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I Gave My Life For Thee

Monday, February 14, 2022

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name” Psalm 91:14.  In the hymn, “I Gave My Life for Thee,” four critical questions are asked: 1. I gave My life for thee, What hast thou giv’n for Me?  2. I left it all for thee, Hast thou left aught for Me?  3. I’ve borne it all for thee, What hast thou borne for Me?  and 4. I bring rich gifts to thee, What hast thou brought to Me?  Each one of these refers to Jesus’ sacrifice and then challenges us to live it out in love and service to others.  We love to hear someone tell the old, old story, but do we love to tell the story?  We can be big on our information intake but small in our application of it.  I once heard the story of a man who took college courses for over two decades to avoid using the information he’d accumulated out in the real world.  Christians can be like that.  God is primarily speaking of His Son living His life for Him, but the extension for us to do the same to share in the same salvation is understood.  God didn’t intend for us to just be in the church but to be the church.  Are you using the church’s resources as an education and rejuvenation station to go forth to sacrifice and serve for Jesus?

You Go, and Do Likewise

Monday, February 07, 2022

“‘Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You go, and do likewise” Luke 10:36-37.  Jesus asked the lawyer who stood up to put Him to the test about what the Law said, and he answered that he must love God and his neighbor fully.  Then Jesus illustrated how to love others through the parable of the stranger who sacrificed to serve someone he could have passed easily.  Here is the formula for the church to thrive: we must put love over law, ministry over membership, and grace over guilt.  When we come together not to escape from the world but to be equipped to go out into the world … we will see as God does.  When we each grasp our roles as ministers a the Lord’s church rather than as members of the Lord’s church … we will serve as Jesus does.  When we truly understand His grace for ourselves and can extend it to others … we won’t sin as the world does.  Then we will grow.  Then we will thrive.  Then we will walk as Jesus did.  Are you seeking what you must ‘do’ to inherit eternal life or how you must continually live here to obtain it?“‘Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You go, and do likewise” Luke 10:36-37.  Jesus asked the lawyer who stood up to put Him to the test about what the Law said, and he answered that he must love God and his neighbor fully.  Then Jesus illustrated how to love others through the parable of the stranger who sacrificed to serve someone he could have passed easily.  Here is the formula for the church to thrive: we must put love over law, ministry over membership, and grace over guilt.  When we come together not to escape from the world but to be equipped to go out into the world … we will see as God does.  When we each grasp our roles as ministers a the Lord’s church rather than as members of the Lord’s church … we will serve as Jesus does.  When we truly understand His grace for ourselves and can extend it to others … we won’t sin as the world does.  Then we will grow.  Then we will thrive.  Then we will walk as Jesus did.  Are you seeking what you must ‘do’ to inherit eternal life or how you must continually live here to obtain it?

Let Me Call You Sweetheart ...

Monday, January 31, 2022

Someone remarked recently that the Sweetheart’s Luncheon as a kickoff for our widowhood ministry on Tuesday, 2/15, at 11 a.m. sounded depressing.  This highlights the public relations battle that the widowed have in society … and sadly in the church to not feel further isolated.

It's understandable why this one loss is misunderstood as it’s so unique and exclusive.  Many have experienced the loss of a family member, friend, or pet, and no such loss should be minimized.  We struggle to cope after all losses.  The flip side of great love is great grief!

But the loss of a spouse is different.  You dated and fell in love with this person.  You married and perhaps raised kids with your husband or wife.  Your spouse was more than a loved one or best friend.  It’s the only relationship God gave mankind because something was not good in His creation … and in which two become one:

“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’ … Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” Genesis 2:18 … 24.

And so, when death rips a spouse away at any age, the survivor is a bleeding half, lost in a world he or she has not navigated alone, often for many decades.  The widowed among us need to talk, to share, to be understood … but far too often they are isolated.  And we are many.

There are about 23 who attend 36th Street and a dozen more connected to members who are invited to the luncheon, where they will each bring a picture of their sweetheart and share with others eager to hear in the Widows’ Walk ministry all about their one they once built a life with.

Depressing?  Not at all!  Invigorating, perhaps.  And alone no longer.

Our God, He Is Alive!

Monday, January 24, 2022

“All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” John 1:1-3.  The science is settled.  Isn’t that what we’re told?  Yep, deciding that there is no God who spoke all we see into existence, man, in his infinite intellect, has already discovered everything there is to know about how something came from nothing and then how that coincidental accident of complex systems of galaxies down to the intricacies of a single cell are sustained.  Rather than the increasingly fantastic, fairy tale explanations that these secular anti-theologians spout, it is better to accept that “Our God, He Is Alive” and continues to be active in His creation today.  The first two stanzas tell us of the wonder and beauty in which God created our world and how He continually guides us through “His inspired Word.”  It is the third stanza which sings of God being the author of life that He alone possesses.  And it is true that just as men can only reorganize existing matter and not create as God does, they cannot make life from non-life.  This is why we need the fourth stanza of God’s Son upon a tree to bring us eternal life with Him one day! Do you know that “Our God, He Is Alive?”

So That You Might Follow

Monday, January 17, 2022

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” 1 Peter 2:21.  Most often, examples held up for us to follow are of those who have succeeded in some great way for us to follow.  Perhaps it is some sports star, business owner, or student who worked hard, overcame adversity, and made sacrifices to achieve a great result—that is, accord-ing to the world’s standard and not God’s.  Jesus is a stumbling block and folly to the world, according to 1 Co-rinthians; dying on the cross was shameful for One who could have called twelve legions of angels to stop it all.  But to us who are being saved by His “failure,” it is the power and wisdom of God, which is wiser and stronger than men and their standard of success.  This is why we are willing to suffer with Him and copy His example, following His footsteps that lead to our own Golgothas as we carry our own crosses that He helps us to bear.  To this we have been called.  Jesus was made like His brothers in every way to let us unite with Him in death and in His resurrection, yes, but also to show us how to live.  Are you following in His steps as an example?   

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