Archive for November, 2012

November 21, 2012

Commanding God?

by Lester Young

With your permission, I’d like to get just a little bit ‘technical’ today. Think about this for a moment: What’s the difference between somebody ‘asking’ you to give them something and them ‘telling’ you to do so? If you’re like most people, you’ve typically considered that very difference to be the determining factor as to whether the person actually gets what they want or not. C’mon, now; I think we can all plead guilty to bristling up at the voice of someone demanding that we do something for them. (And, if you’re one of us “old-school” parents, it surely better not be a child who’s doing the demanding – a mistake on his or her part that would only be committed once… but I digress.)

However, there is another viewpoint that we could take about being ‘bossy.’ As a matter of fact, from a Biblical perspective, and with the proper wisdom, such an attitude and type of behavior is highly encouraged – furthermore, it’s even commanded. Yes, we’re actually told to be righteously bossy. And, no, I’m not referring here to bossing the devil around, which we should absolutely be doing, by the way (Ephesians 1:20-23, 2:6). Nor am I talking about trying to lord over our fellow human beings. Who, then, are we supposed to be bossing, to be making demands of? Who, indeed.

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November 14, 2012

The Kingdom Is Now!

by Lester Young

“The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:7). A pretty familiar verse, to be sure. Anybody know what it means? Actually, I suppose a more significant question (at least for the moment) would be, “What do you think of when you hear that verse… what picture comes to mind?” Even more so than ‘what’ is ‘when’: when are you really expecting to make any practical use of it – in the sweet by and by, or sometime a little closer?

Fortunately for us, we can gain considerable insight into just about any verse in The Book by paying close attention to its environment – that is, by checking out the Scriptures around it. In this particular case, let’s take a look at the very next verse, Matthew 10:8, where Jesus is giving specific instructions to His disciples as He boots them out of the nest on their first solo mission trips around the countryside. He tells them, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, [and] cast out devils…” As they’re going around performing these marvelous feats, He also instructed them to preach – to announce to the people, to let them know – that ‘the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand’ (Matthew 10:7).

Now, I think we can agree that all of those acts the disciples were commanded to do – healing, cleansing, raising and casting – would fit neatly under the category heading of ‘Deliverance/Liberation.’ In each one, somebody’s clearly being freed from a condition that just isn’t any good. Jesus verified as much when quoting from the book of Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He’s sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised…” (Luke 4:18). We can see, then, that ‘Deliverance/Liberation’ was not only a hallmark but a foundational purpose of Jesus’ coming here in the first place.

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November 10, 2012

Strength for the Fight

by Lester Young

Let’s talk for a moment about unicorns. No, no…I’m not really referring to the pink and chartreuse ‘My Little Pony’ you might have gotten your daughter for Christmas last year, nor the mono-horned winged equine of legend. Strong’s Hebrew Concordance defines ‘unicorn’ as a “wild bull.”

Okay then, when you think of a wild bull, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Big… strong… dangerous…certainly, all of these. And not necessarily the most even-tempered of God’s remarkable creations, either. (Whoever of you it was that said ‘steak sauce’ as a first response… you get no points for that answer.) Purposely facing off with – or even attempting to get near – one of those beasts can be counted as a practical example of “taking one’s life into one’s own hands.”

In stark contrast to his sister Elsie the cow, when faced with danger or an outright challenge, the wild bull typically tends to attack first, attack again, attack some more… and then if anyone’s still standing try to ask a question or two later (well, you know what I mean). To put it in simple terms, they’re just plain mean; and they’re big and strong enough to back it up. How many bullfighters have you ever seen or even heard of that stepped into the arena unarmed, man-to-bull, hand-to-hoof? Not much of a ‘fight’ there, just a lot of running and screaming… but I digress.

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