Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ten Lepers - We all Use Numbers - Every Day

Luke 17:17-18 Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?"

There has been many studies done on numbers in the Bible. Many books written on the significance of numbers throughout the scriptures. The number ten is no different and it holds meaning beyond just the amount of men who had leprosy. The number ten is said to mean restoration and completeness. Let's look at the irony behind this number.

Jesus makes it a point to remind us that there were ten men with leprosy and He healed all of them. He completely restored their bodies. He took the whole of the group and He took away their disease.

Only one came back. Another significant number. One means unity. The bond that grew between Jesus and the Samaritan all because He appreciated what Christ had done for Him. The Samaritan was grateful to Jesus and they were united because of this action.

Jesus showed up on the way to Jerusalem and made a point to cure a complete number of men. Jesus showed up at Calvary and made a point to save the complete number of people. Jesus formed a union with the one man who came back to say thank you. Jesus would've died if only one believed and wanted to be united with Christ forever.

I thank Jesus for His sacrifice on the cross - that He died for all, but still loves little ol' me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ten Lepers - Thank You

Luke 17:15-16 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

It was April 26th and Johnny had just been invited to a teen party at Terry's house. Apparently a party at Terry's house was a monthly event, and this one was the fourth one this year. Terry's parents often threw these parties so that they could get to know all of Terry's friends and make sure he was hanging out with good people. This was a first for Johnny since he had just recently moved into town and had just gotten to know Terry and some of the other kids he hung out with in school. On the evening of the party, there was loud music, lots of food and sodas and plenty of people. Johnny was served his food by Terry's parents and after he thanked them he went into the living room and mingled a bit. Johnny enjoyed getting to know new people and was glad Terry invited him. As he left that evening, he thanked Terry and his parents for inviting him to come and what a wonderful time he had while he was there. Later on when the party had died down and everyone had gone - Terry's mom asked about Johnny. Terry wondered what made Johnny stand out. Terry's mom told him that of all the kids at the party - even the ones who came frequently, that he was the only one who thanked them - including their own son.

Thankfulness is something we are required to have as Christians. Yet many of us lack the ability to do so. The Bible is very specific in mentioning that it was the Samaritan who came back to thank Jesus for healing him of the leprosy. Samaritans were the outcasts, the strangers in this town - they didn't mingle with the Jews, and yet - it was a Samaritan that came back to thank Jesus. He came back loud and quick.

Johnny stood out because he was thankful when nobody else had been. The Samaritan stood out because he was thankful when nobody else would be. Do we stand out because we are thankful even when no one else is willing to say it? Are we quick with our appreciation or do we tend to wait until it's convenient for us? Are we truly thankful in all things? Can we see what Jesus is doing in our lives and show Him our gratitude by saying a prayer of thanks? It's so much nicer when we personally talk to Jesus and tell Him, "Thank you".

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ten Lepers - Who Do You Think You Are?

Luke 17-14 When He saw them, He said to them, Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they were going, they were cleansed.

I am a pretty fearless kind of gal. Not too much phases me anymore. I'm fine with rollercoasters, heights, water, bugs - I may not like them all, but not really 'afraid' of them. However, I still have a reverent fear for authority. Never wanted to be called to the principals office or even sternly talked to by a teacher. Even in a business setting, if there is a closed door and the receptionist says to 'go on in' - I'm very uneasy about that. Who am I to open the door of an obviously very busy person in authority?

These lepers had just been told by Jesus to go to the priests - men in a very high position. These leperous men who had spent quite some time avoiding any personal contact with anyone for so long and now are being told to show up unannounced. Just taking that step of faith without arguing when told to do so by Jesus - certainly shows faith and courage in Jesus. Lepers who went to the priests only went so after they were healed. The priests would give confirmation that they were no longer lepers. People that still had the disease didn't go. But these men, when called to do so by Jesus, did what they were told without hesitation and they were healed by the time they got to the priests.

Can you imagine, just for a moment, if we did what Jesus told us to do the very first time? What kind of miracle is awaiting us? What adventure might we encounter on our trip? What lives might we change if we take that leap of faith and trust Jesus and do what we are told to do the moment Jesus speaks?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ten Lepers - Begins

Luke 17:11-13 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!"

