FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


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Set Free From…Me!

Writing for AlterNet, Amanda Marcotte suggests, “Anyone who has worked in the restaurant business will be happy to tell you that waiters always fight each other to avoid working Sunday lunch shift. Not because they want to sleep in, but because it’s a widespread belief that the post-church crowd is loud, demanding and unwilling to tip appropriately. In the food service industry, “Christian” is synonymous with “selfish.”

What?????

Followers of Christ – the example of love, sacrifice, selflessness? Jesus – the Good Shepherd (John 10:11); Meek and Lowly (Matthew 11:29); Obedient (Philippians 2:8); Peace (Ephesians 2:14); an Offering and Sacrifice (Ephesians 5:2) and Servant (Philippians 2:7, Matthew 12:18, Isaiah 53:11)?

Yes!

We are selfish. Sometimes, we are the most selfish.

At least I am.

Newsflash. You are, too.

In fact, the Scriptures tell us that all humans are born in corruption. We are born with a sinful nature that permeates our being – was passed to us through the first man on earth, Adam.

Romans 5:12 teaches “through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (NKJV). The Bible describes our human nature as evil, and hopeless to be restored to order, apart from the divine intervention of God through Jesus Christ.

It is our nature to make gods of ourselves. Our view is egocentric; it is all about “I.” Read the writing of very young students. You will likely find the majority of sentences beginning with the personal pronoun, “I.” As we age, it doesn’t get a lot better.

Calvary Chapel South Bay blogs, “The most popular phone is called I-phone. Nowadays, the most popular thing in the social media is to take a selfie (a picture of yourself). Among the most popular magazines are names like “People,” “Us”, “All You,” and “Self.” This goes on and on in our modern narcissistic society. Everything around us is targeting to build up “self,” to feed the flesh and to make us cling to the things on earth. The modern message of the world is, ‘You are your own god. You rule over yourself. There is no sovereign God.’”

That may seem a bit harsh, but it is truth. Scripture teaches that we must deny self (Luke 9:23, Matthew 16:24) and take up the cross of Christ to follow Him. To “deny” self means to say “No” to self, and to take up the cross of Christ is to say “Yes” to God – His will, His plan, His way. He sent His Son, Jesus, to set us free (John 8:36), including from ourselves!

So, you can’t have an “I-Phone,” snap a selfie or read “Us” magazine? NO!!!! God does not call us to asceticism – abandoning all earthly possessions, wearing sackcloth and ashes, not eating certain foods and never wearing make-up. He does call us to humble submission, to give Him first place in our lives – and not first among other things or other gods. He is first because He is the only God and His way is the only way! (1 Corinthians 8:6)


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Weebles Wobble

But they don’t fall down!

Now, if you think I’ve lost my mind, then you are way older than I am or you are what my great grandmother used to call “a young’un.” If you don’t remember Weebles, you’re either too old or too young.

Weebles is a trademark for several lines of roly-poly toys that were launched as part of Hasbro’s Playskool division in 1971. I was already well past the Playskool age, but the commercial jingle for these egg-shaped toys was so catchy that everyone repeated it. Besides, they were everywhere. There were Weeble Pals who rode a Weehicle and went to Weeschool and afterwards played together in the Weebly Wobbly Treehouse or went to a Weebles Barn Dance in Weebleville Town Center! It was a wonderful world because – Weebles Wobble but they don’t fall down!

If only our world could be that simple.

Contrary to what some believe, Christians are not perfect. The Bible does not teach that Christians never fail, never stumble, never wobble. But the Scriptures do teach that Christians get back up – guess you could say we wobble, but we don’t fall down! I will even be so bold to say that if one falls down (and stays down), then that one was not a true believer.

Now, before you get upset with me, click away from this page or turn your computer off altogether, look at the Scriptures for yourself. 1 John 2:19 says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.”

Here’s the deal. Christians are human. Christians wobble. But Christians are miserable in their wobbling (SIN) and cannot continue in that way.

Consider Abraham. Called of God. Friend of God. But he wobbled. And not just once! He told Sarai, his wife, to lie and tell the Egyptians she was his sister (Genesis 12:10-13). Fast forward to Genesis 20 and we see Abraham lying to Abimilek, King of Gerar, telling him that Sarah (name changed, same wife) was his sister. In Genesis 16:4 he slept with Hagar, his wife’s maidservant because he either doubted God’s promise, was impatient to wait or thought he knew better than God.  Either way – big wobble!

Consider Moses. He killed an Egyptian and tried to hide the body. He later lost faith, grieved God and was not permitted to enter the Promised Land. He wobbled.

Consider David. He committed adultery with Bathsheeba and arranged for her husband, Uriah to be on the front line of battle since a cover up scheme fell through (2 Samuel). He wobbled.

But when you read the Scriptures, Abraham is known as Father of Many Nations (Genesis 17:5), and God calls to Moses while he is out tending sheep (having killed the Egyptian and fled). God talks to him again at the burning bush and chooses him to bring redemption to His people, the Israelites (Exodus 3). And David? We read in 1 Samuel that the Lord sought out a man after his own heart – David, the adulterer, the one who omitted some of God’s instructions on how to transport the Ark resulting in Uzzah’s death, the schemer who tried to hide his affair with Bathsheeba and the one who did not attend to his own household and children.

Abraham, Moses, David.  They wobbled, but they did not fall down.

You’ll wobble.

You’ll fall short, miss the mark, behave contrary to the nature and will of God. Wobble, wobble, wobble. But when a Christian sins, relationship is unchanged. Position is unchanged. You are still God’s child. You are still covered by the precious blood of Jesus. But fellowship is broken. You lose your joy. You lose your praise. You lose your peace.

Understanding that there are no BIG sins and little sins, I think we can agree that David’s sin was horrendous! But when confronted, look at David’s response in Psalm 51. Notice what he does and what he does not do. He confesses his sin. He seeks forgiveness. He humbles himself before the Lord. He asks for restoration. He doesn’t make promises. He doesn’t try to strike any deals. He doesn’t make excuses.

If you are wobbling or if you have wobbled, don’t fall down but do go down – on your knees. Pray.  Acknowledge your sinfulness – and that is what it is. Don’t try to “dress it up.” Acknowledge your sinfulness to the Lord asking Him to take control of your life and seal it afresh with His precious Holy Spirit.

He will!  And you can get back up again!

BONUSES for You: