Friday, December 14, 2018

RECONCILIATION


I Was Just Thinking About – RECONCILIATION.

One of the great messages of Advent is that those who were once alienated from God have now been reconciled in Jesus Christ. In Colossians 1:19-22 (ESV), “For in Jesus Christ all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,  and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,  He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him.” 

When we think of the Biblical narrative of the birth of Jesus Christ, it reminds us why He came and what He accomplished in your and my behalf. Key verses about reconciliation are Second Corinthians 5:17-20, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;  that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.  Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

Protestant denominations are doing and producing studies on the subject of Racial Reconciliation. It seems that many times the obvious is missed. Reconciliation is more than what one thinks or says about it – it is doing what is right and acceptable in God’s sight who has given to His followers the ambassadorship of living out and proclaiming – “Be reconciled to God.”

This past Wednesday, I had to make one of the necessary follow-up visits to the Fusion Center at Kirklin Clinic in Birmingham, AL. In the Waiting Room there were two women waiting their turn. After I exited the Fusion Room, they wanted to inquire about my situation. These two ladies were of different racial backgrounds but were seated side by side expressing concern for their own  situation and treatment. Both are receiving Chemo. Both are scheduled for similar surgery. Both will be undergoing radiation. But at that moment, they became interested in me and thrilled when they heard I had been told I was in Remission in June 2018. They were excited in my behalf and there were “God Bless You” shared by them both. I’m certain neither of them are aware of the recent Southern Baptist 72-page report on Racial Reconciliation, or the Presbyterian Church in America’s dissertations about the same subject. They were there – one white and one black - concerned about each other – and then – interested in me and overjoyed that God was answering prayer in my behalf.

It underscored once again for me that too often the Church is known more for its talk than it is for its walk. It's not what we think, write or say that matters. It’s what we believe and do as a genuine Christian act of godliness and compassion. I don’t know the names of these ladies, but I’m thankful that my wife and I were able to meet, observe and talk with them. The deeds done by genuine Christians in the name of Christ will last for eternity whereas the words spoken and written will fade into the vastness and opaqueness of talk versus walk.

Prayerfully – consider these things with me.


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

NO REMISSION


I Was Just Thinking About – NO REMISSION.

In the field of medicine, those who struggle with Cancer in its various forms, anticipate hearing the word – “remission.” But that doesn’t always occur. A trusted friend shared the following note from one of her personal friends: “Doctors say I will never get better or go into remission...I am not giving up, but I want to make others aware. A nap won't help. I am not lazy. I am on meds. I struggle with pain, mobility issues and fatigue every day. The most frustrating part is people look at me and say: It can't be that bad; you look fine. Despite the fact that my body is experiencing excruciating pain all over…”

Just think of the phrase “no remission” and equate it with the message it conveys to the hearer – there is no hope for your recovery. With all of the advances in the field of medicine and treatments, there is a reality – some diseases are in a category that are deemed to be incurable. Regardless of one’s faith and hope, latent thoughts about the incurable creep in and out of the mind. It’s not an issue of doubting God or believing prayer is ineffective. The fact is that faith and hope are exercised to a high degree but a person, friend, family member succumbs to the disease of cancer.

I know this first hand. My Great Grandson, Keaton Lucas Barron, struggle with Leukemia from 2 ½ years of age until he succumbed to the disease at 8 years of age. There had been a very brief period where it was thought he was in remission – but – shortly thereafter, it returned with a vengeance. The prayers and tears, the various treatments, the cheerful willingness of the child to be subjected to the various tests and treatments came to an end on May 11, 2018. For Keaton, there was no physical remission. As a child, he could’ve been in the 93% of complete remission but that wasn’t to be. Is it an easy thing to accept? No! Is grieving over his death easy? No! That’s why the note above is so timely, especially in the words: “This disease affects me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I need your support, not your judgment.”

Sadder still are the words “no remission” when spoken of one’s spiritual status. In Hebrews 9:19-22 (NKJV), “Moses…sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry.  And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” Other translations use “no forgiveness” in place of “no remission.”

Just think of that moment of horror when one who has had no time for religion or Jesus Christ has died,  It may be a person who had been a philanthropist and done many acts of kindness in behalf of others and particular needs. When that person dies and stands at the portal of heaven, the words that will be heard are “no remission” -  “no forgiveness.” Why?

Ephesians 2:8-9, “It is by grace you have been saved…it is a gift of God…not of the works of a person, lest anyone boast and expects special rewards and position based upon his .benevolence. Ephesians 1:7 clearly states that it is “In Jesus Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness (remission) of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”

Physically, there is no way that a human being can prevent or cure cancer in his/her body. If a person could, they would do so. To gain the possibility of remission, it is necessary to yield to invasiveness of some form of treatment. The process may require surgery, or radiation, or chemotherapy, or immunotherapy, etc. It is in the hope of being cured of this dreaded disease. While there has been tremendous progress made with various treatments, cancer still proves to be fatal for both young and old alike.

In the spiritual area of one’s life, one has to come to God with/in faith. It is by GRACE one is saved through FAITH and becomes the recipient of GOD’S GIFT – ETERNAL LIFE. Ephesians 2:8 dovetails with John 3:16 – whoever believes in Him – Jesus Christ – should not perish but have everlasting life.

Prayerfully – Consider these things with me.