Monthly Archives: October 2013

Brazen Article

Posted by richieg on October 27, 2013
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thCAZR1UL6  I remember when I was a kid growing up and how I never liked to be called names, no one did.  I mean I like my name.  My name is Richard, a fine and dandy name for me.  Hey, Hi, Yo & Bro were all right to get my attention.  Didn’t mind anything close to Rich, Richie, or Rick.  Anything in the ballpark suited me fine.  While navigating about, I didn’t like names such as Jerk, Clown, Screw Ball, Air Head or Space Cadet.  But at least I could fire back and that always seemed to end the name calling.  Whomever coined the phrase “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” brought that saying from another planet, which doesn’t belong here on earth.

However, there is a part of my past where name calling had to be accepted and not a word said otherwise.  This place was in my Catholic elementary school and the teachers there were Sister’s of Charity.  Such a nice and peaceful name to have as teachers.  Yes, these were Catholic Nuns.  I remember one day in particular as the “day of thunder,”  when I had been disobedient.  I was told not to bounce a ball while in line and accidentally dropped it a second time just as I was being warned.  Oh, those Nuns had such uncanny timing.  Sister Maria stopped the line and glared down at me as I stood motionless at the back of the line.  She headed my way, not too fast, just slow deliberate steps.  Time seemed to stand still, it was slow motion as pandemonium filled my mind.  I was in confinement and awaited punishment.

Sister Maria finally arrived and stood directly in front of me then slowly cuffed her sleeves – more agonizing seconds.  I was so frightened as I realized I was confronted with professional intimidation.  I didn’t dare make eye contact, just squinted my eyes and waited for “the thunder.”  I was slapped around pretty hard and started to slip down to my knees but was jerked up by my tie which seemed like a rope around my neck.  Then I had to look Sister Maria in the eye, which she made sure of.  It was over….almost.  The finishing touch for Sister Maria was her calling me a “Brazen Article.”  With absolute authority I had been branded.  The line moved forward and I never did see that ball again.  As my class headed to the staircase, we passed by a glass display case in which I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection.  I saw that my tie was on  backwards, my collar was sticking up as if it were starched that way and my hair stood on end as if I had stuck my finger in an electric socket.  One consolation was the fact that no one stared at me because Sister Maria was at the back of the line as we made our way back to the classroom.  When I got to my seat, I squared myself away the best I could.  I was now a “Brazen Article.”  –  no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Would you believe that this event took place in 1956?  That’s right, you do the math.  I was condemned and I will always remember this event.  It wasn’t until years later (1977) that I would be condemned again.  But this time I was condemned by God.  Someone witnessed to me and showed me God’s law, I had always known the Ten Commandments but now my conscious seemed to crush me.  I saw myself  a true sinner and separated from God, it was then that I was prepared for God’s grace.  I accepted the solution God gave me to avoid destruction and I submitted to the lordship of His Son Jesus Christ.

Keep in mind that Satan’s favorite tool is condemnation, just another word for “name calling.”  Satan wants to brand believers with any name that we allow to stick.  If you are in Christ Jesus today, there is no condemnation over your life. Period.  See Romans 8:1.  Why?  Because Jesus has already been condemned for all of our sins.  Every time you fail in thought, word, or deed always remember – there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ.  God in Christ has cleansed you of every stain of sin.  The blood of Jesus protects believers from condemnation. 

If the Spirit of God has shown you what God’s law really is then your heart is prepared for God’s grace.

Hell Suddenly Makes Sense

Posted by richieg on October 18, 2013
Unmerited Favor / No Comments

thCATOZLCD  As folks gathered on the street corner the conversation of the day settled on those who have been approached by friends and even strangers telling them about the message of the gospel that is found in the Bible.  Some said they have heard this gospel message before and have said the salvation prayer a few times because they figured it might improve their lives.  Others said that there are people out there who are no more than alarmists who are always telling people to repent because the end is near.  And a voice was heard saying that they have had enough catechizing in their life.