Have you ever had a long day and it seems like it's gotten even longer with everything you've had to deal with and your kids come running up to you with a problem? It doesn't matter whether it's big or small - it's something that child feels only you can handle - They can't wait another second and will keep bugging you until you answer them. On most days, it's an honor to be able to take care of their needs - but sometimes. . . . it's oh so tiring.

I wonder how Jesus fe
lt. The distance from Samaria to Jerusalem was roughly 70 miles. He'd been walking this whole time and knew He had this much farther to go and then He hears the voice of men calling out to Him. I am so glad that Jesus is not like me. I am so glad He doesn't sigh when we come to him with our problems. I am so glad that He just longs to hear from us no matter what is going on anywhere else.

I've never had a serious health issue. I've been blessed with a healthy body and the determination to take care of it. However, a little over a year ago - my back went out. I don't know whether it was a pinched nerve or what - but the pain was intense. I was incapacitated. It lasted for almost a week and even after that I was afraid to do anything that might cause extra strain on my back for fear of the pain returning.

I truly can't imagine what these men who were crying out to Jesus were going through.
Jesus was a glimpse of hope for these men who were suffering. They cried out to Him because they had heard of His healing power. They called Him, 'Master'. But He doesn't just heal the leper and the deaf and the blind and the dead - He heals us all. Not just physical suffering either. He heals our mental pain over working too hard and our emotional pain from betrayal and mistrust. All we have to do is cry out to the Master - there is power in the Name of the Lord.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Demon-Possessed Man - Ends (or really, begins)

Luke 8:38-39 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, "Return home and tell how much God has done for you." So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.

This is my Weight Watchers story: In December of 2006 I knew I needed to lose weight. I had tried Atkins and the diet pills, but nothing seemed to work - surprise, surprise. So, I went to my husband and said - can I join Weight Watchers? I knew it would cost us a little bit of money up front, but thought if I just did it slow and steady it would be healthy and I would have the help to get the weight off. Danny said "yes" and on January 2nd, 2007 I strolled into my first Weight Watchers meeting. I listened to the program, I followed it exactly and slowly and steadily the weight began to fall off. By May of the same year, I had lost 40 pounds and had reached goal to become a lifetime member. Six weeks later, I had lost a total of 45 pounds and started working for Weight Watchers. I wanted to share with other people how they can enjoy life so much better by being healthy. I've been with the company for about a year and a half and have had the opportunity to see several people reach their goal in weight loss. It's so exciting to see the change in them.

Jesus had changed the life of the demon-possessed man. He had performed a miracle and helped this man get his life back. The man wanted to stay with Jesus and be a part of His life. And that's exactly what Jesus wanted, but not like that. The way for us to be a part of His life is to share Him with others. Jesus told him to tell others what had happened and that Jesus can give them a new life too. The man was so excited to go tell others about Jesus.

When things in our life change for the better, it's human nature to want to share that with someone else. Why are we so reluctant to share Jesus? Is He not the BEST thing that's ever happened to us? We'll tell everyone about the sale at Penney's or the newest movie that's coming out in the theaters or who we think did the best on American Idol, but we won't mention how we fell on our knees and Jesus forgave us and we woke up with a brand new outlook on life. Oh to be like the demon-possessed man who, when touched by the Master, committed to sharing how wonderful Jesus is with the world...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Demon-Possessed Man - Knock, Knock

Luke 8:36-37 Those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well. And all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district asked Him to leave them, for they were gripped with great fear; and He got into a boat and returned.

When my oldest daughter was in 8th grade, our church youth group took a missions trip to Atlanta, Georgia. I volunteered to be a chaperone - and we spent a week in the middle of summer helping one of our sister churches plant a new church in Atlantic Station. As you might imagine, planting a new church is hard work, but the preacher that started it had a burden for this city. There's a lot of labor involved, a lot of money and a lot of people needed. We were mopping floors, handing out tracts, throwing "come see our church" block parties. One of our tasks while we were in Atlanta was to be in one of the new apartment complexes near where the church was going to be and hand out chick-fil-a breakfast sandwiches at 7 AM to people going to work. We sat right outside of the parking garage attached to the apartments and stopped people on their way and gave them this free sandwich. Who wouldn't want a nice hot FREE chick-fil-a sandwich on their way to work, with a flyer announcing the new church. Believe it or not, some people actually would not accept the sandwich. They said, 'no', and kept on driving. Go figure.

