Years ago Anita and I had a car that had worn tires, so we replaced them with a complete set of Michelin tires. At the time, Michelin’s were promoted as being among the highest quality tires. It was the first time I had reached up for quality. About 9 months later the tread on one of them began to separate, creating a bubble in the tread that made the tire bounce at driving speeds. I replaced the faulty tire with a warranty discount. A couple of months later the same thing happened with a second tire. Several months later it happened again with a third tire.
Suspecting 3 out of 4 was a good indicator that the 4th was also faulty, I just replaced the last one, too. Although the advertizing made me think I would get better quality, in actuality, it cost me more in time and money than if I had purchased a lesser brand.
Our perception sometimes can’t see deeper flaws. Sometimes we Christians clean up pretty good, but we have deep flaws in our character (sin) that we can’t see. Over the road of life those flaws separate out and cause our lives to bounce around. We need to repent and start over again. Make a fresh start with Jesus.
Nearly 300 years after Thomas a Kempis died, a captain of a slave ship found a copy of Kempis’ book, Imitation of Christ, on board his vessel. For want of something to do during the long voyage, Captain John Newton began reading the book, and it had a profound effect on his life.
Following the voyage Newton became critically ill. When he recovered he gave his life to Christ and began a new career – as a minister. Through his testimony Newton won many men to Christ including William Wilberforce, a member of Britain’s House of Commons. Wilberforce was the man responsible for putting a bill through Parliament that outlawed slave traffic in the British domain.
When you are tempted to minimize your contribution to the cause of Christ, remember that the final results are not in. The testimony of your life and the witness of your words and actions will continue to bear fruit long after your lifetime.
“So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I send it” (Isaiah 55:11).
My 3rd grader grandson, Reuben, was watching TV with me recently when he asked me what time it was. I pointed to the clock on the hearth and asked him what time it was. We have this antique wind-up clock that ticks and tocks and bongs on the hour. He studied that clock and I saw him counting with his lips as he tried to figure out what time it was. I thought to myself, ‘He’s in third grade and can’t tell time yet?’
Then it dawned on me: there are Roman numerals on that clock. He can’t tell what time it is because a third grader has never learned Roman numerals. It was all foreign to him. But he finally counted enough V’s , I’s and X’s to figure the time.
Understanding God can sometimes be as confusing as telling what time it was for Reuben. God’s ways are above our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Its all Greek to us. But the more we understand what is important to God, the more we can recognize what He’s doing in our lives. What time is it at your house?
Anita and I are getting to the age where we like to watch birds. We have a couple of thistle seed socks hanging (not very productive, yet), and a humming bird feeder (humming with hummingbirds). Although not invited, a barn swallow has built a nest under our deck atop a light fixture. I’ll wait until the babies are flying before I clean it out. I love to watch barn swallows swoop to attack flying bugs ahead of my mower.
I wonder what barn swallows did in northeast Indiana before there were any barns. Did they build in hollow trees or in boughs like other birds? In the 21st Century we may never know. But, it is amazing how God guides them to care for themselves.
There is an old hymn that says “For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me”. If God cares about sparrows and makes sure they always have a nest, shouldn’t we be as confident that He’ll always provide a place for us? Apply this to your insecurities today.
John chapter 9 is the record of Jesus healing a man born blind. When the religious leaders saw that the man was healed on the Sabbath Day, they launched a big investigation, found it to be true, and ex-communicated the blind man from the Temple. “Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ ‘Who is he, sir?’ the man asked. ‘Tell me, so that I may believe in him.’ Jesus said, ‘You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.’ Then the man said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped him” (John 9:35-38).
Notice that Jesus “found Him“. Jesus wasn’t involved in the legal proceedings. But He heard about them and the sad results. Although he ignored the leaders who had taken this action, He went looking for the rejected. The formerly blind man was blind when Jesus healed him, so he really didn’t know who it was that did this for him. This was his first introduction to Jesus. And the man who could now see immediately began to worship.
Sometimes when Jesus opens our blind eyes, we can’t see His hand who did it. Its only after the fact that we see God’s involvement. But Jesus is always looking for us. Our pain and failure never blind Jesus.
You’ve no doubt heard the story of the man whose house was caught in a flood. A neighbor came by in a rowboat and said, “Get in, I’ll save you.” But the man replied, “No, thanks; I’m waiting for the Lord to save me.” So the neighbor left.
The flood waters rose even higher and a rescue crew in a boat came by. One of them said, “We’ll save you from the flood. Get in.” “No, the Lord will save me,” the man insisted.
The flood waters finally got so high the man had to climb out on the roof of his house. Someone in a helicopter lowered a rope to him. But the man refused it saying, “I’m waiting on the Lord.”
The flood finally engulfed him and he went to heaven. “Lord, why didn’t you save me?” he asked. The Lord replied, “What do you mean? I sent two boats and a helicopter for you.”
Sometimes we think we know how God should save us, but His plan is to use another method altogether. We must remember that the Lord said through the Prophet Isaiah, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways” (Isaiah 55:9).
I just started this 10-week Bible Survey course on Wednesday evenings. Last week we had 39 people present and I taught on The Pentateuch (first five books of Moses). As I prepared for that teaching, I was reminded how much the message of the cross is previewed in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The message of sin, penalty, redemption and restoration is repeated throughout the Bible.
Although the Bible is comprised of 66 books and authored by multiple authors, there is still a thread of truth that runs from Genesis to Revelation. As I continue through this Bible Survey course we’re going to be amazed at the invisible hand of God showing His mercy and grace to His people.
This coming Wednesday at 7:00 PM we’ll be looking at the Old Testament Historical Books, twelve in all, and see how they reveal God’s nature to mankind, and mankind’s nature to God.