Categories
Christian Living Perspective

Making the Call

As a kid back in the 70’s, one of my favorite Saturday afternoon activities was watching ABC’s Wide World of Sports with my dad.

The show’s opening scene, accompanied by an olympic style fanfare and a collection of sport clips, was unforgettable. For years, I could lip sync to the golden voice of Jim McKay without missing a syllable:

Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport… the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat… the human drama of athletic competition… This is ABC’s Wide World of Sports!

One of my favorite parts of the program was a feature entitled, “You Make the Call.”

A commentator set the scene and then showed a clip of a too-close-to-call play from an epic game. The viewer was then invited to choose from a list of possible rulings by the referees. Finally, the commentator would return (after a commercial break) to share the actual result.

Even at 9 or 10 years old, I loved to debate the possible rulings with my dad. It usually went something like this:

Me: That’s easy, dad. It’s 1st and 10, Packers.

Dad: Son, this is synchronized swimming.

All joking aside, it dawned on me later how chaotic it would be if the fans in the stands actually DID “Make the Call.”

Frazzled Referee: Ok, who thinks it’s 1st and 10 Packers? Raise your hand!


God is the umpire. He makes the call.

“For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:4-5 (NIV)

But why should God ALONE be the judge?

Because humans stink at it! We don’t know what God knows, and that means there’s always at least ONE thing about someone else’s situation that hasn’t been brought to light.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke about loving our enemies and not judging others. As you probably already know, here’s how He made the call:

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37 (NIV)

One of my favorite descriptions of the word dogmatism is, “to make the uncertain certain.” For the narrow-minded inquisitor there’s no middle ground; one either agrees with them (100%) or one does not.

But where does such intolerance lead? It leads to judging, condemning and not forgiving.

And that’s why God is the umpire. He makes the call.

“Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. ” Romans 14:13 (MSG)


Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Categories
Christian Living joy

Turning the Key

Photo by Jaye Haych on Unsplash

I was intrigued recently with something DeborahMarie wrote on her blog, Great is God’s Faithfulness. The title of the post was, The Key to Life, and it was all about the choice set before God’s people in Deuteronomy 30:19-20.

Moses challenged them to love, obey and commit totally to God–to choose life over death and blessings over curses. This choice would be the key to life, but God would not make it for them.

OK, I thought. I have the master key to life, but it’s useless until I stick it into a lock and turn it. What motivates me to do that?

I found the answer in another devotional the next morning. Glenn Packiam, writing in Our Daily Bread, shared an article called, Costly Joy. The scripture he spotlighted was Christ’s parable of the hidden treasure.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” — (Matthew 13:44)

The author then connects the dots to reveal the secret of unswerving motivation:

“Joy drives change–not guilt or duty.”

Glenn Packiam

BINGO! The Joy of the Lord inspires us to choose and use the key to life.

There’s a great example of this in action in Nehemiah chapter 8. The wall around Jerusalem had just been completed, and all the people came together to worship God. These folks hadn’t been to church or heard the Word in a long time. So when the scribe Ezra read from the Law of Moses, the congregation fell under conviction and began to weep. But Nehemiah said, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

According to the book of Hebrews, it was this same kind of joy that gave Jesus the strength to endure the cross (Hebrews 12:2).

It may have been Friday night, but the Lord knew Sunday morning was coming!

You and I have read the book: God wins.

And winners go out in joy and are led forth in peace (Isaiah 55:12).

“Joy is the reason; surrender is the response. The treasure of knowing Jesus is the reward.”

Glenn Packiam

Whose Joy?

This joy that I have

the world can’t take it away

It belongs to God.

Categories
Christian Living heaven

Come On Up To the House

Photo by Brandon Randolph on Pexels.com

“Comfort my people,” says our God. “Comfort Them!” Isaiah 40:1 (GNT)

I used to haul hay, in my rural community, as a teenager. It was hard, hot work loading bale after heavy bale onto a truck and then stacking it in an equally stifling barn.

Photo by Maksym Ivashchenko on Unsplash

On such days it was always a relief to see my boss’s aunt coming in a pickup truck about lunch time. She’d pull up alongside, roll down her window and say the most comforting words an exhausted 17 year old ever heard: “Come on up to the house.”

Back at the house, there was always a hearty meal waiting, followed by a much needed siesta during the heat of the day.

I suppose it’s incomplete, but this is my little idea of what going to heaven is like. Someday, Jesus will call out to me, “Come on up to the house.” A never ending time of fellowship and rest will then begin.

A few of my favorite scriptures about eternity:

“So when the corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written. “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:54 (KJV)

“Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set his seal.” John 6:27 (NASB)

“But whoever drinks the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring which will provide him with life-giving water and give him eternal life.” John 4:14 (GNT)

Maybe this is a bit of an off-point post for Christmas Eve, but only through the Christ Child is “coming on up to the house” even possible!

It was actually a post this morning by CG Thelen of, The 140 Character Christian that literally drove me to the keyboard to share these thoughts.

Thank you, CG! I am grateful to God for other Christian bloggers who open the floodgates of God’s inspiration.

As Charles Dicken’s character Tiny Tim said, “God Bless us, every one.”