Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32). The truth shall make you free… Truth is powerful. It changes things. Truth brings clarity, gives direction. But truth can be a two-edged sword. Truth can identify the innocent and convict the guilty. Truth can bring comfort and relief to some and grief and heartache to others.
“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace…” (1 Cor. 14:33). That statement pretty well summarizes the message of 1 Corinthians 14. It is quite significant that Paul deals with this subject, in such detail, in this chapter. He is finishing up a long context (chapters 12-14) on miraculous gifts. In chapter 12, he addressed what seems to be apparent disunity in regards to their attitudes toward miraculous gifts. In chapter 13, he told them that the miraculous gifts would cease when the purpose for which they were given was fulfilled- the full revelation and confirmation of God’s will. In chapter 14, he uses logical reasoning to help them view miraculous gifts from the proper perspective.
Well, the sun came up again today- ho hum. Got out of bed and got dressed as usual- ho hum. Ate breakfast, same breakfast I always eat- ho hum. Went to the same job I’ve been going to for the last many years- ho hum. Saw the same people I see everyday- ho hum. Came home at the same time I always come home- ho hum. Had the same meal we always have on this day of the week, every week- ho hum. Caught the same news report, and heard pretty much the same news, I catch everyday- ho hum. Watched the same television programs I always do after dinner- ho hum. Went to bed at the same time I do every evening- ho hum. Tomorrow I’ll get up and do it all again- ho hum…
How many times have we heard the statement, “Freedom aint free!”? It’s a statement meant to impress upon us the fact that the freedoms associated with living in this country, freedoms we hold so dear, did not come cheap. They cost the dedication, commitment and a great many lives of people who went before us to secure and insure them, not only for themselves but also for all of us who have come along later.
The Psalmist recorded Israel’s prayer to God from long ago. “Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us! Let your tender mercies come speedily to meet us, for we have been brought very low” (Ps. 79:8). The sense of the prayer is that the people ask God to forget their former sins. The text of the Psalm would seem to fit the period of Israel’s captivity in Babylon. God allowed the Babylonians to conquer Judah, destroy Jerusalem and the temple therein and take the people of the land into Babylon as captives. In time, the Medes and Persians would conquer Babylon, but it would be seventy years before the first of the people of Judah would be allowed to return to their homeland.
When the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive and bring forth a Son and call His name Jesus, she was troubled. She was a virgin. The angel told her that the Holy Spirit would come upon her, and the son she would bear would be the Son of God. The angel further assured her that it would happen as he had said by informing her that her relative Elizabeth, who had been called barren, had also conceived and was in the sixth month of expectancy. Gabriel summed it up by saying, “For with God nothing will be impossible” (Lk. 1:26-37). What man could see no way of happening, God could perform.
When Solomon became king of Israel, God granted him a request: “Ask! What shall I give you?” (1 Kgs. 3:5). Solomon responded by humbly describing himself as “a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in” (vs. 7). He then asked God for “an understanding heart to judge your people, that I may discern between good and evil” (vs. 9). Solomon’s request was for wisdom that he might lead God’s people effectively. God bestowed upon him a degree of wisdom that made him the wisest man who had ever lived (vs. 12). And, because Solomon’s request was so selfless, God bestowed upon him great wealth (vs. 13).
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Pet. 3:10). Judgment day!
Surely, none of us would believe that God is pleased when He observes the widespread division that is prevalent among those who call themselves Christians today. Perhaps the most quickly observed indicator of the division is the different names on the fronts of the church buildings. It’s not a matter of subtle differences in description, but a wide variation of names that point to all kinds of characteristics of the different religious groups. It’s interesting, and perhaps telling, as to how many of those names make absolutely no reference to either God or Christ.
Whom do we look up to? Most everyone looks up to someone. Most people look to somebody as a role model, an individual that exemplifies particular characteristics or accomplishments which they would like to emulate. We need to be careful who we look to as role models, and why we see them as such. The very concept of a role model is to look at their example and to try to be like them. If their example is flawed, we could end up reproducing the same flaw in our own lives, to our detriment. As parents, we especially need to get this understanding across to our kids.
Gary L. Hutchens