Rock Bottom

 

Psalm 17

 

When is the last time you were at the end of yourself? Do you remember that dreaded feeling of knowing you have nothing left to give, no more resources at your disposal to make your situation better? Have you felt total loss of control? If we live enough years, we all, at some point, land in a dire situation that we are powerless to change. A lot of times that breaking point shows up in a health crisis. Sometimes it’s a relationship ending, the loss of a job or a terrible accident…have I touched on your experience yet? I can think of two major ones in my own life. The first was cancer, the second was when our son rolled his jeep. Both sets of circumstances fast tracked me to the end of myself. In each case death was on the line…with cancer it was my own life, and the jeep accident our son’s. Devastating doesn’t adequately describe the moment you hear the diagnosis from the doctor or get the phone call from an ER nurse. I couldn’t function. I couldn’t even stand when I first saw our son. My knees literally went weak. There was nothing I could do to change either of these circumstances. I was desperate for help outside of myself. Psalm 17 speaks of David’s desperation and fear for his own life. David is honest in this text about his need for help outside of himself. This getting to the end of oneself, forces us to look at other options besides our normal resources. When we find ourselves lacking and powerless, our only hope is that there is someone who is more powerful than we are.

David’s words, “I am praying to you because I know you will answer” are my hope. I believe like David did that God is worth calling out to because he knows me, and my circumstances, and has the power to change them. “Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways” reminds me how personally and individually God responds to my cries for help. “By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge” tells me of God’s ability when I am at the end of my own. God’s willingness to rescue is the core of his being. He knows that on our own each of us ends in death and separation from him. His desire is that we not be separated from Him. God loves us and wants to spend his time with us here on earth as well as during eternity.

I think it is interesting that in the beginning of this text we get to see more of David’s relationship with God than just his cries for help that he writes at the end. He starts out reminding God that he has been honest and determined not to sin. David has asked God to test his thoughts and examine his heart for wrongdoing. David is not saying he is perfect and without sin, but he is professing his love for God and his desire and discipline to live according to God’s ways. There is evidence of real relationship, communication, understanding, and desire to love each other between David and God. I think this window into God and David’s relationship is beautiful and compelling.

I can’t find words that adequately express my gratefulness to God for his willingness and desire for relationship with me. I am overwhelmed that he chooses to spend his time with me. I am unworthy. I recognize that I am still living and that our son’s life was spared because of God’s power and his personal care in our lives. I am humbled by God’s gifts and attention.

Why I Believe

 

Psalm 5

 

Psalm 5 has God’s personhood written all over it. As we read though this chapter we see the thoughts and actions of the Living God.

~God hears

~Listens

~Takes no pleasure in wickedness

~Hates all who do evil

~Destroys all who tell lies

~Detests murderers and deceivers

~Leads

~Is refuge

~Spreads protection

~Fills with joy those who love Him

~Blesses the godly

~Surrounds His people with His shield of love

These thoughts and actions must come from a living being. No figure or dead person can think or take action. I have to believe that David would not have written this chapter had he not experienced all of these actions. The only other explanation I can come up with for Him to write these things if were not true, is that he could have been a lunatic and out of his mind, but I find it hard to believe that a crazy persons words would have lasted more than 2000 years. There is no point in preserving nonsense, so I choose to believe that this list accurately describes who God is and what He is capable of doing.

 

 

 

This chapter also shows us that David had a personal relationship with God because he spoke to Him as he would any other human in his life. David asks God to:

~Hear him

~Pay attention to him

~Listen to him

~Lead him

~Make His way plain to follow

~Declare his enemies guilty

~Let his enemies be caught in their own traps

~Drive away his enemies

Why would David cry out for help from someone or something powerless to save him? He was running for his life from a powerful king and the king’s armies whose orders were to kill him. David was a desperate man who needed supernatural power to protect him and he knew Who to call on. His lifetime of relationship with God made it second nature to ask for help from the One he knew was his only hope. You can see David’s respect for God, reverence for God, and friendship with God all throughout. He knows what pleases God and what God hates. David knows what God loves and how God loves His people. David knows what God is capable of and who God blesses. This chapter speaks of a real relationship between two living beings.

