Thursday, May 12, 2022

Believing

 

All things are possible to him that believeth” – Mark 9:23

It’s easy to believe in what we can see.  We cross a bridge believing it’s going to hold us up.  We throw our laundry in the washer expecting it to come out clean. Those are examples of faith – believing without seeing.

It’s harder when we have to believe for something that appears impossible.  (Reminder – nothing is impossible with God.) I’ve learned that believing for what I see is only possible with God takes two questions. 

The first question is CAN GOD.  The answer to that one is always yes.  If God loves his people enough to split open a sea to let them go to safety, if He enters the fiery furnace with them, if He turns lions into tame kitty cats, if He breathes into dirt and dirt becomes a live man, then we know GOD CAN. 

The second question is the harder one - WILL GOD.  We don’t know the thoughts of God, the plans of God, or the reasons things happen sometimes.  We can try to imagine it, and only become further from the truth with our feeble thoughts. 

But when we change that second question to WHY WOULD HE NOT, we have a new list of things we can pray about.  Then we pray for those obstacles to be removed and pray fervently! 

Empty your heart - and your tears - to God. Remove the religious and recited words and open your heart.  Present the whole matter to God, believing HE CAN, understanding WHY WOULD HE NOT, and believe that when any obstacles are removed, HE WILL.

And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” – Matthew 21:22

Saturday, April 16, 2022

The Swing

 

"Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7

When I was a little girl, probably 6 years old, I remember swinging on the school playground.  I don’t know who was pushing the swing at that time, but I remember thinking that they were going to push to hard and I’d be pushed out of the swing and onto the ground.  I would think that same thing every time.  That meant possible cuts and scrapes, but it also meant I would get dirty, and I’d have to stay in dirty clothes all day at school. That’s one of my earliest memories of having anxiety.

As the years went on I noticed my mind was always busy with something – but only when it wasn’t occupied with some other thoughts, such as schoolwork or conversations.  I started having migraines at 9 years old – about once a week.  My grandmother Pearl came to the school and took me home so many times I can’t count them.  Those migraines went on till I was in my mid-thirties.

As I became an adult I noticed that my mind was never silent. Never.  It was like a hamster on a wheel that just wouldn’t stop.  The hamster, I believe, runs the wheel because all he really wants out of life is to get to the top and escape.  If you’ve ever owned a hamster, I know you agree.  But that wheel in my head would start thinking of one thought, like what do I wear to work, and within a minute of time I would have thought about a dozen things. 

In my later years, the wheel would run while I was trying to sleep.  When a noise – even a tiny noise – woke me up, I’d lay there for hours with hundreds of thoughts going through my head.  I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep.  They would be thoughts of things at work, worries about my children, worries about some project I was trying to complete at the house, worries about this ailment or that.  Somehow throughout the years, worry was on that wheel. 

Every morning I would pray for a good day, and for wisdom over the work I was given and the people I would work with. God blessed me at work, that is a most definite fact.  But when the day was over, the worries would encapsulate my thoughts.  And I’d worry about the next day.  I’d worry about what I should have said and didn’t.  I’d worry about every little thing down to the color of ink I used to write (no more red pens for me). I honestly began to think that this was just my personality.  I told myself I was a “worry wart”, a “control freak”, and so on. 

A few years ago, my doctor looked me in the eyes and said, “you have anxiety”.  I firmly said, “No, I don’t think it’s that, I think I’m just nervous.” He laughed and said that’s what they used to call anxiety. So, after prescribing a pill to me, within a few days, I began to feel so much less anxiety.  I don’t know how a pill can correct your thinking, but it did stop all the worries – somewhat.  There are still times, like a couple of days ago when Don and I were sitting outside, that I would reflect on the 10-12 projects I have around the house and how I’m going to get them done.  But for the most part, I can keep my thoughts in my head without the wheel running.

All of this to say one thing.  “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you” is sometimes given without context.  The same is done with many verses of the Bible.  We need to remember that when the Bible was written, there were not chapters, verse numbers, and such.  It was written the same way I’m writing this – a stream of thoughts coming from the heart and mind.

In context you’ll find what I was NOT doing with the churning worries I was going through.  The full passage says, Therefore, HUMBLE YOURSELF under the mighty hand of God, that He may EXALT YOU in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

What God wants is for us to trust Him with our cares, rather than carrying them ourselves and in our own strength.  If we don’t humble ourselves, and let Him lift us up, we stay where we are…struggling.  But if we will just acknowledge that we’re not able to do this on our own, God will help us.  God is not a fan of self-pride.  Read Proverbs 6:6-19  of the seven things he hates.  The first one is “a proud look”.  When we can let go of our pride and humble ourselves to ask God for help, He exalts us.  Exalt how? There are no limits to what He can and will do. 

