We Were There

When I was a boy, my mother bought me a series of books. They we called “We Were There.” They were stories based on historical events as though you were personally part of the story. That probably contributed greatly to my love of history.

I have often wondered what it would have been like to personally experience the events recorded in Scripture. I think we have a tendency to view Biblical characters as totally foreign to modern man. But the fact remains that man has basically been the same through the ages. Solomon wrote, “Everything that happens has happened before; nothing is new, nothing under the sun.”

So figurately, the characters involved in the Nativity basically represents mankind of all ages. There were three groups of people, of the three groups, you will find you were there.

Group One: True Worshippers; the Magi. This group recognizes who Jesus Christ is and worships Him. 

Group Two: The Indifferent; Chief Priests and teachers of the Law. These learned men knew all the Scriptures concerning the coming of the Messiah and yet they totally ignored the most important event of history. This group represents the majority of people today; they knew all about Jesus but they are indifferent. They are not against Him but they do not see how Jesus can make a difference in their lives.

Group Three: The Hostile; Herod. The Roman Senate had given Herod the title King of the Jews since he was part Jewish but when Herod heard there was another King; he sought to kill Him. You do not have to look far to find those who oppose Jesus: Radical Moslems, the Human Rights Campaign, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the list goes on. The Washington Times has identified 200 ‘openly bigoted’ anti-Christian groups.

So the question is which group represents you? If you were there, which group would you identify with?

Success or Failure?

There is no question that our culture worships at the altar of success. We love rags-to-riches stories. We swallow the world’s lie that the person with the biggest bank account, largest mansion, most expensive car and who is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company is a success. 

In the “religious” world, the church with the largest congregation and the most elegant campus is considered a success. Churches compete with each other for recognition. TV evangelists [some, not all] pride themselves with their ratings. Pastors from the small, country churches feel inferior to the “big-city” pastor. 

While I don’t believe that churches should compete against one another, I do believe we should do and be our best. We are told to be faithful not successful. Matthew 25:20  Sometimes faithfulness and “success” run on the same track but not always. Missionaries and pastors sometimes labor years without seeing the fruit of their labor. 

As Christ-followers, we must remember we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Each of us have our place of service in the Kingdom and it all works together. “The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.  For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” I Cor. 3:5-9

Let’s Make A Deal!

Everyone wants a great deal. We go through the newspaper looking for the best price on food, clothing, and automobile tires. Have you ever went to a yard sale or flea market and discover an item that is vastly under-priced? You know that the person selling the item obviously does not know its true worth. Do you try to talk them into selling it at ever a lower price?

As a Christ-follower, do you…
a) Praise God for this wonderful opportunity, buy the object without letting the owner know its true value? And then brag to your friends what a shrewd dealer you are?
b) Inform the owner of the real value and offer him a reasonable price?

Treat others in the same way that you would want them to treat you. Luke 6:31

Would love to hear your comments.

Obey

A little boy was having a problem obeying his mother, so she told him to sit down. He refused to obey. In her most authoritative voice, she told him to “Sit down!” The boy obeyed but replied, “I might be sitting down, but I am standing up on the inside!” Obedience? Hardly.

Sometimes I wonder if some Christ-followers have that kind obedience. But partial obedience is no obedience. Sometimes God asks us to do something that, in our humanness, if we do not understand or cannot see the logic, we hesitate to obey.

As I thought on this, I was amazed at the number of times in Scripture that God asked people to do some things that did not make sense. God doesn’t always give us the details of his commands.

Jericho. God simply told Joshua to have the people to march silently around Jericho …followed the commands of God that the walls of Jericho fell down Joshua 6:20 Marching around a city and blowing trumpets aren’t found in any military book but Joshua obeyed and the walls fell.

Peter. Jesus invites Peter to walk on water. Science says we cannot not walk on water but Peter obeyed and he walked on water.

