Which One Are You?

“One of the criminals who were hanged, railed at him, saying, ‘Are you not the Christ?  Save yourself and us!  But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?  And we indeed, justly, for we are receiving the reward of our deeds;  but this man has done nothing wrong.’  And he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’  And he said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”  Luke 23: 39-43

When I read these verses, the thought that comes to me is which criminal am I?  Make no mistake, I am a criminal, condemned for my sins and unable to save myself.  Sometimes I, like the first man have expected God to rescue me from all the consequences of sin in my life.  If I say I believe in Him, doesn’t He owe it to me?  Or shouldn’t He do it to prove Himself to me?  I’ll happily be a good follower, if Jesus does His part and makes my life easy and comfortable.

Not the right attitude.  I need to accept the fact that I deserve all the problems I’ve created and more.  I am indeed a poor, miserable sinner, justly condemned to an eternity of separation from God.

The second thief got it right.  He realized that he was only getting what he deserved. He recognized Jesus for who and what He is;  the blameless savior of the world.  The one who is willing to die so that even if sin (mine and others) causes me to suffer today, I don’t have to suffer eternally.

Isn’t it amazing that all I had to do is recognize my plight and say, “remember me, Lord”?  Then I’ll find that He has never forgotten me.  The God of the universe has never forgotten me, because I’m one of His children.  I’m engraved on the palms of His hand.  He’ll welcome me into His kingdom as soon as I ask.

Which one are you?

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Contractual . . .

Hosea 13:4-6

“Yet I have been the LORD your God Since the land of Egypt; And you were not to know any god except Me, For there is no savior besides Me. I cared for you in the wilderness, In the land of drought. As they had their pasture, they became satisfied, And being satisfied, their heart became proud; Therefore they forgot Me.”

I read, ‘ . . . And being satisfied, their heart became proud; therefore they forgot Me.” And I think that Christians need to remember those words. Not because we need to tell others about the words of warning God spoke, but because Christians need to warn each other. God makes a promise and we all know he’ll keep it. We certainly balk if we feel he hasn’t or won’t; yet how easily we forget that long ago we agreed to uphold our part of a binding contract.

We are a government, people, society, even world of contracts. Paper work to verify other paper work to ensure promise of words written and said in processes of purchases, acquisitions, and agreements of all kinds. And we have laws that force any who would dare usurp such paperwork as this.

How hypocritical we all are. Christians descended of Jews who are descended of Abraham, Father of nations made a promise. To follow God, worship only Him, and to do so by obeying His will. Which, I might add, only looks to provide us the best and safest option. In other words, His will would never wish His people harm or leave us wanting. Yet we’ve strayed, and forgotten over and over that our God loves us and that we also made a promise. We have grown comfortable by the blessings He gives and in our comfort and satisfaction we forget who gives it. We think it must have been our own doing. That the ‘stars aligned’ and all our efforts came to bear fruit of prosperity and peace. But from where did we get the money? A job, the employer, the company, a city, the state, country; have all those things including the political web of red tape and regulations, with the world chess pieces of military power all been a product of our own hand?

God might ask us as He did Job if we laid the foundations of the earth and hung the stars and moon. No, we simply reap the benefits if we only obey putting one foot in front of the other. We must be cautious, and not forget when we sit on our soft couch in our warm homes just who made it all possible. Good for us we have a really big note a.k.a. the Bible, so that we can read it and remember not just God’s promises which are faithful, but our own.

Remembering Those We’ve Lost

“But we do not want you to be uninformed brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as those who have no hope.  For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”  1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

The most recent issue of The Ambassador, our denomination’s magazine, contained an article by a pastor who remembered his grandfather, and all the things he had done for him and meant to him.  One of the best things about being a Christian is, we believe the friends and loved ones we have lost through death are not lost to us forever.

My grandfather is also one of the people I remember and know I will see again in Heaven.  He is the person in my childhood who loved me, helped me go to college, and had confidence in my ability to do whatever I wanted to do in life.  That’s a great gift, and one day I didn’t fully appreciate as a young person.  I’ll be able to thank him for that one day.

Then there are the two Christian women who joined our church.  One was ill when she began attending, the other became ill shortly after.  I know if circumstances had been different, we would have become fast friends.  We would have worked hard for the Lord together.  We would have spent joyful times in fellowship, if only we had had more time.  One day we will have that time.  Our friendship will blossom as it should have.

There are so many things I now wish I had taken the time to ask older relatives about.  What were there lives of my grandparents and great grandparents like?  Who did they love?  What did they like to do?  I’ll still be able to ask those things some day (that is, if they are still important to me).

The list could go on.  The point is, life is not over for those who are in the Lord.  We don’t have to have regrets about all the things we didn’t say or do with them or for them.  Who wouldn’t want that comfort?

Who do you remember?

 

 

New Month/New Theme

The Lutheran ladies decided that a good theme for May would be “remembering.”  May includes Memorial Day, a time when we remember the sacrifices that some have made to defend our country.  That’s worth honoring.  However, there are many other things it is important to remember and honor;  things like the people, congregations, books, Bible verses and important experiences that have led us to grow in our faith.  There are even more ways to approach the subject–what will people remember about us?  What does God “remember”?  What do we need to remember and what should we forget? Can we forget?

I look forward to hearing what the ladies and readers have to say about all of this.  Remember everyone is also free to go where the spirit leads them and blog off topic now and then.

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