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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

Answer to the Man

When I started my first job at 16, dad said to me on my way out the door, “Answer to the man.” “What do you mean?”, I asked. “Son, when you’re on the boss’ time, do what he says without complaining.” I took my dad’s advice that day, and it made all the difference.

The Apostle Paul, in prison and facing execution, said something similar to his young apprentice, Timothy.

Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer.

2 Timothy 2:3-4

I’ve never been a soldier, but as a teacher on an army post, I rub shoulders with people in the military every day. One thing I’ve noticed is there’s an Army regulation for almost everything a soldier does. I once asked a military friend, “Don’t you think a ten point checklist to park and secure a combat vehicle is a little over-the-top?”

“What I think is irrelevant. I do my job and follow orders. Anything else is an indulgence.”

*SSG McMurtry (Just a cool Hollywood sounding name. Not the real guy’s.)

Impressive. “But what if there aren’t specific orders or regulations for something?,” I asked. “How do you respond?” “That’s when you follow the commander’s intent,” he said.

He explained that, in a combat situation, all written orders are assumed to be fluid. No plan survives intact once there’s contact with the enemy. The commander’s intent is a short statement written in bold print that essentially says, “Whatever happens, this is the most important thing to accomplish.”

VERY impressive. I started looking for commander’s intent statements in the Bible.

I found Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians, who were living under intense persecution.

Whatever happens, conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.

Philippians 1:27

And Jesus’ charge to His earliest followers:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

Matthew 28:19

Answering to the man (God) can be challenging. If there was only an app called FaceofGodBook, with those little red numbers over the icon–you know, messages from heaven?

However, we do have the Bible, and we know what Jesus did, and we also have the Holy Spirit. And that’s enough to know the Commander’s intent.

Photo by Sharefaith on Pexels.com

Hooah!