Friday, February 24, 2012

Guide and Guard

When we fix our eyes on God as our Guide and Guard, our life journeys fulfill His good purposes.  Throughout God’s Word, we find evidence of His desire to lead us out of the captivity of our sinful humanity to the freedom of living in Christ.  From eternity past to eternity future, God’s goal is close relationship with us. Seeking His guidance puts us on a pathway of fellowship with Him.  Surrounded by His presence, we enjoy Him as our Guide and our Guard.

God is a Guide and Guard who never sleeps.  Scriptures remind us that the eyes of the Lord are continually upon us.  The Psalmist says God guides us with His eye.  To know the direction He desires us to look, we must seek His face.  To remain in His presence and benefit from His guidance, we must give attention to His point of focus. God’s gaze always rests upon those things that hide His glory from others and us.  When we follow His eyes, we see ourselves as He sees us.   Even though the eyes of our Lord always overflow with love, seeing the truths about ourselves that He sees is most uncomfortable.  Only receiving His unconditional love allows us to accept that penetrating gaze from our Guide. 

God never forces us to accept His view; we can choose to focus our eyes as we wish.  His love will remain and His gaze stay fixed on the area of our soul that remains chained.  Rejecting Him as guide puts us on a path that takes us away from His presence.  We become our own guide and guard.  Mark records the sad account of the rich, young man who sought Jesus, felt His loving gaze and chose to reject it. Christ desired for the young man to see the limits of his earthly treasures and choose to trust Him.  Preferring the comfort of his visible earthly treasures, the rich young man chose to be his own guide. 

The joyful truth we must never forget, though, is that when we choose to seek Him again as our Guide and Guard, He will be waiting to travel with us.  He will guide us into the transforming power of His truth and love!  He will guide us and guard us to the end.  Seeking God’s face and walking in His presence allows us to see more our awesome God more clearly.  When we accept Him as our Guide and Guard, our lives become a window for others to glimpse Him as well. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Faithful and True

Our glimpse of Jesus today is given by the disciple John in Revelation 19:11:  “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True...”  The passage continues to expand more fully our view of the awesome glory of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  The One who is called Faithful & True is mighty and worthy of great reverence.  Yet there is a comforting glory in this title as well.  Faithfulness and Truth are foundational to the character of God; that Jesus is Faithful and True provides security and hope to every believer.

In Deuteronomy, we hear Moses beseech the children of Israel to know that God is faithful in keeping the covenant of love to those who love Him.  The same plea must be heard by hearts today because the deeper we ‘know’ this God-Truth, the more God’s presence will surround us.  God longs for us, His children, to love—to desire—His presence purely because His presence will envelop us with His loving-kindness.  The faithfulness of God to His covenants reveals His character of merciful love.

God’s character also entwines with the truth of His righteousness to unveil God’s strength and power to fulfill His covenant.  Truth empowers love to complete God’s good purposes in the lives of those who love Him.  Love alone tends to indulge wrong desires; love and righteousness refuses to allow the beloved to waste even one moment on temporary pleasures.  Truth demands hearts focus on what is good, holy and right.  Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is Faithful and True to the character of God.  His reliability is an anchor for our souls!

The One who is Faithful and True assures us that no promise of God will ever fall short.  Our hope—our confident expectation of good from God—rests on Jesus Christ.  Paul reminded Timothy—and us—that Christ’s faithfulness is our security.  Our weaknesses, our waverings, do not compromise His identity.  The One who is Faithful and True provided us with the privilege of drawing near to the Father.  Let us heed the exhortation in Hebrews in reverence for our King of Kings and Lord of Lords:

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Hebrews 10:23-24

Friday, February 10, 2012

End of the Law

Our look at Jesus comes from Romans 10:4 today…

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
(Romans 10:4)

