Plans Within Plans

www.bible.com/1713/pro.19.21.csb

You ever watch one of those movies where there is a vast conspiracy to take over the world or something? It’s kind of fun to watch the heroes figure out the conspiracy and either unravel it or be overwhelmed by it. Because sometimes that’s how the world feels. It feels like big brother is always watching you or there is some vast conspiracy to ruin your life.

In truth, there is. His name is Satan and He wants to ruin your life. Everyone who serves His ends are His unwitting accomplices. But we all have parts to play in this drama. Whether you serve the side of Heaven or Hell, we are all pieces to be played or sacrificed. Sound dark?

Consider this, as stated in the verse above, we can make plans. But we can only see the road just a little bit ahead of us. God alone has the map. We try to best the best decisions we can based on the information we have, but God has given us enough guidance to steer us in the right direction. But the enemy also has an agenda. He can see little of God’s plan, but he does know how to derail as much as can.

Satan was responsible for the crucifixion and death of Jesus just as much as man. No doubt Satan rejoiced at God’s predicament. How could God start a new religion with a dead messiah? But God had a bigger plan. God had already prepared all things just as He had predicted through His prophets. That Jesus died was according to His plan. Jesus did not remain in death, but God raised Him in three days. And no greater joy was felt.

Jesus was sacrificed for God’s greater plan of raising Him from the dead. If God would do that for His own Son, imagine what wonders He will do through you? If you are going through a trial now, God already has a plan for experience in your life. If you are suffering, there is a reason for it. He has not abandoned you. You too will rise. But there is no greater darkness than the midst of that trial. He has not abandoned you or forsaken you. Be patient and He will lift you up. Wait on the Lord and you will not be disappointed.

Father God, you know I’ve been through some dark days. You’ve been there with me. Right now feels like one of those times. I can’t see far enough ahead Lord to know what direction is best. All I can do is the best I can in obeying the word You’ve given me. Please help me know what You need me to do. Please help me know you are with me. Your rod and your staff comfort me. Give me strength for the trial. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Feeling Dumb?

www.bible.com/1713/jas.1.5.csb

I’ll admit. Some days I feel like an idiot. Ok, that’s about every day. I wonder what God even wants with me some days, because I feel so useless. Is there something that God wants me to do, or some greater purpose I can fulfill?

Yeah. It’s one of those days.

What’s a guy to do, but turn to his blog and meditate on this scripture? I think today qualifies as a day that I lack wisdom. So I meet that first criterion. So what must follow? Well that’s the hard part. This verse says I need to go before the King of the Universe and admit to Him that I am an idiot. Never mind that He already knows this. Never mind that He knows me so well that He know what I will ask, how I will ask, and in what tone I will ask. He already knows me, my abilities and frustrations. And yet He still allows me, even calls me into His presence as a son.

Who of us can claim any genius before a God like that?

Father in Heaven, Lord of Heaven and Earth, today I come before you seeking wisdom. I don’t have it. Compared to you I am a worm, though probably less than that. Help me to see today your vision and plan for my life. Help me to grow into the man of godliness that you call me to be. Help me to be more like You. I need you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Your Warranty Runs Out

www.bible.com/1713/psa.73.26.csb

Don’t you just love those mysterious callers informing you your warranty on your car is about to expire? They can’t tell you what car, or when it expires, but they sure want to sell you an extension. All of that is a subtle reminder that our own warranty isn’t guaranteed either.

All of us have an expiration date. Our flesh and heart will fail at some point. We don’t know when and frankly I don’t want to know. Such knowledge knowledge would be both empowering and dangerous. What would you do if you knew you weren’t going to die until a certain date? How would you live?

Alas, no such date is tattooed on your body. It’s a mystery, and so we love with the likelihood of failure, if not the certainty. But that stands in very contrast with what we can believe in. Against our very likely mortality stands and eternal God who is always a help and a strength. And we stand upon His certain promises when our own weakness fails us.

Heavenly Father, we come before this morning in weakness and frailty, knowing that in you is power and strength. We can do all things in you as you will. May you grant us the ability today to carry out the work which you’ve given, the openness of eyes to see it, and the confidence that you have called us to it. Blessed be the Name of the Lord! In Jesus Name, Amen.

Common Guard

www.bible.com/1713/heb.10.24-25.csb

Did you know that you have a responsibility to your fellow Christians? Perhaps one of the greatest sins we can commit against our fellow Christians is to discourage them. If you catch yo it fellow Christian in a sin, you are right to rebuke them, but you cannot leave them there. You cannot love another Christian’s life for them. Each of us needs to bear our own loads. But each of us can help bear one another’s burdens, lightening the load by offering encouragement.

Some time ago, one of my kids managed to destroy the door of our oven and stovetop. The stovetop was hopelessly cracked. It needed to be replaced, but our funds were needed elsewhere. My wife was so discouraged. She related this to a friend at church. Our friend gave us a check and said, “go get a new oven.” We had no expectation for such help, but it meant far more than an oven. For my wife and family, it was a shot in the arm that was far more effective as encouragement.

Are there people around you silently suffering? Offer encouragement. We can encourage by correction. But also by offering a kind word. By reminding them that the community is there for them. Do not neglect meeting together, because we all need the encouragement from week to week. If you try to practice this faith on your own, it will fail you when tested.

Look for someone today to encourage. It will help you both. God bless you today!

Resolution Kept

This picture represents completion of a resolution I made 1 year ago today. Every day I have sought to make one blog post based on the verse of the day. As of this day, I can happily say I’ve been able to do this. And I want to extend my thanks to each and every one of my followers who take the time to read every day. Thank you especially to those who offer a comment or a like. You have helped make this page a success.

Happy New Year to All!

Becoming Flesh

www.bible.com/1713/jhn.1.14.csb

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  (Joh 1:14)

A simple word: “became.” But the process behind it is beyond our comprehension. How did this “Word” pour Himself into flesh? How did the Second Person of the Trinity shed all of his glory and take on a human nature? This has occupied the minds of theologians for centuries and volumes have been written on the subject, so there is very little I could add to the discussion here.

Suffice it to say that how the Word became flesh is one of the great mysteries of the Christian faith. The only way I can understand it is to understand that each of us has a soul, a spirit entity attached to our bodies that we call “me.” It is this soul that inhabits the organic hardware of our flesh and is our bridge between the material world and the spirit world. It is this soul which gives us spiritual awareness, and what leaves this body when the body dies.

I believe that instead of a normal human-sized soul, Christ possessed His eternal nature within His flesh, powered-down so-to-speak to fit within the hardware of his human body. A very limited version of His Second Person Spirit was what we got to see walking around. But it was this combination of flesh and Spirit that gave us Christ.

But instead of shedding His bodily form at death, He instead chose a renewed body at His resurrection, one capable of handling His true nature. Jesus’ resurrected body has become a permanent part of Him, identifying with us for eternity. It is as if Christ bound Himself to His creation permanently by wearing our form forever as our High Priest and Intercessor. And upon this body He bears the wounds of the cross. They too are a permanent reminder of what He suffered.

For the God who does not change, the Word accepted great changes on our behalf. He is no longer limited in power, but the God who had no form we could behold took on our form so that we could relate to Him and have relationship with Him. This is not a God content to sit in Heaven and wait for us. He reaches out to us, reveals Himself to us, so that He could day to Philip, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”

Blessed be the name of the Lord. God bless you today.