There came a point to which I had to just look back and KNOW that God was at work the entire time.  God has done things for me so great that I wouldn’t brag about the thing, but I can brag about God.  He’s never stopped loving me or helping me.  And I know He has exalted me.  I know God pushes my swing.

My confidence in letting go and letting God gets stronger every day.  I just wish I’d know the key to casting all my cares on Him earlier in life. 

And for those of you who don’t believe a Christian needs medication, I don’t know what to say to you except, God Bless You that you’ll never need it.  My God is the creator of all things and gives the wisdom required for those that create medicines for our earthly bodies. As for the spiritual body, He gave us Jesus. 

“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation” – Ephesians 2:14


Monday, March 28, 2022

Faith and Obedience

"But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only." - James 2:20-24


Hebrews 11 talks of people of great faith, like Abraham, Noah, and Enoch. Each and every one of them stepped out of their reality to do what God had said. Faith in God will create actions. God will ask you to use your Faith, and by doing so you are obedient to God. In turn, God is pleased because you were obedient. Faith honors God, and God honors Faith.

These people of long ago received something in return each time. Abraham received an Inheritance. Sarah received a child. Read Hebrews 11 and look for the word 'received' and you'll see their rewards.

If I have gas in my car, I can have faith that I can drive it. But if I choose not to, that gas lays dormant. Our faith in God is the same way. Yes you can have faith and not exercise it just like you can have legs and not run. But God is pleased with obedience (Matthew 12:7). Eventually that gas will evaporate, and the legs will lose their strength. Faith is like a muscle - you use it to strengthen it.

Having faith in God, believing He will save us is step one. But a relationship with God is so much greater than just a ticket to Heaven. Having faith that God can and God will do great things in us and through us is the life of spiritual luxury! When you believe He loves you and will take care of you enough to do what He says, go where He sends you, then you experience the fellowship of God, God being PROUD of you, God being HONORED by you.

Faith is a gift from God. Obedience to God unwraps that gift.

Thursday, December 16, 2021


Cast your bread upon the waters,
For you will find it after many days.
Give a serving to seven, and also to eight,
For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.
If the clouds are full of rain,
They empty themselves upon the earth;
And if a tree falls to the south or the north,
In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie.
He who observes the wind will not sow,
And he who regards the clouds will not reap.
As you do not know what is the way of the [a]wind,
Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child,
So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.
In the morning sow your seed,
And in the evening do not withhold your hand;
For you do not know which will prosper,
Either this or that,
Or whether both alike will be good.” – Ecclesiastes 11:1-6



With the destruction that has hit Western Kentucky and other areas this past weekend, it’s hard not to live in fear when we see the winds picking up, as they have today.  But…God is good! 

 

There’s more to that than just three simple words.  There’s a lesson. 

 

Is God good even when destruction comes, when those die that we have loved, when there are no homes, churches, schools, medical offices, or grocery stores to go to?  Does God care about those that are suffering, even though the destruction was in and from His own hands?

 

The answer is an astounding YES.  He is always good! He works all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).  But that doesn’t mean we walk around in a sheltered bubble.  Evil exists in this world. Disease exists.  Destruction exists too.  We all live on the same planet and each of us has an effect, positive or negative, on each other.  Satan has his effects too. 

 

In our minds, without reasoning why, we try to fit God into the things we understand.  We try to weight His power with what we know as powers that we understand.  We try to weigh His intellect with our own, which is the only intellect we know.  We try to fit God into a man-sized box that we can understand.  Yet, God does not fit. 

 

God has told us that He doesn’t think or act like we do. His thoughts, His ways, His plans – they’re all above our own understanding (Isaiah 55:9).  If He did act and think like us, would He be God at all?

 

God sees the full plan - even future events are already known to Him.  In Isaiah 4:9-10 God says, “Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me,  Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure,’.  Our minds cannot even perceive what we will be doing tomorrow – or if we’ll even still be here tomorrow.  God has a unique perspective on all our lives.  He knows the highs and lows that we will be faced with.  He knows the pain and the joy. 

