Get up, Bambi!

get_up_bambi

There’s a scene from Walt Disney’s 1942 classic, Bambi, where the titular young deer is laying down tired, wounded, and alone as a wildfire races toward him. The Great Prince of the Forest, and Bambi’s father, calls out to him, “Get up, Bambi! Get up! You must get up!” Bambi’s father could see what he couldn’t see for himself, the imminent danger he was in and that he would certainly die if he didn’t pick himself up off the ground and move.

1 Kings 19 shows us a picture of the prophet Elijah. He had just won a great victory in a spiritual battle with the prophets of Baal, a false Canaanite god. Queen Jezebel, the evil wife of King Ahab, heard about the defeat of her prophets and chased after Elijah to kill him! Tired, scared, and seemingly alone, Elijah took up residence in a cave in the wilderness and laid down, for good. God came to him and asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Elijah explained that he was tired and that he was the only person in Israel that was still loyal to him. God told Elijah that there were at least 7,000 Israelites who were still loyal to their God, and he gave Elijah a list of things to do, including to train Elisha, his replacement. God basically said get up, Elijah! Get up!

We as Christians are also warned of dangers around us. Paul warns us of false teachers, who want to destroy us from the inside. Peter warns us about the devil, who stalks us, hunting to find a person who he can devour! We may want lay down under the pressure and strain of spiritual battle, feeling wounded, lost, and alone. But we are never alone. Just like Elijah, there are those who are loyal to our God, our Christian family who we can lean on and they can lean on us. We have Jesus who we can cast our cares onto, we have the Spirit who guides us and makes intercession for us, and we have the Father who forgives us and watches over us.

So get up, Christian! Get up! You must get up! There is work to do, let’s go together and do it!

Who are “They”?

Misters Merriam and Webster categorize “they” as a pronoun. A pronoun can refer to a specific person, or it can refer to many people.

But who are “they”? Let me introduce to you, “they”.

They are the innocent people in Iraq who are being murdered for their beliefs and their ethnicity.

They are radical Muslims who are murdering innocents throughout the world.

They are Christians, who unlike Christ, are full of hatred.

They are South Americans who are illegally entering the United States of America.

They are the people who make decisions based upon facts that you or I do not have access to.

They are politicians, both decent and corrupt, who make our laws.

They are families grieving the too early deaths of their children.

They are communities who are scared and confused.

They are law enforcement professionals who are trying their best to protect our society.

They are military members fighting to preserve our way of life.

They are guilty.

They are innocent.

They are you

They are me.

We all need the same things: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Today I pray for “them”. From the radical militant Muslims to the American suburbanites. From the homeless veteran heroes to the DC politicians. I will pray for them all because as a Christian, I should love them all, and we all need Jesus (Matthew 5:43-48, Matthew 22:39, Romans 3:23).

In the immortal words of Tiny Tim: God bless us, every one!

Your children are listening!

A while back I wrote about the music that we allow ourselves and our children listen to. Well, I’m here to tell you that they are indeed listening to the music that they hear. We were in Target a few days ago buying school supplies when my daughter saw and read aloud something that said “Hello my name is…”, then my 5 year old son finished the thought with, “child of the One True King”! He was quoting a line from a song by an artist named Matthew West called “Hello My Name Is“.

The song deals with different issues that we as humans deal with on a daily basis, and that even with all of our faults and failings, we can be children of God. Its a great message, and my son knows it and sings about it! God is good all the time!

The F-Stop Blues

If you look closely at the lens of a Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera, you’ll see a ring near the base of lens that controls the F-Stop. The F-Stop represents the size of the aperture, or opening, in the lens.  The lower the number, the more light is allowed to enter the camera to create a bright and vivid image.  The higher the F-Stop, the slower the shutter needs to be to get enough light for a full exposure.  If the shutter is too slow the image will be blurry.

Our hearts can act like an F-Stop to God’s light.  If you open it wide, you will be bathed in God’s goodness and can absorb more love and knowledge and grow as a Christian.  But if you close your heart, you open yourself to blurry images of God, leaving yourself vulnerable to underexposure, leading to Satan’s darkness.

James 4:8 – “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”

1 John 1:5 – “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”

The Son of Man

Ok, my math skills are kinda weak, so I need some help here.  0.5 + 0.5 = 1?  Got it!  1 + 1 = 2?  Alright, on a roll!  So when does 1 + 1 ever equal 1?  When Jesus Christ was both human and God at the same time.

