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Pray For Those In Authority Over You

September 27, 2012 Leave a comment

1 Timothy 2:1-6

Go to any of the main-line or even lesser known news websites or magazines and you’ll find a plethora of unbiased and biased writing about our currently political situation…election year.  Not only is this considered a historic election cycle, but one that has the attention of most all the nation and world.  I’m not only talking about the presidency…but also congress and state and local elections.  To most of us living in the states, this is huge!  It’s mammoth no matter what side you stand on.

I’m trying to gain perspective.  Each commercial and advertisement and billboard vies for our attention and commitment.  But that’s because to me, right now in 2012, it’s very personal.  I am living in the here and now.  My kids are growing up in the here and now.  The parents and students I work with are living in the here and now.  I’m thinking about the rest of my life as well as the 70+/- years of all those I work with.  Sure, I’m thinking of my future and theirs as well.  I want the best and safest for all.

But….yes, here comes the big but…if I pulled back 6000+ years of human history, this is nothing new.  Parents like me worried about their kids growing up in the culture and political environment at all points along the big timeline.  My fears are not new.  My hopes are not new.  But they are very personal to me.

What does God think about our present day worries?  Well, for one, worry is a sin.  Just saying.  Jesus said in Matthew not to do it because it causes fractures in our relationship with the Father.  Jesus didn’t worry…he had hope that overcame worry.  So I have to say, I’m trying really hard not to worry about this election cycle.  I’ll do my part.  I’ll study the situations at hand and the philosophies of those wanting to be elected.  But, no matter what, my hope in an eternity will not be taken away.  On the extreme side of things, a communistic/atheistic regime could overthrow the USA and my hope in an eternity still could not be taken away.  In the end Jesus wins…no matter who sits on an earthly throne locally, statewide, nationally or globally.

Here’s where the main verse comes into play.  Paul writes to Timothy, instructing him how to teach leaders to pray.  Paul encourages Timothy to pray and lead others in prayer for “all men, for kings and all who are in authority.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)  Why?  I mean, Paul could have encouraged people to fight for their rights and picket and vote (all good things when done with the right spirit), but he didn’t.  In this day and time, Rome was without a doubt pressing its own culture and philosophy of life as well as its religion.  Christianity was not thought of highly and even held under thumb.  So…politically, there have been people and currently are people in rougher situations than us…but God’s plan for man still isn’t thwarted and narrowed.  We see this in verse 3.  Paul instructs people to pray for ALL those in authority…for their best!  Verse three says, “…it is good and acceptable in God’s sight” that we do this.  Again…why?  Because, as God’s plan holds, He wants ALL men to be saved.  It’s not about us.  It’s all about eternity.

Can you imagine what might happen if we all put aside our political sway, and put away the prayers that ask God to save us from those opposite of our political philosophies, and simply prayed for our leaders to see God…so they could have the hope we have…so they could see Jesus crucified and risen…no politics involved?  I’d call that a continuation of the Movement Jesus started when He sent the disciples out to start the Church.  Are you all in?

Let’s pray for those we oppose.  Let’s pray for those that we agree with.  Let’s pray for our current situations, but let’s pray for God’s will…that those men and women would be saved.  Who knows, in Heaven you may very well be surprised who accepted Jesus and now stands beside you worshiping the Lamb.

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

Ed

Picturesque Examples:  (…this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior)

  • Student prays for Teacher
  • Jailed prays for Jailer
  • Player prays Coach
  • Worker prays for Boss
  • Slave prays for Owner
  • Child prays for Parent
  • Ticketed prays for Officer
  • Citizen prays for President
  • Homeowner prays for Township Trustee

“God’s man in God’s place, doing God’s will to God’s glory, will never lack God’s support.” ~Hudson Taylor

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Whatville and Whoville and 1000 Years

April 26, 2012 3 comments

Partial Reprint of a Previous Article I’ve Uploaded…

What is your church preference?

  • While filling out an application for employment, the applicant came to a query which asked, “What is your Church Preference?”  The man, not being a person of extraordinary intelligence thought through the question for some time because he really needed the job. He wanted to impress the employer and answered very confidently, “I prefer a red brick church.”

