A customer purchased a beautiful stainless steel grill, retail value, $3,600. Built by a master craftsman, it was a beautiful work made by skilled hands, carefully constructed in every detail. In transporting it to our store, the top half flew out of the truck and was run over. Demolished!
It was now reduced to a worthless heap of twisted metal with one tire track clearly visible. I called a company which buys scrap metal to try to redeem part of the investment, only to learn that we could only get 25 cents per lb. for stainless steel, or approximately $15.
It's amazing how quickly value diminishes when a product is damaged. It's the same with a once-dynamic Christian, who succumbs to temptation and becomes battered and scarred by the wrecks of the world.
BUT, the difference between one of God's children and a chunk of stainless steel is that we can be redeemed and restored to our original state! "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1st John. 1:9) Hallelujah! Amen and amen.
Jesus was 12 years old when He said to Mary, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” He said these words while sitting in the temple, in the midst of the Teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions; and, all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. (Luke 2:41-50)
Years later, after Jesus drove all who were buying and selling out of the temple, the Chief Priests and the Teachers of the law were displeased when they heard children shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David" and indignantly asked Jesus, "Do You hear what these children are saying?"
Jesus replied, "Yes, have you never read, 'From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise'?" (Matthew 21:12-16)
Again, when Jesus' followers brought little children to Him so that He should put His hands on them and pray; the disciples rebuked the people. But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these." (Matthew 19:13-15)
Do we understand the words and actions of Jesus concerning children? Do we encourage our children to worship and praise the Lord with us? Do we honor them by trying to develop in our own hearts their faith that simply accepts the love of the Lord and does not try to rationalize, understand or explain Him?
The Spirit of God Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children… We are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. We will share with Him the tribulations of this world for a short time; but, if we love and trust Him with the faith and love of a child, we will also share in His glory on that great day. (Romans 8:16-18)
GospeLines Prayer:Father, give us the faith of a child; faith that trusts and loves unconditionally; faith that is founded on the rock of Your Son; faith that will never fail. Guide us as we go about Your business, led only by Your Word and Your Spirit. Let our mouths be filled with praise for You and our hearts overflow with Your joy and peace for ever and ever in the Name above all Names, Jesus the Christ! Amen.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”
- Philippians 2:5
It was one of those questions you expect from a first grader seeking to show off his new knowledge. "Mom," I asked, "what is the big E on the instrument panel?" Teasingly, she replied, "Son, that E means ENOUGH." A couple of weeks later on my way to school, the car glided powerlessly to a stop on the side of the road. I learned that the E meant EMPTY! Ugh.
Unlike the gasoline tank which fills with air when it is empty, my spiritual tank replaces spirituality with sin when it runs dry. I learned that the hard way. Battling the worst sin of my life, I tried unsuccessfully to rekindle my walk with God, unwilling to let go of a known sin, instead, I used every technique I knew to explain it away. The result was that I slipped farther and farther away from the Father. Repentance means letting go of sin and turning away from it completely. No one can walk with God and participate willfully in a sinful lifestyle.
GospeLines Prayer:O, Lord, make me an instrument of your holy work. Convict me of my sin and give me the strength to turn away from it so that I may once again know your power. Amen and amen.
Have you left on a long trip without checking the tire pressure and the fluids in your vehicle? How many times do you leave for your destination with a partially filled tank of gas? How many times have you been on a journey and gotten lost? Have you ever taken a wrong turn? (Where's your map or GPS?)
Many of us go about our harried lives – driving the bus with little regard for the road map that God provided -- the Bible. We have enough struggles in our lives that our souls are thirsting for the Word.
I know I'm guilty of getting in the bus and driving on my merry way. But, life isn't always merry; it's full of pitfalls, missteps, poor choices, and God whispers, "hold on." I'll admit I pick up those keys again and again and keep driving. Occasionally, I'll experience a flat tire [poor choices], a broken water pump [broken relationships], or I'll make a wrong turn [turning away from God when waiting for His answer seems too long...]
After all I've been through trying to get to my destination; I only need to rely on God's direction and to "hold on."
When all the world around me
Seems to be falling apart
I hear the voice of my Savior
Saying be still and know that I am God.
I know that he is with me,
And never leaves me alone
I feel his loving presence
That says to me hold on.
I'll hold to his unchanging hand
Until he calls me home to him
And then I'll be at peace
Throughout eternity knowing
I was always holding on to him.
--Martha A. Branch
GospeLines Prayer:Father, when I reach for the keys to the bus, remove them from my grasp. May I follow the road map you have provided. May I "hold on" when the road gets bumpy and ask for directions… through your Word.
My Pastor died a few years ago. He blessed my life and molded my theology more than anyone.
Brother Jimmy loved telling the story about the son, estranged from his family, who wrote to say he would be on the train which ran behind the house his parents owned at the edge of town. The son begged forgiveness for his errors of judgment, and asked if they would accept him back. If they would, he asked them to tie a yellow ribbon on the tree which grew near the railroad tracks. If the ribbon was there when he passed by, he would get off the train. If not, he would continue on his way. As the train approached his parents' property, he fearfully looked for the tree, hoping to see a sign of forgiveness. There it was, not one ribbon, but every branch was covered with yellow ribbons his parents painstakingly tied on the tree.
Forgiveness doesn't always come easily. The Pharisees despised Jesus because He rewrote the meaning of their flawed theology with a new concept of unconditional forgiveness. "Jesus didn't follow a forgiveness formula...Jesus forgave in a way that was much more direct and much more in the present moment. He broke open His own being and within Him was enough to feed the entire world so that no one, absolutely no one, who eats of this bread will ever hunger again." (The Cleavers Don't Live Here Anymore, p. 113.)
GospeLines Prayer:Father, remind us that carrying grudges and harboring bitterness seldom brings redemption to the one we feel betrayed us. Let us not be judged as we judge, forgiven as we forgive, loved as we love; rather, let us discover a heavenly way of dealing with our adversaries so that your redemptive joy will flood our souls. Amen and amen!