In the book, Charlotte’s Web, Charlotte the spider refers to her egg sac as her magnum opus- her “greatest work.” In Christ, we all have a magnum opus. Our great work is to love Him through the work He’s given us to do, and to love others in practical ways-nurturing and disciplining our children; looking for ways to bless our spouses and those around us; obeying by praying and staying in fellowship. Other seeming greatest works will fail us: our life’s work will be given to another, or discontinued; homes are sold and fashions fade.
Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a temple as a sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.” 1st Chron. 28:10
Solomon builds a magnificent temple to the Lord, yet it was destroyed brick by brick. Solomon’s magnum opus was not merely the temple, but the motive behind the building of it: love and obedience to God. What is your magnum opus? Are you faithful to it?
My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them. Proverbs 1:10
Who are the sinners this verse is speaking of- are they the obvious “bad guys”? The ones who are always in trouble or live “on the fringe” of rules or common sense?
Maybe. Maybe not. We’re all sinners.
Sometimes we let our guard down around our friends-especially Christians, assuming that anything we do with them must be okay because they go to our church or whatever.
And what does entice mean, anyway? The word actually means “open and wide”. In other words, the enticement looks like freedom. It looks and feels good-or it will make us look or feel good. Being enticed also implies a struggle is going on inside us. Our mind first says, “Nah…I don’t think so.” Then…”Hmmmmmm”. And, finally, “Oh, it’s no big deal- okay,sure.”
This can happen over the course of a few moments- or months. Either way, the result is the same if we go along. As Proverbs goes on to say: it’s a trap! A trap never looks like a trap-ask any one-eared mouse.
The solution? Don’t go there.
The “open and wide” is not the freedom God gives. The freedom He gives is literally, “to let loose or undo.” From what? Freedom from the common traps of life!
Experts are a dime a dozen. Pick a subject- say, parenting- and peruse the shelves of a bookstore. You’ll find a confusing array of advice. They all sound convincing and well-researched, yet more often than not the experts clash in their opinions. It’s enough to make a sleep-deprived mother cry! King Nebuchadnezzar, wearied by the counsel of his experts found refreshment through the wisdom of God displayed in Daniel and friends. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm. (Daniel 1:20) God’s wisdom is the Real Deal. Never underestimate the refreshment it brings to a world weary of “experts”.
It took the dethroning of a king for Isaiah to see the King of Kings. “In the year King Uziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne…” Sometimes it takes a death of my “kings” – my dreams, resources, and the pillars upon which I lean- to open my eyes to the King. Once dethroned, I “see the Lord” in new perspective- “high and lifted up…”. I see myself accurately- “Woe is me… I am a man of unclean lips…”. Then, in the burning away of sin, I see the need- “Who will go?”, resulting in new adventures- “Go and tell…”. Lord, remove my kings that I may see the King of Kings.
“How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” Mk. 6:38 (Read Mk.6:30-44)
I’ve hosted a houseful of people on short notice, but never faced the insurmountable task of feeding 5,000! In Mark chapter 6 are practical principles of hospitality (and service of any kind) that beat any helpful hints found on HG TV or elsewhere:
1. Assess the need. (Mk. 6:34, 35)
2. Resist focusing on insufficiencies. (Mk. 6:36, 37)
3. Gather your resources. (Mk. 6:38)
4. Solicit the help of others. (Mk. 6:41b)
5. Make the unmanageable manageable. (Mk. 6:39,40)
6. With thankfulness, ask God to bless and multiply. (Mk.6:41)
7. Count on Him to more than meet the need. (Mk. 6:42, 43)
We can trust the Lord to abundantly meet our needs-whether it be food, strength or love as we serve others. He’s the Ultimate in hospitality- truly a heavenly Host.
P.S. Twelve cynical apostles gather how many baskets of leftovers? What is Jesus demonstrating to them-and to us?
“And he said to Him, ”Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing…” Mark 10:20,21
Like the rich young ruler, I have a checklist of sins I haven’t committed. I feel pretty smug about the things I resist (and judge those who don’t). I don’t realize my fortitude has nothing to do with righteousness- it’s just some sins aren’t in my personal area of temptation. I may as well brag about my ability to resist a super-sized portion of beets. But an In & Out burger- well, that’s another story! Thank God He’s wise to my ways, and instead of a pat on the back, I get a loving laser focused on the “one thing I lack” perhaps known only to God. In the young ruler’s life, possessions vied for Lordship. What vies for Lordship in my life? In yours? Count on God to “look upon you and love you” enough to expose it. How will we respond?
Q’s and A
“So He will do for me all He has planned. He controls my destiny. “Job 23:14
I’m fascinated with the web. I’ve personally proven there is no question too stupid to ask Google. Ironically, the more ridiculous the query, the more voluminous the choice of answers! I’m learning to be a bit more selective in my questions. I’m learning this in the spiritual realm as well. If I want relevant answers, I must ask relevant questions. In desperate times, I type across heaven’s screen, “GOD, WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?!?” And generally, I get a server not found kind of response. So maybe that’s the wrong question. More apt questions:
“Is God still CEO of the universe?” “Can I count on Him to be faithful no matter what?” And- in this crazy scroll-down-20-pages-and-decipher-truth-from-lies kind of world- “IS THERE ANY HOPE FOR ME?” Simply and reliably, the answers are right there in His Word: Yes, Yes, and YES. For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. 2 Cor. 1:20
My web of despair disappears.