Please let Elaine know if you have a student that will be graduating from High School this spring. I need the name, and the school colors. You can leave a note on my desk, email the name/school colors to me or give me a call.
A FLICKERING, SMOKING FAITH IS STILL FAITH
A leper came to Jesus pleading, “If you are willing, you can make me clean” Jesus did the unthinkable; he touched the man, and said, “I am willing; be cleansed” (Mk 1:40-41, NKJV).
In contrast, a father came pleading on behalf of his demon possessed son, saying, “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us” (Mk 9:22, NKJV). The first said, “You can, if you will.” If there was any doubt in his mind, it was only about Jesus’ willingness, not his power. The second asked, “Will you if you can?” This man’s doubt was both about Jesus’ power and willingness.
Jesus took no offense, but said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes” (v.23). The father said, with tears in his eyes, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief” (v.24). Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and it departed from the child.
We are reminded of Matthew’s quoting of Isaiah: “A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench” (Matt 12:20). When we come to Jesus with a faint, flickering, smoking faith, Jesus will not stomp it out, but fan it into flames.
We would like to think that we are always the never-questioning leper; but honesty demands that we admit that our faith is often the smoking flax type. When faith is flickering or but a wisp of smoke, pray that Jesus will fan it into flames. He can, and he will.
Let’s imagine that the dust particles we sometimes see when the sun shines through a window pane are a small universe. And let’s pretend that there are tiny beings living on one of the dust particles who can communicate. One of them is trying to convince another that there really is such a thing as a human. The other one scoffs saying that the first one is foolish and that no such proof exists. Any human who heard and understood that conversation would think, “ If you only knew.” Continue reading
A GLIMPSE OF JESUS’ GLORY–AND OURS
Peter, on the Mount of Transfiguration, caught a glimpse of the glory Jesus would have after his resurrection:
“For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. (2 Pet 1:16-18, ESV).
What a privilege! What a blessing!
But there is a greater privilege and a greater blessing. God has called us to share in his Son’s glory: “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Pet 5:10, ESV).
God says to those in Christ, “You are my children, my sons and daughters: “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-2, ESV).
What a privilege! What a blessing! What a challenge—purify ourselves by the practice of righteousness: “Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous” (1 John 3:7, ESV).
We are not just saved from the guilt of sin, we are saved to share in the glory of the Only Begotten.
My dear friend Don Campbell, who once preached here, has a wonderful way of expressing old teaching with fresh language. He gave me permission to use the title above in my attempt to expand the idea. Continue reading