Can you imagine rubbing shoulders with the creator of the universe? ( Col 1: 15-17) The crowds who jostled Jesus were doing exactly that but I doubt that even his apostles who had seen his miracles fully understood his divinity. Jesus is not a distant, silent or vindictive god like many cultures worshiped. He always keeps his spiritual antenna alert to those who need him and seek him. ( Acts 2:38) ( Acts 2:21) ( Ro 10:11) The gospel of Mark tells us that as a crowd pressed around Jesus he felt that power had gone out from him. He asked, “ Who touched me?” His disciples explained that it could have been nearly anyone in such a crowd. But Jesus knew and told the woman who had been suffering for 12 years from a bleeding illness that her faith had healed her. ( Mk 5: 24-34) Max Lucado puts it wonderfully. “Near enough to touch. Strong enough to trust.”
Jesus’ antenna is attuned to the pleas and silent prayers of the weak, the forgotten and the abused. He is never oblivious, unconcerned nor too busy for a pure-hearted searcher. He promises rest for the weary and burdened. ( Mt 11: 28-29) As his disciples we also need to have an active antenna ready to read and react to the hurt of a hurting world. One of the ways we do that is by following the Spirit-inspired command given by the Apostle Peter. “…always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”( 1 Pe 3:15)
It seems that God gave many animals a type of early warning system when danger is imminent. Surely he gives his people a spiritual antenna to detect imminent needs of brethren and seekers.
I recently had an experience in the secular world that very much reminded me of a Biblical concept. As I was leaving a business on 120th street a man approached me and said, “I’ve asked lots of people for money for bus fare and all I’ve gotten is two quarters, could you spare two dollars? I asked him some questions but he would not look me in the eye at all during our whole conversation. I supposed he was shy or embarrassed, but later learned he used this tactic with all strangers. However, even though I suspected he was deceitful, I gave him the two dollars with the advise that he look people in the eye.
Shortly after Moses told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.” “…We will obey.” ( Ex 24: 3, 7) Most of the people were probably sincere but nevertheless, soon after we see some of them making and bowing down to a golden calf. The Lord said they were, “a stiff necked people.” ( Ex 32: 7-9) We might say they also were shifty-eyed and fickle. Fickle means not constant or loyal in opinion or behavior.
This attitude continued throughout the Old and New Testament and exists even today. During the time of the Judges, Gideon’s town and his family worshiped Baal and Asherah. ( Jud 6: 27) In Jeremiah’s day in the towns of Judah and in Jerusalem people were burning incense and pouring out drink offerings to the Queen of heaven. ( Jer 7: 17-18) ( Jer 44: 17-25) God said they, “ did not return to me with all her heart but only in pretense.” ( Jer 3: 9-10)
In the first church of Christ Ananias and Sapphire lied and used deceit in their giving. ( Acts 5:4) Christians today need to constantly be on guard against this type of deceit in our worship so that we will not become fickle, shifty, evasive or crafty. God will not tolerate any deceit or pretense in our worship of Him.
Charles Caudill, the President of World Christian Broadcasting Corporation, writes about the ten years and twelve million dollar effort to get Madagascar World Voice on the air. On March 27th, 2016 they began broadcasting the gospel to the other half of the world not already reached by KNLS in Alaska. They are now sharing Christ in many languages including Arabic. He tells of the obstacles overcome such as: coup d’etats, cyclones, government interferences, vandalism and manufacturing delays. To remain on task that long, let alone being cheerful, must have required an amazing trust in God.
Many scriptures use the term cheerful and its synonym joyful as a goal for a pleasant, delighted, happy, jubilant, wholehearted and glad walk for Christians. ( Pr 15:13) ( Pr 15:30) ( Pr 17: 22) ( 2 Ch 7:10) ( Hab 3: 18) ( Rom 12:12) ( 1 Thes 5: 16) Brother Caudill advises that when we get discouraged thinking God is not doing what we want nor what we are praying for, think about what he is doing and uses Jesus’ answer to John the Baptist as an example. He was healing lepers, the blind, the deaf, raising the dead and preaching the gospel to the poor. ( Mt 11: 4-6)
A cheerful attitude will produce “ a continual feast,” “ a happy face,” “joy to the heart,” and “ good medicine.” In addition, “God loves a cheerful giver.” ( 2 Co 9:7) Although that verse was targeting monetary giving, I believe it would apply to any effort we make
in advancing Christ’s Kingdom. ( Phil 4:13) ( Mk 12:30) ( Lk 10:27) ( Col 3: 23) It is not too hard to be joyful and cheerful during periods of success and good health. However, to remain cheerful on the outside and the inside requires strength which the Holy Spirit gives freely. ( Eph 3:16)
Justice delayed is justice denied! The rush to judgment perverts justice. Most of us have heard these two statements and perhaps have felt strongly one way or another. Usually we are thinking of justice for others and possibly in a punishment or vengeance sense. The dictionary has at least 8 meanings for justice and the list of verses in the Bible using it or one of its variations ( just, justly, etc) is huge. Neither justice nor mercy will always be accomplished in this life but will certainly be in the next life. ( Is 34:8) ( Na 1:2) ( Nu 31:3) ( Rom 12:19) ( I Thes 1: 6-9)
In both the Old and New Testaments God tells us how much he loves justice. ( Is 61:8) ( Ps 11:7) ( Ps 33:5) ( Lk 18: 6-8) He loves his creation so much that he “presented” Jesus as a sacrifice of atonement to demonstrate his justice…( Rom 3:25-26) ( Acts 17: 31) He left the sins committed beforehand ( before the cross) to demonstrate his justice and mercy in Christ. ( 1 Pe 1:3) ( Jas 2:13)
However, nearly all the prophets proclaim how much he hates perverting justice. ( Lev 19:15) ( Dt 16: 19) ( Pr 17: 23) ( Pr 18:5) He is concerned about justice for the alien and fatherless. ( Dt 24: 17) ( Eze 22: 29) He gave wisdom so that mankind can administer justice. ( 1 Ki 3:28) ( 1 Ki 3: 11)
In all generations people wondered why God seemed to have ignored justice. ( Am 5:24) ( Mal 2:17) ( Rev 6: 9-10) When we stop to consider both sides of an issue, as an honest judge should, we might remember a time when we deserved “justice” but got mercy. When applied to ourselves, do we really want justice, vengeance or mercy? We are happy that in addition to all his other wonderful qualities, God is patient. ( 2 Pe 3: 9)
The Northwest Food Cupboard needs to be replenished! We need the following items:
SpagettiO’s, canned spaghetti with
meat balls, etc.
Canned meat—not tuna
Canned vegetables—NOT GREEN BEAN/ CORN
Please leave items in the church office. Please do not take them directly to the food cupboard as we must check for expiration dates