When we, as Christians, recall the ways that we have failed to love one another, the conclusion of our self-assessment should always be that we are righteous, not condemned; Christ’s perfection has overcome our imperfection. And within this mercy and grace, we are free to love more and more. “Do so more and more” was Paul’s charge to the Thessalonians. What would his charge be to Denverites?
After Jesus was resurrected, He appeared to the disciples, but Thomas was absent for this momentous event. He requested to see the physical body of the risen Jesus in order to believe, but his greater question wasn’t about receiving physical proof, it was about whether or not Jesus is God. He asked the same question that we and others have asked of Jesus for the last couple millennia: who are You to me? The answer: He is our Lord and God.
When we are discipled by listening directly to Jesus’ voice in Scripture, we can trust His wisdom as being inerrant because He perfectly embodied all the spiritual disciplines we aspire to have. In contrast, when we are discipled by listening to others, we should discern which particular spiritual disciplines God has empowered each one of them to have. Because, as fallen people, even as devout followers of Jesus, none of us embody them all.
Our present technology and culture allow for efficient multitasking. We successfully implement it almost everywhere but worship. Isaac Watts saw long ago what we still see today: a struggle to maintain focus in our designated times for praise. He, like the Psalmist in Psalm 98, calls for more than singing; he calls for internalization of songs. As the world around us sings for joy, we are to do the same, knowing that the One who reigns is sovereign, but also benevolent; a Savior who gave Himself so that we can lose an eternity of separation and gain an eternity of relationship.
Psalm 19 declares that the Bible is infallible and immensely beneficial to those who read it. This can only be possible if the Bible is truly God’s voice in written form.
Who God is dictates what He does, and what He does is most often accomplished by His voice. That is why we listen.
Whether it be throwing stones in Bible times or more subtle forms of condemnation in the present, we are inclined, as fallen human beings, to judge others without fully considering ourselves. In contrast is Jesus, the only one truly qualified and justified to throw a stone. Yet, He chooses mercy and grace.
His kingdom is beautiful because he is there
Have you ever read about an historical event in the Bible and wondered why it matters? It is easy to dismiss passages that do not seem relevant to our present or eternal lives. Yet, Jesus Himself said that scripture points to Him. This is obvious in many Old Testament prophecies, but New Testament Scriptures, like the Riot in Ephesus, need a more thorough investigation.
We are overwhelmed by the characteristics of the world: prejudice; war; disease; overpopulation; energy shortage; terrorism; economic depression; environmental issues; poverty. Yet, we are even more overwhelmed by the characteristics of Christ: enduringly strong; entirely sincere; eternally steadfast; immortally graceful; imperially powerful; impartially merciful.