We have a wonderful opportunity to know the exquisite richness and beauty of God’s word and to share its bounty with others. To approach it without acknowledging Him reduces it to meaningless history or storytelling. To read and study it without honoring the Author’s intent risks burdening yourself and others with the shackles of legalism or moralism. It becomes irrelevant as soon as we dismiss the context God has determined for each passage and each word. We attempt to usurp His authorship when we insert ourselves into the text as the hero, stealing glory from God, who alone deserves praise.
This article first appeared at Servants of Grace on May 17, 2021, as part of the series, “Fighting Biblical Illiteracy Through Study and Discipleship”.
In the city of God, we can find satisfaction, and in that satisfaction, glorify our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer. Why would I scan the horizon or search the bottom of the sea for more? My purpose is defined only in this language of God. I am without meaning without him.
With him, we are crucified to this world. He didn’t die to make the world like paradise. He died to separate us for paradise, that better Eden.
(This post first appeared at Servants of Grace as part of the Hebrews devotional series.)
We do what we are now, as a new creation, able to do. The bear is made to hibernate in the winter. The sheepdog is made to herd sheep. The bird is made to fly and the fish is made to swim. We are made to glorify God. And his merciful conversion of our hearts away from sin and in love toward him makes it possible.
We all love to re-watch our favorite movie scenes, including the suspenseful ones, and we experience all the nervousness and anxiety all over again as if it’s the first time. It’s almost irrational because we are behaving as if we are in the dark about something we actually know quite a bit about. In part, that’s because it doesn’t have anything to do with what we don’t know, but how we are perceiving in the moment what we generally know. It’s also because we know all too well that death is ultimately inescapable, no matter how many times the hero thwarts it in repeat showings.
Add some higher math to your witness today. Begin with an understanding of the old equation and end with the majesty of the new. With God’s mercy, stone cold hearts will be turned to flesh, light will overpower the darkness, and the eternal result will be redeemed lives walking in Christ.
Death cannot be avoided, but the sting of death can.
There is a rock bed harder than that of the floor and walls of the Niagara, and it is buried within the soft flesh of every person born since the time of The Fall (not the Falls).
My heart was that rock bed once. Hard and unyielding and resistant to life, truth, mercy. Then it underwent erosion and battering.
The vineyard owner could have chosen not to return to the market square. He could have chosen to go to a different market. He could have chosen not to hire anyone. Just as God could have chosen not to give mercy to anyone, he instead chose to give it to a few despite our absence of merit.
And in no way does this trample upon our rights.
A few summers ago I wrote this post after the weather in Pittsburgh had seesawed back and forth for several days between drenching rains and bright sunny skies. I have been often reminded of the lesson in it these past few weeks. Yes, we’ve had our seasonal stutter start to spring, but we’re also experiencing on a grander scale uncertainty and confusion as a result of pandemic, economic instability, and the loss of what we’ve always considered normal. Now more than ever we need the exhortation that we not, as Bridges says, “deprive ourselves of the peace” of knowing that the hand that sends it is good, wise, sovereign and perfect.
Can I say, “I can be satisfied in all things because God’s ends are my ends”?