Monday, November 22, 2010

Winners or Losers?

Women of Faith:
It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. The exception to this may be what I will call the ultimate game, the game of life. There, winning is heaven, and I don’t even want to think about losing.

Unfortunately, as I try not to judge, I fear that our society may be losing as I watch us accept sin as a norm. As I watch society try to put their “spin” on what the bible teaches. And as I watch people, who grew up in Christian homes, who know there is a God, who were taught about God from an early age, leave church, ignore the commandments, or worse yet, try to justify their sin/s.

I find comfort and hope by the outcome of a vote to “oust” judges who accept gay marriage as a right, and I find Hope in the prayers of the many who I know attend church regularly and who are unafraid to “speak” against sin and who volunteer in ministry in many forms.

I also find hope in seeing those who have the faith to accept their sufferings, knowing that Christ too suffered for us.

As the gospel said yesterday: Choose REPENTANCE, it is never too late. Lk 23:35-43 “Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us." The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

The second thief is the only person we know who has entered the kingdom of heaven with Jesus because of this passage. On the cross this thief asked for forgiveness, but just as importantly accepted that he was a sinner, that he deserved earthly punishment and that his only salvation was true faith in Jesus.

Are we like the first thief, expecting God to save us, even though we have no shame, guilt or repentance for our sins? Is our pride preventing us from acknowledging our sins and seeking forgiveness?

Or are we like the second thief who admits to our sins, accepts our burdens by sacrificing our life for God, receiving just punishment for our sins and most importantly receiving God’s promised forgiveness, healing and grace given to us when Jesus died on the cross?

The earlier we learn to be like the “accepting thief” the more happiness, joy and peace we can find in Christ’s forgiveness and ultimately our salvation. And the easier it will be to bear our burdens and sufferings because like the “Footprints in the Sand” we will be carried by Jesus through the toughest of times.

Dear God, I praise Your healing grace. I yearn for your forgiveness and love. Please help me to live each day as your servant, accepting my burdens, sacrificing my time and using the gifts you have given me wisely. Help me to be less self-serving, less judgmental and more hopeful with the grace of Your Spirit. Let me be a witness to Your goodness in faith, hope and love. I ask that you open the hearts of each person, family and friend, those that I know, and will come to know, those that I can in anyway help or touch, so that we will be better listeners and learners of Your word. And especially this Thanksgiving Week, Thank you for the gift of Your Son, Jesus, who has granted us eternal salvation. Amen.

Blessings and Thanksgiving for all of our faithful friends.
Charlotte, Stan and family

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