Let Justice Run Down Like Water

The voice of your brother’s blood
cries out to Me from the ground.
                                                        – Genesis 4:10

I am ashamed that this week we, as a nation, are known for the words “I can’t breathe.” My heart breaks that George Floyd died crying out for mercy, as he did this week. I don’t know all the details of what happened leading up to the moments that George Floyd died. We may never fully know. And the details will never justify his death. But the fact that this happened as it did, I find myself thinking, “We can do better.”

In his 1963 Letter from Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr. quoted the Prophet Amos, “But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream” (Amos 5:24). We can do better. We can pray for better. I think we would all agree that George Floyd’s blood cries out “let justice run down like water.” 

I do not believe that this terrible happening defines who we are as a nation in 2020. But it does remind us of how much we need the unifying mercy and grace that are only ultimately found in Jesus, through the gospel. And only when He rules and reigns will the cry of of the prophet Amos be fulfilled. 

Lord Come Quickly! 

Blessings,
Pastor Miles

P.S. I know that some will be tempted to read way too much into the words above. I ask that you stop, wait, and pray before you respond. I’ve thought and prayed a lot about what to say, if anything, as it regards this situation. Additionally, I would encourage all of you who name the name of Christ to not engage in arguments on social media at this moment. We would do well to remember the words of the apostle James, “the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). 

What Do You Want Me To Do?

So he, trembling and astonished, said,
“Lord, what do You want me to do?”
                                                              – Acts 9:6

I’ve often thought that Paul’s question (above) from Acts 9 is one of the most important questions you and I could ask

Saul of Tarsus had spent (perhaps) years waging war against the early Christians. Finally, as he approached another city, seeking out followers of “the Way” (Acts 9:2), he was met by the risen Jesus. And as Saul lay on the ground, enveloped by the light of the glory of God, he asked, “Lord, what do You want me to do?

Those words are an acknowledgement of submission. They revealed that Saul was not only recognizing the truth that Jesus is Lord, but that he was also setting himself to follow and obey Him as such. Now, it is one thing to say the words, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” It is quite another thing to actually obey Him when He tells you “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Have you acknowledged the Lordship of Jesus in your life? Have you begun to seek His will? Have you set yourself to obey His word? Maybe you might say, “Well, I don’t know what He wants me to do! If only He would tell me, I’d do it.” There’s one really good way to know what Jesus wants you to do. He’s given us the revealed truth of His word, and He desires that we would hear and heed it.

Right now, in the midst of our Covid shutdown, a lot of people are taking this as an opportunity to ‘reboot’ and establish some new norms in their life. I hope you’ll take this opportunity to make God’s word a part of your regular daily routine, if you haven’t already. One of the simple ways you can begin to do that is by listening through the Scriptures with The Listening Plan, or The Daily OT

My Hope…

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness

These words may be familiar to you. Especially if you grew up in a more traditional church. They were written by a hymn writer (Edward Mote) in the 19th century, and they’ve been song in churches worldwide, nearly ever since. I find that they fill my mind frequently when I am conftoned with challenging circumstances, which, in this life are both normal, and always temporary

Those two things are super important to remember and meditate upon. Trying times and challenging circumstances are normal, and always temporary. Even when they seem to go on for a prolonged period. 

As we find in the Psalms, that’s a good point for a SELAH (a short pause, to breath and think). 

We live in a world that is broken. I can’t reiterate that enough. We are reminded of the brokenness of this world a lot right now. And sometimes the brokenness of a broken world can be somewhat overwhelming. Our souls can be troubled. Has your’s been troubled recently? If so, it’s normal. And ultimately it is temporary. 

Mote’s hymn goes on to say …
 
I dare note trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand. 

I want to encourage you to take a moment to pause and breath, today (SELAH) … and to maybe mediate on Mote’s hymn. You can download the full lyrics, here

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, wrote, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18). He also wrote…
 
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
– 2 Cor. 4:17-18

I’ve shared these passages many times in the past, and quite a bit more recently. But they truly are worth thinking on. 

Enoch Walked With God

Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him..
                                                                 – Genesis 5:24

This last Monday we launched “The Daily OT” listening plan, which takes you on a 929 day journey, listening through the Old Testament. Today’s reading is in Genesis 5, which contains the fascinating verse above. 

You may have never heard of Enoch. He’s name only appears in a few genealogies in the Bible, once in Hebrews, and again in Jude. But his story has evoked a lot of interest and commentary. He was the seventh generation from Adam, the father of the oldest man recorded to have lived (Methuselah), and—the most interesting part of all—he never died

“Enoch walked with God,” and then “he was not.” What does that even mean? And more strange still, “he was not, for God took him.” Truly a strange passage of scripture, if ever there was one. The “hall of faith” in Hebrews 11 records, “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death” (v. 5). 

There are many things that we could speculate about Enoch, and his story. But the full details we’ll have to find out when we connect with him in eternity. But aside from all of those fascinating details we may one day learn, one thing we know for certain is worth thinking about as we head into another weekend, under the shadow of the Coronavirus. 

Hebrews 11:5 gives us this important point; the reason for which Enoch’s name is listed in Hebrews 11: “before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” How did this man of God, who walked with God and was not, please the Lord with whom he walked? The author of the Book of Hebrews answers the question for us in verse 6 … 
 
But without faith it is impossible to please Him,
for he who comes to God must believe that He is,
and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
                                                                 – Hebrews 11:6 

The last 7 weeks have likely been a challenge and test for your faith. But if you simply believe that God is, and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, then you too will be pleasing to God. And you can have this sure and steadfast hope, that as you walk, pursuing God by faith in this life, you will walk with Him in His presence forever

Blessings,
Pastor Miles

My Sheep Hear My Voice

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.
                                                                 – John 10:27-28

The verses above are a part of today’s passage from The Listening Plan. And they’ve been churning about in my mind the last day or so. As I’ve been thinking about them, I’ve been thinking that they are a worthy meditation for you today.

I want to challenge you to try to memorize John 10:27-28, and then I’d ask you to mediate (think on) these words a bit this weekend. I’m asking you to do this, because, in the midst of all we are going through, these words are really important. They’re important because, if you are a believer in Jesus—one of His sheep—then you will follow Him. And if you are a follower of Jesus—one of His sheep—then He knows you, and He has promised to give you eternal life. Which means, you will never perish

Yes, Coronavirus could kill you. So could a car accident, cancer, a bolt of lightning, a heart attack, a stoke, and too many Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs (but what a wonderful death!). There’s no escaping this world without dying (you don’t need to correct me, by reminding me about the rapture. I know.). But if you are one of His sheep, you will never perish

The Apostle Paul wrote, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). In another place he wrote, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). To be “well pleased … to be absent from the body” means that Paul was looking forward to death. How strange! Unless he fully believed that he would never perish. 

I wish I could be with you all for church this weekend. Remember, church is the gathering of the people of God. So, I wish we could be gathered together, in person. But though we are “absent in the flesh,” we will be with one another in spirt. Don’t miss our online broadcasts at 9:00am, 10:45am, and 12:30pm on live.lifeinconnection.com.

Blessings,
Pastor Miles

P.S. We have a new offering for those of you who are looking for a pretty simple way to journey through the Old Testament of the Bible. Paul wrote in Romans 10 that “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (v. 17). Which means you can greatly grow your faith by listening through he Scriptures. We’ve offered The Listening Plan for you to do that through the New Testament for nearly 5 years. But now we’re adding The Daily OT. Check it out and subscribe at TheDailyOT.com.