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Hurt People Can Hurt People

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CryingWhen I was a teenager, I had a dog that was hit by a car. His hip was broken in the accident. Obviously, he was in a lot of pain. So when I picked him up to take him to the vet, do you know what he did? He bit me! I was only trying to be kind and help, but he bit me.

Same song, second verse…

Have you ever tried to reach out to someone who was obviously in pain in an effort to help them? When you have done so, have you ever been “bitten” by those you were trying to help? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you have. You see, I’ve come to realize that hurt people can hurt people.

 So here are two challenges we face in times of great stress in our life:

1)      Don’t let your fear of being “bitten” keep you from doing good for others. Seldom does doing good and helping another come without some cost. The gift of God’s grace for doing the right thing far outweighs the emotional or financial sting a hurting soul can dish out.

2)      When you are hurting, and someone reaches out with an offer of help, resist the urge to “bite”. Do not be afraid to graciously accept their help, try to understand that they are seeking your good. Sometimes it is difficult to admit that we need assistance, but we end up doing good ourselves by allowing others to serve God in helping their fellow man (even if it is us).

Consider this, being a Christian is much more than having the right answers to biblical questions. It’s also making oneself available to be used by Jesus to reach out to a hurting world with a healing message. Let’s be sure we share the love of Christ with our words and show His love through our deeds.

 

“By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13.35).

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It’s MY Big Gulp

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Not too long ago now, there was an argument raging in the city of New York over the mayor’s dictate that a person cannot buy a single soft drink 32oz or larger. If you want a ‘big gulp’ from Seven Eleven then you will just have to buy two smaller ones and drink them both. The situation ignited the airwaves with controversy, something we Americans seem to thrive on.

BigGulp

            One nutritionist argued that America is eating itself to death, literally. Obesity rates are higher than in any other country she said. Not to mention the deaths caused by heart attack and diabetes that can be caused by overconsumption.

            While I do not accept the mayor of New York’s solution to sugar consumption, I did have to agree with one thing. We are a nation addicted to things that are not good for us both physically and spiritually.

            Consider the words of Christ, “Then He said to them all, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9.23)

When we are hungry, we eat, but often it is too much ‘comfort’ food. I wonder, do we feed our minds in the same way? We soak up shows like Duck Dynasty when we want to sit and relax…for hours. People spend more time in activities like texting or messaging friends than they do in even considering their own soul. Others just don’t have time to consume spiritual food, opting for the world’s drive through instead.

            If our desire is to be with God in heaven forevermore, then we have to find the strength to put ourselves aside and pick up the cross of Christ, every day. We must develop the courage not only to be seen with Christ, but to stand up for His cause.

            To be honest, it doesn’t matter if you want to walk around with your 44oz Coke from Sonic, it’s OK. But if we fill ourselves to overflowing with the world instead of God, then we will die a spiritual death. Don’t die a spiritual death! Take up your cross, open the Bible, eat the bread of life, drink spiritual water, feed your soul, follow in His steps and live with the Lord forever.

Twenty Seconds of Courage

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Every now and then a song or a movie comes along that just makes you feel good inside. In the movie, We Bought a Zoo, a scene is played out between a young man named Dylan and his father Benjamin. Dylan, who is confused about his feelings for a young lady says, “I like her. It’s like you embarrass yourself if you say something, and you embarrass yourself if you don’t”.

 Benjamin grins at his son in that way fathers have, takes a deep breath, and replies,

You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of embarrassing bravery, and I promise you…something great will come of it.”

            There is some truth found here for our own lives. Every now and then all we need is a little moment of insane courage in order to do great things for God. Caleb displayed great inner strength when he faced the weakness of the people and said of the Promised Land, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are able to overcome it.” (Num 13.30, 14). Daniel and his friends were able to gather their courage in the face of an angry King Nebuchadnezzar when the king asked, “and who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” (Dan 3.16-18). Peter and John showed their trust and devotion to Jesus in the face of the high priest and other rulers of the Jews when they boldly declared the power of Jesus Christ to the people, even in the face of certain punishment or death (Acts 3.12-26).

