“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”
–Galatians 5:1 (NLT)
If you find yourself in an adventurous mood, you might want to listen to one of those old-time radio programs. Many of these programs are meant to be funny, but most of the time they’re just plain corny as far as I’m concerned. I have to admit that this is sometimes not the case, and you can indeed get a chuckle.
Personally, I think most of the laughs happen at moments that weren’t meant to be humorous at the time these shows were written. I have found three things which can make me smile: vocal expressions of the day, styles, and the low prices that people complained about at the time. But since these moments of myrth are rare, it’s often easier to settle for a mediocre story instead.
One evening Stephanie and I decided to brave a couple episodes of “Father Knows Best”. As I listened, I realized how our world has changed. While this was not a Christian program by any means, the culture was much different than it is today.
“What do you mean?” you ask? From a Christian perspective, it seems like most people today have a growing disrespect for the family values that have been intact for centuries.
One example of this might be marriage, which is a picture of God’s love for His church. The family structure which God designed is perfect, for it provides the foundation which shapes and protects us from some of the senseless violence we are experiencing today. Secondly, some people view the God of the Bible as being out of date altogether, which is truly unfortunate.
The erosion of both of these values has only led to moral decadence and an increase in crime and violence. Did you hear about the shooter who recently opened fire at a Texas high school, killing 10 people?
Shootings like this have only become more commonplace as we have drifted away from God, so that is what I would like to zero in on. Forming a deep and lasting friendship with Him can keep the roof of civilization from collapsing, and strengthen you at the same time.God is the only one who can truly change our hearts, so let’s use a sales techique we like to call the funnel method. This will take us from society in general, to your life specifically. You are important to God, and because of that you can have joy, letting your light shine wherever the Lord places you.
In order to do this consistently, all of us must cultivate a moment-by-moment friendship with the God of the Bible. Therefore, I would like to briefly look at two aspects of His character, which I hope will help us do that.
These foundational truths are love and purity. The scriptures tell us that God is love. When things seem topsy-turvy and we can’t see the way in front of us, He will never leave our side. I have seen Him work in impossible situations as His love overshadows the hard times in my life, so let me tell you how I picture God working in yours.
I like to imagine life’s hard moments as a football game. For whatever reason, the coach sees that we aren’t focused. Without keeping our eyes on Him, we flounder around, and giving our all for the team is impossible.
Now take a moment to listen to the crowd. It is halftime, and the crowd is rowdy–but they aren’t screaming for us. We are losing, and the other side is going wild.
Then the coach draws us into a huddle, and opens the playbook. He encourages us with the words on its pages, and tells us that we are winners in spite of the odds. Regaining our focus, we go out and ace the game.
The Bible is our playbook, and it tells us that Jesus is our great high priest–our football coach, if you will. According to His Word, all of us who know Him are on the winning team, but in the game of life we often feel more like losers. Let’s say we are exhausted from a busy day, and to top everything off we get some bad news at quitting time. In tough times, we especially need some encouragement from God’s playbook, for in its pages Christ clearly speaks to us.
He tells us that He is in control, and He comforts us with His love. But most of us ignore this, and drive onto the emotional on-ramp of feelings.
Your feelings can be a very real problem, for they will tell you to run from your faith. “Only believe what you can see.” Satan whispers through them, “You can do it alone.” But the Bible says that Satan is our enemy, and the father of lies, so don’t listen to what he tells you.
Aside from God’s Word, you also need the support of a loving team, namely your brothers and sisters in Christ. Again, Satan will try to isolate you from others, for he knows biblical fellowship will build you up, helping you regain your focus and strength. Of course, that is the last thing he wants.
So why not finish the game with a touchdown? Instead of giving in to your emotions, resist Satan, draw close to God, and ask Him for wisdom.
In conclusion, we need God’s purity, which is motivated by His love. It may seem out-of-date today, but His love will shield you from heartache and pain in the end. You will also find peace and joy as God’s love becomes more personal to you. This, in turn, will help you regain the courage to take a stand. While standing for absolutes may not be easy, you can indeed do this, because you know absolutely that you are not standing alone.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870. Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Monday night Bible study or Tuesday night prayer meeting. Both are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-775-7031, and our ID is 607518748. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.