If I could leave one thought for today it would be (I’ll tell you at the end).☺
If the Son Sets You Free
31-32Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.”
33Surprised, they said, “But we’re descendants of Abraham. We’ve never been slaves to anyone. How can you say, ‘The truth will free you’?”
34-38Jesus said, “I tell you most solemnly that anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave. A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will. The Son, though, has an established position, the run of the house. So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through. I know you are Abraham’s descendants. But I also know that you are trying to kill me because my message hasn’t yet penetrated your thick skulls. I’m talking about things I have seen while keeping company with the Father, and you just go on doing what you have heard from your father.”
39-41They were indignant. “Our father is Abraham!”
Jesus said, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would have been doing the things Abraham did. And yet here you are trying to kill me, a man who has spoken to you the truth he got straight from God! Abraham never did that sort of thing. You persist in repeating the works of your father.”
They said, “We’re not bastards. We have a legitimate father: the one and only God.”
42-47“If God were your father,” said Jesus, “you would love me, for I came from God and arrived here. I didn’t come on my own. He sent me. Why can’t you understand one word I say? Here’s why: You can’t handle it. You’re from your father, the Devil, and all you want to do is please him. He was a killer from the very start. He couldn’t stand the truth because there wasn’t a shred of truth in him. When the Liar speaks, he makes it up out of his lying nature and fills the world with lies. I arrive on the scene, tell you the plain truth, and you refuse to have a thing to do with me. Can any one of you convict me of a single misleading word, a single sinful act? But if I’m telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Anyone on God’s side listens to God’s words. This is why you’re not listening—because you’re not on God’s side.”
The Prize isn’t here, it’s a Someday Prize
So this morning, as I was out on my walk, and right now I can’t remember they “why” behind this popping into my head, but the jingle to Cracker Jack did. It could be that somewhere in the crevices of my little brainy filing cabinet, my head still held the picture of Cracker Jack being sold at the Straz Center the other night. I thought for a moment how unusual that was that out of all the items one might want to have during a play to eat, I’d not have thought of Cracker Jack. I’m thinking more on the lines of why Cracker Jack stayed in my head though, and I’m pretty sure now that it was because *GOD* filed it there for today’s blog. Yep, that’s our story, mine and *GOD*‘s and it works for me.
Get on with it already Jeannie, is most likely what you’re thinking. Be patient, be patient, be patient! What? That’s not what you wanted me to say? That’s not usually what any one of us like to hear when we are awaiting the prize, or something good that is coming, or maybe even if we are going through a procedure that isn’t quite comfortable, or waiting for news, be it something good, or maybe sometimes, not so good. We just want to hear, know, get to the “thing” at hand.
Patience is not exactly a virtue most of us have. It’s not the one that we ask *GOD* for either, not readily. What do I mean? Let me put it in growing terms. If you are so willing, and you mouth the words, “*GOD* give me patience.” May I tell you the outcome of such words? Let me just say it this way, and quote a quote from “All About Eve”. It’s a pretty well known quote for old movie buffs like me. I think it has been around, and even misquoted. What am I talking about now, I’m talking about that moment, when Margo Channing, the character played by Bette Davis say’s, “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”
Yep, that’s going to be the outcome when you ask *GOD* to teach you patience. He’s going to put you into places, situations, and events afterwards that are going to give you lots and lots, and lots and lots, and even more lots and lots of times to put your patience into practice. Yes, that is how it works. That’s why a seasoned CHRISTian knows better.
Now, before you get me wrong, and think that I’m saying that we shouldn’t ask for help with patience being perfected in our lives, I’m not!!! What I’m saying is, it’s not something you need to ask for, it’s something you need to work on without asking. Enough situations come into play, in our day, that afford us plenty of exhibition time for patience to shine forth. Agree?
Now, what does all this have to do with the fore mentioned box of Cracker Jack at the beginning of this blog? It has this to do with it… Inside each of us are prizes awaiting to be opened. Just like that box of cereal, the manufacturer put the prize within the box. Just like the boxes of cereal that contain a prize as well, they put that prize inside for sure, but it’s the “where” in the box that pertains to me posting this blog.
