“reprobate mind” is found in Romans 1:28 in reference to those whom God has
rejected as godless and wicked. They “suppress the truth by their wickedness,”
and it is upon these people that the wrath of God rests (Romans 1:18). The
Greek word translated “reprobate” in the New Testament is adokimos, which means
literally “unapproved, that is, rejected; by implication, worthless (literally
describes two men
named Jannes and Jambres as those who “resist the truth: men of corrupt minds,
reprobate concerning the faith” (2 Timothy 3:8). Here the reprobation is
regarding the resistance to the truth because of corrupt minds. In Titus, Paul
also refers to those whose works are reprobate:
profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and
disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:16).
the reprobate mind is one that is corrupt and worthless.
we can see in the verses above, people who are classified as having a reprobate
mind have some knowledge of God and perhaps know of His commandments.
they live impure lives and have very little desire to please God.
who have reprobate minds live corrupt and selfish lives.
is justified and acceptable to them.
reprobates are those whom God has rejected and has left to their own devices.
know what a reprobate is; a person that rejects the Light of Christ and chooses
to follow the darkness, so that person falls under condemnation and disapproval
are godless and wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness
(Romans 1:18). As a result, he gave them over to this reprobate and virtually
worthless state of reasoning.
Himself declares that at least some knowledge—a basic, foundational
understanding—is available to virtually everyone. However, an interesting
danger is revealed here. Note how this unfolds: “. . . because, although
they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became
futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (verse
21). These people knew God, just as the people addressed by Isaiah and Amos and
in Hebrews had knowledge of God. Yet, they obviously did not honor God by
conducting themselves according to what they knew of Him. They failed to put
their knowledge into action, and instead, let their imaginations run wild and
began worshipping things apart from what God had revealed of Himself. Their
imaginings, Paul says, led them straight into idolatry. In other words, they
did not hold fast to what God gave them.
we have a reprobate mind?
good news is, truly converted followers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ do
not have to worry about such a thing.
Christians are thinking the same thing these days. We know that time is short.
We can feel the pressure building. It makes our hearts beat harder
as we contemplate the surreal landscape of the hour in which we are living and
try to come to grips with the reality of Bible prophecy being fulfilled before
our very eyes.
cringe at the stories that flood the media. We have a hard time going to sleep
at night because of the horrific and threatening news and find ourselves
quoting Scripture in the dark to quiet our fears.
that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow
of the Almighty” (Psalm 91). This Scripture is comforting and
strengthening. Meditating on each piece of the armor in Ephesians 6,
also, helps me to stand against the enemy’s taunts.
if you are like me, you find yourself wanting to pray together with other
believers. Pray… together. It seems this is the farthest thought
from most Christians’ minds. Even inside the believing churches’
walls, corporate prayer is scarce. Yet, Jesus said in Matthew
is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer.”
why aren’t we falling on our knees as a church body and crying out to the Lord
for mercy in judgment and for grace to live for Christ?
aren’t we pleading together for all the great needs we hear about?
aren’t we confessing the sins of our nation?
we need to tell God how sorry we are for our wickedness? An avalanche is
coming, and we just go on with business as usual. This lack of
corporate prayer inside the church building in these unprecedented days is as
mystifying to me as the deafening silence there concerning these “perilous
there a connection between these two issues? Has political
correctness, aka “the fear of man,” choked out the prayer
meeting? If we can’t talk about it, we can’t pray about
fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the
Lord shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25).
me, when persecution hits hard in America, people will start gathering together
for prayer. Why wait for worse things to happen? We may
not have the opportunity to freely pray together for long. I believe God wants
to do amazing things even in a dying America. Only our unbelief will stand in
He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief (Matthew
I don’t believe America will be resurrected at this point. The signs are
everywhere. Judgment is falling fast on our nation as well as the
world. We seem to have hit the downward slope at full-speed and are headed for
the “end of the age.” Yet, there is so much we can do in prayer;
and, oh, the strength that comes from praying together.
secret prayer is our lifeblood, we need prayer with the Body of Christ, too,
especially now. Let’s join our hearts together and pray for all
we’re worth as we face uncertain and, yes, downright scary days ahead.
should we start? The battle is great everywhere we look. Consider Israel, now
surrounded by raging satanic hordes. The Lord said we are to “Pray
for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6). Think of the privilege we
have to minister to the seed of Abraham in their hour of great
know what is coming from reading the prophetic Word, and we have been commanded
to pray for God’s chosen people. Don’t we want our prayers to be
used to bring salvation to “all Israel” (Romans 11:26)? What about
the persecuted church all over the world, fleeing for their lives and being
tortured in a myriad of unspeakable ways? We need to intercede at
God’s throne for them as if it were our own plight.
