Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Even though some radio stations and stores have been playing it for more than a month already, I prefer to wait until the start of Advent to put Christmas music. One of my favorite Carols is Hark the Herald Angels sing, inspired by the birth narrative in Luke 2.

Over the next few weeks at The Orchard Church we're going to be talking about why Christmas is so important, and in a real sense the rich lyrics of this great old carol powerfully remind us.

Hark the Herald Angels Sing,
“Glory to the newborn King:
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With angelic host proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem
Hark the Herald Angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King”

It’s hard to read this without actually bursting into song!

Hark basically means "listen" or "hear," and then this whole first verse really speaks about the Incredible news that the angels announced that very first Christmas.

The second line says: Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.
This was essentially the great message that was given. Today we often misquote the Luke passage as "peace on earth and good will to men" – when actually the Scripture says, "Peace on earth to those with whom he is pleased…" That is that the peace of God is made available to those who please God by responding rightly to the provision that He has made for them in His Son.

This idea comes out here in the carol, where we sing, Peace on earth and mercy mild.
Today we usually think of mild in terms of gentleness. But one of the uses of the word in Wesley’s day that has now largely fallen out of use, was kindness or grace. So when we sing this, we are actually singing, Peace on earth and gracious mercy because now God and sinners can be reconciled!

That was the message of the angels and that is the message of the carol. That because of the birth of Jesus Christ the peace that comes from being forgiven by God and reconciled to him is available! What incredible news!

The carol goes on, Joyful all ye nations rise, Join the triumph of the skies, with angelic host proclaim, Christ is born in Bethlehem…
Again this comes right out of the Luke passage and the announcement of the angels – "Behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people or all nations."
This is in essence an invitation for us to join with the very angels in heaven in proclaiming and praising God for the birth of Jesus.

While the first verse speaks of the angels message, the second speaks in particular of the incredible truth that God himself has come to dwell with his people.
This truly sets Christianity apart from any and every other religion or faith system, that God himself would willing come and dwell amongst his people, taking on human flesh.
See the words of the carol, that we sing,

Christ by highest heaven adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold him come,
Off spring of the virgin’s womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail the incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.
Hark the Herald Angels Sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

This verse begins by proclaiming who this child is. He is Christ, that is the promised Savior, and he is adored by the highest heaven. This speaks of the greatness of who He is, He is the everlasting Lord. That is God himself, who now lays in a feeding trough in a dirty, draughty stable.

We sing, late in time, behold him come. This is one of those expressions that has changed a little over time. Some us as we are going through various challenges and struggles do sometimes feel like God is kind of showing up a bit later than we would like him to, but that is not what is being talked about here. In fact this comes from Galatians 4:4, "When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son…"

That is that late in time, behold him come, means at just the right time, he came. Then the carol speaks of his virgin birth (offspring of the virgin womb) that is attested to in the gospels and is in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14.

Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see. Again this is kind of an invitation to look on who this child is, He is God in human flesh, come to dwell amongst us, Incarnate. That is a theological word that we use to talk about God taking on humanity. The Godhead, is used to talk about the Trinity, that there is one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that this is God the Son who we are talking about here, deity incarnate!

Pleased as man with man to dwell. I love this line because it reminds us that Jesus willingly took on humanity. He was pleased to come as man with man to dwell.
Jesus our Emmanuel. Again this phrase points us back to the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 where the promised child who would be born of a virgin was to be called, Emmanuel which means God is with us.
Right there is the wonder of Christmas, Emmanuel, GOD IS WITH US!

Then from speaking of the announcement of the angels, to the identity of the child, the carol moves us to give praise to Him for His works on our behalf.

Hail the heaven born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Risen with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the Sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark the Herald Angels Sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

This verse starts with these two titles, Prince of Peace comes right out of another prophecy from the prophet Isaiah in chapter 9, where we are told that:
For to us a child is born,
to us a Son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace…

The second phrase used as a title here comes right out of another Old Testament prophet, Malachi in chapter 4:2. Malachi, speaks of the coming of the day of the Lord and how those who are God’s true people will joyfully see the Sun of Righteousness rise with healing in its wings. Wesley, the hymns author here uses this as a title for Jesus. The message here of the carol is rich and powerful, because according to John 1 Jesus has indeed bought the gift of light and life to all who accept him.
Then, Wesley speaks of how Jesus laid aside his majesty, his glory as God, exchanging it for the humility of the manger and ultimately the cross, this coming out of Philippians 2.