This isn’t a study about the divinity of Jesus, I think that most people visiting this blog already believe that Jesus was indeed God the Son in the flesh on this earth (John 1:1-2), if not, then shoot me an email and we’ll talk.  But, rather I want to take a look at Jesus, the Son of Man.

1. He was born just like you and me, though not under the same circumstances.  You, like me, we’re most likely born in a hospital.  A hospital that was clean and sterile, (mostly) free from germs.  Also, there was probably a nurse tending to your mother and a doctor that specializes in childbirth there to care for you when you were finally born.  Not Jesus, He was born in a stable, His first bed was a food trough that a horse probably ate out of minutes before He was born.  But still, He was brought into this world through a human birth (Luke 2:6-7).

2. He lived a normal life just like you and me.  Well, maybe not normal, I don’t remember teaching the elders of my congregation anything new when I was only 12 years old (Luke 2:41-51).  But what I mean to say is that Jesus worked for a living.  Mark 6:3  tells us that He was a carpenter, not an easy job even on the best of days.  His hands were calloused and he worked in the hot sun.  The average July temperature in Bethlehem today is 86° / 60% humidity, with a “nice” desert breeze.

3. He was tempted just like us in every way (Hebrews 4:15).  That really speaks for itself, you know yourself and you know the things that tempt you on a daily basis.  Try smashing your thumb with a hammer, like you know Jesus probably did given His profession, and not wanting to say something inappropriate.  But more than that, His God side (if you will) was tempted as well (Luke 4:1-12).

4. He had emotions just like you and me.  In Matthew 21:12-13 He was angered by the buying/selling and money changing going on in the temple where it shouldn’t have been.  And He cried when His friend Lazarus died, even though He knew beforehand that Lazarus would be raised from the dead (John 11:35).

5. He died, not at all like you and me.  He died FOR you and me.

And why did God the Son leave His Father’s side in Heaven to live and die for us?  So that He could mediate the difference in God’s expectations and our human failings (1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 2:17-18).  The God of the Old Testament is the same God that we worship today, He has not changed.  His law was perfect, but humans are not.  When God would have destroyed us time and time again for sinning against him like he has done in the past (Genesis 6:17, Genesis 19:24-25, Numbers 16:31-35, etc), Jesus can say, stop!  And tell the Father that He has been there Himself, and that we as humans are doing the best that we can (Hebrews 2:17-18).  And if we continue to do the best we can and try to live a sinless life God is faithful to forgive (1 John 1:5-10), all thanks to Jesus Christ, our mediator.

Be careful little ears what you hear!

Its impossible for us to control the words the people around us use, but sometimes we are able to control the people who are around us.  Unfortunately we can’t control who our employers hire to work with us or who is admitted to the schools we attend.

For those of us who work in or study in a harsh environment language wise, Jesus has good news for us!  In Matthew 15:11 He says, “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person”.  Or, its not the things that we hear and see that make us bad people, its what we say and do that define us.

This does not mean the we can surround ourselves with un-Godly things intentionally and not repeat what we see or hear and be ok.  Paul addresses something similar in Romans 6:1-2.  Paul asks, ” Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?”  In other words, do you intentionally commit sins because we know that God will forgive us?  In verse two Paul answers his own question, “By no means!”  This same principal can be applied to who and what we expose ourselves to.

One area that Christians fail in, myself included, is music.  The radio can be a horrible thing for you and your children to listen too.  Good news is there are some wonderful musicians out there that are great to listen to.  Two of my favorites are Acappella, and Faulkner University’s Cornerstone.

Have you considered my servant Job?

In 1 Peter 5:8, Peter describes Satan as a “roaring lion, seeking someone to devour”.  He also says the Devil “prowls around”, he sneaks and paces and searches for someone – you and me – who he can turn away from God.  Peter says to “resist him”, or “standfast” in verse 9.

Resist? Standfast? How in the world do we resist a roaring lion, you ask?  God always has an answer, but this time we look at a question God asked as an answer:

Have you considered my servant Job?

Job 1:7 reads: The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”

Sounds like Satan was doing that prowling thing right?  Throughout the book of Job, the Devil stalks, prowls, and tries his best to devour God’s servant Job.  But he couldn’t do it, no matter what he threw at Job, he resisted.  How?  Lets go back to 1 Peter.

Peter says in verse 9 to “Resist him, firm in your faith”.  Job stayed firm in his faith, even though he lost all of his possessions and his family, even though his closest friends and even his wife told him to abandon God.  Job stayed faithful and trusted in God.  Peter tells us the same thing in verse 10: “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

Never lose sight of the Cross, stay strong and resist the world, and God will pick you up and dust you off.