August 27, 2011
Special photo: Susan Bennett
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If there’s a way to avoid loss and stress in this life, I honestly don’t know what it is. But our hope is actually two-fold: we have the comfort of God’s presence now — and the promise of life with him forever.
I guess parents or other authority figures can sometimes explain and reason till they’re blue in the face, and it finally comes down to, “Because I said so.” And we are asked to trust.
Our lives were meant to be safe, fruitful, and filled with God’s presence. We’re a far cry from that! And this is OUR doing, not God’s.
Evangelism … some folks would just rather not! Yet Jesus makes it clear that sharing his love and truth are the basis of our calling as Christians. So where do we begin?
The Pharisees believed material wealth and prosperity of all kinds were signs of God’s favor, but Long before Jesus’ birth, the prophets challenged God’s people to pay attention to the needs of others.
Jesus knows our fears and our hopes, and he’s with us in the midst of them, right now, every minute. If we only had eyes to see, we’d realize the light shines in our lives in a hundred different ways every day.
If we’ve turned away from God, if we’re ignoring his Word and his presence and not praying and not coming to him in repentance when we need to, then –– we’ve got to come back.
Following in Jesus’ steps is the best, most deeply satisfying life we can have, now and through eternity. But we forget, sometimes, that while Jesus’ steps may sometimes lead to joy and glory and prosperity … they also lead to the cross. And if we really want to follow in his steps, we need to understand that the cross may be part of our journey, too.
I think there’s a very simple reason why opposites attract. Each of us has strengths and weaknesses, and we tend to marry or build relationships with people who are strong where we’re not. We’re probably not aware this is what we’re doing, but we are.
Humility is a virtue that Christians are supposed to be displaying on a daily basis. But, the thing is … if you THINK you have it, you DON’T.
Sometimes, in traditional, mainline, Protestant churches, too much talk about the Holy Spirit makes people nervous! And in my travels, I’ve come to believe that the Spirit is often the most-ignored person of the Trinity.
The world teaches us to be aggressive and ambitious and get to the top however we can, whatever it takes, whoever it hurts. And there are many folks who’ve captured status, that sense of superiority, and also lots of money, by following that worldly teaching exactly. But Jesus isn’t trying to teach us how to advance the kingdom of the world. He’s telling us how things work in the Kingdom of God.
It’s true that sometimes God does let us hit rock bottom. But if that happens to us, it’s only because God, in his mercy and love, knows just how far down we have to fall in order for God to finally get our attention.
But we do that a lot, don’t we? We judge people all the time based on their race or nationality. We judge people on their religion, their politics, their profession. Ever told a lawyer joke? And clearly, we judge people on their appearance.
Are you a parent or grandparent? Do you have a job? Are you part of a family? Part of a church family? Let me just ask – are you ALIVE, and do you ever have contact with other human beings? Well, then … you need wisdom!