Categories
Christian Living

Together

“Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good. Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see the Day of the Lord is coming nearer.” (Hebrews 10:24-25 – GNT)

Jeff King, in his recent post, Quote for 01/31/2021, observed that Christianity is the premier team sport. “We’re all in this together, the body of Christ, the church,” said Jeff.

When I read these words, I remembered seeing a fire truck roll up to a call one time while I was sitting at a red light. As soon as the rig came to a stop, firefighters scattered from the vehicle like ants! Two guys unrolled a fire hose and pulled it to a hydrant, while two more unloaded a huge ladder.

Meanwhile, at least one person behind me honked—when the light turned green! So I was on my way, but something about what I saw stuck with me: first responders come out in pairs–just like Noah’s ark!

I asked a firefighter friend at church to fill me in about this “two by two” phenomenon. He explained: for safety and efficiency purposes, nobody works alone. Standard procedure calls for two firefighters in and two out. The idea, he said, is “I look out for you, you look out for me, and we both make it home.”

If Christianity is the ultimate team sport, and surely we can agree with Jeff that it is, then we must act like it. Nobody goes it alone! Like the writer of Hebrews says, we should show real concern for and help one another. Our love and good works speak far more than words.

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Jesus – (John 13:34 NIV)

The application to the body of Christ, and by this I mean the church universal, is clear. We live at a point in history when both the world AND the church are on fire. I may be mixing my metaphors here, but we need all hands on deck!

Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Do you accept Him as the only way to heaven and trust Him to save you from your sins? Then we work at the same firehouse!

If God is your Father, I am your brother.

I look out for you, you look out for me, and we both make it home to heaven.

Categories
Christian Living love

Famous Last Words

The Setting: Christ’s final Passover with His closest friends. (The time has come to sacrifice his life as a ransom for many. He shows the full extent of His love.)

Here’s how an epic Hollywood movie would have envisioned the moment:

As supper is served, Jesus rises from his seat, unsheathes a gleaming sword and says (holding it up to bask in His own reflection),

“Men, this is our finest hour. It’s time to show these religious bigots who we really are–warriors of the Living God! (raises sword toward ceiling) So be brave. Be strong. We shall all die well–except for the traitor.” (drops sword to His waist and stares out the window)

But we both know that’s not what happened.

What Jesus actually did was wash His disciples feet; something none of them was willing to do. His final act of love for them–before His death–was an act of service.

“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” Jesus – (John 13:15 NIV)

We are all aware of the seven last words of Christ, the things He said while hanging on the cross, but this was at His very public execution. What was the last thing he said (before His death) to those closest to Him–in a more private, peaceful setting?

Back at the supper table, sandwiched between His prediction of Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial, we find these famous last words:

“A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jesus – (John 13:34 NIV)

Service and Love

These are twin beacons of a true follower of Christ, reflections of God’s nature shared with the world.

Sadly, this is not what we see so much today. Many Christians now act more like Simon the Zealot than Simon the Leper (who hosted a dinner in Christ’s honor).

We have politicized and marginalized the simplicity of the Gospel, mixing it with a militant piosity that would make a proud Pharisee blush.

And how does this look to a lost world?

Perhaps Mahatma Gandhi said it best:

“Jesus is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians–you are not like Him.”


Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Categories
Christian Living obedience

On Outsmarting a Smart Watch

It feels like I’m wearing a slot machine on my wrist! Yes, I’m talking about my new Apple Watch’s hand washing timer.

Each time you lather up, a twenty second countdown (encircled by soapy bubbles) pops up on the screen. Keep scrubbing until zero and you get a congratulatory message as sparkling bubbles sail across the screen.

I love seeing my watch’s, “You Did It,” but twenty seconds is a long time for a squirrel like me.

So sometimes I cheat.

It looks like this: I give my hands a quick soapy rinse, dry them and then keep rubbing them together until the timer hits zero. I get an “atta boy” with a bubble show and the watch is none the wiser.

My wife shakes her head. “Sweetheart, it takes you the same amount of time to do it wrong as to do it right.” 🧼🙃


It’s also like this sometimes with Jesus. I go through the motions to get His “Well done,” but it’s a half-hearted effort. Like Paul warned Timothy, I resemble those who “maintain a facade of “godliness”, while their conduct denies its validity.” (2 Timothy 3:15 – PHILLIPS NT)

But God is not a gadget so easily fooled.

The people of Isaiah’s day were “quick rinsers” who felt no shame at the disconnect between their hearts and hands. They went through the motions– fasting and humbling themselves–but God literally told His prophet to shout them down for their sins! (Isaiah 58:1-9)

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice…to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” (Isaiah 58:6-7)

It’s intriguing here that God’s, “not-so-well-done”, focuses on the people’s relationships with each other rather than with Him. Evidently, we best demonstrate the Lord’s love when we share it with those in need. And when we don’t do this, God isn’t fooled by our half-baked “holiness.”

Real Life Scenario #2: when asked what was the greatest commandment, Jesus offered a two-for-one special:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, AND love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-31).

It’s not an “either or,” but a “both and.” No one who truly loves God neglects their neighbor (1 John 4:19-21). And just in case we want some wiggle room, like the guy who asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”, Christ’s answer is this: EVERYONE (Luke 10:25-37).


My new gadget is so smart it sometimes catches the con.

A drop down list seeks an explanation:

  • I was not washing my hands.
  • This was just a quick rinse.
  • I already scrubbed for 20s.

The second one was my final answer. But something tells me God won’t accept, “That was just a quick spiritual rinse,” on the day of judgment. (Matthew 12:36)

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

Jesus – Luke 6:46