******

We’re in the middle of a fairly lengthy discussion of the book of Revelation.  All through the book we see references to the church.  The verses we are focusing on today, though one subject often causes controversy, talks about the church (the 1000 years).  But if we don’t have a correct definition of the church, we are likely to miss the importance of why this letter was written and how it speaks to our daily purpose/battles as well.

As silly as the joke above might be, it very well might be nearer a truth in our American church society today.  If you listen close to the way we talk about our churches, we mention things associated with places, street addresses, programs, target groups, worship music and, of course, buildings.

Let’s speak frankly for a moment.  The Bible talks specifically that we, who claim Christ as Lord, are members of His body (Ephesians 5:30).  The Bible only separates church families by place names, or more specifically the city where they meet (Writings of Paul and Revelation).  The Church has two focuses…Love God and Love people (Matthew 22:37-39).  The church has one purpose.  It is to help people cross over from their life of sin into a life in relationship with the Forgiver of Sins (Matthew 28:19-20).  The Bible does not separate church families by philosophy, style of music, size of building, number in attendance, or length of Sunday morning services.  We are to be one body acting together in focus and purpose throughout the world.

Author and speaker Reggie McNeal said it this way, “Its moving from ‘Whatville’ to ‘Whoville.”  It’s moving from a place called the church to being the church wherever we are.  Moving from building to person.  Wherever you are, the church is.

Ok, I’m sure I got some of your buttons pushed from the comments above.  But we really can’t argue with Jesus’ model prayer in Matthew 5.   Jesus has us praying for God’s will to be done through us, His church, here on this planet, as it is in Heaven.  This reminds me of His prayer in John 17:19-23 right before He goes to the cross…

  • I pray also for those who will believe in me through [the Disciples’] message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

We are here, on earth, to be a real and tangible presence of Heaven…though not completely perfect.  So how are we doing in this area?  How are we doing in our local communities?  How are we doing through the week in our workplaces and schools?  Are we a fresh vision of Heaven to all who see us?  Are we a constant 24/7 representative of Heaven?

Some questions for evaluation for yourself or your church family:

  • When people see me do they see God?
  • When people hear me do they hear God?
  • When I make decisions, do people see the decisions that God would make?
  • Do people see God’s forgiveness when I forgive?  Do I forgive?
  • Do people see God’s care when I care for them?
  • Do people see God’s unconditional love when I am around?

….or

  • Do they see me instead of God?
  • Do they hear my attitudes and selfishness instead of God?
  • Do they see decisions that are for ‘my good’ rather than ‘my neighbor’s?’
  • Do they see me holding a list of their sins?
  • Do they see me caring more for my personal stuff than theirs?
  • Do they see love when they deserve it, and love withheld when they don’t?

As Steve Kimbrel has aptly said, we are ‘outposts of Heaven’ in the place we live…in the place we work…in the places we spend our time…for the people we are around.

  • “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

It is my understanding that we are within that 1000 years that John wrote of.  We are the Army chapter 19 talks about as we march forward taking people from the grip of Satan and presenting them with the truth of Jesus.

love-serve-spread the Word,

ed

Beginning With the End in Mind

April 20, 2012 1 comment

Ok…here we go.  Diving into the book of Revelation.  This is not an easy thing to do, but as we read this letter of apocalypse, or revealing, that was sent to churches in John’s time, we get the sense that something big was soon to happen.

In Revelation 19:11-20, a picture is given that shows a battle to end all battles.   The King is out front on His white horse.  His armies are behind him.  John writes, just before this battle scene that doesn’t last long, that a wedding celebration has been prepared.  You see, before this wedding celebration can be completed, an enemy has to be taken care of.  Then and only then is the way for a true ‘coming together’ of bride (church) and groom (Jesus) possible.

