“Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18
The New Year has come, and the warmth in my heart right now, I think, is immeasurable. In fact, I know that it is! Life is good and can continuously be for everyone; this is a central theme for my every waking moment. As much as possible, each episode of life should teach us that no matter our circumstances, this earthly time is worth it.
As Christians, there may be occasions when we meet people who do not think like us or perhaps do not believe in God. And if one does not believe in God, how can one know Jesus? The diversity of this humankind God created (Genesis 1:26) is vast; yet, as followers of Jesus, we take great care not to mislead when we speak of Him. And when our hearts nearly explode, describing the beauty, mercy, and grace of God, the joy we feel is almost contagious! When this joy radiates, it often softly illuminates every area of confusion, or unknown, denial, or disbelief. And, when this happens, I stand to admire these touches of God as I take in the subtle voices of His creations. Like cooler breezes, snow on the tip of my tongue, a sweet sigh formed in a friendly conversation, soft music playing at church, winter berries I experience when in the Southern regions, just as warm sand beneath my feet. In all of these, there’s space for fresh approaches inspired through careful thinking. Within all of our unique spaces, we must be encouraged to share about God.
Even when there’s new graffiti on a freshly painted wall, when angry youths destroy a family’s Christmas outdoor décor, or when hopes shatter through the loss of human love, in all these things, God remains. His presence heartens us to pray for people experiencing tough challenges as we pray for those who bring forth strife. We also pray that the broken heart displaying intense sorrow will come to know of the greatest Love of all. This love of Jesus! We set up our placards and trust in Him alone.
“The rough places shall be made smooth. Stumbling-blocks of sin must be removed, and thorns and briers of rebellion must be uprooted. So great a visitor must not find miry ways and stony places when He comes to honor His favored ones with His company. Oh, that this evening the Lord may find in my heart a highway made ready by His grace, that He may make a triumphal progress through the utmost bounds of my soul, from the beginning of this year even to the end of it.” – C.H. Spurgeon.
Yes, in this New Year, the joyful display of God’s Love comes through. Until the end of our days, may we gently profess His goodness to each person we meet. Be this in attentive listening, carefully spoken words, sweet, unexpected actions, joy in our hearts, eyes that smile beneath those perpetual masks, and so much more. And, although we may never know the affect these occasions bring, we understand that our joy took hold.
Babel, interpreted as confusion in Genesis 11:9, originally meant ‘gates of God’. This Babel, dispersed at the first Pentecost and recreated into something so much grander. The Apostle John tells us this:
“After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.” Revelations 7:9 (NRSV)
May it be our desire this year that those who do not know God may come to know of Him through us. That they may know life in the intimacy of Father and Son (John 17:3). And that we honor God by sharing His words in truth. To listen well enough where no reiteration is necessary. To communicate plainly in basic conversations. And be kind when correction is due.
In his book Remaking a broken world: The heart of the Bible story, Christopher Ash said this:
“Supremely, it is about the restored glory Of God. It is about the whole creation singing again His praises in harmony, with no discordant heart.” (p. 219).
It’s hard to follow that! But this year, I intend to continue to share on my daily life. I will also go deeper into the Bible as I see it if you let me. From time-to-time, we’ll focus on exegesis, hermeneutics, and homiletics. Simply put, I’ll try my best to explain the original meaning of texts as I see them, exposit their interpretations, and explore how they may apply to even you or me today. For instance, have you considered that all the savings in the Old Testament, such as Noah’s, Abraham’s mission, the Exodus, etc., all lead us to our only Savior? Occasionally, we’ll explore some topics like this.
So joyous is the prospect of knowing God more as we grow in Grace.
Happy New Year!
Ash, C. (2019). Remaking a broken world. The heart of the Bible story. The Good Book Company
Spurgeon, C.H. (1869). Morning and evening. Barbour Publishing