“Watch out! Stand firm in the faith! Be strong like men! Hold on tight!” I Cor 16:13 (Simple English Bible)
He was in a hospital bed. Pete had just been operated on for cancer. The surgeons thought they got all of it. Family stood around the bed and were optimistic that this time, the results would be good. Pete had been battling cancer for ten years with various types of treatment. He was tired and discouraged. What depressed him even more was the happy faces of his friends and family, trying to cheer him up. Even the pastor from the church was annoying.
Keith was the new youth minister, fresh out of Bible college. He was getting to know the people in the congregation and had stopped in to visit Pete. The meeting was awkward and both men grew uncomfortable with the lengthening silence. Neither knew what to say. Finally, Keith opened his Bible and read this verse from Paul’s letter to the Christians in Corinth. Pete nodded, tears in his eyes and squeezed Keith’s hand. Nothing had to be said. The Holy Spirit said it all.
We try to be people who can fit in anywhere and give good advice when it is needed. Sometimes, we lay it on very thick in the hopes that it would encourage the person in need. Also, there are time when the Holy Spirit will speak through the Word when we do not know what to say. And His Word is more powerful than anything we can offer. Maybe we should let God speak more often.
“You were once wandering sheep but now, you have come back to the Shepherd, the One who watches over your souls.” I Peter 2:25 (Simple English Bible)
Ken came from a poor background. His parents were hard workers — his mother was a waitress and his father worked shifts in a steel mill. They sacrificed many things in order to put their four children through college. The family was tight knit and were regular church goers. Ken volunteered to help with the little kids during church picnics and outings. He was the youngest and the only sibling who graduated from medical school.
With his busy schedule as a orthopedic surgeon, Ken’s attendance and volunteering gradually lessened until he could no longer take part. His lifestyle became richer and more opulent but at the expense of spending time with his family at home and at church. When he himself became ill and was hospitalized, Ken considered how far he’d come and how he’d landed up so far from God. He cut back on his commitments, which surprised his medical colleagues, and returned to his spiritual roots.
Once, we were all lost but then found the Light of God’s Son. In different times and in different ways, we came to salvation and committed ourselves to Christ’s service. Maybe some of us wandered. Perhaps we’d roamed so far away that the voice of Jesus was faint and indistinct. And maybe there are those who are in this situation now like the one lost sheep. Don’t you think we should seek them out and show them the Good Shepherd?
After all, He watches over us.
“There should be a home pregnancy-like test for stupidity. One lick and you can see the result!” Anon father.
Gail’s parents had warned her repeatedly. There was no quick get-rich scheme. If it sounded too good to be true, then it was. Better to avoid slick stories and breathless promises. Gail was in a senior in college and was about to graduate. She’d made friends with another girl who was part of a religious group, which promised great rewards if large amounts of money was donated to their cause. The more you give, their claimed, the more God would bless.
There were full color brochures printed and handed out with glowing stories of people who’d been down and out, gave their last $100 and won the lottery, inherited fortunes or received government refunds. Gail’s father patiently explained that it was a scam. To no avail. His daughter lost everything she gave.
Not every use of Christ’s name is genuine. Not everyone carrying a Bible and proclaiming heath and wealth speaks the truth. The New Testament clearly outlines the lifestyle and manner for the Christian life. Our ultimate reward lies in Heaven no whatever our earthly situation is or will become. One day, we must account for our blessings and possession.
In the meantime, we keep our eyes on Jesus.