A Fresh Perspective

“A son honors his father,
And a servant his master.
If then I am the Father,
Where is My honor?
And if I am a Master,
Where is My reverence?” -Malachi 1:6

Imagine the scene: you’re summoned to come before a great and mighty king, and you’re terrified! He is a kind but just king- there is a gentle fire that burns in his eyes. This ruler has the power of life and death in his hands…if you show the slightest sign of disrespect, it could be the end. He has conquered nation after nation and is known far and wide as the wealthiest and most powerful man on earth. His palace is beautiful and ornate.

How would you approach this ruler? How would I?

I highly doubt I would confidently strut into the room. The awe I would experience would be coupled with an incredible sense of fear.

And yet, everything goes ok. In fact, I get invited back time and time again. After a while, I loosen up a bit…I realize I can get away with sitting down instead of kneeling in respect. I gradually learn that I can come in with a drink in my hand and talk to him with food in my mouth without any immediate consequence. Eventually, when the king calls me, I start to ignore him every once in a while…after all, I have a lot going on- no time for the king today!

Is it possible that this is what we’ve done with God? Have the awe and fear worn off? When…if…we go before the Lord, do we bring our second or third best? Continue reading

Awaiting Our Homeland

“By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” -Hebrews 11:9-10

By faith. Isn’t it difficult sometimes to follow the Lord when it’s not popular? I know from experience that peer pressure can make it difficult to abstain from activities I know aren’t godly. It can feel so discouraging at times, almost like we’re walking alone on our path of conviction. I feel this way on occasion!

But I read this section in Hebrews a few weeks ago, and it jumped off the page at me in a way it hadn’t before. First, some background.

God promised that Abraham’s numerous descendants would possess the land he was living in (Genesis 15:7, 18-21). But at this point, Abraham didn’t even have any children! Yet, he believed what God had said. And so, during all his years of waiting, he diligently served the Lord and waited for the fulfillment of His promise among people who, for the majority, were not following God. God later used the Israelites under Joshua to drive out all these evil nations, so it is safe to think that Abraham wasn’t living in a closed compound of other believers! So how does this relate to us today?

Hebrews 11:8 says, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” If you have accepted Christ, you have been redeemed out of the kingdom of darkness and rescued into God’s kingdom (Colossians 1:13). In a sense, we are like Abraham! Being a Christian is not an easy path. It is often fraught with difficulty, and it requires that we follow where the Lord leads us. Just as Abraham did, we are following the Captain of our salvation, Jesus Christ, not knowing all the little places He’ll lead us through but confident that He will bring us to His Kingdom.

And this verse leads to the rest of this section of Scripture in Hebrews 11!

“By faith, he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country…for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:9-10). As Christians, we are commanded to be different. We are commanded to be salt in a flavorless world. We are commanded to be light in a pitch black environment. And this is so hard because it goes against the grain, not only of our sinful nature, but also of the culture we are immersed in. It can feel so lonely and hopeless at times.

Yet, how awesome that Abraham, a giant of faith in the Old Testament, endured the same thing? How awesome that we can draw encouragement knowing that Abraham experienced what we have! So, how did he persevere through that struggle?

He dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country. This earth is not our final destination. Verse 10 says that Abraham was waiting for something better, a city built by God. Verse 13 says that these heroes of the faith embraced God’s promises and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on earth. We are in the same boat. This is not our final home.

This world will be full of struggles because it is a world in rebellion towards and rejection of God. It is not easy to truly follow the Lord- the convictions His Word calls us to are in direct opposition to many principles of this world. Yet, just as Abraham who came before us, we are accountable for living the way Christ wants us to live. This is the essence of being alive in Christ and abiding in Him: we are not just saved from our sin…we are saved to a whole new life in Christ. We live like this by faith.

What the Lord showed me through this passage is that it takes faith to walk with Him in this world. By faith, Abraham lived how he did. Let it be said that by faith, Christopher…and Macy…and Callie…and Sara…and ______ lived as light in darkness and as salt amidst flavorlessness, waiting for the city built by God.

“For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.” -Hebrews 11:14

In Christ,

Christopher

 

Get Excited About Your New Year’s Resolution

 “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” -Jeremiah 29:13

Happy New Year! It’s that time of year where many of us decide to change things or make resolutions for what we’ll do this coming year. Go to the gym, eat better, etc…these are all common resolutions that we make.

But, how often do we make spiritual resolutions? What’s our plan for becoming more like Christ?

Jeremiah 29:13 is my spiritual resolution for this New Year. I am committing to seeking the Lord in everything with all of my heart.

