1 Corinthians 4:13-5:13
It’s been a long time, and I don’t remember where I was, but I know that I’ve looked down in a well before. I’m remembering an old time well that has a rock and cement top and is a few feet high and has a bucket that goes down in to draw water. Those wells stir up feelings of depth to me. We can only see down a few feet, but we know there is so much more. God is like that. We see his qualities now, but we don’t see the depths.
Another time I remember swimming in a lake that was very deep and trying to swim to the bottom. It took me several tries—mostly overcoming fear of what was down there and wondering if I would have enough air to get back up. This lake was deep enough that the sun looked like a tiny orangish brown spot when I looked up the bottom. I think our desire to explore the depths will be realized in eternity as we get to know God.
The Bible says that the Holy Spirit searches the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2). I believe this is our destiny as Christians—to ponder, wonder, and discover the deep things of God for eternity. Those of us who have the son have live, eternal and abundant. Our eternal life will be a plunge into the depths of an infinite well, but we won’t have the fear of running out of breath. We won’t fear anything we find in the depths of God. We will know him fully even as we are fully known (1 Corinthians 13).
So what can we do now? When you read the Bible look for the depths of God’s compassion, justice, hope, peace, grace, and all his other great qualities. Praise the Lord when you find those qualities around you and in you. Reflect on the cross, the critical moment of history where God both died and lost a son. That’s a deep thought, and we have forever to ponder it.
Judgment and Mercy
The Bible has four accounts of Jesus’s crucifixion. I’ve been studying Luke’s perspective. I see that Jesus Christ is still working on several levels. He is accomplishing his most important action, dying on a cross for the sins of the world, yet in his last hours he is still talking about judgment and still showing mercy. . Jesus encounters the judgment of others’ condemnation. “He saved others. Let him save himself.” He is condemned by one of the other crucified men because he won’t save the crucified men. On this last day Jesus is still warning those who will listen that a judgment is coming that will make people cry out for mountains to fall on them and cover them.
Jesus is also focused on forgiveness as he is crucified. He offers forgiveness for those standing by and for those who had nailed him to a cross: “Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they’re doing.” A second man being crucified with Jesus expresses a tiny faith that Jesus has a kingdom. Jesus offers forgiveness and eternal life by saying to him “today you will be with me in paradise.”
Are you judgmental? I often remind myself that I am not the judge of the people of this world but that I am an ambassador of Jesus Christ reminding people that there is forgiveness through the cross. In Matthew 7 Jesus tells us to be careful about judgment: “judge not yet let so that you won’t be judged.” Also in Matthew 7 Jesus tells us how we ought to judge each other. We have to clean out our own eyes before we make judgments about each other. When it comes to matters of value and eternity you and I are to appeal to people about how the grace of God covers the sin of man. It’s not just that the the person in front of you is a sinner, but that we are sinners too–even those of us who are in Christ are still battling an old sinful nature. We all need mercy. We all need the mercy Jesus poured out his blood on the cross.
Rich Ellis, Morgan County Clergy Association
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
I have been pursuing a path of enjoying the Lord no matter what I’m doing, and I haven’t gotten far down that path. The Bible is full of commands and urgings to enjoy the Lord, delight in the Lord, and to be filled with joy. I want to do something more than enjoying a meal or a conversation; I want to enjoy the Lord in that meal and in that conversation.
I’ve tried to be more thankful. Thankfulness is such a great habit. I often feel joy in the Lord when I try to exhaustively thank him for what he has made, what he’s done, and his tender, lovingkindess to me. I have been taking more time to be thankful to God—not because I have to, but because it makes me enjoy my relationship with him.
At camp a couple weeks ago, one of my friends read a long passage of scripture out loud to us. It was one of the scriptures I read very often (John 4), but listening to him read it out loud increased my joy in the Lord. I have it in mind to call my mom and ask her to read me something from the Bible. I think I will enjoy the Lord in doing that.
When on a hike at Cacapon State Park, I enjoy stopping and listening the birds and leaves and my dog’s breathing. I enjoy the Lord when doing that too, because I remember that all those things come from him, and that they are praising the creator according to their design.
When things aren’t going well, how will I enjoy the Lord? Hebrews 12:2 says: “For the joy set before him he (Jesus) endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” I think in a hard time I can enjoy the Lord by looking past the moment, scorning the shame or the desperation because of the joy set before me. I am a little brother of Jesus. I am an heir of God and co-heir of Jesus. If you know him, so are you.