 

The verses from Ecclesiastes 11 at the beginning are as beautiful as poetry.  But in all it’s beauty, God says don’t fear what could happen – just live!  Throw out your bread without worrying where tomorrow’s will come from, feed more than you think you should, sow your seeds, and rest of God’s goodness.  Whether those seeds grow or die, God is still good.  His goodness is out of the realm of what we would understand is good. 

 

I don’t mean to belittle what has happened in our communities over this past week.  It’s horrible.  It’s hard. And we’re not going to get over it any time soon.  But please don’t live in fear.

 

When my kids were little I’d often have to pull things away from them that they could swallow and choke on.  Every time I did they would cry.  Was I being mean to them, bad to them?  No, but they didn’t understand.  Rest in the fact that we do not and cannot understand God’s ways either.  What we can understand, and I hope we all understand, is that God does all things out of love for us.  Let that Love be enough.

 

 

 

 

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Abide in Me – A Social Initiative

 

"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” – John 15:1

 There are so many social initiatives to better our world. I doubt anyone can count them.  We want to save the climate, the whales, the sea turtles, the forests, the grasslands, and so forth.  But the greatest initiative we have is to bring Jesus to all people.  Saved people are eternal people.  It is Gods plan in a nutshell. 

Yet in our world today, there’s very little evidence of God’s ways.  We have children killing their parents, parents killing their babies, young people killing total strangers on our highways and in gatherings of people.  We have no care for life at all anymore.  Life means nothing! Why? Because we’ve left the giver of life out. 

Jesus said “abide in me”.  That means our life should be lived through Him.  Think of it as putting on a full body suit of Jesus.  Our hands become His hands.  Our feet become His feet.  Our words become His words.  If we abide, live in Him, we bear the fruit God wants from us: saved souls, the lost being found, the 1 sheep that wandered away is found. 

But Jesus goes on to say in verse 5 “for without Me you can do nothing”.  Oh that doesn’t mean we do absolutely nothing, sitting on our hands every day.  It means that nothing good can come from us.  Remember what is says about our heart?  It is deceitful, desperately sick, evil continually (Jeremiah 17:9, Genesis 6:5).  Reflect on that…deceit, sick, evil.  Is that not what the world is like today?

Now, here’s the hard part.  If we, Christians, are supposed to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), and the world is full of evil and darkness, who went wrong?  It wasn’t God.  It wasn’t Jesus.  It wasn’t the evil people of this world.  If the light goes out, it’s because we don’t abide in Jesus.   We abide where we can do nothing good.

My Christian Brothers and Sisters, it’s time to get out of the dark closet and be who we’re supposed to be – a city on a hill that CANNOT be hidden (Matthew 5:14).  We need to fall in love with Jesus again.  We need to dwell in Him – our feet are His, our hands are His, our voice is His.  Our fruit is going rotten because we no longer abide in Him.

Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me,” – John 14:11a

“I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” – John 14:18

 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” – John 14:23

“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. “ – John 15:14

 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” – John 15:16

 

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Jesus' Kingship




“Therefore, when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.” – John 6:15

At this time, Jesus had been teaching a multitude of people that followed Him. He had just fed five thousand people with the two fish and five barley loaves and taken up 12 baskets full of fragments of the meal.

Jesus, knowing their intent to make Him their king, departed. But what if He had not?

If he had remained, they would have made Him their King, their ruler. They would have worshipped Him instead of God. And their worship would not have been for who He was (the Son of God) but for what He did. And in the end, He would not have been our Savior.

Sometimes we must give up opportunities for fame and importance to possess a more important goal. In this life, which is temporary, many will have popularity. But the Kings and Superstars of this world fade away like the flowers of Spring.

Jesus had a greater goal than an earthly Kingdom. Through His sacrifice He became not only our King, but also our High Priest, our Savior, our Judge, and our brother. He was granted more power than this earth could offer.

"And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?” Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” - John 6:25-27

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Zacchaeus' Truth


 “And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up [a]and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.  But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”

Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham;  for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” – Luke 19:5-9

We all know about Zacchaeus.  There’s even a song written about him for children. You probably know it:

Zacchaeus was a wee little man
And a wee little man was he
He climbed up in a sycamore tree
For the Lord he wanted to see

And when the Savior passed that way
He looked up in the tree
And said, 'Zacchaeus, you come down!
For I'm going to your house today!
For I'm going to your house today!'

Zacchaeus was a wee little man
But a happy man was he
For he had seen the Lord that day
And a happy man was he;
And a very happy man was he

But there’s so much more about Zacchaeus that we don’t get from this song.

