My head was bent over the fall leaves as I stared underneath the van.‘Okay, I’m ready’ I said to my husband who proceeded to press the brakes.Liquid sprayed out of the metal brake line as if it was a large spray bottle, and I knew the van couldn’t be moved.At least God had protected the kids and me as we had just got home ten minutes before without any noticeable brake problems.My hubby found the problem minutes later while moving the van.
It’s just a small hole, really, yet it causes an enormous problem.A lack of fluid pressure to the brakes means you can’t stop the vehicle, which means you can’t drive that vehicle for obvious safety reasons.The hole has got to be fixed.You might think you can take a chance on driving it by topping up the brake fluid every few miles, but it is far too dangerous for you and the other drivers.Basically, that small hole immobilizes the van’s movement.
It is kind of like an offense.Most of the time the offense is just one ‘small’ matter, yet left un-repaired, the hole is likely to spread.Meanwhile any new pressure put on the offended person causes bitterness or anger to spew out on self and others.(You can’t move forward in the Lord until the offense is dealt with otherwise it will fester and infect you, eventually devastating your spiritual life.)And so the vehicle must be fixed before it can be safely driven again.
What do you do when you’ve been offended- and offense is a personal matter.What offends one person won’t necessarily offend another.(The next part is for the person who is not easily offended for if that is the case, you are in need of spiritual help/ guidance.)Ask yourself if love can overlook it or forbear it* and if so forgive the person**.If you continue to think about it or it just really bothers you, then you must do what the Word says and deal with it, in love.Mat. 18:15+ if a brother errs or offends then:
-tell him about the offense one on one.Hopefully there will be a resolution.
-if he doesn’t not hear/ understand take a couple people to witness the next interaction.
Might I just add the witnesses should be of godly, honest character who can keep confidence.
-if he mishears or disobeys them, then bring it to the church (leadership).
We are not meant to hang on to offenses.We can’t live abundant lives with bitterness and anger- for any reason.It needs to get dealt with quickly so our ‘vehicle’ or spiritual walk can get moving forward again.Be angry (provoked or exasperated) but don’t sin, ‘let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil. (Eph ,27 ASV)Life is too short to live with regrets.
*above all things being fervent in your love among yourselves; for love covereth a multitude of sins:1Pet. 4:8
with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;Eph. 4:2ASV
**Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and railing, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, even as God also in Christ forgave you.
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.Mark 11:25KJV
But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.Mark KJV
You can spend your entire life married to the same person.In fact, there’s a couple I know who just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. (Yes, really 70 years!)That is a divine miracle in more than one way.We can look at them and wonder how they made it so long- they must really love each other or be really committed- but I’m sure there are many factors.
I’ve considered couples married from day one to over fifty years, and have determined length of marriage is no indicator of intimacy in marriage.You can stay with someone because you love them and yet not feel the intimacy that makes a quality marriage so strong and alive.It is a lack of intimacy that ultimately drives many couples apart.The word intimacy has several synonyms:familiarity, closeness, understanding, relationship, confidence.
Familiarity- knowledge learned or experienced life.This is often the easiest to achieve.
Closeness- nearness and contact.This usually improves over time- until children arrive.
Understanding- sympathetic, considerate, thoughtful, kind… We spend a lifetime doing this.
Relationship- connection, bond, tie, friendship with a person.Something always needing work on.
Confidence- assurance, trust, faith, expectation.Without at least some amounts of these a marriage
will not last.
Many of us work hard to improve our marriages by going to seminars, reading books, learning from friends and family, listening to teachers etc. and we should continue to work at it.If we want true intimacy in our marriages, we have to put some time and effort into it.But do we ever expend that much effort and time on improving our intimacy with God?
If you want intimacy with Him, you have to make effort towards that end.Or maybe you are content just to say you love Him without wanting or needing to be closer or more familiar to Him; without really knowing and feeling connected to Him; without full confidence in Him and expecting closeness to Him.It might be survivable to live that way, but it will never be the abundant living you desire.
These scriptures say to love (agapao) the Lord your God.
-with all (the whole of) your heart, soul, mind and strength
-walk in all his ways, serve him and to cleave (cling or adhere like glue) unto him;
(Deut. 11:13,22; 13:3; Josh. 22:5; ; Mark ; Luke 10:27; Matt. 22:37)
If you humble yourself and draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. (Jam. 4:8)
The phone call was clear.If we buy either pens or magnets, then we would receive a large amount of money.Of course it sounded too good to be true, but the desire to receive something we didn’t work for was enormous and so want overcame common sense and we sent in a cheque to receive our prize.
