It Hurts So Good – 9

Posted: September 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: It Hurts So Good | 1 Comment »

Here is a painful thought.  Sunday, Sept. 26, my time at church + devotions + other “religious” affects = 2.5 hours. My time watching football = 4 hours.  Who is really Lord of my life?

Am I really your friend?

Posted: September 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: It Hurts So Good, Spirituality | 10 Comments »

If you asked me to describe myself, I would say I’m a good dad, a hard worker, and funny (OK, maybe not the last one).  I love God, I love my family.  I honestly cannot think of one person who would say they hate me.  I am generally a friendly person and will go out of my way to get along with people.   In short, I’m a “nice guy.” (This is going somewhere, please just follow me for a minute.)

I have worked very hard at living in such a way that I can call everyone I know a friend, not an enemy.  I try to follow the teachings of Christ and love people how I feel He would; overlooking faults when I can, taking the low road to keep the peace.  I attend church regularly with my family and we give to people in need when we can, sometimes when we can’t.

For many years, I have felt good about this.  Like God, I have said, “It is good.”

I fear however that I have missed the mark.  No, I have missed the entire target.

When I talk with others, I hear things like, “You’re on the right track Mooney, keep it up.”  “You’re a great man of God.”  And I feel good about it.  It makes me feel good about me, and where I am at with God.  Then I go home and read my Bible, and get a completely different feeling; one of being so far away, on the wrong road even.

In Revelation 21:7-8, John tells us about the new Jerusalem that awaits God’s people.  Then he writes these words:

“He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

I read this and thought, “I’m in!”  Holy Spirit prompted me to read it again, so I did. He who overcomes inherits, YES!  I felt to read it again, and again, and again.  What is it God? What am I missing? I’m no murderer, no adulterer, and no warlock, what’s the deal?  I’m the nice guy, right?

Then it hit me.  I am in the list.  God!  How could it be?  It didn’t take even a single moment longer, and I knew.  I’m not anywhere near the end of the list, but the very first one: the cowardly.

How?  It hurts, but here we go.  It’s because I really don’t love anyone like Jesus does.  Maybe the closest I get is in loving my wife and kids, but she could tell you I still have a way to go.  Other than them, there may not be a single soul.  My interpretation of “loving people” is wrong; fiery lake and burning sulfur wrong.

All this time I have valued the relationship more than the actual person.  I have so not wanted to offend others at the risk of losing a friend, that I have neglected the one thing that matters, their soul.  I have kept silent while hoarding the gift of eternal life.  This is not how Jesus loved at all.  He gave his very life so that we could have eternal life, I can barely open my mouth to offer it to those I claim to love.

There’s something deep inside me that won’t let me live this way any longer, and I won’t.  There is a lost and dying world, and if I claim to follow Christ, then I must tell others.

Here is a poem from an unbeliever to his “Christian” friend.

My Friend – by D.J. Higgins

My friend, I stand in judgment now
And feel that you’re to blame somehow
While on this earth I walked with you day by day
And never did you point the way
You knew the Lord in truth and glory
But never did you tell the story
My knowledge then was very dim
You could have led me safe to him
Though we lived together here on earth
You never told me of your second birth
And now I stand this day condemned
Because you failed to mention him
You taught me many things, that’s true
I called you friend and trusted you
But now I learned, now it’s too late
You could have kept me from this fate
We walked by day and talked by night
And yet you showed me not the light
You let me live, love and die
And all the while you knew I’d never live on high
Yes, I called you friend in life
And trusted you in joy and strife
Yet in coming to this end
I see you really weren’t my friend

How many of our friends and family know that we are a Christians? Do we love them enough to tell them why you live life the way we do? Why we believe?

Jesus said, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38).