Impossibly Possible

possibleLet me pose a question to you; it’s a question that is tucked away in the prophetic works of the prophet Jeremiah: Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for me (32:27)? Is there anything that God can’t do?

To most people who believe that God is omnipotent and that He is all-powerful, the quick and easy answer is a resounding, “No!”

As you think about your answer, I offer the following:

  • God can’t get tired and His wisdom is never diminished: The Lord is an eternal God, the Creator of the whole earth. He does not get tired or weary; there is no limit to his wisdom. ~Isaiah 40:28
  • God can’t break a promise: My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of my lips. ~Psalm 89:34
  • God can’t remember the sins He chooses to forget: I am the one who blots out your rebellious deeds for my sake. ~Isaiah 43:25
  • God can’t lie to you: God is not a man who lies, or a son of man who changes His mind. Does He speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill? ~Number 23:19
  • God can forsake you: Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, he is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. ~Deuteronomy 31:6
  • God can’t forget you: Aren’t five sparrows sold for two cents? God doesn’t forget any of them. Even every hair on your head has been counted. Don’t be afraid! You are worth more than many sparrows. ~Luke 12:6-7
  • God can’t stop loving you: I love you with an everlasting love, so I will continue to show you my kindness. ~Jeremiah 31:3

The next time you get down in the dumps and feel as though God has abandoned you, I hope you’ll review this list and remember this final thought: Before you were ever aware of God or thought about loving Him, you were already the object of His love.

Sensible Scents

Life-in-ScentsWhile I was reading in the Gospel of Luke, I began to think about the plight of the widow and the sacrificial giving of her mite. It occurred to me that worship can be expressed in cents as well as scents.  Like the widow, it’s possible to be nearly centless and still worship God.

There is another side to worship in which it is never scentless. When you approach God is the right way, your worship is the aroma of sweet-smelling incense that floats into His presence; and, it’s much like the scene in Revelation 5:8:

The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of fragrant incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

When your life mirrors the life of Jesus, you love as Christ loved, and your life becomes an offering and a sacrifice to God just like a sweet-smelling aroma:

Be imitators of God as dear children, and walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and has given Himself for us, as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma (Ephesians 5:1-3).

Based on the chart below, people are willing to spend their money to control their bodily odors. Shouldn’t we invest the same amount in time and effort to make sure we are as pleasing to God as we are to the rest of the world?

Company

Profit

Proctor and Gamble $999 million
Unilever $682.3 million
Lever Brothers $329.5 million
Dial Corporation $152 million
Colgate Palmolive $146.6 million
Revlon $79.7 million

Before you turn your nose up to my earlier question, consider it in the light of this verse:

Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and who makes known through us the fragrance that consists of the knowledge of him in every place.  For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved        ~2 Corinthians 2:14

How sweet is your aroma?

 

The Pursuit of Peace

Pursuit-LogoI was flipping through the pages of the Psalms late yesterday afternoon, and 5 words from Psalm 34 caught my attention:  “Seek peace and pursue it.”  When I examined the words of this verse, I came away with the idea that it is a faith and works verse.

The faith part is found in the word “seek.”  The original meaning of the word has the idea of seeking within the context of worship, or praying for peace.

The works part of the verse is even more interesting.  The word “pursue” should be understood within the scope of intense persecution.  You should pursue peace with same energy and intensity of a zealous persecutor.

There is considerable harmony between the uses of pursue in the Old Testament, and the way Paul uses it in the New Testament:

  • In Romans 14:19, Paul encouraged the Christians at Rome to “Pursue what makes for peace and for building up one another.”
  • I Thessalonians 5:15: “See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all.”
  • I Timothy 6:11: “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.”

It has been said that whatever catches your attention, catches you.  I trust you’ll turn your attention to the business of “seeking peace and pursuing it.”  Peter confirms the importance of this endeavor:

Whoever desires to love life and see good days let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.    ~I Peter 3:10-12

Friday: A Day of Signifiance

6187141-crown-of-thorns-hung-around-the-easter-crossIf you could travel back in time to history’s most important Friday and relive that day in 33 AD, what would you hear as you walked the streets of Jerusalem? The city had swelled in size because it was Passover, but the conversation was not the annual rites at the Temple.  No, that significant sacrifice was overshadowed by the crucifixion of Jesus.   As people contemplated the events, they exclaimed:  Finished!  Epic life ended!  Last chapter of a miraculous life has closed with a tragedy!

The Messiah you have been following has been nothing more than a grandiose dreamer with Messianic aspirations, and your dream has ended in a nightmare.  In stunned silence and in a state of shock, you wonder:  What now?  How could all of this happen?  How could so many people have believed a lie?

A cloud of despair hangs heavily on your doubting heart as you try to make sense of the disaster that has disrupted your life.  Friday has been an arduous day, but at least there has been a lot of activity.  When you woke up Saturday morning, you hoped that yesterday was just a bad dream; however, when you looked into the sunken eyes of your fellow disciples, reality buckles your knees:  Your Hope has been crucified; Jesus is dead; and, Saturday drags on and seems like it’ll never end.

From that Friday of 33 AD, to the Friday of today, there is a perceptional gap that is every bit as deep as it is wide in years.  All the disciples of 33 AD had was a form of spiritual PTSD and the stench of death, but you have the benefit of history.

You know the story doesn’t end with that dramatic death on the cross. You know there is an encore to what the disciples thought was the final Act, and it was announced to those few devoted women who went to the tomb:  He is not here; He has risen!

The fact of the resurrection turned men of cowardly hearts into courageous soldiers of the cross, and in a few short years the infant church shook Rome.  This is the mobilizing power of the resurrection and the proof of what can happen when a group of people are infused with hope . . . people just like you.

I encourage you to share the hope and live the message as you celebrate the resurrection of Jesus this Sunday.