Reconciliation is a buzz word in our day. As we reflect on history and the errors of those who came before us, we feel an obligation to build the bridges they burned, whether unintentionally or with violent purpose. The list of injuries is long, and the task is large.
One place reconciliation is strangely missing is the local church. We seem to forget how it is essential to the Gospel’s message. Each one of us is eternally estranged from God because of sin within us. Yet Jesus was born to sacrifice Himself so the penalty of our sin would be paid, and we would have the opportunity to be reconciled to God.
In places where there are multiple choices for a place to worship, people often leave one congregation in favor of another, not so much because God has called them to connect and serve in that new church home, but because of problems with people from the old one. If only we could find a way to reconcile.
We might find it easier if we learned to talk about what has happened with a different set of words. How we define our situation will determine what course to take, if we leave room for any at all. When it comes to reconciling our relationships, we have to be careful to keep open the bridges that bind us together.
Continue reading “How to Keep from Burning the Bridges of Reconciliation”
It’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, but without hope our season of thanks will be short-lived. We face the real world when the turkey and pies are gone. To believe in Jesus means we step into that world living Jesus’ way.
Some of us have tried to walk that road and been hurt. God clearly led the way but trouble or pain resulted. We’ve lost hope in God’s path. But God says it has to be this way. He doesn’t make mistakes. We have to look for hope when God’s way leads to trouble.
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It’s good to know we can have hope when the world’s mess surrounds us. But what about when the mess is our fault? We aren’t perfect. So sooner or later we are going to be the cause of the trouble and pain in our lives and even for those close to us.
The instant we recognize the mess is our fault, we face a moment of decision. There are two options. Will we surrender our hope, dooming ourselves to the darkness of despair? It’s a dark fate and it never ends well. Or will we hold on to the faintest glimmer of hope, believing good is still possible?
When God created the Universe – the sun, moon and stars; the planets; the sky and clouds; the water and the land; all the animals, fish, birds and everything else that fills Creation – He looked upon it all and consider “very good.” Unfortunately, the world around us doesn’t feel very good.
Our world is, in fact, extremely broken. It is one of the impacts of the Fall and sin of mankind. Not only were Adam and Eve condemned because of their sin, so was Creation itself. Paul says it is “frustrated” as it waits with “hope” to be “liberated from its bondage to decay” and to be “brought into … freedom and glory” (Romans 8:20-21 NIV).
Until the day when Creation is reborn free and glorious, we all live in the midst of this horrid brokenness. We see it on the news, whether it’s far on the other side of the world, or just down the street. Yet our Christian hearts appear untouched by the turmoil and struggle around us appear.
Continue reading “5 Reasons Our Hearts Remain Unbroken by Suffering”
Without God’s strength, we are all weak. Maybe you don’t agree with that statement, but it is true. If you are only depending upon your own physical, emotional and mental prowess, you will eventually fall under one of the weights the world will throw at you. And there are many.
Previously, I wrote about finding the strength of Jesus. In Christ’s victory over death and the grave there is no weakness, only strength. It is greater than any power or strength you can build on your own. Actually, it requires our weakness to be present. It seems we only invite the strength of God into our lives when we come to grips with the truth of our personal weakness.
In Psalm 18, David wrote an incredible description of the strength of God at work in his life. But before that, he started with one incredibly loaded sentence. Learning the power of this sentence helps us receive and recognize God’s strength as our only strength.
Continue reading “Making God’s Strength Your Only Strength”