Don’t Waste Your Time!

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16)

There are few resources given to us by our Lord that are as precious and invaluable as time. Our wealth and material possessions may increase, but the amount of time that we have on earth only continues to diminish with each passing day. And when our time on earth is done and the Lord calls us home, we will be called to stand before the Lord’s judgment seat and give an account for how we invested or wasted our talents during our time in our Master’s vineyard. The apostle understood this and urged his Ephesian brother and sisters to make the best use of their time, knowing that the evil days in which we live in earnestly seek to devour our precious time with empty promises of pleasure or threats of anxiety. Yet for the apostle, he understood that there was no more meaningful way to spend his time than to spend it for the Lord. “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain,” he said. And living for Christ meant fruitful, spiritual labor for him (Phil 1:21-22).

When our eyes are not fixed on eternal things, we become loose with our spiritual spending. Our eyes rove around the world, eagerly looking for some new gadget or hobby to spend our time on. We are no different from the shopper who wanders into the mall intending only to browse, yet leaves with an armful of unnecessary purchases and an empty wallet. Time cannot be hoarded—only spent. And if we do not know what to spend it on that is of value, we will spend it on that which is valueless, fleeting and perishable. Oh, that we would follow the example of our Lord and Master who spent his precious three years of ministry in incomparable service to his God! Never did he waver in his resolve nor did he shrink back from spending his time on bearing with his weak disciples and walking the road to his own death. May we be like our Lord and redeem our time by walking the road of the cross and not the road to Vanity Fair that will only lead us to our own destruction.

It is said that we often overestimate what can be done in two years, but underestimate what can be done for the Lord in twenty. How true! Too often, we think that the things the Lord asks us to do are mountains that are too difficult to climb and so we fail to take any steps at all. In our faithlessness, we shrink back from the road say as the Israelites did, “This is a land that devours its inhabitants.”

Yet so much can be done for our Lord over the course of twenty years if only we are willing to faithfully redeem the time each day! The Christian who begins to memorize the New Testament at a rate of one verse per day will complete the New Testament in twenty years. Listening to the Bible on audio or reading aloud according to a plan for just fifteen minutes a day, will result in having read the Bible two dozen times over the course of twenty years. Reflecting each day on what God has done and writing a short half-a-page diary entry for twenty years will result in a literary work that is five times the length of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Writing one word of encouragement for brothers and sisters each week will produce a treasure trove of over a thousand encouraging articles. So much can be done if we place our hands to the plow and do not look back as we strive to redeem the time!

Brothers and sisters, the days are evil, so let us not waste a moment of our time on the fleeting pleasures of this world, but spend them well in service to our Lord and Saviour who spent his time well, and saved countless poor, lost sinners like you and me.

Our Heavenly Home

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 22:1-5  ESV)

The heavenly home that God has promised to those who love him is without comparison on this earth. No island resort or king’s palace can compete with the great garden-city that our Lord has crafted to be the everlasting place of rest for his saints.

Inside the massive walls of the New Jerusalem runs the grand promenade. And down the middle of this street, flows the river of life, whose waters sparkle with the brilliance of crystal, so pure and clear that if you were to dip your hand in it, you would not be able to tell that your hand were underwater save for the fact that you felt it was wet! And the water of this river flows forever and is more pure than the ice-cold glacier water of the mountains because it contains the very essence of life itself (22:1). No earthly water that we have ever tasted can compare to this perpetual fountain of youth, for its source is none other than the throne of the eternal God whose strength will never fade and who dwells in brilliant, unapproachable light. The water is the unceasing flow of immortality that all saints great and small will drink from. And they shall rest on the river’s beautiful banks in peaceful days that will never again be marked with hurry or anxiety—endless days that will never again know suffering, sickness, or the pain of death, surrounded by loved ones with eyes brighter than they ever were in life. The faces of our brothers and sisters will have none of the wrinkles and creases that belonged to our former manner life, but instead will ever be ready with smiles of rapturous joy. Their voices will sound with laughter and without any hint of sadness or mourning. And their bodies! They are ageless and perfect bodies full of vitality, strength, and perpetual youth. Never again will we speak of doctors, hospitals or medical devices, except to jest with one another.

And the tree of life will no longer be blocked by the fearsome angelic warrior with his flaming sword, but will yield its delicious fruit that we will freely consume from the King’s orchard. How strange to think that we will be able to eat without purchasing from this marvelous tree that does not produce but one kind of fruit, but twelve! How marvellously abundant is the provision of God that we saints should be able to sink our teeth into the fruit of the tree of life that shall change its shape and taste each month but never lose its key nutrient of immortality.

