Love Beyond The Sidelines

“Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?” –Proverbs 24:11-12 (NIV)

As a result of the internet, we are fed with news from around the world instantly. Shocking news items pose that dilemmatic question, “what are we going to do about it?” One popular course of action has been through the website Facebook. During the 2009 Iranian protests or the recent earthquake in Japan, Facebook pages were set up dedicated to the events in order to bring awareness. People who were sympathetic to the cause had the option of pressing the “like” button and show their support. Some have criticized the practice of “liking” causes on Facebook on the basis that it really does not do anything for the people for whom these events are a tangible reality. However, while I think this is true to an extent, I also believe it is a great way for people who are limited by distance and resources to show their solidarity with people who are halfway around the world.

Yet how often are we unwilling to get involved when we have the means to do so! Perhaps it is more comfortable for us to love in theory rather than to love in action. Anyone can say that they would give of themselves in love and service regardless of the circumstances. But when the time comes to put our words to the test, we shy away and are content with loving from the sidelines. Why this hesitance? Maybe it is because we do not want to give up what we feel is rightfully ours. Our comforts, our resources, our reputations, all of these things will prevent us from practicing the love of Christ if we have turned them into idols. It is only when we have surrendered ourselves to Christ that His love will overflow from our hearts. When we have seated Him on the throne of our lives and have allowed ourselves to be guided by His Spirit within us, He will give us His love that is fearless and absent of pride. Through Him guiding us in His love, our words of compassion will not be just words, but actions backed by the desire to see God save the lost and heal the broken.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Sharing the Vision

“I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone.” –Numbers 11:17 (NIV)

Working together in a group setting can often come with its disadvantages. Conflicting personalities, differing expectations, and a lack of unity can not only serve to hinder productivity, but create a very unpleasant environment in the process. That is why we can sometimes be so loathe to working with others, fearing that our vision will not be realized and thinking that it would be better if we did not entrust others with our aspirations. But what a joy it is when people work together in unity! Grasping a common vision everyone diligently works together towards that vision no matter the disappointments and failures. When the successful end result is achieved every member of the group is satisfied, echo one celebrating the victories gained and congratulating each other on a job well done.

God has placed within each and every one of us a vision. Those good and pleasing plans and ambitions which we cherish come from Him who assures us that He works to give us hope and a future. However, we may not trust others with this vision and keep it to ourselves thinking that if we get others involved they will only ruin it for us. Yet what often is the case is that God has given us a vision that was not meant to be borne by ourselves. Rather, for it to be fulfilled He requires that we allow others whom He has strategically placed to help carry out His perfect will for us. If we jealously guard our dreams and desires, we turn them into idols that will only serve to hinder the work God is doing through us. But if we surrender every area of our lives to Christ, giving back to Him the desires He has placed in our hearts, He will lead us to others who have caught the same vision He has given us so that His will may be fulfilled.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Better In His Presence

“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” -Psalm 84:10 (NIV)

What do we think of when we think of splendour? Perhaps our minds may conjure up images of opulent palaces and mansions with beautiful furniture and treasures inside. Maybe we might think of the celebrations and parties thrown by the rich and famous; full of guests dressed worthy of their affluence and banquet halls filled with the finest of foods. Yet none of these things can compare with being in the glorious presence of God. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Whenever in Scripture God gives mortal men the privilege of seeing heaven, they cannot describe its indescribable beauty. All the things of the Earth pale in comparison to God for while they are fleeting, He is eternal.

Yet how often do we desire the things of this Earth. In our blindness we elevate the material things of this world to the status of god. Though we may not admit it we may worship our wealth, our careers, or our relationships and place them on a platform that should only be reserved for God alone. We foolishly think that nothing can compare with being in the presence of these things and we think that we can find our security in them. However, we will become sorely disappointed when our treasures soon begin to wither and fade away. Where then can we find our confidence and hope? When we have allowed Christ to enter our lives and seek to abide in Him, we will find that being in His presence far outweighs anything the world can offer. Though the world may crumble around us, we can rest in the eternity of God, praising His faithfulness knowing that ultimate victory lies with Him.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.