Month: September 2016

A fresh look at redeeming the time, Part 1

At our retreat this past March, Pastor Mike said something that stuck with me. It wasn’t even the main point of his sermon, but sometimes a side point in a sermon comes to life. He gave a quote:

“The past is history, the future is a mystery, but today is a gift.” Then he amplified the history part by saying that even though the past is history yet God can use it to show us new, valuable things. So I have chewed on this idea since then.

I see that we don’t get to rewrite the past—-but we can receive a divine re-interpretation of it through God’s lens. Without the re-interpretation it’s easy for me to replay a past incident and feel humiliated by it, or condemned by it. I was fired. I was rejected. I was betrayed. Without the Lord, these incidents can replay in 3-D HD video!

But looking at these past rejections through Christ’s eyes turns them around 180 degrees. I now say, without you Jesus, of course I felt rejected. But now, the times I depended too much on how people treated me can be switched to starting to love people, by Your power, outside of how they treat me.

Be encouraged, then. God does really re-interpret the past for his glory! He will show you how this is the antidote to feeling beat up! Of course we have an Enemy who will daily try to snatch that correct interpretation away. But in the power of the spirit we can stand firm and know that YES, the Lord’s way of looking at the past is the correct way.

Next week I’ll explore how some specific scriptures about redemption apply to how we deal with the past. To give you a preview, we’ll be using Ephesians 5:15-16, Galatians 3:13, and Joel 2:25.

What Depends on God and What Depends on Me?

When we repent and believe Christ by faith it’s like getting a free pass to enter a banquet hall.

Outside the great banquet hall, we already smell the great dishes. We ask the host “if we are good enough and work hard enough and clean up our act enough then can we be allowed in? “The host replies, “No, you don’t have to clean up your act to be invited in”

As we eagerly enter, we see that tasty appetizers have already been put on the tables and we are told that many delicious courses are yet to come.

But now it’s up to us to choose to partake of the feast. No one will force feed us!

Today’s Bible passage, 2 Peter 1:1-11, shows us what God freely offers, and what we need to be doing.

First, in verses 1 thru 3, Peter explains all that God has done.

  • Our faith is received “through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” — not because of what we have done
  • We get abundant grace and peace “through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”

—not because of what we have done

  •  “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life.” —not because of what we have done

Only when Peter has concluded this amazing picture of what God has already done in Christ, does he begin to talk of our own responsibility. Now that you see what Christ has done, THEN here is how you ought to respond.

So in verses 5b-7 we see what we should do:

“…[M]ake every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. ”

And again in verse 10 Peter asks us to “make every effort to confirm your calling and election.” The meaning for “confirm” here is action that removes doubt. It’s a true fact that we have been saved by Christ’s grace — but how do we experience the joy and confidence that ought to come from that fact? And that’s from DOING good actions that shape us into a people whose characters reflect more and more of the love of Christ.

Eating the food at the banquet can represent the actions where we make every effort to be effective and productive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now we have a solid ground for confidence as our passage concludes:

“For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”