The people of Gerasene were much like the Atlanta Ney sayers. They had heard that Jesus had healed the demon-possessed man and when they came to see - they found it was true. The man was there - in his right mind - standing with Jesus. Instead of trying to find out what it was that Jesus had done, why the demons had left the man, they asked Him to leave.

When the people of Atlanta said "no", we didn't chase them into the streets and throw the sandwiches and flyers into their open windows, pelting them with chicken and buns - we just wished them a good day and they went on their way.

Jesus didn't argue with the Gerasene people, He didn't beg them to let Him stay, didn't threaten to put the demons back - He simply left. One of the gifts that God gives us is free will. We have the option to choose whether or not we will believe who Jesus is and accept it to be true. We can have faith in His promise and stand firm in the fact that if we choose to follow Him, we will, one day, meet Him face to face and it will be more glorious than we can imagine. We can also choose to not believe in Jesus. When faced with the marvel of His creation, the majesty of the earth He made, the peace that passes all understanding, we can simply choose to ignore Him and, in essence, asking Him to leave. But He will be waiting, always waiting, for you to ask Him to come in.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Demon Possessed Man - Tokyo Drift

Luke 8:34-35 When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they ran away and reported it in the city and out in the country. The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened.

It's the car chase scene. We've probably seen it in most action films out there. The bad guy has escaped and he's stolen someones' car and is getting away. The good guy stops someone driving by and takes the car to chase after the murderer so that he will never kill again. The next scene is usually the owner of said car - cursing at the good guy. It's true what they say - the good guy finishes last.

That's certainly the case in what happened to Jesus here in Luke 8. Jesus has called the demons out of this poor guy and sent them into the pigs and the pigs have died. The guys who make their money off of raising these pigs, are not all too happy about the fact that their income has just taken a nose dive into the river. Parallel to the owner of the car cursing the good guy.

These men, took their version of the story and relayed it to the people in and around the city. And like many people who get their story from the media instead of actually seeing it happen, they receive a biased opinion of what actually took place. It was not, "Jesus saved this man from the torture that he'd been saddled with for so long. Jesus, all powerful, has commanded these evil demons away and they went into pigs and drowned. The man is now cured." It was probably more like this, "This Jesus consorts with the devil and they plan together. They have overtaken our herds and killed them all, leaving us with nothing." Why else would the people be in such fear of Jesus when they arrived and saw the demons gone?

How many times are we so wrapped up in what's happening to us, that we can't see what God may be trying to accomplish in our situation. Do we see losing a $10 bill out of our purse a reason to rejoice, probably not. But did we get to see the single mother who prayed for some bread and a gallon of milk picking it up in the parking lot an hour later? Phillipians 4:4 - Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! In all things give thanks - we don't know what He has planned, but be assured - it is great.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Demon-Possessed Man - Time Really Isn't On Your Side

Luke 8:33 And the demons came out of the man and entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

In 1998, Denzel Washington starred in the film "Fallen". It has been awhile since I've seen it, but it certainly left a mark on my idea of demon possession. It was the story of a demon who was inside a serial killer who was executed and then the demon travels from person to person. All the while, Denzel is studying anything and everything on demons to try and kill this one.

When we look at this verse, it is very cut and dry. Jesus said go to the pigs, and the demons went to the pigs. There was no back talk, there was no demon who lagged behind and decided to stay in the man - at the command of Jesus - each demon left and went into the pigs.

This is where we, as humans, start to fade from the realization of what we are actually capable of doing. Poor Denzel, try as he might in that movie, would never be
able to get rid of that demon on his own. We see in verse 33 that the demons are called out, simply, by Jesus. A task we would never be able to complete by ourselves. When will we realize that we HAVE to fully rely on Jesus?

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Demon-Possessed Man - Hold the Bacon, please.

Luke 8:32 Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and the demons implored Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission.

Ted Steinberg wrote a small article about our friend 'the pig'. In the early 1800's, pigs used to wonder the streets of New York, other cities as well, but we'll stick to this well-populated city. The pigs would walk amongst the people eating garbage and waste and those people that were not as well to do as others would go out and kill the animals and feed their families. While the pigs did clean up some of the garbage, they added their own garbage when they would defecate on the sidewalks. There were many times they tried to ban the pigs from the streets but were set back by protesters - mostly housewives and the less wealthy. Then in the mid-1800's, cholera set in. The disease spread and was found to be caused by unclean conditions. Nothing is more unclean than pig poop in the streets. The police formed a troop that marched the pigs uptown, instilling a ban in the city of the pigs and clearly dividing city and country.