If you know a little bit about the Bible you’ll probably recognize the concept of the church being called the ‘bride’ of Jesus.  Ephesians 5:22-32 shows this pretty simply.  Here in this section of Revelation, we see this wedding coming together.  As the wedding is coming together, we see this final battle being staged.  Lines are drawn.  The Beast…you can guess who this is…brings together his armies and readies himself for battle.  Then, as though the battle didn’t even start, the Beast is captured and thrown out and all his armies killed.  Tada!  The armies of the King didn’t even lift a sword!

So how many of you enjoy a good battle scene in an epic movie?  I can recall the battles of Braveheart, The Patriot, Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Red Cliff and they are all really “guy” type movie scenes.  This is no different in 11-21.  We have our ‘good’ army!  Oh yeah!  They’re riding white horses like the King.  The army is wearing white clothes….and get this, the king’s robe has been dipped in blood!  The enemy’s leader is thrown into a lake of fire.  And then, to beat it all, birds devour the flesh of our King’s enemies after they’ve been killed.  Could you possibly fit any more testosterone into a battle scene?

I’m not sure why this picture was given like this…but remember, the readers were very familiar with all of these images.  This was the time of Roman conquest.  Leaders riding in on white horses with swords were common.  If you lived in an occupied city, you saw these images daily.  Many of the men reading this letter from John, ultimately a letter from God Himself, had possibly seen hand to hand battle themselves as well as the “clean up” afterwards.  If they hadn’t seen it personally, they’d heard stories from family and ancestors.  But here, there is a battle about to take place the likes they had never seen before, and Jesus simply wants Christians everywhere to know that He wins…in essence…we win.

Here’s the concept.  We are joined to Christ.  We are part of Him.  We are His bride, the church.  Sure, there was an epic battle the original readers of Revelation witnessed and that Rome thought it won when it destroyed Jerusalem (70 AD).  But even today, as Christians, we battle the enemy every day.  We battle for ourselves and we battle for our family and friends.  We even battle for those that we do not know.  We don’t do it on a battlefield of rolling hills and grass.  We do it in our homes, our schools, our workplaces.  We don’t use swords made of steal.  Our words and actions are used by the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

The battle has already been won.  We simply are continuing to take as many as we can from the enemy while possible.  This world is not our home.  So this world’s death is not our end.  When we can come to that realization, we will live in full peace and love and power.


For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  

2 Timothy 1:7  King James 2000 Bible (©2003)


For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.   

Ephesians 6:12  New International Version (©1984)

 

I looked down, and I saw the beast I had seen earlier and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered together to wage war against the One riding the white horse and His heavenly army.

Revelation19:19  The Voice New Testament

Some questions for growth:

  • Do you consider yourself already recruited, dressed and outfitted for a battle that’s already been won?  If yes, how so?
  • Who around you can you see is falling prey to the enemy?  We know that the enemy is against us every minute of every day, but we’re also in the army to lead people to Christ.
  • What will you do this week to battle for yourself and someone else?

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

ed

PS – I love the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  Here is an epic battle when one who was thought lost returns in a white robe to save his friends in battle.  Click here to see it.

Who He is. Who we are not.

August 4, 2011 Leave a comment

****

A man went on a nature
walk. A bear began to chase him, so he climbed a tree.

As he was climbing he
slipped down into the bear’s arms.

He prayed “Lord let
this be a Christian bear.”

The bear said “Lord
thank you for this food.”

****

The last message that we’ll focus on is
on a part of Jesus’ model prayer that many of us have memorized.
However, if you read a translation other than the KJV, you’ll find
that its not there.  Our focus is on Matthew 6:13B.  It’s often
referred to as a doxology.  Simply put, most scholars agree that this
ending verse was not spoken by Jesus as He ended this prayer of
example.

I could go into all the details, but
for the sake of keeping this a short article, I’ll just say the
following things.  The earliest (oldest) and most trusted documents
used to translate our present day Bible do not contain this part of
verse 13.  However, some old documents and texts…not as old but
still trusted as reliable…do contain it.  Therefore, most of our
Bible translations don’t contain it, but some have placed it in this
part of Matthew with a footnote saying something like “not
contained in earliest texts.”

