IT’S TIME TO OBEY THE LORD!

19 01 2021

SPEAKING IN THE LIGHT WITH PASTOR RUDY

From the time I was a kid, if I see injustice, I must say something about it. I will say something about it. My Kids always start getting nervous when they witness this behavior in me, because they know Dad won’t just walk away. Dad’s going to do something about it because God made him that way. I don’t do anyone any good by looking the other way or pretending that it never happened. Whenever we condone taking a path that wasn’t authorized by the Holy Spirit, we only become tied up emotionally on the inside. That is because Jesus already clearly taught us that true freedom is utterly impossible without Truth! I’d like to think and hope that the Lord Himself ignites that passionate light in me so it can shine through me.

I was utterly disgusted with how the Philadelphia Eagles ended their recent regular season. Don’t kid yourself, they didn’t lose against the Washington Football Team. They outright quit on national television. They tanked. They stopped trying. They didn’t do their best. They settled and took a dive. And the media and the fans may call it whatever they wish and frame it however they please and the experts might rationalize it until the cows come home but what the Eagles chose to do on the field was much worse than losing! It’s just as bad as the 1919 Chicago Black Sox who, because of the selling out of 8 of their players to gamblers, threw the World Series. It wasn’t just bad enough for the guilty athletes but it was unfair to the players who gave their best, and the fans who thought it was all on the level. The Eagles Front Office should be ashamed. And it cost Doug Pederson his job. I have always taught my children to never compromise from doing what you know is right. As in Doug’s case, you are probably going to get shot down anyway, so make sure that you have believed in the decisions you have made. Don’t let anyone lie to you and tell you that they can make you do something you don’t want to do. Stand in the Grace of God that saves you and move forward by the Truth of Jesus that sets us free no matter what the world may say or do. Just because it appears that disobedient individuals get away with their tainted deeds, doesn’t mean they will forever.

I got a message that almost sums up the thinking of the world we live in. He wrote, “At the end of the day no team in the NFC East had a chance of going forward so this is all for nothing.” And I couldn’t disagree with anyone more than I did with this statement. The ends never justify the means. Every Coach who has ever told young kids to always give it their best would have to ignore that advice; and that is what is so wrong about this. If you can’t look in the mirror at the end of any given day knowing that you took no shortcuts and received no bribes and stayed loyal to the Lord who loves you, then you just wasted what could have been such a better spent 24 hours! I don’t care who gets the number one draft pick and who might earn a  million dollars, if you didn’t earn it honestly, it is morally wrong every time.

Many religious people think they know Jesus, but what they know is more the stereotype than the genuine Savior. When you read the New Testament, you will conclude that Jesus could be a remarkably interesting person to be around. He definitely made others uncomfortable, mostly because He wouldn’t leave lies prevailing where truth had to be taught!

Jesus had the ability to mix righteous anger with godly behavior. He would not back down from the self-proclaimed “Religious Big Shots” who had no threatening ammo at all other than their own press clippings. Compassion is a quality Jesus might be most famous for, but make no mistake, that didn’t mean He was a “Mr. Softee!” Jesus had the perfect discernment to know when someone needed a holy hug or a sanctified shove! To those that most of Society had defined as outcasts and beyond repair, Jesus would drop everything and give His undivided attention to them that never knew love like this before. To those who thought that they were already God’s gift to the world, our Lord challenged to get their eyes off themselves and on to the very ones that needed love and direction who were already in their midst.

Sociologist Rodney Stark argued that one of the primary reasons for the spread of Jesus’ movement was the way His followers responded to sick people. During the reign of Marcus Aurelius around AD 165, an epidemic of what may have been smallpox killed somewhere between a third and a fourth of the population, including Marcus Aurelius himself. A little less than a century later came a second epidemic, in which at its height five thousand people were reported dying daily in the city of Rome alone. For the most part, people responded in panic. You might label it as “Pandemic Panic!” Let me know if anyone might see the application for today in these facts.

In ancient times, there was no guidance in the writings of Homer, no commands from the Greek god Zeus to care for dying people whom you do not know while putting your own life at risk. But there was in that world a Body of Believers that followed Jesus who would touch lepers while they were unclean; who told his disciples to go heal the sick.

Dionysius, a third-century bishop of Alexandria, wrote about their actions during the plagues: “Heedless of the danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need, and ministering to them in Christ. And with them departed this life serenely happy, for they were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors, and cheerfully accepting their pains.” People actually took Jesus at his word. As Christian communities responded to the hungry and the sick, even outsiders took notice. What if we obeyed Jesus like this today? What if we valued every human being like God does? What if we were less politically correct and more powerfully connected to the Holy Spirit who gives us everything we need to make an eternal difference in the world we live in. Let us minister to Christ’s needs. Let us give Christ nourishment. Let us clothe Christ. Let us gather Christ in. Let us show Christ honor. What are you doing? Who are you doing it for? Who are you doing it with?

I just finished the Book, “Becoming Elisabeth Elliot.” They had speared Elisabeth’s husband, Jim Elliot and his 4 comrades. Still, Elisabeth heard God’s call to go back to the Waorani and finish the work her Husband had begun. She knew what she was doing. She understood the cost of obedience. She would be living with and loving up close and personal, the very ones responsible for her being a Widow. The critics had no problem sharing their opposition. The comfortable religious organizations wanted no part of putting one of their people purposefully at risk. But isn’t that an important ingredient of following Jesus anyway?

Letters arrived regularly from Jim Elliot’s Mother. “Mom Elliot pleaded with her Daughter-In-Law not to go; and worse yet to bring her only child. She penned, “Can’t you see this Betty? Let’s not get carried away! I think your zeal is wonderful but don’t do something so foolish.” You sit in church with such passion-, but nobody expects you to take it outside this building, do they? I love how real Elisabeth was when she responded! “To hell with my ‘zeal,’” Betty exploded in her journal. She knew that her words about loving Jesus would lose all its meaning unless she trusted His voice most of all.

If we don’t follow Jesus in 2021, then we aren’t obedient to our call! As we measure out our lives and our legacy and the litmus test of faith all comes down to, “Will we trust and obey?” The only responsibility of we Believers is that of obedience. Our daily bread is wrapped up in this cry, “Lord, show me what You want me to do, and I’ll do it. “I’ll obey, whatever it is.”

“If a duty is clear, the dangers surrounding it are irrelevant.” Elisabeth Elliot

“I’ll obey and serve You. I’ll obey because I love You. I’ll obey, my life is in Your Hands.
For it’s the way to prove my love, when feelings go away.
If it cost me everything- I’ll obey.”
Bill Drake


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