Zacchaeus was hated by those that knew him.  He was snubbed because he was a tax collector. In those days tax collectors were predominately bad people who took more than they should and kept part of the taxes they collected for themselves. 

But in Zacchaeus’ own testimony to Jesus he said he gave half of what he had to the poor.  Moreover, if he ever overcharged anyone, he gave it back to them four times over.  Zacchaeus wasn’t just a wee little man, he loved poor people enough to help them.  He was honest.  And when Jesus came to town, knowing he was short and wouldn’t see him pass by, he climbed a tree to see him.  His admiration for Jesus was that strong.

We often do the same thing.  There are certain places that if people work there, we consider them as sinners.  Yet the truth is, we all need a job!  We work to take care of our families the best we can.  Judging people by where they work makes about as much sense as judging them by color, shape, size, smell, or anything else.  Friends there are good people and bad people of all sorts of shapes and sizes.  And because only God truly knows anyone, we need to withhold all judgement.  For, after all, with the judgement you give, you will also be judged.  Now some of us have made a long list of ways we will be judged.  Isn’t it time to stop adding to that extensive list?

Zacchaeus may have been a wee little man, and a tax collector.  But Jesus chose to stay at his house, and to see him as the son of Abraham.

 

  

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Monkeys and The Church

 


"Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20

My pastor talked today about Stephen and his message to those that would eventually make him the first martyr of Christianity. Stephen was bold, but not abrasive.  When brought before the high priests and his adversaries and asked to give answer to what he had been preaching, he instead was teaching them.  He went through the history of their patriarch, Moses, Abraham, Joseph, Jacob, and David.  He showed them how Jesus Christ was promised long before He was born.  He showed them that Jesus was our Savior, sent from the very God they served.  He was bold – but not brazen.  He spoke the truth, but in love, not anger or condemnation. He showed them that if they reject Jesus, they reject God.

While my pastor was preaching, God not only convicted me, but also gave me a vision of the three monkeys that are infamous in trinket shops.  They are called the Three Wise Monkeys, and are labelled, “See no Evil”, “Hear no Evil”, and “Speak no Evil”.  They were created by Nippon, a brand of china from Japan.  When I was a little girl, I remember us talking about them in Sunday School.  The lesson was that we were to avoid all evil, which is a good lesson.  But the lesson God gave me with this vision is different.  And to the Church, my brothers and sisters in Christ, I ask you to please hear God’s lesson.

Today we, the Church, have closed our eyes, ears, and mouth.  We’re no longer bold like Stephen. We’ve closed our eyes to the lost, our ears to God’s word, and shut our mouth when we should be God’s mouthpiece to those that need Him.  We’ve allowed ourselves to be censored.  

Let’s get real.  When COVID shut down our churches, we didn’t all feel bad about it.  We didn’t fight it.  We lived in fear instead of faith and were happy to stay home, myself included.  We realized we could sleep in on Sunday’s and that was ok.  Some of us still haven’t gone back to church. 

We stopped even teaching our children the stories of the Bible.  We stop teaching them the controversial Ten Commandments.  Instead, we are letting the world teach them their morals and values.  I shudder to think what this generation will be like as adults.  Parents, I beg you, please don’t create a Godless life for your children!  Teach them about Jesus because no one else will!  Today, they need Him and His Holy Spirit within them more than ever to guide them.

But the church has not gone completely silent.  We’ve gotten up in arms without extending our arms. We’re quick to stand for what we don’t like!  We turn our backs on anyone with political beliefs different from our own. 

We talk and post about abortion being a sin – without considering the thousands of women who are still suffering from making that decision.  Is there not a Christian message to be delivered instead? 

We point our fingers at anyone that lives differently from us without once befriending them.  “But they live in outright sin!” News flash! Yes, and so do you!  Note that homosexuality is not one of the sins that are pointed out as one of the seven abominations to God - but lying tops the list.  Can you not show them the same love Jesus has shown to you? 

We are disobedient to the commandment we were given to love one another.  The drug addict, the murderers, the criminals with guns, we don’t reach out to any of them.  Where’s the fight FOR the addicts and deals, FOR those that don’t respect live, FOR those that will end up in jail?

I can’t think of a greater sin than robbing someone of the opportunity to know Jesus.  Brothers and Sister, if people turn away from Jesus because of our offensiveness or our political position, we have picked up a weapon we most likely never consciously intended to use. And it’s worse than deadly.  It has eternal weight.

