Posts tagged ‘Word’

The Life of the Party

The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone.  John 1:4

Have you ever met someone who was the “life of the party?” You know, that person whose personality is so big that her mere presence fills the room. It’s the guy who transforms a boring gathering into a fun and memorable time by telling stories that somehow motivates everyone else to tell a story. Before you know it, hours have passed and it’s time to go home. But not before you feel energized, renewed, uplifted. And why? All because of the words, the stories, of him or her who shared from the heart and ignited your heart.

Such is the story of creation. John paints a picture of Jesus being the “Life of the party” on earth. There was nothing but chaos on this earth. In Genesis 1 we read the earth was without form and was void. There was no life. There was no heart. And then Jesus showed up. He came into a chaotic, lifeless, meaningless space and became the “Life of the party.” If Jesus is there, there is a gathering of life, meaning, purpose, healing, and love. He will turn your gathering into a party. He will transform your chaos into beauty. He will mold your doubt into faith. He will lift you from the pit of despair to the mountaintop of grace. And He does all of this through the power of His WORD!

When the principles of quantum physics are applied in leadership and organizations, we see the power of leadership and the energy of an organization are proportional to the truth of the information and the extent to which it is shared with every person in that organization. Our words matter. Why? Because they reflect our thoughts and beliefs. Jesus is THE Word. He embodies truth and hope and love. The fact that John describes Him as the Word reveals a deep truth about Jesus — He is more than the sum of truth, hope, and love because He is the Word imparting the power of the eternal truth, the everlasting hope, and the unconditional love of His Father to transform, regenerate, and recreate our lives today.

So when you take time to talk with Jesus, try giving the Word time to transmit His message of truth, hope, and love to you. Take time to listen, absorb, appreciate, and understand the Word. In my experience, this is time well spent. After all, the Word spoke the world into existence. Imagine what the Word can do in your life and mine today. He wants to bring life to your party!

The Promise and Potential of New Beginnings

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  John 1:1

As an obstetrician, I witnessed the beginning of literally thousands of lives. At least the beginning of when the parents could touch and feel and hold that precious life. And so the beginning of life is an exciting time filled with promise and potential. No matter how many times I had the privilege of attending the delivery of a newborn infant, I was always awed by the beginnings of life, by the first breath, the first cry, the first arch of the back and stretching of the arms. I could be dead tired and wishing I didn’t have to get up when the call would come that Mrs. Smith was ready to have her baby. But once I held Mrs. Smith’s baby, I had new life as I held the beginning of her baby’s new life.

Yes, there is something almost magical about beginnings. The beginning of a new school year for a student has the promise of new insights and understandings of her world. The beginning of a new project at work has the anticipation of a better approach to a problem or new set of clients or even a new salary when it is completed. The beginning of a new season is especially sweet for Chicago Cubs fans as there is a new start and a new chance to finally make it to the World Series! And so we find ourselves almost obsessed with beginnings. We desperately want to know our own beginnings as we constantly seek for new beginnings because we endlessly mess up our last beginnings.

Perhaps this is why John begins his Gospel by telling us that in THE beginning, that is the beginning of this world, the Word already existed and that Word was actually God. God, a Being who has no beginning, is beyond our comprehension precisely for that reason – He has no beginning. Whether you believe everything we know today had its beginning with a big bang or by the Word of God, something existed prior to our beginning. I find it comforting to understand that just as I know my parents existed before me, the very first parents in the world knew God existed before them. Such a knowledge gives context, meaning, purpose, and a sense of belonging to our beginning. 

The truly amazing thing about experiencing the beginning is the potential of new promises and the promise of new potentials. Just as God created to give us our beginning with the promise of His unconditional love, He recreates us with the potential to love unconditionally. And so our very existence speaks to the facts of not only our beginning, but the reality of new beginnings. We sleep each night because we cannot physically continue without resting to have a fresh beginning each day. Likewise, we must give our trials, burdens, and failings to Jesus because we cannot spiritually continue without resting in Him to have a fresh beginning each day.

