King of the World

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When I opened the back door, I heard a small voice yell, “I’m king of the world.”  In a yard nearby a small boy perched about eight feet high on top of his backyard playground equipment.  With tousled hair, smudged cheeks, and torn jeans, he was quite an unlikely looking king of the world.

Jesus, too, came as an unlikely king.  In His day, He was expected to be a great and powerful king who would be victorious in vanquishing the Roman conquerors.  As a king He would be expected to have certain qualities: wealth, power, authority, and the ability to conquer with force. On the surface, it didn’t appear that Jesus had any of these powers.  As a carpenter and son of a carpenter, he certainly was not wealthy.  As an Israelite living in a conquered country, he had no political power, nor did he have an army of men providing military might.  Just like the little boy on his playground equipment, His authority appeared limited—He used none over Caiaphas, the high priest, or over the Pharisees or the Roman rulers who put Him to death.

But looking below the surface, one can see Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was, and is, King of the world.  Those who know Him realize that He has wealth far greater than we can imagine—even His streets are paved with gold.  He is far greater than any king or

army that ever existed or ever will exist, for His might created all the heavens and the earth, every animal and plant imaginable, the highest mountains and the deepest oceans. 

He is commander-in-chief of a host of heavenly angels who would have rescued Him from crucifixion if He had commanded it.  His power is far beyond our ability to comprehend, and His authority is endless.  Even while He was on earth as a man, He had the authority to calm the waves of the sea.  Think what authority He commands now, reigning at God’s right hand!  Yes, He was an unlikely king of the world, but He is our King of kings and Lord of lords.  He has wealth, power, and authority, but he chooses to conquer with humility, sacrifice, and love.

Almighty Father, King of creation and King of my life, even though You have all power and authority in heaven and earth, You do not abuse your authority or force your subjects into submission.  Thank You for giving each of us the choice to yield to Your authority.  Give us the wisdom to choose wisely.

            Question: If you truly believe with all your heart and mind that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords, in what areas of your life might you yield to your Lord and King?

I Saw My Lord Today

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I Saw My Lord Today

I saw my Lord today. No, I didn’t see thunderclouds with bolts of lightning, nor did I see a blinding flash of light or pillars of fire.  But I saw my Lord today, as soon as I walked into church.  I saw Him in eyes that looked at me with love.  I saw Him in smiles that greeted me warmly.  I saw Him in the innocence of little children.  I saw Him in the wisdom of the elderly.  Everywhere I looked, I saw my Lord.

I heard my Lord today. No, I didn’t hear a deep rumbling voice, but I heard my Lord today, as soon as I walked into church.  I heard Him in a cheerful voice of greeting.  I heard Him in questions about my welfare.  I heard Him in the soft voices at prayer. I heard Him in musical instruments and voices lifted in praise.  I heard Him in the sermon, challenging me to grow.  I heard Him thundering in the silence.

I felt the presence of my Lord today.  No, I didn’t literally hold His hand, but I felt the presence of my Lord today, as soon as I walked into church.  I felt Him in a firm handshake.  I felt Him in an arm around my shoulder.  I felt Him in a warm hug. I felt Him in reflective moments of quiet meditation.   I felt Him all around me, surrounding me with His presence.

Lord, I am so grateful You’ve allowed me to see Your face, hear Your voice, and feel Your presence today.  I thank for dwelling in Your servants and demonstrating Your presence in them.  Help me keep my eyes, ears, and other senses open to Your presence.  Help me see You beyond the walls of church.  Help me hear Your voice wherever I may be.  Help me sense Your presence at all times. May others look at me and see Your face, hear Your voice, and feel Your presence in me, especially outside the walls of the church.

The Hardened Path

In my part of the country, we have been experiencing drought. Very little precipitation has fallen this year. In my city home, I don’t immediately see the effects, but the nearby farmers and ranchers see it every day.

While recently walking on the nature trails, however, I noticed the difference. Usually, when I walk those trails, my feet “shush, shush” on the pliable dirt trails. I quickly noticed the effect of the drought, however, as I realized my walking would now prevent any surprise deer encounters. My loud “clomp, clomp, clomping” on the hard-baked paths would frighten any deer away long before I’d be in viewing distance.

As I continued walking, my feet loudly slapping the drought-hardened earth, I couldn’t help but think of the parable of the seeds. This path would certainly not be a good place to sow seeds. The path was hard as cement, and even if it rained, that hard ground wouldn’t absorb the water. The rain would just roll off the brick-hard surface. Certainly, nothing good could grow there.

Isn’t that path like our souls? How often do we allow them to harden and resist the living water, refusing to absorb it? When our souls become hardened with our own stubborn thoughts and pride, how can we grow and mature? How can we produce the fruit of the Spirit when we’ve become so hardened that we don’t let Him soften our souls and become teachable?

How do we convert that drought-toughened soul into a soul that’s willing to drink deeply of the living water and be willing to listen to His voice?

For me, I find it takes time and effort on my part. I often begin the softening process on the trails. There I can absorb His created beauty and focus on God, allowing all worldly thoughts and cares to leave my mind.

Of course, it doesn’t end there. I spend time in the word, talk to reliable friends, listen to and sing worship music, and spend much time in prayer. My journey back from a hardened heart to a pliable one can vary, but, with God’s guidance, I always find my way back.

What about you? What do you do when you find yourself with a hardened heart? When you feel far from God? How do you find your way back?

Father God, forgive us for those times when we turn our backs on you and walk our own paths. Forgive us for ignoring you and depending on our own abilities and thoughts, hardening our souls along the way. Teach us to turn, instead, to you for guidance. Teach us to soften our souls: to deeply drink your living water, to listen to your voice, and follow your ways.