Living at odds with this world

I’m currently reading through Daniel. Today I was focusing on these amazing and deeply challenging words from chapter 3: “But even if he does not [save Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fiery furnance], we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image you have set up.” (3:18)

 

Nate Saint (1923-56) who was eventually martyred as a missionary to the Auca Indians in Ecuador said:

“The way I see it, we ought to be willing to die. In the military, we were taught that to obtain our objectives we had to be willing to be expendable. Missionaries face that same expendability”.

I would replace the word missionary with the word Christian!

 

Adoniram  Judson

“How great are my obligations to spend and be spent for Christ! What a privilege to be allowed to serve him … and suffer for him … But in myself, I am absolute nothingness. … Soon we shall be in heaven. Oh let us live as we shall then wish we had done!”

Is your vision to parochial?

Is your vision too small and parochial? How would you even know?

Psalm 67 is a great vision stretcher!

May God be gracious to us and bless us
    and make his face shine on us—
so that your ways may be known on earth,
    your salvation among all nations.

May the peoples praise you, God;
    may all the peoples praise you.
May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
    for you rule the peoples with equity
    and guide the nations of the earth.
May the peoples praise you, God;
    may all the peoples praise you.

The land yields its harvest;
    God, our God, blesses us.
May God bless us still,
    so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.

I am in chains for Christ

In my morning devotions, I’m currently working my way through Philippians in the company of Alec Motyer (through his excellent commentary). In Chapter 1:13-14, Paul is explaining how his suffering is advantageous for the advance of the gospel. Listen to how Alec Motyer unpacks this:

“He [Paul] did not see his suffering as an act of divine forgetfulness )’Why did God let this happen to me?’), nor as a dismissal from service (‘I was looking forward to years of usefulness, and look at me!’), nor as the work of Satan (‘I am afraid the devil has had his way this time’), but as the place of duty, the setting for service, the task appointed. When the solider came ‘on duty’ to guard Paul, did the apostle smile secretly and say to himself, ‘But he doesn’t know that I am here to guard him — for Christ’?”

How to live in a pluralistic society

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter 3:15-16

  • Engage in dialog (Don’t create a Christian ghetto for yourself)
  • Focus on the ‘hope that you have’ which is the main brushstrokes of the gospel message (Don’t get side-tracked by secondary issues)
  • Speak with gentleness and respect (something almost absent in our generation)
  • Let your lifestyle be a witness to your words as you life an exemplary life

 

There are no little places…

“I see how right Francis Schaeffer was when he said that there are no little places and no little people. If Jesus would choose the small, obscure town of Bethlehem as his birthplace and the better-known (but only because of its bad reputation) town of Nazareth—“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46)—as his temporal home, and if he could choose to build his kingdom chiefly through people who were not wise or powerful or of noble birth (1 Corinthians 1:26), how dare I act or think or believe otherwise as I minister in his name!” Scott Sauls  from  From Weakness to Greatness