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There’s another beautiful picture of baptism given here: “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Did you catch it? Baptism clothes us with Christ. We’re wrapped up in Jesus and all of his goodness in baptism. We’re clothed with his work and his righteousness. Armani, Gucci, Abercrombie and Fitch – none of those designer labels can compare with the garments we have in Jesus’ name. God “clothes” us with forgiveness and salvation. In other words, he says that these things are ours. They’re real, just like a change of clothes. All who believe that these garments are theirs have what’s needed to be part of God’s family.
The Lord offers a wonderful wardrobe for his people. It’s his Son’s life, death, and resurrection. These are ours to “wear” spiritually. God does have a dress code for his family. This is what identifies the Christian as such. Let’s face it. People often wear the clothes they do because the want to be noticed. Quite often it’s the label or the name brand that supposedly makes a person a “somebody.” Well, you want to be labeled as a “somebody”, then be labeled as one who is wrapped up with Jesus. Be labeled with Christ. Be proud that you are a Christian. Don’t be ashamed of all the Christ has done for you! God has made you part of his family.
There was a certain old recluse who lived deep in the mountains of Colorado. When he died, distant relatives came from the city to collect his valuables. Upon arriving, all they saw was an old shack with an outhouse beside it. Inside the shack, next to the rock fireplace, was an old cooking pot and his mining equipment. A cracked table with a three-legged chair stood guard by a tiny window, and a kerosene lamp served as the centerpiece for the table. In a dark corner of the little room was a dilapidated cot with a threadbare bedroll on it.
They picked up some of the old relics and started to leave. As they were driving away, an old friend of the recluse, on his mule, flagged them down. “Do you mind if I help myself to what’s left in my friend’s cabin?” he asked. “Go right ahead,” they replied. After all, they thought, what inside that shack could be worth anything?
The old friend entered the shack and walked directly over the table. He reached under it and lifted one of the floor boards. He then proceeded to take out all the gold his friend had discovered over the past 53 years – enough to have built a palace. The recluse died with only his friend knowing his true worth. As the friend looked out of the little window and watched the cloud of dust behind the relative’s car disappear, he said, “They should have got to know him better.
I wonder, as we reflect on this Good Friday, as we watch the Lamb, Jesus Christ, who suffered and died a criminal’s death 2000 years ago that we too have missed out on the gold. Do we know our Friend’s (Jesus) true worth? Do we treat Him as if he’s some old relic of history that lived somewhere in strife-torn Middle East long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far way? What’s that gotta do with me? Yeah, sure He died, and maybe he’s some tragic hero and we drive away, walk away empty from this assembly this day or do we wanna walk out here with the gold? Have we missed the gold? Will someone one day say of us that we should have got to know Jesus better?
At first I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized his picture when I saw it, but I really didn’t know Him.
But later on, when I met Christ, It seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal.
I don’t know when it was that he suggested that we change places, but life has not been the same since. When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. . . It was the shortest distance between two points.
But when he took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds, It was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, He said, "Pedal!"
I worried and was anxious and asked, "Where are you taking me?" He laughed and didn’t answer, and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. And when I’d say "I’m scared," He’d lean back and touch my hand.
He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me gifts to take on my journey, my Lord’s and mine. And we were off again. He said, "Give the gifts away; they’re extra baggage, too much weight."
So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light. I did not trust Him, at first, In control of my life. I thought He’d wreck it; but he knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I’m beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion Jesus Christ. And when I’m sure I just can’t do anymore, He just smiles and says . . . "Pedal." - author unknown
In the book, No Bad Dogs, by British dog trainer Barbara Woodhouse, she says dogs understand
love better than we do. She writes, “In a dog’s mind, a master or a mistress to love, honor, and obey is
an absolute necessity. The love is dormant in the dog until brought into full bloom by an understanding
owner. Thousands of dogs appear to love their owners, they welcome them home with enthusiastic
wagging of the tail and jumping up, they follow them about their houses happily and, to the normal person
seeing the dog, the affection is true and deep. But to the experienced dog trainer this outward show is
not enough. The true test of love takes place when the dog has got the opportunity to go out on its own
as soon as the door is left open by mistake and it goes off and often doesn’t return home for hours. That
dog loves only its home comforts and the attention it gets from its family; it doesn’t truly love the master
or mistress as they fondly think. True love in dogs is apparent when a door is left open and the dog still
stays happily within earshot of...
Brian La Croix
We all know what sins are, but let me focus for a moment on those hindrances.
Hindrances are those things that may not be sins, but still keep you from living a life totally surrendered to God.
