. But that information opened the door to a thousand new possibilities, and some of them were truly frightening. They knew that someone who possessed that kind of power could do anything at any time…

If your faith reserves have been depleted, maybe you need the kind of jolt the disciples got that day on the Sea of Galilee. Maybe you need to be reminded of our Lord’s awesome power.

-- Mark Atteberry in “Free Refill: Coming Back for More of Jesus”


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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

JUST ENOUGH LIGHT

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”  (Psalm 119:105 NIV)

There’s an old saying for travelers: A car’s headlights only shine for fifteen feet, but that fifteen feet will get you all the way home. God knows how much clarity will be good for us -- not too much, and not too little. We don’t follow clarity. We follow God

-- John Ortberg in “All the Places to Go: How Will You Know?”


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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

NOTHING BUT FILTHY RAGS

“We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.”  (Isaiah 64:6 NLT)

If... you are ever tempted to think that we modern Western Europeans cannot really be so very bad because we are, comparatively speaking, humane -- if, in other words, you think God might be content with us on that ground -- ask yourself whether you think God ought to have been content with the cruelty of past ages because they excelled in courage or chastity.  You will see at once that this is an impossibility. From considering how the cruelty of our ancestors looks to us, you may get some inkling of how our softness, worldliness, and timidity would have looked to them, and hence how both must look to God. 

-- C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) in “The Problem of Pain”


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Monday, January 14, 2019

LET SADNESS DRIVE YOU TO PRAYER

“When I heard these words I sat down and wept, and mourned for days,…”  (Nehemiah 1:4a NRSV)

If only a sailor could use any wind at all to get him where he needs to go. And if only a human being could use any feeling, any mood, any emotion to get them where they need to go. Enter Nehemiah.

We see as we read through his story the strong things that he feels. He feels things strongly, he feels things deeply, and yet we see that he lets those strong winds drive him… always towards God, and always towards God’s work. It’s remarkable.

So in the very beginning I shared with you when Nehemiah hears the bad news how he responds, how he feels. He says, “When I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days.” That’s not the whole sentence. I read to you before only a part of the sentence. Here’s the whole sentence: “When I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”

His sadness did not merely drive him to tears, it drove him to prayer. And don’t dismiss that as a minor detail, a small thing. It makes all the difference in the world. It is the difference between an act of grief and an act of faith. It’s the difference between wallowing in my troubles and worshipping in my troubles. 

-- Rev. David Kalas in a sermon entitled “Hero in the Rubble: Letting Yourself Be Moved”


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