Sunday, September 26, 2021

Where You Sit


Hubert Humphrey may be best known for serving as the thirty-eighth Vice President of the United States during part of Lyndon Johnson’s administration, but prior to that post he was a senator from Minnesota. While working as a senator he once made the comment, “In politics, how you stand depends on where you sit.” That quip was a reference to the way members of congress are seated in our two-party system. If you are seated with the minority party, you largely play defense; if you are seated with the majority, you have much more latitude in fulfilling your agenda.


A politician stands for things based on where he sits. Whether that is right or wrong is not what I want to write about. If you are a Christian, where you sit should likewise determine how you stand. In Ephesians 2 Paul wrote these incredible words: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (v.4-6).”


I don’t care if you sit with Republicans or Democrats; you can be red or blue, conservative or liberal, and that is none of my business. If you have been saved, however, you are seated with Christ in heavenly places. Our feet are firmly planted on earth, but our minds are with the Lord in heaven. We live this life in light of our identity in Christ. Because of where we are seated, we can stand for what is right.   


Many times politicians will campaign on a certain issue, but once they get their seat of power, they hit the brakes on those campaign promises because the party bosses will not allow it on account of political expediency. Where they sit determines how they stand. If we are seated in heavenly places, we should stand for what is right all the time. There may be times when people try to talk us out of doing something we know we should do; they will say not to forgive someone who hurt us, or not to help someone we have already helped before. But being seated in heavenly places means we should stand for what is right. We should always love our neighbor as ourselves because that is what our Lord told us to do. 


Do the things you stand for line up with where you are seated? Do you only stand for the things that benefit you the most, at the expense of other people? That is what those who are seated in earthly places, or even hellish places would do. If you have been saved and are seated with Christ in the heavenly places, you should stand for what is right. 


Sunday, September 19, 2021

Heaven on Earth



Have you ever wondered what heaven will be like? The Bible gives us precious few details of the current heaven, but it tells us that there will be a restored earth that will serve as our eternal home one day. John wrote, “Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God (Revelation 21:2-3).’”


Randy Alcorn, in his book simply titled Heaven, said that we do not need to look to the sky and wonder what heaven will be like; we just need to look around and imagine what this planet would be like if there was no sin. So let’s do that: 


Imagine a place that we can go, beyond all that you’ve ever seen,

Nicer than any place you’ve been, better than your wildest dreams.

It will be heaven on earth


Colors will be brighter, sounds will be clearer, and the weather is always nice,

Each new day will be as good as the last, every day of your life.

It will be heaven on earth


You’ll never get sick, never grow old, you’ll never even die,

You’ll never be lonely, or have a broken heart, you’ll never even cry.

It will be heaven on earth


Everything that makes it bad down here, like famine, disease, and war,

They are products of the fall, and they’ll be gone forevermore.

It will be heaven on earth


We’ve talked about what wont be there, but there are things we expect to see

All our friends who’ve gone on before, and plenty of new people to meet.

It will be heaven on earth. 


James and John, Peter and Paul, and that wee little man Zacchaeus 

But of all the people we get to meet, I’m going to see my Jesus

It will be heaven on earth 


It will be like the Garden of Eden, a world that doesn’t know sin,

God will come down and live with us, and He’ll never leave again

It will be heaven on earth. 


And when we’ve been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun,

We’ll wake up to another day in the best place we’ve ever known. 

It will be heaven on earth 









Sunday, September 12, 2021

Walk by Faith


As Christians we often talk about walking by faith and not by sight. This popular phrase comes from Second Corinthians 5:7.  We typically use that expression to encourage each other when life is hard and doesn’t make sense. Sometimes we refer to this verse when we are not sure which decision to make when facing two choices. Walking by anything other than sight is difficult because we rely on our vision to help us navigate our steps in life.


There are some courses in life that we can walk without our sight. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I can stumble into the kitchen and get myself a glass of water without having to turn on the lights. That is because I know the path from my bed to the sink like the back of my hand. But when we talk about walking by faith rather than sight we might conjure up images of walking around blindfolded, as it were, with our arms outstretched, feeling our way around.  However, I don't think that was the image the Apostle Paul had in mind when he wrote those words.


The imagery should not be of a person who is unable to see, and thus relying on faith. As long as we can reach our hands out in front of us and feel anything in our path, we can get by even without sight. I believe the image that Paul wanted to paint is that of a person walking by faith in spite of their sight. It isn't that we can't see, it is that what we can see can deceive us.  Walking by faith then means we are trusting in something else besides our vision. When it looks like a door is wide open, we might have to act as if it is closed. Conversely, when it appears that there is a brick wall right in front of us, God might call us to walk right through it. Our sight tells us it is impossible, but in faith we learn to rely on God rather than our sight.


In context, Paul is talking about the future resurrection of believers. Let's look at the verse with the two verses that surround it: “So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord (v.6-8).” The situation in which we must walk by faith rather than sight deals with the fact that we currently live in our physical, earthly bodies, and yet we believe that one day we will live in glorified bodies. That may be a difficult concept for us to truly wrap our minds around, but we must take it in faith.


Wrapped up in this promise is everything else associated with our eternal state. More than just having a glorified body, this passage belies the fact that we will one day be free from sickness and suffering, disease and death. Believing in this promise can make life a little easier when things are difficult. When all we see is negativity, we can put our sight aside and walk by faith, holding on to these dear promises that God will one day make everything right.


Saturday, September 4, 2021

Pray for Revival

 Do you ever pray for revival? Revival is related to the word revive, or to bring something back to life. Biblically speaking, revival refers to times when God moves in such a way as to stir Christians out of their complacency and into action. The church has a tendency to get stuck in a rut, going through the motions each week of “doing church,” and revival can help re-instill a sense of emotion and passion back into the congregation.   


Charles Finney is remembered for the many revivals his preaching helped usher in, and he once delivered a series of lectures on the topic of revival. The majority of his lectures focused on the key ingredient in any revival: prayer. We need to ask God to bring revival because it cannot be manufactured by people. But Finney pointed out that sometimes there is an ingredient that precedes prayer: wickedness. 


Finney said there had been times when great wickedness drove the people of God to their knees because they felt hopeless to do anything else. The “outrageous wickedness,” as he called it, disrupted the lives of the saved and opened their eyes to the state of carnality in their city. The wickedness of the world can be a good thing if God uses it to get the church’s attention. Finney said: 


“Let hell boil over if it will, and spew out as many devils as there are stones in the pavement, if it only drives Christians to God in prayer—it cannot hinder a revival…if Christians will only be humbled and pray, they shall soon see God's naked arm in a revival of religion.”  


There is no shortage of wickedness in the world still a century and a half after the death of Charles Finney. Drugs are destroying lives and communities; violent crime is on the rise; injustices abound, and American cities have burned to the ground. On top of that, the pandemic, runaway inflation, and the heartbreaking images out of Afghanistan are on everyone’s mind. These things can get us down, or they can get us down to our knees. 


It may just be that God uses these current events as the impetus for revival. Perhaps He is waiting even now for His people to humble themselves and pray. We know the unsaved world is worried about these things as well; maybe the coronavirus is causing people to stop and think about their own mortality. It may just be that the darkness of this world is making it ripe for revival. If you are not already praying for revival, will you join us in doing that now? 


“Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?”

Psalms 85:6