them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity as
being yourselves also in the body” (Hebrews 13:3).
about our unsaved loved ones, neighbors, friends, and other
acquaintances? Will they be left behind at the trumpet
sound? The Tribulation is near, but death could be even
closer. Some of us have been praying for years for these
dear ones. Lest we faint at this critical hour, let’s hold up each
other’s arms and cry out for God to open their eyes. There’s so much more I
could add here, but I think it should be obvious that the need is urgent, to
say the least, which calls for our united fervency.
the Lord Jesus in the Garden as He was pouring out His soul to the Father
concerning the cup. He went to His disciples more than once and
found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “What, Could ye not watch
with me one hour?” (Matthew 26:40b). They went back to sleep.
could they have been so oblivious to the times? They had been with Him and
heard all His teachings. He kept telling them, but they just didn’t get it.
Don’t you think they would have been on their faces agonizing with
the Lord if they had known what was about to take place?
we know. If we have read our Bibles, we know. The birth
pangs are growing stronger with shorter intervals. To say
the situation is dire is a monstrous understatement. The
stage for Daniel”s 70th Week is being set at a dizzying speed. The
church’s departure must be close. If ever there were a call from the
Lord for us to come together in corporate prayer, this is surely
it. We don’t want to miss this call like the disciples did on that
dark night in the Garden.
have not been able to find prayer meetings in the usual places, but God has
heard my soul’s cry for fellowship in prayer. A couple of evenings each week I
tune in to an Internet prayer meeting where some godly men lead the
cyber-connected congregation in prayer and Bible study. They are courageously
facing the issues and praying the way the churches should be praying, as well
as working tirelessly to deliver the gospel to the world.
is a great joy and blessing to be able to agree with them in prayer regarding
these incredible times. Then, one or two mornings a week I meet with my sister
on the phone long distance. We pray for many things but lost loved ones in
know that time is running out. We have combined our efforts, encouraging one
another to keep trusting God to work in their lives. Also,
when I can meet with friends and family members in my living-room or theirs, I
take advantage of every opportunity for corporate prayer.
friends, if gathering for prayer is a desire of yours, God will
supply. Ask Him. I believe He is hungering, too. For all
eternity we will be glad we answered His
who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
(Esther 4:14b emphasis added).
To start over, you have to know where you are. To get somewhere
else, it’s necessary to know where you’re presently standing. That’s true in a
department store or a big church, on a freeway or a college campus . . . or in
life, for that matter. Very, very seldom does anybody “just happen” to end up
on the right road. The process involved in redirecting our lives is often
painful, slow, and even confusing. Occasionally, it seems unbearable.
Take Jonah. (No one else wanted to.) He was prejudiced, bigoted,
stubborn, openly rebellious, and spiritually insensitive. Other prophets ran to
the Lord. He ran from Him. Others declared the promises of God with fervent
zeal. Not Jonah. He was about as motivated as a six-hundred-pound grizzly in
Somewhere down the line, the prophet got his inner directions
cross-wired. He wound up, of all places, on a ship in the Mediterranean Sea
bound for a place named Tarshish. That was due west. God had told him to go to
Nineveh. That was due east. (That’s like flying from Los Angeles to Berlin by
way of Honolulu.) But Jonah never got to Tarshish, as you may remember. Through
a traumatic chain of events, Jonah began to get his head together in the
digestive tract of a gigantic fish.
What a place to start over! Slopping around in the seaweed and
juices inside that monster, fishing for a match to find his way out, Jonah took
a long, honest look at his short, dishonest life. For the first time in a long
time, the prophet brushed up on his prayer life. He yelled for mercy. He
recited psalms. He promised the Lord that he would keep his vow and get back on
target. Only one creature on earth felt sicker than Jonah—the fish, in whose
belly Jonah bellowed. Up came the prophet, who hit the road running—toward
Changing directions requires knowing where you are. It
necessitates taking time to honestly admit your present condition. It means
facing the music, standing alone inside the fish and coming to terms with those
things that need attention, fishing in the seaweed for a match. Before you find
your way out, you must determine where you are. Exactly. Once that is
accomplished, you’re ready to start over.
