Ring them Bells

OIP-19

Our Catch today comes by way of our Prayer Warrior Pastor, Merv Keck. Though John is home now and doing better, he is still not out of the woods yet, as the last setback came about where we are now in the healing process. So don’t stop praying.

Thanks to everyone for faithfully praying for John and Marti this week. Your continued persistence in praying boldly, fervently, and specifically is a Blessing to both John and Marti.

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Making peace, not war

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)

th-111When I went looking for a picture to go along with a Catch on making peace, I typed “peacemaker” in the image search engine, and got an array of pictures of a gun. Not quite what I expected. Apparently “peacemaker” is the name of a popular gun collector’s item, a Colt 45 that was the U.S. Army official service revolver from 1873-1892. I also found pictures of a very large aircraft — the Convair B-36 bomber — the largest mass-produced piston-engine aircraft ever made, and operated solely by the United States Air Force (USAF) from 1949 to 1959. It was designed specifically to carry nuclear weapons long distances and could travel almost halfway around the world without refueling.

th-81In both of these instances, “peace” was maintained by way of the threat of destructive force. You will be peaceful because I’ve got the gun and I can blow you away. Or, Your country will be at peace with us because you know we have the capability of wiping your entire nation off the face of the earth.

Not quite the kind of peacemaker Jesus was talking about, and yet it is the kind of “peace” many Christians have taken up in the last few decades. There is a militant strain of Christianity that has evidenced itself ever since Christians gained power socially and politically in America. Under the guise of a culture war, Christians have taken to trying to win back lost values by force, as if a Colt 45 in hand would make the country a more Christian nation.

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Grace turned inside out

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“Grace needs to be turned inside out so that we can see what God’s really doing in there.” That is the way one of our BlogTalkRadio guests explained what he liked about our slogan “Grace Turned Outward.”

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It’s a good thing God is kind

OIP-18

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  – Luke 6:35

If you want to get a little taste of what God is like, try loving your enemies, lending money to those you know won’t pay you back, and then try being kind to ungrateful and wicked people. What does this do to one’s sense of justice and fairness? What could this possibly be about? Jesus can’t be serious about this, can He?

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Don’t give up open anyone

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[This story first appeared as a Catch on January 13, 2017. I’m revisiting it because we need to be reminded to listen for this cry in every human soul.]

My wife, Marti, loves to tell the story of a dramatic rescue in which she played a significant role when she was a flight attendant. On a routine done-it-a-hundred-times flight from Chicago to New York, a gentleman on board had a heart attack. Literally keeled over in his seat. This is when you are really grateful for the flight attendant call button the man’s fellow passenger pushed in a panic.

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Calling all angels

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Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?” Matthew 26:53-54

Jesus spoke these words on the night He was betrayed in the garden and one of the disciples tried to stop the soldiers from seizing Him, and ended up cutting off the ear of one of them. Jesus immediately healed the soldier’s ear, told the disciple to put away his sword and spoke the words quoted above.

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It doesn’t matter what your excuse is

OIP-17

A bruised reed He will not break. Isaiah 42:3

I can see it now. Jesus, on the night in which He was betrayed, goes to the olive grove called Gethsemane taking Peter, James and John with Him, and urges them to “Stay here and watch with me” while He goes on ahead to pray. “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.” And He goes to bargain with God for His life. Meanwhile, Peter turns to the others and says, “Okay guys … John, why don’t you start us in prayer and I’ll close.”Then, Zzzzzzzzzzz. And this happened two more times!

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Listen to Wisdom

OIP-15

The road into town …

Listen as Wisdom calls out!

    Hear as understanding raises her voice!

On the hilltop along the road,

    she takes her stand at the crossroads.

By the gates at the entrance to the town,

    on the road leading in, she cries aloud,

I call to you, to all of you!

    I raise my voice to all people.” Proverbs 8:1-4

How obvious is this? Wisdom is everywhere. Wake up everyone! Look! Listen!

It’s on the hilltop …

     along the road …

     at the crossroads …

     by the gates …

     at the entrance to the town …

     on the road leading in …

That’s a pretty ubiquitous coverage of wisdom. It’s everywhere and it’s for everyone. “To all of you,” could have possibly meant just the nation of Israel, but “to all people” leaves no doubt. It’s inclusive of everyone.

But how do you find this wisdom when there are so many lies, fabrications, manipulations, theories and false teachers going on and on about their idea of what is wise (which could actually be foolish)? How do we determine the truth? How do you listen for wisdom in the midst of so much foolishness?

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