Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Mighty Conqueror

Triumphant and victorious he appears,
And honour in his looks and habits wears;
How strong he treads, how stately doth he go!
Pompous and solemn is his pace,
And full of majesty, as is his face;
Who is this mighty hero—who?

Tis I who to my promise faithful stand,
I, who the powers of death, hell, and the grave,
Have foil’d with this all-conquering hand,
I, who most ready am, and mighty too, to save.
By Mr. Norris in Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Volume II, Isaiah 63:1–6, page 863.

On the day of vengeance, Christ battled Satan completely alone. The disciples had deserted him; even God the Father had. Standing alone and covered with blood, Jesus is “mighty to save.”

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being my mighty conqueror and Savior. It only happened because Jesus was willing to leave the glory of heaven to come to earth as a tiny helpless baby.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Invasion of the Beetles

While looking out my bedroom window, I had no idea what lurked between the blades of grass. I did see weeds, however. Since they bothered me, I decided to go outside and pull them up.

Before long, I spied a tiny beetle jumping in front of me—then another—then another. What is going on, I thought. Those tiny little creatures were hopping all over the entire yard; I could not get away from them. Maybe the drought this summer had encouraged them to multiply.

Believers are like those beetles. At Pentecost God saved 3000 people. When persecution broke out later, many fled throughout the Roman Empire. Thousands witnessed to their neighbors who then accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. In this way the church quickly grew.

The Lord has continued to work through ordinary believers to reach others for Christ. We may feel insignificant and tiny like those beetles. But God has a plan for each of us. By doing our part through the power of the Holy Spirit, God is invading our sin-cursed world and increasing his kingdom.

“In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace (Colossians 1:6, NIV).

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Laws of Nations

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16, NIV).

The ancient nation of Israel was a theocracy in which God gave Moses very specific civil, ceremonial and moral laws. He gave Moses those laws in order to maintain order in that nation. The Lord also gave them those laws so that his people would realize how far they fall short of the glory of God. Each of them was a sinner in need of a Savior.

Every nation has its own laws. For example, some laws may be similar in Canada as in the United States while others may be different. Likewise, some of Jesus’ laws for the church may be the same as those for ancient Israel while others may be different.

However, this does not mean that we should not study the Mosaic Law. If we do this, we shall learn valuable lessons about God’s character. The Lord is very specific. He cares about every little detail of human life. He will not share his glory with anyone or anything else. Finally, he cares about the heart attitude of his citizens.

As believers in the new covenant, we rejoice that God does not change. He has a very specific plan for each one of us. Because of this, he cares about every detail in our lives. As God uses us to accomplish his purposes, he will receive the glory—not us. Moreover God cares about our heart attitude. What are our motives as we serve him?

Monday, June 25, 2012

King Jesus

The writers of the New Testament understood that the new Covenant era and the priority of the Lord Jesus complement each other. The Old Testament Scriptures promised both the coming of the Davidic king and the new covenant. When Jesus died, rose again, and was exalted to heaven, he fulfilled both of those Old Testament prophecies. He became the promised Davidic King and the perfect sacrifice of the new covenant. For that reason, Jesus is the master of every Christian individually and also master of the church. We should be his willing and obedient slaves.

 During this new covenant era, the Holy Spirit is busy acting as the agent of Jesus to lead sinners to trust in Jesus for salvation. This includes an acknowledgement of Jesus as our Lord and King. After we are saved, the Holy Spirit continually encourages us to follow Jesus in obedience. He does this by teaching us to pay attention to Jesus’ words and actions. When we see how Jesus displays God’s character, we must take that as Jesus’ command to be like him. Moreover, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives explicit commands for believers.

 The church should match Christ’s love for her by showing a corresponding love for his direction over her.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Tiny Chickadee

Bare branches swung erratically in cold March winds, strong enough to uproot some trees. Thankfully, in my backyard the wind only tossed some branches at the foot of one tall tree.

During the storm I spied a tiny chickadee clinging to a swinging branch. We are to be like that chickadee. The apostle Paul writes, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14, NIV).

Believers must cling to the truth of God’s Word at all cost—not be swayed by false doctrine. Powerful winds could not dislodge that chickadee from its branch. Likewise, no evil will be able to separate us from God.

These days too many lay emphasis on unity at the expense of truth. This means that some people may think that they are saved when they are not. Instead of trusting on the shed blood of Jesus alone to redeem them, they add their own works or allegiance to their church. Counting on Jesus plus something else for salvation is a recipe for disaster.