While we see the cute little piglets and mud-cooling, pink-skinned bacon givers
in a better light today, this article gives us a pretty good analogy to the choice made by Jesus to throw the demons into the swine.

At first glance, the pigs seemed to be doing a service to the city - cleaning up the streets of its garbage. Satan always looks good at first glance. This is why it is often so tempting to step into sin - it seems good on the surface. The people thought the pigs were a help to them, it was providing them food for their families. The results of sin can falsely seem like a good answer at the time - a lie to save yourself from being embarrassed, or a slip-up on your taxes so your not financially burdened. But as time wore on - decades later - the urine and everything else that pigs naturally get rid of, caused disease. The same with sin. The natural decay that sin causes soon leads to a deadly result. The only option in both scenarios is to rid the place of the problem. They drove the pigs out of the city. Are we ready to drive the sin out of our lives?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Demon-Possessed Man: Confessions of a Demonic

Luke 8:30-31 Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "Legion," he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.

Well, it's done. My oldest daughter got her driving permit this weekend. Her dad took her down to the DMV and she passed her test. She was so excited. The rule is already established though - that when she does drive, it will only be with daddy. Because I don't think I can handle that stress. I figured if I just let Danny have that responsibility, I know she'll learn how to be a good driver and that will be something left in his hands and I won't have to worry about it. When the time comes, she'll just be able to drive and I'll deal with it then.

I guess I have the same attitude with the book of Revelations. I've mentioned this before - I'm not an avid reader of this book. I don't understand it, it stresses me out and makes me anxious - so I've decided I'm just going to let God handle it and I won't have to worry about it. When the time comes, He'll be in control and I'll deal with it then.

How does this all link up to the above verse? Because even the demons know what's going to happen to them. I had to delve a little into the book of Revelations to see what they're talking about. Why would they beg Jesus not to send them into the Abyss? How would they even know that to be an option? Jesus doesn't mix any words up here. He doesn't sugar-coat anything or soften the blow. There will come a day when God's army will fight against Satan and his demons - God tells us the outcome, He wins. I want to make sure I'm on the winning team.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Demon-Possessed Man - It's Not A Tumor.

Luke 8:28-29 Seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me." For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.

This verse clarifies that Jesus was not consorting with the devil when He meets up with these demons. The demons know His power and what the possible outcome could be. They go to Him for mercy. It's true that those who don't believe Jesus was who He said, will use whatever reason they can find to knock Him down, but the truth remains - the demons KNOW who Jesus is and they are begging for their existence.

A demon dwelling in a body doesn't need food. It doesn't need water. It doesn't need an arm without a broken bone. It doesn't need any of those things. We, as humans, know that we need these things to keep our bodies functioning properly. Food and water to maintain energy, and making sure our muscles and bones stay healthy to keep our bodies in motion. If we don't get these things, we have nerves and pain sensors that let us know our body needs repair - the pain doesn't stop until we fix our body. When the demons break the chains and shackles -
they don't feel that, but I bet the man whose body their using does. The heat of the desert won't deter a demon, but the man who is dehydrated and swollen knows what his body is missing and he has no control over it. I can't imagine the pain and agony that this man who is demon-possessed went through. Surely he still feels the pain even though he couldn't stop the action of his own body.

While these verses are talking about actual demons, there are demons of our own making that we allow in our lives as well. The little sins that we let take over and while it's happening, we don't seem to have any control over it - but when it's done and we've laid it on the cross - we can still feel the pain and the scars and the aftermath of what that sin has done.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Demon-Possessed Man - Begins

Luke 8:26-27 Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee.And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs.

I am not a horror movie fan. I've seen the first "Halloween" years ago and saw a few of the "Nightmare on Elm Street"s but never really enjoyed them. A few years back my husband said, "Hey, let's watch "The Ring", giving in - I did. That did if for me - NO MORE. Why do people watch movies that you have to sit through with your eyes covered half the time and then spend the rest of the night dreaming about it - in a bad way.

This leads me to today's post. Why choose a topic I clearly would rather not go into? God takes the things that challenge us, and uses it for His glory - I'm hoping that's what will come of this.