We see the same word “mild” here that we saw in the first verse and again it has the connotation of graciously. So we can understand it as with undeserved grace toward us, he willingly lays aside his glory.

Born that man no more may die. This truly is the wonder of Christmas. Not only is Jesus Christ our Emmanuel – God with us, but He came to die so that we could live. Nothing about Jesus’ life and ministry was an accident, least of all his death, he came to take on himself the punishment that we deserved for our sins, the things that separate us from a holy God so that we could be reconciled – God and sinners reconciled, so that we could be freed from our slavery to death and instead set free to eternal life with Him.

Born to raise the sons of earth, that’s us. Born to give them second birth, that idea is right out of John chapter 3 as Jesus tells Nicodemus about the need to be born again and where we find those wonderful words… for God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. Then comes the piece that most of us either don’t know or ignore, because in John 3:17-18 it says:
For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

As the busyness of the season begins to press in, I encourage you to stop and reflect, to stop and listen, to stop and to "Hark" what the "Herald Angels Sing."

Monday, October 31, 2011

God's Ways Work!

Life is filled with difficult decisions. Sometimes we seem to be surrounded by such a complex set of circumstances that it is hard to get our bearings. We can feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Sadly this is true not only of those who are living life apart from the knowledge of God, but for many professing Christ followers too!
While the Bible doesn't speak to every circumstance (should I order Lasagna or a salad), in it God has revealed His ways. in it God has imparted divine wisdom. As the Psalmist said "your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." In God's Word He has given us direction. His path is good and His ways work!
  • When we have a relational issue or there is family discord, Scripture clearly shows us the way to act.
  • When our finances are tight or we need to make a decision over a big purchase, we find in God's Word clear direction as to how to honor God with our resources by giving generously and how to put our financial house in order.
  • When we feel anxious, depressed or fearful, God's Word equips us with the life line of truth to grab on to, and instructs us about how we can experience genuine and lasting peace.
  • When we are tempted to sin, to give into that same snare over and over again, God's Word shows us a way out and provides us with safeguards that we can establish in our lives.
The list could go on and on, but the fact remains, God's path is good and His ways work!
I don't fully understand how they work, but when we ask, seek and knock in prayer, God has promised to answer. When we give generously the full offering, God has promised to provide for our needs. When we surrender our ways to Him, He moves in great ways. When we keep the sexual relationship within His given bounds of marriage there is great joy, security and blessing not only for our family but for an entire community. Because God's ways are backed up by God's promises and His promises are amazing!
So if God's ways work, why don't we choose to follow them?
May be it is because we don't know His ways (pick up your Bible and dive in! Perhaps start with reading a proverb each day.)
Maybe it is because we think our ways are better (really!!)
Maybe it is because we don't want to give up control.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Praying for a Harvest

It's hard to believe that September is here already. The summer seems to speed by and while the official beginning of fall is still a few weeks away, the weathermen on T.V. are already talking about how September 1 is the start of "meteorological fall."
Fall means shorter days, cooler temperatures, falling leaves and harvest. While depending on the crops that a farmer grows there may be several harvests in a year, the big harvest season that many think of is just around the corner.
Jesus speaks of the harvest when he refers to people who are ripe to respond to the message of the gospel. In Matthew 9:37-38, speaking to his disciples he says, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."
I have heard a lot of people in our day make the argument that when Jesus spoke it was a different day, and that while there was a great receptivity to the gospel then it just isn't the same today. As for me, I believe that we can take Jesus at his word. Maybe instead of shifting the blame onto others we, the Church ought to examine whether we are "praying earnestly to the Lord of the harvest."
As we move into September we are getting ready to kick off our church-wide week of Prayer and Fasting at The Orchard. We are asking people to commit to pray for our church, our community and most of all for the harvest and to dedicate one, or perhaps several days to fast along with our prayer. Will you join us the week of September 11-17.
O God, I take you at your Word - give us a great harvest of souls won to Christ. Touch my neighbor, my co-worker, my friend who needs to know you. Soften their heart even now, and raise up bold, faithful and courageous laborers to go in to your harvest fields, even your field here in McHenry, Woodstock, Wonder Lake, Crystal Lake and beyond. And Lord, as they go, prosper their steps. Raise up laborers. Bring in the harvest. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Oh, and by the way, it's pretty interesting to note who we see going out in to the harvest field in Matthew 10!
Are you praying for the harvest?
May God grant us the greatest harvest we have ever seen at The Orchard Church this fall.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Connectivity