Jochebed had faith. She also thought through a very creative
plan. I’d like to pause to reflect on this tension between careful planning and
full-hearted faith. Are they mutually exclusive? Not on your life! Yet to talk
to some believers, you might be led to think otherwise.
I’ve talked with unemployed men and women who tell me, “I’m just
waiting on the Lord to provide a job.”
“Fine,” I reply. “And where have you placed your resumé?”
“Well, I’m not going that route. I’m just waiting on God.”
“Oh really?” I say. “Then I hope you don’t mind remaining
jobless for awhile.”
The old motto of soldiers during the Revolutionary War applies
to many areas of life: “Trust in God, but keep your powder dry!” In other
words, place your life in the Savior’s hands, but stay at the ready. Do all
that you can to prepare yourself for battle, understanding that the ultimate
outcome rests with the Lord God.
To walk by faith does not mean you stop thinking. To trust God
does not imply becoming slovenly or lazy or apathetic. What a distortion of
biblical faith! You and I need to trust God for our finances, but that is no
license to spend foolishly. You and I ought to trust God for safety in the car,
but we’re not wise to pass on a blind curve. We trust God for our health, but
that doesn’t mean we can chain smoke, stay up half the night, and subsist on
potato chips and Twinkies without consequences.
Acting foolishly or thoughtlessly, expecting God to bail you out
if things go amiss, isn’t faith at all. It is presumption. Wisdom says to do
all you can within your strength, then trust Him to do what you cannot do, to
accomplish what you cannot accomplish. Faith and careful planning go
hand-in-hand. They always have.
Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be
ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing
every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves,
disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our
life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of
God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis
of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by
the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out
upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His
grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a
trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak
confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in
good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.
How many of us ” live peaceable, gentle, showing every
consideration for all men.”
This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I
want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be
careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.
Many would say, “It is
one of the Ten Commandments!” (Ex 20:8) But, that is a weak reason since many
argue that Jesus fulfilled all the Laws and removed the requirements of the Law
from us. (Eph 2:15 Col 2:14 Mt 5:17 Rom 3:28 6:14) (I don’t believe <ba>)
Questions to consider about this ‘should’ for Christians:
Are Christians, who go to church on Sabbath, obeying and fulfilling the 4th Commandment?
When Christians go to church does that mean they are keeping ‘His’ day holy?
Does it please God when Christians go to church?
Is the Sabbath only on
a certain day?
What are the Hebrew meanings
of Sabbath, remember, keep, holy?
Is the Sabbath a day
Do we rest when we
go to church?
What is God’s rest?
Are certain things
needed to make the Sabbath holy – rituals, programs, mind sets, trained
Who is the Sabbath for anyway?
Who is in charge of the Sabbath?
Have we been numbed and dumbed-down by our religious traditions?
Is there a rest that we are missing out on all because of our tradition that says – ‘Christians should go to church’?
Go ahead! Ask questions! It’s okay to question the norm because there is way more beyond established religious boundaries! Fullness is waiting.
The early Church (Acts 3) met daily in homes… We fill up an entire day doing Church activities. Is this what God taught in the 4th Commandment?
“What man of you, having a
hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in
the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And
when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes
home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice
with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there
will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine
righteous persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:4-7
I heard about a little old lady who was at church for a
Wednesday night prayer meeting. And when it came time for her to pray, she
said, “God, bless all of us who are here in this prayer meeting. And be with
all those evil people out there in the world having such a good time.”
You know, there’s a real problem among Christians today. It’s
not a problem of performance or obedience necessarily. It’s a problem of
attitude. There are so many men and women in the church today who have an ‘us’
versus ‘them’ mentality. They think that because they go to church, then
they’re the ‘in’ crowd and everyone else is just going to Hades in a hand
basket. They forget that God is not done with his story of redemption!
It’s my prayer that the people of God today will be a people of
unconditional love and acceptance. I’m not saying there aren’t standards. But
at the same time we must never forget that we’re to be a hospital for sinners;
we’re to be a refuge for people who need to come home.
Jesus said there’s more rejoicing over one lost person who’s found
than over 99 righteous people who need no repentance. So when it comes to
welcoming others, keep your heart and arms open and never underestimate the
work Christ wants to do among the lost!
INSTEAD OF SEEING THE WORLD AS ‘US’ VERSUS ‘THEM’, LIVE YOUR LIFE
WITH YOUR ARMS OPEN AND READY TO WELCOME ANYONE TO LIFE IN CHRIST.
