Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Logos Verse of the Day



Verse of the Day
Logos Verse of the Day

Bible Gateway Verse of the Day


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Matthew 5:14,16


King James Version

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

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Faith When God is Silent





Faith When God is Silentby Laurie Short from Finding Faith in the Dark

Meet Laurie Short

Trust, by its very nature, must overcome distance to build its bridge. And yet that distance, when it comes to God, can just as easily produce doubt. This seems to be a risk God is willing to take.

In my season of basking in the silence of God, my eyes caught a short psalm in the Bible I had never noticed before:

My heart is not proud, Lord, 

my eyes are not haughty;

I do not concern myself with great matters

or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,

I am like a weaned child with its mother;

like a weaned child I am content.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord

both now and forevermore.

- Psalm 131
Laurie Short discusses the struggle of disappointment when God is silent.
I thought about the image of a weaned child, beginning to be taught to feed on his own, and what that process feels like for a child. What that process feels like for a mom. What it would be like if the weaning never happened.

Time magazine ran an article on “attachment parenting” in May 2012, which included a cover shot of a mom dressed in workout clothes, breastfeeding her three-year-old boy. The child was standing on a chair, while his mother stood next to him and nursed him. If it was going for shock value, Time succeeded, and I’m sure there were more than a few discussions around the water cooler concerning the “right” time to wean a child.

No matter what we believe about when to wean a child, I have never witnessed an adult breastfeeding. So I conclude that at one time or another, we have all been withheld from something we want by someone who loves us - which may be one way to understand how it works with God.

What does it look like when God weans us? Maybe more importantly, what does it feel like? When we feel God withholding, pulling back, or staying silent, we are tempted to cry out, “You don’t love me!” In fact, just the opposite may be true.

After my engagement broke off, I would wake from a blissful sleep and lie there looking at the ceiling, whispering a halfhearted prayer. “Why have you done this to me?” I felt abandoned, uncared for, and alone. It never really occurred to me to think about what God was feeling.

When a mother withholds something from her child, it pains her when her child believes she doesn’t love him. But because she does love her child, her greatest desire is that he grows. And so she is willing to deny her child and sacrifice his temporary affection for the growth he’ll experience for his future.

Could this be a microcosm of how God feels about us?

Author Philip Yancey says there are three questions we struggle with when we feel God’s distance and want or need him to be close. The questions are these: Why is God hidden? Why is God silent? Why is God unfair? At the root of our doubts, usually one of these three questions lurks.

As our souls are weaned, we are sometimes permitted to live in these questions for months and years at a time. Some handle it by embracing a lukewarm faith, relegating God to the category of Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. You don’t want to give Him up altogether, but you no longer expect anything from Him. However, you still visit Him on holidays and in times of need.

Others divorce him altogether.

And then there is a third choice. It’s the willingness to live in the disappointment and silence, waiting to see how God shows up. It may not happen the way we think it should or want it to, but it may be our first glimpse of the God who truly is.
* * *

Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional


July 30
Destructive People
2 Samuel 22:1–51; Jude 1:1–16; Psalm 147:1–20

Some destructive people don’t realize the carnage they leave in their wake. Others intentionally cause rifts and pain, driven by selfish motives. Jude’s letter, which contains succinct prose, startling imagery, and a swift warning, is unlike anything we read in Scripture. The letter equipped early Christians to deal wisely with false teachers who had entered the church community. Today, it can provide us with wisdom to respond to some of the most difficult people and situations we encounter.

The community that Jude addressed contained destructive false teachers “who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (Jude 4). They did not respect authority, but acted out of instinct rather than conviction: “But these persons blaspheme all that they do not understand, and all that they understand by instinct like the irrational animals, by these things they are being destroyed” (Jude 10).

Jude’s metaphors for these false teachers give us a sense of what to look for in destructive people: “hidden reefs at your love feasts, caring for themselves, waterless clouds carried away by winds, late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, uprooted, wild waves of the sea foaming up their own shameful deeds, wandering stars, for whom the deep gloom of darkness has been reserved for eternity” (Jude 12–13). He depicts people whose destructive, selfish behavior lacks conviction. Like wayward stars, these false teachers go off course, perhaps taking others with them.

After these descriptions, we expect Jude to warn his readers to stay away from these types of people. But he does the opposite: Jude’s closing warning calls readers to interact with people of this sort—though they must do so with incredible wisdom: “have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh” (Jude 22–23).

Interacting with people who doubt and wander requires a deep knowledge of our own weaknesses and failures. It requires maturity of faith. Jude gives three specific instructions:

  1. that we build ourselves up,
  2.  pray in the Spirit,
  3. and keep ourselves in the love of God (Jude 21–22). 
This interaction requires the work of a God “who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy” (Jude 24).


How do destructive people in your life influence you? Based on how they influence you, how should you approach or end the relationship?

REBECCA VAN NOORD


Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.