Finding Truth in 50 Words

Man opens a box and squints

In Colossians 3:11, Paul used just 6 words to convey a massive amount of truth:  “Christ is all and in all.” When I read this succinct statement about the indescribable Christ, I remembered a brief description of the Bible.

The Bible in 50 Words,  uses statements consisting of 2 words to describe the 66 books of the Bible:

      God made
Adam bit
Noah arked
Abraham split
Jacob fooled
Joseph ruled
Bush talked
Moses balked
Pharaoh plagued
People walked
Sea divided
Tablets guided
Promise landed
Saul freaked
David peeked
Prophets warned
Jesus born
God walked
Love talked
Anger crucified
Hope died
Love rose
Spirit flamed
Word spread
God remained

Along this same theme of profound brevity, I suggest there is one verse in the New Testament that summarizes the life of Christ better than any other:

 

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh,vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.  ~I Timothy 3:16

I will close with this question:  What are the 50 words that define you?

The High Cost of Faith

google-analytics-demographicsThe closer a person gets to retiring, the more focused he is on making good investments.  All investment decisions are important–including those associated with faith and missions.

The findings of Gil Anger, concerning the work of Christian missionaries, shed some light on this question (Statistic Brain Research Institute):

  • There are 419,000 people who are classified as foreign missionaries.
  • There are 26 countries that do not allow missionaries.
  • 629 Billion people have never been evangelized.
  • $250,000,000 is spent annually on Christian foreign missionary work.

The four points above are focused on demographics and dollars.   Is this an accurate reflection on the high cost of faith?  I don’t think so.  To understand the value of sharing the faith, you need to think of more than just the cost of an arm and a leg—you need to consider the sacrifice of a life.

When he wrote to the church at Corinth, Paul reminded them: “You have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”  The high cost of faith is seen in the immeasurable love of God for you.

When you begin to comprehend the full meaning of being “bought at a price,” I hope you will also grasp the fact that in return you are to “glorify God in your body.”    Paul may have had this in mind when he said:

My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

 

Water: An Essential of Life

kenya-water-crisis-projectI think it was Abraham Lincoln who said that, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”  Whenever I think of this quote, the subject of statistics comes to mind.

People use statistics for different reasons. Someone has said that, “Figures don’t lie. But all liars figure,” and I think it was Vin Scully who said, “Statistics are used much like a drunk uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination.”

Some statistics are profound and purposeful, while others are simple and of little value.  I’ll let you be the judge as to the value of the list below:

  • Studies show that 3 out of 4 people make up 75% of the population.
  • More than 10 people a year are killed by a vending machine.
  • The most children born to one woman was 69, she was a peasant who lived a 40 year life, in which she had 16 twins, 7 triplets, and 4 quadruplets.
  • During the first year of its life, a new baby will deprive each of its parents around 350-400 hours of sleep.
  • The human eye blinks an average of 4,200,000 times a year.

I think this second list contains some statistics that are truly worthy of your attention:

  • 783 million people do not have access to clean and safe water. 37% of those people live in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • According to the World Health Organization, for every $1 invested in water and sanitation, there is an economic return of between $3 and $34.
  • Nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths in children under the age of 5 is due to a water-related disease.
  • 1 in 9 people worldwide do not have access to safe and clean drinking water.

When I washed my truck today, I wasn’t thinking of the few people who die because of a vending machine.  I did, however, wonder about what I should do to help the 283,710,000 people in Sub-Saharan Africa who don’t have access to clean and safe water.

I also thought of something else.  It was the discussion that Jesus had with a woman who was drawing water from a well.  In His typical fashion, Jesus used a common site and a traditional practice to teach a spiritual truth:  Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life (John 4:13-14).”

Based on what Jesus said, 100% of all people need to look to Him for salvation (John 14:6).  Take a close look at Him; study Him intently, and drink the cup of salvation that He offers you.

Are You A Stooper Downer?

helpinghandWhat do you do when you see someone struggling because the circumstances of their life are almost unbearable? Do you help bear their burdens?

One of the clear precepts of Paul on this subject is found in Galatians 6:1-3: “Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.” ~The Message

I hope this Scripture challenges you to make today the day that you will be the Good Samaritan to the hapless and helpless, and to those who need a helping hand. Stoop down and reach out to them and share their burdens. Bolster their courage, lighten their load, strengthen them in their struggle, and share the love of Christ with them.

Seeing and not doing is not sharing. Observing and ministering is embracing the vision of Christ: “When Jesus saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few; therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”

Read the verses above one more time and listen intently and carefully to what you hear. Is it a whisper or a shout? To me, it sounds like Jesus is saying, “I need more people to labor in the harvest—more people who are willing to stoop down, reach out, and lighten the heavy load of their friends, neighbors, and complete strangers.”

Don’t deny it. Don’t turn a deaf ear to it. I know you can hear it. Jesus is saying: “I need you!”

Buyer’s Remorse

???????????????????????????????????????? Have yoou ever bought something and then regretted the purchase or made a decision and later wished you had chosen a different path or direction? Instances such as these are called buyer’s remorse.

You have probably heard of the Borden Dairy company and may have drank milk from their dairy farms. You may not, however, be familiar with the story of this famous families son, William Borden.

Like most kids who graduate from high school, William was given a present–his was a cruise around the world. While on his trip, William wrote home and told his parents that he thought God was calling him to be a missionary. After his return home, William enrolled in Yale and graduated four years later.

Before he left Yale, William gave away his personal wealth, and he wrote two words in the flyleaf of his bible: “No Reserves.”

Later, when decided to go to China as a missionary, William wrote two more words in the flyleaf of his Bible: “No Retreat.”

While en route to China, his ship stopped in Egypt, and William was stricken with cerebral meningitis and died within 3 weeks. A short time later his family was looking at his precious Bible and found two more words had been written in the flyleaf: “No regrets.”

Like the Apostle Paul, William had stepped away from worldly acclaim and wealth to walk the missionary path of life. Paul spoke of his own decision when he wrote to the church at Philippi: What things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ (Philippians 3:4-14).

No reserves, no retreat, no regrets, are, I believe, six words that should be considered when we think of the decisions and actions of Jesus. There was no buyers remorse when He purchased us by His death on the cross.