Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cash Express

Processing this CHRISTmas has begun as I clean up boxes, tissue paper and bows and put them in their proper places. We aren't into saving whales and such at my house but everyone knows the importance of and often shouts out while people are opening their gifts, "save the bows." Bows are not on the extinction list or anything but it is an important cause and everyone in my house knows our position on this. As I sifted through the "stuff" to discern trash from treasure, I came upon an envelope that was specifically designed to hold money. I opened it up knowing that more than likely the receiver of this gift had in NO WAY forgotten to grab the loot and sure enough, it was empty of cash that was most likely tucked away safely in said wallet. But as I pondered why the actual card and envelope were not worthy of keeping as well, a thought occurred to me. I, too, have made sure to grab what was inside while disregarding the message my heavenly Father had given me. What I mean to say is that I am so very quick to receive a gift while leaving behind the card it came in which is just as much a part of the gift. God blesses us frequently and we are quick to get the blessing out of the package while leaving the card. In other words, all we want is what HE can give us without getting HIM. In this scenario, He is the card and the money is the blessing. My point is that all we really want is His cash. We open the gift, grab what's inside and quickly move on to our other gifts. But if God is represented by the card and message it speaks, we discard the true Gift. Joy, hope, peace, and love were the words that graced the front of this particular card and infer that He is willing to give that away as well. A relationship with Him would be characterized by joy, hope, peace, and love would it not? So if all we want is the loot, we forfeit the divine joy, hope, peace, and love. What if God was speaking to me through those words and I just glossed over them to see the $$$, then tossed the card aside but grabbed the cash, thus never receiving the most valuable part of the gift. It happens all the time. We miss the greatest gift of all, a relationship with the Giver, when all we really want is what He can give us. LORD, change my heart and that of my families to want YOU more than anything! Don't let us miss the greatest gift of all.....a relationship with You. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Eli Stone.....Not Gonna Watch It Anymore

Mike and I have been enjoying the series Eli Stone for the past month or so as Molly owned season 1 on DVD and got me season 2 for my birthday. The show's characters were so likable.....Eli(a prophet who gets visions from God on what cases to take although more like Balaam than a true disciple), Patti the secretary, Maggie, Taylor, "The Dowd," the acupuncturist and Mr. Wolensky, and law cases they represented were always on the side of doing the right thing in a totally secular sort of way that you couldn't help but get sucked in and intrigued by the entertainment value and the way the show was presented. On Saturday, we were up to episode 7 on Season 2 when (although many of the episodes had questionable topics regarding unbiblical viewpoints on sex, morality, relationships, the environment and whatnot) the subject matter crossed a line that we could no longer tolerate. Without going into too many details, the topic was about a female methodist minister who was suing her church because they fired her due to the fact that she had a sex change operation and became a man. At one point, this minister formerly know as Michelle who was now Michael, led a Bible study with mostly transgender people and read Scripture from Galatians 3:28 upon which he totally took out of context. "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." It was at this point that we began to feel super convicted because of how they were applying the verse. Of course, Paul is speaking about Believers in Christ here but the writers of the show spun it to read how they wanted it to. We finished the episode shaking our heads believing that it is wrong for us as genuine Believers to watch such blatant blasphemy and misinterpretation of the passage. Galatians 3 is clearly talking about people who have put their faith in Jesus Christ and His shed blood on the cross for the atonement of sin. One of the ways Satan's agenda is being accomplished is by subtle suggestion about our belief system and by getting us to agree with him about "seemingly" good things. When he maligns God's word, we cannot continue to stand (or sit) by a TV and watch. As we headed upstairs to get ready for bed, I picked up a gray polar fleece blanket I had put on the floor for Boaz our boxer who recently lost his best friend and sister boxer, Emma. I had never noticed before that this particular blanket had a cross appliqued on it but as the cross caught my eye, the thought "trampling on the Son of God" came to my mind. I knew it was in the New Testament but didn't remember the entire verse. I knew God was speaking to me about why it was wrong to watch the show any longer. A new conviction came over me as I didn't want to personally trample Jesus. I knew better and knew that God was serious. He cares about what we allow to enter our minds and perhaps inadvertently condone via a TV show that is all in the name of "entertainment." And His standards are clearly for our own protection. The next day, I found the verse He had highlighted in my mind. It was Hebrews 10:29. "How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace. By watching the show Eli Stone, we were in essence treating as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified us. In the Message, the verse reads that "If we give up and turn our backs on all we've learned, all we've been given, all the truth we now know, we REPUDIATE CHRIST'S SACRIFICE and are left on our own to face the judgment." To repudiate is to deny or to reject.

So here's the deal. If I am not schooled in the whole counsel of God's Word, I could hear the show recite that verse and agree that it makes sense the way they meant it to. But, because I know the Word of God well enough and I have God's Holy Spirit to guide me, I heeded God's warning to me as did Mike and now know that He is calling us to not watch the show any more. We will not finish the series. That is the obedience He is calling us to. We are more interested in honoring Him and will heed this word.