Friday, 27 January 2012
1 Corinthians 1:18
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
When Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers hosted “Weekend Update”, a mock news program on “Saturday Night Live”, they had a recurring segment called “Really!?!” They would feature the most outrageous news stories of the week, giving voice to what most people said when they heard them – Really!?! When we hear about some of the crazy things that people believe, say and do, we find ourselves shaking our heads. That particular segment ended when Poehler left the show, but I find myself thinking about it and saying “Really!?!” when I hear things on the news and especially when I hear about things some people believe.
For example, the Big Bang Theory is the scientific community’s most popular theory on how the universe and life began. From the National Geographic web site: “Big bang proponents suggest that some 10 billion to 20 billion years ago, a massive blast allowed all the universe's known matter and energy—even space and time themselves—to spring from some ancient and unknown type of energy.” Really!?! We are supposed to believe that from this spontaneous explosion, all life was formed. I think it takes way more faith to believe that all those atoms spewed into the universe and figured out on their own how to become planets, suns, or stars. And then on Earth, some became land, water, elements, animals, plants, humans. I think it is much easier to believe that there is an Almighty God, Creator of the universe. He would be that “ancient and unknown type of energy” that has scientists mystified. Those of us who believe on Him know how the world was created. I imagine it was a pretty spectacular sight when God created the heavens and the earth. It probably was a great big bang. Why is this so much harder for people to believe?
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
The other news stories that leave me shaking my head are the ones about alien abductions and UFO sightings. In 1938, Orson Welles brought to the radio an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel, “War of the Worlds”. He performed it as a series of news bulletins and set off a great panic among the public, who really believed that the earth was being invaded by aliens. There are many people who swear that they have seen a flying saucer or were visited by alien creatures. Yet many express disbelief at the numerous stories of people who have been visited by angels. On the night of Jesus’ birth, the shepherds out in the fields near Bethlehem were visited by an angel and then a whole host of angels appeared in the heavens. When they went to Bethlehem, they found the child the angels spoke of and they told everyone of the marvelous things they had seen.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.
Many UFO enthusiasts try to make a Biblical connection by saying that the vision Ezekiel had in chapter one of his prophetic book was of an alien craft. Really!?! God sent little green men in a flying saucer to call Ezekiel as a prophet? Maybe these people should actually read the book – not just Ezekiel, but the whole word of God.
Ghost stories are a lot of fun to tell around the campfire in the summer, but people have taken “ghost tales” to the extreme. There have been numerous shows on television about ghost hunters, ghost whisperers and ghost encounters. I have seen and heard strange things before, some of which I couldn’t explain. And I know that just as there are angels, there are also demons. But it surprises me how many people believe in ghosts, but they don’t believe in the Holy Ghost. Really!?!
And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
When you are baptized in the Holy Ghost, you will speak with a new tongue. Many people today are freaked out by this. Comedians love to make jokes about church people speaking in tongues. They think we are nuts. Really!?! Did you know that there are people who speak Klingon? For those of you who may not know what that is, Klingons are a fictional race of aliens on the fictional television show “Star Trek”. An entire language was created for them by a linguistics expert. More than 300,000 copies of the Klingon dictionary have been sold. Thousands of people have learned to speak the language. And we tongue-speaking Christians are the crazy ones. Really!?!
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
1 Corinthians 14:21-22
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.
Another thing on TV that drives me crazy is the commercials for miracle drugs. We can lose weight, look younger and improve our sex lives if we take their magic pills. But have you listened to the disclaimers that list all the adverse side affects that can come from taking those magic pills? People actually believe that there is a medicine to cure everything, but they don’t believe they can be healed through faith and prayer. Really!?!
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
We live in a time where celebrities, sports stars, and politicians are held in the spotlight and praised for their abilities. People worship them and put their trust in them instead of God. Rush Limbaugh has very tongue-in-cheek referred to our country’s president as “The Messiah” because of the media propaganda surrounding his campaign that he had come to solve all our nation’s problems with a platform of change and “Yes We Can.” Nothing much has changed, and some say things have actually gotten worse. We need to look at where we are placing our faith – in man or God?
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
2 Timothy 3:1-5
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me,
The president is not your Messiah. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie can’t save you. Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez may be the one of the highest paid baseball players in history but his money can’t buy you eternal life. People have all kinds of time and money to support politicians, go to movies, and follow their favorite sports with an unbridled passion, but they don’t have time for God in their lives. Really!?! I am not saying that going to ball games or movies is bad. But we have to get our priorities in the right order and give the right amount of importance to the things in our lives. God says that if we will seek first His kingdom, then everything else we need would be added (Matthew 6:33).
1 Corinthians 1:27-29
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.
The world tries to make fun of Christianity and belittle us for what we believe. Don’t be offended, but remember who you are in Christ. And remember that there are some crazy things that the world believes in, none of which can save it. Only Christ can do that, and that is something you can believe in. Really!
Posted on 01/27/2012 9:01 AM by Susan Nelson
Friday, 20 January 2012
Breaking the "Busy Cycle"
“Lather, rinse, repeat.” These are the directions you’ll find on many shampoo bottles. I always wondered why you had to repeat the shampoo – you should be able to get it clean the first time. And if you took the directions literally, you would be caught in a continuous loop of washing and rinsing that would continue until something interrupted it, like running out of hot water or shampoo.
That sounds silly, but often we do find ourselves caught up in the cycle of a routine that seems to take on a life of its own. You become so busy that you don’t have time for the things you enjoy or that you need in your life. I have found that to be the case lately. A couple of weeks before Christmas, I put this blog on stand-by for the holidays, with plans to restart after the first of the year. I knew the week before and after Christmas would be hectic, with shopping, wrapping and traveling.
Life hasn’t been any less hectic in January. Since we started back to school the day after New Year’s, we haven’t had a regular full week of school. My “Mondays” have fallen on Tuesday or Wednesday, which has totally thrown off my usual schedule. I haven’t been able to get back into my routine. It would be easy to ride that wave and continue to just let things go, but it is time to break the “busy cycle.”
But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
It is easy to let work, errands and daily chores or activities fill up our days. We sometimes marvel at all we accomplish in a day. But to what good? If you have left time for God out of the picture, what good has come of it? If you didn’t have time to spend with your spouse or children, what good has come of it? For some things we do have deadlines that must be met, but there are other activities that we could be more flexible about where we create self-imposed deadlines. So what if your house didn’t get cleaned today? It will still be there tomorrow. Grass didn’t get cut this afternoon? It will still be there tomorrow. I am not suggesting we become slobs or let things go. I am just saying we should prioritize them properly.
If we listen to what Jesus told Martha, spending time with Him and reading the Word and focusing on the things of God are much more important. We need to give time to them every day. That is what will give us strength and wisdom and purpose as we go through our day and take care of those necessary tasks, whether at work or at home.
It feels good to break the “busy cycle” and get back to my Father’s business. I think you will find that if you prioritize your “To Do” list every day and put God at the top of the list, you will have time for all the other things you want to get done.
A word: I was thinking about some of the people in my life who don’t go to church and wondering what their beliefs are. I thought, well I know they believe in God. I heard in my spirit, (paraphrasing as best I can remember) “A lot of people believe or say they believe in God. But do they believe in who Jesus is? That’s what is important. That’s what you need to be asking them.”
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
Posted on 01/20/2012 8:09 AM by Susan Nelson