Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Never-ending Points of Light

... Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their labors; for their good deeds follow them!”
(Revelation 14:13b NASB)
           The voice in the book of Revelation tells us that the good deeds in this life follow us into the next.  A good deed is like a point of light created in the universe, it continues to shine through eons of time.
    Of course we know that our right standing with God is not dependent on weighing our good works against our bad.  It is a free gift.  But the Bible does speak about eternal rewards.  In 2 Corinthians 5: 10 (NASB) it says, “ that one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” There is a day coming where God will set the record straight and rewards will be given based on divine justice.
    Yes, it does seem like in this world that the righteous sometimes seem to end up on the short end of the stick.  In Psalms 73 the psalmist seems to get tripped up a bit about this.  He laments over the prosperity of the wicked and the chastisement of the innocent, until he sees the big picture, “Then I perceived their end” (v7b).   There is a day of reckoning approaching when God will judge our actions based on the thoughts and the intentions of our hearts.  Then all those with servant hearts will receive their imperishable crowns.
       There is one difference between the luminosity created in the universe and the glow of God's approval.  Physical illumination from the moment of creation starts to dim, but God's luminescence never diminishes.  So look up my dear servants of Christ and see your good deeds as never-ending points of light.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Great Engima

Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.  (Jude 1: 23b NLT)

      An enigma is something that is puzzling or difficult to understand.  How do we love people as God’s creation and yet hate the sin that mars their existence.  It is like trying to separate dirt from muddy water.  Yet for Christians, in the culture in which we live, it is a skill that is absolutely necessary to reach the world around us.
      Trying to accomplish this feat is like walking on a type rope. If you lean too much to the side of mercy, we risk appearing to condone sinful actions. On the other hand, if we overly emphasize truth and judgment we fall off of that rope into the pitfalls of legalism.  So how do we navigate this bumpy road?
      First, there are no magical formulas, other than the life of Christ, “ full of grace and truth.”  On one occasion he drove out the moneychangers, in another he ate with sinners.  At times he was like a lion and others like a lamb.  With Jesus, one size did not fit all.
        What should we do when we find ourselves between the rock and the hard place of choosing between mercy and truth?  Jesus only did what she saw the Father doing. We in turn, should do only what we see Jesus doing. We should neither look to right nor the left, but up to God to lead us.  Doing this will not bring the approval of the legalist or the liberals, but it will please the one who really counts, the Son of God our example. So keep looking up and he will teach you how to love people and yet hate their sin.

Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
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