But as wonderful as the gifts of unending prosperity and peace are, there is one greater gift still—the presence of our Lord God himself. On the day when ours eyes close to this world, they shall open in the King’s country. And though we will see many unimaginable sights, the greatest delight to our eyes will be what old Simeon longed to see—the face of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

And in that day, we will no longer walk by faith, but we shall walk by sight. For we shall see Him as He is. We will see Him who loved us before the ages began, and we shall hear the familiar voice of Him who spoke to us all these years. We will walk in the presence of the One whose very being gives life, and we will touch the nail-scarred hands that purchased our salvation. Though we have never seen him, his face will not be unfamiliar to us, as it was to Mary when she gazed on the gardener outside the tomb. And we will love him, more dearly than we have ever loved before. Our helper, brother, savior, friend, redeemer and sovereign Lord, will never be parted from us again. In that land, we will live forever and ever, and when ten thousand years have passed, we will have another ten thousand to look forward to. Our years will have no end and we will live forever with him in the city that will never have night nor gloom, illuminated with the brilliance of God himself.

What a joy and hope we have to look forward to! Let us therefore not fail to run the race marked out for us, and so gain our eternal reward.

Do You Beg God That You Wouldn’t Be Rich?

[7] Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: [8] Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, [9] lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God. (Proverbs 30:7-9 ESV)

The world we live in is obsessed with money and has a voracious appetite for wealth that can never be satisfied no matter how much is consumed. Despite the fact that greater wealth only seems to bring with it temporary happiness that fades like autumn leaves, we find it difficult to shake off the notion that more money is the solution to all of life’s problems.

But followers of God are never permitted to crave money in this way. Agur in his divine wisdom teaches that there are two great and equally dangerous errors with regards to money.

The danger of having a lack of money is clearly articulated by the Psalmist who declares that he will be tempted to sin and steal. The implication here is that a lack of money leads to him having inadequate food and out of desperation and hunger, he breaks the eighth commandment and dishonors the name of the very God he professes to serve! Therefore, we should never think that abject poverty is the ideal road for the godly to walk.

The danger of having an abundance of money is no less real, yet it is much harder to see, much like a venomous snake camouflaged under some brush. In an affluent culture like ours, many of us have already been poisoned by the insidious cobra of materialism, yet we are wholly unaware. Few of us ever think that a growing bank account is something that we should worry about because we do not understand the danger of having greater wealth. And if we should doubt just how deadly an abundance of material wealth can be, look at how the Psalmist pleads! So desirous is he that he would be neither overly poor or rich, that he earnestly begs God to grant him this wish before he dies. And the reason that the Psalmist is afraid, is that he fears that at the apex of his wealth, he will say, “Who is the LORD?”

We should not think that the Psalmist’s question, “Who is the LORD?” means that an abundance of money has given him a brain injury an caused him to forget that he believes in the existence of God. Rather, we are to understand that increased wealth has become to the Psalmist like a pair of glasses with enormously thick lenses that have distorted his view of reality. No longer can he see properly that it is God who provides him with his daily food, but he believes himself to be his own provider and thus sins against God. The fact that the Psalmist refers to God here as the “LORD” or Yahweh (his covenant, personal name in Hebrew) rather than just “God,” reinforces the idea that what is forgotten is who this covenant-keeping God is to him. How dangerous riches must be, if they can so cause us to forget that God is the one who truly provides for us all our needs!

Christian, is your prayer for daily bread just a perfunctory nod that you give to God before each meal because it’s the “right thing to do?” Or do you look at your plate and say from the bottom of your heart, “I eat today, because my Lord has given me my daily bread!” Is your health so good that you forget that your very strength is a gift from God himself? Do you take for granted that the life you have is a gift from a God who bought you out of spiritual slavery in Egypt?

The great danger of the Christian life with regards to money is not forgetting that God exists, but forgetting who this God is to us. May our hearts never become so enamored with wealth that we forget this God who is our Savior, Redeemer, Master and Friend. And in our remembrance of him, may we answer the Master’s call to “Follow me!” and store up treasures for ourselves in heaven—not on this earth.

