Impact Church

Passionately serving God and His people

Category: April Devotion 2015

The Bride and Groom

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the Lamb is come and his wife hath made herself ready. Rev. 19:7

As a father, I recently watched my youngest daughter’s meticulous, howbeit frenzied, wedding preparations. The. Girl. Was. A. Beast! I don’t mean beast in a beastly way (she’s too far removed now from her country experiences back in the day for that), but she was consumed! Obsessed! And maybe even eccentric!

No detail was overlooked and nothing was considered frivolous. From the highly selective venue, to the reception, to the camera crews, to the breakfast menu, and of course, The Dress- everything had a purpose… and memorable wedding hopes were entwined with every carefully planned step. To her, the future had too much promise for this occasion to be shabby! She’d waited too long for the perfect man for this to be superficial!

Yet, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment of an exciting journey and lose sight of the goal. The personal commitment to the minuteness of detail relative to the possible uncertainty of others sharing the same concern can easily play a part on the stress level of any grand event. But in the planning of this wedding, anxiousness and frustration and “white knuckle moments” were strangely absent in both the bride and groom!

From my vantage point as a father of the bride and promoter of marriage ideals, I was more inclined to look for how they’d handle pressure, deadlines and difficulties. And trust me, I really did look! I mean, I even tried to rattle them on a thing or two! But they would have nothing to do with such trivialities! They’d just laugh it off… even got giggly and goofy at times! Trust me, it wasn’t like the wedding wasn’t a big deal to them, it was!…it’s just they saw a more perfect picture! For greater than the stress of a perfect wedding day, somewhere in the planning and precision of a wedding they saw themselves together far more perfectly! And additionally, they’d somehow gotten past the glitz and glamour of a wedding, and understood this was all about them… Not so much in the pageantry and protocol of a wedding, but in the deeper meaning of what a marriage celebration was all about! The bride and groom! Together! Forever!

In light of this observation, how easily do we believers get uptight and tense about the rigors of living for the Savior? How easily is our focus on holiness, purity and consecration relative to the great day of our Bridegroom’s return lost on actually loving Him? Maybe it’s time we remember how all this came about anyway! One thing we must never forget – from the beginning it was His choice to make us His bride! We didn’t initiate this relationship. Couldn’t. We didn’t have what it took. But He did! Love did! And with that as the strength of our relationship, isn’t our love to Him simply a reciprocal action? Doesn’t His love for us actually create in us the deepest of consecration and holiness? Is it really that difficult to love a perfect husband?

Only those who know Him for who He is and what He’s done, can love Him with all they are and with all they have!

It’s quite a paradox that even with the universe awaiting its greatest day, we’d get sidetracked by making the marriage of the Lamb one of labor, burden, contention or drudgery! How sinister has Satan planted thoughts of unworthiness, sinfulness and dread with hopes of diminishing the great day of The Lord! How encroaching are thoughts oft of our pettiness and paltry sacrifice in light of the Supper we’re invited to attend! How profoundly heavy sanctification can become, when fear motivates our preparation for the impending presence of the King! This is a wedding, Impact Church! Not a funeral, nor a courtroom, but the grandest thing heaven or earth has ever experienced! Love is in the air! And we are the bride! Prepared! Longing! And joyful!

So our eyes are on Jesus now! Anticipating with desire as a young bride would for her husband, we long for the day of consummation! The day of all things reconciled, all things complete and all things forever established! Should troubles come and temptations arise (and they will!), we’ll look beyond those temporal distractions and see the glory of our soon coming King! The bride is making herself ready!

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Our Privileged Assignment

Building on a Strong Foundation

As the month of April comes quickly to an end, the focused public awareness of Autism this month has provided could easily be lost through the busyness of our schedules and unintentional distraction. Unfortunately, there are people who jump on publicized bandwagons when the winds of attention are stirring, then become AWOL when convenience becomes costly and culture’s hype is less cool and rewarding. There’s little long-term transformation possible in the heart and mind of expected Autism supporters when the attention span it requires is as fickle as this spring’s weather. This should not, and cannot be our testimony.

As blogs, tweets, messages and various means of information have graced the public venues of print and technology this month, let us continue in ways that will consciously and gratefully make an ongoing difference. Time can diminish our zeal, and initial energy can be weakened if our sincere love be allowed to become a laborious duty. Choose to purposefully align and integrate with families that have children with Autism. Choose to encouragingly lift those who daily care and teach the same. We’ve been honored with this privileged assignment; we will see it through with passion and consistency. Our eternal rewards (and so many of our present time blessings, as well) are contingent on our faithful attention to even the smallest details of this beautiful ministry. Without fanfare, love will endeavor to make another’s day better; and the ways that can happen are innumerable and inexpensive. Be perceptive.

