Monday, July 3, 2017

Come Out From Among Them

Hey Friend,

I have to admit, there's not much I like to watch on television these days. When channel surfing, I find myself landing back on one of my old favorites - Law & Order. Yes, I was/am a Law & Order junkie.  Maybe it's my sense of justice, by I always love when righteousness prevails.

One of the clinchers in the attorney's case would be if they could get an eyewitness to identify the perpetrator of the crime in a police line up.  

"Yeah, that's him....third from the left."  (attorney and detectives smile)

What if I was in that lineup, I ponder?  Would I stand out, not as the perpetrator of a crime, but as a Christian?  By my words, and actions, my reactions, and how I lead my life - would someone be able to say "Yes" for sure she's the one. She's a Christian??

And I don't mean in the negative sense of the word, that my up-on-my-high-horse piety marks me, but that I live a life marked with love.  Does my life arrow point to Jesus?

I've been reading in 2 Corinthians and this passage in chapter 6 jumped out at me.  I invite you to read Paul's words as he's talking to the church at Corinth. He is telling them that they are ministers and that the message of Christ's love should prevail and their lives should stand out (and have stood out) in all these circumstances:

We give no opportunity for stumbling to anyone, so that the ministry will not be blamed. But as God’s ministers, we commend ourselves in everything:
by great endurance, by afflictions,
by hardship, by difficulties,
by beatings, by imprisonments,
by riots, by labors,
by sleepless nights, by times of hunger,
by purity, by knowledge,
by patience, by kindness,
by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love,
by the message of truth,
by the power of God;
through weapons of righteousness
on the right hand and the left,
through glory and dishonor,
through slander and good report;
as deceivers yet true;
as unknown yet recognized;
as dying and look—we live;
as being disciplined yet not killed;
10 as grieving yet always rejoicing;
as poor yet enriching many;
as having nothing yet possessing everything.....

Therefore, come out from among them
and be separate, says the Lord...
(2 Corinthians 6: 3-10, 17)

I ponder, can people tell that I'm a Christ follower through hardships and difficulties?

Are my words marked with purity and knowledge?

Are my actions guided by patience and kindness?

When I am slandered or disciplined does my faith hold up?

Do I rejoice even in my grieving because of the hope that is within me?

If I have nothing, does my life say I possess everything?

I have never been beaten or imprisoned for my faith, but I think of my brothers and sisters in Christ whom I serve in the Middle East.  If they were to stand publicly and declare that they are a Christian and Jesus Christ is Lord, the law would be on the crowd's side to stone them to death. 

Many have withstood trials, even unto death, because they stood out separately as a Christian.

Verse 17 really convicts me...."Therefore, come out from among them and be separate says the Lord..."

Back to the police line up.  Do I stand out from among them?  In this day and age am I willing to say, act, be described as a Christ follower?  Though the world goes this way, am I willing to say, "I'll go that way." ??

Am I a minister of the faith or do I hinder God's mission with my life?  Do I cause others to stumble, or do I encourage them to walk upright?  

This 4th of July, I have the freedom to choose....what will my life say?

What does your life say about you?  In a line up would you stand out from among them?  When you go through the experiences listed in the passage, what do others see?  What is your prayer for your life this freedom holiday?

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for when it is so much easier to go with the flow than to swim against it.  Give me the strength of conviction to want to "come out from among them" that my life would stand up for You.  Let me not be a stumbling block for others, but let my life arrow always be pointing to You no matter what the circumstances. Thank you for the freedom I have in this great Nation in which I live. Be with my brothers and sisters in Christ who are truly persecuted for living lives that stand apart.  I praise you for loving and forgiving me. Let my life always be worshipful of that truth.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Be blessed.....

 ps. Thank you for your continued prayers.  It's been two months....hoping to get the nod this week from the doctor to be able to start driving again. Learning, albeit with frustration, to pace myself in this recuperation.  Next - on to physical therapy.