Drop Dead!

Postcard with text "Greetings from the Sunny South." Five African American people in interesting dress--fancy suit, hats, umbrella, frilly dress. One has a fiddle and a dog. Text: "Cake Walkers. Way down south in Dixie."For a short while, we had these words on our mirror in the bathroom: Drop Dead. The idea was that we would start the day with this thought in mind. It was a good reminder; however, I remember the time when a young girl, who came for dinner with her unsaved family, came out from the bathroom, wide-eyed and saying, “You have bad words on your mirror!” To her, the idea of telling someone to drop dead was a threat!

As a church, we have been memorizing verses from Romans 6. (By the way, are you memorizing Bible verses? Is it me or does it get harder as you age? Anyway, that is my “New Year’s Resolution” for 2018! I’m not sure how I’m going to implement it, but I MUST be memorizing more scripture.) Whether it’s a piece of music, a famous speech, or a Bible verse, memorizing allows you to see it differently. As you memorize, you are meditating on the words and phrases in a different way than if you just read it.

Here is December’s verse for our church:

Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. Romans 6: 13

As I was working on it, I noticed something. We are urged to yield ourselves to God.  That’s easy to understand, but then Paul adds this phrase: “as those that are alive from the dead.”

OK, Jesus died and rose from the dead. We are to be like Him? Is that what Paul is saying. Of course, that is certainly part of it. But as I “meditated” on this portion of the verse, I dug a little deeper! As born-again believers, we are not only dead, but we are resurrected.  When we

  • Are saved
  • Ask Jesus to be our Savior
  • Trust Christ for salvation
  • Believe and receive Jesus as our Savior

However you want to phrase it when that happens, we die to the power of sin! We die to living our lives for ourselves. We die to our wants, our plans, our path, and we allow God to do the leading.  He directs our paths, guides our plans, and often changes our wants. We are dead BUT alive!

Later in chapter 12:1,2, Paul puts a little more meat on the bones:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

A living sacrifice—we are alive, but we really can’t live for God until we die. That hurts! Death can be painful, and what I’ve found is this:

The tighter we hold on to our wants, our plans, our life,

the deeper God needs to cut to “kill” this world from our hearts!

What are you loving more than God? Can you be honest about this? Is it your traditions? Family? Church denomination? Entertainment? Way of worship? Money? Security? The way you do life?

Look at this verse:

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Revelation 12:11

Wow! What a challenge (and a good one to memorize)! As the Lord’s Return draws closer, will we need to follow their example more: they loved not their lives unto the death?

It’s all quite a challenge, but then, true believers understand that the Christian life is not a cakewalk. (FYI and total rabbit trail. Check out the link if you want to know where that phrase cakewalk originated!)

Will you drop dead today AND allow God to resurrect you so that you can yield your members as instruments of righteousness unto God? That’s a tall order. Thankfully, our loving God also supplies the grace to make it possible!

 

 

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How many shades of gray are there in Christian Liberty?

How many shades of gray are there in Christian Liberty?

What do you do when you suddenly find yourself on the wrong side of the argument, arguing for something that just a few short years ago would have been anathema to you? And how did you get there?

Our society is changing so rapidlythat it makes my head spin, and I’m not talking about the world out there – I’m talking about the world within the walls of Christianity!

Every generation finds itself testing the bounds of limitations placed upon them by the preceding generation.  Every young person, at some time or another, will be challenged to defend or reject his or her beliefs.  Sometimes they may seem like small, inconsequential issues; however, those are the times when Song of Solomon 2:15 become a vivid reality:  it is “the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.

More than ever the challenging argument: “but everyone is doing it,” comes into play.  Social ills that where not even considered a possibility of having a place in our Christian society are now flaunted all across Facebook, and the world is right there at our elbows cheering us on!

“Why you old fuddy-duddy,” the young person says.  “What business is it of yours  anyway?  I’m not hurting anyone!”

Oh, how wrong you are, dear one!

First of all, you are hurting yourself.  You are placing yourself in harm’s way – in the enemy’s camp. (That would be Satan!)

“Sin will always take you further than you wanted to go, and cost more than you wanted to pay.”

If only you could see where you may end up because of that attitude!

Second, it will hurt your future spouse and children.  Oh, the regrets that people carry with them all through life because of wrong choices – choices they will not change, often because of pride more than conviction.

Thirdly, it has hurt the ones you love the most: a parent, a grandparent, a friend – the one who gave you good council and you threw it to the wind!

Most of all, it hurts the One who died for you!  There is a constant challenge to balance the love of God and the holiness of God.  When either attribute is stretched out of proportion, there will be trouble.

If we over stress the holiness of God, life becomes tedious and difficult.  We start to feel more like slaves to a taskmaster than children of our heavenly Father.  However, when we over stress God’s wonderful love, we become lax in our walk, pulling down the protective walls of holiness; and in so doing, our actions pull down the image of God which we are to be displaying to this wicked world!

Instead of “screwing up our courage” to break out of God’s conforming image, life would be so much sweeter if we would surrender our wills to that of our heavenly Father, forsaking sin in all its shades of gray!

And parents, don’t hide behind the old adage: they’re just sewing their wild oats!  Why would you ever allow your loved ones to sew weeds of sin that will only choke the Word out of their lives, causing so much grief and pain?

I beseech you [urge you with every threat of my being!] therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world:
but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Romans 12:1,2