Monday, October 29, 2012

Seasonal Seekers

“Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth…He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.” (Jno.5:33,35)

What a stinging rebuke from the lips of our Lord! He portrays these Jews as being shallow and fickle. “You wanted to hear what John the Baptist had to say,” He says in essence, “And when he told you the truth, you were overjoyed to hear it…at first.”

John was a shining light— a luminary, if you will, because he spoke the truth. Only truth gives light; everything else is just information. We hear people say, “That really shed light on ___,” when actually all that was received was a true fact in that particular case. But when someone passes on to us eternal truth from the Source of Truth, that individual has truly illuminated us. John, Jesus insisted, was just such a truth-conveyer.

What John said was enough to give these people something in which to rejoice for the rest of their lives. Yet they failed to continue in the light that had been communicated to them. Why? Either because they never really considered it to be the truth, in the first place; or else they weren’t seeking truth at all, just something new and different.

Here’s something we can be sure is true: True seekers and true possessors do not rejoice in the truth just “for a season.” They hang onto it for always!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

All or Nothing

“So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33)

         Can a man or woman be a Christian but not a disciple? I’ll let you search God’s Word and come to your own conclusion about that, but I do know one thing: Jesus Christ told you in no uncertain terms what He expected in a disciple. (Read the last ten verses of the chapter.) And He had (and has) a perfect right to ask such dedication. As the great missionary, C.T. Studd said, “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.” But coming to the place of willingness to give all that we have and are to Him is not always easy. The great English preacher, F.B. Meyer, explained his own crisis experience this way in 1904:

“I remember so well when He came to my heart and challenged me as to the keys of the fortress…Before I gave them to Him I put one small key in my pocket. Have not you done that, and handed to Him the bunch minus that key? He looked at me with those eyes which are as a flame of fire, and said, ‘Are all the keys there?’ I said, ‘All but one, and I cannot give it.’ He gave it back, and said He could not be king at all if He could not be King of everything.’ I put my hand in my pocket where I had hidden it, and said, ‘I cannot give it, but you may take it,’ and He took that tiny key. Then they were all His.”

         Our younger daughter, Charity, heard that illustration as a fifteen year old girl and wrote this poem:


You ask me for so many things, more than I can remember,
And now you say there’s one more thing You want me to surrender.

The others weren’t too hard to give; they’re things I wouldn’t miss,
Some I had to struggle with, yet none so much as this.

But can I say you’re Lord of all, if to this thing I cling?
No, not till I’ve surrendered all and given everything.

I’d like to give it to you, Lord, so you’d have all of me,
But I can’t release my treasure; it’s too difficult for me.

Yet before you turn away, Lord, to this one thing I agree,
Since I’ve not the power to give it, You can take it, if You please. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

It's Who's Onboard

“…Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27b)

We’ve all seen pictures (or the real thing) of the plane on which the a sitting President of the United States flies. Emblazoned on the side, as you well know is “Air Force One.” But, in truth, any plane on which he travels is designated Air Force One. You see, it’s not the name on the outside, but the esteemed person on the inside that gives the aircraft the right and distinction of being called the President’s plane.

The same is true of those who call themselves Christians. The verification of a true Christian is not outward paraphernalia, spiritual clich├ęs, and good deeds, which may be emblazoned on his or her life, as good as they may be, it’s the esteemed Person on the inside. Second Corinthians four, verse seven tells us that we believers “have this treasure (Jesus Christ) in earthen vessels.” The vessel may be battered and chipped, altogether quite ordinary, but the Treasure makes us special.

And be sure of this, dear ones, with the Son of God “on board,” you and I can rightfully be designated the children of God…and we can fly!  

“They that wait upon the Lord…shall mount up with wings as eagles…” Isa. 40:31  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Beyond Words

“…and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.” (Job 2:13)

         I’m of the opinion that grief and sorrow are not always lessened by talk. I know this goes against established psychology and grief counseling, and it’s not to say that grief shouldn’t be shared, but only that it doesn’t always have to be verbalized to be borne. I write this not for those enduring grief and heartache, but for those who ache for them. If the individual seeks a sympathetic ear, then by all means, we should give it; but to feel that we must encourage someone to speak or even cry in hopes of making him or her “feel better” or “get over it” sooner, is presumptive, to my way of thinking.

         Some grief is too great to be expressed. In the case of Job’s friends, when they did finally speak, they turned out to be “miserable comforters. We sometimes search for words of comfort when there are none. Not because there is no comfort, but because it will not come through words, in this case. Anguish and heartache that cannot be expressed, like “groanings that cannot be uttered,” call for a specialist—the blessed Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:26). It is not for nothing that He is called “the Comforter.”

Not the words that you say, but the love that you show—
From a heart filled with God, and the comfort He bestows

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Believing is Seeing

“When he had thus spoken, he [Jesus] spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay.” (John 9:6)

You and I have seen enough trick photography to know that the old saying, “Seeing is believing” is not an actual truism. On the other hand, we Christians know, from both the Word of God and our own experience, that believing is very often the first step to seeing. This story found in John chapter nine is an example of this.

Unlike most other healings where Jesus spoke and/or simply touched the afflicted individual, in this case, He took something from His own human body (spittle), mixed it with part of His creation (dirt), and formed clay. He then placed the clay on the man’s eyes, and instructed him to go wash in a pool of water (v.7). The man did as he was told, and it was then, the Bible says, he “came seeing.” He didn’t see when Jesus put the clay on his eyes; he received sight when he exercised faith by going to the pool.

Besides giving us a picture of the balance between God’s initiative and our response in salvation, this story shows that God is perfectly at ease using His creation, and His creatures, when He heals. He may simply touch our bodies, but He is just as apt to use human means to set in motion the healing process. (Dr. Luke was with Paul to the end [2 Tim.4:11]). Either way, there is no healing without God.

Whenever you and I are in need of healing—physical, emotional, or spiritual—we should remember, God doesn’t have a “standard procedure.” Therefore, if we want individual care, we would do well to leave the means to Him. But however He chooses to work His healing power in our lives, it will always be accompanied by a manifestation of faith on our part.  

Doubt dreads to take a step,
Faith soars on high;
Doubt questions, “Who believes?”
Faith answers, “I!”