As I read the familiar word’s of Jesus about getting the log out of my own eye, I thought of the importance of daily confession. Self examination is an important, and often neglected, aspect of our own spiritual development. It’s important to have a plan to examine our hearts and minds.
“Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:4 ESV)
Just finished this year’s ride on the M’Cheyne Train (M’Cheyne Bible reading plan on YouVersion). I was struck two texts, first:
“But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.” (Malachi 4:2 ESV) And this verse at the end of Revelation: “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.”
(Revelation 22:21) These are wonderful closing words. One discipline that is helpful to keep that Grace going is to soak up Scripture each day. So tomorrow I’ll punch my ticket on the M’Cheyne train for another yearlong journey.
Check it out here: http://bible.com/r/O
Can’t believe it, but last week was the first time I’d ever set foot IN The Library of Congress. It was a fast visit as a colleague from across the pond and I were on a two day walking tour of D.C.. In the Grand Hall is a case with a copy of the 15th century Gutenberg Bible. It’s a copy of the Bible in Latin that pre-dated the Reformation by about a century.
This morning I was listening to the psalms while doing some chores. In the early 100s, some of the Psalms recount the faithfulness of God so that the people of Israel may be strengthened in their faith in God. At the end of such reminders in 107, I heard this:
“Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.” (Psalms 107:43 ESV)
Now, clearly this is nothing new to regular readers of this blog. A, perhaps ‘the,’ main theme of this blog is to point us to Scripture so as to stay on the right path in our journey as disciples.
So, as we walk the path, let is be wise and recount the greatness of God and remember His steadfastness as we dwell in His word and engage Him in prayerful conversation.
This was the pastoral scene in England on a walk during a recent day of solitude at an adjoining Carmelite retreat center. If you squint real hard you might see the dreaming spires of Oxford in the distance.
There seemed to be a couple of hundred sheep on this pasture. And their reaction to the shepherd was telling. They watched him and many ran to him when they saw him on his ATV (a modern shepherding technique I suppose).
I learned from the prior of the center in which I stayed that they generally ran to him because they were looking for their dinner or sought protection.
Of course I thought how very sheep-like many of us are. We run to our shepherd in time of need.
Thus, I urge that it is incumbent upon us, if we call ourselves disciples, to cultivate a deeper relationship with God. Let’s move beyond just being sheep to being the friends he called us to. Let’s do that through the practices of the disciples that build our faith!
On a rainy day riding a train in Finland from Keuruu to Helsinki, we stopped and changed direction (as trains sometimes do). As we came into the station I saw this beauty, sitting on a siding, through the window.
Apparently this old locomotive and many of her sisters and cousins from a previous era were gathered and kept in this town that was a mini railway hub. I marvel at these old powerhouses, now largely neglected.
I thought of neglect and then I read this:
“But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.”
Revelation 2:4 ESV
It’s easy, even natural.
“Consider how I love your precepts! Give me life according to your steadfast love. The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.”
Psalms 119:159-160 ESV
Let’s bring the love of God to the foremost place.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”” (Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV)
Wherever I travel, I see God’s faithfulness. Also, wherever I go I see people struggle. Struggling is normal. Often our struggle is rooted because we have lost sight of the target. Let’s be reminded that in our tough circumstances, God has not forsaken us, and never will!
It’s a gift we don’t deserve.
It’s the source of salvation that begins our new life.
It’s the strength that keeps us going in this new life.
It’s a vehicle that brings God’s love to me.
It means I don’t have to measure up. Thanks God!
It comes as the outworking of God’s love and is the only true source of ministry.
It’s the way of the Light, the light that is the light of all people.
It’s freely offered to you, wherever you are as well as the university students from Hungary, Nepal, Vietnam, China, Nigeria, Iraq, and Yemen and the rest of of us hanging out in Jyväskylä, Finland.
I was honored to share how God’s grace brought peace to me through the finished work of Jesus.
Jesus + nothing = right with God!
It’s been a week of grace!
Grace can’t really be anticipated. We just walk on and rely on it. It’s beautiful when grace surprises us.
Like getting to teach a New Testament class last week to these awesome students in Vinnytsia, Ukraine!
Walk on in Grace my friend!