And so today I rejoice in the fact that in the beginning was the Word. Because Jesus IS the beginning, I can have a new beginning each day. No matter what happened yesterday or the day before, I can choose to have a new beginning today – in Him. The Gospel is all about beginnings. There is joy in the beginnings. There is peace in the beginnings. There is love in the beginnings. What beginning will you choose today? May you experience the full potential of God’s promise to forgive and transform you today. 

Peace Be With You

And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said.   Luke 24:36

How do we get peace? It’s what we all want. When your best friend in the world is upset with you, nothing feels right anymore. When your mom or dad, sister or brother, son or daughter tell you to leave them alone for whatever reason, you feel isolated and dejected. When your core beliefs are attacked by someone you respect and love, you feel anxious and alone. So when the disciples witnessed not only the death of Jesus, but the humiliation and repudiation of Him and His ministry, they were distraught. They had no peace.

Every year there was a friendly battle between the firefighters and policemen in my home town. They would gather in the street in front of the large downtown Fire Station. The object of the battle was to use the force of the water from the fire hoses to push the other side behind a line drawn on the street. The water pressure coming from those hoses was massive. It would knock anyone off their feet and push them back. The confrontation was set up to be like a tug-of-war, but with water pressure. Both sides faced each other head on. So when the policemen sent some of the men to sneak around to the side of the firefighters with hoses, they easily blew them back behind the line. The battle was over. I saw my dad and other firefighters swept off their feet and rolled backwards like rag dolls. I was humiliated for my dad and all the firefighters. That image is seared into my memory.

I imagine the disciples felt a 1000 times more humiliated and confused when they saw Jesus spit on, called names, flogged, and placed on a cross. Whatever peace they had in their hearts was ripped out that day at Calvary. Their world spun out of control. I can only imagine they had a sick feeling in their stomachs from an anxiety that caused a deep ache in their hearts and a fog in their heads. And so they were dejected when Jesus walked with two of them on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection. There He “took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27)  As they looked at Scripture through the eyes of Jesus, they began to see a bigger story. Their former belief in Jesus as their earthly savior was replaced by the truth that He was their heavenly Savior who had come to reconcile them to the Father. As Jesus explained the Scriptures to them, they felt a “burning” in their hearts. (Luke 24:32) This burning is none other than the Word of God piercing the heart like a sword.

We can do one of two things with that burning. We can reject it and go our own way, or we can accept it and follow Jesus. We read that all of the disciples gathered sometime later to hear how two of them had met Jesus. Perhaps those two were explaining the Word when He suddenly showed up and said, “Peace be with you.” Peace always follows Jesus. The disciples felt a burning in their hearts when Jesus taught them the truth in the Scriptures. But they didn’t have peace until they sat down with Jesus, ate with Him, and saw Him for who He truly is – their Savior.

Peace doesn’t come from the burning in my heart. But that burning can motivate me to invite Jesus into my heart. When I eat with Jesus and open my heart to Him, peace settles my stomach, calms my heart, and clears my head. No wonder Jesus tells us in Revelation 3:20, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” Do you want peace? Eat with Jesus.

Are You Afraid?

“But I am afraid to surrender,” the king said, “for the Babylonians may hand me over to the Judeans who have defected to them. And who knows what they will do to me!”  Jeremiah 38:19

Jeremiah had told anyone who would listen that the only way to save their lives would be to surrender to the king of Babylon. Jeremiah had been imprisoned and tortured at the order of the king of Judah, Zedekiah, for proclaiming this God-given message to anyone who would listen. Now the Babylonian army was at Judah’s border and Zedekiah had no one else to turn to for truth other than Jeremiah. So he secretly called for Jeremiah one last time to ask what he needed to do in light of the advancing Babylonian army. Jeremiah’s message was the same, Surrender! Surrender to the king of Babylon and live! But this was unthinkable, impossible!

