Thursday, September 29, 2011


“I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24)

            When someone tells you that a loved one “passed,” they usually mean that the person died.  Some folks just don’t like to use the word “die,” so they use the word “passed” as a euphemism.  So, in this sense passed means passing from this life to death and beyond.
            Notice the way Jesus used the word “passed.”  He used it differently, in conjunction with faith to mean passing from death to life.  He says that anyone who hears His word and believes the One who sent Him has eternal life.  He has passed from death to life.  That suggests that being in this life apart from God is death.  Not knowing the Lord in a personal, faith relationship is death.  But knowing Him by faith ushers us from death into life.  We have passed.
            Today, if you know the Lord, you need to celebrate your passing – to life!

Father, We thank You for bringing us out of death and into the life of promise.  We thank You for our passing.  Amen.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Good Food

“’My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work,’ Jesus told them.” (John 4:34)

            Food is a life necessity.  It sustains us by providing fuel for energy.  It is one of the main motivations and objectives for the work we do, and it’s a cycle.  We work for food, and we eat food so we can have the energy to work, though the ultimate objective is to sustain life.  We cannot live very long without food, and after prolonged periods without it we will do almost anything to get it.  The necessity of food nearly approaches something of a human passion.
            The disciples of Jesus went into a nearby Samaritan village to buy some food while Jesus, weary from the journey, hung back and sat down by a well.  But that was not the only reason He remained behind.  Someone would be coming to the well soon, and Jesus had a divine appointment with her, though she was not aware of it at the time.
            Sometime later the disciples returned to the well with food in hand and urged Jesus to eat something.  Soon He would, but He pointed out to them that there is more than one kind of food.  There is also a “spiritual” food that is every bit as necessary as physical food.  This food is missions related – “doing the will of Him who sent Me.”
            Missions is thus the spiritual food we need, a passion for reaching the lost, for bringing them to the Lord.  Like food, missions sustains and energizes us, so that we can carry out the work of missions, with life lived well and finished well as the ultimate objective.

Lord, We thank You for the physical food that sustains us daily and for the spiritual food that energizes us daily to share You with a world that does not know You.  Amen.”

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wisdom Source

“He said to mankind, ‘The fear of the Lord is this: wisdom.  And to turn from evil is understanding.’” (Job 35:28)

            The question in Job’s mind was:  Where does wisdom come from?  Where is understanding, and how can people find it?
            Job thought of a miner and the work a miner would do to find silver, gold, iron, copper, sapphire, and other treasures.  Given the details of Job’s description of the work of mining, we might wonder if he had done some mining himself at one time in his life.
            Then comes his question:  But what about wisdom?  How can someone get wisdom?  Is it like a mining operation where you search and dig and explore until ultimately you find what you’re looking for?  Does this wisdom thing have a location, or an address?  Can you find it on a map?
            Job concluded that wisdom and understanding are nothing at all like this.  You cannot mine for it.  You cannot reach out your hand and take hold of it.  Wisdom and understanding come only from one source.  Wisdom is produced only when people fear the Lord.  And understanding is found only when people turn from evil.  When people open their eyes spiritually and catch a vision of how awesome and holy God is, and when they respond by turning away from the destructiveness of sin, wisdom and understanding are then given birth in their hearts.

Lord, May it be so in our hearts.  Amen.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The View from Hope

“But I know my living Redeemer, and He will stand on the dust at last.  Even after my skin has been destroyed, yet I will see God in my flesh.” (John 19:25-26)

            Suffering, sorrow, loss and pain – both physical and emotional – afflicted Job, and yet in this verse above his faith and hope rise decisively to the surface to declare their resolve.  Job knows the Lord, his Redeemer, and he knows that his Redeemer lives and will one day stand on the earth.  He is convinced that his eyes will see his Redeemer even after the destruction of his own body.  He is talking about the resurrection of the body.
            Interesting, isn’t it, that Job is talking about faith and hope, but he is expressing it in terms of “knowing.”  This is the way of faith.  A seed germinates, and as the tiny plant begins to send its roots into the earth it simultaneously sprouts and begins its climb toward the sun.  In a similar way, faith and hope deepen our walk with God while at the same time grow stronger and stronger until it takes us eventually into the arena of certainty.  We begin in faith and hope.  We move continually toward knowing.
            A man named John looked up one day and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”  Looks like Job was right.  Our living Redeemer came and stood on the earth, just as Job said He would.  Faith became sight.  And one day, we also will see Him as He is, as our faith becomes sight.

Thank You, Father, for the faith and hope that will one day be sight.  Amen.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


“He doesn’t let me catch my breath but soaks me with bitter experiences.” (Job 9:18)

            Some folks very much identify with the feeling Job expressed:  soaked with bitter experiences.  Soaking in something bitter is one way to describe the process that produces pickles.  Folks who are going through a bitter experience in fact may sometimes say, “I’m in a real pickle!”
            That was Job’s world for a time.  He felt pickled.  From his view, his circumstances had come from God.  The story indicates no awareness that Satan was involved.  In fact, it does not appear that he knew that there is a Satan.  Like many of his day, he thought that one’s life circumstances emanated from the Almighty.  He was at least partly correct in the sense that God allowed him to go through these experiences.
            Job’s thinking became clouded by his bitterness and by the pain of his sores.  Physical pain and emotional pain prevented him from recognizing any purposes God had in what he was going through.  Pain does have a way of demanding our focus.  But this does not mean that God was not carrying out His purposes.  In fact, He was.
            If God is allowing us to go through bitter experiences, He has a purpose.  And He will fulfill that purpose, just as He did with Job.  We just need to be patient and faithful through it and endure.  One day it will all be clear, just as it was with Job.

Lord, We have to admit that sometimes we just do not understand why You allow Your people to walk through bitter experiences, but we trust that You do have a purpose.  And we trust You in that purpose.  Amen.