the point that they were like one entity. They agreed with one another and set out to do great things. However they only sought to do what they thought was great, and they all decided to unify behind a building project. I can almost hear the conversation,
And off they ran to collect bricks and mortar and started building. Talk about unity! If I wanted to build a tower in my town, I would have to convince the city planners, zoning boards, neighbors, the EPA, and don’t even get me started on the tax conversations!
The problem, of course, was that they were united in pride. Their goal was not what was best for the other, for there seemed to be no individuality in this people. They all thought it was good for them to build this tower. For so much oneness, the best idea they could come up with was a tower? Not better farming practices, not navigating the world and discovering new places, not medical advancement. Nope, a tower: that is the best use of our time. So of course God had to intervene, and He chose to confuse their languages. Their unity was broken, and the people scattered across the globe. Rarely would people be able to unite behind a common goal again.
What a contrast to the New Testament account of the Body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12. In this account, Paul the Apostle is referring the church and the believers to the many roles in which they can participate out of their love for Jesus. Instead of one mindless people driven by pride carrying bricks up a rampart, we get a picture of one body made up of many parts compelled by something more powerful than pride: love. Each person is unique, and each has the opportunity of sharing who they are with those around them. The Body is united behind the common goal of serving Jesus and one another. The results over the past 2000 years is a scattered people across the globe coming together to build a kingdom. This kingdom is not a tribute to how awesome the people are, but of how wonderful Jesus is and how His message is for everyone.
Recently, our church spent a morning exploring which direction this local church should take over their next season of serving those around them. It was a room full of differences. Different ages, ideas, priorities, and life stories. By the end of the morning, the people in the room agreed on some direction; the excitement and energy was contagious. It was a beautiful expression of listening to one another; it was the church being the body.
It seems like all we hear about these days is how divided people are and there seems to be no solution. While the world seeks unity through pride and fails, I encourage you today to try something new: unity out of love.
In His Name, Bonnie
For us who take it for granted it’s just something people are born knowing, and therefore just do without thinking about it. Of course there are some people who battle everyday just to take a breath. They understand how important it is.
But what does God say about it? Here are a few examples of breath being mentioned in the Bible.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 says breath returns to God at the time of death.
Job 33:4 says “the breath of the Almighty gives me life”
Psalm 150:6 says “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
These are just a couple examples. Breath is mentioned several times throughout the scriptures in different books - like Timothy 3:16, Acts 17:25 and many more.
In the end, it seems breath is not only important to us for everyday life. It is also important to realize that from that first breath to our last, breath is a gift some do not know they’ve ever received. “This is what the sovereign Lord says to these bones. I will make breath enter you and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin. I will put breath in you and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord” Ezekiel 37: 5-6.
Do you know the Lord? Take a breath and think about it. Take several. God gave them to you!
"I'm the new minister at your church," he replied. "When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up."
"Oh yeah, the chair," said the bedridden man. "Would you mind closing the door?"
Puzzled, Pastor James shut the door.
"I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter," said the man. "But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head. I abandoned any attempt at prayer," the old man continued, "until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, 'Bob, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus.'
'Here is what I suggest. Sit down in a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It's not spooky because he promised, 'I'll be with you always.' Then just speak to him and listen in the same way you're doing with me right now.'
So, I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I'm careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair she'd either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm."
James was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with Bob, anointed him with oil, and returned to the church.
Two nights later the daughter called to tell the pastor that her daddy had died that afternoon.
"Did he die in peace?" he asked.
"Yes, when I left the house about two o'clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later I found him dead. But there was something strange about his death. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?"
Pastor James wiped a tear from his eye and said, "I wish we all could go like that."
We live by faith, not by sight.
- - 2 Corinthians 5:7 - -
Thanks to A Time to Laugh
Bless them. Change me.
Those four words have appeared several times this week, so I’m thinking I need to pay attention.
I want to ask this friend what led to decisions that likely ended with devastating consequences. Do I think that I’m owed an apology for a decision that has robbed family and friends of their company and a happy future life? Maybe. Because that bit of anger keeps rearing its ugly head. But that conversation can never take place. And, I’m quite certain I am not owed that explanation, curious as I may be.
Bless them. Change me.
So I have a choice. I can dwell in this hurt, or I can think back to Pastor Neal’s recent sermon that explored back stories. I don’t know the back story that led to this decision, and, truth be told, it’s none of my business. What I can do is remember this amazing friend and the gift of their life that I had the honor of enjoying. I can look inward to where I myself fall short and consciously focus my efforts on the only soul I can control: my own.
So bless them, Change me.
God, I’m here and I’m available.
In His Name, Janet
Our staff is voluntold each week and with grace they share their thoughts.