Saturday, January 29, 2011

Memories

Pictures are often used as a memorial to me to capture some of my most favorite events. Those beautiful summer days up north at the cottage spent at the beach, amazing camping trips, incredible displays of the Aurora Borealis, meteor showers; all are things that seem to take an important place in my memory. Often pictures can capture that event, or even emotion, forever. However memorials go far beyond a great vacation:


And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” (Joshua 4:5-7 ESV)

Many times in Scripture the Lord's people set up memorials, not just to capture the moment for themselves, but to pass along a memory to future generations. We most certainly do have memorials in this country, national memorials even. Some honor an individual, some a group of people, and some a historical event. Yet it is not just a country that should be making memorials, but rather followers of Christ as well.

For me, this journal is helping me do that. It is something that I wish to pass along to my children (in printed form) so that some of these moments that God has blessed me with can be shared with another generation. While we have to be careful not to get legalistic about our behaviors, that shouldn't stop our devotion and worship to Him. If God has done a miraculous work in our life, or if we sense the need to do so, I encourage you (and myself) to make a memorial. Perhaps it's something as simple as grabbing that stone from the river where you met Christ for the first time, or perhaps it's planting a tree to remember your walk in the woods when you broke down in pieces and He met you to put you back together again. Whatever it may be, I hope we all can learn to be a people of memorial.

Think about it. I am.

Remembering,
~Matthew

Friday, January 28, 2011

You Hypocrite! Take of That Disguise!



I wonder how many people out there would say these words to me, or at least want to one way or another?  I wouldn't say this is something that really concerns me as I am confident in who I am, and Who's I am, but I suppose it would be interesting to exercise some thought to this topic. Recently I came across a devotional that touched on this subject and I thought it highlighted some very good points, so I thought I'd take it a step further and make it a bit more specific for me.

I suppose my first response to an accusation like that may be a question in return:

Do you think that weak moments in my life represent who I really am, or do you think that my times in prayer, devotion, worship, and deepest and most heartfelt conversations with my wife, kids, or closest friends would better represent who I really am? When your normally loving child is cranky, mean, or gets in trouble, do you see them as being hypocrites, or rather do you see them as having a bad moment, being too tired, or not their usual self?

My theory is that we seem to think that once we are adults, suddenly that criteria changes. If we see someone at a weak moment, we assume their true character is represented by that moment.

Judgment is so easy isn’t it? I catch one person on a street corner take off his poor man’s coat, hop in a car on the other side of the block and take off, and I suddenly begin to associate all homeless people as a bum like this guy. Or how about the person who calls themselves a Christian but had a weak moment in anger, blew up at someone, cursed at someone, told a coarse joke, experienced road rage, lied to a family member, bought or copied a pirated movie, took some office supplies, was caught watching porn, was seen yelling at their kid, self-medicated with alcohol after a horrible day at work, smiled and said they were doing great when inside they were bitter at the person asking, walked past someone crying, drove past someone clearly in need, didn’t return the extra money they got back for change, I could go on, and on, and on, and on …

None of these are good, and they all are sin. However my point is not to state that these are not problems that need to be addressed, but just to ponder what really defines someone and if we need to determine what it means to qualify someone as a hypocrite. Is our real expectation of a Christian someone that is trying to become more like Christ or someone that actually lives a life as Christ did? I think we hold others to a much higher standard that we ought, certainly higher than ourselves.

While this may not be something that a non-believer will understand, as a believer we need to go to the Word with these questions. When we begin judging and labeling people out of our own opinion, that is sin. God has an opinion on hypocrites, that is certain.

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. (Matthew 7:5 ESV)

The point here is that the question itself about determining if someone is being a hypocrite requires judging; we as believers need not even go down that road. If a non-believer is going to judge me, so be it, it’s not my concern. However it’s always a good reminder that being forgiven doesn’t mean we have liberty to abound in sin; we do represent Christ, that much is certain. Let us continue our journey of sanctification and not let the enemy and father of lies get us off track.

A follower of Christ,
~Matthew

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Using and Being Used ...