Ok…what’s this mean for us?  Do we
forget about it or dig in?  I vote for the dig in.  You may remember
that when we first began this study on this prayer, I wrote about our
approach to God…and how a proper approach is explained by Jesus in
the first words of this prayer.  Jesus’ words give us a humble
approach, lifting up God’s holy name while signifying who His is and
what we are not.  He is holy and in heaven.  We are in need of
forgiveness and creatures needing forgiveness.

This doxology, as many call verse 13,
was probably an ending to prayer…any prayer, that Jews commonly
recited before saying the Amen.  That’s all.  Jesus, being a Jew
himself, had probably recited this doxology or something similar many
times as He prayed in the Temple.  One article I read stated that
Jesus probably didn’t say it hear because it was basically understood
among the Jewish people He was talking to.

So if this is the case, should we throw
it out?  I don’t think so.  This phrase is simply a reminder of what
is at the beginning of this model prayer.  It is also a phrase
similar to passages found in other parts of the Bible such as 1
Chronicles 29:11.

When we say it as we recite the prayer,
we are ending our prayer much like many Hebrews/Jewish people end any
prayer they are praying.  Good thing?  Here’s how I see it.  As Jesus
taugh us a proper approach to the Creator of all things, we here have
a proper ending.  We simply close the prayer restating who He is and
what is His and in doing so, our position in all things.  The Kingdom
is His.  All the power is His.  And all glory should be given to Him.
Why not say this as a closing reminder for us?

The final word is the common ‘Amen.’
Have you ever wondered where that came from?  Why do we always say
“amen” at the end of our prayers?  Well, it simply is a Hebrew
word that means ‘so be it.’  It isn’t just a period at the end of the
last sentence you speak.  It is a word of affirmation.  In this
prayer, it means…my paraphrase of course…All is yours Lord, and I
agree with that truth.

Friends, this is just another reminder
of who we talk to when we pray.  It’s another reminder of our
nature…sinful.  It is a reminder of what we’re a part of and our
purpose.  We are a part of the Kingdom and we we to give all the
glory to Him.

Repeated Questions for reflection:

  • How do you approach God in your
    prayers?
  • Do your words match your
    heart/soul language?  Meaning…is your heart as humble as the words
    you repeat from Jesus’ model?
  • If you don’t feel it yet, act it
    out as though you do…most times the feelings follow.

PS – If you’re familiar with the
Narnia movies, I’m reminded of the small Narnian who Lucy helps save
from drowning in one of the movies.  At first, all he knows of Aslan
the Lion (the character symbolizing God in the story) is from
stories.  As he gets to know the 4 kings and queens of Narnia,
representing us in many ways, he begins to understand that they have
seen and been with Aslan…but not yet trusting…still he likes them
and has given his duty to them.  By the end of the movie, he believes
and even comes face to face with the Creator and is bowing humbly as
he finally realizes the truth.  Act as though this is true, even
though you don’t feel it yet, and slowly God does reveal.  Now this
doesn’t mean that simply reciting this prayer is going to get you
closer to God.  What I mean is that God will know whether you are
truly searching for Him and reward you adequately and in His time.

love, serve, spread the Word,

ed

Daily Needs – Daily Bread


Our Daily Bread

Matthew 6:11

A salesman from KFC walked up to the Pope and offers him a million dollars if he would change “The Lord’s Prayer” from “give us this day our daily bread” to “give us this day our daily chicken.” The Pope refused his offer.

Two weeks later, the man offered the pope 10 million dollars to change it from “give us this day our daily bread” to “give us this day our daily chicken” and again the Pope refused the man’s generous offer. Another week later, the man offered the Pope 20 million dollars and finally the Pope accepted. The following day, the Pope said to all his officials, “I have some good news and some bad news. ‘The good news is, that we have just received a check for 20 million dollars. The bad news is, we lost the Wonder Bread account!”’