And I know that most of us are always trying to be closer to God. It’s something that we as believers know we should be doing. Yet, I think we often don’t zero in enough on it. We seem to think that praying every day and going to church will just make it happen. But I want to encourage you to join me and really focus on this resolution. Create a plan to help you accomplish your goal. Make it your highest priority. We can’t find ourselves with a general attitude of “trying to be more like Jesus.” Instead, we must develop action points we can measure ourselves by. Let’s commit to having our quiet time every day. Let’s commit to serving with a ministry consistently. Let’s commit to studying His Word in depth.

Specific actions will lead to results!

James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” That is a promise! We are told throughout Scripture that we will find the Lord when we seek Him.

As the New Year has rolled in, commit with me to seek the Lord with all our beings. That’s a resolution to get excited about!

In Christ,

Christopher

Are We Thankful For Discipline?

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” -Revelation 3:19

Of all the verses in Scripture, this seems to be the least likely to fill me with warm, fuzzy feelings. After all, who enjoys getting disciplined? Whether it’s getting pulled over for speeding or being told by someone that you’re not following the Lord in what you are doing, it’s not a particularly enjoyable experience!

But, shouldn’t we be thankful for those times we’re confronted? I sometimes have a hard time accepting instruction from others- it’s easy to think that I can just figure it out on my own.

Yet as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that when my parents corrected me, it was out of love. They did so because they saw me going down a path that they knew would cause more trouble in the long run.

And this is the same with God! Proverbs 3:11-12 says, My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” 

So whenever He allows hardship or pain to enter your life, stop and ask yourself: is this the Lord showing me that I’m off the right path? Sometimes it will be, and sometimes it won’t. But from my experience, I know that it is often true that the Lord uses uncomfortable and painful things to draw me closer to Him. It is in those painful circumstances that I am more likely to seek Him.

So, let’s remember: just as our parents correct us out of love, God does the same because He sees the big picture and wants to keep us from making worse decisions down the road! We should be thankful for His discipline.

In Christ,

Christopher

In The Waiting

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” -Psalm 27:14

Advent. It is the waiting, the anticipation of what is coming. The first advent was the expectation that God would send a Messiah, and the result of that is why we celebrate Christmas!

But right now, as look forward to celebrate the birth of Christ in just a couple of days, it’s important to remember that we are in the middle of the second advent. We are waiting for when Christ will come again.

Yet, in the middle of the waiting, it can feel desperate at times. I know the feeling…when some Spiritual battles just seem like they will never be won…when people still die, even though we prayed for them to be healed…when it seems that the Lord is far away.

But, God is in control. He is our hope. And during this time of waiting, we have a firm confidence in the expectation that Jesus will come again and fulfill all the rest of His Word.

Did you know that there was a four-hundred year period were God was silent? It began with the last prophet in the Old Testament and ended with the coming of Christ. Do you think the Israelites felt abandoned? Frustrated? Desperate? Yet, God kept His promise to send a deliverer! And He has promised to come again.

That is our hope in this advent when we wonder where God is and why things are the way they are.

Jesus was sent, and He will be sent again.

He came as a lamb, He’ll come again as a lion.

When Jesus was born, it was as a peasant. At His second coming, He’ll come as the King.

When He was born in Bethlehem, hardly anyone knew. Next time? Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord.

Christmas is a celebration of Christ’s first coming and also a reminder that He has unfinished business. That is our hope in the waiting.

In Christ,

Christopher

Proclaim this?

 “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.” -1 Corinthians 11:26

Macy posted last week about how we as Christians should shout for all the Lord has done for us. I think we’d all agree with that regarding health, family, and friends. But isn’t it amazing that we are to glory in the death of our Lord? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, does it?

In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul is writing to the church in Corinth, encouraging them to change how they were receiving the Lord’s Supper (communion). In verse 26, he writes, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.” Each time we partake in communion, it is an act of faith- through an outward act we are showing our inner change/hope. It is very similar to baptism! By communing in this way, we are declaring Who our faith and hope is placed in.

Does it ever strike you that Paul says we “proclaim” the Lord’s death? Every time this is read during communion at our church, it hits me. This is the crux of our hope. Death is not something we usually think should be proclaimed. How often do you hear of people loudly and joyfully declaring that their loved one has died? Never! Yet, this is what sets Christianity apart. We do proclaim death because it is a defeated enemy.  Continue reading

The Peregrine Falcon

“Does the hawk fly by your wisdom,
And spread its wings toward the south?
Does the eagle mount up at your command,
And make its nest on high?”   

-Job 39:26-27

Have you ever considered possessing a raptor (bird of prey) as a pet? Some of you may have read the book My Side of the Mountain, in which the main character traps a wild peregrine falcon and uses it to hunt for food. Continue reading