We like like us

I saw they made a robot as lifelike as possible and put it in a London pub.  People were freaked out.  It is one thing to have a “robot” that cleans the floor (as we do in the sanctuary).  It is a completely different thing to build one that looks and acts like a human being.  It is obviously where we are heading.

In general, we tend to like people who are like us.  Last night I heard someone say that the best way to get desirable qualities in a mate is to be the person you want to attract.  They said, “If I want someone kind, I must be kind.”

Which brings me to the point of today’s writing.  Jesus wants us to be like him.  We tend to want to make Him like us.  When we disagree with His teachings in the Bible, when we think our opinion is right and what the Bible teaches is old fashioned or irrelevant, we are trying to make Him like us.  It really is scary how few people are ever converted by the Bible in their thinking, and I am talking primarily about the New Testament, after Jesus’ arrival, because He changed everything.  When take from it the parts we agree with and refuse to take it all, we are making Him into our image.  And more and more in our modern Christianity, that is obviously where we are heading.

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Carrying the label

Our church kitchen was remodeled last summer, including new base cabinets.  Naturally, we had a catch all drawer, also known as a junk drawer.  We no longer have a junk drawer.  But in one of the upper cabinets we have a small plastic bin labeled, “Junk Drawer Items”.  It was things too useful to throw away, yet not worthy of a drawer of their own.  We could have labeled the container “miscellaneous”, but these items still carry the label “junk drawer”.

Too many of us who have become followers of Jesus still wear the old labels.  Where God calls us His children, God’s enemy, the accuser, calls us a fraud.  Where God remembers our sin no more, the accuser keeps reminding us of who we were and all we have done wrong.  In John chapter 8, Jesus explains that when we sin, we are slaves to sin.  Sin is our master.  Then He says in verse 36, “Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.”  He gives you a clean slate.

The irony is that often the people who are going to die in their sin have a false sense of security that they are a good person bound for heaven, and the very people who have been forgiven and set free by the blood of Jesus go around kicking themselves for their past.  My prayer for you today is that you would see yourself as God sees you.  If you are a follower of Jesus, He calls you His beloved child.  He loves you and those old ways you see yourself are like worthless old clothes that need to be discarded.  You are a child of the King.

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Not what you bargained for

Last night I went in to turn on the heat for a Women With Faith meeting.  The meeting was at 6:30 at the church in the teen Sunday School room.  While I was in there, I saw an opened bag of fun size Twix.  #winning  It felt funny when I picked it up.  Upon further inspection, it did not contain Twix bars, but instead had Starburst inside.  What a letdown when you are expecting one thing and you get something else.

The natural inclination here is to remind you what the Bible says about people expecting to hear “well done” and who will instead hear, “depart from me“.  But I also think we sometimes forget what, or more appropriately who, we who belong to Jesus have within us.  A walk through Walmart takes you past person after person, and all you can see is the outside of people.  The difference within people is sometimes not so obvious.  Some people have within them, the Spirit of God.  Some do not.  Remember who you are and whose you are.

But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) ~ Romans 8:9 (NLT)

But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. ~ 1 Peter 2:9 (NLT)

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You are Loved by Your Creator

On Friday our roads got sprayed.  Locals know that means snow and/or ice is on the way.  I have heard the road spray contains beet juice.  I have not researched that.  However, the weekend came and went and there was no snow, ice, nor even rain.  The lines are still on the road.  The anticipated weather event never materialized and looking at the 10 day forecast, perhaps we have seen the last of winter in Short Gap.  Today is to be a high of 43 degrees and Friday is to be 85.  And as I type this at 6:50 in the morning, there are harmless snow flurries out my window.

I always think I know what direction my blog is going when I begin it and sometimes I end up somewhere completely different.  As hard as they try, and with all their knowledge and expensive equipment, they still have a difficult time predicting the weather.  It is not so unlike trying to figure out life as a Christian.  The one thing you can count on is unpredictability.  We read God’s Word and try to live our lives accordingly, but then the unexpected happens.  Either what we do not expect does happen or what we do expect does not happen.  We never know.

This should not be a surprise.  We are trying our best to understand the God who said, “Let there be light” and caused the sun to shine.  With all the uncertainty, there is always one thing I know.  Jesus is on the throne.  Whatever comes my way, the Creator of the Universe has allowed.  And I also know He loves me and tells me He is with me through it all.  Until that day I go to be with Him.