It was said that the bottom line is that God will acknowledge the good things people have done and he will separate the good from the bad when all is said and done.  Most had similar ideas about God and believed that God knows that the greatest amount of people try to live good lives and the majority of religions get the story straight and teach that there is a God and people should not let their life get topsy-turvy about religion.  It was mentioned that if God knows all people are good at heart, then why did Jesus die on the cross? As we pondered this query, the sounds of the busy street corner took over with people and traffic moving about and then as if to shout, someone declared “I’m a Christian.”

All took careful notice of this declaration and a voice inquired if this Christian could shed some light into our conversation.  The Christian continued and here is what was said:  “Many years ago someone asked me if I considered myself to be a good person.  I was taken aback but responded in the affirmative about being a good person.  I was then invited to respond to a few more questions to see if I qualified as a good person.  I agreed, and was asked if I ever told a lie, or did I ever steal anything and did I ever have a lustful thought.  Well, at first I didn’t know what to say but then admitted I was guilty of these things.  I was stunned when asked if God were to judge me by the Ten Commandments did I think I would be guilty or innocent and did this concern me.  Suddenly and unexpectedly I realized this warning about breaking God’s law.

I answered that I would have to say I was guilty, and yes, it did concern me.  This encounter opened my eyes allowing me to see my true self, a sinner at heart, who has offended God by violating His Law.  I pictured myself as a guilty criminal before God.  The next question seemed to tumble from above, “Do you think you will go to heaven or hell?”  I was shaken and not sure what to say, but I knew I was in danger of hell.  This person did not offer any kind of salvation prayer, but only encouraged me to get right with God.

thCAZ8LH11  Alone, and on my way home, my focus was not on my happiness on earth, but only my need for forgiveness.  This knowledge of God’s law had prepared the way for me to see that I was not morally good and I needed the Savior.  Arriving back home and at my desk the Cross of Jesus was now clearly understood.  I just talked to God and said I was sorry and repented of my sins and shared with God that I believed that His Son Jesus took the punishment for my sins and died for me and that Jesus rose from the dead.  I submitted to the lordship of Jesus Christ that day.

All who have read this encounter are encouraged to get right with God.

Separation of Church & Church

Posted by richieg on October 09, 2013
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th  The Street Corner was abuzz about current events and whose responsibility is whose and what should this group do and what should that group do.   The conversation eventually drifted to the role of the church in the community.  There are those who believe that the church today is doing the best it can to help all people, but there were those who believe the church to be canny and careful, which is to say a bit overly cautious.  Others believe that the church is wishy-washy.  But what resonated within the conversation was the mention of the church as being nothing more than folderol, something that is just showy with no real worth, kinda like cheap jewelry.  It was then noted that most people are concerned with doing what is right in their own eyes anyway.

In an attempt to get to the root of these opinions it was inquired what everyone thought the strength of the church is and how the church could be more effective in the community.  One opinion of particular note was the mention that the church has to take itself seriously and understand the power God has given it.  This insight brought out the fact that the Bible says the church is to continue the work of Christ on earth by preaching the gospel and declaring God’s will to mankind.  It was said that the strength of this call could be more effective if the churches had more unity.

A conversation developed about what the churches strategy should be.  An interesting view was mentioned that whenever church people are doing something in the community they themselves and others, always  ask the question “what church are you from,” instead of the central point of the deed at hand.  This idea was expanded on by the agreement that unity, wherever it is found, is a key ingredient to success.  It was then asked why the churches usually stay apart from one another, instead of working more closely as a single unit, and the point was made that the church is actually “the body of Christ,” which is all believers’.

The most important issue of all was then brought into focus.  The issues of the churches is not an internal issue but rather, a question of the existence of Christianity in our community and our country.  This insight brought to light the paramount concern then is reaching the lost.  If the churches would be joined in unity for this common purpose, then the effect in the community will be that of the power of the influence of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of people.  Then we would all see God at work in our community and our country.  This is the mission many churches have sorely neglected.  Instead of seeking to externalize the gospel they have hidden their lights under a basket.  But its not too late!  Joining of the churches makes for a true community.