Whether heading north towards the Maasai Mara
game preserve or west towards the three gorgeous alkaline lakes teeming with
wildlife (Naivasha, Elementaita, Nakuru), countless thousands of eager tourists
pass through a highway junction in the dusty truck stop town of Maai Mahiu,
Kenya each year. Roughly equidistant from both highways leaving this junction,
and cruelly out of sight of the passersby, is a 2-acre plot of land on which 24
families have silently suffered for six years. The din of worldwide concern
over the post-election violence that forced them there has long since subsided,
their own government has neglected them, and they don’t have the strength of
numbers, resources, or visibility to plead their case any longer. Their
tattered tents have withstood numerous storms, and along with their weathered
skin they bear witness to a resolve that draws both admiration and compassion
from visitors. At some point in the distant past, perhaps out of a mix of
realism and a determination to be self-sufficient, they proudly named the camp
Mwi’hangiri, which means “those who fend for themselves” in Kikuyu.
Just 6 months have passed since President
Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto, and other leaders landed a few miles
away and handed out checks for almost $5000 per family to two much larger IDP camps
prominently located along one of those major highways. The folks living in
those camps had long since had their tents replaced by stone houses built by
Habitat for Humanity, and as the president finished, he said resolutely that
there were no more IDP’s in Kenya. According to an article dated Sept. 9, 2013,
in the Nakuru County News Online, women and children started wailing in
Mwi’hangiri when they heard the president had left and all hope was gone for
them. No houses had been built for them in 6 years and now the only chance at a
new life financially had flown south to Nairobi in a helicopter, oblivious to
We stumbled upon this unfortunate group by
chance in mid- January when Bonface, our outreach and childcare director, and
Flo, our social worker, were on their way to find the home of a prospective
child for Naomi’s Village. Bonface was struck with their plight immediately and
saw that they needed water most of all. Our NV Board of Directors had just
arrived in Kenya and funds they quickly donated paid for 2 donkeys, 2 water
carts, and 4 large drums to carry water from a distant source. Within days
these grateful people not only had enough water for the daily needs of their
own families, but they had started providing for some other nearby needy
families outside the camp. We marveled that they could be so giving when others
had not done so for them before.
One miserable man had been unable to patch his
tent together any longer after one too many storms, and had taken to sleeping
in the community latrine building at night. This grieved our Naomi’s Village
community, so we raised funds and materials to build him a small modest house.
From this seed came a blessing, as we went over to see the house and fellowship
with the people one weekday, only to be driven into the man’s new home by a
sudden rainstorm. There we worshipped in Swahili, Kikuyu, and English while
joyfully occupying the small space, a shoulder to shoulder mass of common
humanity that God willed into closer communion that day. We have not forgotten
each other since. Our NV children love to visit and help out on weekends. Two
other small houses made of sheet metal have replaced the worst tents
We shared in the burial service of the oldest
member of the camp, Naomi, age 90, in early March. Her body is buried in a
corner of the two acre plot, the headstone a reminder that injustice is worth
fighting against. She should not have spent her last 6 years on a thin mattress
in a tent in a field.
So here is my plea, plain and simple. These people should live in homes. Homes made of stone with a few windows and a door. Homes that do not fall over when the wind blows and leak when it rains. Make a donation and help fund a home. We want to build 24 homes for $3200 each. We want to do this by summer’s end. This will mean the end of at least one injustice I know of. Period.
(This goal has been met. But they have new missions they are working on every day…. PS. Before they would let the houses be built, they-the residents- insisted on a Church first!)
Speak to me until I understand, why our thinking and creating, why our efforts of narrating, about the beauty, of the beauty… why it matters.
Like the statue in the park of
this war-torn town, and its protest of the darkness and this chaos all
around. With its beauty, how it matters, how it matters. – Sara Groves
Seven years after moving
to Kenya, I am handling the questions with some degree of confidence
now. They seem cynical- the pithy pushbacks to our hope-filled efforts to
help orphans, those burdened by poverty, disease, hunger, or injustice.
“Are you making a difference?”, one might ask. Or in another form, “Is
your approach going to work in changing the overall equation, the big picture,
one day?” In one way or another, the questions carry a “Does it matter?”
tone, which can discourage.
The queries can take on a
more positive flavor at times, and to be fair, may not always reflect a jaded
mindset, but instead the motive may simply be rational thinking. The Son of
Compassion, Jesus himself, said, “The poor you will always have with you….”
(Mark 14:7), reflecting that serving the less fortunate has a certain degree of
inherent futility involved. Even he didn’t predict a win one day.