Ok…this is a tough one.  “Give us this day our daily bread” is verse 11 of Jesus’ model prayer.  If you’ve noticed, Jesus starts out his prayer using the words “us” and “our.”  He continues in verse 11 in the same manner.  It’s true that he was talking to a crowd.  But I wonder if He is also addressing the Kingdom, His church.  If this is true, then this is a prayer for the each member of the group to use “daily.”  He wants us to be on the same page moving together with the same goals and values….His Father’s goals and His Father’s values.

With that said, we need to figure out what this “bread” means.  The more I want to say that it is a spiritual request…the more I lean towards it meaning our daily ‘needs.’  Yes, I just said it.  I’ve been talking with a couple co-workers about how hard this lesson is to swallow being a born and bread “American Dream” type of person.  I also just came back from Haiti where I met and ministered to people who, when they prayed this prayer, knew exactly what it meant.  They lived in a maybe 10×10 wooden box built for them after being displace from their 15×15 cement/dirt floor home.

The question is, what do we truly need?  If Christ’s church shows the world that we need anything more than Christ, don’t we do a disservice to His message?  So let’s look at what we know from Scripture first.  Jesus said in John 6, in an extensive way, that He is the bread of life.  He told Satan during his 40 day fast that the Word of God was His bread to live on.  When telling 72 of His followers to go out on their first missionary mission trip, He said not to take anything except the clothes they were wearing.  They would be taken care of…workers deserve fair wages…God would provide (Luke 10).  In Matthew 6, beginning with verse 24, Jesus says that we can’t serve two masters…then the big word “therefore” comes into play as He says, don’t worry about your food, clothes or anything else that you think you need.  Why?  Because the Father knows what you need, and if you focus on Kingdom work, then He will supply your needs.

That’s what we know. Were the 72 taken care of?  Yes.  Did Jesus make it through His fast? Yes.  Are the birds of the air watched over by their creator?  Yes.  Can God clothe us like the lilies of the fields?  Yes.  Should we have any worry about these things?  No.  Reason?  Because when we truly rely on God for our needs, then people will see Him…and want to have Him…and be with Him for eternity.  Our wanting to supply our own felt needs points back to us.  Our relying on God for our daily bread always points back to Him.  One of those tip toes really close to sin…unintentional or not.  The other walks “humbly with our God” as the Lord points out through the prophet Micah in his book, chapter 6 verse 8.

Ok….what do we do with this?  I’m struggling with this one.  As a reasonable person, I can see how huge this could be to pointing people to see God.  But boy is it hard to let go of “self sufficiency!”  Let’s look for a modern day example of this really happening…not just a fairy tale sermon illustration.

George Mueller is a man we can look to for such an example.  He built and ran an orphanage for many, many, years.  He said, in an interview at age 91, “No man can ever say I asked him for a penny.”  When he needed something for the sometimes 2000 orphans under his care….he gathered his staff together and prayed.  God would send food, money, supplies and workers when needed…sometimes immediately before the prayer was finished.  This man truly relied only on what God felt He and his orphans needed.  Who is glorified in this example?  Mr. Mueller?  Well, his is a life to be patterned after.  But we know who supplied every need….no human.  Through humans, yes….but because of any human?  No.

So, can we live like in this manner?  It has been shown that we can.  Now…the question simply remains…will we choose to do so?…Individually and as a group of people who claim Christ their King and God their Father who supplies all things?

I’m not sure what to add here.  I’m sufficiently guilty right now and need to process where I’m at with this one little life changing verse.  I do know this.  I like to take care of things by myself…and therein lies the problem.  When we take care of things ourselves, we are lifted up.  When we fully and completely rely on God…only He can receive credit and fame.

Questions for thought:

  • What do you really need?  List here……
  • What things do we strive for that aren’t necessary, and sometimes place glory on us?
  • How do we change this?  Why would we even attempt to change this?
  • In the end, who get’s all the glory for our life?…all the glory…all

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

ed

I only want revenge. Is that so wrong?


‘Might not be getting even…but it is Revenge’

Two missionaries in Africa were apprehended by a tribe of very hostile cannibals who put them in a large pot of water, built a huge fire under it, and left them there.

A few minutes later, one of the missionaries started to laugh uncontrollably.