This verse has some amazing depth to it that we will only glimpse as we take this morning jaunt. Let’s begin at the beginning; have you read the Books of the Law lately? The books of Moses (Genesis through Exodus) paint a picture we desperately need of the righteousness of God. We live in a culture of flippancy and irreverence for all things…God included. A recent church sign listed a ‘Worship Lite’ service. While I am certain they did not mean they take God lightly, it is a stark contrast to the way God revealed Himself to the nation of Israel. Though we are no longer under law, it still teaches us, and God has not changed. The Books of the Law portray the holiness of God in awe-inspiring detail and clearly show a God who is not to be taken lightly.  Great care was needed in approaching God and the consequences of irreverent worship or disregard for God’s ways were deadly.  Approaching God is serious business, which leads us to our first glimpse of the privilege Romans 10:4 provides.

Jesus is the end of the law so believers can receive the very righteousness of God. The end of the law does not mean that God is less holy; it means Jesus is the fulfillment of the law. In Jesus, the goal of the law was reached: access to God. It was God’s purpose from the first word spoke in Creation to have people to fellowship with and to love. His righteousness could not be compromised in reaching that desire, but He provided all that was needed to bring His plans to completion. Jesus provides us with the righteousness needed to come to the Father.   No longer are there rules and regulations for seeking God other than coming through Jesus.  What privilege we have in Jesus; are you enjoying that privilege with all your heart?

In Second Corinthians, Paul tells us that Jesus became sin, so we could become the righteousness of God by hiding our lives in Jesus. What a trade that is: the best we can offer to God is nothing but filthy rags but Jesus makes the way for us with a yoke that is easy and the burden light! May our hearts rejoice this week that the law is fulfilled and the way provided for us to enter into fellowship with a holy God. Jesus came that we might have abundant life. Don't waste a minute of your life living outside of Jesus...of seeking fulfillment anywhere but in Him! Jesus paid it to the Father and enjoy His glory and His love.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dwelling Place

Hey, friends.  A bit delayed on this...the choice of 'names' will surprise none of you who know of our recent move.  May it bless you as He, the eternal dwelling place blesses us!

Moses declared God to be the eternal dwelling place.  The Lord, our home; is not that a sweet thought to camp upon?  In this busy world, many families do not have the full blessings of ‘home’ – it has become a place to stop by rather than the center of life.  Homes are to be much more than a base of operation or a place to sleep.  A home is a place of nurturing and growth.  A home is to be a place of retreat and rest from the harshness of the world.  A home is to be a place of warmth and security.  A home is to be a place that is open to others -- a place that blesses all who enter in.  Our earthly homes are not always all of those things.  The dwelling place of God never fails to deliver all that and more!  Let us enter in that others may as well!

Scripture has much to say about the dwelling place of the Lord.  The Ark of the Testimony portrays the dwelling place of God as between the Cherubims.  Praise and worship for the glory of God accompanies these particular angels every time we encounter them in the Word.  Indeed, we enter the presence of God as we recognize His awesomeness!  Isaiah reveals to us that God dwells in the high and holy—and in the contrite and humble.  Two vastly distant extremes unite in God.  Truly, our minds cannot contain the breadth of His truths. 

John recorded much of Jesus’ teachings on dwelling in the Father.  Our uniting with God—receiving Jesus as our very life—allows us entry to dwelling in God.  In fact, Jesus declared Himself as the Door.  Heartbreakingly, many of Christ’s own disciples stumbled at this truth and turned away from Him at this point.  The humble and contrite heart accepts its limitations and needs—as well as the fulfillment of those needs, Jesus Christ.  Jesus’ prayer for us as believers in John 17 offers another glimpse of the splendor of dwelling in God:

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. John 17:21

Dwelling in God allows us to be part of His glorious eternal purpose:  that the world may believe in Christ.  The love of God flows forth from those in union with Him and more souls enter into the joy of dwelling in Him.  May our joy in abiding in God radiate in our lives; may increasing numbers desire to enter in with us!