Monday, October 21, 2013

The Good No

"...but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die" (Gen. 2:17).

These words were spoken by God before the fall into sin.  They contain the word "not" and prove that the concept of no is a good, blessed, and perfect one.  Perhaps we have forgotten that.

A pastor instructed his congregation not to spend time gambling.  He wished to keep them from vanity and the love of money.  But a woman said to him, "I don't like to be told no," and left the church.

Why does a parent tell the child not to go into the street or touch the stove?  To keep the child from something good?  Rather, to keep something bad from happening to the child.

God's no works the same way.  He tells us no in the Ten Commandments in order to protect us from harm to body and soul.  Stop buying the lie that He's just trying to keep you from something good (Gen. 3:5).  Look what happened when Adam and Eve did!

God loves you, and "no" is one of His loving words.

"You shall have no other gods" is an invitation to experience life as it was meant to be: a real relationship with God and people, based on real love.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Rich Man and Lazarus

Luke 16:19-31 is called "The Rich Man and Lazarus."  Without even reading these verses, a great lesson is revealed just by carefully considering the title: "The Rich Man and Lazarus."  Take a moment to think about the difference, in this title, between the two men.

The difference is, only one of them has a name.

The rich man has no name.  No name, that is, known to Christ.  He had and enjoyed many things: lovely home, fine clothing and food, position of honor, places to go.  Just not a name before God in heaven.  His money could not buy that.  I'm sure they knew his name at the bank, the car dealership, the club.  But not in heaven.

Lazarus, by contrast, had and enjoyed very little.  But he is the true rich man in the story.  Because what he did have was worth far more than all of the rich man's things put together.  Lazarus had a name known to God.

"I have called you by name; you are Mine!" (Isa. 43:1).

The death of Jesus redeems the whole world.  But only those who put their trust in Him, and Him alone, have their names written in the book of life and on the heart of the Shepherd: "He calls His own sheep by name" (John 10:3).

God has blessed you in many ways.  But nothing compares with knowing that your name is known to Him!