Wednesday, October 27, 2010


"Samuel said: 'Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the LORD and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these, I will make it right.' 'You have not cheated or oppressed us,' they replied. "You have not taken anything from anyone's hand.'"--1Samuel 12.1a,3-4
My devotional recommended this Scripture reading to me this morning. And at first, I have to admit, I was a little stumped. I even went back and double checked the book, chapter, and verses. But then, the Lord began to speak to my heart about these verses. This is part of the ancient prophet, Samuel's, farewell speech to Israel, God's chosen people. He knows that his days are numbered. And he takes the time to make a very interesting statement. He asks the gathered body of Israel to consider if he has taken anyone's property, cheated anyone, oppressed anyone, or accepted a bribe. Why does he ask this? Because this is the sort of thing a FALSE prophet does.
Samuel does not have to worry, though. His conscience is clear. His faithfulness is complete. He has been a good and worthy servant of the Lord.
This passage got me to thinking today about our conscience. Can we stand blameless before the Lord? Have we been completely faithful? Have we been completely honest in all our dealings with others?
When I think about those questions I hear another word, "perfection." Have I reached perfection yet? Not even close. Oh, I suppose I've done a lot of good things. I could possibly make the argument that 98% of the time, I do the right thing, I show the love of Christ in my dealings. But what about that other 2% of the time? Who do I hurt by my lack of grace? I am still "a man in need of a Savior."
I suppose that most of us are "good" people. We don't steal. We haven't murdered anyone. But this Scripture reminds me that we are called to be faithful not just in the "big" things (don't steal, don't murder, etc.) but also in the little things. The one who is faithful in the little things will be faithful in the big things.
I invite you to examine your conscience today. Is there something, some action, some attitude, that you need to turn away from? If so, I invite you to come to the One with mercy and forgiveness in His hands, that same Jesus Christ. I also invite you to surrender your life to Christ today that you may He may help you be faithful and one day hear those words, "Good and faithful servant!"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Jesus' faith in you

"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven."--Matthew 16.19
This past Sunday, the Power with Purpose Young Adult Group was looking at a lesson by Pastor Rob Bell. In the lesson, Rob asked an incredible question: "Faith in Jesus is important, but what about Jesus' faith in us? I mean he must have faith in us because he leaves it all in the hands of these disciples. Do you believe that God believes in you?"
Wow! What an idea! That God, the Lord over all the universe, would believe in me, the bundle of humanity that I am, with all my faults and oddities, with all my mistakes and sins, with all my insecurities and doubts. How can this be?
In the Scripture above, Jesus gives an incredible responsibility to his followers. Similarly, at the end of Matthew's gospel, Jesus gives the famous Great Commission: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28.18b-20)
It's absolutely astounding that the Lord of all the Universe would entrust His Salvation Mission to a rag-tag group of 11 disciples (the 12th, Judas, had recently "tendered his resignation.")
As Rob Bell points out, this group was a group of people who had been looked over by the religious leaders of the day. That's why none of them were rabbis, chief priests, or religious scholars. Most of them were common fishermen. And what mistakes they made! Just read the gospels and you'll find out how human they were. Peter, one of their top leaders even once denied that he even knew who Jesus was! If the Lord of the Universe would entrust His Salvation Mission to this group, if he could believe in these common men, then surely He believe in you and me!
"Do you believe that God believes in you?" (Here's a hint: God would not have created you with His own hands and breathed into you the breath of life, His life-giving Spirit, if God did not believe in you!)
So, be who you are! There is no one that does it just like you! You are God's gift to the world!