Thursday, February 22, 2018

Pride and Destruction

This past Saturday Glen and I walked the "Second Annual Orange Moon Marathon."  This is our second year to do this and we were this year, as we were last year, the only two participants.  This year we followed a certified marathon course in our city and kept friends and family posted along the way.  We had a great time.

Because of a missed turn early in the course, we actually ended up with 26.54 miles instead of the 26.2 miles which marks a marathon.  At the end we only had some tiredness in our legs which was gone after a short rest.  We -- at least I-- was pretty proud of this accomplishment with little wear and tear on our bodies, especially at our age.

Then I decided to move our box springs and mattress (with our beagle sitting atop) to install a wifi electrical outlet.  The pulling of that furniture on my already tired legs resulted in a pull of a muscle in my hip.  I spent the rest of the night on a heating pad with a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator) on my back.  The next day I was fine if I was standing or walking.  But after any sitting, the flexion of my hip caused me to feel "stuck" in that position.  It took a few moments to stretch out fully and for the pain to go away.  I spent the second night on the same heating pad.  

Of course, I thought of this verse:

"Pride goeth before destruction , and an haughty spirit before a fall."  (Proverbs 16:18.)

When attempting anything in our own strength and effort, we will always meet some form of destruction along the way.  Mainly because we have decided to put our trust in human effort rather than trust the Divine strengthening God promises to His children.

Our Lord loves us so very much and He has given His Son as the supply for our every need.  Our only responsibility is to trust Him by faith to be that supply, to be that strength for every situation we may face.  We are to fully trust Him in everything and for everything.  Our pride is to be in Him.

"I am the vine, ye are the branches:  
He that abideth in Me, and I in him,
 the same bringeth forth  much fruit:  
for without Me ye can do nothing."  
John 15:5

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How Can I Help?

Since our children were small I  taught them the best way to tell someone they loved them was with three little words.  Only the three little words were not "I love you," but "Can I help?"   My thought in this was that words can be meaningless if not supported by actions.  If a loved one is busy, adding a helping hand tells of love much more than just a few words could ever say.

Lately I have been thinking of this and wishing I had worded it differently.  I think asking the question "How can I help?" is definitely better.  "Can I..." implies there may not be the ability to help.  "How can I..." implies not only the assurance of ability, but also the thought that we will not take "no" for answer.

As Christians there needs to be no doubt in our ability because our strength, our ability, is not in ourselves.  We trust in His ability to be our strength and our power in and through us.  As we pray for others, we also need to echo the voice of the prophet Isaiah:

"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?' Then said I, 'Here am I; send me."  (Isaiah 6:8.)

In this life, we are His hands, we are His feet, we are His lips.  We give to the Lord the only thing we can, our availability.  "How can I help?" should flow off our tongues quickly and easily to those the Lord has placed around us so we can be a light, showing His Light, to our world.

"And He said unto me, 'My grace is sufficient for thee: 
for My strength is made perfect in weakness.'  
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, 
that the power of Christ may rest upon me."  
2 Corinthians 12:8

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

What is Life?

In a medical sense, life is determined by the sustained presence of a heartbeat.

If no heartbeat is there, then life is not there.  A patient can have an absence of breath, but if a heartbeat is determined, we can breath artificially for the person.  This is what a ventilator does.  It is true that if there is no heartbeat we can give artificial heartbeats for a while -- this is cardiopulmonary resuscitation -- but it is not as effective as the real deal and is not sustainable.

The Scriptures tell us:

"For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory."  (Colossians 3:3-4.)

First Paul tell us that we are dead, and then that our life is hid with Christ in God.  Next he tells us that Christ is our very life.  Paul is not contradicting himself here, he is teaching us that our life in this flesh is dead in it's ability to please God, in fact to do anything for God apart from the working of Christ in and through us.  Then he goes on to tell us the truth of our lives is that our spirit which has been quickened, or made alive, by the Holy Spirit is presently --this very moment-- hid with Christ in God.  What safer place can there ever be?  Paul goes on to tell us that Christ is our very life.

Compare this with these in Galatians:

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:  and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me."  (Galatians 2:20.)

The sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ was so great that when we trust and believe in Him by faith, our old heart, which was dead to God, is enlivened, created anew and now lives to serve and follow the Lord.  Yet, we are still enrobed with bodies of flesh which have, as Paul called it, a law of sin.  But us, the part of us that makes us who and what we are, is new.  To believe that we are still wicked and evil would be like wrapping ourselves in a corpse and carrying it with us wherever we go.  We would smell the stink and feel the weight, but none of that would truly be us.  We must make the choice to not carry that stinky weight around and to believe what the Bible says is true of us as believers is actually true.

Let us rejoice in the complete work of salvation the Lord has done in us and look toward the day we will see the redemption of these bodies.  Let us believe that the Lord has placed His Spirit in our newly created spirit and that we are indeed, "hid with Christ in God," and "created in righteousness and true holiness."

"That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."
Epheians 4:22-24