Whatever today holds, my prayer for you is that you believe you are loved by your Creator.

A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. ~ Proverbs 16:9

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No spare tire

It’s funny how things get named.  Think of the term “spare tire”?  We would never name it that today.  We would probably call it an “extra tire” or “emergency tire”.  I have a mini van and the spare tire is accessible from underneath the van.  I would not have a clue how to get to it.  I was at a red light a couple of weeks ago and saw this tire on the back of a vehicle.  It would be easy enough to get to, but had holes all around it.  It was as good as having none.

At our Wednesday night devotion after the dinner I talked about a superficial faith.  I talked about what I read in a Bible commentary – that Jesus sometimes walked away from a crowd full of people who wanted healing because He was not interested in leading them to a superficial faith.  If the healing was not going to lead to depth in one’s faith, it was pointless… much like this spare tire.

We go through life placing importance on things that do not matter in the end.  It is sad when people get to the end and think we have something of value and we have nothing.  You pour your heart and soul into a job, a volunteer organization, a vehicle, or any number of things, and you risk ending up with nothing of value.  Spend your life doing things that matter in eternity.  The Good News Club in New Haven, WV, run by my good friend Beth Foreman comes to mind.  Donate to Samaritan’s PurseBuy an item to go in a shipping container to Haiti for Hope Rising Children’s Home.  Plant a tree.  Do not get to the end of your life and realize very little you did mattered in eternity.

Enjoy this Andrew Peterson Song:

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We all have faith

I listened to a Timothy Keller talk this morning.  It was from a talk he did with Google employees.  He touched upon faith.  Whatever you do, do not say you do not have faith.  He said we all have faith.  Those who believe in Jesus have faith that He loves us and that He died for our sin and that makes us right with God.  Our faith in this belief can be based upon many things.  Part of mine is based upon my belief that the Bible and the story of Jesus makes more sense to me than not believing.  I cannot believe that the world just happens to be.  I find it more likely that there is a creator than there not being one.   Believing this, I cannot believe that there is a God who expects us to be good enough to reach Him.  The story of Jesus makes the most sense.

Keller said others who do not believe in God have faith that there is no God.  Again, there are many reasons that lead them to believe this.  His argument is that both take faith.  Just as I cannot prove that there is a God, non-believers can not prove there is no God.

If you believe there is no God, you are wise to live however you want with the laws or based on what you can get away with.  If you believe there is a God, you are wise to live in ways that are pleasing to God.

The irony is that there are some people who deny God’s existence, yet live lives as good people who many would confuse with believing in God.  And there are others who claim a belief in God who live in ways that completely contradict His instructions.

Is it any wonder this world is so confusing?

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A dirty little lie – the lies of a 2 year old

Yesterday in church I was talking to an 8 year old about sin and we were talking about lies.  I said her two year old brother had not learned how to lie yet.  Dad chimed in and said that was untrue.  He said you could ask the two year old if he had a poopy diaper and he would shake his head no, lying right to your face.  Now, that is a dirty little lie. (I could not help myself).

There are not many of us who would claim perfection. I would guess there is not one of us who would claim we have never told a lie.  Where many of us stumble is that we do not see the severity of our sin.  A lie seems trivial.  My sin does not seem to rise to the level of a “death penalty”.  Where we need to change our thinking is not the level of the offense.  It is the holiness of the one we offend.

One mom put her 40 cents in the birthday basket at church yesterday, meaning she had just turned 40.  I told her I was sure her kids thought she was ancient.  She said they did.  I told her it all depended who you hung around with whether you were seen as, and thought of yourself as, young or old.  I told her I just try to hang around people so old that they made me feel and look young.  That is a parable of the significance of sin.  Compared to most people I know, I feel pretty good about my good/bad ratio.  I probably study the Bible more, pray just as much, and behave just as well as most people.  But when I compare myself to Jesus, I see how short I fall in forgiveness, in sacrifice, and in my thoughts, among other areas.

Jesus is the measuring stick – or the bar.  And we all fall short.  We will not enter heaven unless our life matches us to Jesus.  That is why our sin must be punished.  That is why we need a Savior. Not just to show us where we fall short, but to make a way that we may be forgiven.  That is why God sent Jesus.

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