Thursday, August 27, 2015

Satisfied in Christ

I once heard an old preacher say, “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.”  I think that is a beautiful way to describe our relationship with God.  Honoring God with our lives is good for us.  In fact, the blessings we experience in honoring God (deep, eternal satisfaction) are actually what gives God the most glory.

The end of Revelation agrees with that old preacher.  In Revelation 21, the Apostle John catches a glimpse of God’s heavenly city.  This city will be the final dwelling place for God and God’s people.  John describes the city in saying, “It shone with the glory of God.”  John also says that this glorification of God is really good for the people who live there: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed.”  In other words, the residents in the New Jerusalem will be satisfied in God.  The residents being satisfied in God fills the city with the glory to God.  Therefore, God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.

As you go through the coming week, seek Jesus in order to be satisfied in Him.  Call on Him in prayer, asking Him to sustain your soul.  Study Him in the scriptures, recognizing His goodness.  Take time to remember His faithfulness in your life.  Be satisfied.  As you do, you will indeed be blessed by a good God.  You will also be honoring and praising Him in the process.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

What Goes Around, Doesn't Necessarily Come Around

“What goes around, comes around” is a common phrase.  The phrase gets used so often, I can forget what it is actually communicating.  “What goes around, comes around” means this: if we do good things to/for others, we will eventually experience good fortune in return.  If we do bad things to others, we will eventually experience something bad in return.  In more basic terms, do good and get good.  Do bad and get bad.

The sentiment sounds nice and makes a certain amount of sense.  But, it simply doesn’t work with Christian belief.  Christians believe that what goes around does not come around.  All people have done bad things, but because of Jesus Christ, they do not necessarily get bad things in return.

In his letter to the church in Rome, the Apostle Paul writes, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” So, according to the Christian faith, what goes around has been forgiven by God through the work of Jesus Christ.  What comes around in return is salvation by the grace of God.  For Christians, the do good, get good slogan doesn’t apply.  We are not justified by doing good.  We are justified by God’s grace.

As you go through the coming week, praise the Lord for the grace He has extended to you.  Appreciate His favor.  Recognize His faithfulness.  As you do, you will come to know a faithful God more.  You will also appreciate that what goes around, doesn’t necessarily come around.  That is good news.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Great Guitars and the Image of God

A few years ago, Gretsch Guitars manufactured sixty replicas of George Harrison’s favorite guitar. Harrison loved the Gretsch Duo Jet and described the guitar as the “first really decent guitar.” Gretsch replicated the guitar in tribute to the legendary rock musician and went so far as copying the nicks and dings Harrison added during his years of use. Suggested retail price for the copy of the used guitar: $20,000.00.

Why would anyone pay so much money for the copy of a beat up guitar? The answer is fairly straightforward: the original guitar is so valuable as a collector’s item that guitars reflecting its image reflect a degree of its value. In fact, the more the replica reflects the image of the original, the higher the value.

In a way, Gretsch’s replication of the Duo Jet illustrates the redemptive work of Jesus. Jesus Christ, in the fullness of His resurrection, is priceless. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is creating replicas. His people, the church, are being made into His exact image. We are valuable because we reflect the image of the highest value of all – Jesus Christ.

In his second letter to the church in Corinth, the Apostle Paul writes, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” According to Paul, the more we are transformed into the image of Jesus, the more we reflect His glory. God’s people reflect the glory of Jesus.

As you go through the coming week, continue to open your life to Jesus. Pray to Jesus. Read about Jesus in the scriptures. Invite Jesus to make you into His image, reflecting every detail of His character. As you do, you will be made more and more glorious like Jesus. Along the way, you will find that His holiness is way more valuable than any guitar.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Onion, Satire and the Wisdom of God

The Onion is a website that parodies current events with fake headlines and articles. Example: the Onion ran a headline announcing, “ExxonMobil, Chevron Locked In Bidding War To Acquire Lucrative Pennsylvania Senator.” The Onion has a reputation for publishing sometimes humorous, other times crass, always biting satire.

Unfortunately, the nuance of The Onion’s satire is lost on some. Folks read the fake headlines and assume they are true. Then, they share those fake stories as if they are reality. This is dangerous when combined with social media. People log into their facebook/twitter/tumbler/snapchat account, read a fake headline, think that it is real, and then share it with the world. Fake news goes viral like it is real news.

This has become such a problem that Facebook has created a special tag for fake news stories. Posts from sites like The Onion are clearly marked “satire.” In other words, Facebook has to tell users what is fake and what is real.

This is an example of our world’s need for wisdom and discernment. Our world is swirling with so much information, running in so many different directions, it is easy to confuse the fake news with the real news. On a spiritual level, we need a God given wisdom to help us recognize, discern and then promote real truth.

The book of James agrees: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” God gives wisdom. That wisdom helps us navigate a world filled with real and fake information. 

As you go through your day and week, pray that the Holy Spirit will cultivate wisdom and discernment in you. Get to know the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. As you do, you will find God given wisdom for navigating a world filled with competing information. You might also have a good laugh, recognizing and appreciating good satire for what is.