Six Feet and One Inch

tape_measureFinally!  I finally figured it out!  At last I’ve been able to measure the distance between God and the world.  God and the world are six feet and one inch apart.  You’re probably wondering how I was able to measure that distance accurately.  Easy!  When I extend both of my arms out as far as possible, the distance from one fingertip to the other is six feet.  The obvious conclusion is that God and the earth are six feet and one inch apart; just far enough that I can’t hold onto one without letting go of the other.

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).

Why is it that so many foolishly try to hold on to God without ever letting go of the world?

It Is Good To Give Thanks!

give-thanks-thessaloniansJohn Henry Jowett, a theologian who lived from 1864-1923 once wrote, “Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.”  These words remind us that there are few things more hurtful, more destitute of profit, than the display of an unthankful heart – a heart totally void of any gratitude.

To the church at Thessalonica the apostle Paul wrote, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thessalonians 5:18).  It is God’s will that we give thanks because giving thanks causes us to realize how much we have been blessed.  We sometimes sing a song “Count Your Blessings.”  The song reminds us to consider God’s goodness toward us, and rightfully so.  I would caution against taking the admonition to “count” too literal though, for it’s not possible to count every blessing God has given us.  God’s blessings are innumerable!

It is God’s will that we give thanks because giving thanks causes us to realize our dependence upon God.  God is the source of every good thing we enjoy.  Every blessing we have has come to us from God’s hands (James 1:16-17).

It is God’s will that we give thanks because giving thanks should cause us to become content.  When we consider how good God has been to us we learn to focus on what we have, rather than what we do not have (Hebrews 13:5).

Today, I will thank God for all He has done for me!

He Is Not Here

tombThe sixteenth chapter of the book of Mark tells us of a time when Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome came to Jesus’ grave early one morning.  They were clearly focused on the task at hand – anointing Jesus’ body with the sweet spices they had brought with them.  As the sun was rising they wondered, “Who will roll away the stone, that we might have access to the grave?”

Imagine their surprise when they came to the tomb, only to find the massive stone already rolled away.  How puzzled they must have been to find the grave empty – void of death!  It’s not hard to imagine the look of fear on their faces as they entered into the sepulcher, only to find a young man sitting, clothed with a long white garment.  Their hearts must have been overcome with astonishment at the words that were spoken to them – “And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him” (Mark 16:6).  Of course Jesus was not there!  Why would Jesus, the living, resurrected savior, be found among the dead?

The words this young man spoke to those who visited Jesus’ grave are as revealing to us living today as they were to those who first heard them.  It’s Jesus’ resurrection that gives us hope (I Peter 1:3-5).  It’s Christ’s empty tomb that assures us our own graves will one day be emptied of death (John 5:28-29).  It’s Christ’s empty tomb that reminds us that our faith is not in vain (I Corinthians 15:17).

Today, I am thankful for Christ’s resurrection as it enables me to live in hope of my own resurrection!

The Amazing Unity of the Bible

holy-bibleImagine a book written by approximately 40 men over a period of roughly 1,600 years.  These men do not know each other and come from various backgrounds and educational levels.  Imagine this book was written in three different languages with one common theme.  Yet from the first page to the very last page there is no contradiction!

Impossible you say?  Yes, if it were written by ordinary men.  But you don’t have to merely imagine such a book.  You own one!  I’m speaking of the Bible of course.  Written by approximately 40 men in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek), one was a fisherman, one a tax collector, one a cup bearer for the king, and the list could go on and on.  This book has one common theme – the salvation of man through Jesus Christ.  Yet not one single contradiction.

Just one more proof that the Bible has come to us by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We can be thankful every day for “the book” – the word of God.

The Blessing of a Fresh Start

report cardWhen I was in grade school, teachers sent the report cards home with the students to be signed by their parents.  I imagine this was supposed to serve as evidence that the parents had been sufficiently informed as to how well (or not so well) their child was progressing in school.  Overall, my report cards were usually pretty good (well….. other than an occasional comment from the teacher about my talking too much to my classroom neighbors).  Nonetheless, I still enjoyed the beginning of a new grade reporting period.   It was a time when students were able to make a fresh start; a time to forget the mistakes of the past and start anew with a clean slate.  Any less than desirable grades from days gone by could be forgotten, never to be brought up again.

God’s forgiveness is a lot like that!  It enables us to make a fresh start; to forget the mistakes of our past and start anew with a clean slate.    Any less than desirable behavior from days gone by could be forgotten, never to be brought up again.  The writer of the book of Hebrews wrote of God’s willingness to forgive. “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12).

Today I will let go of the past, ask God to forgive me of my sins and  look forward to making a fresh start!

Are You Properly Dressed?

Were you properly dressed when you left the house this morning?  No, I’m not talking about modesty or imarmor of Godmodesty; that’s a discussion for another day.  I’m not talking about making sure your colors are coordinated or whether you are dressed too casually or not casual enough.  The dress I’m talking about is far more important than any of those things.

When you left the house this morning, were you dressed with the full armor of God? The apostle Paul wrote, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” (Ephesians 6:11-18).

Today, you are in the midst of a spiritual battle.  I hope you didn’t leave the house without being properly dressed!

Smile! You’re a Christian!

25-Smile-Quotes-that-Will-Make-Your-Day-MainPhoto“These things have I spoken unto you,that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11).  Christians, more than any other people in the world, have plenty of reasons to rejoice.  Don’t think so?  Consider the words of the apostle Paul from Romans 5:1-5: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

First, Christians can rejoice because we are justified by faith (Romans 5:1).  When we are justified we are made right, or righteous, before God.  God justified us in response to our faith.  Not faith alone, for that is a dead faith, unable to save anyone (James 2:17).  We are justified as a result of our active, obedient faith.

Second, Christians can rejoice because we have peace with God (Romans 5:1).  We have a harmonious relationship with God. When a person becomes a Christian, the discord, strife and contention  that previously existed between man and God are gone.

Third, Christians can rejoice because we have access to God’s grace (Romans 5:2).  Grace is that unmerited favor without which no man can be saved (Ephesians 2:8).  Our faith is the path that leads us to the presence of God’s grace.

Fourth, Christians can rejoice because we have hope (Romans 5:2).  Our hope of heaven is desire (wanting to go to heaven and be with God) coupled with expectation (we expect to go to heaven, not because we can ever earn  heaven, but because of God’s abundant grace – Romans 5:20).   It is a hope that does not cause shame or disappointment (Romans 5:5).

Fifth, Christians can rejoice even in the midst of our trials (Romans 5:3).  Christians are not immune from many of the heartaches and disappointments of life.  Yet we can rejoice throughout these trials because they produce character, perseverance, and hope (James 1:2-4).

Smile, you’re a Christian!