Mr. Martin's cartoon is funny - in a sarcastic sort of way. It get's our attention because we all occasionally feel that our government is ignoring the real issues and trying to appease us with fun and games. Unfortunately, it's not only our governments which insult our intelligence.
Pardon me, Mr. Martin, but allow me to rephrase your words a little and see if the message still comes through…
"So then it's decided… for the Sunday service message, instead of sex, drugs and infidelity, we're going to go with a driving beat and a disco ball."
What if we filled the blanks with marriage after divorce, how our teenagers dress and language in the home? What if we included tithing, covetousness or the fact that in God's eyes, thinking "carnal" thoughts - lust - is no different than adultery? What if we included pride…?
Yeah, maybe Mr. Boffo is right… maybe we should just stick with the driving beat and the disco ball… We don't want to drive people away by telling them the truth…
To use words from the movie "A Few Good Men", many of our politicians are hesitant to tell the truth about critical issues because they're afraid we "can't handle the truth!" They fear they'll lose votes unless they always paint a rosy picture.
Unfortunately, many Pastors have the same trepidation. They fear that if they tell the truth they'll lose members or that the offering will suffer. So, they stick with the driving beat and the disco ball rather than preach about the things that are destroying our homes and our nations.
Brothers and Sisters, we cannot keep our children from drugs by ignoring the problem. We cannot expect our sons and daughters to dress modestly if we never disapprove of anything they wear. If there is a large elephant in the room, it will not go away just because we decline to admit its presence.
Jesus answered Pilate saying, "…for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." (John 18:37) We are to speak the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15) Will we become our brother's enemy by telling the truth? (Galatians 4:15-17)
Let's stop accepting a driving beat and a disco ball; let's demand the truth, God's truth, spoken in love, concerning all things. If we do this, our Lord promises that the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit that the world cannot accept because it neither sees Him nor knows Him, will live with us and in us. He will come alongside us and help us face the real challenges of this world in truth and without fear. (John 14:17) Praise God! GospeLines Prayer:Father, You have promised us the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth; you have said that He will always be with us. Grant us the courage to hear His words and to speak the truth in love in all things. Help us to speak what needs to be spoken, not out of pride or vanity, but always out of love and a sincere desire to bring people closer to You. Help us to remember Your words from John 7:18 that "He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the One who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him." Keep us ever in Your truth and help us always remember that “Love without truth is hypocrisy; truth without love is brutality.” Amen.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 2:5
At one time there was a commercial telling mothers to purchase a certain brand of milk to help their children develop strong bones and teeth.
Building strong bones (our relationships) requires Godly wisdom as found in Proverbs 4: 20-27, paraphrased below:
1.Watch what you say
2.Watch what you see
3.Watch where you step
4.Watch where you stand
We often don’t consider the consequences of our actions.When we don’t follow God’s instructions, we not only don’t develop strong bones, we destroy them!
I am certain that many of us have a moral compass and we realize when we are about to self-destruct and/or when we are about to destroy that which is so precious to God.(We are to love one another.)Despite the commandment, we continue down the slippery slope and find we are self-centered, lonely and bitter people.
Thank God He can breathe life into those dry bones we’ve created – through His word found in Ezekiel 37:3-5 (The Message):
3 He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?"
I said, "Master God, only you know that."
4 He said to me, "Prophesy over these bones: 'Dry bones, listen to the Message of God!'"
5-6 God, the Master, told the dry bones, "Watch this: I'm bringing the breath of life to you and you'll come to life. I'll attach sinews to you, put meat on your bones, cover you with skin, and breathe life into you. You'll come alive and you'll realize that I am God!"
GospeLines Prayer:Father, any one of us has been caught up in a web of sin from time-to-time and temptation will be with us as long as You give us life.
We need to be vigilant in “watching” AND praying.I am thankful, Lord, that You provide instructions through your word.
I just listened to the song "What becomes of Christmas" (I'm sorry, I do not know the musician's name; but, the original composer may have been Sigen Hasso).The song ends with the question, "How will we know God loves us if there is no more Christmas time?"
We are blessed that God uses so many different methods to communicate with His children.He may speak directly to us; but, frequently He uses other means.I have found that song is one of His favorites.
When I first listened to the song, I thought it was referring to the politically correct practice of saying "Seasons Greetings" instead of "Merry Christmas."However, after really listening to God's message communicated to us in this beautiful song; I realized that it is the reason for Christmas that He wants us to remember.
·He brought us hope and truth
·He gives us purpose
·Being "nice" won't solve our problems
·We need a Messiah
·He came that all might live
"How will we know God loves us if there is no more Christmas time?"
The Ethiopian eunuch said it best: "How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?"(Acts 8:26-40)We are commanded by our Lord to "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation" (Mark 16:15) because… "We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words." (1st Corinthians 2:12-13)
In the words of this song, God once again sends us out into the world to remind His children that even though Christmas is over, the reasons for the season continues all year, through all time, and until His glorious return.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, Creator of all things, we give you praise and thanks for Your magnificent gift of love… for your mercy… for your Son.In His name we pray for Your Spirit; for Your will and Your word to be manifest in our lives so that the reason for Christmas will live in us all of our days and that we may be blessed to share Your Good News will all around us.Amen!
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”
- Philippians 2:5
≈ Devotional for Friday: January 5, 2007
"It’s All About Love…"
"But God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that he made us alive with Christ, and God's wonderful kindness is what saves you." Ephesians 2:4-5 (Contemporary English Version)
There was a time in the not so distant past when I found myself sinking fast in self-pity, condemnation, anger and a host of negative thoughts and feelings.When I reflect back, I wasn’t certain how I would recover, but I am reminded that it was God’s love that pulled me through as found in the following words –
I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore, Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more, But the Master of the sea, heard my despairing cry, From the waters lifted me, now safe am I.
Love lifted me! Love lifted me! When nothing else could help Love lifted me!
We are fortunate enough to have a swimming pool out our back door.When my grandchildren visit, they always want to swim.Both take lessons during the summer.The five-year-old does fairly well when demonstrating what she’s learned.The three-year-old is usually in a floatie, but always wants to emulate her big sister.
One day the girls and their mother were over and the girls were in the pool for what seemed to be an eternity.After sitting on the side of the pool for a time, the baby sister (who has no fear) decided to jump in without her floatie, attempting to swim.
At that moment, their mother was a distance away witnessing this event and about to panic.Fortunately, I was at the water’s edge and could reach in and pluck our baby from the pool where she was certainly sinking.I’m sure my daughter’s pulse was in overdrive at that very instant…
The baby got a little water in her mouth and nose, but basically was just fine.She had no concept of our concern and was ready to go again – this time, WITH her floatie!!!!
GospeLines Prayer:Father, thank You for plucking me out of some uncomfortable situations.Thank You for saving me from myself.
I sometimes wish I had the fearlessness of a child.But, I know I need fear not because I have You.
I thank You for the gift of my daughter and grandchildren.Thank You especially for the gift of Your son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.