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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 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
Categories
Christian Blog Perspective

What Time is It?

Photo by Buenosia Carol on Pexels.com

What Time is It?

“My times are in Your hands;”

Psalm 31:15a

The most accurate clock on earth is the US Atomic Clock in Fort Collins, Colorado, and I have a little clock at home that is connected to it. Using a low frequency wireless transmission, the US Atomic Clock beams it’s super-accurate time signal straight to my clock’s internal receiver. Viola! Daily updates ensure accuracy to the fraction of a second.

However, something happened recently to shake my faith in the ‘mother of all clocks:’ my little ‘chip off of the old block’ started inexplicably losing time. It was barely noticeable at first, but it was happening surely enough. My supposed super clock no longer agreed with the time on my cell phone, or, more importantly, the microwave.

“Uh oh,” I said to no one in particular, “I guess the subscription to the mother clock ran out.” I took the atomic clock junior off the wall and headed straight for the trash can. Yes, all the clocks in my home must say exactly the same thing. Anyway, just as I was about to drop the clock into oblivion, I saw it–the cover to a tiny compartment containing two AA batteries. You guessed it, I promptly replaced the batteries with fresh ones, and the clock once again keeps perfect time. The problem was on my end, not the source.

Hmm… there’s a life application in here somewhere. King David, of ancient Israel, wrote about it in a prayer to God.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Psalm 51:10

We know from other texts, that David wrote these words shortly after scandal rocked his kingdom. He had slept with another man’s wife and she was now pregnant. The betrayed husband was one of David’s most loyal military leaders, but the king had him killed to cover up his own sin.

David lost his connection with God. His spiritual batteries ran down and tragedy ensued. He stopped checking in and chose to check out–until he was confronted by the prophet Nathan. He desperately needed to reorient himself to God.

As any good carpenter will tell you, even a few degrees off level is a no go. The fact is, it doesn’t take long to become out of plumb with God. Listen to Amos, the Old Testament prophet:

This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Amos?” “A plumb line,” I replied. Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.

Amos 7:7-8

The world has a battery draining effect on our spiritual senses; losing our fellowship connection with God adversely affects the mind, will, and heart. However, we may not even be aware of this–until God asks, “What time is it?”

So what is the solution? The daily check-in and the weekly recharge! Spend time alone with God at least once a day and observe the sabbath each week to replenish spiritual batteries.

Staying in sync with God means maintaining a good connection, just like my little clock does with the US Atomic Clock. Now that I replaced the batteries, that is.

“In repentance and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and trust is your strength.”

Isaiah 30:15