Thu, Jan 7th - 3:45PM
Do Not Resurrect!
Several months ago I was talking with a friend and he related how a relative of his had died. Much prayer had been offered on her behalf, but she died anyway. However, she came back to life, apparently in response to the prayers, and related the following:
Upon arrival in Heaven, the newly deceased had come face to face with Jesus. Having purposes of His own, He requested she allow herself to enter into her body again, and become alive. She agreed, and was placed back, alive, into her dead body. And actually, her story is not an uncommon format for those who return. I’ve heard of other, very similar events, although not often.
Sound far-fetched? Sure it does, and it seems that way because none of us understands how earth-bound we usually are. That’s sad, but true.
But what if……she had said no? Jesus didn’t “demand” she return, according to her, and presumably she could have elected to stay. Personally, I think it would take an extra measure of obedience to come back, after briefly tasting Heaven, but if she had remained with Jesus by her own choice, what would those earthly prayer warriors have believed? That’s easy – they would be stuck grappling with the specter of unanswered prayer. How often have we earnestly prayed for someone only to have them die? If you pray regularly, you’ve faced this scenario, and if you haven’t, you will.
I’ve always wondered what I don’t know about Heaven, and it’s King. I’ve always been haunted by my ignorance. What am I not understanding or grasping? Probably a lot, and that’s what bothers me. I use up a lot of faith energy accepting the real reality of what I do know, and I don’t think I know much more than the bare bones!
Maybe our prayers are more effective than we know. Maybe the recipients of our petitions come face to face with their Lord and say, as I probably would, “No way I’m going back!”, and we never know….
Someday we will – I for one, intend to ask them when I get there!
Until then I’ll just keep praying.
Thu, Jan 7th - 2:55PM
Do You Clique?
Well do you? More than likely, you do. It is natural for all of us. Try moving into a small town as a total stranger; you’ll see. Small towns are an interesting slice of life, and have a lot to teach us, if we pay attention.
In the small town I’m familiar with there are many strata of society, and they are painfully obvious, but only to objective “outsiders”. I grew up in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. I had the advantage of being born to parents who were themselves, second-generation residents. Nearly everyone I attended school with knew everyone I knew, and vice-versa. I even had many of the same teachers that my parents had had when they preceded me in the same schools.
I was unaware of any clique issue until I fell in love with a pretty brunette in high school French class. A new arrival to town, she began the school year knowing no one. She was so pretty, I easily overlooked her status. As we dated throughout the rest of high school, and interacted with my peer group, she complained that she always felt like an outsider. For a while, I thought something was wrong with her opinion, but very gradually I became aware that indeed, simply because she had recently moved into town, she would never fit in with my circle of friends. She remained a marginal outsider until she went away to college and I lost track of her.
Let’s put this into a Christian perspective. As Christians, and members of the same, and only eternal family, we are exhorted to be unified with each other. We are not exhorted to be unified with non-family members, but only to deal with them as Christ dealt with us. Unified with believers or patient and loving to our non-family member neighbors, we find both admonitions difficult, if not impossible most of the time.
Frankly, I like some people better (and sooner) than others, be they Christian or non, and this fact makes it easier for me to disregard all unification admonitions in favor of practicality. I know quite a few fellow believers I’d hate to be snowed in with, and I bet you do too.
When we received Christ’s Spirit at conversion, how much of Him did we get? Without analysis, don’t we usually feel we get a portion of His Spirit, with more to come in varying degrees as we live out our lives – maybe; if we’re lucky? Spiritually speaking, wouldn’t this be like our being a “little pregnant”? I think believers either have God’s Spirit living within them, or they were not believers in the first place.
According to Pastor Dutch Sheets, our human soul has been in control of our lives from birth – it’s our heritage through Adam. At conversion, we are given a new Spirit – His. We are told to walk by the Spirit, i.e., let the Spirit be in control of our souls, not the other way around, but that’s precisely where the battle is hottest, and frankly, our souls usually come out on top.
But if we are given His Spirit when we are ‘born again’, isn’t it the same Spirit from believer to believer? Of course, in no way is God’s Spirit a house divided, no matter how many individuals are involved! There will be individual variances in how much of God’s Spirit is in obvious control, but all believers have the same Spirit, and I believe, in the same measure, and in this sense, we already are unified.
Because we each have been given individual gifts – to be used at God’s direction – and because we are still unique creatures, fashioned individually by God, we certainly shouldn’t look like cookies from the same cutter – only the same dough.
With that said, perhaps we can purposely choose to live out our unified status, believer to believer, denomination to denomination, based solely on our sharing the same Spirit of God, rather than our earthly preferences.
If we are destined to clique, let’s choose to clique as Christians, and let’s do it only because we share the same Spirit. Of course, we’ll have to overlook a lot of differences in each other – and overlook them on purpose – nothing natural about it.
And just maybe, “outsiders” will see that happening within our clique, and want to be a part of it! There’s always room for one more family member!