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Friday, June 12, 2009

More Desirable Than Gold

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. 1st John 5:3 (New American Standard Bible)

Following someone’s commands is seldom easy. I remember as a child when my mom would call me to supper with the statement, “Kenny, come in for supper and wash your hands off.” My daily reply to that became, “How will I eat if I wash my hands off?” It became quite a game. Her standard response was, “Oh, you know what I mean.” I sure am glad she never asked me to wash my face.

What about what Jesus’ commands to those who choose to follow Him? He is specific in how He phrases the subject. He didn’t pull any punches. He never said “Why do you call me Lord and not do what I recommend?” Commands are burdensome when they are not necessary or they are partial. The 19th century preacher, Charles G. Finney, said “No law is grievous which requires only that which is for our own good. This, our reason necessarily affirms.”1 The difference between being given a burdensome command as opposed to one that is a help is that the Lord is righteous and would never give me any command that would overwhelm or hurt me.

The secret of my living an abundant life in His commandments is simple. It is to live my life as He did and practicing His whole lifestyle. And if I choose not to do that then what is the alternative? A heavier yoke and dropping in the harness. He tells me to take His yoke upon me for He is humble and gentle and He will teach me what I need to learn. The commandments of the Lord are necessary to help me in my walk with God and completely fair in their intent for me for they are given for my highest good. They bring rest to the mind and buoyancy to the heart. King David summed up the righteousness of the Lord’s commandments in Psalm 19 when he said “The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. It is more desirable than gold and sweeter than honey and the dripping of the honeycomb.” Is my wish His command? On the contrary His command is my wish.


1. Charles G. Finney, The Oberlin Evangelist, 21 June 1854

Monday, June 8, 2009

Only Batman Would Know

“I and the Father are one.” John 10:30 (New American Standard Version)

Misunderstanding something someone says can be interesting at times if not downright funny. When my daughter, Kenna, worked for a local home improvement center in our town she told me of a lady who came into the store one day and asked one of the sales associates where she could find the Bat Trees. The young fellow looked at her like a tree full of hoot owls having no idea what she was talking about. After a moment of racking his brain he said, “Hmm, Bat Trees. I’m not sure. Let’s check with the people in Lawn and Garden.” He took the problem to another co-worker in that area saying, “This lady is looking for a Bat Tree.” The lady quickly chimed in and said, “No, not a Bat Tree, I want a batt’ry. You know, it’s electric with wires that will start my riding lawn mower.”

We don’t have a problem understanding Jesus when He speaks of His relationship with His Heavenly Father. He is just not a reflection of that Deity He is its exact representation (Hebrews 1:3). He is His Father’s Only Son. There is no other. To what other has He said “You are My Son, today I have begotten Thee”? There is no misinterpretation when Jesus states the heritage He has to God the Father as Son and Heir of all Things. He told Philip that if he saw Jesus he’d seen the Father. After His statement in today’s verse the religious leaders of His day had no problem understanding what He meant. They immediately threatened to stone Him to death. He asked for which good work they were going to do the deed. Their answer was, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”

That leaves us little choice in how we see Jesus. If He wasn’t Lord then He was the biggest liar or lunatic who ever deceived people. And that opens another can of worms, so to speak. How could one uneducated person fulfill over 300 biblical prophecies from the Jewish Tanach (the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings; the Hebrew Scriptures) and have His teachings spread all over the known world within 100 years after His death? The chance of any one man's fulfilling just 48 of the 300 prophecies is one in ten to the 157th power! And 2000 years later His teaching and power are still fresh, vibrant and relevant continuing to change hundreds of lives for the better every day. When Jesus Christ states His case there is no room for misunderstanding. Speaking of Bat Trees may be confusing and leave us with room to wonder but when Jesus says He and the Father are One it is obvious who He is and the strength of what that means to us through our faith in Him.