Practical Proverbial, from 2 Timothy, 22 April 2019

Here is a trustworthy saying:  If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him.  If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.  2 Timothy 2:11-13 (NIV).

Happy Day After Easter, when Jesus is still risen, still alive again, still King of Kings.   To be honest, the day after Easter has always had the potential to be like the day after Christmas:   a let-down.   We had a great day yesterday, with church, a great meal, and lots of time together as a family.   It tired me out greatly, but I was sad to see it end.   Today, it’s back to work; today the kids and grand-kids go home; today is just Monday.  Today feels like a let-down.

Except it isn’t.   Here is a trustworthy saying:   if Monday seems dull, it’s because the light shines bright.   If disappointment rules the hour, joy rules the day.  If it’s tough to get started back at the routine, the routine is a gift from God, an embodiment of Jesus in our daily lives.   All these contrasting things are gifts from a loving Jesus Christ, whose gift of resurrection provides the hope of today and tomorrow to the believers He elected in eternity.  A fallen world can’t contain Him; a bad today can’t stop a beautiful tomorrow.   He defeated death, He defeated Satan.   Nothing can stop Him.   The contrasts make the difference between Jesus and everything else stark.

It wasn’t just Paul who spoke of these contrasts.   Peter did as well, and Peter knew Christ, man to man, better than most anyone else in Jesus’ ministry.  Peter talked about us rejoicing in the sufferings of Christ because it would mean that His resurrection and eternal glory would be all that much better.  The apostle lived in a barbaric time not unlike our own:   we simply have better tools and technology.   But the words he left would have been just as striking to readers of that time, maybe even more so when you consider how those readers personally knew Peter, how some might have personally known Jesus.  We didn’t know Peter or Jesus man to man; we simply have their words.

Think about that and then consider that this is a trustworthy set of statements, a thing on which we can rely.  Jesus lived, died, and lives again because He said He would.   Jesus suffered so we could rest.   Jesus died so we can live.   Jesus lives because the world can’t contain Him.   That’s great news on the Monday after Easter when the bloom seems to be off the rose and the daily world tries to take hold again.

For further reading: Romans 6:2-11, 1 Peter 4:13, Matthew 10:33, 1 Corinthians 1:9, 2 Timothy 2:14.

Easter Savior, You are the reason for our living.   You are the Lord.   You died and live so we may live.


Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 18 July 2017

 And, “But my righteous one will live by faith.  And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”  Hebrews 10, verse 38.

Does God ever get disappointed in us?

Friend believer, when God the Father looks and you or I, all He sees is the perfection of His Son.  He sees you and I as we are, but He sees us through the lenses of Jesus.   Everything that we ever did against Him is irrelevant.   He doesn’t even acknowledge it.  He doesn’t see the time you cheated on your husband, or when you did time for theft.   He doesn’t see yelling at your kids, or guilt over being abused, or how you thought the panhandler was a bum.  All He sees is a creation who was made righteous by the sacrifice of His own blood.   He welcomes us like a Daddy, embracing us and saying to us, “I love you so much!   I’m so glad you’re here!”

And then there’s here.  Here, in real time, like any person watching you, God sees when you cheat on your wife, steal from the store, yell at your kids, put up with abuse, and walk by the panhandler.   It’s only natural to understand that God sees what we do because, well, He can see and we do these things.  You can’t undo what you do, and you can’t expect someone with eyes (especially an omniscient someone) to not see things you do in their plain sight.   God does see what we do.  It’s reasonable to expect that our sins grieve Him, that He’s disappointed when we do them.   Knowing God is the foundation of all reason, it’s also reasonable to expect He holds people accountable for what we do, good and bad.

Does that mean God is disappointed in us because of what we do?  Nope, not ever.   That’s the peace of being a believer, of following Jesus.   I refer you back to paragraph one.    Better yet, I refer you to verse 38, which tells of how God considers us righteous.  Granted, this verse was specifically talking about Christ, about how pleased the Father is with His righteous Son not shrinking back from giving Himself fully for us.   Yet it is imputed to us as well, a fruit of His grace.   God makes us righteous through our embrace of His Son’s atoning sacrifice.   Knowing that, God can’t have us in His presence if He’s disappointed in us.  After all, there’s a difference between disappointment and being disappointed in someone.

Does that mean Christ is a get out of jail free card?  Yes…and no.  The difference is belief.   Believing in Jesus is the only part of salvation that we even remotely ‘do.’   We can perform no action, take no step, live well or be motivated by good in any way that merits our salvation.   Only Jesus can and He’s already done everything necessary.   Yet if you or I reject believing in Him, He (God the Father) can’t see us through the lenses of His Son.   If we reject this free gift He gives to us, it’s reasonable to expect that He sees all the things we do, good and bad.  John 15:5 says “apart from me you can do nothing.”   Apart from Jesus, we can expect nothing from God in reference to even the best things we do because everything we do apart from Christ is sin.   Apart from Jesus, the God who sees all we do will hold us accountable for why we rejected Him.   When we answer that accounting, we reap the consequences.   There will be no shrinking back from that moment.

Moral of the story?   Don’t shrink back now.   Embrace the righteousness.   Hug Daddy.  Cling to your belief, and do what you can to increase it.  Still try hard to do your best in all you do, but do so as a reflection of thanks for what He already did for you instead of just a goal or just a fearful reaction to something some Bible thumper told you.  God isn’t disappointed in you for any of the things you’ve thought, said, or done.   Before you believed, He held them against you.  After you believed, it’s as if they never happened.

For further reading:  Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, 2 Corinthians 5, John 15:5.

My Lord, thank You so much for forgiving me.   Thank You for seeing me through Jesus.   Thank You for not being disappointed in me.