Posts Tagged ‘ Turn ’

Turn from Worthless Things

“Friends, why are you doing this? We are mortals just like you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.” Acts 14:15 NRSV

MP900448057[1]The apostle Paul, and his traveling companion Barnabas, were being treated like  gods. The people of Lystra thought they were Zeus and Hermes. As soon as Paul realized what was happening, he turned the crowd’s attention away from  their foolish conclusion to the living God.

What amazes me is the stark contrast between these two followers of Jesus Christ, and everyone else in Lystra, whose minds were lost and lives were wrapped up in the worthless worship of mythical figures.

During the first few days and weeks of Jesus’ life, the same kind of thing happened. God’s love was visibly demonstrated in a miraculous birth, announced by angels, and celebrated by heavenly host. But few were listening. The minds of the people were preoccupied, some with mounting problems, others with worthless pursuits designed to distract and relieve them of the harsh realities of life.

MC900098115 Only a few wisemen seemed really tuned into what God was doing. They made an amazing choice. They turned from their worthless pursuits and comfortable lives to see what God had done. They followed a star, and found Jesus!

I don’t want to live a life of worthless pursuits. I want to be turned to God, and tuned in to God! I want to be led by Jesus’ light, and be a part of what God is doing in the world today. I hope you are like me.MP900409317[1]

Today let’s turn from the worthless things in our lives to God. Let’s stop going our  own way, and start following the Good Shepherd. Let’s take the life God has given us, and use every minute to glorify God, and to enjoy the blessings of God’s love made possible by Jesus Christ!

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Love Turns To God

For the Advent/Christmas season, each Monday’s post will look at the love that came down at Christmas. We will explore what Jesus’ love offers us and asks of us.

At three o’clock Jesus cried out….”My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Mark 15:34 NRSVMC900194002

Rejected and abandoned by his own people, Jesus hangs on the cross dying. Darkness covers the land. Life slowly drains out of Jesus’ body. Finally, in his agony Jesus cries out to his heavenly Father. With his last few breaths he turns his attention to God and asks “Why?’

That’s real love at work! Real love turns to God. Even when despair sets in and death’s darkness engulfs us, the same love that was at work in Jesus will help us turn to God too.

Real love turns to God.

Most of us probably don’t think much about the cross as we prepare for Christmas.MP900382968[1] Maybe that’s because we focus so much on celebrating God’s love  shown in sending us his only begotten Son. But after the all the celebrating dies down, what comes next?

If we want Jesus to be more to us than a figurine in a crèche, we must follow Jesus’ lead. We too must turn to God.

Turning to God means opening our hearts to God, pouring our pain out, laying our questions out, and clinging to our heavenly Father with our last breath. It means loving the One who first loved us!

Let the Messiah, the King of Israel and the Holy One of God touch you this Christmas with a love that will not let you go. Then, let that love keep you turned to God!

Love the One Who First Loved You!

Prayer:

Lord of unwavering love, your example on the cross reminds me that real love clings to God. Fill me with that love, and keep me ever turned to my heavenly Father!

Amen.

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What’s The Point?

“No, I tell you: but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.” Luke 13:5 NRSV

MP900443601[1] You probably will not find this verse in any collection of Bible promises. It’s certainly not one of the feel good teachings of Jesus. Nor is it a verse that we would turn to for comfort and help in time of need.

Jesus’ call to repentance is actually a curious response. Jesus had just been told of an atrocity committed by Pilate against the Jews. Jesus used that news flash as an opportunity to teach. He began by asking, “Was this violence justified? Were these people so sinful that they actually got what they deserved?”

These are important questions. Jesus quickly answered his own questions. Surprisingly, he said, “No.” The shame and suffering endured by these Galileans was not because they deserved it. It was not in proportion to their sin.

Jesus immediately pointed out the real message this news brought. The real message was, death is the inevitable consequence of sin. Therefore, the only hope we have is to repent.

The Jews Jesus was talking to had been taught to try and follow the law, and to try and avoid wrongdoing. But Jesus wanted them to realize that the key was not trying to be good. The key was to confess and turn away from sin, while trusting the tender and forgiving mercy of God!

…the only hope we have is to repent.MP900313982[1]

As soon as Jesus pointed that out, he went to another recent news item.  Eighteen people had been killed when a tower collapsed. Jesus wanted to know if they were singled out to die because they had more sin than all the others living in Jerusalem at that time. Jesus’ answer was the same as before, “No.”

In the face of violence and disasters, death makes little sense. Even though we try and make sense out of tragic events, Jesus makes it clear that there are seldom easy answers.

MP900443027[1]Still, there is one response that makes sense. That is to recognize the harsh reality of death and to turn around, to accept the saving grace offered by Jesus Christ. Only then does death loose its sting. Only then do we become the recipients of life eternal!

So the point is not to wrestle with endless whys, or to be scared into being good. Jesus wants us to turn from sin, and to turn toward God. Jesus wants us to accept the forgiveness that he alone gives.

Throwing ourselves on the tender mercies of God is really the only response that makes sense!

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Turn to God and Live!