Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Help That Has Substance

“Men are only a vapor; exalted men an illusion. Weighed in the scales, they go up; together they are less than a vapor.” (Psalm 62:9)

            David’s question in Psalm 62 is:  Who can be trusted when you need real help (salvation)?  Who has sufficient strength and power to provide salvation?  To whom or to what should we direct our trust?
            He mentions how some place their trust in those who have high position, others in deception, oppression, robbery, or wealth.  Then, there are those who believe they can find their salvation or help through alliances with people.  To them, David suggests a piece of news: men are only a vapor, and exalted men an illusion.  If you take both and place them on a scale, the side of the scale they are on will go upward, because they and their help have no substance.
            So, David repeatedly hammers away at the truth he has discovered through experience when he needed help: “I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and salvation, my stronghold; I will never be shaken… Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him.  God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:1,8)
            Whatever help you may be in need of today, you may see before you a myriad of options, but the only “option” is the one that isn’t.  The only help or salvation before you that has any substance, that has the power to help you is Jesus Christ.  If you need help, the kind that has eternal results, then there is no other option.  Only in Him will you find the rest you need.

Lord, You and You alone are worthy of our trust.  We thus commit our trust to You for the help we need each day, and for our eternal salvation as well.  Amen

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Spirit’s Blessing

“Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)

            How do we “follow” the Spirit?  How can we follow Someone we cannot see?  We follow Him the same way we follow anyone.
            Following begins with commitment.  There must first be a commitment to follow, a decision of the heart that says, “No turning back.”  We keep nothing in reserve.
            Along with commitment comes alertness.  One who is committed to following another must keep alert, so that when the one we follow moves or changes direction, we know it, so we can make our adjustment.
            Alertness then produces observance.  When we follow someone, we observe their actions and movements, so that when they move out, so do we.  Their action prompts action on our part.
            God sent Elijah to anoint Elisha as his successor.  Elisha was to follow until Elijah was gone.  Elisha requested a double portion of Elijah’s “spirit,” and Elijah told him this would happen only if he witnessed his departure.  For Elisha to follow Elijah, there had to first be a commitment to follow.  He had to remain alert, and he had to stay observant, so that anytime Elijah moved out, Elisha went with him.  This was the only way he could receive the blessing he sought.
            The blessing of the Spirit of God is received when we follow Him in the same way:  commitment, alertness, observance, and action.

Lord, May each of these qualities be at the forefront of our lives this day.  Amen.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


“Send Your light and Your truth; let them lead me.” (Psalm 43:3)

            Darkness and uncertainty are the twin enemies of the wholeness God wants us to have.  Darkness can lead to uncertainty, and uncertainty can feed the darkness.  These two enemies are like a spiritual cancer that eats away at peace, wholeness, and wellness.  The darkness of depression and the uncertainty produced by sorrow can devastate the human spirit and cause us to feel abandoned and alone, wondering where God is and why He does not seem to respond.  They create an inner turmoil that deprives us of peace.
            Twin antidotes are needed to combat these.  One is light, but not just light in general, and not light that is human in origin.  God’s light is what we need.  In his darker moments, David realized this and asked God not to send light but to send HIS light.  The only antidote for the spiritual darkness of depression (not to be confused with clinical depression, which is physical in nature) is God’s light, and God sends us His light through His word, which is one of the reasons we must stay in His word.  We pray and ask God to send us His light.
            The twin antidote of God’s light is God’s truth.  Again, the truth we are interested in and desperately need is not human in origin, but truth that comes from God.  The truth, like His light, comes through God’s word, and it is what sets us free.  This is the truth that He loves us, and that in Him there is hope.  His hope comes to us smiling and unlocks the door, so we may enter His light and His truth.
            Put your hope in God.  Praise Him as Your Savior and Lord.  Let His light dispel the darkness.  Let His truth settle your sorrow.  Then the turmoil will subside, so that peace may return and again reside within.

Father, On those days when darkness and uncertainty are strong in attendance, help us to remember that our hope is in You, and help us to turn especially to Your word where we will find the light and the truth we need.  Amen.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

All or Not

“The person who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; the person who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.  And whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.  Anyone finding his life will lose it, and anyone losing his life because of Me will find it.” (Matthew 10:37-39)

            One of the most fruitful discussions you can have with yourself occurs when you answer the question: What does it mean to be a Christian?  How is a Christian defined?  That question, by necessity, leads to a lateral question: How did Jesus define a Christian since He is the Author and Finisher of our faith?  After all, it’s His definition that counts.
            Jesus defined a Christian essentially in the verse above along with its preceding paragraph.  A Christian is a believer, follower, and disciple of Jesus, one who loves Him and follows Him regardless of anything or anyone else, one who does not seek his or her own life, but seeks the Lord.  A Christian is one who is committed to a faith relationship with Jesus that impacts every aspect of his or her life.
            This concept may challenge some of the thinking in our society.  For example, one popular idea today suggests that people “make Jesus a part of your life.”  The idea behind this is that we each have a life segmented into various facets – family, work, social activity, education, religion, and so on – and thus we are to invite Jesus into our hearts to make Him “a part” of our lives.  We give Him a room in the house, so to speak.  When you hold this idea up to the light in one hand, and then hold the previous idea up to the light and compare the two, you discover that they do not, in fact, match.
            This being the case, maybe we need to consider what we can do to help others see the reality of the true teaching of Jesus so they can make some adjustments in their message.  Jesus does not want to be “part” of your life; He wants to be “central” to your life.  

Lord, You are our life.  Apart from You we have no life. Our desire is that You be central in our lives, and that every aspect of our lives revolve around our relationship with You.  Amen.