Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Taken to the Tool Shed

Day 3 devotion for Casper Serve
Taken to the Tool Shed
Heb 1:3  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

You have been working out under the hot sun for days now.  You have probably had enough sense not to look up and gaze into the brightness of the sun.  If you have done that, you know it's light is blinding.  You feel it's warmth.  The heat of it can actually burn us.  There is an intensity to the sun.  Of course when we say these things we know that what we are calling the sun is not actually the sun but light waves that left the sun approximately 9 seconds ago.  They represent the sun to us.  They carry the light and heat and energy we see and feel.

This is, I think, what is meant by describing Jesus as the radiance of the glory of God.  God shines infinitely brighter than the sun which he created and sustains by the word of his power.  Jesus is the brightness of that holy God that comes to the earth and touches us.  He perfectly represents God to us, he is the exact imprint of his nature.  Jesus would say  "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father."  He touches us without consuming us because he made purification for our sins.  That is why he died on the cross, to pay the penalty our sins deserve.

Our devotions this week have been focused on seeing Jesus and his glory.  We have been challenged that "believing is seeing" and we know to look past the hard work of God's people to see the God whom they serve. We give him glory.  Today I want to challenge everyone to take a step forward.  Here's what I mean:

C.S. Lewis wrote a brief article entitled "Meditations from the Tool shed."  He described going into a dark tool shed with a sun ray shining through a knot in the wood.  The light illuminated a shaft of dust particles and protruded into the dark.  Lewis points out how different the experience is when you observe that light as you sit in the darkness from when you step into the light and gaze out the knothole back at the blinding light of the sun. The light is small and unimpressive from the darkness but overwhelmingly intense from within.

It is the same with Jesus.  You may be content to stand on the outside as you gaze at Jesus.  You pass your hand through his light and he seems small.  Today step in to Jesus by faith.  Believe in Him and you will see, his brightness, his glory, his goodness.   

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Let 'em see the light!

Day 2 Casper Serve Devotions:
Let 'em see the light!
Mat 5:14-16  "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  (15)  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  (16)  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

This passage is quoted from what is commonly called Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount."  In the same sermon Jesus would later say this Mat 6:1  "Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

He is warning in chapter six against the danger of giving, praying, or fasting in such a way as to elevate others view of us.  If we do these things we might receive the reward of their respect and such but will miss the heavenly reward and they will miss the heavenly blessing.  Sure, recognition feels good and it is gratifying to have our sacrifice noticed and appreciated.  Yet we are a peculiar people.  We are a people who labor as unto the Lord.  We are not seeking the applause and approval of others. We seek the reward that awaits us, the reward that the good Lord deems us worthy of, in Him.

This does not mean we must not be seen serving, giving, praying, or fasting.  It means we must do these things in such a way that people who are watching us are not so much impressed with us as they are with the God we are serving.  The Lord shines in the life of his people, not just to enlighten them, but through them to shine his light into this dark world.

Let us labor today with a recognition that we are pointing to the Lord in this labor.  Let us point every praise past ourselves to the God whom we serve.  Look at that crew your working with and look past them to the God who brought them
to work shoulder to shoulder with you today.  Let their faithfulness bring you even in this moment to appreciate and worship the Lord.  Labor this afternoon in such a way as to help them look right past you to the glorious Lord. 

Remember "If you Believe, you will see…"

Monday, July 29, 2013

Today's devotional for the "Casper Serve" Ministry:

Believing is Seeing
John 11:40  Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?"

You have probably heard it said "seeing is believing."  Some things are so hard to grasp or wrap our minds around that we are unwilling to accept them unless we have seen them for ourselves.  We will be unable to accept certain truths as reality until we have personally witnessed them for ourselves.  Some people approach God this way.  They say, "I won't believe unless he shows himself to me or if he will audibly speak to me.  When I see his power displayed in a helpful way in my life , then and only then, will I believe."  Seeing is believing.

Jesus has a way of turning things upside down.  In John 11 he completely turns that idea on its head.  He says Believing is Seeing.  The chapter begins with Jesus being told that his good friend Lazarus is ill.  Though he has healed many, Jesus delays several days before travelling to be where Lazarus has by that time died.  Jesus arrives to minister to Lazarus' grieving sisters. He promises them hope and life eternal and he is going to demonstrate that life by raising Lazarus from the tomb.  When he commands those standing near to remove the stone from the grave, Lazarus' sister Martha objects "Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days."  That's when Jesus says it: "Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?"

The crazy thing is that everyone standing around witnessed what happened next, but they did not all see the same thing.  They all witnessed Jesus pray and command "Lazarus, come out." Everyone witnessed a man who was dead walk from his grave.

What they saw though, is revealed in John 11:45-46  "Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him,  (46)  but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done."  Some witnessed the miracle and believing saw Jesus as worthy of their faith. Others witnessed the same miracle but unbelieving saw a troublemaker who need to be reported to the religious leaders.

This week our aim is to see the Lord Jesus Christ exalted in our community.  We will all witness houses being repaired and restored by volunteers.  Please don't miss it though. I hope that is not all you see.   Lift your eyes up to see the Lord glorified in what he is doing in this work.  He is glorious.  Believe in him that you might see him like you have never seen him before.  Realize that he is providing for his those he loves, both those receiving the labor and those doing it.  He is demonstrating that He is enough!  Believe, See, Trust, worship!