In a church service one Sunday, the offering plate came to a little girl at the end of a row. She took the plate, put it down on the floor, and stood in it. When the usher asked her what she was doing, she responded, “In Sunday school I learned that I was supposed to give myself to God.”
AHH… Try to imagine the nightly news… if we all followed that principle in our lives!
Based on all the polarizing news we face each day, I thought we should go back to the basic facts:
- Romans 3:23…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. There is no asterisk there, it says ALL. It’s easy for us to find fault with, to look down at others that we do not agree with, to point out flaws in their opinions, and somehow we feel justified doing it. It’s only when we admit that we too are sinners as well, that we can mend broken bridges. Confess your sins (without saying “but”…and without blaming others) and seek forgiveness. Ask God to let you look at others through His glasses…of unconditional love.
- John 3:16…For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Hard to imagine but God loves EVERYONE, died on a cross for every sin and sinner, and offers forgiveness and eternal life through faith to EVERYONE! That person that you look at with contempt is actually your brother, handmade by God!
- Romans 12:1-2…Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. This is God’s plan…and God’s solution to this pandemic of hatred we are experiencing. I know that we are hungry to get “back to church… back to worship”. This verse says we are to “worship” every day…every minute. We are not to buy into the conflict that divides us and causes us to choose sides (don’t conform to the pattern of this world)… instead we are to let Christ transform our thoughts, words, actions, motives (be transformed by the renewing of your mind).
We all put our hope in something. I read a devotion by Paul David Tripp that got my attention. It started out saying “Every human being places his hope in something, and every human being asks that hope to deliver something. Where have you placed your hope?” It’s an interesting question. We all have hopes and dreams. We envision a better life, a better job, a better world….and then we hope those things will somehow happen, and somehow bring us happiness..
Some search for hope horizontally. “in situations, experiences, possessions, locations, relationships” and I may add they can never deliver because they are all flawed as well. If your hope disappoints you, it’s because you have the wrong source of hope!
Our only real hope is found vertically…with the one true God. When we become men and women of God…Men and women of integrity…when we know and love Jesus as our Savior and our HOPE. In response we can then live accordingly!
Ephesians 1:18…I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.
It starts with a heart change. To see things as God would have you see them. To love the Lord and to love your neighbor.
Jeremiah 17:7…Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.
I pray that you will take time in God’s Word today (and everyday), to ask Him to reveal His will for you. His plans for you.
- Confess your sins to Him…seeking His forgiveness and unconditional Love for you. Are there areas of your life that are “off limits” to God? Are there people (individuals and/or groups) that you “hate” and wish ill will of? Do your words and actions polarize or unify?
- Pray for peace, love, unity in our churches, communities, and nation. Ask God what you can do…who you can reach out to.
- Ask God to transform you from the inside out. To give you a heart transplant. A heart that sees all people as children of God…brothers and sisters…people that Jesus died for. As we talked about yesterday ask God for peace on earth and let it begin with ME!