Imagine you are at a track meet, and they’re lining up for the 100 meter dash. Everything’s fine except for one contestant. Instead of the regular shorts and track shoes, he’s wearing a snowmobile suit and galoshes.
Now that’s probably not against the rules, but he’s not going to win, if he even survives the race.
The clothes are a hindrance to his success.
Take an inventory of your life to see if there are any hindrances to your walk with God.
Helen Rosavere is an English woman who had interests in becoming a doctor and serving Do. Upon completion of her medical training at Cambridge University, Helen began to ask God where he would want her to serve. Before long, God directed Helen to an area in the Congo (Africa) which had a population of over 200,000 people and not one doctor in the whole area. This meant that she would be working seven days a week, always on call, no time off, and when a medical emergency arose, she would have to take care of it.
Soon a hospital and training center was needed. It was a great need and there was just no way Helen could build it. Helen then cried out to God, "Surely, Lord, there is at least one man in England who could come and build a hospital!" But Helen heard nothing. Later, Helen wrote a letter to her parents and asked them to send her a book on how to build a hospital!" But Helen heard nothing. Later, Helen wrote a letter to her parents and asked them to send her a book on how to build a hospital. Her parents couldn’t find a book on how to build a hospital, but they did send a book on how to build bricks. When Helen received the book, she cried out to God again, "Surely, Lord, there is at least one man from England who could come and build bricks for the hospital."
No man arrived. So, in the midst of Helen’s busy schedule, she followed the instructions. She made the bricks to be put in the kiln to be fired. After the bricks were dried, the rough edges had to be sanded down. One day, as she was sanding, she noticed a wet substance on the brick and realized it was her own blood. "Surely, Lord, there is a man somewhere in England who could come and make these bricks." At that time a man came running up to Helen and told her of an emergency at the dispensary. With her fingers still bleeding, Helen went to take care of the man. When she entered the scrub room, she began to take a wire brush and scrub her raw fingers. The pain made her more irate. She began to yell at God in her spirit, "Surely, Lord, there is at least one man in all of England who could come and make bricks for the hospital."The attendant began to pour alcohol over her fingers. The pain was excruciating. The Helen put on her gloves and did what she had to do. Following the surgery, Helen went back out to begin working on the bricks. While out there, one of the nationals approached her and began to talk to her. He said, "Doc, we no know that you love and care for us. When you enter the operating room wearing your mask and gown, and use your ability to heal the sick, you frighten us. But when you come out here and work with the rest of us and bleed the same as we do, we realize that you are one of us."
Helen, for the first time, realized why there was no man from England who could come to help. God said to her, "I didn’t have you come here just to heal the sick, Helen. I brought you here to befriend these people in order that they may see me through you." Helen thanked the Lord. She then realized that God didn’t call her to be a medical missionary, but he called her to himself.
Jim Cymbala, pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle says, "You can measure your closeness to the Lord by your attitude toward men and women around you."
Brian La Croix
My second item is from that great gospel program, "Hee Haw." Doc Campbell is confronted by a patient who says he broke his arm in two places. The doc replies, "Well then, stay out of them places!"
He may have something there. We cannot regularly put ourselves in the face of temptation and not be affected. When faced wit...
ILLUS p. 800 – It is observable that God has often called men to places of dignity and honor when they have busy and honest employment of their vocation. Saul was seeking his father’s donkeys and David his father’s sheep when called to the Kingdom. The shepherds were feeding their flocks when they had their glorious revelation. God called the 4 apostles from their fishing and Matthew from collecting taxes. Amos from the horsemen of Tecoah, Moses from keeping Jethro’s sheep, Gideon from the threshing floor, Elisha from the plows. God never called a lazy man. God never encourages idleness and will not despise persons in the lowest employment. D.L. Moody
G. Gert Behanna, converted at age of 60, went around the country speaking, wrote book THE LATE LIZ, in an interview “You know I travel around speaking for God and in the process I’m forced to use gas stations restrooms which are almost always filthy. I used to complain about that to God. I’d say, ‘Lord, If I’m your servant, how come I’ve got to use these dirty restrooms?’ One day in the midst of this kind of complaint, He seemed to say, ‘Gert, I come into this restroom too, right after you. (Mat 25:40 NIV) "The King will reply, ’I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” From that moment on, she said she never left a public restroom without cleaning a mirror, wiping the tile sink and picking towels up off the floor. After all that, she’d say, “There You are, Lord. I hope it’s clean enough for You.” Thereafter, instead of bemoaning the mess she found, she began to think of the person who would be coming after her.