 

 

I want to experience God, trust God with my life, and know God as intimately as David did. I want to be characterized as one who:

~Cries out to God my King for help

~Brings my requests to Him

~Knows that the proud may not stand in His presence

~Experiences His unfailing love

~Worships Him with deepest awe

~Rejoices in His refuge

~Loves His name

 

It amazes me how much of God’s personhood and character are revealed in just 12 verses. We are given thousands more to explore and learn from. We get to see hundreds of people’s relationships with God throughout the Bible so we can learn more about who God is and how He responds to us. He wants to make His way plain for us to follow, but we have to want to follow Him. We have to spend time with Him. We have to choose Him as our King. Do today’s verses give you a deeper understanding of how God interacts with you? Do you see more of what He wants to be allowed to do in your life? You get to decide…He won’t choose for you even though He could.

 

Luke 2:1-20

I can’t stop thinking about Mary this advent season. She is most likely a young teenager, smack in the middle of those awkward years, trying to figure out where she will fit into society and what her future might hold. Her hand has been given to Joseph for marriage, which would have been very common for a girl her age, but she has also been visited by an angel and told she is pregnant when she knows she is sexually pure. This is so much to take in and so much more to have to explain to her fiancé, parents, friends at “church” and the town. A baby doesn’t stay hidden or secret for long…pregnancy becomes obvious over time. The weight of all of this must have been unbearable for her until she was able to start unloading this information and experiencing that she was believed by some. Then a trip, right around the time she was due. Her mom isn’t with her to help her or bring reassurance when she goes into labor. She is tired from travel, not at home, maybe in a barn or a cave with a young man who probably hasn’t even seen a birth before let alone helped with one, and she begins the process of delivery. My heart goes out to her. I remember the fear and inadequate feelings I had when our first was born and I was more than twice Mary’s age, had a hospital and doctors with me, a husband who I knew and had loved for years, and a support team including two sets of parents and a slew of siblings and friends ready to jump at the call for help at any moment! This poor girl…talk about waiting and anticipation!

 

…And then the shepherds…out in the wilderness with their sheep, far from home and probably weeks or months without seeing other humans besides each other. This is what their lives are about. They are watching and protecting their animals, constantly moving them to stay in good grazing areas with a water supply close enough to keep them all in good health. It is their job to keep the predators at bay and find the food and water supplies needed to keep the flock growing and healthy. Then one night it is completely different than ever before! In the middle of the night the angel of the Lord appears among them. They are terrified! The angel says, “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior has been born and you will find Him in the city of David wrapped in cloth lying in a manger. If this isn’t scary enough, the angel is joined by a vast host of others…the armies of heaven…praising God! I love the word choice in the living Bible here. “Vast host” doesn’t pull up the same word picture in my mind that “armies of heaven” does. Hopefully most of us have not experienced war first hand, but all of us have seen movies depicting war. The ones with the mass of armed bodies as far as the eye can see advancing across a field to take out their enemies. The scenes that make your stomach drop when you see eminent attack heading your way, because the filmmakers have put you at the other side of the field or down in the valley with the group being attacked. You grasp the feeling that those shepherds must have felt when that sky opened up to more than one army of angels. The difference on this night is that the army was announcing the birth of the King instead of coming to wipe out a nation. They came praising God! The shepherds knew Who they had been visited by and quickly went to the village to find Mary, Joseph and the baby. They found all just as the angel had told them. After their visit, they told everyone what had happened and what the angel had told them. Then they went back to their flocks glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.

