Archive for the ‘Thought du Jour’ category

Thought du Jour – Love Jesus, Love People

January 25, 2010

I think many people love what Jesus does for them without loving Jesus. There is a big difference. Consider . . .

Jesus said: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” – John 14:15

“And this is (God’s) commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ and love one another, just as has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in him, and he in them.” – 1 John 3:23-24

“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar, for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
– 1 John 4:20-21

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Thought du Jour – Reconciliation

January 6, 2010

We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. Working together with Him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says, ‘In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold – now is a favorable time! Behold, now is the day of salvation!

– 2 Corinthians 5:20b – 6:2 (NIV)

Paul expresses a strong sense of urgency as he implores the church at Corinth to be reconciled to God. He provides a brief but powerful picture of justification and grace as well as a reminder that while grace is a free gift, it must be received and embraced to bring about salvation.

As followers of Christ we are agents of reconciliation (ambassadors for Christ, per v. 6:1a) to share the good news of God’s plan of redemption through His marvelous grace. But the passage reminds us that the age of grace will not last forever.

The clock is ticking. There is much work to be done.

The point is . . .

January 23, 2009

“The name of the game in Christian education is not knowledge, it’s obedience.”
– Howard Hendricks

A Fresh Start

January 1, 2009

One of the things I like about the start of a new year is the sense of beginning with a clean slate. 2008 is in the circular file, 2009 is shiny and fresh with that new year smell. Of course, in reality, all that has really happened is we’ve turned the page on the calendar. Our circumstances don’t change merely because one year ends and another begins.

But there is good news – we CAN have a fresh start. In fact, we can have a fresh start at any time, not just at  the start of a new year.

The apostle John put it like this in his first epistle: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9.

Did you catch the full impact of that verse? God promises us a fresh start – forgiveness and cleansing – not based on our merit but upon His grace, mercy and faithfulness. We simply approach God in humility and confess (agree with God) that we have sinned, messed-up, fallen short and made a hash of things. Regardless of how badly we fall, regardless of the earthly consequences we might face for our actions, God promises to restore us. He is the God of second chances. Not only does he forgive us when we turn to Him in contrition, but He imputes righteousness in us – driving out the guilt and the stain of sin and making us righteous in His eyes.

I don’t know about you, but to me that is VERY good news! Certainly something not only to ponder, but to appropriate as we begin 2009.

Happy New Year Start!

New Year’s Resolutions?

December 29, 2008

Okay, how many of you have made new year’s resolutions in the past? Raise your hands.

Thanks, you can lower your hands.

Now,  how many of you have broken those resolutions before the end of January? Hands up again.

Uh-huh. I thought so. You can put your hands back down. Those of you uber-disciplined types who didn’t raise your hands might want to go out for your five mile run. Come back tomorrow.

For the rest of us who struggle with keeping long-term resolutions, I have some words of hope. Here’s what Jesus said:

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,  yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’  These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”                       –Matthew 6:25-34 (New Living Translation)

You may argue that these verses have nothing to do with new year’s resolutions. That’s true. But if you think about it, there’s something presumptive about such self-promises. No, there’s nothing wrong with planning ahead or setting goals, but I think Jesus was trying to tell us that we need to focus on today, to live each day to its fullest for Him.

Maybe instead of making resolutions for the coming year, we should begin each day resolving to follow closely after Jesus today, to live in obedience today, to make wise choices today, to pray and read scripture today.

After a while, all of those days will accumulate and before you know it, you may have attained that new year’s resolution after all!

Have a happy and Christ-centered new year!

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2008

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift – Jesus!

Joy and blessings to you as you reflect on God’s love gift to the world.

The Incarnation

December 23, 2008

Supposing we found Him?

“There comes a moment when people who have been dabbling in religion ( “man’s search for God” ) suddenly draw back.
‘Supposing we really found Him
? We never meant it to come to that! Worse still, supposing He found us?'”

-C.S. Lewis

“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.'”

– Matthew 1: 21-23 (NKJV)

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

– Philippians 2:5-11 (NKJV)