… in a good way that is!

I love how God uses other people to speak to us sometimes don't you?

I know sometimes when I pray to God I find that He uses another brother or sister to speak the very words I felt Him tell me in prayer; affirmation. After all, being the body, we can be used by Him in any way He sees fit.

I don't know what was going through Joshua's mind as he took the reins from Moses but I love what He revealed to me in the Word last night when I was reading. Three times as God was commissioning Joshua He told him something specific:

Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you ... Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Excerpt from Joshua 1:6-9 ESV)

I don't think Joshua was feeling very strong or courageous at all, else he wouldn't need to hear those words. I imagine his uncertainty and anxiety over taking this roll was getting pretty stressful, and encouragement is what he needed.

So just a little later in the chapter, as Joshua is standing before the people (probably feeling a bit overwhelmed) he gets to hear this …

And they answered Joshua, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go ... Only be strong and courageous.” (Excerpt from Joshua 1:16-18 ESV)

Isn't that awesome!? I try and imagine myself as Joshua hearing and feeling these words coming from God; be strong and be courageous. If he was anything like me at all, and since we share a little thing called humanity I’m guessing he was, then he probably had some doubts about his strength. Then he gets to stand in front of the people, and hear them get behind him and the Lord, but yet just asking that their leader be these couple things: strong, and courageous. I don’t know about you but that clear type of affirmation would most certainly help my strength and courage.

Many times it’s not that clear though is it? Yet, many times it is, we’re just not hearing it. We do need to make sure we wash everything with the Word, and test it by the Spirit in prayer, but God clearly uses others. He did then, He does now; I wonder who He will use next. I wonder if I will be used next.

Listening,
~Matthew

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Seeing the Horizon

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (Psalm 119:105, ESV)

When I used to read this verse it gave me a wonderful visual of how the Word is a light for our journey, and how with It we can have this bright light shining the way as we walk. However that's not really what it says does it? I used to picture this passage as a way to show me that we can have a clear view ahead so long as we have and consult His Word, much like Cathan is casting his vision towards the horizon in the photograph. However that's not what it says does it?

It takes me back to a time earlier this year as we were camping. The sun set, the cold came in, and together, all five of us, we set out on our nighttime walk. I took and lit our Coleman lantern, and we were off. The sky was clear, but it was dark, very dark! In fact, after we walked along the beach and began to take the trails through the woods, the lantern wasn't exactly lighting up the town!

However what it did do was become a lamp to our feet, and a light to our path. We needed it to take each step; without it we were practically blind. If I really used it to the best of my ability I may be able to see 20 to 30 feet ahead of me, but beyond that, it was a mystery, a dark empty space of uncertainty. Even as an adult, I quickly realized as we walked further into the woods how dependant I really was on this lamp.

Likewise, His Word isn't going to give us all the answers we want when it comes to the great unknown called the future. We may know some ultimate Truths, like I knew that eventually the journey would come to an end, and I would be back in the camper. However, during the journey, much like the lamp, we need to lean on Him every step of the way. He will guide our steps ... one at a time.
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (Psalm 119:105, ESV)
The visual I have now of this verse isn't quite as blinding, but it's far more comforting. A God that lights up the horizon is powerful indeed, but a God that is next to me, guiding me, holding my hand every step of the way, and making me aware of only what I need to as it comes up is not just powerful, but amazingly loving and personal. What a God we have ...

Taking one step at a time,
~Matthew

Monday, January 24, 2011

This party is off the chain!

OK, I guess I feel a little bad about scaring Amelia here, but I was apparently just preparing for this blog years later! It was a little funny though ... =)


I remember one time my youngest daughter (3 at the time I think) told me as she was going to bed that Jesus was coming back in 40 hours! I have to admit, after a few chuckles and smiles I had the thought ... Wow. What if?

I even texted a few close friends and family members to let them know of the cute and interesting moment; my responses were wide and varied. Some weren't too thrilled at the reality of that if it was true, and one was pondering the fact that when the text came through they were watching Hell's Kitchen and wondered if that was a bad omen! However another simply replied, "Thank you Jesus!"