            Finding that moment of insane courage which may needed to face down evil, to turn away from sinful actions, to stand up to your friends and family if need be, or to rise up and say, “I am ready to be a faithful servant of the Lord”, can be terrifying in this world often filled with hate, racism, and hypocrisy.

            Friends, you can take courage, we are not alone! God will strengthen us. The apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Php 4.13). Christ will strengthen you too! All you need is literally twenty seconds of insane courage, and I promise you…something great will come of it.

Oz, The Great and Powerful

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Every now and then, our family likes to rent a show for a movie night. Recently, we watched Oz, The Great and Powerful. As movies go, it was OK. It told the story of how the wizard and the wicked witches of the land of Oz came to be.

One particular aspect of the movie that did intrigue me was the story of Theodora, who would eventually become the ‘wicked witch of the west’. You see, when Theodora meets Oscar Zoroaster she falls in love with him. Oz is the first person to ever freely give her a gift or to dance with her. His kindness toward her warms her heart, causing her faith in him to grow.

Unfortunately, Oscar’s affection toward Theodora is nothing more than a show that he puts on for every pretty face he sees. Oz’s true love is for himself and his desire is to become a ‘great and powerful’ man. Money, power, and prestige are the most wonderful things in life to this scam artist.

When Theodora discovers that Oz’s affections toward her are meaningless, her heart is broken. She desperately grasps for anything that will take the pain and anguish she is feeling away. In true Disney movie form, her sister presents her with an apple, which has a spell placed upon it that will cure her broken heart, and boy does it. Not only does it take away the pain of a broken heart, but it shrivels her heart up until there is nothing left inside but wickedness.

Now, I know this is a movie, but there is something very real about the effects that following after things of this world have on the heart. When our mind is set on the size of our bank account, the next big promotion, or how popular we are with people, then our heart becomes callous and hardened to matters of the spirit which are important to God. The apostle Paul says it this way,

 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Rom 8.5-6)

 What kinds of things does your heart desire? Do you place more importance on the things of the world, or on the things of God? If God, then do your actions reflect the conviction of your heart for all to see? If not, why not?  Think about it.

Three Worlds, Two Loves

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BibleHeartIt may be interesting to you that there are three worlds mentioned in the Bible. John speaks of all three, beginning with the physical world we live in and on (Jn 1.10). Jesus teaches that God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son so that all may be saved (Jn 3.16). The world here represents people as a whole. Finally, John contrasts two worlds (I Jn 5.19) by comparing the people of God on one hand and those of the world who belong to the ‘wicked one’, or Satan, on the other. It is the vast difference between these two worlds that should deeply concern us as Christians.

Satan uses our love of the physical world to draw us away from God (I Jn 2.15-16). Those who turned against God are aptly called ‘worldly people’ and are driven by lusts of the body, lusts of sight, and lusts of earthly rewards such as the praise of men (Gen 3, Mat 4). Scripture tells of some who loved the world more than God: The rich, young ruler (Mt 19.16-22), Judas (Jn 12.1-6, Mk 14.10-11), and Demas (2 Tim 4.9-10) are but a few. The truth is that the world, its lusts and those who follow after them will not last. Sadly, in the end, they will be destroyed (I Jn 2.17)

The love that the Father has for us however, is a different matter altogether. The only effective antidote to the poison of the world is to fill the heart with love of the Father (I Jn 2.15, Mt 6.24, 12.30) just as He loves us. Those who do the will of God will not be destroyed, rather they will live forever (I Jn 2.17). Abraham loved God and obeyed (Heb 11.10), so did Moses (Heb 11.26). Who could ever doubt that the apostle Paul loved God to the very core of his being and showed it through the life that he lived (2 Tim 4.6-8)?

What about us? Do we love the God enough that we can say no to the world and its evil? Do we actively seek to keep the poison out, and let God’s love in? One antidote to the world is to let the word of Christ dwell in you richly (Col 3.16a). When our hearts are filled to the brim with love and obedience to God, then there is no room left for the evils of the world. Fill your heart today and every day with His righteousness!

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