 

After surviving delivery, Mary began shifting her focus to caring for this new little person. If you have kids, do you remember that reality settling over you? “This new life is completely dependent on me for survival.” It is weighty. I’m sure Mary’s mind was whirling with all that had happened that night…and then a group of dirty shepherds shows up to “visit” her baby. So strange and awkward for all of them. I can’t imagine living through those moments in time or sharing my new baby with a group of strangers, but God designed this set of circumstances. This was no average night. The excitement must have been palpable. The Savior, the Messiah, the Lord has been born! Hope has arrived! This is great joy for all people.

 

It’s getting close…are you getting excited? Are you making time to ponder these events in your heart like Mary did? Is your heart ready to welcome Him or are you overwhelmed with your to-do list and scrambling to get everything accomplished! Can we carve out a few minutes each day even in the busyness to anticipate His coming and welcome Him in our hearts?

Inextinguishable Light

John 1-8

 

“The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”

 

This morning as we have entered the season of waiting and preparation, I am remembering the meanings of the Advent candles that Jacob shared with us at the beginning of Advent. Do you remember the meaning of the first one? It symbolizes the hope we find in Christ. We are currently living in the weeks made up of shortest days of the year. Here in the U.S. it is colder and darker than any weeks in our year. These weeks may feel darker than other years because of Covid, political unrest, and the divisions and anger so pervasive among people these days. We all feel the difference in our lives with the shorter days and general unrest among people. In the midst of this physical darkness and the spiritual darkness that feels more palpable than other years, John’s words are precious. In the darkest of days, the true light shines brighter than ever!

It was darker 2000 years ago than we think 2020 has been. Remember that God had not spoken to His people for more than 400 years. Matthew 4:16 tells us that God’s people were sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death. This was not God’s desire. When God first created people He was free to dwell with them. As sin grew, He moved to the temple for a bit of separation, to be set apart from the unholy. He was forced to move farther away from people as people turned further away from Him. He continued to call out to his people through their leaders, pleading with them to return to Him. When they rejected His leaders and took kings of their choosing He was left trying to get their attention with prophets and warnings about what was to come if they didn’t turn back to Him. And then He went silent. Can you imagine a society of people living for generations with no word from God? These people dwelled in darkness. They were at war, living in a distressed world and drowning in a sea of sorrows. Jesus came as light shining in the darkness. He came to bring comfort, joy and peace! He came to announce good news of great joy for all people! He came from heaven’s generosity, the perfect gift to all of us.

This hope, this light in the darkness, this perfect gift is what we are preparing for and anticipating. He came so that everyone might believe. Those of us who know Him and already have relationship with Him are encouraged and refreshed when we take the time to anticipate His coming. It is a chance to re-center our lives. It is a time to take back the unhealthy patterns we have fallen into throughout the year. It is a time to renew our minds and set them back on His gift and His inextinguishable light in our lives and in our world. I came across the thoughts of a pastor in Minneapolis named David Mathis last week. I’m going to close with his words because they were so meaningful to me throughout this past week.

 

“Advent doesn’t pretend the darkness is gone. Our lives may yet grow darker. But Advent looks darkness square in the eye and issues this great promise for our season of waiting: darkness will not overcome the Light. It is only a matter of time.”

Believe

 

 

John 20

 

I am fascinated with surgery! I’m a hairdresser by trade, but any chance I get to watch a surgery on tv…I am in!! I can’t get enough of seeing the inner workings of our bodies or the repairs needed to help them continue to function. I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I like watching Dr Pimple Popper, My Feet Are Killing Me and anything else that contains surgery. I also like to “practice” as much “medicine” as I can. I have removed sutures for people, given shots to friends who’s husbands couldn’t stomach the job, steri-stripped my daughter’s incision back together when it opened after staples were removed and a few other “procedures” that might make some of you queasy to read about so I’ll stop here. When friends or family have a procedure, I am always interested to hear about their experience and what their incision or affected area looks like. If they live far away and I know I won’t get to see them during the healing process I ask them to send pictures. I know I can’t really get my mind around their experience or how they are feeling unless I can see their wound. I want to understand what happened and I don’t feel like I can really grasp what they went through unless I can get my eyes on them and see for myself. In our reading for today, Jesus’ friends struggled to believe what was before them until they were able to see the physical proof they needed to see with their own eyes.