I've had the opportunity to worship at a couple of different churches over the past few months. Once while out in the Boston area, once a couple of weeks ago as I attended the church that I friend of mine Pastors, and once this past weekend where I served as the guest speaker. It is always a joy to see followers of Jesus Christ meeting together to worship Him. Each congregation had a very different personality and each one had a distinct style. Nevertheless, without fail whenever I visit another church, I leave thinking about how much I missed my own local church family at The Orchard. I miss people who care about me asking me about my week. I miss the smile from someone that I know has been struggling terribly, but that lets me know, "in Christ's strength, I'm getting there."
One of the saddest things that I can think of is a person who claims to follow Jesus, that is disconnected from His body. The Christian life cannot be lived in isolation. Connection with, identification with, participation in the local church simply are not optional extras for a believer.
Some people may think to themselves that it is hardly surprising that a Pastor would talk about this sort of stuff because "he just wants his attendance numbers to look good." Am I concerned about a persons' attendance at church, you bet I am! But, it's not because of the numbers, it is because when a person allows other things to routinely infringe on their time of corporate worship, I can pretty much guarantee that they also routinely allow other things to take precedent over their walk with Christ as a whole. What's more, it is because when we fail to connect regularly with God's people, we miss out on opportunities to use the gifts that He has entrusted to us. When we fail to connect regularly with God's people, we miss out on the opportunities to grow in our faith, to be equipped for His work, to support His mission and to obey His Word.
The start of the new school year is only a few weeks away. It's a great time to commit for yourself before God and for your family to make connecting with His body a priority.
Here at The Orchard, beyond Sunday morning, getting into one of our upcoming fall growth groups is an ideal first step, or just ask one of the pastors or elders about getting plugged in.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer in the Neighborhood



School is out, the warm weather has arrived (finally!) and with July 4th bearing down upon us, most of us are busy working on our summer plans. This is a great time of year to just get out and enjoy time with family and friends, but it is also a great time to connect with our neighbors too.


At The Orchard Church this year our ministry theme is "Who is my neighbor" and many of us took time earlier in the year to write out a list of 5 people who we would pray for this year. Our desire is to see God transform lives and to work through us in reaching our city and beyond, one street, even one house at a time.


Here are a few ideas on how to enjoy the summer and reach out to our neighbors too.


1. Invite them to a cook out. Whether it is July 4 or any other day, summer is a time when you don't need an excuse to host a cookout. Why not take the bold step of inviting the neighbor that you have been praying for over while you throw a few burgers on the grill.


2. Check out Fiesta Days or the Country Fair. There are all kinds of fun activities going on in the community this summer from concerts and ice cream socials to parades and boat races, many of which are free. Simply inviting a neighbor to do something together with you and your family is a great way to get to know them better and begin the journey of sharing your life, as well as your Savior with them. Oh, and when I say check out Fiesta Days I am not simply suggesting "Family Faith Night." Many of the neighbors that you are praying for will be intimidated by a name like "Family Faith Night" and have no clue who Mark Schultz is anyway! (Before you ask, yes I like Mark Schultz, but no I don't think this is the best environment to invite a friend who doesn't know Christ to.)


3. Tell them about an upcoming Backyard Bible Club. If one of the people you are praying for has a family with young kids, why not invite them to go along with you to one of our fun Backyard Bible Clubs. We are hosting one in McHenry (July 25-29) and one in Wonderlake (Aug 1-5). Filled with games, crafts and a key Bible theme, as well as a parents tent to connect with others, these clubs are sure to be a high point of the summer. More details coming soon!


