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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

He Did It His Way

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who just doesn't "get it"? I find this extremely frustrating. So did Jesus.

In Mark 8, a group of Pharisees (ie, really religious people) came up to Jesus and demanded He show them a sign- perform a miracle as a way of proving He was indeed from God. At first glance, this seems rather innocuous, until you note the three stories preceding this one. In them, Jesus has driven out a demon from long distance, healed a deaf/mute by using spittle, and fed 4,000 people with a few dinner roles. I don't know about you, but this seems like a pretty good run of ministry to me.

And yet, here are the high and mighty religious guys asking for a sign. "Um, excuse me," I'm thinking, "are you paying attention here? Have you seen what's going on? Why don't you get it?" Granted, the Pharisees probably hadn't been personally present at any of these miracles, but there was more than enough evidence for them to realize that Jesus was the real deal. But it wasn't good enough for them. Jesus had to do it their way, in their timing. With this as their mindset, the Pharisees missed Jesus altogether.

Sad. Even more sad when I think about how often this is MY experience. I want God to do things a certain way- show up at certain times, fix things a certain way, "prove" himself to me with a certain sign. Rarely, if ever, does God work this way. He is doing his own thing, and if I have the eyes to see it, His ways are far more wonderful and beautiful than my own.

Nowhere do we see the brilliance of God's plan more than in the Christmas story. If it were my way, I would not send a child to change the world. But God's way was to take on human form, become one of us, and proclaim through our humanity, "I am with you." His ways are not my ways, and thank goodness for that. Through Christ, His way continues to change and shape the world today.

"Our God is in the heavens, and He does as HE wishes." (Psalm 115:3) May your eyes be open in this Christmas season in such a way that you can trust this God. He is good, and his plans are good. Celebrate with great joy in Him.

Peace-

Nick

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Grammatical Mistake?

My devotional thought from tonight's candlelight service...

Saturday Night Devotional

So much of life is never finished- dishes, laundry, garage cleaning, tasks at work- on it goes and we wonder sometime why we bother. It will just need doing again later. At times, it’s more serious than that- we can feel that same about parenting our kids, working on our marriage, or even our faith- prayer, reading the Bible- sometimes we wonder what it will accomplish.

Luke 1:68- there’s something wrong with this verse. It reads, “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has visited and redeemed his people.”

The tense is wrong, isn’t it? We would expect it should read “and he WILL redeem His people.”

But instead it says, “redeemed”- past tense. Over and done.The NAS makes it stronger still- “accomplished redemption”- a finished work. In the Greek, it’s the aorist tense- which means a SINGLE action referred to typically in the past.

But Jesus is just a baby. In fact, Jesus is still in the womb of Mary at this point! How has redemption been accomplished?

The coming of the Messiah set in motion a whole new era of God’s Kingdom, and the final outcome of this plan is guaranteed. The old has gone, the new has come! The coming of Jesus represented more than the birth of a single person, but the in-breaking of all God’s promises that would forever change history. It was the beginning of the New Covenant that prophets had pointed to for a thousand years. Zechariah realized that when his son had been born, the whole plan had been set in motion. And because God was behind it, the new covenant era was unstoppable. God was going to finish what He had started.

We are living in that time! It is now! So what is our mindset? Do we still live in the attitude of “one day, he WILL redeem”. Is it just a future hope? NO- he has come and he HAS already redeemed. It’s certain. Live in this certainty! Live in simple trust that in EVERY area of your life, REDEMPTION has been accomplished. It’s done. Because Jesus has come.

Peace, and goodwill towards all, as you journey on...

Nick