“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.”
2 Peter 2:3
My wife and I recently fell in love with a particular cream-filled chocolate cake bar that is hard to find.
Wouldn’t you know, our local supermarket put them on sale, and their entire stock disappeared in one day!
We were out of our all time favorite snack; this couldn’t be happening. Almost daily trips to the store revealed the same empty shelf in the cooler. I even slipped the manager of the dairy section my phone number, asking him to call me the moment they came in.
But then it did. I was digging in the freezer for some steaks to put on the grill and there they were: two pristine milk bars buried under a bag of broccoli.
I was searching like mad for something I already had.
Does this remind anyone else of their walk with God?
Too many times I’ve been like Moses and Jonah and said, “I can’t do that God; please pick someone else.” And God’s response has been, “I’ve already given you everything you need for the job, David. I want you to do it.”
Searching for that ONE THING in your Christian life? Check the freezer; you may already have it.
“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”
1 Corinithians 12:7
Being a part of a hand bell choir is a rewarding, yet often daunting, experience. Picture nine people standing behind a long line of tables filled with bells. Every ringer plays at least two–one for each hand. Thankfully, you are only responsible for the bells in front of you. A space note in the left hand. A line note in the right. It sounds simple enough, right? But playing your part means finding and following these two notes as they bob up and down in a sea of black ink. Meanwhile, every other ringer at the table is trying to do the same thing! And one mistake can bring EVERYBODY down. It feels like taking a tightrope walk over a waterfall with several of your friends.
“Just play the notes at the proper time and everything will be fine.”
Doris, our brave director.
It seems that playing in a handbell choir is much like being part of a Christian community–the Body of Christ. In his first letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul compares the church to a human body whose many parts make up a whole:
“As it is, there are many parts, but one body…If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
1 Corinthians 12:20,26
In other words, everyone matters if anyone matters at all.
At this point in your Christian journey, please remember the following:
There are parts of the song that can only be played by you.
So do your thing, ding-a-ling!
“Therefore, dear soul, in this life you are receiving a music lesson from the Father. You are being trained to sing in a choir you cannot see, and there will be parts in the chorus that only you can sing.”
“Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ.” Colossians 3:18
My company recently embarked on a “Big Rocks” campaign: four major things to focus on and improve. One of the these is customer service. Consequently, a grinning picture of our CEO with the caption, “Tell us how we’re doing.” is on prominent display through out our building. Customers who wish to chime in can call, email, or connect with the big boss via a QR code.
The invitation for public input straight to the top makes many of my co-workers and me nervous. What if a customer just has a “beef” with one of our departments and wants to cause trouble? Perhaps we’ve bent over backwards to satisfy but to no avail. Does the CEO even know this?
It’s like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears: some think our porridge (customer service) is too hands on (hot) and some think it’s too impersonable (cold). Furthermore, the few who feel it’s “just right” may camp out at our building (sleep in our beds) putting upper management on speed dial.
What’s a dutiful employee to do?
One answer, as the scripture above suggests, is to look beyond the big rocks to someone even bigger–God Himself. Though I honor and obey all my bosses–right up to the top– my REAL boss is God. And He’s certain to outlast any corporate improvement program.
Massive boulders just aren’t big enough.
This post shall now be concluded by the poet Robert Frost:
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Cor. 9:8
When I was in grad school, a buddy of mine had a little ten foot sailboat we liked to take out on the weekends. My friend didn’t know much about sailing. I knew even less. But we had a blast cruising around a little lake near the university. That is, until this one day.
It was picture perfect with a 10-12 mph wind, which meant we were moving right along–cutting a big arc across the middle of the lake. Suddenly, and I mean out of nowhere, the wind died down to almost nothing. We were dead in the water and drifting AWAY from shore. It’s a good thing the boat came with two oars, because we ended up rowing a half mile to land!
Well, we brought her in (sort of), up to this boat slip where we were met by a blue-eyed, blonde-haired teenager grinning for ear to ear. It’s turned out this kid was a Norwegian exchange student who knew a thing or two about sailing. He’d watched our little “dilemma” unfold from shore. We tried to explain how the freakish break in the wind left us stranded, but he was having nothing of it. “For a sailor, almost any wind will do,” he said, still grinning. “May I show you?”
He then proceeded to shove off, set the sail, and slowly navigate out to the middle of the lake and back under the power of an almost imperceptible breeze. It’s funny, I don’t remember sailing much with my friend after that.
There’s a life application here somewhere…
Forces beyond our control, like the wind, can either help us or hurt us. It all depends on how we set the sail–make the best of God’s grace.
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” He (Jesus) said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” Mark 14:34
About twenty years ago, WWJD? was a popular acronym: What Would Jesus Do?
It’s a great thought, but is this completely discernible in the 21st century? I’m fairly sure the Son of God wouldn’t tweet about what He had for breakfast, but how can one be certain?
Perhaps a better question is, What DID Jesus Do? Now, this is discoverable! The scripture above, for instance, records the actual behavior of Jesus in full-blown crisis mode.
In Mark 14:32-42, we find Him in the garden with a few close friends, emotionally and physically drained by the knowledge of his impending death. The Amplified Bible says he was, “deeply distressed and extremely anguished,” and he, “fell to the ground and prayed.”
So, here are two things Jesus did during the biggest crisis of His earthly life:
He sought comfort and guidance from God.
He asked a few close friends to come near–both physically and in prayer.
“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Ps. 55:22
One of my favorite translations of the Bible is Young’s Literal Translation; it puts the scripture in place English just as it was written in the original Hebrew or Greek.
Here is Ps. 55:22 from the YLT: “Cast on Jehovah that which He hath given thee, and He doth sustain thee. He doth not suffer forever the moving of the righteous.”
Give back to God the cares He has given you. Wow, what a thought!
In the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 14, Jesus told his disciples to feed 5000 people, but all they could find was a little boy’s lunch. They had five pieces of bread and two fish! Yet Jesus didn’t say, “Oh well, never mind.” He said, “Bring them here to me.”
The theologian, A.B. Simpson, describes such moments of overwhelming difficulty and need as, “vessels for the Holy Spirit to fill.”
We simply bring these nearly empty cups (or lunch boxes) to Christ and allow Him to fill them.