Meaningful Truth

Why didn’t I pay attention when my uncles and Daddy talked about World War II?  When the men gathered at our house to visit, the ladies were visiting or cooking, and the kids were playing outside or washing dishes and doing chores. Everyone had his or her own interest and mine was either reading or playing the piano. Guns, war, and history meant nothing to me.

I’ll never forget in the mid-1980s when my husband and Dad were talking about WWII and they mentioned the bombing of Nagasaki. I must have looked puzzled when I asked, “Where is Nagasaki?” because they both looked at me astonished. Dad said, “Surely you don’t mean you’ve never heard of the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan?” I said, “I’ve heard of the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.” And he then told me about the bombing of Nagasaki following the bombing of Hiroshima, ending the war in the Pacific.

The only excuse I have is that no one grabbed my attention in a way that was meaningful to me, so whatever I was supposed to learn went right over my head.

This reminds me of the stories of people who have attended Sunday School and church all their lives and never learned the spiritual truth of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

Perhaps they heard the story of Jesus and considered it a nice story, but never recognized their need of a savior. Many people think that they haven’t done anything so terribly wrong in their life, so there’s nothing from which to be saved. Maybe she has been a very good person, and had given to charities. Perhaps he had always paid his bills and been a friend to all.

However in Romans 3: 23 in The Living Bible, “Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal yet now God declares us “not guilty” of offending him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in his kindness freely takes away our sins.”

Yes, everyone is a sinner, but everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved.

 

No Need for a Battery

I was going through some older stuffed animals in the spare bedroom recently, when I ran across a stuffed bear in nightclothes and a nightcap. As I cuddled him, I remembered that he used to have a heart, which I found in the dresser drawer. I found a 9-volt battery to make it work, then inserted the red heart complete with battery into the hole in his side. When I turned it on and hugged him, the bear’s heart started beating. He came to life with a beating heart; at least as much alive as a stuffed animal can be.

When Jesus hung on the cross, the soldiers pierced Jesus’ beating heart, and the blood flowed out of his body. His heart stopped beating until three days later at the precise moment that the Holy Spirit of God brought the power from heaven to resurrect Jesus Christ from the dead.

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:11 New King James Version.

If I have received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, then that same Spirit does indeed dwell in me. He will make my flesh-and-blood body come to life, by the life of Christ which flows in my veins, going into each little cell to keep me alive until that day that I receive my new immortal body that will live forever.

I know this old body will completely wear out one day, but until then I’m claiming the promise that the Spirit of God will renew my physical body. I depend on God to give me strength to breathe, move, and live every day of my life.

Because I belong to God, one day He will give me an immortal body that will never die, with a heart that will beat forever. No need for a battery.

Routines

I have an evening kitchen routine. I do the dishes or at least load the dishwasher, wipe down the counters, and sometimes sweep the floors before shutting off the lights. It is a joy to get up to a clean kitchen every morning.
Developing routines helps us accomplish more without having to think about what we are doing, but routines can be boring.
Some churches have removed rituals and liturgies from their worship, replacing hymns with choruses, pipe organs with guitars, a full choir with a worship team. Other churches hang onto hundred-year-old rituals of worship, which the present-day worshiper cannot relate to.
Rituals and routines are part of Christianity. After all, it was Jesus Himself that said at the last supper, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19.
The problem is rituals can take the place of a vital personal relationship with Jesus. Instead of committing our hearts and lives to Jesus, a ritual allows us to go through a show of commitment. Instead of burying our old selves in water baptism and rising from the water into new life, we just get wet. Instead of singing with our hearts to the Lord, we mumble through unfamiliar and meaningless words to a tune that is too high for the common voice to sing.
The answer to this dilemma is following the Lord in the Christian life with our hearts and not our minds. As we go through each ritual of the church, whether singing, water baptism, commitment, we should keep our focus on Him.
With Jesus Christ as the center of your worship experience, the routines will not become ruts.

Jonah and Las Vegas

Imagine God telling you to go to Las Vegas and walk the streets telling the people, “In forty days, Las Vegas will be overthrown.”

Imagine walking down the sidewalk in front of the MGM Grand Hotel where the golden lion sits guarding the entrance to the great casino, wearing nasty clothes, and smelling like fish guts and seawater, the results of being swallowed by the great fish. You walk through the crowd of well-dressed business people, flashy dressed gamblers, prostitutes, and comfortably-dressed tourists.