The Flaming Sword that Pierced our Saviour’s Side

He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:24 ESV)

The entirety of life’s strivings in our few short days under the sun can be summed up in one sentence—the desire to return to Eden. The perfect happiness and bliss that the first man and woman enjoyed in the garden of God is what every single human being aspires to whether they know it or not. In Eden, Adam and Eve were free to eat from the fruits of the garden, free from the curse of sin and death, and free from judgment and criticism as they wandered about naked and unashamed. They had stress-free and divinely-provided occupations, and most of all, supremely soul-satisfying intimacy and daily fellowship with the God who walked with them in the cool of the garden.

But when sin entered the human race, the holy God whose eyes are too pure to look on evil, could no longer abide in presence of sinful man. In a moment, the relationship between God and mankind changed from one of creator and employer to judge and avenger. Lest the pure glory of the holy and just God destroy their sinful beings, Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden and forbidden to eat from the tree of life. And to make clear just how serious this separation was, a mighty angelic creature with a sword of fire was stationed to guard the tree.

The tree which had once nourished their lives was now completely untouchable. The text says that the sword turned every way, teaching us that there was no path whatsoever for man to take in order to return to fellowship with God. No person—no matter how stealthy or mighty—would ever be able to bypass that dread angelic warrior, signifying that the way back to the presence of God was closed to sinful man on pain of death.

But God in his mercy did not leave us to die outside the garden. Though the serpent struck us a mortal blow with his venomous lies, God promised us an offspring who would crush his head, Jesus Christ. By his sacrifice on the cross for sinners, our precious Lord and Savior quenched the flames of that fiery sword for those of us who believe. He did not do so by bending the laws of justice, but by boldly accepting the deathblow of justice. Christ took the place of sinful man as he approached the flaming sword on the cross. And though the sword sank into his flesh and claimed his life, the innocent lifeblood of the Lamb of God poured forth from the hole in his side and extinguished the flames of God’s wrath—flames that no water could ever extinguish, but only his blood could. “It is finished,” shouted the Christ from the cross, and so it was. The wrath and anger of God was forever satisfied. To all who believe in the Son of God as the Way, the Truth and the Life, the path back to Eden has been cleared. There is only one way—not many—but it is the sure and perfect way nonetheless. Never again should we as believers live under fear that we will one day meet the cherubim’s flaming sword, for our citizenship in the new garden of God was paid for in full by the blood of our Savior.

Christian, do you think about your Lord who gave himself up to be struck down by the flaming sword for your sins? Do you rejoice that Christ has provided in himself the Way for you to return to the garden of God? Do the realities of the eternal heaven and hell weigh heavily on your heart and mind as you look at a perishing world? Is your soul moved with compassion for the millions of people who do not know Jesus and continue to live under the threat of the angel’s flaming sword that will forever separate them from the holy God who made them?

We are more than conquerors through him who loved us! Let us never forget what a great gift we have received in our Christ who paved the Way into the garden of God through his own body and blood. And from grateful hearts, let us go into the world on beautiful feet and preach the Good News. Blood has extinguished the flames of our punishment. All that remains—is grace.

God’s Grasshoppers

[30] But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” [31] Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” [32] So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. [33] And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.” (Numbers 13:30-33 ESV)

The call of God’s faithful has always been to live by faith and not by sight. Here, the people of God found themselves on the verge of entering the Promised Land, but upon hearing the report of the spies, they became miserable and accused the LORD of bringing them into this land only to devour them. Although they had seen God deliver them by parting the Red Sea and miraculously provide them with quail and manna to eat from heaven after leaving Egypt, they nevertheless did not trust him.

It is often said in Christian circles, “God will never give you more than you can handle.” Although this statement is often offered as a comfort to Christians who are struggling with despair at their circumstances, the truth of the matter is that God DOES give us more than we can handle. In the midst of temptation, we are able to endure because it is God who provides the way of escape (1 Cor 10:13). When we are under attack by the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places, it is God’s grace that is sufficient for us (2 Cor. 12:9).

The reason that God has designed us to be fragile jars of clay is to emphasize to the watching world his surpassing power—not ours. What is most important about the man of God, is not that he is a MAN of God, but rather that he is a man of GOD! The people of Israel were not wrong in their assertions that the people of Canaan were stronger than them, or that they had chariots of iron, or that they were descendants of the mighty Nephilim. What they were wrong about was their inability to succeed in obeying the commandments of God to conquer them with divine power. They determined right and wrong based on the thoughts of MAN and not the thoughts of GOD. And so long as our wisdom is derived from the eyes of unbelief and not the eyes of faith, we will never be able to walk the Way of Christ or conquer the Jerichos that the Lord sets before us.