4. Bring ringers to our Softball Showdown! Our 4th annual softball showdown and bar-b-que is a fun family afternoon, coming up on August 13 and is a great chance to have a lot of fun and connect your neighbor to others from the church who are just enjoying a great time together too.


5. Just do something! Face it, you are probably are not going to just sit around all summer watching reruns and "So you think you can dance," so as you make plans, why not take that extra step and call that person, or stop by and invite them to come along too.



Remember however, the goal isn't simply to do something with your neighbor but to share your life with them, to extend the love of Christ to them and to present Him to them. Keep in prayer, ask God to give you an open door, an open mouth (and wisdom as you speak) and to give your neighbor an open heart.



Get outside and enjoy the season!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's a beautiful thing!

Written by Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, these proverbs were probably were a compendium of many of the wise rulings and proverbs that he had spoken during his reign. Specifically here however we learn that Solomon late in his life was probably concerned about passing on the skill of wise living to his son.

Proverbs 1:8-9 reads,
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching,
for they are a graceful garland for your head
and pendants for your neck.


The exhortation is to listen to instruction and not forsake the wise teaching that one has received is made. It is said to be "a graceful garland for your head" and "pendants for your neck." The idea here is that holding on to wisdom and the good instruction that you have received will become like a beautiful adornment, one that will highlight and complement a life of character and will do so throughout life.

It is incredible that in a world where instant gratification, self-sufficiency and self-centeredness often seem to be the norm, where rash decisions and foolishness all too commonly pass for "enjoying life" how those who seek to live wisely stand out as a dazzling example.

Do we hold on to, and put in to practice the wise instruction, the wise teaching that we have received from the Word of God or from other godly examples or do we jump quickly to whatever seems good at the time. The life of wisdom is a beautiful life. It is beautiful because it is lived without regrets. The life of wisdom is a beautiful life because it is a life that even at its most confusing is not without direction, because ultimately it recognizes that the most important direction is always toward God. It is beautiful because wise living brings peace, joy and blessing to oneself and others.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Way of Wisdom



It happens often enough, someone asks me how they can pray for me and without hesitation I tell them, pray that God would give me wisdom. I need wisdom to lead my family well, wisdom to lead the church well, wisdom to balance my time, wisdom to be a good steward and the list goes on. So when I sat down to write this my first thought was to share a few words of wisdom from the book of wisdom - Proverbs. However, I got to thinking, what if instead of jumping in to a favorite section of the book of Proverbs, I instead embarked on a journey through the whole book, briefly recording some thoughts along the way.

I confess that with all of the other projects, responsibilities and demands on my time, I am not as good as I should be at writing with any consistency - so I guess we'll see how far I get!

Here's what Proverbs 1:1-7 has to say:

1 The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
2 To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight,
3 to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity;
4 to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth—
5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance,
6 to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.




This introduction to the book identifies King Solomon as the author and goes on to explain the purpose for what follows: quite simply to learn to understand and apply wisdom to life and as a result to conduct oneself with righteousness, justice and equity. He also explains that the book is to equip young people with knowledge and discretion and that it is of great value to both the simple and the learned.


Solomon finishes his statement of purpose with an explantion that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, a fact sadly ignored by many in our day." Essentially he is explaining that that knowing and reverently standing in awe of God is the starting place for all true understanding. Without this foundation anything goes, there is no basis for truth, there is no absolute. How tragic that we live today in a world where anything is accepted, regardless of how absurd it may seem, as long it has nothing to do with God.


Finally, Solomon states that "fools despise wisdom and instruction." The Biblical view of a fool is quite simply one who chooses to reject or ignore God's truth and wisdom. While I am grieved by the foolish actions of so many politicians, actors, educators and legislators who vigorously seek to oppose the ways of God - what troubles me still further are those who name the name of Christ and continue to live foolishly, never stopping to ask, "God what is the wise way in this decision."




Lord, may I know you more each day. May I learn to stand in reverent fear before you and learn your ways that I might walk in the way of wisdom and bring glory to you in all I do. Amen.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Resurrection: Fact or Fiction?

