No Records

Do you keep records? I’m not talking about the old 33 1/3’s or the 45’s, but records of transactions, purchases and debts. I am told I am to keep records of such things for seven years for IRS purposes, but I probably keep them longer than that. These records are important for legal reasons, but also as a record of my history.

I think it’s important to remember where you came from, especially on those dark days when you feel God is far from you. He often reminded Israel of her history, “Remember when you were slaves in Egypt” and He freed them, or when He parted the sea before them, and they crossed on dry land, or the many times when He saved them from opposing armies, sometimes even wiping them out. History is important to God, and it should be to you.

When you are going through hard times, do you remember when God saves you through them, when He healed an ailment or saved you from injury? When he brought someone home or sent someone else away?

God wants us to keep a record of these things. But there are other things He doesn’t want us keeping records of. Because if we say we love, then we don’t keep records of wrong. Cherish the good memories, shun the bad. What is He talking about? The List.

The List always comes out in an argument between couples (and parents and children, between adult siblings, even friends) as a record of all those reasons you can’t trust someone else to do something. It usually starts with “Remember the time you . . .?” This is what the text is talking about. Remember the time you stood me up at my mother’s funeral? Remember the time you said you would cover taking care of dad, and then went on vacation? Remember the time you borrowed $5000 and told me you would pay me back? Sound familiar?

Love isn’t stupid, and is does call for some trustworthiness. But just as you have been loved, so you ought to love others. Does God remind us of our past failures? Praise God He does not. Instead, He gives grace. But God is also wise. He loves us unconditionally. But He trusts us with a little before we are given more responsibility. We have to grow and develop our relationship with Him, and that doesn’t come all at once. But we grow, from little faith to greater faith, from immaturity to maturity.

We love our children the same way. We begin relationships this way too. We put more investment into relationships that can handle it. When we are betrayed, or or trust is broken, we still love but trust must be earned again in a spirit of forgiveness.

That said, addiction is the surest test of this idea. Those who are addicted to drugs don’t care about relationships when they are seeking their next fix. While you love them, you cannot trust them. That is a hard place to be. My heart goes out to those situations. The only solution I can offer there is hope that the addict wants to put aside his addiction and heal. Pray for this, because any treatment for an addict who doesn’t want it is useless.

Love does not keep a record of wrongs. Wow.

God bless you today!


Sons of God

This has always intrigued me. There is One Son of God. There can be only one Son who takes away the sins of the world. Yet, in this translation, and I believe rightly so, is the word translated “sons” to really make us think about. E implications of this text.

The very work Christ did was to make peace between God and Men by offering Himself in their stead. The very essence of peacemaking here is “take me instead” as the subject of wrath.

That gives new meaning to peacemaking, doesn’t it?

Unlimited Power

What great mission would you apply yourself to if you had unlimited resources? See the world? Explore deep space? Explore the oceans?

And how would you gauge what would be a greater mission, or more important mission? Greater benefit for more people? Greater benefit for you and your family? Greater benefit for science?

The fact it we have been given a very important mission, and we have been given unlimited resources to complete it. It is the mission to the world, to broadcast the saving message of Jesus Christ. And our unlimited resources are God Himself, dwelling within us and empowering us to do our part in the mission. Sound intimidating? It is. But it is the best mission to benefit the most people for all eternity. Interested?

Seeking Counsel

The Silent Partner of the Holy Trinity is the Holy Spirit. Today on Pentecost Sunday we remember the birthday of the church and the role the Holy Spirit played on that day. Like tongues of fire the Holy Spirit descended upon those disciples of the early church and caused them to speak in various tongues so that all around were amazed, speaking of the works of God in their own language.

This remarkable event marked the beginning of the Church, the beginning of God’s mission of inclusion by faith of the peoples of the world by offering the “gift of the Holy Spirit” to all who would received Him by faith, repentance, and baptism. It was no longer exclusive to the Jews to know the Presence of God, to have a singular Temple where God resides. No, the presence of God is offered to all!

