I’m writing this week’s blog 35,000 feet in the air. I am on my way back to Chicago from spending 35 hours in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I went there for my 35 year high school reunion. I don’t know if you have been to one of these things or not, but I didn’t recognize anyone! Well okay, some, but time, and life had changed the way most looked, and the way a few were in school.
I had a nice time catching up with as many as I could. One thing that really stuck out to me was everyone had a story. Everyone shared a portion of the path they have been on since we graduated. Most were good paths, others were sad. It was comforting to know how many had found God, accepted Jesus on their path and are now living for Him. Those on paths that are not leading them toward God concerned me. I know God grants them the privilege of exercising their free will.
Something I have never thought of before: “Free will” isn’t free. You enter eternity paying the entrance fee with your life, which leads to hell, or you enter heaven with the entrance fee being paid by the death of Jesus Christ. To enter heaven you accept His free gift.
John 3:16 goes beyond 35 hours, 35,000 miles, or 35 years. It’s for anyone, at any time, no matter what path you have been down in life. For my old classmates not living the life God has for them I simply pray, “God, help them find you. Don’t give up on them, and help them accept your Son, Jesus. ”When I get to heaven’s reunion I hope I see them there.
Do you ever get tired of running into people who do something wrong, but then act
like it is your fault? Who say something wrong, but then blame you? I am tired of it. I try hard to do right. I try to treat others the way I want to be treated, but I don’t always get the same courtesy.
This seems to be especially true on the road. Last night I was running an errand, and I went to turn left. The person in the oncoming lane had a stop sign, I did not. They ran the stop. I slammed on the brakes to prevent an accident and I honked. They honked. Then as I was looking for a parking spot I happen to notice a vehicle close behind me with their bright lights on. What’s up with them? I thought. Then it occurred to me that could be the ones I honked at. I didn’t park. Instead I started driving. They followed. I got on the highway. They did too. So I decided to get off the highway and go to the local police department. In the mean time I dialed 911. 911 confirmed my plan. As I pulled into the police station they decided to book it out of there. Unfortunately they got away before the police arrived.
This event, and several others always make me wonder, what are these types of people going to do when they stand before God? These types being those, whom in their mind, never do anything wrong. Those whom truly believe the universe revolves around them. Will they argue with God? Will they honestly stand there and try to defend themselves, or try to lie to the one who created them?
No. They won’t be able to do any of that. They will most likely fall to their knees and not only worship the One True God, but they will have the sickening feeling of how wrong they are, they were, and of the countless people they hurt along the way.
Rom 14:11 Read it for yourself in Scripture: “As I live and breathe,” God says, “every knee will bow before me; Every tongue will tell the honest truth that I and only I am God.” (MSG)
I’m going to try to stop judging others, and try to stop commenting on other’s behavior with my car horn.
“We’re called to be witnesses, not lawyers or Judges.”
“God Himself doesn’t propose to judge a man until
he is dead. So why should you?”
This week has had a particular theme to it. “Cleaning Out” At work I was tasked with cleaning out cubicles and cabinets once used by employees before they retired. At home going through every place one can put things and asking, “Do I really need this?” This is particularly hard for men who think they will use anything someday to fix something. Butt (typo intended) also personally cleaning out this week as I went for my first colonoscopy. Talk about things you really don’t need!
As I had lots of time to sit and think, and realizing this week’s theme, I begin to ponder what spiritual stuff am I hanging on to that I need to clean out? The list started growing. After one cleans out, gets rid of things they don’t need, like life style choices, habits, etc. they need to take one more step. If this one step is not taken one will only clutter their life again. That one step? Change the way you think, or nothing will change at all.
Romans 12:2 puts it like this, “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” (MSG)
Me? I plan on walking more, and changing my eating habits even if my lab results come back with a good report. I want to stop letting what other’s do and say bother me at all. This is going to take a lot of changing, but change for the better. If I can do this with God’s help my heart will be less cluttered and have more room for Him.
There are a lot of prophets (so called men of God) out there right now making a lot of noise. Have you ever considered where they get the stuff they are saying? Do they truly hear from God, or from themselves? I have been reading from the book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament of the Bible. I came across some interesting verses I feel speak to us today.
A Message from GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies: “Don’t listen to the sermons of the prophets. It’s all hot air. Lies, lies, and more lies. They make it all up. Not a word they speak comes from me.
They preach their ‘Everything Will Turn Out Fine’ sermon to congregations with no taste for God, Their ‘Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen to You’ sermon to people who are set in their own ways.
“Have any of these prophets bothered to meet with me, the true GOD? Bothered to take in what I have to say? Listened to and then lived out my Word? (Jer. 23:16-18 MSG)
The only real way to know if a man of God is speaking truth from God’s word is to…are you ready for this? Know God’s word for yourself. Read it daily if you can. Your eternal life may depend on doing so. The truth is everything might not turn out okay. We live in a sin filled world, but I would rather go through pain and heart ache in life with God than without any day.
Jonathan Gainsbrugh once said, “Read your bible. It will scare the hell out of you!”
Over the last two years I have gotten to know several Chinese people. One of these I had started dating. Her English was not that good when we first started getting to know each other, and my Mandarin, well forget it. We used our smart phones back then to translate a lot of our conversations, but three things didn’t need any translating. Those three things were love, laughter and God.
Today I went to a Chinese church to support a friend who wants to find a church community to belong to. I only understood four Chinese words spoken. During the worship part of the service though I knew the songs because I recognized the music. Then it hit me; when we the body of Christ get to heaven and we sing praises to God every believer will sing in their native tongue, but collectively it will become a beautiful melody instead of being a chaotic mess. So I would have to add one more to the list of things not requiring translating: praise to God.