All of it

Read: Genesis 42-43, Matthew 13:33-58

When asked if she was aware that Jesus loves her, my four-year-old niece matter-of-factly responded, “Yes, I know that,” as though it were a silly question that didn’t even need to be asked in the first place.

The love of God toward His children—us—is something we should be reminded of every day. But there are many other things from the Word of God that we, like my niece, scoff at. Of course we know that. Do we really have to go over it again?

Matthew 13:52

We often make the mistake of throwing out the old in favour of the new. We do it with almost everything we have. When something is of no use to us, it gets tossed rather than repaired or renewed. Many Christians have done the same with what we may view as old ideas. We accept Jesus’ teaching, but nothing else. Yet, Jesus himself told his disciples that the old is just as important as the new. Maybe even more so since the old is the foundation on which the new has been built.

An argument may be made that Jesus came to free us from the law. He did. He came to free us from the bondage of it. There was no way that any human being could fulfill every letter of the law. Another way had to be made to access God.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

Matthew 5:17 (NIV)

If we view the Old Testament—the Law and the Prophets—as obsolete, how then can we fully understand Jesus who is the fulfillment of it?

Matthew Henry said that, old experiences and new observations all have their use. Our place is at Christ’s feet, and we must daily learn old lessons over again, and new ones also.

I have never met a person who reads through their Bible over and over again and says that they discovered nothing new. If God’s mercies are new every morning, surely there is revelation to follow. And we should seek it with all that we are. God wants to reveal Himself to us through His Word—all of it.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask of God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

James 1:5 (NIV)

The belle of the ball

The power goes out. You have one candle, but a whole room to light. What’s the best way to get more light? Reflect the one you’ve got.

Back in the days before electric or even gas lights, candle light was the only way to go. Unless you wanted to burn your house down or create a sauna of smoke and flame, one would add glass and mirrors to a room in order to create more light without creating more heat and open flame. It’s why you often see so many reflective surfaces in old houses and castles. The true belles of the ball weren’t the ladies in all their finery, but the mirrors that made the magic happen—reflecting the light of hundreds of candles to light up an entire room.

But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, then the veil is take away. Now, the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom. And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more.

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (NLT)

We are all mirrors. Before we get to know Christ, we are covered and unable to reflect anything. The veil absorbs light. But when Christ comes along, he rips that veil apart, allowing us to reflect his glory. The veil represents the Old Covenant—the thing that separates us from God and whose purpose was to reveal sin. The New Covenant redeems us from sin. The veil is gone. Torn. No more. Jesus fulfilled it and killed it, bringing a new covenant that doesn’t reveal sin, but redeems us from all sin.

By accepting this new covenant, the true reflective nature of our spirits is revealed and we become like a mirror in a ballroom reflecting and refracting the glorious light of Jesus. The Holy Spirit continues to work in us, buffing and polishing and smoothing so that we can become more and more reflective until we are perfected until all that remains is the image of Christ.

For more on the covenant, read the message notes on Compatibility from Pastor Morris Watson.

Daily Bible reading: Proverbs 19-20, 2 Corinthians 3

About the future

Yesterday we talked about the couple on the road to Emmaus—Cleopas and his wife. They walked seven miles with Jesus without recognising him. Cleopas talked for seven miles of all that had happened to Jesus while Jesus spoke to him of all the prophecies concerning the Messiah. Cleopas was still clueless. It wasn’t until they’d reached their destination, invited Jesus to stay for dinner and Jesus blessed and broke the bread that they realised who they’d been with the entire time.

Cleopas and his wife returned to Jerusalem to share their story with the rest of the disciples only to discover that Jesus had also shown himself to Peter. While all this is happening, Jesus suddenly appears again. He’s there. He’s not there. What are these people supposed to think? (Even after Jesus had said all along something like this would happen.) Even though Jesus stood before his believers with scars on his hands and feet and boiled fish in his belly, they doubted.

Then he [Jesus] said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me by Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must come true.” Then he opened their minds to understand these many scriptures.

Luke 24:44-45 (NLT)

These followers of Jesus knew him. They knew the scriptures. They had grown up hearing and reading the prophecies about the coming Saviour, yet when that Saviour stood right in front of them returned from the dead, they couldn’t understand. Not until it was revealed to them.

How many situations do we go through in our lives when we can’t see God? We beg and we plead and we walk away in disappointment because we couldn’t see the answer. We stand on the promises of God only to throw them back in His face because we are blinded by our own hurt and pain. Spiritual tunnel vision. We only see one thing.