Much deeper and far beyond the eyes or perception of the outside world lies our greatest power. Outside the scope of our capacity to love and honor with our physical skills lies our most invaluable, yet invisible strength: our knowledge of the ever present ear of our Father when our prayers are being offered. Whatever the difficulties and dilemmas we face personally within our church family, persistent prayer will bestow sufficient Grace to our needs. God knows our occasional struggles and inconsistencies, both of the loved and the ones who are doing the loving; and that truth will keep us all obliged to be our brother’s keeper. Acknowledge the consistency of those who persevere lovingly without commendation or reward. What is normal for them is probably viewed as an unwilling extreme for the rest of us; honoring that in prayer and gratitude is proper. Opportunities in this life to love and care are divinely appointed; may we please well the One who trusted us with His precious children.

Impact Church is poised by promise to increase her territory; those who believe will enjoy the rich rewards of walking by faith in these divine Promises.

Blessings in abundance to all of Impact Church! ~ Pastor Mike Davis

How Shall We Now Live?

“Why seek ye the living among the dead?” Luke 24:5b

As we continue with our post-Easter theme from last week, an alternative title for this devotion could be “Jesus is Alive,…Now What?”

In the mid-1970s, theologian Francis Schaeffer wrote his classic “How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture.” A generation later, the Christian world still doesn’t seem to get it. How we live is determined in great measure by how we think.

Let’s go back to Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb with the women bearing spices for anointing Jesus’ body. What were they expecting to find? A dead man, a corpse in dire need of embalming, right? If they had truly believed the words of the Messiah who foretold His resurrection on the third day, their expectations would have been entirely different.

Twenty centuries later, far too many struggling Christians continue to seek life in the dead trappings of old mindsets. They have heard the Gospel, responded by praying a “sinner’s prayer,” then tried to live a Christian life without changing their thinking and without the power of the Holy Spirit. The Wizard of Oz would call them “good deed doers,” but their actions bear little fruit and are ineffective in reaching a lost world.

The Scriptural word for such living is carnal, which simply means characterized by the flesh, its passions and appetites. In other words, a believer is trying to live Godly by using merely human thoughts, instincts and devices. If we have faith to believe that the Son of God died for our sins, do we not also have faith to believe what Paul told the Corinthians? Read the rest of this entry »

Life after the Resurrection

32 If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, “let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” 34 Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. 1 Corinthians 15:32-34

In the classic 1884 book, Flatland, Edwin A. Abbott wrote of figures inhabiting a two-dimensional world as line segments and polygons. None in that world could see or imagine a three-dimensional world. In Flatland, a sphere was seen only as a circle and a cube was seen only as a square. They had no ability to see more than they were. Though unknown to those in Flatland, the three-dimensional world was real. Those who lived in the three-dimensional world, as the sphere and the cube did, could perceive and understand the people of Flatland. When someone has been translated into a higher dimension they can perceive and know the greater realities of the world and leave the lesser world. Leave the Flatland. People of a greater world can overcome the limitations of the lesser world. The opposite isn’t true.

1 Corinthians 15 is Paul’s strongest argument on the reality and importance of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and our impending translation from the physical body we have to the glorified body we’ll receive one day. Like Jesus, our resurrected body will not perish. But Paul goes further with the implication of the Resurrection of Jesus and our living in that power. It’s Life after The Resurrection.

In verse 32, Paul contrasts the reality of the resurrection with human motives in describing the value of a dispute he faced in Ephesus. He said he fought with wild beasts there, but what would it profit him? Evidently, a belief in the reality of the Resurrection and its power was his motivation for the fight. Then shockingly, he wrote that if the dead are not raised, then eat and drink up, and then die. Paul saw hedonistic nihilism as the logical choice for living without the reality of the Resurrection. Flatland.

King Solomon, with unlimited resources, followed that logic and sought unlimited pleasure. He wrote in Ecclesiastes 2:1-3:  “I said to myself, ‘Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself.’ And behold, it too was futility. 2 I said of laughter, ‘It is madness,’ and of pleasure, ‘What does it accomplish?’ 3 I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives.’”

In Ecclesiastes, the phrase for Flatland is “under the sun” or “under heaven”. It meant seeing life on a horizontal plane. The fleshy world. Solomon called it futile. Vanity. Meaningless. In the 20th century, the French existentialistic Albert Camus similarly wrote, “Because I longed for eternal life, I went to bed with harlots and drank for nights on end.”

People either live in a two-dimensional world, the world of Flatland, or they live in a three-dimensional world, the world of the Sphere. This simply complex parabolic story opens up our understanding that there is another perspective to have on life. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Easter event, has long-term and life-changing implications for the life to come and for this life. It should change our life from one of living in the fleshy, futile and death spiral of this world and elevate us to the new life that is spiritual, meaningful, and eternal. The Sphere of the Spirit.

Paul cautioned the Corinthians that “bad company corrupts good morals”. The lesser world, Flatland, can deceive those from a greater life, the life of the Risen Jesus. Those who have believed in Jesus should stop sinning; stop living in the lesser world of the flesh. Our desires are too small, seeking the fleshly things. Desire greater things. Higher things. Have great and ambitious desires for Life after the Resurrection! “He is Risen!” is followed by “He is alive in you!” So, live!