So with those stories I've often reflected on the idea of Jesus coming back to us like a thief in the night. I would imagine any of us who have spent any time in the Scriptures have came across that idea, but let me bring up a few of those verses so at least we're all on the same page.

But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matthew 24:43-44 ESV)
"But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Luke 12:39-40 ESV)
For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 
(1 Thessalonians 5:2 ESV)
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:10 ESV)
Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. (Revelation 3:3 ESV)

It's very clear from Scripture as you can see that we will not know the time when He will return. I don't know where your heart is in this but for me it used to be a little troubling. Obviously the point is that we should be ready, but I used to look at this idea as very threatening and unwelcoming. After all, a thief is not someone you even want in your house at all. Granted, these passages talk about the day and time itself and how He will be coming, not about character; it's about His timing, not about comparing His character to a thief. The verse in Revelation does indeed talk more about judgement itself, however the context is about a specific church that was once alive, but is now dead. It speaks of God's desired repentance for the church so that this event will not have to end the way it is heading.

However, the point of this journal entry for me was to capture my thoughts as I continued to read through that fifth chapter of 1 Thessalonians ... a few verses later, after being told that He will come like a thief, you get this:

But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. (1 Thessalonians 5:4-5 ESV)

For a believer, this may be a surprising moment, but far from something that we should feel as unwelcoming.  There are different ways to feel surprised. Are you going to be surprised as if walking into a dark room, seeing the lights flick on, and hearing a loving group of family members and friends shout Surprise; or are you going to be surprised in the way like seconds after you answer that ringing phone and hear the news ... you fall to your knees in tears?

Let our reaction and hope for the news of His arrival not bring anxiety, but simply bring to our lips the words "Thank you Jesus!"

There is a Truth out there; are you ready? I hope so. That way when those lights flick on we get to reach out and hug one another! Talk about a party that brings the words "off the chain" to life! =)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  (John 14:6 ESV)

His,
~Matthew

Sunday, January 23, 2011

he can't get no, satisfaction ...

Every once in a while I keep getting called back to read the book of Joel again for one reason or another. Tonight as I read through the first chapter I was struck by a particular verse describing the destruction that a devastating swarm of locusts caused to that regions' wine and grain crops.

"What the cutting locust left, the swarming locust has eaten. What the swarming locust left, the hopping locust has eaten, and what the hopping locust left, the destroying locust has eaten." (Joel 1:4 ESV) 

Joel likely isn't describing different types of locusts here, but rather trying to relay the message of total destruction; there is simply nothing left.

The imagery here takes me to a place where I think about my enemies, or even Satan himself. He is not merely concerned about getting us off track, or giving us a few bumps along the way, or even showing us some pain during our journey. He will only be satisfied with total destruction.

It comes to mind that as much as we know the end of the story, he must as well. He knows he will lose the war and be defeated, yet he will be dragging down as many as he can along the way. He doesn't want to give us a few scrapes as we prepare to celebrate eternity with the Father, he wants us keeping him company in the lake of fire.

Lord, may that always be a sobering reminder of the fact that while you have wonderful and amazing plans for me, that my enemy has plans for me as well.

Yours, with bruises and scrapes, but yours,
~Matthew

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Alone in the Wilderness

Through His creation in nature I am often reminded of the plans He has for us. While I was staring at the skyline outside my cottage this weekend, my eye caught a small cluster of leaves, still clinging to the tree. I began thinking about all the wind, snow, and weather that these leaves must have seen, but yet they still cling to that tree.

It seemed quite unusual to me, and it reminded me of how I feel at times. How at times I feel alone in my journey, perhaps not understood by some family, or friends. I sometimes feel that I’m viewed as so different from others that there is a division between me, and the rest of the world.

Yet that most certainly isn’t the case. While we are told that indeed there will be many who fail to come to know Him (Matthew 7:14,22-23) we most certainly are not alone. It’s then that I began to notice other clusters of leaves, and even a few trees that were practically still full of their leaves! We most certainly are not alone, but we still need to cling to the Tree (John 15:5).