Of course, like all scams, it was destined to fail, and it did to our financial loss.(Lesson learned!)You hear about scams like this all the time, and with the advent of the internet, they have become even more prominent.But as the saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.
And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?Luke 24:36-41
They, the disciples, saw the empty tomb and or heard the reports of people speaking to the risen Jesus.Then He was standing in their midst speaking to them (and they knew Him) when He showed them his hands and feet.Then He offered to let them touch Him and prove He wasn’t a ghost.Eye witness accounts are no substitute for seeing it for yourself, yet the disciples heard from others, saw for themselves, possibly touched Him themselves, watched Him eat and it is still reported ‘they believed not’.
I think it was a case of wonderment and ‘this seems too good to be true’.Still, they had their lingering doubts right up until Jesus opened their minds (v.45) and explained how He fulfilled prophesy.I like to think I’d be better than the disciples, but the truth is we are all blind until the veil is torn off and our eyes are opened.
Post Jesus, we have the same opportunity to have our minds opened by the Lord with the most amazing and life-changing book in existence- The Bible.We can pray that He open our eyes to behold wondrous things in it (Ps. 119:18)We can ask the Spirit to teach us and help us understand (John 14:26; 1Cor. 2:13)Then we can read and meditate on (ponder, revolve in our minds) the Word of God and know Him through it.
The Lord may sound ‘too good to be true’, but in actuality, He is the only ‘thing’ in this earth that is:
There once was a man who was king over all the land.He had great power, privilege, authority and wealth.He lived the life of a king in everyway and everything belonged to him.One day he chose to leave his throne for love of a woman and went to live with her in a wicked place where no one knew who he was while he lived as every other man.The most incredible part of the story is that he knew before he gave up his throne that he would suffer and die after he left, but he loved the woman so much he went anyway.Does the story sound familiar?
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.Rev. 13:8
The son (Col. 1:13), in whom we have redemption through blood and forgiveness (1:14), in the image of God (1:15), For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, … all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.Col. 1:16,17
Jesus, the Word made flesh and dwelt among us (John ) was in the beginning, with God, and was God (John 1:1,2)
Jesus who is God and was in the beginning lived the life of a king with all its fundamental privileges.He left His marvelous life, by choice, for love of us- the church (Eph. ) even though He knew that new life would be tough and he would live (for most part) in anonymity, suffering, and dying a horrendous death while innocent.Who does that?Only Jesus!
The ‘stage’ was already set before the foundation of the world. (Rev. 13:8)So, before the world was even created, God’s plan to create a world and man in it included a plan for our salvation.And Jesus willingly gave up the life of privilege to provide salvation for us…
It’s another Sunday and tonight is one of my favorite shows called ‘The Amazing Race’.The thing I like about it most is that the participants travel the world seeing all kinds of interesting places, people and cultures.For someone who has never been outside of North America it is an opportunity to see the places I’d like to visit while I watch competitors racing against time in challenges that are fun, crazy and sometimes scary, but almost always stretching their boundaries.
Yet, as interesting as the show is, it doesn’t hold a candle to the real life journey made by billions of people worldwide, and specifically those of my fellow brothers and sisters.To think that a sister may be experiencing tremendous victory while another is leaning on a solitary friend just to get through another struggle filled day, still another stands by a dying friend, and a brother is walking out in faith to start ministering for Christ. What incredible journeys are being made.
Many people are walking in different and remarkable places on their journeys right now at this very moment, and we can share in their journeys by encouragement, walking with them- sometimes even holding their hands or allowing them to lean on us, or lifting them up to the Father’s throne with prayer.This life is not often easy, and it helps to have someone at our side cheering us on and reminding us that we are loved.Even God knew Adam needed another human to as a companion, hence the reason He made Eve.
So let us all make an effort to join into the most amazing race of all- The Amazing Grace Race- and instead of being competitors with the others around us, let us see how many people we can encourage to win the race with us.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;Heb. 12:1,2a
have ye not known that those running in a race--all indeed run, but one doth receive the prize? so run ye, that ye may obtain;1Cor. YLT