A scripture read by our speaker this morning at church set off fireworks inside of me. It was really a continuation of a spark lit in intercessory prayer earlier in the morning when the prayer leader brought up the word “courage.” The church needs some courage right now, as well as commitment. Our society is in dire need of the love of God, and it will take courage to go out in this society and demonstrate that. It will take courage to believe God as society appears to crumble.
There is a mass exodus from our state (IL) happening because the progressive scythe is swinging throughout the state, demanding more and more money from its citizens and killing businesses, by all kinds of methods, some of them quite amazing. Who thinks of these things, really? Who actually comes up with the idea to tax a car on trade-in value after one has already paid sales taxes when they purchased the car? What’s next? Taxes on yard sale items? Oh wait… do we already have that? Maybe.
Persistence pays! It’s that catchy little slogan that I’m sure most of us have heard throughout our lives! It’s what your parents told you as they encouraged you to hang in there and keep at something until you mastered it. The fact is, persistence DOES pay, as I will share with you.
Lately I have been seeing some things about the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda. The story is in John Chapter 5:1-15. At the pool, the bible says a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, would come and sit on five porches around the pool, waiting for the moving of the water. They were waiting for a supernatural event. Why? Because an angel would show up at certain times and stir the waters of the pool; then whoever could get themselves first into the pool, would experience a physical healing of their ailment. This would be the equivalent of standing in line for a surgery and they call one name maybe once or twice a day. I wonder who discovered that when the waters moved, a healing would happen…
The book of James, Chapter 1:2-4 says “My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
What in the world is James talking about? This doesn’t sound like something human nature is even capable of. No one enjoys going through adversity. It is not an idea that makes sense. Even Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, prayed that the coming adversity would pass from Him.
“To know, know, know him, is to love, love, love him…” Remember that old song? It’s a 1958 single by the Teddy Bears. It wasn’t written about God, but I like to use it about God.
We humans are very tied to our natural world, what we can see, touch, smell and hear. We very much depend on the concrete things in life. Invisible things are too intangible for most humans. The debate about the existence of God has been going on since the beginning of time, and it continues to this day. Many cannot fathom an invisible God they cannot see, touch, smell and hear, a God outside of their natural senses.
I have been writing a lot here lately about the righteousness imputed to us by God and His generous grace. Something came up recently in a conversation about Rahab and I had to go and re-read her story. Her life is a great example of the great forgiveness and redemption plan of our God.
Rahab was a harlot in Jericho. Jericho was the first city conquered by the Israelites when they came out of the wilderness and began to inherit the Promised Land. It was the first battle in that land of the second generation Israelites who were the children of the group that came out of Egypt, the group that grumbled and complained against God, the group that committed idolatry and lusted. Many of that group died, not receiving God’s promises. Let us not be like them.
As humans, we find it so easy to find fault with other people. We are always, in our own presumptive minds, and thinking ourselves so wise, able to see what THEY need to change, but ourselves….well, not so much. You may not be guilty of this, but I certainly am.
After my “come to Jesus” moment, I remember a time of being so overwhelmed with my own sinfulness, that I came to realize something. When I am looking at other people’s sins all the time, I never see my own! But when God shows me MY sin, I am consumed…I am undone. I can no longer see my neighbor’s sins. Somehow they just fade away….they are no longer important as I mourn for my own ugliness before God.
If your sin bothers you, you have come to the right place! The true believer is grieved by their sin, and looking for a way out!
In some Christian circles, it is still fashionable to say, “I’m just a sinner, saved by grace.” Personally, I think that may just be a religious statement meant to sound humble. Sounds good, but is it true?
If you are truly the saved, I maintain it is not true. It was true maybe at one time, but if you are now the righteousness of God in Christ, how can it still be true? We are no longer sin-ners. Do we sin? Yes, we do, but we are not sin-ners. What that means is, we no longer PRACTICE sin. At least, that’s what the word of God says. Will you argue with that? The bible says we are the righteousness of God in Christ. 2 Cor. 5:21 “For He has made Him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”