Ananias. Acts 9 Saul (Later named Paul) was on his way to Jerusalem to persecute the Church when God intervened and asked a devout Jew to go and find Saul. Ananias reminded God that Saul was the enemy of the church. It would be like God tellings us to go minister to ISIS. But Ananias obeyed and gave him God’s message and Paul became the greatest missionary the world has seen.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is quoted as saying, “One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons.”

“Instant obedience is the only kind of obedience there is; delayed obedience is disobedience. Whoever strives to withdraw from obedience, withdraws from Grace.” -Thomas Kampis.

When a coach loses too many games; he is fired. When a company loses customers and revenue; the CEO is replaced. When a pastor does not live up to the congregation’s expectations, often a new pastor is called. Have you ever stopped to consider that almost all agencies of the U.S. government have failed?

The US Department of Energy was created in 1977 to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. FAILED.

The US Department of Education was created in 1979 to ensure that every American had a quality education. FAILED

In 1913, the IRS code consisted of 400 pages. In 2013, that code has grown to 73,954 pages. FAILED.

The Department of Justice was created in 1870 as an effort to shrink and professionalize the federal government. FAILED.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs = FAILED

The FBI. CIA, Treasury, NSA, TSB, Postal Service, Labor, Transportation, Homeland Security and on and on have failed.

The purpose of this blog is not to create a sense of hopelessness. Nor is it a call for the disbanding of government agencies but rather a call to return to the God that made America great! 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 In all of our planning, we failed to include God in our planning. Unless the Lord builds a house (or government), the work of the builders is wasted.” Psalm 127 

Life is a matter of trust. In the home, on the job and in a country. It is all right to vote for the presidential candidate that you feel is most qualified but ultimately our trust must be in God. Only He can save us.

Have You Died Today?

 “People walking by insulted him, shaking their heads and saying, “Ha! So you were going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, were you? Save yourself and come down from that cross! In the same way, the chief priests were making fun of him among themselves, together with the legal experts. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself.” Mark 15:29-31

Throughout Christ’s life, He was constantly tempted to reject the Cross. Satan knew that the Cross would be his ultimate defeat. Jesus could have come down from the Cross saving Himself but I doing so He would have destroyed God’s purpose to save lost mankind. Christ refused to save SELF.

The vast majority of our problems is when refuse to die to ourselves in an effort to save ourselves. The Bible tells us that:

  • “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” [Galatians 5:24]
  • “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. [Galatians 2:20]

Satan cannot touch you as long as you remain on the cross because that is where he is defeated. But when you come down from your ‘cross’ to save yourself, you are exposed to his attacks. When you demand your rights, you have come down from your cross. Many divorces are the result of one (or both) spouses coming down from their cross. Road rage is a sign of coming down from the cross. Wars happen when countries come down from their cross. Lying is often coming down from the cross to protect self. Blaming other is a coming down from your cross.

Jesus died on the Cross not only for the forgiveness of sin but also that we might live victorious.

What Do You Want On Your Tombstone?

In 1995 there was an humorous ad for pizza that asked a rather serious question,”What do you want on your tombstone?” The question is implying how do you want to be remembered? That is a very important because it summarizes how our life has impacted others.

tomb

I am sure I will be remembered differently by different people. But the question is “How do I want people to remember me? It is rather obvious that the way I live my life is the way I will be remembered. Each of us have many opportunities to leave behind a positive legacy. We have the chance to be remembered for how we have impacted others’ lives for good.

Do you want to be remembered as caring, thoughtful, strong, fun and/or fair? Do you want others to remember you as the best husband, best boss, best coach, and/or best dad? Were you giving, honest and/or admired?

Jesus Christ is the most remembered man of all time. So we need to ask ourselves, “Why is He remembered by the entire human race?” This may somewhat simplistic but I think we can summarize His life under two main areas:

1] His love for the Father and doing His will. “ I obey my Father, so that everyone in the world might know that I love him.” John 14:31

2] He loved people and invested His life in them. John 3:16

Loving God and loving others seemed to work well for Jesus. I do not think we can improve on that!