The Cybersalt Shaker features devotionals and commentary written by Pastor Tim.
My hat is off to Dennis Tito! Mr. Tito is the California, mega-millionaire type who recently became the first earthling to take a vacation that was truly and literally out of this world.
For a mere 20 million dollars, Tito hitched a ride on a Soviet rocket and visited, much to the consternation of NASA, the new International Space Station. Forbidden to say anything that remotely sounded like, "Hey guys, what does this button do?" Tito spent his week floating around in the weightlessness of space, taking pictures and video of the earth and other parts of the heavens. I really think the whole deal with his trip was great. Why you ask?
Well, first of all, Dennis' trip into orbit proclaims a new reality in the world. It is now possible to buy your way into the heavens. Yes, for a cool 20 mil, you or I can go where a few decades ago only dogs, monkeys, lab rats, and elite astronauts got to travel.
The other great thing is that this whole exercise serves as another opportunity to remind people that no one can buy their way into Heaven. Even with untold millions, everyone will fall short of the eternal rest God offers humankind if they try to buy their way through the pearly gates. Heaven can only be, and only ever will be, accessible by faith alone in Christ's death for our sins and God's raising Him from the dead.
I've started saving my money for my own future vacation in the heavens (I have less than 20 million to go!) When I have enough I'll be able to say, "Comrade, Fly me to the Moon!"
As for my eternal destination I'm trusting in, and waiting for, Jesus.
Copyright 2003, Cybersalt.
In one of the gardens in my backyard, I have a flowerbed with poppies growing in it. (No, not that kind of poppy) I don't even plant them now because each fall they reseed themselves. When spring comes, the seeds start to grow and produce a green, wall to wall carpet, of young poppy plants.
I am not much of a gardener. My theory is, "If it can't grow alone, then it shouldn't be growing." (Yes, I have read Genesis 3:17-19) I am all for leaving the young flower plants in their ghetto to fight it out amongst themselves. My wife on the other hand, knows about plants and each year thins out the bed so some of the poppies can thrive. It's not good for plants to grow too close together.
Unfortunately "it's not good to grow too close together" is the philosophy of some Christians when it comes to relating to others in their church. I understand some people's reasons for adopting this approach. Some have been hurt in the past by fellow Christians they trusted and opened themselves up to. Others are naturally shy and find developing intimacy a challenge. Still others are gun shy because of high turn over and exit rates both in the pew and the pulpit. After all, who wants to open up when so many people and pastors move to a new church every few years?
All of the above are understandable, and yet the fact remains that Christians are different than poppy plants - we can only thrive in intimate fellowship with each other. Jesus said that the world would know we are His disciples if we loved one another. (John 13.35) How can we love each other when we aren't close to each other? In Hebrews 10:25, we are told to not give up meeting together so we can encourage one another. How can we do this while maintaining a "safe" distance from others?
No, it's very clear that God's children can only thrive in the close-knit fellowship of the Body of Christ - the church. This spring, move closer to someone in your church and let them move closer to you. Don't let anything or anyone thin you out.
Just over a week ago, from the time of my writing this, I experienced the strongest local earthquake that has occurred since my moving to Canada's shaky left coast four and a half years ago.
When it began to happen, I was sitting at my desk. At first it sounded like a big truck driving by behind our church. After a few seconds it sounded like a really, really big truck. Then I realized what was going on and that it was time to move to a doorway. The doorway I headed to leads to our sanctuary where a number of the ladies of our church were just finishing a morning Bible study. As the shaking intensified, with each rumbling wave, it was time take cover and hang on. Everybody's plan of action varied over the next 10 or 15 seconds that our part of the world rattled and shook.
I've been thinking about those exciting, adrenaline filled seconds and how long they were -long compared to the amount of reaction time there will be when Jesus comes back. The Bible tells us that His return will happen "in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed." (1 Corinthians 15:52)
When Jesus comes back there will be no confusion as to what might be coming in the distance. When Jesus comes back there will be no time to drop to one's knees and clear up accounts with God. No, when Jesus comes back it will be ready or not - TWINKLE - it's all ready over.
Our recent earthquake has me thinking about how to better prepare for the next trembler which could be the big one they say is coming some day. More importantly though, it has also reminded me to be ready for the coming of The Almighty One who has promised to come back and to do so quickly - so quickly that when He does come back we will only have time to twinkle.
Recently, after the purchase of a "new to us" TV, my family and I can now watch a local station which features Christian content. It has been an interesting addition to my regular cue of channels to surf. After all, it's not every day when you click your remote and hear "Let's go to hell for that interview with King Agrippa." Another interesting attention grabber I heard one day, while voyaging through my TV universe, was "Let's hear some of the prophecies that are coming out of that area."
It turned out that in a particular city, I'll not name it here, someone was claiming that the spirit of revival was going to rise up and then, from there, sweep out and cover the whole world. An exciting thought for sure, it wasn't one that I haven't heard half a dozen times in the last couple of years - only the original locale keeps changing as if God can't make up His mind where He wants to start this thing.
Don't get me wrong. I think a worldwide revival would be great. It's just that I am getting tired of people trying to position themselves so they can claim responsibility for it. Isn't that what's behind everyone claiming it will begin in their city?
Besides, I know where God wants to start worldwide revival - in you and me. Yes, if you or I follow Christ a little bit more in our lives, worldwide revival could break out. Of course whomever God starts with will so busy worshipping Jesus that they will probably not notice that that's where it began. But that doesn't matter either because, unlike in real estate, when it comes to revival, location doesn't matter.
One need only have a heart for God.
Recently, while recovering from a brief period of being under the weather, I let my wife drive on a trip to her sister's house. Like most men, I prefer to steer when we travel together. It has nothing to do with my wife. She is an excellent driver (although I think I could beat her on the racetrack). It's a guy thing.
My rare turn as passenger was a pleasant experience as I viewed the world from the other side of our van. I saw new houses that had been built, animals in fields, a half sunken boat pulled alongside the shore, piles of interesting junk in yards, students playing hooky on the golf course, and much more. All of those things are there when I drive, but being in control limits what I can see. Not being in the driver's seat gives one a whole new perspective on the great, big, world we live in.
The same is true in our walk with Christ. Many Christians suspect that there are great and wonderful things out there that God has for them. However, instead of giving control of their lives over to God, so He can lead them to where His full plan for their life can be experienced, some Christians insist on staying in the driver's seat. It's a sin thing. They may claim to want God's will for their life, but they reject His control over it. It's the difference between full surrender and a calculated retreat.
There are some things that we will never see until God is in our driver's seat.
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