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Tag Archives: life

excess

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), 2so as to live for the rest of your earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God. 3You have already spent enough time in doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry. 4They are surprised that you no longer join them in the same excesses of dissipation, and so they blaspheme. 5But they will have to give an accounting to him who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. 6For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that, though they had been judged in the flesh as everyone is judged, they might live in the spirit as God does. (1 Peter 4:1-6, NRSV)

What do we have in excess?

Or what do we partake of in excess?

We are covered with God’s grace, and we should therefore not join in the excess of this life. We should follow after what God commands us to do and be beacons of God’s hope and love for all the world.

Do we do that?

Or do we live in the excesses of this world?

Follow after and trust in God.

 

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free under authority

13For the Lord’s sake accept the authority of every human institution, whether of the emperor as supreme, 14or of governors, as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. 15For it is God’s will that by doing right you should silence the ignorance of the foolish. 16As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil. 17Honor everyone. Love the family of believers. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2:13-17, NRSV)

Governments are put in place to help us and to govern us. Laws are there for good civil order and to help us live together as a society.

But in this there is freedom. Freedom to be who God created us to be.

So live under the civil authority and live under God.

 

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a sign

38Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth. 41The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here! 42The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here!  (Matthew 12:38-42, NRSV)

Why do we need to see something to believe it?

We need to observe things with our eyes in order for it to be believable. And that is crazy. I have a friend in Washington state who is a pastor, a coffee roaster and a magician. I have seen him do things I can not explain on Instagram and Facebook. I have seen it and I believe that it happened but I also don’t believe it. When I was a kid I watched David Copperfield make the Statue of Liberty disappear. Did it actually disappear? No, it didn’t but it appeared to. One of my all-time favorite movie quotes is from The Santa Claus 2, “Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing.”

We don’t need a sign, God is good to the promises God has made.

So hold to the promises.

 

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most to be pitied

19If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. 21For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; 22for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. 23But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is plain that this does not include the one who put all things in subjection under him. 28When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.  (1 Corinthians 15:19-28, NRSV)

How many of us remember B.A. Baracus, “I pity da fool.” This is an interesting passage for me because this says that “if for this life only we have hoped in Christ,” which to me means if we only hope in Christ for life now. And that is really the opposite of what I think most people hope in Christ for. Most people think that hope in Christ will get us eternal life with God. Which it will, but hope in Christ also give us abundant life now.

You see death came through Adam and our life comes through Jesus for life eternal and abundant now. It isn’t an either-or but a both-and.

Do not be one to be pitied, trust in eternal life and abundant life here and now. That is what Christ did for all of us.

 

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Raised from the dead

12Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. 17If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. 19If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. (1 Corinthians 15:12-20, NRSV)

We have to believe that Jesus was raised from the dead. If we do not believe this then our faith is in nothing.

But if we believe that Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb, why can we not believe that Jesus himself could walk out of the tomb?

You could say that we can’t prove it because we did not see it. There are a lot of things we can’t see but most of us still believe in. For instance, can you see the wind? You can see the effects of the wind, but we can’t see the wind. And even though I can’t see the wind I still believe it exists. And I know, you can see the effects of the wind, well I can see the effects of Jesus’ resurrection too. Life abundant all around me, and that is the life that walked out of the tomb.

Don’t be unbelieving of the resurrection of Christ. It is the foundation of our faith and the true hope of life!

 

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hold firmly

Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, 2through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain. 3For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe. (1 Corinthians 15:1-11, NRSV)

Hold firmly to what we know is true, that Christ died for all of us and gives us new life.

Believe it and trust it.

The scripture tells us it is true and we just need to believe it.

Hold firmly to that and God will never let go of you!

 

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Devote yourselves to prayer

2Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. 3At the same time pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison, 4so that I may reveal it clearly, as I should. 5Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. (Colossians 4:2-5, NRSV)

Be thankful for what God has blessed you with.

A new day.

A place to shelter in place.

Health.

And all the other wonderful things…

And pray for all of those who may not have those things.

And be ready for God to reveal grace and love through you to the world.

 

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