I enjoy continuing to find encouragement and symbolism of Him in so many places that I look. In this visual it made me think that while some may see me as a dead leaf, hopelessly clinging to something, I see it as being able to weather a storm and standing with my other brothers and sisters in Christ until the end (Mark 13:13)!

May His amazing peace and encouragement find you today!

~Matthew



“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:14 ESV) 
“On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”(Matthew 7:22-23 ESV) 
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 ESV) 
“And you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Mark 13:13 ESV)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Some things just don't mix ...

Something that either through prayer, sermons, or meditation that keeps coming back to me is the Holiness of God. It sort of reminds me of that Clorox commercial, where they compare white, to Clorox white! Every time I think I get a little closer to understanding how holy He is, His appearance just keeps getting whiter; especially compared to my sin stained life.

“The Bible says that God is holy, holy, holy. Not that He is merely holy, or even holy, holy. He is holy, holy, holy. The Bible never says that God is love, love, love, or mercy, mercy, mercy, or wrath, wrath, wrath, or justice, justice, justice. It does say that He is holy, holy, holy, the whole earth is full of His glory.” RC Sproul


I seem to have a reoccurring issue of fear in my life, or possibly more relate-able to others if I use the word anxiety. In my B.C. years it used to cripple me, and often. While I still battle this occasionally, He has helped me learn to lean on Him more through the years. Sometimes the fears are significant, sometimes they’re ridiculous (when it comes to my thankfully ever shrinking issues of hypochondria), and sometimes they are just every day issues.

A couple days ago I took my youngest daughter and my son to their first day of floor hockey. It’s a local recreation league for the kids, all different skill levels, and while they compete it is structured as recreation. A couple years ago, due to lack of volunteers, I decided to coach my son’s team. While he didn’t know it, I was far from comfortable with this idea, I was scared. As social as I seem to others, I really do not like the spotlight on me, let alone conflict, and with excited kids and well, parents, you know how that can go.

I know most of you will either be able to relate with my anxiety about coaching a kids team, or at least understand why (if you don’t freak out yourself). However, I didn’t just do it because no other dads/moms were stepping up, I also did it because of the look and reaction I got from my then 6 year old son when I told him I was going to be his coach; absolutely priceless! Practically bringing a tear to my eye as I write this … ok, literally. Hold on.

Anyway, long story short, I got a little more comfortable, and of course I put on a good front so all the parents were very gracious and thought I did a great job, but inside this was still not in my comfort zone. The following year I didn’t coach, in fact I think I had my wife go the first day so I didn’t have to be guilted into it! J Yet this year, a couple days ago, somehow I am coaching not only my son’s team again, but my daughters! I have been reciting this verse in my head a lot lately:

“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)

I could look at this as a mission field for me, all these kids that I am able to touch, and perhaps show them a love and excitement that He gives me. However, while I think this is a mission field indeed, it’s me that is being the one touched. Volunteering this time didn’t require the rec worker to ask me 3 times, and I ended up volunteering for both teams. Yet I’m still a little freaked out!

So what does this have to do with the Holiness of God? Well, to me fear is not only not from God, but it is clearly a sin; one I struggle with a lot. What is different about this year from the last time I coached is that a couple years ago that sin was triggering panic, palpitations, etc. I was more worried about the symptoms of my fear, then dealing with the sin itself. When I picture myself standing next to the creator of the universe and He reminds me that He “told me not to fear” it affects the way I think. However, He didn’t just say it like we do here on earth as in a “just get over it” mentality. He gives us the opportunity to come to Him in prayer, and through the Spirit (a very real power) we are able to unload that fear and burden on Him. Easy, no, but He teaches me more all the time how exactly to do that. Learning to use the Spirit reminds me of watching my father learn how to use a computer. On day one I got phone calls that made me want to pull out my hair; now, not so bad! So when I come to my Holy God asking Him to teach me to unload this fear on Him, it’s not easy, but I’m learning more each day, week, year, how to do it.