Demonic possession can literally take the person completely out of control. It says so in this verse - I'm not talking about what Hollywood does. It says the man who was demon - possessed did not wear clothes and was living in the tombs. Common sense in a human is to put on clothes to protect our bodies - and to live among the living - not the dead. This man had lost complete control of his body.

Jesus did not go seeking this man - when He arrived at this city, the man came up out of the tombs to Him. Remembering that this man had no control of his body - it was the demons who went up to Jesus. Why? Why would they come out to this Man? Because the demons know that Jesus is the Son of God. There were no other crowds forming as He entered the city - no one else running to touch the Almighty - how sad to think that, then and today, the demons know and fear God and yet His own creations (us) turn in disbelief.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sodom and Gomorrah - Ends

Genesis 19:27-29 Now Abraham arose early in the morning and went to the place where he had stood before the LORD; and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the valley, and he saw, and behold,the smoke of the land ascended like the smoke of a furnace. Thus it came about, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot lived.

I can't imagine the pain and anguish of the citizens of New York City on September 12, 2001. As they woke up the morning after and walked towards the World Trade Center - now 'Ground Zero'. To see nothing left but dust and debris and disaster. Where once there was a bustling of business and daily activity - death and destruction lay.

The pain in Abraham's heart must have been just as great. Even though he may not have known many people in the city of Sodom and Gomorrah, this is not a fate you wish on anyone.
Lot was not going to be spared. God was going to destroy the entire city before speaking to Abraham. Lot included. Do I think Lot changed after his life was spared by God - sure, but at the time of decision for the destruction, he was living his life as he pleased.

What changed? What made the difference for Lot? The prayer of one man. Abraham asked God to spare Lot and his family.

I often wondered when people said, "we need prayers for so and so" or "could you pray for me" - that it seemed so 'churchy' - something people say but never really do. But the Bible shows us differently. The prayer of one can change a life. Do you know someone who could use some intervention? Someone who doesn't know God? Someone who just needs encouraged? Someone who is sick? Someone having financial struggles? God answers prayer. God performs miracles and all we have to do is ask. He saved Lot's life all because Abraham asked. Who will you take the time to pray for today?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sodom and Gomorrah - Salt Causes Heart Disease

Genesis 19:23-26 The sun had risen over the earth when Lot came to Zoar. Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven, and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

Why is it when there is an accident on the side of the road that traffic slows almost to a stop, even though the accident is completely cleared from the traveled path? Because everyone wants to look back and see what has happened - I believe the official term is "rubber-necking".

I often wondered why Lot's wife was chastised so harshly for what I believed to be simple 'rubber-necking' - a whole city was being burned and she had to see it. But after studying the verse more closely - it seems that his wife was doing more than being a curious observer.

Lot's wife was not just looking, she was longing. Longing for the lifestyle that she was used to living - not one that was following God. God knew the desires of her heart when she turned to head back toward that city. He was very clear in His instructions to move on and not return.

I have several different aspects of my life that are not areas where God wants me to return. He has closed that door, and for good reason. If we are following God, if we are doing as He has planned, we have no need for that past way of life - no reason to return. Whether it's drinking or smoking or cursing or gluttony or lying - whatever it is - that sin nature that God so longs for us to stay away from, and has opened up a plan for us to follow - but we cannot look back with a longing for that old way of living.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sodom and Gomorrah - What's Your Excuse?

Genesis 19:20-22 Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn't it? Then my life will be spared." He said to him, "Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it." (That is why the town was called Zoar).

My husband decided to rearrange his office the other day. It looks very nice, but a load of stuff suddenly appeared in my office - I'm not quite sure how that happened. I try to be a big help to my husband - strength-wise - helping move things, rearranging furniture. But now that I'm getting a 'little' bit older - my back has been thrown out before - I'm realizing I can't quite do the things I used to do. While raising my children, I try to teach my girls that they don't need a man. If they need to move something or take out the garbage or hammer a nail - they can do that themselves. On the flip side, because they have an older brother - I also try to teach them that if there is a man around who's available, it's okay to let him help and do the heavier things. It's such a fine line when raising children.

I think Lot was realizing his physical abilities as they began to flee So
dom. I think he looked out unto the mountains and said - ' there is no way I'm going to be able to make it there by the time God destroys the city'. I'm paraphrasing of course. So Lot goes to God and says - 'How about this one - this little city that's not too far away - I can make it there in the time alotted'. God said 'okay' and told Lot to hurry.

