Friday, July 18, 2014

Be Established

2Thessalonians 2:15-17 - Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.

Oh that the people of this world would grasp the severity of what is happening around us. Little by little we are feeling/seeing the effects of a fallen world. Many continue to live without concern. It will bounce back, they say. I am glad I know where my help comes from.

We have been told that in the last days, just prior to Christ's return...perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (2Timothy 3:1-5)

What does all this mean? That's quite the list. And not very complimentary at that. Life has been so good. So good we have turned our backs on God; reliance on God has diminished. Christianity has waned since around the 50's...about the time of the baby boomers. We as a nation prospered. We had need of nothing. Who needed God anymore? We now had all that made life easy. Ever notice, though, that when disaster strikes people call out to God? Ah, but when the dust settles, the fires are out, growth and life begin again and we also forget God again.

We cannot forget God. Ever. I recently saw an "inspirational" video clip about an empty pickle jar. A professor was demonstrating something. The jar was filled with golf balls till no more could fit. The class was asked if the jar was full. Yes, they said. He brought some pebbles and added them to the jar. They filled in the spaces between the golf balls. The students again were asked if the jar was full. Yes, they replied again. To shorten this story, sand and chocolate milk (or water, coffee!) were added to the jar. Now the jar was full. What was said next saddened me...this is how we are to look at life. The golf balls are the big things in our, children, friends; the gravel: job, house, car, etc; sand and water: small things. We were told to concentrate on the bigger things first with all the other things after. I get it, I do. Don't get so wrapped up in the small things of life. But being me, the first thing I noticed...where did God fit into any of this? No mention of God, despite this being an "inspirational" story. Shouldn't He be the very first thing?

Our world is self-reliant. Reliance is on family, friends, jobs, houses, cars, and all the insignificant things to bring us satisfaction and contentment. There is a failure to even consider that it is God who provides those things. No credit is given to Him. He does not even become a thought in many heads. Isn't that what God says is lovers of self? Lovers of the things that are unimportant in the grand scheme of life? Where is Jesus in a person's life?

I know this so goes against the grain of human thinking. I could even be accused at times of being like this. But I am aware and wish my life might more often reflect what is truly necessary...a relationship first with Christ; reliance on Him, acknowledgment of Him.

If any of us would lose all we had, what else is there? Can we say we are relying on His strength and guidance? We could well take a look at nature to see how God's hand is on all things. The Bible tells us that the sparrow is taken care of and it does little on its own to do it. God simply provides. If a sparrow is taken care of by our God, how much more would He take care of us...if we relied on Him?

Jesus is the light of the world. A well known song says this: The things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. If the things of this world are more important than Jesus...and yes, that includes family, possessions...we are, in one of God's words, lost. Other biblical words: blind, without hope, nothing, wicked, dead, an enemy of God.

Will this world recognize where we are heading? What will it take? Will eyes open? Or will what the devil would like to see, happen: anger replacing hopelessness? Depression arising? Self destruction replacing life?

Lord, what will it take? Oh that the people of this world would grasp the severity of what is happening around us. Oh that the people of this world would seek out the One who longs for them. The One who longs to sustain them. The One who brings hope in a very lost world.

I was unaware of these things once. But receiving Christ changed that. And now I have God's Word to remind me of His promises and guide me into all knowledge. It doesn't take a whole lot to understand this...

But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2Timothy 3:14-17)

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