The Word & Wing: October 14, 2019

“And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6.28–34

Some Clearer Vision!

Some Clearer Vision . . . or . . .Your View Depends On The Glasses You’re Looking Through

Recently I went through one of those procedures that often comes with aging eyes, cataract surgery. I’ve worn glasses for a number of years and each eye exam, with the glasses correction, came out pretty good, often 20/20. What’s to complain about?

Well, some years and a particularly active cataract on my left eye (the right eye only had a “little” activity!) finally called for the surgery. In an amazing 10 minute surgery, I went from what I thought was “some dullness” to brilliant clarity! Amazing! (They gave me a video of it all if you want to borrow it!)

Suddenly, the eye with surgery was amazing, I did say that again, and other eye I thought was pretty acute was left in the dust! Glasses didn’t cut it anymore, it was a mess (the short version of the story).

My “view” is off! Punk! Yet, it brought to my attention a potent truth — “your view depends on the glasses or eyes you’re looking through”! My glasses / eyes were distorting things!

This insight really transfers to how we see life, the things of the past, the things of the present, and the things ahead of us. I think this need for some clear vision is touched upon by the Word of God in many places for our Lord knows we can easily have a “view” that’s off, even distorted, from what he is doing.

Are there some “past acts” that are coloring your view of life? Are there some “present realities” that are coloring your view of life? Are there some “things ahead” that are coloring your view of life? If you’re like me, there are things in all these areas of my life! Some “clearer vision” would be great!

Recently I was preparing some thoughts about the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, or the Eucharist, or the Lord’s Table, or the Breaking of Bread . . . several names but all drawing us, I’d suggest, toward seeing life through some clear glasses.

Three things happen as we come to this time of Communion.

First Thing, this is a time to look to a past act, we are reminded of the Amazing Grace of God who gave Jesus as the all-sufficient sacrifice for all sin for all time. We remember the Cross of Jesus.

but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying, “THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,” He then says, “AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.” Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. Heb 10:12–18

We remember Jesus died for All sin, yours and mine! The Apostle Paul writes,

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; . . . ” 1 Co 11:23–24

The First Thing we remember which clears our vision, removes the distortion of what’s really important in life, is Jesus died for sinners, and we say, “Thank you for grace”!

Second Thing, this is a time of present reality, not simply a history lesson. That past act is present here today as we remember Jesus’ death on the Cross opens for us who believe his New Life and eternal fellowship with God! We live today through faith in Jesus, as the Apostle John writes, Jn 1:12–13,

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

We remember that when our faith is in Jesus our present reality is living God’s New Life as his child, even when the “view” may seem clouded or dulled or even darkened!

As we heard from the Apostle Paul, we read again, 1 Co 11:23–24,

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

The Second Thing we remember is that because Jesus died for our sin we live today in fellowship with God, as his beloved children!

There is a Third Thing, this is a time of looking ahead from our foundation of forgiveness through faith in Jesus —

We, by grace, through faith in Jesus, not only remember Jesus’ death for all our sin in the past, we also remember we live today as God’s own children, — and the Third Thing is we live in a New Covenant, looking for, living for, longing for the Imminent return of Jesus, the Lord of lords, and King of kings!

The Apostle Paul writes, 1 Co 11:25–26,

In the same way { i.e., after giving thanks } He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

We are reminded that we’re forgiven through faith in Jesus and every day is living and looking for the glorious coming of Jesus and his New Life in its fullness, where the Apostle John says,

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.” Re 21:1–7

The Third Thing we remember is that Jesus is coming again and he has more for us than we’ve ever imagined, again, even when the current “view” is clouded! We “proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes”!

Three Things:

  1. Jesus died for all our sin! Thank you, Jesus!
  2. Jesus gives us New Life in fellowship with God, with Jesus as our Lord, Advocate, and High Priest! Thank you, Jesus!
  3. Jesus is coming again and our hope is eternal and glorious! Thank you, Jesus!
It’s amazing how much clearer we can now see!

“The Other Side”

Sometimes “the other side” looks so far away, so intimidating, so difficult to cross what lies in your path!

This image of a cow elk and calf looking so intently across the river brought this thought to me. I’m guessing we all identify with those places where “the other side” only produced anxiety and even fear.

Several friends are crossing that river of chemotherapy! It’s daunting for sure! My wife is crossing the “many examinations” to find out why a persistent pain holds on! And example after example are part of our lives.

I find much in the Word of God for such places in life where “the other side” seems overwhelming, where more than once we’ve thought about turning back, or denying what’s ahead, or even running away. Let me point you to some of God’s Word which has lessened the anxiety and set a perspective toward “the other side.”

To start with, these words in Philippians 4.6-7 are strength beyond measure facing what is intimidating.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in the Messiah Jesus.”

Knowing that somewhere in this “crossing” we’re going to be standing in the midst of this river, the truth of these words in 1 Corinthians 10.13 certainly guard our crossing!

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

Sometimes we’re tempted to deny, ignore, or even turn back in fear rather than press on to “the other side.” When the Apostle Paul looked back at what was behind him, things he could have turned to as strengths, he wrote this . . . Philippians 3.8-14,

“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing the Messiah Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain the Messiah, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from Law, but that which is through faith in the Messiah, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by the Messiah Jesus.

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in the Messiah Jesus.”

What joy is ours knowing our Lord has more for us than we’ve ever imagined as we walk with him, even when it’s intimidating as we look to “the other side.”