The other missionary couldn’t believe it! He said, ”What’s wrong with you? We’re being boiled alive! They’re gonna eat us! What could possibly be funny at a time like this?”

The other missionary replied, ”I just peed in the soup!”

GETTING EVEN….RIGHT OR WRONG?

Revenge can get nasty.  A few years back I was privy to a “prank” situation happening among staff where I work.  If I remember right, it started with a roll of toilet paper and someone’s car.  It ended with no less than one full package of Oreo cookies twisted apart and stuck to the entire windshield of another person’s car.  Actually, it ended when the director of that area called a cease-fire.  The back and forth play lasted almost a couple weeks and was funny at times…but at other times…was a bit tense.  The tense times came when a victim of a prank didn’t laugh.  You could see revenge in their eyes.

Look where we’ve been.  Jesus has walked us through the concept of hate, adultery, divorce…and Jesus is now asking us to “turn the other cheek.”  I think there’s a pattern forming here.  Jesus has been laying out a lifestyle that will look foreign in our world.  Think of the one person in the crowd on that mount…listening to Jesus…who had been through it all.  Maybe there was one person who was dealing with hate towards his ex-wife who cheated on him and then divorced him and now Jesus is asking him to not hold a grudge…to not want revenge…in fact to possibly take on the heart of a servant and still love her as a Jesus would.  In the rodeo world, Jesus is saying, “Man up!…My way!”

Here are common phrases we hear today.  “Why I oughta…”  “He’s going to get what’s coming to him.” “I’ll take her for all she’s worth.”  “They think they’ve seen the last of me.”  “Fight fire with fire!”  “They haven’t seen nothing yet.”  I’m sure you could type in more…with much more colorful language.  We live in a world where getting even is the norm.  Jesus is saying that it is not His norm.  The Old Testament rule was to limit retaliation to equal parts.  Jesus came and gives us the principle behind the limit of an “eye for an eye.”  It’s all about keeping your heart pure, even in the midst of hate and relational separation.

Why?  Why does Jesus ask us to be like this?  We want to be able to stand and defend ourselves at all costs.  However, Jesus says that all power belongs to Him and all judging belongs to His Father.  Psalm 75:7 says, “It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.”  One of my favorite verses, Proverbs 25:21-22, says this, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”  What the heck does this mean?  It means that when you do something that is so out of the ordinary with this world, people won’t be able to just sit back and ignore it.  Your action will be noticed…even if in secret.  The world expects us to fight back…to retaliate.  The Gospel, full of Grace, expects us to forgive and to never stop serving.

Do you see how in this the Church is a force to be reckoned with?  We have the power.  This is how the Kingdom advances.  It’s not about us.  It’s about Him.  Our home is in Heaven.  When threatened with death, Paul knew where his real home was and was not afraid at all to speak truth and love and forgive all.  Can we be that bold to love and to continue loving even when our flesh wants revenge?

I often wonder what Peter felt when Jesus looked him in the eye and told him that nothing, not even Hell would stop the church.  My guess is that Peter, over time, realized what Christ meant and took him at his Word.  Peter, later in life, peacefully walked through beatings and jail time for living as Jesus asked him.  Eventually, Peter was crucified upside down.  He became known for his strength.  But it wasn’t strength of brute force.  It was strength of consistency and tenacity.  He did the right thing at all times possible and continued to spread the love of Jesus where ever he went…without revenge.  Perfectly?  No.  Forgiven?  Yes.  And Peter…and Paul after him…eventually met their Creator and received that welcome, “Well done…”

Can you match those actions…the actions Jesus calls us to?  Can you turn the other cheek?  Give more than asked?  Go farther than asked?  All for the sake of the One who created you and will welcome you into Heaven?  I hope so.  Tough?  Yes.  Possible?  Very.  Just imagine what our community will be saying about us if we can all get this right. Just imagine who might want the strength that they see in us.

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

Ed

PS – Biblical example of not taking revenge and still keeping honor for the other person?  David and King Saul – 1 Samuel 24 and 26.