I don’t have just an anxiety problem, when I stand next to the Holy Living God I have a sin problem, a big one; and one of those sins is called fear. Some things just don't mix, and being holy, and having sin are two of those things for sure.

When I stand next to His Son … I have forgiveness and salvation!

Got Jesus?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Perspective

Many of us have heard studies, talks, or have reflected ourselves on very familiar passage, usually the one in Matthew, referred to as the Lord's Prayer. There are may ways of looking at it, many perspectives, and many (or maybe all) are great to consider.



Perhaps you (as I) have studied how significant each line is in that prayer and that when taken seriously (as all Scripture should be) it's certainly not a passing phrase, but rather a life changing way to live.

Perhaps you (as I) have heard about various creative studies and prayer structures modeled from it, such as ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) as a way to pray.

Perhaps you (as I) have even talked about certain lines such as our "daily bread", and realized what that truly means.

Perhaps you (as I, just recently as today at church) heard perspectives on that passage to make sure our prayers are bold, and Kingdom focused. Prayers that can change the world, and how we can be a tool used by God to make those things happen!

However, these past few days I have reflected on something a little different that I never really saw; at least not this plainly. First, the Scripture:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."  (Matthew 6:9-13 ESV)
Here is how I translated it a few days ago in Prayer:

Father, it's about You!
It's about Your Kingdom, not mine.
Forgive me so that I can model You to others.
You are so Holy, even your Name is Holy!
Whatever you want, I will do!
I will help you bring your Kingdom onto this earth!
And while I'm doing your Will, I know You'll protect me.
When credit comes, I'll give You the glory!
You have huge plans, I just want to be a part of them!
As for me, what do I want?
Just give me enough to sustain me one more day.
That way, I can do this all over again tomorrow!
I love You too. :)

Some may see that (my perspective) as a self-centered unloving God. I see that as a Holy God, who is so loving that through His Son forgave a sinful me, and is actually planning to have me be a co-heir to the universe with His Son. What that looks like or even means, God only knows, but it sure sounds pretty good! I'm all in!

Talking about prayer this way reminded me of a quote that I would like to share from a book I'm reading:

"Isn't it ironic that we often pray for God to make us Christlike, but the moment God allows something into our lives that would answer this prayer, we immediately send out a fervent prayer request to all our friends to have that circumstance removed?" - Henry Blackaby, God in the Marketplace

I know we're encouraged to pray for healing, deliverance, the brethren, the unsaved, etc. I know He wants to hear everything from us, and if we have something on our heart, we should share it with Him. However I think that this passage isn't just supposed to show us how to pray, but it's to show us where our priorities should be. It's scary to pray like that though, I know. I can be so focused on my future at times I completely lose sight of Him and His Will for my life.

He's awesome, that's all I can say. He has filled so many voids in my life and continues to amaze me more each day. The least I can do is focus all my attention on Him, and just ask that He'll give me one more day to do it all over again! :)

Loving my Holy God,
~Matthew

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Going Back


Call it growing if you wish, but after a while of going in one direction, you just can’t go back …

I was pondering my faith today; where I’ve been, how I’ve grown, my victories, my failures, my doubts, my sins, my beliefs, my joys; just a lot of pondering. I wonder where I would be if I wouldn’t have first opened that Book, if my heart wasn’t softened to at least being open to the possibility of a creator, a Christ, His Word. I wondered about those little doubts that creep in when I’m reading these incredible stories; did that really happen? I begin to hear voices of critics in my head, some close to me, some imaginary, telling me that even if there was a heaven, that all paths lead to it. That this journey I’m on is a bit extreme, that ultimate Truth is not in Him, or His Word.

