Two little girls, of two different races, walking down the hall holding hands, that’s what I saw one morning. As I passed them, one told me (with genuine joy), “This is my sister!”
Young children are many things, but they aren’t naturally biased.
Can we all get along?
The apostle Paul thought so. “The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ — Galatians 5:14 (NIV). He then warned the church at Galatia that if they kept “biting and devouring” each other, they would destroy each other.
Next, he offers the solution: “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” — Galatians 5:16
Only through the power of the supernatural, by God’s grace, can we love others as well as we love ourselves.
🙏 Heavenly Father: please help us to be like those two little girls, today and every day. For, as the song says, 🎶”They’ll know we are Christians by our love.”🎶 AMEN
It happens every 4th of July – Independence Day here in the USA. In our little hamlet it’s perfectly legal for folks to shoot off fireworks, on the streets and from their back yards. And each passing year the relentless noise seems more startling to my sense of well-being. Time to break out the ear plugs.
SoI’m sitting at the kitchen table (plugs in) surfing the net, when my wife comes in and starts rummaging through a cabinet drawer. She looks my way and says something unintelligible. I respond, “If you’re telling me something right now I can’t hear you.” She starts laughing, because she was chiding me (kindly) for misplacing the ink pen that goes in the drawer. Confession: I occasionally employ something called “selective spousal listening.”
This whole scene made me think of something God said to Israel during the prophet Isaiah’s time.
Don’t think the Lord is too weak to save you or too deaf to hear your call for help! It is because of your sins that He doesn’t hear you. It is your sins that separate you from God when you try to worship Him.
Isaiah 59:1-2 (GNT)
Here’s an experiment: Watch television for a week and count the number of times you hear the word “sin.” I suspect you won’t run out of fingers. Transgression of divine law isn’t something the world cares to talk about. But why?
Somehow we know instinctively there’s nothing wrong with God; the wrong is in us. Sin damages our fellowship with our Creator and disrupts the ability to communicate with Him. This causes even unbelievers to scurry for the shadows (John 3:19-21).
Have there been times when you’ve tried to talk with God, but it felt like He wasn’t tuned in? Me too. “Child, if you’re telling me something right now, I can’t hear you.” Of course the Lord isn’t deaf. But He occasionally employs something called “selective divine listening.” Our unconfessed sin plugs His ears.
Thankfully, there is a solution:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 (NIV)
God always listens to prayers that start with, “Sorry, Lord. It was my fault…”
A Parting Thought:
Jesus often slipped away to spend time alone with God (Mark 1:35). He also led a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15). Is there a connection? You and I will never be sinless–this side of heaven. But we would do well to follow Christ’s example.
The young man was standing like a statue on the shoulder of a busy four lane highway. He appeared fixated on something at a church next to the road.
Driving closer, I saw the skateboard. “Oh, I bet he’s looking for a good parking lot to ride.”
But he took off –kicking his way down the emergency lane of a major thoroughfare.
When I passed him I noticed: no helmet, no pads and no reflective clothing. The cherry on top was a huge pair of headphones over his ears.
The kid was flirting with disaster.
How many people do we happen upon daily who are, at least spiritually speaking, skateboarding next to a highway? No helmet of salvation, no shield of faith (elbow and knee pads) and no reflective clothing (belt of truth). – Ephesians 6:13-17 (NIV)
They stop and stare at churches, while huge headphones blast their favorite tunes.
What are they thinking?
“Is someone like me welcome here? Oh, there’s an “Absolutely No Skateboarding!” sign. I’d better keep kickin’ down the highway.”
In full disclosure, I saw no sign that said not to skateboard at the church. But such things have happened. God’s people could (and should) have a greater positive impact on the world.
A good first step is to offer a place where people who are flirting with disaster feel welcomed. Somehow we must convince folks that the church is safer than the shoulder of the highway. The power of the gospel can do this–prompt a person to leave the four lane for the narrow path.
But we must be the hands and feet of Christ; and this involves a willingness to get these hands and feet dirty.
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
Jesus – Matthew 5:14 (NIV)
Do you know how I feel right now, and will feel until Christ’s life becomes visible in your lives? Like a mother in the pain of childbirth.