Inside each box of cereal, Cracker Jack, what have you, the prize is at the bottom. Now, if you get smart, which many of us did when I was kid, you get wise to this and open the cereal at the bottom, knowing that you will be the first kid in the house to get the prize.
Now here is the thing about that though, with us, and between us and *GOD*, He knows that within each of us there are prizes to be discovered. For instance, so often a brand new CHRISTian will have these eyes of wonderment; and they should, really, it’s an exciting time in their lives. That wonderment though can become like wanting to find the prize, and looking for it all at once. Wanting to be say, where the seasoned Believer is, in their walk. It can’t be. You can’t rush the prizes that *GOD* unfolds as we grow in His Word. You just can’t.
Some try, I know I did. Can I share a little here? Of course I can, it’s my blog. I love that!
Any-who… When I first accepted Christ into my life I thought this was some sort of miracle cure all for all the badness in the world. I looked at everyone, and boy do I mean everyone, who said that they were a CHRISTian, and I had high expectations. So high, that if they didn’t live up to them, I doubted they were CHRISTian. Yes, that was me. Now, as if that little high hope isn’t enough of a drama I went a step further in faking it, until I made it. Yes, I did. I signed up for a New Believers class that was held at the church I attended. Now, you do not know this either, I’ve only been raised a certain way. You become a _______, and that was your ticket into Glory. However, that is not what the Bible say’s is the way into Heaven. There is absolutely no way a denomination can get you into Heaven. No more than say, a saved grandma who is always praying for you. They can’t do it, she can’t do it, only you and I, admitting that we are sinners, being sorry for those sins, and repenting of them, and accepting Christ into our heart and lives, is that Glory Day ever going to come about.
So any-who I’m in this class and I’m sort of feeling stupid; which isn’t hard for me. I came into this world last in a line of eleven and I had lots and lots of verbiage thrown at me about being the runt. That’s a whole story for another day though. We all know runts are just the cutest. =)
Okay, so I’m sitting in this class and I’m doing everything I can to impress the teacher of the class. I want to look like I’ve got some Biblical knowledge, right? You know that saying, “You can fool a lot of people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.”? Why is it that isn’t the first sentence engrained into us at school? It should be. In fact I think it should be said daily, like the pledge or beginning the day with prayer. Just so we can be reminded that we can’t fool anyone. Okay, so we can fool some, but when nobody is looking, it’s you and *GOD*, seriously? That’s the pivotal, most important lesson to learn. Why even bother to fool mankind, when it’s *GOD* who we need to please?
That’s the point of the prize at the bottom of the box. Part of the prize at the bottom is the anticipation factor. The desire to want that prize, but be ever so patient in the enjoyment of the cereal or snack before you get it. That’s exactly how Patient *GOD* is with us. He knows there is going to be a learning curve. He knows that many of us aren’t surrounded by Believers who are behaving well, some of which are faking it, and others who can be a bit like I was in my early stages of Believing.
No matter what though, *GOD* is fully aware of all the prizes within each of us. It’s a journey we walk with the Holy Spirit helping us. We don’t need to ask for something to occur for us to learn, we just have to keep our Biblical education up, and learn day by day. Like the song, One Day At A Time. It might be an old song, or one you wouldn’t sing so much in praise and worship services today (sad but true), but the words are Truth.
I would love… No, I think *GOD* would love it, if you would listen to this version, and listen to the testimony of someone who didn’t know, but now knows.
One Day At A Time by Robert Wesley Branch
Oh yes, the thought I most wanted to leave with you today: Always remember that the prize is not the goal. Knowing that you are His prize, His treasured possession, that’s real prize. We each, in-Christ Jesus, received the best prize already, Jesus Christ. Everything else, well, man hands out prizes all the time. One day you are the best, and the top this or that, the next day somebody else is. Really? That’s what we Believers are absolutely not all about. A prize is coming, one where we will hear: Well done! Now that is a prize well worth having the patience, and endurance, and livability to wait upon.
Until all have heard of, and know His love,