Posts Tagged ‘Philippians 1:6’

I imagine there are some folks who’ll read this meme, helpfully supplied by an atheist internet site, and nod their heads in agreement.

If you’re one of those people, then let me pose these questions: Why is the second question like the first? Can you explain the connection?

This strikes me as a ‘bait-and-switch’, like showing up to take advantage of a great deal on a car, then told none of those cars are available but hey, how about this vehicle at a higher price?

Just as those deals have nothing in common, so it is with this atheist meme.

A wise pastor friend weighed in on it. Ross Carkner noted that the term “master” often has nothing to do with the viewpoint advanced in the meme. How about ‘master electrician’ or ‘master craftsman’? Those images are every bit as relevant as the ancient cliche of the slave-driving master.

The work done by master craftsmen (or women) brings shapeless objects to life and provides them with a purpose. A master craftsman sees potential in what the rest of us may only dismiss as a gnarly piece of driftwood.

The craftsman shapes that wood, cutting away the bits that take away from the whole, sanding the sharp, brittle edges to gentle curves that are appealing to touch. Then he applies layers of lacquer to bring out the barely-seen colours and make the finished product something people admire as art.

I’ve seen so much evidence, in my life and the lives of others, that the Creator of the universe – the creator of you and me – is that kind of master. (This Frank’s Cottage blog details a remarkable example of God’s transforming work: http://wp.me/p2wzRb-5g.)

In the ancient world, a dude named Paul experienced this transformation. Then he told others about it: “I’m sure about this: the One who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus [who many people believe is God’s Son].”

That’s right; whether you know it or not, God the master craftsman has begun a good work in YOU. And He’s no quitter; He wants to finish that work and make you the person He knows you can be.

So how can you get in on this? Simple. Accept the gift of Jesus – His perfect life, sacrificial death and mind-blowing resurrection – whom God offers to every person on this planet.

When you decide to follow Jesus, then God comes into your life to begin changing you, a process that won’t end until you’re finished with this life. And when that day comes, you’ll spend eternity with Jesus in Heaven because God won’t see any of the wrong things you’ve done or the right things you’ve failed to do. He’ll only see His Son’s perfection.

There’s no bait-and-switch here. The incredible deal you came to accept is the incredible deal you’ll get. Sound good? Yes or no, comment below and let’s have a conversation.

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Finished“Be confident of this, that the One who began a good work in you will bring it to completion in Christ Jesus.”
–    A letter from Paul, a missionary, to one of the early groups following Jesus of Nazareth

A lot of people who believe there’s a God out there also believe this God has washed His hands of them.

I know I’ve had times in my life where this has happened; I imagine God saying “What? You’ve screwed up again? I’m so tired of having to deal with you…I’m out of here.” And with that, God throws in His spiritual towel and walks away.

Then I heard a pastor, Adrian van Giessen, talk about those words from Paul, one of the men most responsible for telling people about Jesus throughout the Mediterranean.

Adrian’s way of interpreting Paul was this simple: God finishes what He starts.

You and I may tire of something; we may decide all is lost and give up the ghost. But as Adrian put it, there’s not a quitter bone in God’s body.

This means no matter what we do, no matter how many times we screw up, no matter how often we repeat the same mistake, God doesn’t lose hope. He keeps His hard hat, work gloves and tool belt on; He keeps the plan He has for your life squarely in front of Him; and He never, ever gives up on you. Or me.

Now, some might examine their lives and declare God didn’t begin a good work in them at all, so there’s nothing to finish. When I’ve felt this way, I’ve looked to an ancient biography of Jesus for words you might have heard before: God so loved the world that He gave His only son and whoever believes in and seriously follows the son will go on living even after his or her body dies.

Notice the verse simply says ‘the world’, rather than ‘some parts of the world’? That means you and I are on the list of what God loves. So why wouldn’t He start a good work in you, too?

If you believe this, there is an important thing to do: stop dwelling on what happened to you in the past – including the stuff that makes you think God didn’t begin a good work in you – and simply co-operate with Him.

Read the words of Jesus, his followers and the ancient prophets; find out where God stands on the issues, discover how Jesus (who many people believe is His son) prayed to him and what are priorities to God. Then think about your plans, your actions, your thoughts, your strengths and weaknesses and try to put them through a God filter…is this what He wants for your life?

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