Yet some see 2.4 million
Kenyan orphans, or 1 in 8 Kenyan girls pregnant by age 14 as numbers beyond
solutions, and because they are problem solvers, want nothing to do with losing
propositions. Others imagine reasons must exist that assign blame somewhere, to
someone – a government, a race, a mindset, anything, and they take a side door
out of truly engaging. I’m only mentioning a few statistics, a few arguments I
read and hear, a few versions of “the question”. Lately it has almost
become the intellectual thing to write an editorial or blog telling others how
naive they are to be involved in mission efforts in Africa.
So what can be said in response? Sara Groves
wrestles with it rather poetically above, likening our standing against
darkness and chaos to a beautiful statue in a park in a war-torn town. Please
take a moment to listen to her song,especially if music is your heart language.http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zK1KkqNMunk
But we now have a right
to speak, on the basis of having lived among the poor of Africa. Because we
moved here and found answers first hand, not satisfied that things had to be
the way they were, yet accepting that we might also fail, there are things we
can now share. We understand the concept of a cycle of poverty
vividly, and can explain what approaches will and will not work to break it.
And know this for sure- it can and will be broken in the Rift Valley of Kenya
one day. Perhaps not in my lifetime, but the wheels are now in motion and
change has begun. Thousands of children will be adults already on their way out
of that cycle, never to go back, nor to raise their kids in it, by 20 years
We will not be silenced
or discouraged by the naysayers, the darker voices. As Ernest Hemingway
said, “Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place, then come down and
shoot the survivors.” Also Julie has commented so many times, there are
many solutions to the orphan crisis, and orphan care is not a competitive
venture. As we see others helping orphans differently, we try to remember that,
and applaud, rather than compete. We hope for the same spirit of respect and
cooperation from others.
So here are at least 3
answers to the basic question, “Why it matters?” to do redemptive work for
children when the problem seems unending, without a win in sight.
1) It matters because
there are too many children, with beating hearts, beautiful eyes, warm faces,
crooked limbs, torn clothes, living parentless, with words to say and lives to
share. They know facts you and I don’t, have singing voices that make crowds
fall silent sometimes, and some can paint, draw, sculpt, act, dance, and do
math in ways that we will otherwise never know. Many of them have no chance to
see the inside of a school, the high side of their teen years before being a
prostitute or street boy, or the joy of being truly loved.
As I write this, there
are 53 million orphans whose collective gifts to humanity are slowly
being squandered, due to a lack of an opportunity for them to flourish. Slow
down and imagine the value of it all, the worth to our world…
I have held kids in rural
church services, been arrested by the sheer beauty of a passing slum child in
Lunga Lunga, seen numerous babies left like trash by desperate mothers with no
hope. This has become personal to me. I cannot see statistics, only growing
children that God has shown me to love. Unless you allow Him to do that for
you, I have not enough words to convey this to you. Most of you reading this
are already alongside us, carrying this heart burden with us in some way.
Phillip Yancey, in his excellent book Soul Survivor, noted similarly that, “The great
societies of the West have been moving away from an underlying belief in the
value of a single human soul. We tend to view history in terms of groups of
people: classes, political parties, races, sociological groupings. We apply
labels to each other, and explain behavior and ascribe worth on the basis of
those labels… I realized I had been seeing large human problems in a
mathematical model: percentages of G.N.P., average annual income, mortality
rate, doctors- per thousand of population. Love, however, is not mathematical;
we can never precisely calculate the greatest possible good to be applied
equally to the world’s poor and needy. We can only seek out one person, and
then another, and then another, as objects for God’s love.”
2) It matters
because it was never about the end game to begin with! Who said it was about
winning anyway? I’m focusing on today’s battles, because it is in the fighting,
the struggling for victory, that life is truly lived. I once found satisfaction
in taking on only smaller manageable challenges, then moving to the next.
Smaller tasks where a solution was assured seemed satisfying, until God led me
here, into the center of a lifelong war on poverty that is not mine to win.
Now, in the same arduous
and joyful, soul filling work, I am constantly aware of the magnitude of the
task and my weakness. Thus, God can truly be made manifest as beautiful and
worthy by working through me. And so if one asks me why it matters to struggle
in spite of my weakness, and in view of the magnitude of the needs to be met
all around us, I will say it is so that He can be seen as worthy, as the only
reason for such love.