John 20 tells us about Jesus resurrection after his crucifixion. When we talk about and read about the end of Jesus’ life, I feel like we are mostly looking at the events through Jesus’ experience. After he dies, we all know what is coming next because we know who he is. We know he raises from the dead…it’s the best part of the story and we long for that part to come. But we didn’t live the events like Jesus’ family and friends did. For them His death was the end…just like death is the end of life on earth when we lose someone we love. They were devastated, broken, sad beyond belief and probably at great loss because their ministry felt over. When his body went missing, those who loved him could only think that someone had stolen him. They were frantic to find his body and get him back in his proper final resting spot. The horrible circumstances just kept piling on for them!

And then he appeared… first to Mary, then to his friends and then again about a week after the first time to his friends again. Can you put yourself in their shoes? Can you imagine the person you just watched die, sat through funeral services for and buried or placed in a tomb appearing in a room with you without using the door to enter? Do you have the “no way” thoughts, the fear, the skittishness in believing that this is really your friend? I have only had one experience in my life that comes close to this kind unbelievableness. There was a car accident and several students were killed. My uncle is a pastor and the youth pastor he worked with lost his daughter Whitney in that accident. Whitney’s family planned her funeral and my uncle officiated the services while grieving with his close friends. It was devastating for all. About three weeks after her funeral, it was finally soaking in for me that she was actually gone. My dad called me one afternoon and simply said, “Whitney is alive”. I literally had no words. I couldn’t believe what he was saying. I couldn’t grasp the truth until he explained that Whitney’s body had gotten confused at the accident scene with another girl’s. Until “the girl” in the hospital woke from her coma and started to speak, no one knew that it was actually Whitney instead of Laura. In this case, Whitney was never dead, but every time I read the events of Jesus’ resurrection I think of my dad’s voice over the phone telling me “Whitney is alive”.

Jesus’ friends had trouble believing and processing the events they were living through. They needed to see with their eyes and touch with their hands the wounds in Jesus’ hands and side. Those wounds were the proof they needed to make sense of what was happening. They needed to see to believe that their friend and leader was actually killed, buried and now alive. It was too strange and different from what they knew to accept without seeing. God knew they would need to see Jesus. He knew that witnessing Jesus’ death would make it too hard to believe that he was alive without seeing him for themselves.

 

John 20:29-30 “Jesus told them, You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me. 30-The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.”

The Light of the World

 

John 8

 

“I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” Jesus goes on to say, “These claims are valid even though I make them about myself. For I know where I came from and where I am going, but you don’t know this about me. You judge me by human standards, but I do not judge anyone. And if I did, my judgment would be correct in every respect because I am not alone. The Father who sent me is with me. Your own law says that if two people agree about something, their witness is accepted as fact. I am one witness, and my Father who sent me is the other.” Later in verses 28-29, “I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father has taught me. And the one who sent me is with me-he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.” In verse 55 Jesus says, “I know the Father, I know him and obey him.”

What is our goal? As Christians, what are we after? What should our lives be aiming at? The simple answer is that we want to become more like Jesus. This chapter in John is loaded with Jesus’ words and explanations of who he is and how he thinks and operates in this world. If I want to be more like him, I should look at what is important to him, what he says is true, and how he behaved while here on earth.

He tells me if I follow him, I won’t have to walk in darkness. I will have access to the light that leads to life. When I follow him or decide to believe he is who he says he is and I choose to have relationship with him, I spend time talking to him and listening to him, I get help. I see situations differently because he sheds light that I can’t produce on my own. He knows everything! He understands every nuance of each situation and of every person. He is perfect truth and perfect love. He desires relationship with us so he can light our way. He wants to help us change and become more like him.

