Sunday, August 23, 2015

3 passages, 3 thoughts

Psalm 1

 Oh, the joys of those who do not

  follow the advice of the wicked,

  or stand around with sinners,

  or join in with mockers.

 But they delight in the law of the LORD,

  meditating on it day and night.

 They are like trees planted along the riverbank,

  bearing fruit each season.

Their leaves never wither,

  and they prosper in all they do.

Life is a series of seasons, some good, some not, some fulfilling, some difficult & overwhelmingly challenging.

I'd read Psalm 1 quite a few times over the years until one day I was struck by those 4 words in verse 3 - "bearing fruit each season".

It was as if God seemed to point out to me that no matter what circumstances seem to be, if we follow after Him, we will bear fruit of some kind in every season of our lives.

I needed to hear that when He revealed that to me.

I still do.


Matthew 16

 Then Jesus said to his disciples,

       "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ambition,

        take up your cross,

        and follow me.

25 If you try to hang on to your life,

         you will lose it.

But if you give up your life for my sake,

         you will save it.

26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?

        Is anything worth more than your soul?

When I hear about someone dying, especially someone who has enjoyed lots of media attention, I think about verse 26.

And I wonder what each of them who had lived such seemingly glittering lives would say to us now.

People like Julian Bond,

     or Bobbi Kristina Brown,

     or Leonard Nimoy,

     B. B. King,

     Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah,

     Bob Simon,

     Frank Gifford.

What would each of them say to us now, if they could, about the truth contained in verse 26?


1 Corinthians 2

 But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ's triumphal procession.

      Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.

15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.

But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.

     16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom.

But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume.

So remember this basic fact...

By simply being ourselves & walking in our faith & trust in Jesus, our very lives make people who do not follow Him VERY uncomfortable.

Paul uses a very graphic & appropriate analogy - to God, our lives are a sweet thing, but to non-believers we stink - iow, we are repugnant to them in some level, in some for or fashion.

They may not say it,

     they may not label it,

     they may say that we are all kinds of unacceptable things,

     but the bottom line is that our very lives, without us saying or doing anything, really bother them, at some level.

That's why we should treat everyone with gentleness & compassion, just like godly people treat each of us before we came to the point of following Jesus.

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