The Journey Thoughts

December 29, 2016

It has been said that, "you have to expose who you are so that you can
determine what you need to be."  I suppose that could be said of any one of
us, and I like that saying, especially as it concerns our faith. We must
learn the behavior that we normally live with, so that we can change it, if
needed.  In other words, if we don't see the way we are behaving, and do not
think anything is wrong with it, why change it?  Change has to come with the
reality that our present situation needs changing.  There is a story, found
in John, about Jesus' third healing. There was a man who was sick for 38
years and he laid by the pool, called Bethesda.  He wasn't alone, for many
others with sickness and issues where there also.  An angel of the Lord
would come and stir the water occasionally, and the first one in the water
after that, was healed.  Because of his infirmity, he was never able to get
to the water before anyone else. Jesus asked him if he wanted to get well,
and of course he said, Yes, but he didn't have anyone to put him in the
water, before someone else always beat him to it.  Jesus told him to get up,
pick up his mat and walk! The man did so and started to walk.  He was
questioned by the Jews because he was carrying his mat on the Sabbath, which
was illegal.  He told them that a man told him to pick up his mat and walk.
He did not know it was Jesus at the time.  But then, Let's pick up Scripture
here: "After this, Jesus found him in the temple complex and said to him,
'See, you are well. Do not sin anymore, so that something worse doesn't
happen to you. The man went and reported to the Jews that it was Jesus who
had made him well." John 5: 14-15  I wonder what happened to the man?  Did
he change his way of living?  Of course he was now walking and independent
instead of waiting for others to help him.  Did he learn from the years of
seeing how others lived, and did he long to be living like them? Was the
pull of sinful living so strong that he forgot what had happened to him?
There is a reason Jesus would tell him, Do not sin anymore, because the man
needed to change his thinking as well as his now newfound chance to live
differently.  Those who call themselves Christians have obviously been given
something, either by learning, or the draw of the Lord on their heart.  They
have accepted Him as the Messiah, but have they accepted Him as Lord of
their lives?  Have they been exposed to their sin, to the point of realizing
that they need to change?  How about you?  Has the exposure to the comfort
of life here in America, lulled you into a sense of false living, thinking
that because you live pretty good that God has blessed you, and that you
have a reserved seat in heaven?  Galatians 5:13-15 says, "For you were
called to be free, brothers; only don't use this freedom as an opportunity
for the flesh, but serve one another through love. For the entire law if
fulfilled in one statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.' But if you bite
and devour one another, watch out, or you will be consumed by one another."
Freedom used as an opportunity for the flesh, is flesh that has not learned
from its past. It does not realize sin as sin, so there is no need to
change.  Freedom from the bondage of sin, is a freedom to choose to live
like Christ, and with His help, we certainly can, but we need to see that
which we are exposed to.  We need to see the way we are living in the light
of Christ, so that, once exposed, we can start to change, under His
direction, and leading. That will give us a purpose to live, to love, and to
become more like the One who said, take up your mat and walk.

Pastor Andy.

Heavenly Father, Thank You for exposing the way we live to our hearts.  I
pray that we have the desire to see it for what it is, and to change as
needed, for Your glory.  Lord, forgive us when we get lulled into a sense of
complacency, and restore life into these dead bones once again.  Help us to
live a new life, life in You.  I pray for those who read this today, that
You would give us all eyes that see the behavior we live by, to change that
which is not in line with Your Spirit within us, and to surrender our
weakness to Your strength.  I pray for those, who like the infirm man, who
was not able to get to the pool, need to pick up their mat, who need to
trust You with all they are, with Your control over their circumstance, and
to help them rest in You.  I pray for these: Don, Dwight, Lynn, Sammie,
Michele, Carol, Gene, Terry, Angie, Pam, William, Carrie, Ada, Rheba, Mary,
Veronica, Douglas, Fritz, Dan, Dillon, Tara, Kristena, Kristen, Don,
Carolyn, Isabel, Mike S., Barbara, Candace, Meredith, Abe, Ramona, Ben, BJ,
Ida, JV, Nada, Eva, Kelly and her son, Corbin, Robert, Pat, Ryan, Fred,
Dotty, Scott, April, Tracy, Abraham, Elijah, Japheth, Matt, Liz, Matt,
Bethany, Mike, Megan, Jeff, Laura, Tim, Carmello, Kaitlyn, Alex, Ken,
Lynette, Patrick, Kathy, Jennifer, Montella, Nancy, June, Pastor Berkey,
Harriet, Shelbi, Fisher, Marlaina, Cynthia, Loren, Mike, Pam, Clara, Jerry,
Gary, Diane.  I pray for myself, that I see the things that need changing,
and I trust You to renew this flesh daily. Holy Father, help us to be more
like You, for I pray in Jesus name.

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