Jesus doesn’t judge anyone. A beautiful example of this appears earlier in chapter 8 (vs 3-11) when the woman is caught in adultery and brought before Jesus. When pressed to give an answer for how she should be dealt with he says, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.” After her accusers had slipped way, Jesus asked her if any of her accusers condemned her. She answered, “No Lord” and Jesus told her, “Neither do I, Go and sin no more.” If Jesus, whose judgment is perfect, doesn’t judge, than I, whose judgment is flawed, should definitely not judge others.

Jesus wasn’t alone when he was on this earth living in human form. The Father was with him and taught him. If Jesus needed the Father while here, how much more do I need Him? Jesus makes it really clear in this chapter that he is not alone, that God is with him and that God has not deserted him. As God’s children, we have the same access to God and the same promises from Him that Jesus did while here. I think I get distracted in life and forget Who’s I am, Who is with me always, and Who will never desert me.

Jesus chose to obey God and did what pleased Him. Jesus flat out tells us that he submitted to God. If his attitude was set to obey and please God, my goal should be to do the same. Part of getting obedience right is knowing God well enough to know what he asks of us. Jesus had a bit of an advantage over us in this department as he lived/lives in heaven with God always, except when he was here on earth. He knew what was required of him in every situation and he chose to obey. If God knows that our intent is to obey him, he won’t hold himself back from us. He wants us to grow to be more like him. He will do all he can to help us along that path, but he won’t choose it for us. We have to decide every day to follow him.

 

John 12:46 “I have come into the world as light, so that no one who believes in Me should walk in darkness.”

Questions

I feel like Covid has given the entire world a chance to pause, access, and reset their lives. I think everyone’s circumstances and schedules have changed enough at times throughout this year that we have been forced to re-evaluate our priorities and take a second look at what is actually valuable to each of us. I’m wondering what you have learned. Have you found the hollowness of stuff? Do you recognize the slavery of busyness and packed schedules? Is time with people more precious than ever? Are you drowning trying to keep your head above water with work, remote learning, and home upkeep? Have some of your relationships been strengthened? Has fear gripped your heart in a new way this year? How about with God, has your relationship with Him changed in 2020? I wish we could all gather together to discuss our thoughts and the things we have learned in these past eight or so months. To be honest I think I am still processing through some of these questions, working to solidify the good learned and weed out the unproductive from my heart and life. I hope that we can all recognize the good in the opportunity that God has given us to pause and reset during this pandemic. I don’t know when we might get another year like this one in our lifetimes and I don’t want to waste this chance we have to get real about what matters most to each of us. (Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t wish to relive this year ever again…I just don’t want to miss God’s good gifts in the midst of this mess!)

This morning as I was reading I was struck by God’s offer to us in John 7:37. Jesus says to us, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! The scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart’. “ I love Jesus’ use of one of the most common and necessary things in everyone’s life to offer the Spirit and explain him to us.

-His offer is accessible to all. He starts with the word “anyone”. There are no qualifications beyond believing in him. His offer is not limited by time, country, age, race, ability, sex, means, or anything else besides choosing to believe in him.

-His offer is understood by all. Every person ever, experiences thirst. We know thirst every day since our bodies require fluid to function and live. Everyone who is old enough to understand knows that thirst is best quenched by water. Water is one of our most basic needs.

-His offer is plentiful. Rivers are bigger than creeks or brooks. He offers us generous amounts of “water”, more than we would ever be able to use in a lifetime.

 

His offer is actually the gift of the Spirit. In verse 39 it says, “When he said ‘living water’, he was speaking of the Spirit”. As I spend more thinking through the questions in the opening, I realize so much is cared for and cleared up in the gifts or fruit of the Spirit. Gal 5:16-25 takes about 2 minutes to read through and sums up the battle in our hearts between how we want to live and how we sometimes actually live. In verses 22-23 Paul lists the 9 characteristics that the Spirit produces in us when we belong to Christ. They are: self-control, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, kindness, patience, peace, joy, and love. I am going to get real here and go through the list of questions again and list the ways these nine fruit apply for me personally.