Brothers and sisters, if you want to bring people to Jesus, you need to first show them His love through you.  Jesus did not call us to condemn, but to love one another even as He loves us – unto death.  We are all looking for unconditional love.

Even amid friends, we don’t bring up Jesus, our most prized possession, because we fear we’d be looked at as radicals, “crazy Christians”, or “weak minded people believing in the unknown”.  It’s not only our boldness that’s gone, but it’s our love for others.  We don’t want to feel “uncomfortable” in talking about Christ. 

When we become silent, we’re useless.  If you cannot stand for Jesus, how can you say you love God?  God provided Jesus for all people.  But He provides us with one commission: Go into all the world teaching them about Jesus, and baptizing them in the name of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. 

Friends, the Evil of this world is not just the devil’s doing.  We have not fought against it.  We’ve given up.  We’ve raised our hands over our ears, our mouths, and our eyes.  We’ve secluded ourselves from evil, and in doing so excluded all who need Jesus.

How can we change the world if we refuse to see those in need? How can we know what to speak to those who need comfort if we refuse to talk to them?  If you’re unwilling to hear the cries of those in pain, how can you love them? If you won’t even make eye contact with those that are suffering, how will they know you care?   Family of God, we can no longer be deaf, blind, and mute in this world. 

As my pastor said this morning, we should be the full display of Jesus to everyone we meet.  And if Jesus isn’t shining through, we need to get on our knees and get it right.  The clock is ticking.  And one day we will stand and give account for our actions, and our inactions.  I don’t know a lot about Judgement Day, but I pray we do not see those that are told “Depart from me, I never knew you” fall into Hell.  I fear the familiar faces that would condemn us.

 

Father God, I pray you let my words be soft on each heart that reads them.  I pray they cause hearts to turn to you.  I pray Father that you change me by what you’ve taught me this day and make me aware of those I don’t speak to that need you.  Use me in your service and give me second chances when I fail.  In Jesus name, Amen.

 

Sunday, October 3, 2021

God’s Divine Strategy

 

 


And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Today my pastor talked about growth, and how growth only comes through pain.  It’s very true that growth hurts, whether it’s physical, spiritual, or emotional.  We grow through pain.

Losing my best friend, Pauletta, has been painful.  It’s been a month and two days since she went to Heaven.  Her death left a hole that no one can fill in my life. 

I thought one day of writing it out as a “Wanted” ad and just wait to see who would fit.  It would go something like this: 

Wanted: Best friend for life.  Must be willing to correct me when I’m wrong and never let me slide.  Must continually remind me of all my past mistakes and show photos that will show how crazy I was.  Must do it with laughter and jokes to make me laugh at myself.  Must be willing to come to me crying so I can return the favor and make her laugh.  Must be willing to hear my fears and cast them down.  Must hear my excitement and pretend to understand what just happened that day even if you don’t.  Must be willing to put up with my inconsistent friendship, as I may go weeks without calling.  Must be willing to reach out to me when I go silent. “

At that point I realized, there will never be another Pauletta.  Never.  God created her as a custom-made friend for me.  She filled all the crazy ways I have, and I filled hers.  God is like that!  He customizes our relationships – divinely – and does it to His glory. 

I grew so much with Pauletta in my life.  She truly brought me closer to God.  She made me accountable for missing church, not studying my Bible, slacking at being a mom, not talking like a Christian should, and so much more.  My punishment would always be the same.  The phone would ring, and I’d hear her loud voice,  “Heathen!”! LOL! As time went on the roles changed a bit, and I got to remind her to go to church and tell her what God’s word said.  I got to tell her she was a good mom, and that she was a strong person.  I got to dry her tears with laughter.  We grew together like two trees with the same roots.  We were planted together and rooted by God.

Many times, I’ve tried to make sense of it.  Why would God take her from me?  Why couldn’t we grow old together, be in our seventies or eighties lounging on a beach in swimwear to gross out the youngsters?  Why couldn’t we be nursing home roommates, and torture each other with our snoring and loud talking?  Why couldn’t see be the friend that I would continually text all my crazy ideas to?

It’s funny how God will give an answer sometimes.  While asking the questions I got a very clear vision of a checkerboard.  My Momma Pearl used to play often and taught me how to play. She was a great strategist when it came to checkers.  Her steps were orchestrated for the big win.  She and my Great-Grandfather Lev (Papaw) would play when they were together.  Eventually Papaw would see he couldn’t win, and he’d throw the checkerboard so he wouldn’t have to “officially” lose! It was hilarious! 