“In forty days, Las Vegas will be overthrown.” You don’t tell them to repent. In fact, you would
rather they didn’t.

God sent Jonah to Las Vegas. Well, okay then, Nineveh. The people of Nineveh believed Jonah and God. The king of Nineveh proclaimed a fast and ordered the people to cry out to God, so that God would change His mind and not destroy the city.

Sure enough, it worked. God made a liar out of Jonah. God forgave them. Jonah knew God would do that, because God is kind and compassionate, full of mercy and it made Jonah mad when God didn’t destroy them.

Jonah said, “This is exactly what I thought you’d do, Lord. . . For I knew you were a gracious God, merciful, slow to get angry, and full of kindness; I knew how easily you could cancel your plans for destroying these people.” Jonah 4:2  Living Bible.

In Jonah’s great desire to see the people of Nineveh wiped off the face of the earth, he had forgotten that God had specifically called Israel to be a light, to reveal God to the world. Jonah’s problem was that he was patriotic; he believed God’s mercy and love was exclusive to the country of Israel. Jonah had forgotten that the people of Nineveh were people just like him, in need of God’s mercy and grace.

God loved the people of Nineveh and He loves the people of Las Vegas, too, just like He loved Jonah and He loves us all.

GET UP AND TRY AGAIN



My little daughter who is grown was one of those kids who walked all around the coffee table when she was learning to walk, touching as she went, never letting go. She could walk all over the house touching the walls or chairs, and if there wasn’t something to touch, she got down and crawled. She was over a year old when she finally let go and walked across the room.

Once at church, my best friend’s first-born son started walking across the aisle to his daddy–at 7 months old! I could barely believe my own eyes. “Edna,” I said, “that baby is not old enough to walk. How did you teach him to walk so young?” She said, “I tie a harness around him and walk him around as I do housework.” The harness held him up and he had no idea he was supposed to fall.

I read recently that babies fall at least 2000 times, while learning to walk. I probably fell more times than that when I was learning to walk. I was born with twisted feet that Mother held in her hands and prayed over. She was overprotective of me because her two-room house had concrete floors. Every time I fell she was afraid I would “bust my little ol’ noggin’.”

The Lord knows our weaknesses. He knows we were born with “twisted feet” and the tendency to fall or sin. It’s because of our sin nature that we inherited from our ancestor Adam. The only way for us to “learn to walk” was to be born again, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.
 
God sent Jesus to straighten out the crooked paths and make the way straight. Jesus walks with us, with a little harness around our heart, propping us up as we walk.

The Bible says in Psalms 37:24, “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His Hand” and in Micah 7:8, “When I fall, I will arise.” Every person faces struggles in their lives, but the winner is the one who gets back up after falling. The last man standing is the winner, so don’t give up.

The key to the victorious life is getting back up again.

Come Boldly

“Wasn’t this the holiest place, where only the high priest was allowed to enter? How could we enter it so casually?” The tourist thought to himself as he entered the Holy Place in the  tabernacle in southern Israel. Of course, it was only a replica, built without the gold or acacia wood, but in every other way just like the tabernacle for which God gave Moses the plans.

God appeared to Moses and gave him the specific details of every piece of furniture, every wall, every doorway, all designed by God. The complete blueprint was spelled out to Moses.

When God gave Moses the plans for the tabernacle, it was patterned after the tabernacle in heaven. Paul said that perfect tabernacle was not made with hands, so it must be the one in heaven that God made.

The outer part of the tabernacle was the Holy Place, where the priests sacrificed animals every day to God. Inside the inner tent was the Holy of Holies, where the high priest entered once a year to offer blood as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole nation. Hebrews says that Jesus Christ is our high priest forever. After He was crucified and rose again, He entered the Holy of Holies in heaven one time, taking His own blood to place on the heavenly ark of the covenant, as the final sacrifice for all sins.

Like the tourist who described how he felt when he walked into the Holy of Holies in the replica model of the Tabernacle, we feel uncomfortable when we think of coming into the throne room of God, but since Jesus Christ offered His own blood once and for all, now we have access to God Himself, the Creator of the Universe and God Almighty.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 NKJV.

The throne of grace is God’s throne in the Holy of Holies and Jesus has invited us to come, and come boldly.

Lavon Hightower Lewis