Christian, do you look at the commandments of God and make excuses for why they cannot be obeyed? Do you shrink back in fear from the hard things that he has repeatedly pressed on your heart to do? Are you overcome with despair and feel grasshopper-ish when you look at the immensity of the work that God has given you to do?

Loving our enemies is impossible if we do not know the God who loved his enemies and sent his Son to die for them. Forgiving those who have wronged us is impossible without knowing the forgiveness that Christ has extended to those who have offended him. God arranges circumstances to make us feel like grasshoppers so that we are not deluded into believing that we are giants. When we forget that we are dependent creatures, we run the risk of believing ourselves to be independent kings.

What a joy it is to be humble, dependent creatures! There is no shame in being grasshoppers who are utterly incapable of anything, except that which their Master empowers them to do. Learn well then, Christian grasshopper, that true wisdom is not to be gained by looking inward, but by looking upward.  Let us learn to be content as insignificant grasshoppers who are wholly dependent on the strength of our Lord Jesus Christ. How much better to glorify God by being a grasshopper whom God exalts, rather than a giant whom God humiliates!

Content to Be What We Were Made to Be

David said to Solomon, “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house to the name of the LORD my God. 8 But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me on the earth. 9 Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of rest. I will give him rest from all his surrounding enemies. For his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. 10 He shall build a house for my name. He shall be my son, and I will be his father, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel forever.’ (1 Chronicles 22:7-10 ESV)

The second king of Israel has the distinction of being the only king to have been called a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14). Though he was but a shepherd boy, the Lord took him from tending sheep to tend the flock of Israel. Here the inspired writer of the Chronicles records that David had been told by God that he could not build the temple of the LORD, because he was a man of war whose reign was characterized by much bloodshed. It is highly unlikely that the writer here is reprimanding David for sinning against God, as God not only sanctioned his wars, but gave him victory wherever he went (1 Chr. 18:6, 13), placing his enemies under the soles of his feet (1 Kings 5:3). David’s prohibition on building the temple was not the result of sin, but the result of God’s will and particular purpose for his life.

The temple was to be the peaceful meeting place between God and man. Only there, with the shedding of blood, could a holy God and a sinful man meet without wrath and judgment. The Deuteronomic law stipulated that peace from enemies was a prerequisite for building the temple (Deut 12:10-11). Therefore, it took the life’s work of one man to pave the way for the foundation of God’s temple. The young Solomon did nothing to earn the peace that allowed him to build the temple. It was a gift to him from both his father and his heavenly Father. And he fulfilled his purpose as a man of peace, by building a temple of peace to give the world a glimpse of unimaginable human flourishing under God’s shalom.

The lives of God’s faithful have always been used for a specific purpose. There are those who have lived their entire lives under persecution while others have only known freedom to practice their faith. Some have been given lives of joy in poverty, while others have been given the gift of generosity with the ample wealth that God has blessed them with. Some have been like Daniel’s friends who were untouched by the flames of the fiery furnace, whereas others burned brilliantly at the stake for the glory of God. Some spend their entire lives sowing Gospel seeds, whereas others spend their entire lives enjoying the bountiful harvest of the spiritual labors of others (John 4:36-38).

Dear Christian brothers and sisters, are you content to live the life that the Lord has assigned to you? Do you look at another believer’s life and envy them, wishing that the giftings or prosperity that were given to them by their Master were yours? Are you disappointed that God has not given you what you have asked for as you have tirelessly waged war for the Lord? Are you conscious of the fact that it is before your own Master that you stand or fall?

Oh, let us love our Master’s will and prize it above any comfort or excitement that belongs to the life of another of God’s servants! David fulfilled the purpose of God in his own generation, and then fell asleep (Acts 13:36). May God makes us a people who are zealous to expend our lives in fighting the Lord’s wars or reaping the harvest—whatever our Master has laid out for us. Let us be steadfast and immovable as we work for our Lord, knowing that one day we will all enter the ultimate peace of God because of what Jesus has done for us on Calvary’s cross.

The God Who Burns But Never Burns Out

And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. (Exodus 3:2 ESV)

When the LORD God appeared to Moses, he came in a flame of fire. Fire is a fitting image for our almighty God whose immense power can consume entire armies, reduce city walls to rubble, and black out the noonday light of the sun. Yet, though our God is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29), he is a fire that burns eternally without consuming its fuel source. God’s power appears in the bush, yet was not dependent on the bush at all! In fact, the God who is independent of the bush is the one who preserves the bush by the word of his power.