Questions for changin yer life:

  • How are you in the “Someone made me mad and I’m gettin even” category?
  • Can you see how revenge might hinder the passing of “the blessing?”
  • Can you see how Grace will make someone stop in their tracks and ask you, “What the heck!?”  What will be your answer?
  • Have you experienced Grace like this before, when you maybe deserved something else?
  • How will you deliver Grace to someone this week when they might deserve something else?  No, seriously…this week.  Make a plan.  We can talk about it all day, but if we never make a plan to get it done, it won’t get done.
  • Discuss next week how the plan was accomplished.   Who did you give grace to?  Who did you forgive?  Who did you go an extra mile with?  How did it feel?

So what about life?….

February 18, 2011 Leave a comment

I was sitting in the waiting room of the hospital after my wife had gone into labor and the nurse walked out and said to the man sitting next to me, “Congratulations sir, you’re the new father of twins!”

The man replied, “How about that, I work for the Doublemint Chewing Gum Company.” The man then followed the woman to his wife’s room.

About an hour later, the same nurse entered the waiting room and announced that Mr. Smith’s wife has just had triplets.

Mr. Smith stood up and said, “Well, how do ya like that, I work for the 3M Company.”

The gentleman that was sitting next to me then got up and started to leave. When I asked him why he was leaving, he remarked, “I think I need a breath of fresh air.” The man continued, “I work for 7-UP.”

Life.  Life is precious.  Many who will read this no doubt have been on both sides of the word “precious.”  Because life is precious, it can bring both extreme happiness and extreme sadness.  Life is a gift of God.

 

Life began in the Garden of Eden.  Specifically, human life became the crown jewel of creation when on the 6th day God formed man and woman and breathed into their lungs.  They were alive.  Hearts were beating.  Blood was flowing through their veins.  Their eyes could see.  Their hands could feel the touch of God’s hand in them.  You know how it feels to walk out on a cool morning and take a deep breath.  Adam and Eve took the very first refreshing deep breaths ever.

 

God created them.  That’s where we start with the subject of life.  We cannot start anywhere else. All of our ideas about human kind have to start here.  All of our considerations towards the value of life have to start here.  God created.

 

We do, however, have an adversary that wants to alter where we start when we think about ‘human life.’  Satan would rather us start thinking and feeling with our own thoughts of humanity…based on our emotions, experiences, selfishness, and the worldly values that often seep into our hearts.  Satan would want us to forget Who it was that began life itself.

 

David, the ancient King and Psalmist, said that God knew Him before he was formed (Psalm 139).  David wrote that God formed him and watched him as he grew in his mother’s womb (Psalm 139).  Incredible insight.

 

We also see how important life is through the life of Jesus.  Christ died for humanity.  If humanity was something that could be defined by science or evolution theories, I’m not sure we’d need a buried and risen savior.  Jesus died for our very existence.  God created…Jesus saved.

 

Next…again, based on what we know and believe…there is a place in Heaven being prepared for us (John 14:2).  God Created.  Jesus Saved.  God is planning on us being with Him again.  I’m not sure about you, but through the eyes of God…human life is precious.

 

The 10 Commandments speak also of God’s feelings towards His creation.  We are not to kill one another.  We are not to lie to one another.  We are not to steal from one another.  We are to respect each other possessions and family as well as our own.  God Created…and created a life plan.  Jesus Saved.  God is planning for us to be with Him again for eternity.

 

If we base all of what we believe about human life on just these things, we see why Jesus said the greatest commandment is in two parts…Love God, and Love the others that He created as well.

 

I’m so glad there’s forgiveness when it comes to how I/we treat each other. From abortion, to lying, to hate, to selfishness, to jealousy, to adultery, to murder, to stealing…we have all fallen short of God’s plan for life.  Adam and Eve had a taste…they lost it.  We now have a chance to taste the forgiveness that will lead to a life with God again…hand in hand.  The greatest thing is that we have the privilege of being asked to participate in passing this blessing around (Genesis 12:2-3).

 

Love, Serve, Spread the Word,

ed

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