Measuring Life

Another year is coming to a close – a year unlike any in our lifetime. On Thursday night we will pass from one year into another.

People have been marking time by the passing of years for a long time. At least since we figured out that something happens every 365 days or so. By the way, when Nicolaus Copernicus suggested that the earth revolves around the sun in 1543 and made one revolution signify one year, it was not widely accepted. It took around 100 years for people to begin to put it all together and accept it.

Truth is not easily accepted, especially when error has ruled the day for so long.

It’s interesting that we mark life by years. I guess we need some way to make sense of the passing of time and life.

Throughout history man has measured time by the passing of days, the phases of the moon and probably a few more things.

The biggest mistake we make in regard to time is to think that we have a lot of it. Actually we don’t.

God compares life to a breath that vanishes as soon as it’s taken (Psalm 144:4), a passing shadow (Psalm 144:4), smoke that vanishes in the air (Psalm 102:3), a mist that quickly evaporates (James 4:14 ), and mown grass that dries up and is carried away by the wind (1 Peter 1:24). The time of life that you have is like a speck in the universe – hardly noticeable. Here one minute and gone the next.

It might be a better thing for us to measure our lives, not by days, months, or years, but by what we have accomplished. What good has your life been? What good have you done?

After all to say that you’re 75 years old is just a number, it really doesn’t tell us anything about you except that you inherited good DNA.

A measurement that tells people that you have done something profitable with your life would be much more useful.

God actually hints at this idea in several passages. Psalm 90:12 says, So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Numbering our days means to evaluate how we have used our life, especially how it has been used for God.

Ephesians 5:15-17 says, Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. We are to examine how we live and make the most of the time we have in an evil world. Again the context is spiritual in nature.

So, looking back, how would you evaluate 2020, not in terms of time, but in terms of accomplishing something for God? If what you see doesn’t light the world on fire, you have another year, another chance to change your world.

Make it count.

Stay in the Word,

Pastor Steve 

The Incarnation You Never Saw

Occasionally I like to share something from a writer that I believe will be a blessing to you. So today a picture of the incarnation in ways that you may never have thought of it before. From the pen of Max Lucado.

 Just A Moment

It all happened in a moment, a most remarkable moment. As moments go, that one appeared no different than any other.  If you could somehow pick it up off the timeline and examine it, it would look exactly like the ones that have passed while you have  read these words.  It came and it went.  It was preceded and succeeded by others just like it.  It was one of the countless moments that have marked time since eternity became measurable.

But in reality, that particular moment was like none other.  For through that segment of time a spectacular thing occurred.  God became a man.  While the creatures of earth walked unaware, Divinity arrived.  Heaven opened herself and placed her most precious one in a human womb.

The omnipotent, in one instant, made himself breakable.  He who had been spirit became pierce-able. He who was larger than the universe became an embryo.  And he who sustains the world with a word chose to be dependent upon the nourishment of a young girl.

God as a fetus.  Holiness sleeping in a womb.  The creator of life being created.

God was given eyebrows, elbows, two kidneys, and a spleen.  He stretched against the walls and floated in the amniotic fluids of his mother.

God had come near.

He came, not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable conqueror, but as one whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter.  The hands that first held him were unmanicured, calloused, and dirty.

No silk.  No ivory.  No hype.  No party.  No hoopla.

Were it not for the shepherds, there would have been no reception.  And were it not for a group of star-gazers, there would have been no gifts.

Angels watched as Mary changed God’s diaper.  The universe watched with wonder as The Almighty learned to walk.  Children played in the street with him. And had the synagogue leader in Nazareth known who was listening to his sermons….

Jesus may have had pimples.  He may have been tone deaf.  Perhaps a girl down the street had a crush on him or vice-versa.  It could be that his knees were bony.  One thing’s for sure: He was, while completely divine, completely human.

For thirty-three years he would feel everything you and I have ever felt.  He felt weak.  He grew weary.  He was afraid of failure. He was susceptible to willing women. He got colds, burped, and had body odor. His feelings got hurt. His feet got tired. And his head ached.

To think of Jesus in such a light is—well, it seems almost irreverent, doesn’t it? It’s not something we like to do; it’s uncomfortable. It’s much easier to keep the humanity out of the incarnation.  Clean the manure from around the manger. Wipe the sweat out of his eyes. Pretend he never snored or blew his nose or hit his thumb with a hammer.

He’s easier to stomach that way. There is something about keeping him divine that keeps him distant, packaged, predictable.

But don’t do it.  For heaven’s sake, don’t. Let him be as human as he intended to be.  Let him into the mire and muck of our world.  For only if we let him in can he pull us out.

Listen to him.

“Love your neighbor” was spoken by a man whose neighbors tried to kill him.

The challenge to leave family for the gospel was issued by one who kissed his mother good-bye in the doorways.

“Pray for those who persecute you” came from the lips that would soon be begging God to forgive his murderers.

“I am with you always” are the words of a God who in one instant did the impossible to make it all possible for you and me.

It all happened in a moment. In one moment…a most remarkable moment.  The Word became flesh.

There will be another.  The world will see another instantaneous transformation.  You see, in becoming man, God made it possible for man to see God.  When Jesus went home he left the back door open.  As a result, “we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.”

The first moment of transformation went unnoticed by the world. But you can bet your sweet September that the second one won’t.  The next time you use the phrase “just a moment…” remember that’s all the time it will take to change this world.

Stay in the Word,

Pastor Steve