Yet God sent the Spirit to show us many things.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not be presenting his own ideas; he will be telling you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by revealing to you whatever he receives from me. All that the Father has is mine; this is what I mean when I say that the Spirit will reveal to you whatever he receives from me.

John 16:13-15 (NLT)

If we truly believe and trust in God, we be assured that the Holy Spirit will lead and guide us into all truth. Even in the difficult situations—the times when it seems as though God is far—the Spirit can reveal Truth to us. He can open up our vision to see purpose in the pain and to help us through our hurt.

Cleopas and his wife assumed Jesus had abandoned them to the point of walking away, yet Jesus chose to walk with them on their journey. They didn’t understand everything until they’d returned, but Jesus was still there. Walking with them. Talking to them words from the past about the future.

If you’re like the disciples in Jerusalem, disappointed, but still waiting for a miracle or like Cleopas and his wife, walking away, Jesus is there. He appeared to both parties where they were. Don’t fool yourself into thinking he can’t reach you where you are.

Daily Bible reading: 1 Kings 12-13, Luke 24:36-53

Let it shine

You’re probably already humming that old tune to This Little Light of Mine, aren’t you? It’s catchy. And it’s full of biblical truth. We are supposed to let our lights shine. And, hopefully, they’re more than little lights. They should be big lights. But Jesus gives us a warning about our light.

Make sure that the light you think you have is not really darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a flood light is shining on you.

Luke 11:35-36 (NLT)

But how can light be darkness?

Satan was once known as Lucifer, meaning light-bearer. Though the devil is unable to create anything on his own, he tries his hardest to manipulate what God has already created and distort it into something that mimics light. If we are not careful, we may mistake his distortion as the real thing.

God’s light has several characteristics:

  • It brings truth in love. Satan will use truth when it suits him, but it often lacks the love that comes with God’s truth. While truth may hurt, it does not hate.
  • It always reflects His Word. God will never reveal something to an individual that is contradictory to what we already have in His written Word.
  • It will encourage, not discourage. God is in the business of building people up, not tearing them down. While uncomfortable change may be required on our part, the end result is always constructive.

It always comes back to the Word of God. The Bible. It is and should always be our standard and we should always be checking ourselves against it. If we fill ourselves with the light of the Word of God, there will be no room for darkness. We will have true light so we can let it shine.

Daily Bible reading: Ruth 1-4, Luke 11:29-54

Unlikely truth

There are a lot of voices out there. Some are good, some are bad. Some are soft, some are strong. Some are wise, some are fools. Some are truth and some are lies. With all that noise, how are we supposed to know who or what to listen to?

Then Jesus was filled with the  joy of the Holy Spirit and said, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding the truth from those who think themselves so wise and clever, and for revealing it to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way.

Luke 10:21 (NLT)

It is always easier to listen to the loudest, strongest voices, but it may not always be the wisest choice. Here, Jesus is thanking God for hiding the truth from those who would most likely be the loudest voices of the time. The childlike wouldn’t have had a platform to stand on in order to have been heard. Yet, God, in His wisdom, was pleased to reveal His truth to these lowly people.

One would be hard pressed to find a saviour born in a more humble setting than Jesus. Even the rabbi’s in the temple were astounded at his wisdom as a young man. If that was how God chose to deliver His message then, what makes us think He would do it any different now?

There is nothing wrong with having a platform and a loud voice, but if all there is is noise, is it really worth listening to? Instead of listening to the most convenient voice, perhaps we should be looking for the unlikely truth revealed to the childlike.

Daily Bible reading: Judges 15-17, Luke 10:1-24

Surprise!

Everything God made is waiting with excitement for God to show his children’s glory completely.

Romans 8:19

God is big on keeping secrets. We know this. Let’s face it, when you know everything there is to know, there are bound to be things you know that aren’t meant to be public knowledge. But maybe some of those secrets aren’t just secrets. Maybe they’re more like surprises. Like all of those things that God wants to reveal to me at the right time.

God doesn’t keep secrets from me just for the sake of keeping secrets. Some things He keeps from me for my own good. Other things He keeps from me because they’re for later. He’s waiting for the right time to turn on the lights and shout, “surprise!”

I know how excited I get when I have a surprise for someone. I can’t wait until I get to show it off. It’s a good thing. It’s something I’ve put time and thought into. I hope that the person I’ve prepared it for enjoys it. How much more excited must God be with all that He has for me. He is just waiting for the right time to show me His glory and – because of His promise – mine.