Archive for November, 2014

November 25, 2014

The Greatest Wish

by Lester Young

If I were to ask you to reveal to me your deepest desire, what would it be? Money? Happiness? World peace? Stop and think about it for a moment: in your heart of hearts, what’s your greatest, grandest wish?

Now consider this: what do you think God’s greatest wish is? “Why would God need to bother with ‘wishes’? He’s God! He can have and do whatever He wants!” Well, yes; if you’re alluding to God’s ultimate Sovereignty, that’s absolutely true. But if you take into account how He’s already set up His System, that’s absolutely false – and it’s all because of a widely-known and even more widely misunderstood concept known as “free choice.” But I digress…

Before we go any further, it’s probably wise to lay down a practical, working definition of just what a ‘wish’ is. For our purposes today, we can consider a wish to be a personal desire or longing for something that may or may not happen, something about which you have absolutely no guarantee of. In that respect it’s markedly different from a ‘promise’; which carries with it the word, authority and reputation of the one doing the promising.

Okay, getting back to my previous question. The fact of the matter is that God does indeed have wishes. We know by 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 that God’s desire is for no person who’s ever existed on earth to perish in hell. Yet we also know many people are going to do just that (Matthew 7:13). Do you know what that means? It means a wish of God – the Almighty Creator of everything – is going to go unfulfilled… which is actually pretty amazing when you think about it. How truly powerful that “free choice” thing must be! Digressing again…

But did you realize that’s not even God’s greatest wish? It’s hard for our natural minds to consider anything a bigger desire than wanting everyone to avoid eternal damnation, but if you believe that all Scripture is God-breathed, that’s just what His Word tells us (2 Timothy 3:16). Remember 3 John 2? Paul, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, declares, “Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” And God reaffirms this deepest of desires just two verses later, saying, “I have no greater joy than to hear that My children walk in [the] truth” (3 John 4).

God’s deepest and greatest desire is that His children prosper, progress and do well in every area of life – spirit, soul and body. That means a spirit strong in faith; rooted, grounded and settled in the knowledge that God loves you just as much as He loves Jesus Himself (Luke 2:40; John 17:23; Ephesians 3:16-20; Jude 20). It means a strong soul: a sound and Spirit-led mind, will and emotions (2 Timothy 1:7). And it means a strong body: completely intact, healthy and lacking absolutely nothing – including finances (Exodus 15:26; Deuteronomy 28:2; Matthew 9:22; Luke 4:18-19; Galatians 3:14). Is it really so difficult to fathom? What parent of any quality doesn’t want that same thing for his or her kids?

Now please don’t construe this to be an attack or indictment of any kind on the depth of God’s mercy and compassion for all people, as though He somehow lacked that final dab of care necessary to save those who will be lost. (I mean, He gave us Jesus, the Best that He had. Short of just cancelling and overriding that “free choice” thing altogether, there’s nothing more He could’ve done to gift-wrap His Salvation for us all [John 3:16-19; Romans 8:32].) Quite the contrary: I see it simply as the telling measure of God’s overwhelming Love for His family that outdistances anything and everything else. It’s a Love so over-the-top that human words could never come close to describing it; a Love so ridiculously great that it’ll even take God Himself all of Eternity to show it to us (Ephesians 2:7). Something that’ll take God an eternity to do?? That’s pretty substantial.

God’s greatest desire is to give us everything He has and is (Matthew 11:27; John 16:15; Romans 8:17; Ephesians 3:19). It’s just The Ultimate Father in action, loving on His family. After all, true Love gives (John 3:16; 1 John 4:16) – It has to; it’s simply what It does by nature. And that kind of giving won’t ruin us because He also gives us discipline and boundaries, things that all children need.

So don’t worry about giving your kids too much. It won’t spoil them – a lotta kids smell like that. Just find some water and dip ’em seven times in it – they’ll be alright.

 

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November 10, 2014

Worthless… or Priceless?

by Lester Young

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “One person’s trash is another’s treasure.” And I suppose it’s reasonable to assume that vice-versa is also just as valid. Now, if you stop and mull over this adage for any length of time, the process of logic will kick in and invariably lead you to just one question: How, then, can the actual value of something – anything – be determined?

Some of you economics majors might be thinking, “That’s easy: supply and demand.” But it’s not really that cut-and-dried all the time, is it? For instance, the fact that there may be only two or three of a particular object in existence on this planet becomes immediately irrelevant if absolutely no one cares a thing in the world about them. In such an example ‘demand’ makes all the difference.

“Okay, then, what about intrinsic value?” Well, yes, the mere existence of an object possessing particular characteristics can in itself suggest a certain amount of value. But how can that value be objectively quantified? Again, when all’s said and done, it would seem to boil down to just how much someone wants it.

If you look closely, the idea of subjective value can be seen as a basic concept in God’s Word to the human race. As a matter of fact, I’m fully convinced that it’s fundamental to our salvation in Jesus Christ. I mean, we can probably all agree that God esteems Jesus pretty highly, right? (Even if we can’t all agree on it, the Father Himself called Jesus “God”; so that effectively squelches any argument on the subject anyway [Psalm 45:6; Hebrews 1:8].) After all, He’s before everything, above everything, the Maker of everything and everything’s under His feet (John 1:3, 17:5; Ephesians 1:20-22; Colossians 1:16-17). The Father thought so much of Jesus that He gave Him equal billing with Himself, so it’s quite plain to see He honored and valued His Son above all else (John 10:30; Philippians 2:9-11; 2 Peter 1:17). Yet isn’t it strange that while Jesus was here virtually no one else did – they recognized no redeeming qualities in Him (Isaiah 53:2, 3; John 1:10, 11). One Person’s Treasure…

And what about the rest of us? I’m talking – both individually and corporately – about every other man, woman and child who has ever or will ever live. The Scriptures clearly describe our fallen state: useless, empty, vanity, worthless – all of us taken together amounting to no more than a passing breath in eternity (Psalm 39:5, 11; 62:9; 144:4). Now if God were content with that valuation, all He would’ve had to do was nothing, because it’s what we already were. He could’ve just scrapped the whole Program and started over.

But God was not content with that assessment concerning us, which meant He valued us more than what the pawn shop scale was showing Him. And that logically brings us, by the way, to this next question: “How much did God value us?” Just how much did He want us? There have certainly been plenty of us down through the years, so the matter of ‘supply’ can’t really be much of an issue – which should’ve in turn driven down demand, and therefore cost.

But we don’t see that, do we? If fact, just the opposite took place. We find that ‘demand’ – God’s want, His desire for us – took over and became the sole factor in determining our worth. We see that God loved us soooo much He gave the absolute Best He had… for tons of the most worthless stuff around (John 3:16). He gave the most valuable, rare and priceless Possession in existence – His only Son – for what would amount on its own to be nothing more than a big bag of hot air. Why would both God and Jesus agree to a deal like that? Because They not only have love, They are Love (1 John 4:8, 16). Because They not only have compassion, They are Compassion (Mathew 14:14; Mark 6:34). They did it because we needed Them to.

As it turns out, that’s actually the only way you can truly determine the value of anything: by how much someone – anyone – is willing to pay for it. How valuable are you and I to God? As valuable – as priceless – to Him as the Lord Jesus is, because that’s the Price He ultimately paid for us (Ephesians 1:18). How could God not love us just as much as He loves Jesus? He proved that He does because Jesus is what He gave to get us (John 17:23, 26). Think about that the next time you’re tempted to look down on someone – anyone – else, including yourself. Remember, one person’s trash…

 

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