Put On A Happy Face

Happy

Remember coloring with crayons in a coloring book? Remember some adult looking over your shoulder saying, “Make sure you color inside the lines”! Remember your parents saying, “That sure is beautiful”! Remember how happy you were until your temporary fun was stepped on by someone who didn’t share your unique artistic flare? Remember that happy face you had turning into a scowl, looking over your shoulder, watching and waiting for the “crayola” police to interfere with your adolescent endeavor?

Well you’re all grown up now and you can snip and bark at the “crayola” police to mind-their-own-beeswax! You are a grownup now and you can do anything you please, right? Who needs rules and regulations? One thing we tended to overlook was that when we were in grade school, our “police” were more than likely our parents or an older sibling who thought they were helping us become right-thinking in our growing years. Rules were rules, and they needed to be followed. Forced to follow is another matter.

God gives us considerable latitude in our everyday “adult” lives. We don’t have to live within the lines, but they sure make life easier. You can’t go yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater, unless there’s a fire. You can’t fight the control the authorities have over your life, many do, but wouldn’t it be easier in the long run to cooperate and work within the system? By the decree of Caesar Augustus, Joseph and Mary had to travel a long way just to pay taxes. But in the grand scheme of things, Jesus was born in the very town prophesied for his birth, Micah 5:2, even though his parents did not live there.

When we do God’s will, there is no guarantee of a comfortable life, but we are promised that everything, even our discomfort, has a special meaning in God’s plan for our lives. So put on a happy face, we are loved and cared for even if we don’t understand the half of it! You are loved and cared for even if you’re not exactly within life’s lines and boundaries.  The Bible says in 1Thessolonians 5:18, “…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.  Paul wrote powerful letters of encouragement from prison; can’t we just smile and encourage each other?

Bottom line:

As Paul comforted the Thessalonians, with the promise of the resurrection, so we should comfort and reassure each other with this great hope. “Therefore encourage each other with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:18

 

HBTY,HBTY,HBTY (Hezakiah), HBTY!

What if God told you: your birthdays are over; you’re going to die soon!  Would a birthday cake loaded with candles, and people singing happy birthday, be more like a celebration, or a funeral dirge?  Your birthday wish goes from a sun soaked beach to reviewing your last will and testament. Forget calories, sugar, or trans-fats; you “get your house in order.”

King Hezekiah was told by God he was going to die very soon (2 Kings 20). Nobody wants to hear that bell ring! Hezekiah had a little talk with God. The ‘get serious’ heart-to-heart kind of talk.  The specter of death really causes us to focus our undivided attention on the matter.  God listened and changed his plans.  He granted Hezekiah an additional 15 years of life! Now that was a real Happy Birthday!  That’s not the end of the story.

Immediately after finding out from God that he would live, he requested a sign from God as proof?  Can you hear God sighing; ‘now what’? God gave him the sign he asked for, but the story doesn’t end there!  The king of Babylon sent Hezekiah a get-well gift, before he knew Hezekiah was healed.  Hezekiah puffed up with pride showed the Babylonian messenger his storehouse of gold, silver, and other treasures! From the account in 2 Chronicles 24-31, it appears that Hezekiah’s prosperity, success, and deliverance from sickness and death had made him proud. Rather than giving credit to God for all his blessings, he chose to impress a bunch of foreigners. When God helps us, we must not use his blessing to impress others. A testimony of victory can quickly degenerate into vanity and self-congratulations. When the prophet Isaiah heard what happened, he told Hezekiah that the Babylonians would return one day and carry off everything in his storehouses.  EVERYTHING!!  A few years later, they did. Happy Birthday to the King of Babylon from Hezekiah!

Bottom line:

God tested Hezekiah to see what he was really like and to show him his own shortcomings and the attitude of his heart. It was a test meant to strengthen Hezekiah, develop his character, and prepare him for tasks ahead-but, he failed miserably.

  ©MET 2012

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Averting Danger

Averting Dangerweb If a butterfly sees a spider web covered with dew, will he fly around it? If a bear knows where a trap is hidden and can avoid it easily, will he? If a person senses a trap that will surely kill him, will he ignore it? Averting danger is not always so easy. As long as we can see danger, or know where it hides, or sense an imminent threat, life isn’t so dangerous. It’s the unexpected, the unanticipated, the precipice of fear, which snares us. Unless…unless you’re not afraid of anything or anybody. Unless you’re miserable and life has no meaning and darkness is your favorite color.

There was a person like that once. They were walking through life with no feeling, no emotion, and no hope for tomorrow. Life was beyond drudgery, day-to-day chores were the peak of excitement and being alone was the only peace life afforded. Despair, depression, and detachment from life were the days’ highlights. Until one day a stranger walked into their darkness and opened a door of hope. Light poured in and life was rekindled.

A woman in Sychar, Samaria, went, to Jacob’s well late one evening to draw water. Jesus and his disciples had stopped there minutes before the woman came. The disciples went into the town while Jesus rested by the well. When Jesus saw the woman drawing water late in the evening, alone, he asked her for a drink. This simple meeting was fraught with cultural danger. There was a bitter history between the Samaritans and the Jews. The woman talked about her ancient father Jacob drinking from this same well and passing the well along to her and her descendants. Jesus listened politely and talked about “living water” that he could offer. Then she was asking for water from him! After a brief discussion, the woman realized he was some kind of a prophet. She was surprised at what he knew and told him that she knew that the Jewish Messiah (called Christ) was coming, and he would explain everything. Jesus told her, he was that person. The woman did not fully understand what Jesus was talking about. It takes time to accept something that changes the very foundations of your life. Jesus allowed the woman time to ask questions and put the pieces together herself. She tried to pull him into a theological debate. Jesus steered the conversation from general to spiritual and then directed the conversation from superficial to spiritual. He then goes from spiritual to personal. He’s showing her the relevance of the Scriptures. Here she understood Him. After leaving her jar at the well she ran to tell the people about this stranger and said; “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did? Could this be the Christ?” John 4:29 She brought others to hear him. After she believed Jesus, and because she believed, her life would be forever changed. Her darkness became light, she found hope and safety.  Her spiritual thirst was whetted by “living water”.

Bottom line

This was the first time Jesus ever told anyone he was the Messiah.