-Hollowness of stuff- When I have self-control I look for less stuff. When my heart has peace and joy, stuff is much less appealing.

-Packed schedule- It takes self-control to not say yes to every invitation, and faithfulness to properly evaluate each commitment. Peace inside allows me to not get tangled up in fear of missing out.

-People become a higher priority when I love with God’s love, when goodness and kindness rule.

-Drowning in responsibility- Self-control helps me tackle responsibility instead of looking for escape. God’s peace surpasses all understanding and allows me to move through impossible circumstances with power beyond my own. Being patient always helps, running my own agenda is selfish while taking time to consider others benefits all. (Often when I choose patience God often multiplies my time.)

-Relationships improved-For me gentleness takes a little more time. It is worth the time it takes. My choosing goodness and kindness are always going to improve a relationship. When I am filled with joy, it is endearing and encouraging to all. Patience in me allows for others needs to be considered and met. Love is the backbone of relationship.

-Fear-God’s peace changes my entire outlook. It doesn’t remove the issue, but has the power to turn my mindset 180 degrees.

 

The last question I think I’ll leave for each of us to consider on our own. How has your relationship with God changed during these past 8 months?

Wonderful Counselor

 

 

 

Wonderful; Inspiring delight, pleasure, or admiration. Extremely good; marvelous

Counselor; Trained to give advice or guidance on personal, social, or psychological problems.

 

Our Father is extremely good, inspiring admiration because He gives perfect guidance to us in every area of our lives. He is marvelous because He gives us the exact right advice in every situation we bring to Him. He knows each of us so intimately He shares perfect direction with us for our own issues, for how we live in and respond to the world, and for our individual thoughts. I cannot comprehend how He is able to do this for the millions of people alive each day on this earth. It makes my head explode, trying with my human mind to understand God’s knowledge of and ability to communicate with everyone. Yet I know it is true. I have experienced His direction over and over in my life and I know countless people in other towns, states and countries who experience the same personal guidance regularly from our Father…our Wonderful Counselor.

“Wonderful Counselor” in Isaiah’s time, was a name describing hope in a very dark time. People were not following God. God had been reaching out to people for years and they continued to ignore Him. God told Isaiah when He sent him into the world with God’s message that the people wouldn’t listen. God told him to speak anyway because eventually a few would end up taking his message to heart. So Isaiah obeyed and spoke what God told Him to speak, for decades he spoke what God asked him to say. Isaiah 9:6 says, “ For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah told people that hope would be coming in Jesus. God was going to communicate with people in human form, He was coming to live with us and also die for us. He was going to deliver all people from their sin with His death and resurrection. Hope for everyone, then and now, Wonderful Counselor to all who believe in Him!

 

God is exceptional, distinguished, and without a peer. He is the one who gives the right advice every time.

Truth

 

 

John 14:6

 

“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the father except through me.” God is absolute truth. He doesn’t just know truth or arrive at truth after much study, He actually is truth. While this concept is hard for me to wrap my brain around and I am not articulate enough to explain this concept or expound on the theology behind it, I do believe it as fact in my life. I am 100% positive that He is perfect truth because I have read about His character in the Bible, I have experienced first hand His truth, in wisdom and answers throughout my entire life, and in my relationship with Him I hear Him speaking truth into my mind when I am seeking Him. I am as sure of this fact as I am of any other fact in my life. The beauty of a perfect Father who is absolute truth brings amazing comfort to my heart as this world is on a path of destruction.