What a marvelous picture this is of our God who is without comparison in this world! He is completely free to exercise his power, yet he is never limited in his power. He is the God who gives life and breath to every living thing, yet he is not served by human hands as though he needed anything (Acts 17:25). God’s holy presence should have consumed the sinful children of Israel, yet instead he chose to tabernacle with them in the wilderness and sustained them for forty years.

What an encouragement this is for us as believer! The great “I AM” is the self-existent one who depends on nothing for his own sustenance! And because his own resources are unlimited, only he can be trusted to perfectly supply the needs of poor, finite creatures like us—creatures who cannot look to ourselves for help, but only to our Creator. How comforting it is, Christian, to know that though the God we serve is a consuming fire, he does not consume us! The Holy Spirit who burns within us does not depend on us for fuel, but rather fuels us in the midst of our darkest trials!

Christian are you awed by the fact that your God needs nothing from you and yet freely offers to you everything that you need? Do you realize that the heavenly storehouses will always be full of grace, mercy, and material provisions because their source is an infinite God? Never fear that any cheques that we attempt to deposit through prayer at God’s heavenly bank will bounce, for our accounts with him have no limit whatsoever. In our hour of greatest need, let us boldly come before the throne of grace, dressed in the righteousness of Christ, and ask according to his will, expecting to receive!

And as we rise each day, we should marvel at our ordinary reflection in the mirror. Let us marvel at the fact that though the fire of the almighty God lives inside of us, our flesh is not consumed. Let us give praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whose blood alone can cover the heavenly mercy seat. And let us bow before our God who did not chose to scourge us with his presence, but to save us with his Son.

Do You Know When the Mountain Goats Give Birth?

“Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the calving of the does? Can you number the months that they fulfill, and do you know the time when they give birth, when they crouch, bring forth their offspring, and are delivered of their young? (Job 39:1-3 ESV)

The immensity of the difference between us and God cannot be adequately portrayed with words. The chasm of wisdom that separates a full-grown man from a little boy may be large, yet it is nothing compared to the Grand Canyon that separates our wisdom from God’s. Even if one were to live for a thousand years and spend half of this time pursuing one hundred PhD degrees from the world’s greatest universities, this would still not compare to the wisdom of God. But even if we could spend an eternity learning from God’s infinite wisdom, we would still fall short of competing with Him, for we will never be able to replicate His omniscience.

When we read these verses in Job, we should not think that the Almighty is clueless as to the breeding habits of mountain goats. God’s questions in the Bible are never a probe for information, but calculated verbal thrusts designed to provoke us to think. And whether this is “Where are you, Adam?” or “Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?” the questioning of the Creator serves to stop the mouths of His creatures who are often too quick to speak, grumble, and complain.

How matchless is the depth of God’s wisdom and insight! In a few short sentences, He throws down the gauntlet and dares every human being alive to measure up to His unrivaled and meticulous scrutiny of this world. Who knows where the mountain goat gives birth in the crags of the rocks? Who knows which trimester the doe is in as she carries her young fawn? Who knows when the moment of delivery arrives for a heavily pregnant four-legged mammal hidden in the depths of the forest? Though you and I have no idea whatsoever—nor would we even care—God knows. Such a detail which is seemingly insignificant and wholly unknown to us, is not insignificant to God, nor is it unknown to Him. Not a sparrow of the field will fall to the ground apart our Father (Matt 10:29), and neither does anything, no matter how seemingly unimportant, happen to us apart from the hand of our God.

Christian, do you realize that the God you serve is fully aware of the timing of the birthing activities of the animals of this world? Do you think about the fact that He observes each one while simultaneously observing your life? Does God’s answer to this man who has lost his entire family, fortune and health stun you?

The greatest response that God can give to our heart-wrenching trials is NOT to tell us WHY we are suffering, but to remind us of WHO He is! The reason we complain is not because our trials are too difficult but because we have forgotten the One who gave them to us. God does not lead His people into the wilderness to destroy them, but to test and strengthen them.

Do you know when the mountain goat gives birth, Christian? Then, lay your hand across your mouth and say, “I am of small account (Job 40:4). I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, therefore I repent in dust and ashes (Job 42:3-6).” And when you have repented of your Israelite grumbling, humble yourself before the Lord and put your trust in Him. And at the proper time, He will comfort you with His very own presence and exalt you.

