Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How's Your Soul?

"He restoreth my soul" (Ps. 23:3).

True story!  I'll tell it just as it happened.  After church on Sunday and before visiting the nursing home, I stopped for a bite to eat at the Wagon Wheel.  Sitting down at the counter I asked about the specials.  I decided on the fish with baked potato, veggies, roll, and a salad to start.  A few minutes into the main course the kind-hearted waitress came over and asked (innocently), "How's your sole?"  I indicated that it was very good, but then added, "That's a funny thing to ask a pastor.  I'm supposed to ask you that!"  We shared a good laugh.  It's one of the funniest things to happen to me.  And I thanked her for giving me this week's devotion!

How's your soul?  What a good question that is!  In fact, I can't think of a more important one.  And so, having thought about it, I'm glad she "asked."  As a pastor I think about other people's souls, but I always need to begin with my own.

How is my soul?  Here goes my answer.

My soul, as I understand it, is that spiritual part of me that God has designed to love and trust in Him.  To look to and depend on Him.  But my soul, I know, has a tendency to want to love and trust in me!  So God takes steps in order to correct and restore my soul to fulfill its original purpose.  He shows me my sin, leads me to repentance, and then shows me His love and forgiveness through Christ, His Son.  I learn from the Bible that my soul has a Shepherd, Jesus, who died for me and then rose from the dead.  He lives to guard and take care of my soul through thick and thin.  My soul is in good hands, hands marked by scars.  Strong but gentle hands.  That's my answer.

I think the best answer, though, was given by Horatio Spafford when he wrote in his much-loved hymn the words, "It is well with my soul."  It is worth sharing that he wrote the hymn just after the deaths of his four daughters when their ship sank.  A testament to God's love in good times and in trial!

The sole was delish!  And my soul is well because Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  And it makes me want to ask...

How's your soul?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Maundy Thursday News

Listen carefully to two Bible verses both of which date back to that first Maundy Thursday.  There's something that connects them.  See if you can hear it:

"In the same way also He took the cup, after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new testament in My blood'" (1 Cor. 11:25).

"'A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another'" (John 13:34).

They have something in common.  Did you hear it?  It's the word "new," as in "new testament" and "new commandment."  These two things go together.  They are the Maundy Thursday "news."

Let's think for a minute about this word "new."  What's "new"?  We know what new is.  New is a new car complete with new-car smell.  New is a new pair of shoes.  New is new technology - a new G.  We know what new is.  And I think we know, a little deeper down, that it doesn't last very long at all.

I bought my very first new car in 2003.  In the first week, somebody broke the driver's-side mirror.  It wasn't new anymore.  Still driving it.  The shoes you're wearing used to be new.  And technology?  The latest technology is tomorrow's late technology.  New today, old tomorrow.  We know what new is, and it doesn't last very long at all.

One of you said to me yesterday, "We're not getting younger."  Meaning we too, our bodies, aren't as new as they used to be.

All of which makes the Maundy Thursday "news" such good news.  The new testament and the new commandment aren't getting any older.  They will never break.  They will never wear out.  They will never become obsolete.  They will never be replaced.  They are ever new, always new, truly new.

Two thousand years old and still new.  As new this Maundy Thursday as they were the first one.  And they have the power to make us new.  "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17).  And, in my words, "If Christ is in anyone, he has a new faith and a new hope and a new love."  As a result of which "we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth" (2 Pet. 3:13).

Did you know that the last time the word "new" is used in the Bible is Revelation 21:5 and words of Jesus, "Behold, I am making all things new"?

Starting with the testament to forgive us, and the commandment to love one another.  Amen.