Have you ever had a message from God that you didn’t like, that was unthinkable, or even impossible? Perhaps He is telling you to forgive a person who has hurt you deeply. Or maybe you have a co-worker who has been scheming to take your job, but the clear word you hear from God every time you pray is, “Love your enemy.” Or maybe God has called you to another state, another job, or to go back to school, but you are afraid to leave your current situation.

The specific word from God doesn’t matter. It only matters what we do with His Word, the Word made flesh. The only strength we have to accomplish the word of God in our lives is to invite the Word into our lives. Jesus is the Word made flesh. He took your sins and mine, nailed them to the cross, buried them in the grave, and was resurrected to be with YOU and ME! He gives us strength to do His word. But like Zedekiah, we cannot imagine how we could surrender to the kings of Babylon in our lives. Like Zedekiah, we focus on the earthly challenge and the temporal foe. 

But the Word became flesh so you and I could not only focus on Him, but live in Him. When you choose to live IN Him, He lives IN you! What God is asking of you today may seem unthinkable, unimaginable, even impossible. But when Jesus is in you, all things become possible. When you commune with Jesus, earthly challenges become opportunities. When you have supper with Jesus, temporal foes become agents of God to unite your heart with His. 

Zedekiah was afraid to surrender to the king of Babylon because he had not surrendered to the King of the Universe. So he ran from the king because he ran from the King. When we run from the King, we are overcome by our fears and will be conquered by them. But God offers us another path, His path. It’s a path paved with love by the blood of Jesus who walks with you every step of the way.

No matter what your struggle happens to be, how impossible it seems, Jesus is with you. Focus on Him. Listen to Him. Abide in Him. Surrender to Him. And then you will be able to proclaim with Paul, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13

Don’t Think Like Everyone Else!

The Lord gave me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said… Preserve the teaching of God; entrust his instructions to those who follow me.  (Isaiah 8:11, 16)

It’s easy to go through life simply reacting to one circumstance after the next. We have bills to pay, kids to feed, responsibilities to meet, and problems to solve. We go to school to learn how to read, write, and use numbers to count our money. We become adults who have been taught to believe that we know everything there is to know about how to live a good life. But then something happens to us or someone we know that rocks our world. It could be betrayal, abuse, failure, or loss. And what we’ve been taught isn’t enough anymore. The world teaches us that we are self-sufficient, that we either have or can find all the answers on our own, that there are winners and losers in this world, and that we have to look out for ourselves to be a winner. 

But God gave Isaiah a strong warning not to think like everyone else. You don’t give a strong warning unless there is extreme danger lurking ahead. The idea that we are self-sufficient and can solve all our problems is dangerous, indeed. If we are going to think differently, to adopt God’s worldview in place of our own, then we must “preserve the teaching of God.” To preserve means to maintain in its original state.

So how do we preserve God’s teachings? It cannot simply mean that I purchase a bible and put it in a place of honor on a hallowed bookshelf so that it can never be destroyed. This doesn’t make any more sense than preserving food to be seen and not eaten. When we realize that God’s Word became flesh and is written on our hearts as we consume the Bread of Life, then to preserve His teachings becomes personal. If I want to preserve His Word in my life, I need to read His Word, apply His teachings, submit to His will, listen to His advice, follow His guidance, trust Him as a friend, and teach others about His grace. Preserving the teachings of God is a daily walk with God. There is no better way to preserve the teachings of Jesus in your life than to allow Jesus to preserve you for life.

Maybe this is why Jesus describes those who follow Him as the salt of the earth. When we preserve His Word in our lives, we become the life preservers in the the world. Perhaps, just perhaps, you will know that you are preserving His Word in your own life when you become the salt in the lives of those around you. Will you heed God’s warning today? Will you preserve His Word in your life? Are you willing to change the way you think?

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