Focus Scripture: Revelation 3:20
Life, in many ways, is like a research project. We, as researchers, try to control all the variables in an attempt to rule out the effects of chance. Those of us who have been around for a while realize that when humans are involved there are countless things that could interfere with the desired outcome. Nevertheless, we take note of the anticipated risks, and we proceed, having given our informed consent. Unfortunately, even with all the advanced preparation, the outcomes of our life experiments often fail utterly.
Jesus, on the other hand, is the perfect researcher. Consider this: Jesus controls all the variables; he has stacked the deck against sin and death. The Lord controls the treatment by giving his life on the cross. No elements of chance are involved in the project he conducts because the outcome has already been written before the foundation of the world! Jesus is also sensitive to our needs as human participants. He has informed us precisely what he intends to do. Now he gives us a choice whether or not to participate. “Here I am!” He has said. “I stand at the door and knock.” And like, the perfect researcher, Jesus still waits for us to give our informed consent!
Gracious Lord, thank you for being patient. Give me the strength to open the door to your redemption. Amen.
Focus Scripture: Proverbs 29:18
The fundamental work of the church is saving souls and promoting healing and wholeness among God’s people. One vision for the work involves passing along the gospel message from one generation to the next. Keep in mind that this vision is crucial because “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
Making sure the vision remains in sight is no passive activity. The church has to accomplish its work in a mission field where the truth is often obscured. The church’s message has to encourage weary people to remain vigilant. The church must make the vision plain, as it calls out injustice and challenges structures of oppression in our society at large.
In spite of its many challenges, the church must be true to facilitating transformation in our individual and communal lives. The church must be willing to work side by side with wounded people of faith to promote ongoing critical reflection, cultivate well being, and nurture resilience. The church must help the people receive their sight and hold onto their hope.
God of order, help us to unite for the well being of our communities and our children. Remove the blinders from our eyes so that our vision becomes clear.
Focus Scripture: Psalm 116:6
Throughout my studies, I have had opportunities to reflect on how people come to believe what they believe. I conclude that the way people view God depends in large part on the issues they bring to the table and the lenses they use to reflect on what they see. Sometimes, the thing that separates the groups is their answer to this question: How big is their God?
People in one of those groups do not place limits or boundaries on God. They consider themselves to be made in the image of God and strive to please God in everything they say and do. For them God is infinite, almighty, and all knowing. Not only that; God is so loving that he sent Jesus to redeem them from sin and has poured out his love into their hearts through his Holy Spirit.
People in this reflective group are those who believe that God exists and rewards those who diligently seek Him. In other words, this group of people has extraordinary faith. Accounts of such belief can be found throughout the biblical text. Some people might refer to such faith as childlike. And that is just fine, for, with childlike awe, they can place their trust in a God who is big enough to see what they cannot see and lead them in the direction for their good and God’s glory.
Omnipresent God, thank you for being big enough to supply all my needs. Amen.