Entrance to the Kingdom

We have some friends who live near Disneyland and for several years they have purchased season passes to the magic kingdom. Their 2-year-old daughter has lived her whole life being able to go to Disney on a regular basis.

This little girl’s life has been changed drastically with Disney being closed because of the coronavirus. Her parents have talked with her about the situation, and she seems to have a pretty good understanding of what is happening. However, she—like the rest of us—is anxious to get back to her normal lifestyle. She is constantly asking her Daddy, “Can we go to Disneyland when the germs go away?”

Sin is like germs that keep us from entering God’s kingdom. Thankfully, Jesus provided the cure when he died on the cross. All we have to do is accept the cure by responding to the grace God has offered us through Jesus.

“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”—Hebrews 9:27-28.

 

Posted in Christian Living, Communion Meditations, Current Events, Humor | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Social Distancing

“Social distancing” is one of the most important ways we are battling against the current coronavirus pandemic. We have been urged by medical experts and elected officials to self-isolate. By keeping our distance from one another, we can slow the spread of the disease so that fewer people are infected, thus preventing our health care system from being overloaded with more cases than they can handle.

In order to comply with these guidelines, many sporting events have been cancelled or postponed. Businesses and services are temporarily closing. People are working from home if possible. Many are limiting their contact with the outside world as much as possible. Churches are cancelling gatherings and streaming their worship services on the internet.

This is where many Christians become uncomfortable. We are so used to having the right to religious freedom that it doesn’t seem right that we should be told not to meet together. Let’s take a look at what Scripture says about the matter.

First of all, consider what Leviticus 13 says to do if someone is suspected of having a serious infectious disease. More than once in this chapter it says that the person is to be isolated from other people. I believe this is a direct Bible reference to what we are now calling “social distancing”. The fact that the dangerous coronavirus can be spread by people who do not yet know they are sick is the reason we are being urged to self-isolate. And it is indeed a biblical principle.

Some Christians are saying, “You just need to have faith. God will protect us from this virus.” And they continue to gather together in large numbers, disregarding what health experts and government officials say, and ignoring the Scriptural principle of isolation to prevent the spread of disease.

Remember that one of the ways the devil tempted Jesus was to urge him to jump off the highest point of the temple. Satan pointed out that God would surely protect Jesus from being harmed. Jesus responded that it is sinful to “…put the Lord your God to the test.” We must not deliberately put ourselves in harm’s way and demand that God protect us. Jesus proclaims this to be sinful.

Some are insisting that these government-issued guidelines are an infringement on our religious rights, and that they can be freely ignored by those who follow Jesus. Let’s think about that. The government has not asked us to give up our beliefs. They have not said that we must stop praying, reading the Bible, singing, taking communion or anything like that. They have simply asked us not to meet in large crowds for the next few weeks.

Romans 13:1-7 says that we Christians have a responsibility to obey the government as long as they are not telling us to disobey God. This Scripture reminds us that the purpose of government is to protect the well-being of its citizens. Here is what Terry Carter, president of Summit Theological Seminary, has to say about this passage—“To resist the government when they are protecting their citizens is to resist God Himself.”

Finally, there is what I like to call “The Good Neighbor Policy”. Jesus says that the second greatest commandment, after the commandment to love God, is to love our neighbor. How can we claim to truly love our neighbor while possibly putting them in harm’s way by carelessly meeting together in large groups, disregarding the best information we have from medical authorities, elected officials and God Himself?

To sum it all up, social distancing is God’s way to prevent the spread of dangerous diseases. Is it yours?

 

Posted in Christian Living, Church, Current Events | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Reliable

Bernie Sanders

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been disappointed by the fact that many of those who expressed a liking for his ideas did not bother to show up and vote for him. Many people have been attracted to Bernie’s socialist agenda that offers lots of “free stuff” like college and health care. However, these people have not shown up in great numbers at the polls.

This turn of events should not be surprising. Those who do not want face their duty to pay their own way would not be likely to take seriously their responsibility to vote. If you recruit irresponsible supporters, you have to live with the results.

In the church, we need to recruit reliable people to do the work of the Lord.

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”—2 Timothy 2:2.

Posted in Christian Living, Church, Current Events, Leadership | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worthy

Cal Ripken Jr.

Cal Ripken Jr. is the Iron Man of baseball. On September 6, 1995, he broke the major league record held by Lou Gehrig of 2,130 consecutive games played. Of course there were times when the streak was in danger. In June of 1993, Ripken twisted his knee, and when he woke up the next morning, he couldn’t put any weight on it. He told his wife, Kelly, that he might not be able to play that night. She suggested that he could just play one inning and then come out. He replied, “No! Either I play the whole game or I don’t play at all.”

