Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hold on Baby, Cause God is On the Job

The other night, Anne and I attended High Pointe Church's annual Christmas show. The year it was a remake of "One Wintry Night - Seeing is Believing."

At the end, as is the custom at most churches I have attended, the Pastor go up and made a passionate and spiritual presentation about salvation, and it's importance.  He spent a lot of time on the concept that God frequently picks people to do things that do not volunteer, such as Abraham not asking God to move; Moses not asking God to send a burning bush his way; Daniel not asking to be sent to the lions den.  This was interesting, and not at all what I was thinking, but it is important enough for me to mention.

However, I learned something else that never occurred to me.  First you have to know, though I am an evangelical Christian, I am not an "in your face" Christian.  In fact, I am a Christian that has learned from my study of the bible that yelling about hell at people who do not know God was NOT what Jesus did.  He helped people, loved people and yanked the chains only of those who should have know better.

Friday I was talking to a friend that is having some serrious issues in her life, issues that go beyond the TBI injury we share; Issues that go beyond the depression that all of us in the group that was gathered shared.  She has some serious stress based on life.  In the back of my head, I hear a voice say, "Tell her that there is a way out."  I waited, because I do NOT normally bring God into a situation where I have not been invited to.  The situation, however, was serious.  I heard the voice again, decided it was a calling for me to act, and I suggested to her that I was going to say something that if she ignored, I would not be unhappy.  I pointed out that most of us in the discussion leaned on God from time to time for our lives.  That God was not just and end point resident in heaven, but a living God.

She said, "I don't buy that, 'God only gives me what I can handle' thing.  This is too Big.  Again, it is big.  I said that it was cool, but if she ever wanted to talk about it, any of us would be happy to talk to her about it.

If you are searching you brain for the scripture support for what she said, it is: 1 Corinthians 10:13 and speaks of not Temptation being able to overcome us.

Most sermons, homily and articles I have read about this verse always point out that it is often misquoted as only giving us what we can handle rather than being about temptation.

I disagree strongly.  I recently read a book called Good News for Those Trying Harder, and the author pointed out to me that the first commandment is, Thou shall have not other God before me.  Anytime we try to handle a situation that is bigger than us; anytime we try to do anything without God, we are making our own skill and power more important that God. That is called idolatry.  So, assuming we can or should be able to handle a problem on our own, without God, is temptation.  So 1 Corinthians 10:13 is for our problems.

Knowing that makes the Christmas Story way different for me.  The major theme of the performance we watched was the difficulty that each person in the Christmas story had nothing easy to overcome.

Mary was faced with the loss of her intended husband and even her life. At the time she was was pregnant, without being married, they stoned women for adultary.  So, when the angel told Mary what was going to happen in Luke 1:26-38, she should have freaked out, cause she was going to die.  Instead, she accepted her role, and God protected her.

Joseph could have acted as any male would have when he found out his wife to be was pregnant, and he risked be thrown out of the village, which was pretty close to a death sentence.  Instead, he chose to follow God in Matthew 1:18-21, and God protected him.

The "wise men" knew of the birth of the king, and risked their lives, in a journey to a foreign land, saw the current king, and left without telling him what was going on, as we read in Matthew 2:1-12  In those days, that would have been enough to be killed.  Yet, God protected them.

Then an angle shows up, and tells the family they have to leave their country, or they are going to be killed as we can read in Matthew 2:16-18.  This too is a death sentence for poor people, yet God provided the money .... the gifts from the wise men.

Common theme. If God asks you to do something, even in our own lives, then he will protect you and provide for you.  Jesus is the supreme example for everything in our lives, and is here too.  The down side is the world is going to mess with you, because the world does not love God.  The world will fight back.  All hope will seem to be lost. Yet, God will provide as he has always done.  1 John 4:4 says it all.  God is greater than he who is in the world.

So Fear NOT, for God is with you.  He will help.  He will Support.  Isaiah 41:10.

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