Discussion/Devotional Thought of the day..
Normally, I am not much impressed by car racing. For one, the speeds aren’t much faster than 30 years ago. Another is going 500 miles around in a circle, or worse, watching someone go round and round for 500 miles… well – it’s about as much fun as watching a dog chase its tail for 3-4 hours straight!
But I was thinking about our lives, all of humanity, and the message of prophets like Ezekiel and Jeremiah. It wasn’t cars or puppies they watched going in circles and chasing their tails, it was the people who should have known God, who should have rested in His love, depended upon His mercy and strength, and listened to God. God warned these prophets, with a warning we too should heed. People can be stubborn and set in their ways, and they may or may not listen to the message of God’s love.
Things aren’t much different today. We still see people struggling with hearing God, truly hearing – and seeing that word of God change their lives. It seems just as we finish one lap, we survive one trauma – whether natural or self-inflicted, and we have to turn back to grace. It seems endless (much like a car race! ) But a few things – that the Christian life and Nascar have in common.
1. There is an end to the race. Really, truly (and unlike Nascar – we get to share the winner circle – together!
2. The race is basiclly turning the same way – each and every time. In nascar – its to the left. in faith, its turning to Christ.
3. Survival doesn’t go to the one who finishes any one lap faster than everyone else – its a marathon….
4. Get the right equipment for the race.. (Car, Tires, and Scripture)
5. Stay hydrated and watch your intake… ( the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper – see 1 Corinthians 11!)
Ultimately this will fall short – there are accidents in nascar that drop you our of the race. But not in life, the Holy Spirit can and does repair them, helps them focus on our guide for the journey. Here is how St Paul said it.
3:13 Brothers, I do not reckon myself as having taken hold of it; I can only say that forgetting all that lies behind me, and straining forward to what lies in front, 14 I am racing towards the finishing-point to win the prize of God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. 15 So this is the way in which all of us who are mature should be thinking, and if you are still thinking differently in any way, then God has yet to make this matter clear to you. 16 Meanwhile, let us go forward from the point we have each attained.
Philippians 3:13-16 (NJB)
So do not grow weary, the race is not forever… and the victory in guaranteed – so run this race with great joy.
Knowing the Lord has had mercy on us. AMEN
Devotional Question/Discussion point of the Day…. Do we…. do I take sin seriously?
It seems to be a trend in my life, and even more visible in society, that we take sin less seriously. Thankfully, it is beginning to bother me again, and maybe I haven’t been as lulled to sleep, or maybe I am beginning to wake up some.
There is a way in which we shouldn’t take sin seriously, because of the cross – it has already been dealt with – the sin, the shame, the little nagging feeling that “this is wrong”. Sin, no matter whether it is on the scope of someone being sentenced to serve their life in jail, or a junior high prank/theft, we shouldn’t take it so seriously that we can’t bring it to God, confess our sins and know, absolutely and without doubt that we are forgiven. That God would heal us, not only of the specific sin, but indeed the disease.
It is exactly because we aren’t healed in our eyes until we get to heaven, that we need to hear of that forgiveness often. Otherwise we lose heart, we think that it’s no big deal – and we begin to take being restored from that sin less than seriously.
And that is where we need to take it seriously – realizing that it cannot separate us from God, yet also realizing we need to deal with it, so it doesn’t. For the believer, this is a matter of realizing God is responsible for cleaning it up, has promised He would, and not letting our pride get in the way of it. Not easy! And I believe, that the more we do confess our sins, the more we ask God to comfort us and assure us of the forgiveness of them, the more we realize how wonderful He is….
And sin begins to break our hearts as it does His, the idea of people living in bondage to sin breaks our Hearts as it does His…. and we desires that they be freed, we desire that we are freed…. and healed.
Sin has little power, only the power we give it, only the mastery of us that we allow. We do need to take it seriously enough to take the cure of it seriously enough to realize that the forgiveness and healing is something wonderful something incredible, something so important that we adore the One who cares for us…
And realizing that… Paul’s words from Romans 6 come to mind…
6:1 What should we say then? Should we remain in sin so that grace may be given the more fully? 2 Out of the question! We have died to sin; how could we go on living in it?
Romans 6:1-2 (NJB)
This day, Lord Jesus, help us to realize the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, cleansing our lives, setting them apart to serve You, guiding us and strengthening us. Help us be so aware of your presence and work in our lives, that we adoringly join You in that work in others. AMEN.