Mar 27, 2009

God Works All Things for the Good - Oh, Really

One of the most beloved and favorite promises of the Bible is Romans 8:28 - "In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."

There are two requirements for all things to work for the good: first, you have to love Christ, and second you have to be called by God for His purpose.

And if you meet these two requirements, then the promise is that all things, not just some things or even most things, but that all things will work together for the good.

I guess the real question for me is, what does good mean in this context? Does good mean that everything will always go their way and that they are free from suffering and hard work like the rest of humanity? What does it look like when God works for the good of those who love Him?

Good in this context certainly cannot mean that they are free from pain and suffering. Bonhoeffer and Jim Elliott are perfect examples of this. Bonhoeffer was killed for his faith by a firing squad. Jim Elliott never even got a chance to share about the love of God with the indigenous indians before they speared him to death.

And for all intents and purposes, we know that these men loved Jesus. We know that they were called by God for His purpose because so many people have come to saving faith and have been blessed through their lives, work, writing, and their death.

It would be absurd in any stretch of the imagination to call what happened to them good. It certainly couldn't have felt good to be shot or speared to death.

So what does it mean that God works for the good?

Nietzche said, "He who has a WHY to live for can bear almost any HOW."

I think Nietzche might have something here.

He who understands the why of his/her existence can put up with almost anything that life can throw at them. And that is what God provides. He gives us our purpose, our aim in life and in eternity. And because we know that our mere existence for several decades are merely a journey in eternity, nothing that can happen here on earth can ever shake what God provides in eternity.

God works all things for the good. Really? Yes indeed!

Mar 25, 2009

He Died to No One's Regret

One of the saddest verses I've read in the Bible is 2 Chronicles 21:20. This chapter talks about the life of Jehoram, one of the kings of Judah. At the time of Jehoram's death, the Bible records, "He passed away, to no one's regret."

Could you imagine?

You see, it doesn't matter how much power you have. It doesn't matter how much money you amass. It doesn't matter what title you might have.

What matters is the lives you touch. What matters is the lives that were made better because you lived. Because unless we're making life better for those around us, it just don't matter what else you might have accomplished in your lifetime.

You could be the king of the world, and if you lived a selfish life, you will still die a pathetic human being - _________(put your name here) died to no one's regret.

Make your life count. Make life better for those people around you.

Mar 14, 2009

How Would You Live Differently if You Knew You Only Had One Month to Live?

It's been almost a month since my quadruple bypass surgery. Since that time, I've had plenty of time to reflect, read, and reflect some more.

One of the questions I've been asking is, "How would I live my life if I knew I only had one month to live?" What would I be doing? Who would I be spending my time with? What would I do differently if I knew that I only had a short time left to live?

If I knew I only had one more month to live, I'd spend as much time as I could with the ones I love. I would want to be surrounded by my family and close friends. I would cherish and make the most of every moment I had with left with my loved ones.

I would also make sure that I settled all my debts - not just the financial kind, but more importantly, the people I've wronged and the people who've wronged me. I would seek out those whom I've wronged and would ask for forgiveness. I would do my part to restore those relationships.

I would make sure that my relationship with God was solid. I would make sure that I was right with God and that I did everything I could to seek and do God's will.

I'm pretty sure that my list would not be that much different than the way you would spend the last days of your life.

When we're finally faced with the finitude and the reality of our mortality, we do the things that matter the most.

And here's the thing - why wait until you have only one month left. Why not live the rest of your life spending time and investing in the things and people that matter the most. Because if you were to look at what takes up most of our time - work, careers, etc. - none of this stuff ultimately matters. It's all just crap.

Make the most of life. Life is a gift. Life is precious. You only get one shot at this life thing. Make the most of it. Invest your life in the things that truly matter.

Live as if you only had one month to live.

Mar 7, 2009

Who Is Jesus?

Jesus was a great man - the best there ever was.

Jesus was a great moral teacher.

Jesus was a great prophet - right up there with Buddha and Mohamed.

That's what people say about Jesus. No one has problems with Jesus as long as this is who Jesus is.

While this is what people say about Jesus, listen to these statements.

"Jesus, Son of the Most High God"

"You are the holy one of God"

"You are the Son of God"

Do you know who said these things about Jesus? The demons. The gospels are crystal clear on this - the demons had no reservations about who Jesus was - Jesus is the Son of God.

The demons had a clearer Christology and a better understanding of who Jesus was then most people do today.

And if this is who Jesus is, then many people have problems with this Jesus. Because now he's not just a great teacher, a great man, or a prophet. He is God. And if He is God, then Jesus is to be obeyed. If Jesus is God, then that negates all others who claim that Jesus is anything other than God.

Jesus made this crystal clear in John 14:6. "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Jesus is Lord, the Son of God, Savior of the world.

Mar 4, 2009

Oh How We Underestimate God

Just got done reading a book called, "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day" by Mark Batterson. I highly recommend that you give it a read. Well worth your time. Here is one of my favorite sections from the book:

Astronomers have spied galaxies 12.3 billion light-years from earth. To put that distance into perspective, consider the fact that light traveling 186,000 miles per second only takes eight minutes to travel the 93 million miles between the sun and planet earth. Sunlight is only eight minutes old.

But light from the furthest galaxy takes 12.3 billions years to get here.

That distance is virtually incomprehensible!

And God says that is about the distance between His thoughts and our thoughts.

Your best thought about God on your best day falls 12.3 billion light-years short of how great and how good God really is.

We underestimate God's goodness and greatness by at least 12.3 billion light-years.

Now that's pretty darn cool!

Mar 2, 2009

A Lenten Reflection

This is a Lenten reflection that was sent to me. The author, as far as I know, is anonymous.

One of the things I forget during the Lenten Season is that just because I am fasting certain things doesn't mean it's not a season of feasting. In fact, to balance the fast, it needs to have elements of feasting.

I hope this blesses you as much as it does me.

Fast from judging others;
feast on the presence of God within each person.

Fast from focusing on differences;
feast on the unity of all life.

Fast from apparent darkness and gloom;
feast on the reality of light and enthusiasm.

Fast from thoughts of illness;
feast on the healing power of God.

Fast from discontent;
feast on gratitude.

Fast from anger;
feast on patience.

Fast from pessimism;
feast on optimism.

Fast from complaining;
feast on appreciation.

Fast from negatives;
feast on affirmatives.

Fast from bitterness;
feast on forgiveness.

Fast from self-concern;
feast on compassion for others.

Fast from discouragement;
feast on hope.

Fast from facts that depress;
feast on promises that inspire.

Fast from idle gossip;
feast on purposeful silence.

Fast from shadows of sorrow;
feast on the brilliance of Resurrection!