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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Finding

John 14:6 is a passage you probably have memorized.  It is perhaps only slightly less well known than John 3:16.
Finding
As I read this the other day, it occurred to me that the import of this passage is that no matter what we are seeking in this life, Jesus is the fulfillment of that search.

If we are seeking purpose, He is the way.

If we are seeking reality, He is the truth.

If we are seeking meaning, fulfillment, health, healing, happiness, significance, He is the life.

The search is over, we should be about finding.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Insulation

What is the purpose of insulation?

Insulation reduces the ability of an atmosphere either inside or outside a building to escape out or penetrate in.  It isolates us, puts a barrier between us and a climate.  It allows us to control our surroundings and our immediate atmosphere.
That’s great.  Life is better with insulation.

The Christian life however is not better with insulation.
Christ commands us to abide in His Word.  John 8:31 – 32; John 15:7 are examples of this.  There are so many more that it would be more than a little redundant.  Both the old and new testaments are full of examples, Psalm 119 is a prime example.

But it seems that many of us are insulating ourselves from the Word of God.  How?  We use secondary sources rather than engage directly with God’s Word.
  • We need to honor those who share the Word with us, we should listen to good messages, but that message is not the Word of God.  Hopefully it is the result of the messenger’s personal engagement with the Word, but it may not be.  Some people who speak are sharing what they read in other secondary sources.  Either way, it is not direct involvement with the Word, there is a layer of insulation, not all of it is getting through.
  • Fill in the blank or other types of Bible study guides are really helpful.  I have used them and in some cases still do.  But in those studies someone else has directly engaged with the Scripture and is leading you through what they learned.  You are being steered in the direction of their conclusions both by the references they ask you to consult, and the questions they ask about those passages.  Again, a layer of insulation…
  • I am currently reading through two or three books that deal with Biblical topics.  If you could see my office you would note that I am literally surrounded by books and my Bible program has hundreds more in its library.  While I am helped by those books, they are, again, someone else’s work.  Someone else dug into the text and wrote what they saw.  I can benefit, but it is a layer of insulation between me and the text.
The point of all of this is that as good as some speakers, study guides, and Christian books may be, they cannot be our primary input.  They are not even a pale substitute for diving into the Word on our own to work through a verse, a chapter, a book, a topic, or a character.

The challenge is that many of us have not been shown how.  That is the purpose of this ministry.  If you need help with this, let me know.  I will help you take down the insulation.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Miracles

I have not written since the 10th because I have been living answered prayer, miracles.
Miracles
I have mentioned earlier in this blog that our family has been facing several life and death issues in the past seven months.  One of our children experienced a miscarriage, my wife’s mother passed away, my father had a car wreck that fractured several ribs, had emergency surgery, was hospitalized, was hospitalized and passed away, while I was admitted into the same hospital.

Over all of that one of our children was diagnosed with cancer when 9 weeks pregnant.  All of these together have taken us through a significant school of prayer.  The lessons learned in that area are too numerous to name.

Last weekend child who was pregnant with cancer delivered a healthy baby girl, 9 weeks early, after undergoing 6 chemo treatments.  The child graded out in the NICU four weeks older than she was at birth.  Her weight was double that of other children born in the same conditions.

Overwhelmed, thankful does not capture our emotion.  We are still dealing with the cancer, but at a level that is less than we anticipated, another miracle.  There are still significant needs, we still need one more miracle.  We are trusting Him.

However, Daniel 3:17 – 18, is guiding us.  He is able and has provided us with several miracles in the course of this stretch.  We trust Him.  We beseech Him.  But, regardless, we are thankful for His grace, mercy, and engagement with us.