Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Strong Tower

The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
The righteous runs into it and is safe.

Proverbs 18:10

A loved one receiving a cancer diagnosis can be a body blow. What is my instinctive reponse, right after the head snaps back and my vision clears? That depends. Where have I placed my trust? Fortunately, I was raised to walk with God, to trust in Him even when I don't understand. Even when there are no answers we can trust His love. Yes, even as we watch a loved one begin chemotherapy.

In Hebrew culture a peron's name illustrated his character. Throughout scripture, God met His people in desperate situations and revealed one of His names, and thus, a particular aspect of His nature.

A strong tower in Biblical times was at times large enough to give a place of refuge, for the population, sometimes an outpost on high ground for soldiers whose sentries to guard against enemy attack. But a tower could also be seen by the enemy as a sign of a line drawn in the sand that said this far and no farther, a sign that this ground is under protection.

In times of trouble, where do we run for comfort and safety? Don't get me wrong. In this time of trial, my family member sees the physicians and is enduring the therapy. We're comforted by family members and those brothers and sisters in Christ, but the first place we go is to our Strong Tower and to the scriptures, knowing that God is who He says He is.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Peace of God

"...that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19 

It’s January. Are your Christmas decorations put away, yet? Our bank accounts are noticeably lighter, the daylight hours are still pitifully few, and it seems like Spring is still a long way away.

The birth of Christ was the fulfillment of God’s promise that He would reconcile mankind to Himself. The angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men."

So where is the peace of God in the heart of January?

In the scriptures the Messiah is prophesied as a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, as the lamb of God brutally sacrificed for the sins of the people.  He’s also prophesied as an king who would deliver the nation of Israel from their oppressors and whose reign would never end.

Not understanding how Jesus could be both, the people of Israel focused on the Messiah coming as a great king who would free them from the bondage of the Roman empire. They wanted Him so desperately. The problem was, they saw the prophesies as a single range mountain peaks, grouped together in time. What they couldn’t see from their perspective was the valley of time separating the coming of Jesus as an infant and His death on the cross in 33 AD from his coming as a reigning king. They couldn’t see the 2000+ years of the church age between the time of His sacrifice and when He will come as a conquering king who will reign forever.

So where is the peace that He promised? The peace Jesus brought when He came the first time is between Man and God. He redeemed us—bought us back and paid the price—from the power of sin and death. Jesus reconciled us to God by paying the price for our sin. When we yield ourselves—mind, will and emotions—to Him, He changes our hearts and gives us peace. Not just peace with God--that's reconcilation with God--but the peace of God.

Unfortunately, as long as the hearts of men remain unsurrendered, there will be sin and death in the world, and, no lasting peace on the earth, except in the hearts of His people.