Easter is coming up on April 24. It is a time of wonderful celebration for every Christ follower because Easter is at the very heart of the Christian faith. We remember and celebrate, Christ died, Christ risen and we look forward because Christ is coming again!


The Apostle Paul, writing to the church in 1 Corinthians 15 speaks about the centrality of the resurrection to the Christian life, even stating that if Christ is not raised then our faith is futile and that we are without hope.



The resurrection really happened and because of that we can and must celebrate, consider some of the evidence that counters the popular view in our culture that it is all just a myth:



Did Jesus really exist? The evidence: • Historical accounts of the Bible • Historical accounts from secular sources including Josephus the historian • From both biblical and secular sources history tells us that people in the city of Jerusalem were aware of the crucifixion of Jesus and of the rumors about his resurrection.

Could the disciples have stolen the body to add credence to their message? The defense: • Matthew’s account of the burial of Jesus tells us that the tomb was sealed with a boulder which would have been very heavy. The boulder was also sealed with an official mark of authority. Anyone wishing to steal the body would have had to have broken the seal and moved the stone. • The gospel of Matthew also tells us that Roman guards were assigned to guard the tomb so that the body could not be stolen. Anyone wishing to steal the body would have had to overcome well trained Roman Soldiers. • The followers of Jesus were persecuted and killed for the message that they spoke. Would they really risk everything for something that they knew to be a lie?

Could the authorities have moved the body to a secret location? The defense: • If the authorities had the body of Jesus they would have been able to disprove the message of the early church by simply producing the it. Both secular history and the book of Acts tells us that the authorities were frustrated at their inability to stop the gospel spreading.

Could Jesus have just been unconscious when they took him down from the cross? Then after being laid in the tomb the cool air might have revived him so that he could make his escape. The defense: • The Romans were very thorough and they knew how to crucify someone. In fact, just to make sure that Jesus was dead the centurion on duty pierced his side with a spear and blood and water flowed out (the sign of a ruptured heart) – John 19:34. • Even if he had only been unconscious, would it really have been possible for someone who had endured beatings, crucifixion, and a spear in the side to get up while wrapped tightly in grave clothes and remove the large boulder as well as over power the guards?

Could the disciples have been hallucinating when they claim to have seen Jesus? The defense: • The bible shows that the disciples weren’t expecting Jesus to rise from the dead, in fact they take some convincing before they believe that it really is Him. People who suffer from hallucinations like this generally have a belief or expectation that what they see was going to happen. • Jesus appeared to many different people in many different places, sometimes to groups, sometimes to individuals. That there is common agreement by the witnesses about what they saw rules out the possibility of a hallucination.

Resurrection Appearances

1. Mary Magdelene in Jerusalem on Sunday (Mk 16:9-11; Jn 20:11-18)

2. Some other women in Jerusalem on Sunday (Mt 28:9-10)

3. Peter in Jerusalem on Sunday (Lk 24:34; 1 Cor 15:5)

4. Emmaus Disciples on road to Emmaus on Sunday (Lk 24:13-35)

5. 10 Disciples in upper room, Jerusalem on Sunday (Mk 16:14; Lk 24:26-43; Jn 20:19-25)

6. 11 Disciples in upper room, Jerusalem a week later (Jn 20:26-31; 1 Cor 15:5)

7. 7 Disciples in Galilee (Jn 21:1-25)

8. 500 at one time (1 Cor 15:6)

9. James (brother of Jesus) (1 Cor 15:7)

10. 11 Disciples in Galilee (Mt 28:16-20; Mk 16:15-18)

11. 11 Disciples in Jerusalem, 40 days later (Lk 24:44-53; Acts 1:3-12)

Taken from Ryrie Study Bible.

Throughout history people have raised many questions about the resurrection of Jesus but all of the evidence points to the fact that although it is incredibly amazing… He Has Risen!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Invite!


At The Orchard Church we're taking time this year to ask the question, "Who is my neighbor?" It's important to recognize that we live where we live, work where we work and are surrounded by the people that we are surrounded with, not because of random chance, but by divine design.


