Friday, July 29, 2016

THE PATH THAT JESUS CHOOSES FOR US

Mark 6:45 (ESV) Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.
In the world of our imagination, if Jesus leads us, if he causes us to go by a certain path, that path is sure to lead to success. We expect happiness, peace, and satisfaction when we are following our Lord.

But what did the disciples experience when the Lord “made” them get into the boat and proceed toward Bethsaida? The wind was against them and they made headway “painfully” (Mk 6:48).

Our Lord loves us with an everlasting love (Ps 103:17; Jer 31:3). His love is not focused on our short-term happiness but on our long-term holiness. He is not a soft leader who strives to make everything easy, safe, and fun for his disciples. He may at times lead us through fire and water (Ps 66:11-12). These trials are not pleasant at the time, “but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Heb 12:11).

Are we disciples of Jesus? If so, let us remember that those who follow a leader end up where that leader ended. In the case of Jesus, that means the right hand of God eventually, but first there will be a cross to carry and a hill called Golgotha to climb.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Am I In Love?



Through the years I have heard of several little self-tests that young people might use to see if they are truly “in love” with a person to whom they feel attracted. One of them goes like this.

·    “Do you want to introduce your family and friends to this person?” This is an important question. If you are hesitant to introduce your friends to person “x”, the odds are the relationship will not be a healthy one for you.
·    “Do you want this person around, and miss them when you cannot be with them?” If we enjoy being around a person sometimes, but get along just fine when we are not with them, that person might make a good friend, but not a life-long mate. A marriage partner should be someone we want to be with all the time.
·    “Do you put this person first?” Do you feel that whatever makes him (or her) happy will make you happy?
·    “Are you deeply hurt and offended if you hear someone belittle this person?” If your commitment to a friend is not deep enough to cause anger when others speak ill of your friend, then your commitment is not deep enough to be thinking of marriage.

These are good tests to apply to the question of marriage.

Let me also suggest that you apply each of these tests to your relationship with the Lord. Have you introduced your family and friends to him? Do you long to be with him? Do you put his will first, and find joy in striving to please him? Are you deeply offended if you hear anyone belittle him?

It is easy to say, or even to sing, “O How I Love Jesus.” But the proof (or disproof) of that love is found in our daily lives. Do we really love him?

Friday, July 15, 2016

NOBLE THINGS ARE DIFFICULT



Oswald Chambers said that “all noble things are difficult.” I am not sure that I would go quite that far, but it certainly is true that anything worth doing will have its difficulties. 

Jesus said,  “… the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14, ESV). 

But he also reminded us, “When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world” (John 16:21, ESV)

In context, his point is that the disciples will be sorry that he is leaving them, but will later experience joy and forget their sorrow. But the same principle is applicable to many things in life. 

Noble tasks will have their difficulties and frustrations. There will be pain. But in the end the pain will be forgotten in the joy of accomplishment. On the other hand, taking the “path of least resistance” is easy, but it leads to disappointment and disillusionment.

Choose the noble. It will be more difficult at times, but in the end it will be far more satisfying.