An Unusual Union of Love and Authority

[8] Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, [9] yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus—[10] I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. (Philemon 8-10 ESV)

The Christian faith is unique in that it is an unusual union of authority and love. Here the apostle Paul does not invoke his apostolic authority to urge his brother Philemon to deal kindly with his now converted runaway slave, but instead for love’s sake appeals to him!

Certainly our hearts are moved when we see an earnest appeal from love, but our hearts are absolutely staggered when the individual making the plea has absolutely no need to do so. Paul was an apostle. He had seen the risen Lord Jesus Christ.  He had been taken up into the heavenlies and heard things that man may not utter (2 Cor 12:4). He wrote half the New Testament. And yet here, he makes no mention whatsoever of his credentials! In fact, this is one of only three letters where Paul says nothing about being an apostle. Instead, he refers to himself as a prisoner of Christ Jesus and an old man.

What a fitting lesson in leadership this is for us! Though we may have every right to make demands, for love’s sake we are to choose the road of humility, making ourselves nothing, and appeal to love instead! And is this not a perfect picture of the heart of our Lord Jesus? Though He was rich, He made Himself poor so that by His poverty we could become rich. Though He could have demanded that His followers serve Him, the Son of Man came in humility to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. Though He could have condemned all of us sinners to hell, He chose to instead to absorb the torment of hell in His body until He had drained the cup of God’s wrath down to its dregs. We must never forget, that it was not nails, but love that secured God’s anointed to that cross.

Christian, is your heart moved by the omnipotent God who came as a servant and not as a soldier? Are you amazed that the infinite God should become finite to save you from your sins? Does this magnificent love humble your heart and drive you to treasure Him above all the fleeting treasures of Egypt in this world?

The uniqueness of Christian leadership is not that it is grounded in authority, but that it is grounded in love. And there is no greater image of love that is patient and kind than the one we see in the living picture of our servant King who did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not just good news of an omnipotent God who pardons and reigns, but of a God who loves and lays down his rights.

The God Who Is Closer Than Any Mother

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.  Isaiah 49:15

The image of a mother and her child is a powerful one and there is nothing else like it. A father may hold and protect a helpless infant, but only a mother can nurse and nourish with her body. A father may laugh and wrestle with his child, but only a mother will ever feel that child struggle and kick from within her womb. All relationships in this world are lives intertwined with other lives, yet no relationship, except the mother and the child, is one of life carrying another life. For nine whole months, the child will grow and learn to hear mother’s voice. Mother’s own body will be the shield, warmth and protection from the elements for that developing child’s own fragile little body. It is no wonder then, that mother and child have a special bond unlike any other.

I have often heard it said that a father may leave his child, but that a mother never will. In Canada, single mothers outnumber single fathers with children, four-to-one. But though statistics attest to the bond between mother and child, this is not absolute. We all know of children whose mothers have abandoned them as they chose their own pleasures and lusts instead of the privilege of motherhood. How incredulous this seems and it yet it is true! “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?” asks the Lord. “Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”

How great is the Lord’s care for us! His great love infinitely exceeds the most intimate picture of life-sustaining love on the earth! And as deep as the most doting mother’s love is for her child, the Lord says that his love is greater still! Though a mother may suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia and forget your name, the Lord knows the very hairs upon your head and even the new name which he will give you on a white stone (Rev 2:17). Though a mother may fill herself with alcohol and abandon you, your heavenly Father will never leave you or forsake you, and promises to fill your emptiness with his Spirit. Never will we wail piteously for spiritual milk and find ourselves with nothing to slake our spiritual thirst. Never will we cry for food and find that the Lord has let his righteous go hungry (Prov 10:3).

Believer, do you ever contemplate that as vast as the difference is between a mother and a child, the difference between us and God is greater still? Do you realize that as helpless as an infant is, we are more helpless still? When the suffering of our lives seems intolerable, are you encouraged by the knowledge that the Lord cares for you more intimately than any mother does?

Though we might cry to our Lord ten times a day as needy infants do, we should never fear that our cries will go unheeded. Our Lord is closer to our cradle than any mother could possibly be. He nurses us with the milk of his Word and treats our spiritual sickness of sin with the blood of his own Son. Therefore, be content, little Christian child. Remember that your heavenly Father hears your cries and will never, ever forget you. And if he did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us (Rom 8:32), how much more, will he remember us in our hour of greatest need.