“But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you…
Psalm 119 is known as the longest chapter of the Bible, an acrostic of the Hebrew alphabet, and a work of art exalting the worth of God’s truth. In 176 verses, only three fail to make mention of Scripture (using a plethora of synonyms). This morning it was verse 165 that enveloped my heart and met me where I am.
“Great peace have those who love Your law; nothing can make them stumble.”
The words that follow will rotate through vantage points of this short statement, repeating it and unwrapping the treasure of each word.
“GREAT peace have those who love Your law; nothing can make them stumble.”
The peace that comes from loving truth is not mere tranquility or placidity of soul. It is “great”, significant, powerful, and impacting peace (as we’ll see later). To me, that’s huge, because the turmoil of life can be intimidating and the temptation to replace God with something less is persistent. Praise God that this peace is great!
In the movie, Braveheart, William Wallace is the manly man a lot of us would probably like to be. The girl he loves is brutally killed. So what does he do? First, he avenges her blood by taking out the guy who murdered her. Second, he rises up against the empire and teaches others how to fight. And finally, he gives his life and dies for the cause. He wasn’t a marine, but that deserves an “Ooh-rah!”
The apostle John had those same three points (okay, with slight variations) in mind about 1100 years earlier when he wrote 1 John 2:12-14. Know the truth. Fight for the truth. Teach the truth.
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for His name’s sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. ~1 John 2:12-14
“All men are the same. Now I remember why I don’t date. (no offense, women have plenty of faults too)” ~Recent tweet by a Porch-going woman
Comments and tweets like that started the ball rolling on this post, which is part 2 of “Men, We Are Men”, but it’s just a little piece of where we’ll be going in this segment, so don’t sign off if you’re a knight in shining armor or simply disagree. You’ll have something to apply here (I do!).
As a brief reminder, the goal of this little series is to stir up the men who follow Christ at The Porch and elsewhere to recognize that we are indeed men (no longer boys) and to live accordingly. So, without further adieu, let’s get back on the trail and see where the Word leads…
Is doubt normative in the life of the believer? Is it necessary? These are two questions asked in a recent Sunday sermon at Watermark, and the answers were distinctly “Yes”. Perhaps the goal was to encourage believers not to let doubt shake their faith, as was somewhat stated in the speaker’s points, but it seemed to also license doubt itself, especially with a citation from Dr. Chuck Swindoll’s, which claimed it to be necessary.
Necessary? Really? I disagree. While we see plenty of descriptive stories in the Bible about people who doubted–even those esteemed as being “after God’s own heart–God and the text do not endorse doubt as “necessary”, but rather exalt faith. Now, can God use our doubt for His glory? Absolutely! But wouldn’t He rather we exercise faith in the gaps where our knowledge and sight fail us?
Sometime within the last week (during a sermon, I think), someone addressed the men in the audience, and I realized that he was talking to me. You might laugh or pull a joke out of that realization, but when I consider myself, I would call myself a “guy”, a “brother”, a “friend”, but never really a “man”. I’m no longer a boy, but in my mind, “men” are people like my father, pastors, the generation before me,…what I’ll be when I grow up.
But I am grown up. Somewhere between high school, college, and now, it happened. Adolescence is over, and there is no detour before manhood. Our culture, though, is confused by the “adolescent-adult limbo” it is seeing in our generation (NPR). What does Scripture say about that? Is a life of video games, nights out, and other frivolities acceptable until the wedding bells toll? How does a man of our generation follow Christ in life and in relationships?
I’m a young adult at Watermark Community Church here in Dallas, TX, and while I’m writing to the body at Watermark, I’m also addressing the greater body of Christ at each local church to which they belong. Recently, I was engaged in a conversation about growth at Watermark and the need to make physical room for more people and the “next 100”, as we like to call them, who will walk through the doors and be directed toward Christ.
The discussion was discouraging, to say the least, and essentially presented two negative angles. First, since the resources to build physical room for people haven’t been given, why is that? Implied: Should that be taken as a sign not to proceed? Second, even if we finish out the buildings and enable our body to nearly double in the current location, what happens when we fill up again? Doesn’t it seem futile since we’re just going to have this problem again in the future?
Those questions present biblical and logical fallacies, which I can hopefully quickly address before hitting the real point. First, if we look at Scripture and particularly the Old Testament where God ordained a number of buildings, we see times where the structure stood incomplete due to lack of will and/or funds (2 Kings 12:4ff; Haggai 1:2ff). When this happened, the answer wasn’t to give up or resign, but rather to redouble the people’s action and call them to wholehearted commitment. Second, if we follow the logic of eventually maximizing our current location, we would never have started in the first place. Yes, the project is big. Yes, the structure is large. But so is the city we are striving to reach with the live-saving truth of Christ! We will spread out; we will end up in other locations; but let us not abandon potential where we have it…
At Resolved 2009, Rick Holland, college pastor at Grace Community in Sun Valley, CA, presented a message from Proverbs 5 on developing a Biblical strategy for fighting sexual sin. I…
On Sunday (11/22) at Watermark, we were exhorted to go beyond merely attending church. “Attendees” are what cause outsiders to compliment our buildings as if brick and mortar were the church. Instead, from the words of Scripture, we were called to BE the church, so that people inside and out identify the church with those who were chosen “before the foundation of the world” to be “living stones” who “offer up spiritual sacrifices” and “proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light” (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 2:5,9c).
To that end and especially with the many opportunities that surround us this Thanksgiving week, I want to impart additional truths from the Word of God to spur each of us on for His glory and the salvation of “a people for God’s own possession” (1 Peter 2:9b).
A friend recently inspired a thought of people — each of us — as canvases and portraits. Though this is obviously not a new idea, yet it provides an interesting perspective on our lives a followers of Christ. Herein follows the fruition of that seed. May it be a blessing for the glory of God.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” ~Ephesians 2:10
Some translations render “workmanship” as “masterpiece”. Though not wanting to make too much of ourselves from the latter, we should realize that each one of us has been created by a perfect God who makes no mistakes in what He designs. We are each different, but we are all precious and magnificent works of God.
Furthermore, as paintings, we have each been placed in a specific station to bring glory to the Master. Some decorate the hall, serving in the conduits between the rooms of life. Others stand over the mantel in the spotlight, drawing more attention. All of us are where we are for a purpose, not by accident. Bring glory to God wherever you are.