Some join me on this journey, some accept me for being on this journey, and some resent me, or at the least roll their eyes. I for one know I’m not on this journey blindly, that much is certain. I was a critic of anything extreme when it came to the Christian faith, and while I certainly seemed to always be open to a Creator, that’s about where it stopped. Science to me was counter to anything Christian; at least that’s where I was. However when I began to ask questions (not about the Christian faith, but about history, creation, science, etc. I began to find things missing). Some say people of faith are weak clutching onto something to give them comfort. Really? I was hardly weak, I was challenging everything I was taught to be true and finding different answers. Heck, forget me, do my brothers and sisters around the globe who are threatened daily because they profess Christ and risk their life to keep Him close seem weak? When I read stories in Scripture of these men and women of God, weak is not a word that comes to mind.

However I digress. This Sunday a friend and pastor said many things that resonated with me, and one in particular I was reminded of during my prayer and pondering was when he simply stated "I know too much to go back". How true that is. It was then that my pondering changed forms … I imagined going back

I tried to imagine what that would be for me, it’s something I never really pondered. I imagined figuratively (or perhaps even literally) throwing out my Bibles, journals, ending prayer, worship, my church community, etc.

I literally about threw up.

I of course wasn’t considering this, but just trying to picture if I even could; if in fact I know too much to go back. The answer to that question is a resounding, yes! The God who rescued me from a course of destruction, my Counselor, my Leader, Someone with Whom I celebrate and grieve with, Someone with Whom is responsible and deserves all glory for anything in my life, my Source of joy, the One who has taken so much burden off me that I never even knew was there, the One that has showed me the joy in learning to be humble, the One who has bound my marriage into something absolutely incredible, the One who has given me the desire and passion to be a better dad each day, the One that makes me want to give up this garbage I contribute and be a better son, a better brother to my siblings, a better uncle, a better friend, a better Christian … the list can go on, and on.

I just know too much to go back … and what glorious knowledge it is!!! =)

~Matthew

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

War Games

I am continually reminded that we as Christians are at war.



As a father, I need to raise an army for Christ, not just children. What kind of leader would I be if I threw my soldiers into battle with no protection and no weapons? What kind of father would I be if I wasn’t preparing my children for the assault they will face (seen and unseen)?

Over-reacting? Jesus Freak? I don’t think so …

I either believe in the Word, or I don’t (and me picking and choosing which passages to follow and which ones not to is included in don’t). Yes, there is the issue of interpretation, but all together throwing things out that we don’t like is not an option (Deu 4:2, Deu 12:32, Pro 30:6, Ecc 3:14, Rev 22:18-19). Besides, if we call ourselves followers of Christ, there are some non-negotiable Truths, as thus, since I do believe and trust in the Word of God, that means to me there is a very real heaven, a very real hell, and a spiritual and physical war out there. Where is the overreaction in not wanting to see my daughter or son in hell?

Am I running around in a panic because I’m worried about my children’s eternity? No, not at all, in fact I’m at peace about my journey and what I’m teaching them; but that doesn’t mean I stop, that’s my point. I need to continue to show (in my life, not just words) that Christ is the foundation of all my joy, peace, and satisfaction; and not to feel loved for what God does for me, but feeling loved by knowing what I can do for Him (thanks John Piper for the beautiful reminder and illustration).

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:10-17 ESV)


Raising an army,
~Matthew

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Finding those treasures …


I love when those verses that are familiar to me jump off the page in a new light. I also love when at times it's just simply one word ...

"But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you." (Genesis 6:18 ESV)

What so clearly called out to me in that particular verse was the word come. God didn't tell Noah that he should go into the ark, as if to send him off on a journey that would change the face of the earth; He said come into the ark.

My point being that Emmanuel, God with us, while certainly personified with Christ, has still in many ways always been with us long before that. He was certainly with Noah when he told him to come into the ark.

Are you getting the same picture painted in your head that I did? Comforting was the first word that came to mind. One could call it foreshadowing of a future ark yet to come, however doesn’t this reflect His character from beginning to end? He’s always been a living God, active and present in the lives of those who know Him …

Just an observation; I love His Word!

Come to Him!
~Matthew

PS - Yes, we could be critical and do a word study as that Hebrew word (בּוֹאtransliteration to bow') is translated in some English Bibles as enter. However generally speaking I use more literal translations so we'll just stick with the word come!
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