In one of Jesus final teachings with His disciples the night before He died, He told his disciples about the Holy Spirit, who would be a Counselor and a Teacher to them. This forms the basis for the teaching of the rest of the New Testament beyond the gospels. The Holy Spirit would and did guide them into all truth. That ceased when those disciples died, and those they directly discipled, like Mark and Luke. Paul was given special dispensation as an Apostle called directly by Christ and so too was given authority to write Spirit-inspired Scripture.

So what does the Holy Spirit do for us, if His purpose in this verse was to inspire Scripture? We aren’t writing Scripture anymore. No. But the Spirit is the same. He need only guide us to what is written, remind us of what we’ve read. The wisdom of the Spirit is already written for us to consume, but we may not always understand what we read when we read it. The Spirit works within us to help us understand it. The Spirit is just as powerful and effective for us in seeking wise counsel as it was for Solomon.

Celebrate today the birthday of the Church, and give place to the Holy Spirit every day as He points us to the Son and the Father.

God bless you today!

Before Time

I can’t even fathom what this verse means. I have no reference for “before time began”. But God could see into the world He was about to create and extend to me grace, salvation and a calling through His Son, whose work to save me was determined already.

God must think a great deal about us. From eternity past, He was able to see all of our time in a moment, down to the very thing you are doing right now. Every life was before Him before He had even uttered the first “Let there be”!

But God has both seen all our doings and still called us to salvation by His grace. You are not insignificant. But you matter to God, and since before time began.

God bless you today!

Peace of Mind

Can you have peace of mind? In many parts of the world, they struggle to have clean water, nutritious meals, clean clothes, a job, even being free from slavery. We call them “third world problems” like they happen to someone else, since our society in America has “eliminated” through government support and charity all those kinds of problems. We have “first world problems” like, where are we going to eat? What kind of cell phone am I going to buy this month? Is my car new enough? Should I get a vacation house? Really?

One of our first world problems is killing us. It’s called depression. America is on the top of the list when it comes to this mind-killing malady. Though I’ve written about this before, just let me add here that if we could cure depression, there would be no stopping us.

I think depression has some physical causes to be sure, but I also believe it has spiritual causes, among them guilt and shame. We cannot did ourselves of the natural guilt we experience when we sin against the law of our heart which our Father put there. We may ignore it and try to forget it, but it never goes away. It plagued us in our dark and quiet moments. When we are alone with our thoughts, it comes around again.

This is not to say that all depression comes from guilt and shame for sin, but we are lying to ourselves if we say it doesn’t. Some of it does. And that part we can deal with spiritually. Hence the verse above.

Peace of mind comes from trust in the Lord. If we have faithfully confessed our sins to Him, He is faithful to cleanse us from our guilt and grant us peace of mind. We need to seize it, because a mind long held in depression will not give up self-hate easily. It is the sense of justice we carry that condemns us. We know we don’t deserve grace but judgment. That’s why trust is so hard. But it is necessary. How can you have peace without it?

God’s bless you today.

Faith for the Future

What keeps you going? I like to get a good strong cup of coffee in the morning, listen to AFR to find out what’s going on since I went to bed, and get ready for work. I like to think the coffee helps. But faith keeps me going. Faith that I will have a job when I clock in for the day. Faith that the world has not fallen apart since I went to sleep. Faith that my kids ad my wife are going to be in good health today so that I don’t need to worry.

But all of those things depend on Someone else. I need faith in Jesus to make sure all of theses things happen, and especially if they do not. When Job penned these words, he had lost everything. He had nothing. His kids had died. His possessions were destroyed or stolen. His wife lost her respect for him. He sat in an ash pile, covered in painful burning sores. He was miserable. And yet, he had faith in God. Even on his worst days, he knew he needed God.

What keeps you going? I pray that for you, it is faith that God holds your present and your future in His hands.

God bless you today!