Thursday, May 26, 2016
My mother was born during the depths of the Depression. She died Easter morning, 2016.
She met dad on a blind date in November of 1956 and they were married in March of 1957. Two people found comfort in one another’s arms for the next ten years. My sister was born in the late 50's and I was born in the early 60's. Mom and dad’s relationship deteriorated over their last ten years together which culminated in divorce in 1978. Mom then moved in with grandma and took care of her until she passed in 1997. My sister moved in with mom to help take care of grandma in the early 90's.
In the late 1960's when dad was in Vietnam mom gave me and my sister a Children’s Bible. The words were in small print and the hard to read King James English. However, On one inside flap in big print was printed the well known 23rd Psalm.
This psalm is an expression of trust in God’s goodness, His grace, and His strength through all the turmoil of a person’s life.
Psalm 23:1-6 (KJV)
1. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
I enjoyed the following application I read of this passage.
Remember the phrase: “the Lord is my shepherd.” Those five words pack in a lot of truth
>"The--because, we're talking about one of a kind."
> "Lord." The king himself.
>For the next finger remember that God himself is right here.
> my, a personal commitment and relationship.
>For the last finger: shepherd, the one who owns, who died, who cares and loves: Jesus.
In the time that Mom had, she and my sister lived comfortably together for many years until she fell a few months ago. My sister has done a very good job of looking out for mom over the years and has especially shined over the last few difficult months.
Mom’s dementia increased rapidly after her fall and she stopped recognizing my sister at times and didn’t even remember her favorite dog when she was brought by.
Mom’s time was always the present. She did not dwell on the past much or focus on the future.
More than anyone else I’ve known, she truly lived in the moment. In her present she loved her pets, movies, and television, especially “Dancing with the Stars.” For years when I called she would frequently ask, Charlie, did you watch “Dancing with the Stars” last night? I never said yes, but she always asked. She lived in the moment of what was important to her.
Mom has four grandchildren. I am grateful that she lived long enough to see them all grow up.
In a similar context to which we are all now experiencing the death of a beloved mother and friend, Jesus spoke these words to those present then to us here now:
John 11:25-26 (NKJV)
25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
When we believe in the Lord Jesus we can face life and ultimately death with certainty because Jesus rose from the dead.
The next verse states....
26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
Jesus always applies the truth He teaches. “Do you believe this?” It is an invitation to trust him as always. It is the same as the most famous verse in the Bible.
John 3:16 (NKJV) 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
As always, God' Word calls us to respond to His truth.
Friday, May 20, 2016
One of the verses that I have been mediating on for a long time is 2 Corinthians 1:20 (ESV)
20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.
The immediate question is, how are the promises of God yes in Christ?
My reasonably confident answer is that we need to read and interpret all of the promises of God (OT and NT) in how they relate to the life, ministry, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
Some are promises are obvious:
Isaiah 53:6 (ESV) 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Some are less obvious:
Genesis 3:15 (ESV) 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
We always need to be fully Christ-centered in how read and study the Bible.
We need to be purposefully Christ-centered as we view and live our lives.
So the questions in life become different:
Instead of ‘what do I want?’ we need to ask what does the Lord want?
Instead of ‘what pleases me?’ we need to ask what pleases the Lord in this circumstance.