Look, I realize that each one of us has to at some point come to the place where we believe God is who He says He is. We have to choose Him and we have to trust that the Bible is actually His written word to us. This choice never felt hard for me. It didn’t seem like too big of a stretch. Maybe because I chose God when I was young the decision was simple. I hope that all of you have experienced God enough in your own lives to be confident that He is who He says He is. I hope that you have chosen Him so He is free to reveal to you His truth in your own personal experiences. It is powerful! It is rich and amazing that the creator of the universe loves each of us so much that He wants a personal relationship with us so we can share ourselves with Him and He also shares Himself with us individually. It is crazy, beautiful, ridiculous and the best possible gift ever!!

Jesus is the way the truth and the life. As the “way”, He is our path to the Father. He is in fact the only way. We can do nothing to earn our way to relationship with God. Jesus gifted us that path. Are we thankful for this gift? Do we regularly tell Him how much we appreciate Him trading his life for ours? What words can convey our gratefulness for this kind of gift? As the “truth” He is the reality of all of God’s promises. Everything that God told people in the Old Testament would happen actually did. Jesus fulfilled God’s plan by becoming human, giving his life for ours, raising from the dead, and returning to heaven. He will return to earth to gather His believers to heaven with Him when God’s chosen time arrives. Do we praise God and worship Him for His plan? Do we give Him the praise He deserves for accomplishing that plan for our benefit? As the “life” Jesus joins His divine life to ours both now and forever in heaven…eternity. Are we looking forward to the day when we see Jesus face to face? Do we live knowing this earth is not our home?

 

I am comforted, refreshed and refueled this morning spending time thinking on God, Truth. The fears, frustration, wrongs, and broken things that were weighing on me earlier are in much better perspective now that I have given God back His rightful spot in my heart.

Stone that the Builder Rejected

 

1Peter 2:7

 

My level of frustration in the current reporting and news cycles continues to grow. Truth is so hard to find and identify in all of the talk. It seems that everyone has an agenda and reports to their desired end. On just about any given topic you can find people earnestly arguing with opposing facts. How can the average listener find the truth? How do we weed out the untruths in a report and find the nuggets that actually are true?

1 Peter 2 tell us that some people will stumble over Christ because they reject Him or refuse to believe He is who He says he is. I understand the fear and confusion of falling for an untruth. None of us wants to be in the position of aligning ourselves with someone and later finding out that the person has been dishonest about his character or personhood. People will always let us down at some point. No human is perfect. Jesus is the only “spotless lamb”, blameless, perfect, absolute truth. 1 Pet 2:7 says,” You who trust Him recognize the honor God has given Him. But for those who reject Him, the stone that the builders rejected has become the corner stone.” The One that people couldn’t believe in, is actually the most important One of God’s church. He is completely trustworthy, precious to all believers, and the foundation of the church.

In Eph. Paul talks about the church as “the body” of Christ. Jesus is the “head” and each believer is another member of the body. Here in 1 Pet., Peter tells us that the church is a living, spiritual temple, where Jesus is the foundation and cornerstone, and each believer is another stone in the building. These word pictures help us to understand, in a clear and simple way, how the church is supposed to function because of who Jesus is. He is the foundation because He gave His life to make a way for us to have relationship with God. We cannot be in God’s presence unless we are washed clean and made pure. We have no way to make ourselves pure. It is impossible for us to do on our own. So Jesus took our place and paid our cost with His own blood, His life for ours so we can live in relationship with God. Using Peter’s analogy, without Jesus there is no cornerstone or foundation for the church. Let’s take the analogy a bit farther. One stone does not make a building or even a wall. One stone is kind of useless on it’s own. It takes many stones to make a building…many believers to make the church. We should remember especially now in this super isolated time of living, that we need other believers. In our individualistic society, it’s is easy to depend on ourselves instead of remembering that He built the church on interdependence between Christians. The notes in my Bible say about this passage, “When God calls you to a task, remember that He is also calling others to work with you. Together your individual efforts will be multiplied.” Beautiful!