Come, O Lord!

Rambling Thoughts

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The early church faced much persecution, and life for a Christian under Roman rule was not easy. The Romans required everyone to declare that Caesar was god. The early Christians knew that there is only one God and one Lord—Jesus Christ—and in all good conscience they could not call Caesar “Lord,” so the Romans looked upon them as traitors, persecuted them, and put them to death.

Living under those adverse conditions, the believers’ morale was lifted by the hope of the coming of the Lord. “Maranatha!” became the common greeting of the oppressed believers, replacing the Jewish greeting shalom (“peace”). Maranatha is an Aramaic word that means “The Lord is coming” or “Come, O Lord.”. The followers of Jesus knew there would be no peace because Jesus had told them so (Matthew 10:34; Luke 12:51). But they also knew the Lord would be returning to set up His kingdom, and from that truth they drew great comfort. They were constantly reminding and being reminded that the Lord is coming. Jesus taught several parables on this same theme of watching and waiting and being prepared for His return.

Today, believers in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ live our lives in the light of the knowledge that He can come at any time. We are to be ready when the call comes. Every day we should expect Him to come, and every day we should long for Him to come. Maranatha reminds us to keep our eyes on the eternal things of the Spirit. To dwell on material things is to be in constant mental turmoil. Looking down, we see the earth; looking around, we see earthly things. But looking up, we see the hope of the soon coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. To those who are discouraged today, Maranatha! To those who are worried today, Maranatha! To those who are filled with anxiety over the problems they are facing, Maranatha! Our Lord is coming!
Reference:http://www.gotquestions.org/maranatha.html

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God makes us cry Uncle so that we might cry Abba

Rambling Thoughts

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Tullian Tchividjian, in his book Glorious Ruin quoted a friend who said, “God makes us cry uncle so that we might cry Abba.” At first, this may not seem like good news at all. Why would God allow pain to drive us to Him? It seems so backward. But, Christians serve an unrelenting God who graciously disallows full, lasting satisfaction in anything but Him. And, He often brings this about through affliction – our hearts being so hard and stubborn that nothing else will do the trick. Or, as Steve Brown said, in his book A Scandalous Freedom,

Pain is not something most people like. That is why we run from it as far as we can. That is also why we aren’t free. Jesus hardly ever goes to those places where we run. When pain comes (or when we fear that it will come), don’t run away. Run to it, and you will find you have run into the arms of Jesus . . . Then you will laugh and dance in the freedom and the reality of God’s sufficiency and the power that becomes awesome in your weakness.

It’s a paradox. Our point of pain reveals to us our greatest need – our need to be set free from false hopes and to cling to the hope of the gospel. But we often settle for the counterfeit of non-pain. Instead of running, cry Uncle! And then cry out, “Abba”, and discover the joy of running into the arms of Jesus!

Pain and Suffering

Rambling Thoughts

“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of The Lord, in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:13-14 ESV)

Over the last 18 months I have endured physical pain and suffering more than I possibly could have born without the aid of pain medications and multiple surgeries. Through the process, the Holy Spirit is providing me with a better understanding of the words of the Apostle Paul who was enduring his own pain: “But he (Jesus) said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, ESV, italics mine)

I am learning to meet Jesus at the foot of the cross each morning and to allow Him to walk with me through the pain.

I have learned that my own, and others, tendencies to find explanations for this pain are mere substitutes for trust, a red herring at best. God is interested in something much more powerful than anything information could ever produce. He is interested in faith. I am reminded that the Gospel is much more than salvation, as wonderful as that is; and, that it is not a defense from pain and suffering. Jesus never promised His followers a life free of pain and suffering. Rather, He said to take up His cross and follow Him. I have learned that the Gospel is a message of God’s rescue through pain.

We too often communicate that God exists for our benefit, happiness, self-fulfillment, and personal transformation. Those aren’t necessarily bad things, and God isn’t necessarily opposed to them, but God in Christ cannot be reduced to a means to our selfish ends. He is the end Himself! The Gospel is His desire to draw me close to His side; to bring me into an intimate daily relationship with Him in “the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13). Jesus Christ wants to hold me, to lovingly embrace me, now!

And, He wants to hold you too. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)

Let your pain and suffering, whatever form it takes, bring you to the foot of the cross to find and be lovingly embraced by Jesus’ saving and enduring grace.

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