You Have an Appointment

“Honey, I made my favorite thing for dinner tonight!”

“Oh really,” he replied quizzically, “what’s that?”

She replies, “Reservations!”

Last week my parents asked me to go with them to his appointment at the U.A.M.S. Reynolds Institute on Aging. Memory loss issues runs in the family as they near their 80s. My Dad is no exception. I went with my Mom and Dad to help negotiate the morning traffic, construction, and the U.A.M.S. complex of buildings.

Every fall I get a physical. Every six months I get my teeth cleaned and checked.

Appointments, we look forward to some and others we don’t.

But there’s one appointment everyone has and no one will miss it. It is an appointment made by God himself.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.  Hebrews 9:27-28 ESV

Our Father and Creator has provided everything we need so we can be ready for this appointment. We celebrate the first coming of Christ at Christmas. Christ will come a second time for those who are eagerly waiting for this appointment to arrive.

The first time Christ came he dealt with sin once for all. He is the total and complete sacrifice needed for sin. The Old Testament sacrificial system required sacrifices to be done over and over and over again.

It sounds gruesome to some, but I’m actually looking forward to dying. No, I’m not in a hurry to leave this earth. But as the writer of Hebrews says it, I am “eagerly waiting for him.”

That’s an appointment I look forward to keeping. I rejoice that my name is written in heaven. What a day of rejoicing that will be!

At the same time we wait with tears. We all have those we love and know who ignore the fact that they even have an appointment with God.

Reality check: “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”

EVERYONE will keep this appointment!

Pray urgently this Christmas for those who need to know Jesus as their Savior. Witness as the opportunities arise. Pray for our International Missionaries, over 4,000 of them scattered around this globe, that their sharing of the gospel will be successful!

Give a generous, sacrificial amount to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering this year. My challenge is to think in terms of giving your largest Christmas gift to this offering. How much did  you spend on your most expensive gift this year? Give at least one dollar more to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions!

Our Father, thank-you for sending Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice for our sin. Thank-you for the salvation that will be fully revealed on that day we stand before you. We urgently request that our friends, grandchildren, children, neighbors, and acquaintances come under the deep conviction of your Holy Spirit of their urgent need for a Savior. 

 

What If?

  • What if you knew you could make a difference, would you do it?
  • If you could be certain a particular act of ministry or kindness would be effective, would you act?
  • Would you work differently for the Lord if you were assured God would use it to make an impact in someone’s life?

“Of course I would!” you might say, “but I don’t know what to do.”

Did God create you? “Of course,” you respond.

Did He put IN you a unique set of gifts, likes, abilities, personality, and experiences? “Well, yes He did,” you conclude.

THEN TAKE WHAT YOU LIKE TO DO AND DO IT! Its really that simple. God has already qualified you to work in His kingdom for a specialized task that you can do as well or better than anyone else.

A principle which has permeated by soul is the “cup of cold water in Jesus’s name” principle. It only has two simple parts:

  • Whatever it is I’m capable of doing can be used by God, even if its handing someone a cup of water.
  • Whatever I do, do it in “Jesus’ name,” do for Him and literally SPEAK his name in the process of doing it.

For God loves a griping giver, right? Nope! God loves a CHEERFUL giver. So as you give yourself away in Jesus’ name in cups of kindness and service, ATTITUDE makes all the difference in the world.  Be enthusiastic!

Well, brother Paul said it better than I did anyway. Read this verse and see if you get the same thing I did!

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. 1 Cor. 15:58 NLT

Our Father, we praise you that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. You created each of us with a unique set of capabilities. Thank-you for the opportunities you put right in front of us each day to serve you by serving people. Thank-you for the assurance that what we do for the “least of these” we do for your Son Jesus. What a joy to serve you with assurance that nothing we do for You is ever useless!

Have You Seen a Good Movie Lately?

Guy movies and even chic flics often have vengeance as a theme.  Its a good feeling.  Someone does someone wrong. The smart, manipulative girl finds the perfect way to make sure the other girl gets her “come-uppin’s.”  Or Sylvester Stallone gets his over-the-hill commandos together and exacts severe punishment on the bad guys.

Its a gut-level thing. Its what we think we would like to do if we could. Oh, come on, you’ve felt too. Right? 

Some take it to the next level. They learn martial arts or handling of a weapon.  Some even go looking for an opportunity to use it.

Our friends’ daughter recently married. She and her new husband exited a major league baseball game.  Four inebriated guys made lewd comments toward the young bride.  Her husband told them to back-off.  Their beating put him in ICU.

Now, that’s sad and extreme.  But we often take offense at the slightest turn of phrase and hold a grudge for long time. Little things can do it.

But as I read my Bible, holding on to bitterness, unforgiveness, and grudges is very harmful spiritually, physically, and psychologically. 

Boy, Jesus could turn a phrase couldn’t he! He hit the nail on the head. When seemingly trapped by a hard question, “What’s the greatest commandment, Jesus?” 

“Ha Ha, we’ve got him now!” they might have thought. “We’ve been debating this one forever and with all the thousands of choices and opinions, he will surely offend someone!”

That gives me pause. Think about it, they tried to trap GOD!? Yeah, right!  Anyway, He said that to “Love God” is the first command.  But then He surprised them further and gave the second also, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Wow, genius!  How did He pull THAT our of thin air.  He didn’t.  He had already said it centuries prior.

The context of this command is very interesting to me.  It was given in the context of getting revenge and holding a grudge. Check it out …

“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.”  Leviticus 19:18 ESV

Father, we deserve your greatest revenge possible for our sin against You.  Thank-you for your forgiveness. Thank-you for sending Jesus, Your one-of-a-kind Son, to be our perfect sacrifice. We worship You. Please give us your divine ability to forgive those who trespass against us so that we may be forgiven in the same way we forgive others.