He did play the full nine innings that night. Cal Ripken Jr. had committed himself to walk in a way that was worthy of the title Iron Man.

“…I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”—Ephesians 4:1.

 

Posted in Christian Living, Communion Meditations, Leadership, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ask Me Again

Someone looking for legal advice called a lawyer and asked, “How much do you charge for your services?”

The lawyer answered, “I charge one thousand dollars to answer three questions.”

“Wow!” exclaimed the prospective client. “That’s a bit expensive, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is,” replied the lawyer. “Now what is your third question?”

“The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the Lord will prosper.”—Proverbs 28:25.

 

Posted in Christian Living, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Testing

Bradley Beal

Bradley Beal is having a really good year for the Washington Wizards. The star guard is averaging 30.1 points and 6.0 assists per game. Beal recently scored over 50 points on consecutive nights, the first time any NBA player has done that since Kobe Bryant accomplished the feat in 2007. What was his reward for his achievement? The NBA tested Beal for performance enhancing drugs!

I have been preaching for over 25 years, and in all that time, no one who has heard me preach has suggested that I be tested for performance enhancing drugs. Perhaps it is because I have never preached two excellent sermons in a row!

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart…”—Col.3:23.

 

Posted in Christian Living, Humor, Leadership, Sports | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stealing Signs

Last Saturday the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals met in West Palm Beach, Florida for a spring training game. It was the Astros’ first appearance on the field since their sign-stealing scandal that rocked the baseball world.

Several fans were quite outspoken in their disapproval of the Astros. They booed and heckled the players. They held up signs that expressed their disgust with what the Astros had done. At least they held up the signs for a little while. Security personnel soon came and took the signs away.

Ironic, isn’t it, that their signs were stolen!

“You shall not steal.”—Exodus 20:15.

 

Posted in Christian Living, Current Events, Humor, Sports | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Humbled

Christian Herter was running for reelection as governor of Massachusetts, and one day he arrived late at a political function that included a barbecue. He had not eaten that day, and he was famished. As he moved down the serving line, he held out his plate and received one piece of chicken. The governor said to the serving lady, “Excuse me, do you mind if I get another piece of chicken? I’m very hungry.” The woman replied, “Sorry, I’m supposed to give one piece to each person.” He repeated, “But I’m starved,” and again she said, “Only one to a customer.” Herter was normally a modest man, but he decided this was the time to use the weight of his office. He stated, “Madam, do you know who I am? I am the governor of this state.” She answered, “Do you know who I am? I’m the lady in charge of the chicken. Move along, mister.”

Pride goes before a fall!

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”—1 Peter 5:6.

 

Posted in Christian Living, Humor, Leadership | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How Does It Work?

A story is told about a young soldier who was fighting on the front line in Europe during World War II. He jumped into a foxhole to avoid the bullets that were whizzing over his head. Wishing the foxhole were deeper, he started exploring his hiding place and found a silver cross that someone had left behind. A moment later another U.S. soldier leaped into the foxhole beside him. The young soldier soon recognized that his new companion was an army chaplain. Holding out the cross, the soldier exclaimed, “Am I glad to see you! How do you work this thing?”

It’s a shame that it often takes a crisis to cause us to want to pray.

“Pray continually.”—1 Thess.5:17.

 

Posted in Christian Living, Communion Meditations, Humor, Prayer | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Alignment

My wife and I bought a new car a few months ago. Well, it was new to us—a 2017 model. We knew that the car had been wrecked, but we liked the way that it looked and drove, so we took a chance and bought it.

For the most part, the gamble has paid off. We have only had one problem with the car. It was terribly out of line. That was evidently one thing that was not repaired. The car was so much out of line that the front tires quickly began to wear. I also noticed that the car tended to hydroplane when driving in the rain, no doubt a result of the badly worn tires.

Once I realized the problem, I took it in for an alignment and had two new tires put on the front. The car has been fine ever since.

Sometimes we get out of alignment with God. Sin wrecks our lives and causes damage that may go undetected for a while, but eventually shows itself in one way or another. Being out of alignment with God wears on a person and eventually has a negative effect on one’s relationship with God and with other people. Being out of alignment with God also causes our lives to skid out of control.

The only fix for this problem is to get re-aligned with God. It’s called repentance. Repentance is turning from sin and following the path that God has laid out for you. It’s the only way to escape the damage of sin and the destruction that inevitably follows for those who do not turn their lives around.

Is your life aligned with God?

“…But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”—Luke 13:5.

Posted in Christian Living, Communion Meditations, Leadership, Prayer | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment