Together Again

togetherWhen I’m writing an article, I can get a little frustrated with my typos.  These little gaffes can be the source of large misunderstandings or they can be a bit humorous. A case in point is a verse from a song that was misprinted:  Let Us Break Bread On Our Knees.

If a group of people were going to come together to break bread to-gather, they would soon have a pile of crumbs. Togetherness is a theme of Scripture, and more often than not, we’re promised blessings instead of crumbs:

  • Paul urged people to agree together, to end your divisions, and to be united by the same mind and purpose (I Corinthians 1:10).
  • David said, it’s good and pleasant when God’s people live together in peace . . . the Lord gives His blessing of life forever (Psalm 133).
  • Paul worked hard to comfort and encourage people, so that they will be knit together—that many hearts would become one through His love. I do it so they will be rich in understanding and have full knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Jesus (Colossians 2:2).
  • David said God will bless the righteous and surround him as with a shield (Psalm 5:2).

Let me encourage you take a minute to reflect on God’s goodness for it is “He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations (Psalm 100).”

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance. ~ Psalm 33:12

Opportunity is a Port of Unity

opportunity tagsIt’s a verse that I think is intriguing, but not because it is full of mystery; not because it is difficult to understand; but, because it is so rich in meaning: “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).”

I saw something for the first time the last time I read this verse. It is the word “opportunity.” If you section the word, you can see it: OP-Port-Unity—Our Peace: Port of Unity

This is the opportunity that Paul spoke of when he wrote to the Ephesians and said: “Jesus is Our Peace (OP).” He was discussing the law and grace with Jews and Gentiles, and he said the peace of Jesus is the Port of Unity:

“But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In His flesh, He made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace (Ephesians 2:13-15).”

Two chapters later, Paul emphasizes the importance of the peace we have in Jesus:

“I urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us (Ephesians 2:2-4).”

Look at the Op-Port-Unity principles in Colossians 3:12-17:

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”.

Instead of looking for what is wrong, use this week as a time of opportunity to focus on Jesus as Our Peace (OP) and to become a Port of Unity.

When The Lights Go Out

lightI spent a few hours late last night sitting beside my water garden. The cool night air, the hot cup of coffee, and the sound of the water cascading down the rock and into the pool beneath made for a relaxing evening. It reminded me of the many times I had paddled my canoe down a river, camped on a rock ledge and listened to the soothing sounds of the river as I drifted off to sleep.

As I sat there last night I noticed what often goes unnoticed—the lights across the street at Forest Park. They were shining brightly—doing their best to dispel the darkness of the night.

During the daylight hours, parents with their excited children rush by the lights without giving them a second thought. The patrons of the pool are so focused on their immediate pleasure, the lights are unnoticed.

How often do you think about the value of the light? You may give careful consideration to its convenience during a power outage. You may wish for a flashlight when you try to find your way through a house that’s so dark its ebony in color. But, how often do you neglect it.

At 12:05 Tuesday, the first 5 minutes of today, Forest Park went black. The lights went out. In the sudden darkness of the moment I noticed what I had taken for granted earlier, the comfort and the security of the light.

As I sat there, I was reminded of a verse from the book of Daniel: “And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”

Does this verse remind you of your responsibility to share the light of God’s love, grace, and mercy? When will you let your light shine today? Where is it needed most?

Do you remember what Jesus said? “No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a basket or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand so that those who come in may see its light.”