Now please don’t think
the impossibility of winning the larger war will give us an excuse for laziness
or lack of a plan. If you know our ministry, and us personally, we intend to
win each battle, or what would be the point of fighting? Surrendering to the
enemy, the corrupt, the failed system, is not in our language.
3) It matters because
life is short, and there are precious few things worth living for. We
were created in love, for love, and we will be measured on how we loved one
day. Your life and mine are vapors, slipping through grasping fingers, ones
that cannot hold such a divine thing. So why does rational thought invade so
easily when it comes to matters such as these, diverting us from what is
natural and intuitive to do?
Stop. Breathe in, out.
Think clearly for a moment. Get up and go find another, a weak one in need, and
love them. Do so with more time and money than you did before. You don’t own
either one anyway. Give up your right to knowing the results, to winning.
Just love, only that.
And when that final
scratchy breath leaves your lungs one day, you will know it was right. It will have
been nice to feel like a fighter does, risking loss, or perhaps to know the
sound and smell of Africa, to hold a helpless child before you go.
So those are my answers.
Get on your feet if you have been unsure. Let’s go. We’ll meet you there with
the rest of the joyful losers. At the end, when Jesus finally wipes that last
tear away, we will really see why it mattered, once and for all.
There is no shortage of sympathizing
authenticity available to help moms absorb the impact of life in the trenches.
Strangers, friends, blogs, and books freely offer their candid encouragements.
I remember one occasion years ago when I was buying a package of preschooler
underpants. The store clerk smiled and said, “When you start their toilet
training you’re going to feel like there’s urine everywhere. But don’t worry,
you’re not alone.” The woman behind me in line echoed her. “Ain’t that the
truth!” There’s no doubt about the fact that we receive a special kind of
encouragement knowing we’re not alone.
Believers in Christ are surrounded
by “so great a cloud of witnesses” who walk by faith, their lives a testimony
to the ultimate grace and the greatest peace. The grace and peace these men and
women know keeps them going through heart-wrenching trials and even
physically-threatening ordeals. God has given them eyes of faith to see our
joy-pursuing, cross-enduring, shame-despising Christ who is exalted over all
things and is seated at his right hand.
Having been given all authority in
heaven and on earth, Jesus Christ gives us our marching orders and assures us
with absolute certainty that he is always with us — even to the end of the age
We’re not alone.
the Small Stuff
My everyday life is not replete with
dangers to body and soul around every corner. I’m more likely to encounter a
sibling squabble or some kind of monument to my own homemaking procrastination
when I round a corner in our home. It’s tempting to consider Christ’s presence
as only available for “the big stuff.” Even though I understand my work in the
home as facilitating disciple-making to the praise of God’s glory among the
nations, my disparaging heart attitude about the repetitive work of ordinary
life reveals these fear-filled questions: Does this matter to the Lord? Is he
I often echo Paul’s prayer for the
Ephesians and ask it for myself and for others who need encouragement. What
kind of assuring joy we would know as the Lord enlightens the eyes of our
hearts to know the hope to which he has called us, and the riches of his
glorious inheritance in the saints (Ephesians 1:18)!
What kind of thrilling peace we can rest in knowing that Christ’s rock-steady
presence in our lives is never, ever diminished by our foggy, shifting doubts!
Jesus is not absent from our
domestic lives as we serve his disciple-making purposes. If he’s with you to
the end of the age …
… then he’s with you to the end of
packing the last box before a move.
… then he’s with you to the end of a
dating relationship that is (finally!) culminating in a Christ-exalting marriage.
… then he’s with you to the end of
the adoption paperwork when the judge declares, “Congratulations!”
… then he’s with you to the end of a
difficult school year.
… then he’s with you to the end of
cleaning a mess that is so profuse you’re not sure whether to laugh or cry.
… then he’s with you to the end of
an awkward silence you’re not sure how to resolve.
… then he’s with you to the end of a
long night awake with a colicky infant.
… then he’s with you to the end of
the month when the budget isn’t working.
Drawing comfort from Christ’s
abiding presence makes all the difference in the way we live our lives in the
home. Through the gospel of God, which is his very power for salvation, we have
been given Christ as our supreme treasure. God’s amazing grace to us in Christ
Jesus is the hope to which he has called us, and Christ himself is our glorious
inheritance. Because of Jesus our lives are cups that are filled to overflowing
with blessings, as John Newton so famously penned,
The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures. (Amazing
“As long as life endures” is but a
short while, and then eternal life endures forever and ever. Christ will be our
shield and portion to the end of the age … and to the end of this week’s