Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Our Frailty in God's Hands by John.

Someone many years ago said, "Only God can hit a straight lick with a crooked stick." I liked that. It spoke to my heart in a happy way. I was fully aware that I could be called a "crooked stick" where spirituality and Christianity in general were concerned. Somehow I didn't consider God in that little statement, and that I'm afraid, is what most of us fail to do. We frequently hear someone ask, "How big is your God?" But usually, we give it little thought. Isaiah 2 tells us we had better pay attention to how big God is! Verse 19 says, "Men will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from dread of the Lord and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth."

I know I should spend more time in prayer than I do. When I consider my prayers, I am well aware I pray a lot more for myself than anyone else. I am that aware of how much less I am than what God planned for me.

We seem to feel God puts us in this world and turns us loose to follow the dictates of our own desires. Does that sum it up for you? I meet many people daily who seem to have that idea. One that I have felt is a Christian just yesterday told me he quit going to church when he was 15. He said he's only been occasionally since then. I suspect his family is quite disappointed about that, but church is not a requirement for salvation. Some churches teach that you can be saved and lost again ad infinitum. Some teach it is a one-time thing and if you are lost after being saved, you can never be saved again. Others, like our church, believe you are saved once for all eternity, but being saved does not give you a license to sin. All of these views miss the point that God not only can, but does, hit a straight lick with a crooked stick. In fact, all of these involve some logic, like 2 and 2 always equal 4, but again those doctrines major on mankind and leave God out of the picture. Isn't sin essentially leaving God out of our lives? Doesn't sin take place any time we turn away from God's leading? James 4:17 says, "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." That covers a tremendous amount of territory where we all live, doesn't it?

Let's try to look at what we see God doing. From the beginning of recorded (Biblical) history, we see God watching over His creation just as He did in Genesis 1. He cares for His creation. I like to paint pictures. I tend to hang on to my paintings, not because they are valuable, but because they are the work of my hands. I understand at least a little how God feels about His creation of which you and I are a part. I love my paintings, so when I read in I John 4:19, "We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen." By the way, I try to take care of my paintings. Sometimes something bad happens to one of them, and I can't fix it! But when something bad happens in God's creation, He can, and does, fix it! God takes care of His creation.

Who do you see as perfect? Jesus? Good choice! He was and is flawlessly perfect! Do you think the Biblical writers, the prophets for instance, were perfect? What about your pastor? I hope you have already advanced in your Christian life to know no one on this earth is sinless, much less perfect. Our sins are forgiven, and God is righteous in forgiving us. His own Son Jesus took death for us. God offers and we accept His sacrificial death as payment for all of our sins! But that's not the end of it! That's the beginning! God continues to work with us. We are totally free, and God does not force us to do anything! He urges us by His Holy Spirit Who indwells us to come to Him, to listen to Him, and to live the very best way possible! He will never tells us to do anything evil, though He may tell us to do things we think are evil. Peter was on a house top praying when God let down a sheet containing all sort of critters, bugs, slugs, caterpillars, maybe even common house flies, and God told him to kill and eat. Peter refused saying nothing unclean had even passed his lips much less been swallowed! God simply stated it was clean if He made it clean! This was the same Peter who long before denied he even knew His Lord Jesus. I think the lies and the curse words he used were worse than eating bugs! But God hit a lot of straight licks with Simon Peter Jesus called "a rock." He still was not flawless. God used Paul to call him down when he showed prejudice at an evening meal with both Jewish and Gentile Christians.

The truth is, all of us are extremely frail when it comes to being Christian. Without God's indwelling Holy Spirit sealing us as members of God's family, we would not be able to please God at all. He is constantly picking us up when we fall, urging us on when we want to quit, telling us we can when we say we can't do God's will. God starts where we are just like we do with our chilcren when they make major bad choices. We love them, we forgive them, we urge them to put it behind them and to move on! God even tells us that He will remember our sins no more!

Some of God's sticks are much more crooked than others, but no matter how crooked we may be, He can, and He does, utilize us to accomplish His will. Elijah went from the mountain top experience of defeating all of Israel's false prophets to fleeing for his life from Jezebel! That's crooked! But God continued to use him even to train Elisha one of the greatest crooked sticks we have ever read about! Our errors, bad choices, rebellious wills can all be forgiven when we turn to God and confess them. He will forgive us, and He will use us, and He promises that we will bear fruit until He calls us home!


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