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Are You Ready to Serve God? Yes, this means you!

Featured imageDiscussion Thought of the Day:
14  “Now then,” Joshua continued, “honor the LORD and serve him sincerely and faithfully. Get rid of the gods which your ancestors used to worship in Mesopotamia and in Egypt, and serve only the LORD. 15  If you are not willing to serve him, decide today whom you will serve, the gods your ancestors worshiped in Mesopotamia or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are now living. As for my family and me, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:14-15 (TEV)

364    Ah, if you would only resolve to serve God seriously, with the same earnestness that you put into serving your ambitions, your vanities, your sensuality …  (1)

Over the years, I’ve heard part of the Bible passage quoted above used to call people to faith, to challenge those who do not believe, to believe.

It has always bothered me a bit because when you look at the entire context, you see that Joshua isn’t challenging the people who are not yet in a relationship with God. He is challenging those who are in covenant, who have known God’s promises and have been blessed because God is faithful.

He is challenging us, my fellow believers!

Imagine what would happen if the church were as dedicated to serving God as they are to television?  If they were as dedicated to prayer as they were to playing Candy Crush Saga or whatever version of Farmville exists? What would happen if we heard Joshua’s call and began to take seriously the call to look out for others, to love and care for them?

What if we were willing to embrace the call to correct in love those whose disobedience drove them apart form God?

What if we were so committed to God that His passion overrode our passion?

I can continue to ask all the “What if’s”, they are good to use to see we need to do more like Christ, to be more like Jesus. If we are to live like those who are baptized believers.

But that won’t cause us to be.  We can’t “decide” to do this, and be successful at it. What we are choosing is more than to do stuff, though as we are transformed, we will find ourselves sacrificing our very lives (see Romans 1:1-10)

What we are called to do is more than serve.  It is to serve the Lord.   TO walk with Him, to be in a relationship with Him, to so know and trust Him that all He is is revealed to be who we are.  We are remade in His image and are called to imitate Him, transformed into His image!

Choosing this day to serve Him is a call to discipleship, to prayer, to sacrifice, to witness, to put aside our own vision, our own passion, everything we are.  It is time to live with Him.

It is a high calling, but it is your calling, and the calling to which you are tasked to share and encourage others to take up, as they come to know Him.

Let’s walk with Jesus… it is time to hear His call.

Lord, have mercy upon us!

(1)  Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). The Way (Kindle Locations 927-928). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Lessons about God re-learned from Candy Crush Saga

Devotional thought of the day….

14  So, when gentiles, not having the Law, still through their own innate sense behave as the Law commands, then, even though they have no Law, they are a law for themselves. 15  They can demonstrate the effect of the Law engraved on their hearts, to which their own conscience bears witness; since they are aware of various considerations, some of which accuse them, while others provide them with a defence . . . on the day when, 16  according to the gospel that I preach, God, through Jesus Christ, judges all human secrets. Romans 2:14-16 (NJB) 

35  Bless the Lord, all the Lord’s creation: praise and glorify him for ever!   Prayer of Azariah 1:35 (NJB)  *

 7  O LORD, you deceived me, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Jeremiah 20:7 (NIV)

Sitting in the airport the other day, getting frustrated by playing a silly game on my phone, I recognized the same kinds of frustrations that I’ve been dealing with for a while in life.  As I got on the plane, I was reading a new book, recommended to me by a friend.  Written by a Catholic priest, it talked about the lessons of faith learned through watching Star Wars, and how to apply those to ministry.   Very well writtent this book, and so while taking it in, I thought of my frustrations and decided to write this blog.

So here are the things I’ve learned about God from playing this frustrating, addictive game.

1.  Achieving your goal may take some time!
Nothing in Candy Crust saga is impossible.  It just seems like it!  Eventually the little things will line up, you’ll get rid of the bombs and you will finish that level.  It may take you a week, or 30-40 trips to the bathroom (come on – be honest – you play Candy Crush there!).  You might put it down for a couple of days, you might even delete it off you tablet.  But the levels aren’t impossible.  Likewise, we will endure through the struggles in our lives.  Some may take longer to play out, some may be very very frustrating, some may cause us to want to drop out. The funny thing is, we get all excited to finish a level… only to take on… another level!
But we will endure them, and in fact, sometimes we will learn a lot more about life (or the game) because it takes so long!

2.  You aren’t God
How many times have you wanted to choose what colors fall next?  How many times have you gotten wanted to bargain with the processor, just drop me a blue candy there, and I will get you a new SD card, or a pretty new case!  Or gotten angry as that last bomb ticked off, and you had to start again?  There are times I wonder if my failues are deliberately caused by the computer – that they want me to fail.  Most of that anger is silly, but it shows me how much I want to be in control of the game… and of my life.
Sometimes, I’ll be honest – like in the game I want to play God.  Sometimes I am actually foolish enough to think I can do better, or that God is playing with me, like He did with Jeremiah, at least in Jeremiah’s mind (see Jeremiah 20 quote above…) But God isn’t the programmers of CCR.  He’s promised that He’s in charge, that He is our Master, that He has obligated Himself to do exactly that which is good for us.

3.  Mistakes are in the past!
So you failed 40 times at a level. Guess what!  When you hit play, all those failures are history, and they have no impact on the new game, or the new attempt to solve the problem.
Likewise in faith, when we hear 1 John 1:8- when we confess our sins, and trust God to forgive them and cleanse us of all unrighteousness, we start as new as the day we were born, and the day we were born again.  The sins we’ve committed are in the past, the failures are gone, and while they lurk in the shadows, they really can’t affect how we live today,   We might listen to them, we might learn from them, but the glory of the Ministry of Reconciliation that we’ve been given (see 2 Cor. 3-5) is that God’s work is complete.  He has forgiven us, He has cleansed us, and hit the play button again.

I could go on and on about this one… there are things about this game that so mirror the frustrations of life.  There are amazing things, when you think all is lost and a striped candy and a mirror ball show up next to each other with one move to go, and the day is miraculously saved.  But there is one thing for sure, and that will be my last point..

4.  The makers want your time.
I bet that the designers of CCS have an innate or learned knowledge.  They have a goal, expressed in how many minutes we maddle move little things around, trying to achieve our goal.  They want our time, because for them, it means $$$$.  God is neither so manipulative or so greedy for stuff that doesn’t matter.  But He wants our time as well. He wants to spend it with us, showing us His love, showing us His mercy, sharing with us He re-creation of the world, because the blood of Christ was spilled on the cross.  He wants your time, because He loves you, because that’s what this life is all about.  The people of God, and those who have yet to realize that He loves them but will.  Gathered together in His arms, cared for and loved.

As incomplete this silly little game is, that last point, in their brokenness and ours, says it all.  For they realize how precious our time is….and want it.  Not as much as He does, and not for the same reason.

Maybe.. we can spend some more of it with the Lord who loves us, and takes care of our failures, and walks with us through the levels of life.

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