As I read these verses, the first thing that hit me was - 'why do these people keep questioning God's plan? Why don't they just do what they're asked? Then I thought, maybe, it's a good lesson to learn that if we ask God, even for the simple things of living in a place that's a closer distance, He'll make that possible. He feels for us and wants us to be happy.

Then as I thought further I wondered - what if Lot had done exactly as God had said? I wonder what miracles, what blessings would he have experienced if he had just gone to the mountains. Then I question myself. Is there something God is telling me to do and I've asked Him for the easy way out? What blessings, what miracles am I missing because I'm asking Him for comfort and ease over His all-powerful plan?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sodom and Gomorrah - One Good Man

Genesis 19:17-19 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, "Flee for your lives! Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!" But Lot said to them, "No, my lords, please!

"You Can't Handle the Truth" - that's a famous quote from a great movie - A Few Good Men. Not that I'm a big fan of Demi Moore or Tom Cruise for that matter, but it was a riveting movie. The story is centered around a marine who gets killed and the men who were ordered to do it are on trial. With the final idea that "these men follow orders or someone could die". I'm sure, especially during war time, that many service men and women have had to face a situation where if they did not follow orders - whether they agreed with them or not - they would pay the consequences.

Lot is given explicit orders. Leave the city, don't look back, or you will die. Did Lot take this seriously? Did he truly understand the gravity of this situation? He was given orders by men higher in command than he - and they needed to be obeyed.

We have orders. They're in the Bible. We find ten of them in Exodus. Other orders include things like 'love your neighbor as yourself' or 'go and spread the gospel'.

The cases are the same. We must follow orders - or someone may die. Maybe not a physical death, but possibly a spiritual one - which is far worse. There should be no other option here. We are a part of God's army and we have the best Commander-in-Chief. Are you willing to risk a fallen comrade by not following the orders? Have you ever seen the results when you do?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sodom and Gomorrah - Reality Show

Genesis 19:15-16 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, "Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished." When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them.

The slow music begins to play and the scene is of a child playing with his ball on the sidewalk. All of a sudden the ball escapes the childs hand and rolls into the street - the kid darts out after it. In slow-motion, we see a truck heading directly for the child - with no time to spare - a stranger whisks the kid up in the air, jumping out of the way of the oncoming vehicle - saving the child's life.

Was the child behaving poorly? Did he do something deserving of death? No, he just got caught up in the moment and became oblivious to the impending doom. Don't we do the same?

We are so busy with our every day lives, so caught up in the 'now', that we miss what's going on around us. The child that is desperately seeking our attention. The husband who's silence is a sign of something deeper. The pain in our chest that we'll get around to checking out later. God intervenes in our lives now - just like He intervened for Lot.

I'm sure Lot wasn't expecting to be taken from his home and drug out of his city. Lot was oblivious. The child in the path of a truck. Sometimes God will give us circumstances to bring us back to reality.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sodom and Gomorrah - Divorce Prevention

Genesis 19:12-14 The two men said to Lot, "Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the LORD against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it." So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, "Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!" But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

The divorce rate in America for first marriage, vs second or third marriage as stated on says "50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce, according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri.” With divorce rates being so high - we have to be particular about who we choose as a mate. We have to look for those red flags that might say to us, 'this is not who I should spend the rest of my life with'. Some of those red flags might be: a man who is in debt because of gambling issues. Someone who has to spend his Friday nights at the club. Someone who hits the bar directly after leaving work. Someone who might be part of an angry mob trying to homosexually rape strangers - these are the types of red flags to look out for.

The verse says that when the angels told Lot to get all of his family, he goes outside to tell his future sons-in-law. Outside. Outside where all the men have gathered to attack the visitors in the city. These are the men he has chosen for his daughters? This is who he wants caring for his own children?

The truth is all too real here just as it is today. When you are in the midst of sin, it is not hard to soon become enveloped in it. He was about to bring that lifestyle into his family. It is not an easy job to protect ourselves from what the world feels is 'okay'. To remain strong in knowing what is right and what is clearly wrong. I feel for our teenagers today who have to attend public high schools. They are surrounded by the ideas and morals of what society has said is 'acceptable'. We must stick to the rules God has set before us - anything else is 'unacceptable'.