We are not gathering at Rankins this morning because of the freezing rain. We will be live on Facebook at 10. If you need anything, please reach out to someone in the church family. We are here for each other. Amen?
Judgment and Mercy
The Bible has four accounts of Jesus’s crucifixion. I’ve been studying Luke’s perspective. I see that Jesus Christ is still working on several levels. He is accomplishing his most important action, dying on a cross for the sins of the world, yet in his last hours he is still talking about judgment and still showing mercy. . Jesus encounters the judgment of others’ condemnation. “He saved others. Let him save himself.” He is condemned by one of the other crucified men because he won’t save the crucified men. On this last day Jesus is still warning those who will listen that a judgment is coming that will make people cry out for mountains to fall on them and cover them.
Jesus is also focused on forgiveness as he is crucified. He offers forgiveness for those standing by and for those who had nailed him to a cross: “Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they’re doing.” A second man being crucified with Jesus expresses a tiny faith that Jesus has a kingdom. Jesus offers forgiveness and eternal life by saying to him “today you will be with me in paradise.”
Are you judgmental? I often remind myself that I am not the judge of the people of this world but that I am an ambassador of Jesus Christ reminding people that there is forgiveness through the cross. In Matthew 7 Jesus tells us to be careful about judgment: “judge not yet let so that you won’t be judged.” Also in Matthew 7 Jesus tells us how we ought to judge each other. We have to clean out our own eyes before we make judgments about each other. When it comes to matters of value and eternity you and I are to appeal to people about how the grace of God covers the sin of man. It’s not just that the the person in front of you is a sinner, but that we are sinners too–even those of us who are in Christ are still battling an old sinful nature. We all need mercy. We all need the mercy Jesus poured out his blood on the cross.
Rich Ellis, Morgan County Clergy Association
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
I have been pursuing a path of enjoying the Lord no matter what I’m doing, and I haven’t gotten far down that path. The Bible is full of commands and urgings to enjoy the Lord, delight in the Lord, and to be filled with joy. I want to do something more than enjoying a meal or a conversation; I want to enjoy the Lord in that meal and in that conversation.
I’ve tried to be more thankful. Thankfulness is such a great habit. I often feel joy in the Lord when I try to exhaustively thank him for what he has made, what he’s done, and his tender, lovingkindess to me. I have been taking more time to be thankful to God—not because I have to, but because it makes me enjoy my relationship with him.
At camp a couple weeks ago, one of my friends read a long passage of scripture out loud to us. It was one of the scriptures I read very often (John 4), but listening to him read it out loud increased my joy in the Lord. I have it in mind to call my mom and ask her to read me something from the Bible. I think I will enjoy the Lord in doing that.
When on a hike at Cacapon State Park, I enjoy stopping and listening the birds and leaves and my dog’s breathing. I enjoy the Lord when doing that too, because I remember that all those things come from him, and that they are praising the creator according to their design.
When things aren’t going well, how will I enjoy the Lord? Hebrews 12:2 says: “For the joy set before him he (Jesus) endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” I think in a hard time I can enjoy the Lord by looking past the moment, scorning the shame or the desperation because of the joy set before me. I am a little brother of Jesus. I am an heir of God and co-heir of Jesus. If you know him, so are you.
We’re glad to be able to announce we are back to having adventure camp for the Summer of 2021!
We’ll be meeting at Cacapon Resort State Park, and will have an internet pre-registration available.
The registration link will be available on the event page!
A close friend said that submitting to just even one person in the whole world was too much for her sometimes. I completely related to that that. Ephesians 5:21 says “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ,” and then the next verse is a difficult verse for our culture. “Wives submit to your own husbands as unto the Lord.” The Apostle Paul, under the authority of the Holy Spirit, tells us that we are to submit to one another: that wives are to submit to their husbands: and husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, giving himself for her. All of these are different ways of saying that we are to submit.
Our problem is that we do not like to submit to anyone unless they are already telling us the thing that we wanted to do anyway. We do not like submitting to the government unless the government is telling us to live our lives freely.
What are we supposed to do about submission as Christians? Become open to submission. Begin to agree with God that submission to others and to the Lord is good for us and is God’s will. Do you have someone to submit to in your life? Is there a boss in your life who tells you what to do and you do it without grumbling and complaining?
Someone tonight at Bible study questioned why submission is so important, and I realized that submission is an essential value of our faith: that we would agree with what God says is best for us, and then we would submit to what he wants for us. In Genesis 3 Adam and Eve had one rule and one authority figure in their life, and they didn’t submit. In Christ we have a son who set aside his authority and became obedient (submissive) to death on a cross. Jesus believed in the father’s plan to save the world. Do I? Do you?