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Laity Reflection: Standing on the Promises of God

November 30, 2012
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This week our scriptures draw us to looking at some of the Promises of God.  The Bible is full of promises, so many that it is hard to know where to begin.  Today we will look at two scriptures.  The first is Hebrews 4:12-16. 12 God’s word is alive and working and is sharper than a double-edged sword. It cuts all the way into us, where the soul and the spirit are joined, to the center of our joints and bones. And it judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts.13 Nothing in all the world can be hidden from God. Everything is clear and lies open before him, and to him we must explain the way we have lived. 14 Since we have a great high priest, Jesus the Son of God, who has gone into heaven, let us hold on to the faith we have. 15 For our high priest is able to understand our weaknesses. He was tempted in every way that we are, but he did not sin. 16 Let us, then, feel very sure that we can come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we can receive mercy and grace to help us when we need it. One of God’s promises is that His Word, the Bible, is a guide to show us right from wrong.  We can be sure God knows everything we do and even think.  Do we trust God’s Word that says, even though Jesus, our High Priest, knows everything about our sinful thoughts and actions, he still understands and forgives our weaknesses?  The Daily Hope devotion I often read, gave this example: Let’s say I write every single thing I’ve ever done wrong on paper – all my sins, faults, mistakes, all the shameful acts and thoughts and memories and temptations in my life.  Then I fold it and put it in a book and close it.  You can’t see the paper any more; you can only see the book.  That’s the way God sees us when Jesus is in our lives. When you and I come to Christ and say, “God, here’s my life.  Please forgive everything I’ve ever done wrong, every time I’ve ever made a mistake, all those stupid things I’ve done.  I want to give my life to you, Jesus.”  Jesus wraps you with his love.  God looks at Jesus and sees that Jesus is perfect; he doesn’t see your sin.  That’s what it means to relax in God’s grace. If we let God’s Word, living and active, cut into us and change our hearts; if we have faith in Jesus enough to draw near to him, confess our sins and receive God’s grace and mercy, how will it affect our day-to-day lives?  WHAT WILL IT LOOK LIKE? Perhaps it could look like helping to bring God’s message to the children in our community through Kid’s Club. Thank you to all who are helping or would consider helping in the future.  Perhaps it could look like packing an Operation Christmas Child box, which can impact children’s lives to know the love of Christ. What are some other ways that could mean we have allowed God’s Word to penetrate our hearts?  What ways do you see people in our communities showing their faith by reaching out in love to their neighbors? Here are some examples I think of.  You can probably add to the list. Children’s Christmas Shopping Day                   Blood Drive Prayer Shawl          Ingathering Kits Iowa Nigeria Harvesting a crop for an ill neighbor What do all of these acts of reaching out with Christ’s love have in common?  They all come at a personal cost: time, money or both.  This is where the Mark 10:17-27 scripture comes in. Jesus and the Rich Young Man 17 As Jesus started to leave, a man ran to him and fell on his knees before Jesus. The man asked, “Good teacher, what must I do to have life forever?” 18 Jesus answered, “Why do you call me good? Only God is good. 19 You know the commands: ‘You must not murder anyone. You must not be guilty of adultery. You must not steal. You must not tell lies about your neighbor. You must not cheat. Honor your father and mother.’ “  20 The man said, “Teacher, I have obeyed all these things since I was a boy.”  21 Jesus, looking at the man, loved him and said, “There is one more thing you need to do. Go and sell everything you have, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.” 22 He was very sad to hear Jesus say this, and he left sorrowfully, because he was rich. 23 Then Jesus looked at his followers and said, “How hard it will be for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 The followers were amazed at what Jesus said. But he said again, “My children, it is very hard to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 The followers were even more surprised and said to each other, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “For people this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Are we like the rich young man in this scripture?  Do we hold on to what we have as “ours”, because “we earned it”, “we worked hard for it”, we might need it”, “who knows what the future might bring”?  WHO KNOWS? GOD KNOWS! Here’s an interesting thought about relying on something else instead of placing our trust in God from The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn.  Randy says, “John D. Rockefeller was one of the wealthiest men who ever lived.  After he died someone asked his accountant, ‘How much money did John D. leave?’ The reply was classic: ‘He left … all of it.’ “You can’t take it with you.” “If that point is clear in your mind, you’re ready to hear the secret of the Treasure Principle.” Alcorn goes on to say, “Jesus takes that profound truth…and adds a stunning qualification.  By telling us to store up treasures for ourselves in heaven, he gives us a breathtaking corollary, which I (Alcorn) call the Treasure Principle: “You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead.” “If we give instead of keep, if we invest in the eternal instead of in the temporal, we store up treasures in heaven that will never stop paying dividends.  Whatever treasures we store up on earth will be left behind when we leave.  Whatever treasures we store up in heaven will be waiting for us when we arrive.” We, you and I, really need to ask ourselves if we are just trying to hang on to things/money here in this life that we could be putting in God’s hands for his eternal purposes.  Do we truly have faith, trusting that God will care for all our needs (another promise of God)?  I pray that we do, and will find more and more ways to let go of our “me resources” and give them to “God’s glory” actions.  Amen.   Carolyn Moe Graduate, School for Lay Ministry
 
 

 

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