Practical Proverbial, from Philippians, 20 November 2019

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.  Philippians 1:12. (EHV).

Let’s talk about Chick Fil A.  And Kanye (again).   The other day I mentioned Kanye West and the service he did with Joel Osteen last weekend.   Whether or not Kanye’s conversion is deep, true, or long-lasting we don’t know (nor should we judge).   We simply know that it has happened and that it has advanced the gospel.   The service introduced Jesus to people who didn’t know Him, who might never have accepted Him without the introduction from this celebrity.

And then there’s Chick Fil A, in the news this week for changing its policy on corporate donations.  In recent years, Chick Fil A has donated to the Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.   A change in donation policy (brought about by the expiration of those donation agreements) means Chick Fil A will no longer donate to them.   The COO for Chick Fil A said this was because of those organizations’ LGBTQ policies:   something immediately became radioactive.

Are we so arrogant that we (or Chick Fil A or the Salvation Army or FCA or any of the gay rights groups) actually think that God’s word can be stopped simply because some company says their checkbook is closed?   God completed over a thousand years of prophecies in just the birth of Christ.   God used the death of the Messiah to accomplish the deliverance of all mankind from sin and death.  God used the orphan life of Moses to deliver Israel from slavery; He used an arrogant punk named Samson to destroy the evil Philistines; there are hundreds of examples of how God makes His glory known and perfected through the weakness of sinners like us.   Do we really think that He will be stopped simply because of some change in corporate charity?

Sure, I’m angered that a company I support appears to have caved to bullies (who, in my opinion, won’t be placated by this.   Bullies never are).   Sure, I wish another company would stand up for Christ the way Chick Fil A has until now.   And, sure, I don’t like to lose.   But even surer than these things is the power of God to advance His gospel no matter what we do.   Throughout history, whenever the church has been targeted, it has always advanced, always spread, in spite of what the haters do.  Jesus doesn’t need Kanye to spread the Gospel but He thrives more when Kanye – or we here – do so.   Jesus doesn’t need Chick Fil A to donate to Christian charities because He thrives whether the money flows or not.   The Gospel cannot be contained by our human failings.

For further reading:  Philippians 1:13

Lord Jesus, I pray you use my failings to bring greater glory to Your Kingdom.

Practical Proverbial, from Titus, 13 August 2019

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:4-5 (EHV).

So we’ve been sinful and Jesus gave Himself for us despite that.   Have you ever really noodled that thought?   Would you die for Jeffrey Epstein?   Or Charles Manson?   Would you die for the bully who targeted you for a year in third grade?   Or your ex?    Would you die for the Nazi concentration camp guards who willfully, willingly sent people to their deaths (or pulled the trigger themselves)?

Jesus did it without hesitation.   In fact, he did it willingly, out of the most extreme love and devotion we could think of.

Not to make light of it, but you may be thinking “I get it.   Jesus.   Gotcha.   I’m not Jesus.”  No, you aren’t.   None of us are.

Represent Jesus anyway.

It’s mind-blowing how the New Testament is replete with proofs like Paul’s of how Jesus died for us.   It’s also replete with statements from Jesus about the power of faith.   Think of what He said about tiny faith (the size of a seed), or power over nature (as in how He commanded the fig tree), or Him commanding the waves when the Disciples were terrified, or moving mountains.   He wasn’t speaking in purposefully hyperbolic statements even though they were powerful and dramatic.  Have you considered that He may have simply been stating a fact?

We who were once undeniably sinful can have the same abilities of faith that Jesus does?   Yes.   And yes again.   And yes.  ANYTHING we ask for in true faith in Jesus can be done.

So, I’ll ask you again:   those despicable people I mentioned:   would you die for them?

Your response:  “NOT FAIR!   So I’m saying that, yet because I feel even a smidgeon of resentment or anything other than pure love, I’m disqualified?   I’m not good enough?”   Yes and no.   Yes, you’re not good enough on your own, and, no, you can’t do anything to make it right.   Because Jesus already did.   You and I don’t have to do anything to add to or complete that.   He already did everything.   Yet if we hold on to things of the past – including resentment or the conscious vestiges of forgiven sin- then can we truly expect to think we’re acting like Jesus?   He never did those things.

When Peter remembered he was walking on water, he started to sink.   So it is with us.   Yet in His mercy, Jesus made that walk possible.   He does for us as well.   Should we be willing to die for those who are detestable?   You know the answer.  Represent Jesus anyway.

For further reading:  Matthew 17:20, Matthew 21:21, Mark 4:35-41, Mark 11:22-24, Acts 22:16, Romans 11:14, Ephesians 2:9, 1 Peter 1:3, Titus 3:6

Lord, forgive me and help me to let it go.   Then help me to do Your will.