For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
Face to Face
From: Our Daily Bread
The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Exodus 33:11
Although the world is connected electronically like never before, nothing beats time together in person. As we share and laugh together, we can often sense—almost unconsciously—the other person’s emotions by watching their facial movements. Those who love each other, whether family or friends, like to share with each other face to face.
We see this face-to-face relationship between the Lord and Moses, the man God chose to lead His people. Moses grew in confidence over the years of following God, and he continued to follow Him despite the people’s rebelliousness and idolatry. After the people worshiped a golden calf instead of the Lord (see Ex. 32), Moses set up a tent outside of the camp in which to meet God, while they had to watch from a distance (33:7–11). As the pillar of cloud signifying God’s presence descended to the tent, Moses spoke on their behalf. The Lord promised that His Presence would go with them (v. 14).
Because of Jesus’s death on the cross and His resurrection, we no longer need someone like Moses to speak with God for us. Instead, just as Jesus offered to His disciples, we can have friendship with God through Christ (John 15:15). We too can meet with Him, with the Lord speaking to us as one speaks to a friend.
Face to face! O blissful moment! Face to face—to see and know; face to face with my Redeemer, Jesus Christ who loves me so! Carrie E. Breck
We can speak to the Lord as a friend.
Suffering Afflictions and Going the Second Mile
From: Our Daily Journey
This verse reveals the humiliation of being a Christian. In the natural realm, if a person does not hit back, it is because he is a coward. But in the spiritual realm, it is the very evidence of the Son of God in him if he does not hit back. When you are insulted, you must not only not resent it, but you must make it an opportunity to exhibit the Son of God in your life. And you cannot imitate the nature of Jesus— it is either in you or it is not. A personal insult becomes an opportunity for a saint to reveal the incredible sweetness of the Lord Jesus.
The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is not, “Do your duty,” but is, in effect, “Do what is not your duty.” It is not your duty to go the second mile, or to turn the other cheek, but Jesus said that if we are His disciples, we will always do these things. We will not say, “Oh well, I just can’t do any more, and I’ve been so misrepresented and misunderstood.” Every time I insist on having my own rights, I hurt the Son of God, while in fact I can prevent Jesus from being hurt if I will take the blow myself. That is the real meaning of filling “up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ…” (Colossians 1:24). A disciple realizes that it is his Lord’s honor that is at stake in his life, not his own honor.
Never look for righteousness in the other person, but never cease to be righteous yourself. We are always looking for justice, yet the essence of the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is— Never look for justice, but never cease to give it.
|July 14, 2017
The Wild Ride of Faith
CHRYSTAL EVANS HURST
“… the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:3-4 (NIV)
On a recent trip to an amusement park, my boys and I decided to try out a new roller coaster. Well, it was new for them. I’d experienced it before and knew it was the perfect ride for my boys: One is a thrill-seeker, one is a thrill-avoider and one sits somewhere in between.
We approached the line and waited patiently for our turn. My thrill-avoider slowly became apprehensive about getting on the ride. He had time to wonder how fast the ride would go, how far the drops would be and how many sharp curves he would encounter. In other words, he had a long wait full of worry.
The closer we got to the front of the line, the more anxious he became. He started asking me for a way out — some way to avoid venturing into the unknown. I felt like a terrible mom, but I decided he would just have to go. We’d already waited so long, and it wouldn’t be fair to his brothers.
But here’s the other reason I made him get on the ride. I knew it wasn’t that bad. As a roller coaster-lover, I knew this ride was rather mild, and he would be just fine once he experienced the ups and downs for himself.
I knew he’d be okay.
He didn’t believe me.
As we approached the front of the line, the people behind us could see my son was visibly shaken and averse to moving forward. I assumed they secretly thought I was an awful mom. To my surprise, one of the ladies leaned toward my son and said, “Don’t be scared. I was afraid the first time I rode it, but it was super fun!”
Her encouragement kept him moving forward.
When it was our turn to ride, the park employee who controlled the ride noticed my son’s nervousness. He left his post and bent down to comfort my son, reassuring him that he would love the ride.
My son seemed a bit calmer. Resolved that the ride was imminent, he reached over and asked me to hold his hand throughout our journey.
More often than I care to admit, I find myself in line for something in life I’m unsure about. I anticipate the ride will be rougher than I want — too much for me to handle.
And I want out.
I worry. I whine. I cry. I beg God to get me out of the line. I’m apprehensive and anxious about the direction things are headed and I let the world know it.
But here’s what I’ve learned: While God may not always remove me from my circumstances, He is always with me.
He knows I’ll be okay.
I don’t always believe Him — particularly when I ruminate about all the things that could go wrong. Thankfully, God doesn’t let my apprehension or anxiety about my future stop me from embarking on rides I might otherwise avoid.
God doesn’t place me in situations where I will be tempted beyond what I can bear. He also ensures that when I’m feeling weak, I can hold on to Him, take comfort in His presence and trust in His strength to get me through. God, in His loving care, often places people in my path who’ve been on the ride I face and can encourage me to move forward.
We rode the ride that day, and my son screamed the whole time. He was that kid who hollered his brains out. But you know what? As we got out of our seats and made our way through the exit, he had a huge smile on his face. He’d enjoyed the ride. He even asked to ride again.
I’ve been walking with God long enough to know that building my faith often requires unexpected rides that may leave me feeling worried and unsettled. I’ve also learned that God can be trusted. He will hold my hand and be with me the entire way. And while the ride may seem wild at times — building my faith is the ride of a lifetime. And it’s one ride I’m learning to enjoy.
Dear Father, sometimes I struggle to have confidence when I encounter a wild ride of faith. Please help me to believe that You are with me to walk boldly forward, even when it’s toward the unknown. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.