Light to Live By

"The unfolding of your words gives light ..." (Psalm 119:130a)

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Jesus and Family Responsibilities

The Bible has harsh things to say about those who put family before Jesus …

  • Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matt. 10:37)
  • “To another he said, ‘Follow me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ Yet another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’” (Luke 9:59-62)
  • “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

The Bible has harsh things to say about those who put Jesus before family …

  • “And he said to them, ‘You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, “Honor your father and your mother”; and, “Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.” But you say, “If a man tells his father or his mother, ‘Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban’” (that is, given to God)– then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.’” (Mark 7:9-13)
  • “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8)

So how are we to understand what Jesus wants with regard to our commitments to both Him and to the families He has given us? Here is what I’ve concluded …

  • If my commitment to my family keeps me from fulfilling a Scripturally-defined commitment to Jesus, my commitment to my family is inappropriate and must yield to my commitment to obey Jesus.
  • If my commitment to Jesus keeps me from fulfilling a Scripturally-defined commitment to my family, my commitment to Jesus is fundamentally wrong-headed and must yield to the commandments of God to care for my family.

So I need to ask myself some questions, prayerfully before God and honestly assessing my family’s needs …

  1. Am I using love for or loyalty to my family to avoid obeying clear commands of God?
  2. Am I using commands of God to dismiss what may be costly service in the care of my family?
  3. How can my love for and fidelity to Jesus fuel an increasingly righteous, faithful, genuine, and sacrificial love for the family members He has surrounded me with?
  4. If I am growing in my love Jesus, how ought that find expression in my relationship to my family?
  5. If I love my family as they desire me to, how will that affect my relationship to Jesus?

Big Sale on CLC Titles

Three of my books with CLC Publications are on a BIG SALE until the end of May.

You can get Revival in the Rubble for just $3.90 per copy (regularly $12.99).

Praying Through is just $4.20 a copy (regularly $13.99).

Long Story Short also is $3.90 per copy (regularly $12.99).

At these prices you can order several copies. One for yourself. Others as gifts or for a group study. Long Story Short especially makes a great graduation gift.

that T in the road

bumbling through life

Quite

Unaware

I encounter a

T in the road

What to make of this T?

An impasse? The end of my road?

A signal I should QUIT?

Or does the T signal, not a Termination, but a Transition?

As I consider my options something Emerges, standing between me and that fateful T

Exaltation of the King who rules my journey

Examination of my heart as part of my journey

Exploration of the King’s leading for the next stage of the journey

In fact, I discover the E is not just one thing, but many things

Yet it is not Everything

No, that is the Exclusive domain of my King

Him alone in that place between me and the T

Embracing Him as my Everything Transforms my journey

opening new options as I stand there before that great T in my road

there, with Him the T no longer demands I QUIT, but invites me to become QUIET

for, says my King, “in Quietness and in Trust is your strength” for this journey

Praying the Promises of God

When we pray back to God His own promises given us in the Bible, Spurgeon said, we are “holding God to his word.”

He further says, “My brother, if you have a divine promise, you need not plead it with an ‘if’ in it; you may plead with a certainty. If for the mercy which you are now asking, you have God’s solemnly pledged word, there will scarce be any room for the caution about submission to his will. You know his will: that will is the promise; plead it. Do not give him rest until he fulfil it. He meant to fulfil it, or else he would not have given it … when he speaks, he speaks because he means to act.” –C.H. Spurgeon (Order and Argument in Prayer, July 15, 1886)

1 Message; 2 Groups

“For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)

Reflect upon this one simple, profound sentence from the Bible. It tells us of one message but two groups of people.

The one message is the cross. In its simplest form it is the news that God loves you so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to come into this world, live a perfect life in which He fulfilled every righteous demand of God’s law, and go to the cross and die in your place. In those moments on the cross you were on God’s mind. He placed your sin upon His Son. Jesus was taking your place. Your sin was placed on Him and all the wrath and judgement of God that was due you, was poured out on Jesus instead. And when God’s justice was satisfied, He sent forth this “word of the cross” to you to let you know He loves you and He is willing, because of Jesus, to receive you back as His child.

There is one message—it is Jesus, His cross and His resurrection. But there are two groups of people. Wherever that message is spoken there are ever only two groups of people. There may be many different ethnicities represented in the crowd, there may be both single and married people listening, there may be religious people and non-religious people hearing that one message, there may be the rich and the poor (and the many other distinctions we make in this life)—but there are in God’s eyes really only two groups of people present.

This Scripture describes these two groups by the process they are in. They are either perishing or being saved. “The word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

One group is in the process of perishing. That means they have not yet completely perished. In fact they will be in various stages of that process—some will feel most acutely the weight and consequences of their sin while others may sense very little of it. Sin’s consequences may have so eaten away at some of their souls that society does not even want to notice them. Others may have cleverly hidden the effects of their sin from their eyes and the eyes of their friends and family, yet on the process goes. Make no mistake about it, they are all in the same process, headed for the same eternal result.

There is, however, another group in the crowd—“us who are being saved”. Noticed “being saved.”  Does that sound funny? The Bible actually describes salvation in three tenses—we “have been saved” (Eph. 2:5), we “are being saved” (1 Cor. 1:18) and we “will be saved” (1 Cor. 3:15). Those three tenses help us understand what it is this message of the cross is to mean to us and how it may change us.

In one sense “we have been saved.” It happened on Good Friday and Easter. When Jesus Christ died, He did everything that would ever need done for your sin. You can’t ever add one thing to what Jesus has done to improve it. He does not ask you to enhance it by your good works or by your religious efforts. Either what Jesus did in His death and resurrection is enough for God or we are sunk. It all banks on what was done in the past.

But in one sense “we are being saved.” It is a present experience. Jesus not only died, He was raised from the dead. He is alive. He is here. And He wants to begin changing your life starting right now. We are “being saved” when we trust Jesus Christ with everything, every moment, every day. We are “being saved” when we acknowledge by faith His presence with us and bank our every moment upon His living relationship with us.

But the Bible also says we “will be saved.” After Jesus rose from the dead He promised He would come again. Every one of us will stand before Him—either after death or upon His return—and as we stand before God Almighty we will need to be saved.

What happens now and what happens in the end depends completely upon what we believe happen back then.

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