The checkerboard I saw was one black checker being jumped and removed. One checker.  But then my side of the board had an open line to multiple jumps – taking lots of red checkers.  Sometimes playing checkers you must give one up to make the strategy work, to win. 

I think what God was telling me in that short vision was that I had to give her up to grow in what is His purpose for me.  And she needed to go to Heaven for His perfect purpose for her. 

Nothing in life is spontaneous when you know God is in control of everything.  It was not by chance that my pastor preached on growth causing pain this morning.  It hurt to lose her, and it still does.  Sometimes I just want to hear the phone ring, see the picture of her face light up on the phone and her say, “what are you doing?”.  Then we’d sit and talk about things past, present, and future for an hour or more.

God left a hole in my life to be filled by something else, someone else, something I have yet to understand.  But I know He will fill it.  He’s doing a new thing.  And though I don’t see the blueprint, I know the designer!  And if the weight of the pain is anything comparable to what is coming, it’s going to be good. Real good. 

Friday, September 17, 2021

Wax Cold

 

"And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” – Matthew 24:12

We’re told of several signs in Matthew 24 of the end of the world.  There will be rumors of wars, nation rising against nation, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, martyrdom, hatred, betrayal, false prophets, and sin will abound.  And Jesus ends the list with the statement that the love of many will “wax cold”.

I find the term “wax cold” not only interesting, but even poetic.  Wax has two forms.  When warm it softens and flows, but when cold it becomes hard.  The term “wax cold” comes from a Greek word we hear a lot these days, psycho.  Yet, the meaning in Greek is somewhat different than we would expect.  It relates to breathing cold air or having a decreasing love.  The two definitions are related, in that the breathing of cold air reduces the temperature of air which prevents evaporation.  In the olden days of dating, going “parking” meant the car was parked somewhere secluded and what went on in that car would often fog up the car windows.  Love was not waning at that time!  But when the windows don’t fog up anymore, when breath is cold, love has gone cold.

There’s a story in the Bible that provides an example of a heart waxed cold.  In Mark 5 we read of Jesus and his disciples landing on the shore of Gadarenes.  As they came out of their boat a man came to them out of the tombs.  He was possessed with demons and would often be heard at night crying out and cutting himself with rocks.  The pain inside him was heard in his screams.  People had tried to help by putting him in shackles and chains, but he would break out and could not be tamed or comforted. 

When Jesus stepped on the shore, this man “saw Jesus from afar” and “he ran and worshipped Him.”  Even demons know who Jesus is.  The man, demons speaking through him, asked Jesus not to torture him.  Then Jesus spoke and said, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!”. Then Jesus asked the name of the demon, no doubt looking to assign punishment for the pain of the body he called his home. But the demon answered, and said “My name is Legion, for we are many.”  And the demon then begged for Jesus not to send them out of the country.  Know that Jesus could have sent them anywhere, even into hell! 

Jesus even had compassion on the demons.  They spotted a herd of about 2,000 pigs nearby and begged Jesus to send them into the pigs, and Jesus gave them permission.  When they entered the pigs, they ran off the steep place by the sea and drowned. 

What happened next is a demonstration of hearts waxed cold.  When the people in the city found out what happened, they asked Jesus to leave.  That’s right – the healer was asked to ‘go on, git!’

Two thousand pigs were worth a lot of money.  The life of the man healed was not what they cared about.  Their hearts had grown cold, wax cold, to the pains of the man who was possessed.  What they cared about was the herd of pigs.

This is the perfect example of 1 Timothy 6:10, which says “For the love of money is the root of all evil”.  The love they should have had for the man was outweighed by their possessions, the pigs.  And so, they rejected Jesus, and sent Him away.

Think about the ways we send Jesus away today.  Sundays are filled with our own ideas of rest and relaxation, and we don’t want to be bothered with Jesus.  During the week when we could spend time praying, reading His Word, or showing love to others, we choose to do what we want, and put the love we have for ourselves before our love for Jesus. 

Friends, hearts are waxing cold.  And though this must come to pass because of the end times we’re living in, you still have a choice as to whether you let your love for Jesus and others wax cold.  Choose.  Choose to be that warm loving person that will fog up a heart with the love they express.  Choose to be the one others can depend on.  Express the love of Jesus.  Ephesians 5:1 says we are to be imitators of God as little children.  Do what God would do.  Sacrifice for others.  Plead for others.  Hold them up when they are weak and hug them when they are broken.  Don’t let your love wax cold.