Accordingly, we ought to take time to be praying for a handful of your neighbors and co-workers who need to know Christ (we recently handed out a prayer card where people could write down 5 names of friends that they were committing to pray for). It ought not to stop with prayer however. How could you connect with your neighbors in such a way as to tangibly demonstrate the love of Christ for them? We have some great opportunities coming up for this at The Orchard, but there is no need to wait, you can find some small way even today to serve someone on your street or in your office.


Check out some of what Christian writer Rebecca Livermore has to say about taking the step of inviting your neighbor to church:


Most of us feel a twinge of apprehension about inviting friends or neighbors to church. The following steps may help ease some of that fear and increase the likelihood that they'll say yes.

1. Begin to pray that God will soften their hearts and create opportunities for building friendship. Ask God to make it clear when the time is right to invite your friends to church.

2. Invite them into your life long before inviting them to church. Do things together. Serve them by delivering a meal when they are sick, watching their kids, and listening when they need to talk.

3. Slowly introduce them to others in your church. Invite them for dessert and coffee along with church friends. If everyone connects well, look for ways to get together in the future. The more "church people" your unsaved friends feel comfortable around, the less threatening the doors of the church will be.

4. Start small. Invite them to "neutral" church functions—a women's luncheon, an Easter Egg Hunt or movie night, etc. If you or other family members have a part in special event at church, or if one of your children is being dedicated, invite your friends to witness those special occasions. Small-group Bible studies, one day retreats, or vacation Bible school may be ways to ease your friends into the spiritual aspects of the church.

5. Talk about the benefits. When the opportunity arises, casually tell them how the church has been a blessing in your life. Pray for an opportunity to share your testimony of coming to faith in Christ with them.

6. When you sense the time is right, simply ask your friends if they would like to attend church with you next Sunday. With Easter coming up next month it can be a great opportunity to make an invitation.

7. If they say no, don't become discouraged and don't give up. Refuse to allow their negative response to create an uncomfortable tension in your relationship. Continue to be their friend, and wait for other opportunities to arise. When the timing seems right, ask again.

8. If they say yes, prepare them for the experience—it will reduce their anxiety. Let them know what you'll wear. Plan to meet up and go together or to grab lunch after the service.


Imagine what God might have in store as we obediently seek to love our neighbors, introduce them to Christ and connect them with His people. We have been given a great commission and it is a great privilege to be on mission with God and to trust Him with the results.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Seeing Clearly


I've been wearing glasses for nearly 10 years now, so it doesn't happen very often, but a couple of weeks back I got up on with my son Benjamin early one morning and didn't put my glasses on. At first didn't notice anything different, after all it was early and I was tired, but it didn't take long before I started to feel like something wasn't quite right. Putting my glasses on when I get up in the morning has become second nature to me and so the idea that I actually hadn't done it didn't even cross my mind. When I eventually realized that I wasn't wearing them it suddenly made sense to me why nothing that I had done that morning seemed quite right. Then putting them, although an entirely routine thing, I immediately noticed how much clearer and sharper everything became.

Too often, as followers of Jesus Christ we neglect to put our spiritual glasses on. We look around and sense that things aren't quite right, but often are not sure exactly why. The nagging sense that something is wrong won't go away and so we turn on Fox News and wait for someone to tells us why things aren't right, but the problem is that we need to make sure our corrective lenses are firmly in place. The corrective lens that I am talking about is the Bible, the Word of God. In it we find God's perspective, the true, right and clear perspective.

Everyone of us faces countless decisions each day and often we feel helpless and alone in making some of these choices. A few years ago Christians everywhere were asking the question that they had stampled on their woven bracelet, "What would Jesus Do?" It's not a bad question to ask, but the real answer is one that it seems like most Christians don't really want to hear. Jesus would bring the Word of God to bear on His situation. We see this all throughout the Gospels.

How about you? Do you have a plan to put on your God-given glasses each day? When we take time to read and study God's Word we find ourselves in increasing measure with a clearer perspective on the issues of daily life.

I've been wearing glasses for long enough to know that without them I'm likely to injure myself in one way or another. If you are trying to all the stuff that comes along each day without the aid and perspective that are found in God's Word, be careful where you're stepping!


Don't know where to get started? Check out the daily reading plans available at http://www.esv.org/resources/reading-plans-devotions/