Covering your tracks. It’s reassuring there is a provision for that.
Life is filled with missteps…failures…and plenty of shortcomings. They leave tracks…and lots of them.
So…how is it possible that all of those tracks can be covered over?
The psalmist explains: “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life…”
Goodness and love do not precede – they follow. In that way they cover all of the sins and failures of the past.
Otherwise…who could stand in the presence of a holy God? The transgressions of the past would call for condemnation and judgment.
Instead…all the tracks are covered by God’s amazing mercy and His matchless goodness.
The book of life. Is your name recorded there?
John spoke of “…all whose names have not been written in the Lord’s book of life…”
So…there is a record in heaven of those who belong to Christ.
But…how can you be sure your name is included?
It’s by request. You must ask. “…whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
And…it’s a call that comes from the heart – repentance for sins…an admission of need…and a confession of faith in Jesus.
Further…it includes a commitment to live in obedience to the commands of Jesus.
Check it out. Is your name written in the book of life?
Exegesis or eisegesis. There is a profound difference.
Exegesis means that Scripture is read for its true meaning. Eisegesis means that it is read to conform to the ideas of the reader.
Scripture can be made to say whatever the reader decides. This is a sinful…but frequent practice.
People find a passage of Scripture…and read into it their personal interpretation and application.
Some go so far as to define deity in a way that fits their own imaginations.
This is why the reader must ask the Holy Spirit to open Scripture to its true meaning.
“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”
That’s the prayer of an exegete.
Your inmost being. What is that?
Could it be the place where conscience…will…and emotion intersect? Might it be considered the core of your being?
The psalmist uses the phase…as it relates to worship: “Praise the Lord, my soul; and all my inmost being praise his holy name.”
That speaks of worship that flows out of a place of depth.
Sadly…worship can be casual…incidental…and convenient. That can hardly be considered worship from the inmost being.
The truth from the psalmist is convicting. The challenge is to offer praise that emanates from a place of depth – that place where conscience…will…and emotion meet.
This is the worship that pleases God.
Your inmost being.
The pursuit after righteousness. Is the focus on you…or is it on Christ?
If it is on you…feelings of failure will dog your steps. If it’s on Christ…peace will accompany your journey.
Why? Because in yourself you will never achieve righteousness. It will be as “filthy rags” – in God’s sight.
Of course…the spiritual disciplines must be faithfully practiced. But even then…the focus must be on the righteousness of Christ.
This is the core of the gospel. It is “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…”
One day…when you stand before God…all that will matter is that you are clothed in the righteousness of Christ.
Let that be your focus now.
Perspective. There are many factors that give it shape.
Parents…education…relationships…genetics – they all play a part.
But…there is one factor that is often ignored – historical awareness.
This is especially critical when it comes to an understanding of spirituality. You will want to be well acquainted with the people of God…whose stories are told in history.
In fact…a spirituality forged on the anvil of history will always stand strong.
The personalities of Scripture…the early church fathers…the heroes of the reformation…the revivalists of recent centuries – they speak of a spirituality worthy of emulation.
Sadly…some miss the richness of historical perspective. They ignore these stories and the profound lessons that can be learned.
Perspective – let it be enriched by history.
Beyond comprehension. That speaks to the limitations of human intellect.
Infinity – as it relates to space and eternity. Functionality – as it relates to the sustaining of life on planet earth. Deity – as it relates to the Godhead…three Persons in one.
It’s beyond comprehension.
But…the most incomprehensible is this — “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
The God of the universe has revealed Himself in Jesus…and in Him provided salvation for all who believe.
It’s beyond comprehension – but you can embrace what you don’t comprehend. That’s the way to salvation.
Believe it today.
Extremism. That’s when ideas and actions are pushed beyond safe parameters.
It happens in politics…religions…lifestyles…and in about every area of human existence.
But…who and what are to determine the norms against which these parameters might be evaluated?
In politics — perhaps common good for all might be the norm. In Christianity — the plain and simple message of God’s Word – consistent with context. And lifestyles – they should be judged according to the wise counsel of godly people.
Solomon said: “Avoid all extremes.” That’s an unambigious and wise admonition.
However…the best is this – follow Jesus and obey His commands.
Then there will be no extremism.
A circle or a straight line. Which best describes God’s plan for your life?
A circle speaks of repetition – what was will be again. A straight line speaks of movement – something new is just ahead.
The Prophet Isaiah put it this way: “Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.”
That’s a straight line.
At times…you may feel like life is repetitious. Like a circle.
But…faith has a different message. You are on a journey. Your life has a purpose. You are on your way to heaven.
It is this blessed hope that transforms each day – sweeping away boredom — and giving you a sense of newness.
It’s a straight line.
Fear not. It’s an admonition found throughout Scripture.
But…does that mean that the reason behind fear is suddenly swept away?
No. Instead…there is the assurance of divine Presence. It is that Presence that neutralizes fear.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Fear not does not speak of an escape hatch – but of an enabling Presence.
God is with you…that is the reason there need be no fear.
Look again at the promise from Isaiah: “I will strengthen you…help you…uphold you…”
So…you need not fear.