Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Masterpiece of your Hands

Looking inquisitively at the solid block of marble he picked up his hammer. Placing the chisel to the rock he struck with a gentle force. A small chip of marble arced through the air. Another whack, another chip off the block. One small chip at a time. After more than two years of chipping Michelangelo put down his hammer and chisel, took a step back, and gazed upon his masterpiece, a fourteen foot statue of David made from solid marble.

We all are created in the image and likeness of God. God is the sculptor and each of us is formed by his own hand. Each and every one of us is a masterpiece created by the Father. Each and every one of us is priceless in his sight. Because we are each hand made there isn’t a single one of us the same.

God forms each of us with his own hand. Some of us are like malleable clay easily molded with a gentle touch. Others are like marble requiring repeated whacks with a large hammer. It took Michelangelo two years of strenuous labor through every type of weather to free David from the marble. God works on us continuously through our entire lifetime. We are a masterpiece constantly being changed and improved, much like the Illinois highway system.

God’s work in my life is constantly on-going right up until the point my body breathes its last. Then it returns to the dust from whence it came. The work on my soul continues until that is also made perfect. Again, for some of us our souls are like clay easy to form. Others require a long period of timelessness to perfect.

When our souls have been perfected God gathers the dust of our bodies and breathes new life into it. He then reunites our perfected souls with our newly formed perfected bodies. With all that is not perfect removed we now can dwell with God for eternity in heaven.

I am always amazed at God’s hand in my life. I lived in the shadows just shy of the darkness. God brought me forth from the shadows to the person I am today. This is not something I was capable of myself. People live in darkness because it is easy and it is fulfilling to our animalistic desires. To live in the light takes constant work. It takes discipline. It takes denial to things that seem to feel right. Addiction to darkness is the strongest addiction there is and all other addictions flow from it.

God has given me a vision of the person he wants me to become. That is the most frightening thing in my life, to see where I was and compare it to where I am supposed to go. There is no way I can ever accomplish that on my own. But the Lord knows this and he guides me through every step along the way. He is calling you to a new life as well and stands ready to take you by the hand and walk with you along the way. Will you allow him to guide you?

Whack me again with that hammer, Lord. I am your David waiting to be freed from this marble prison.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Guardian

In 2006 the movie The Guardian was released. It was a movie about the Coast Guard legendary rescue swimmer Ben Randall passing the torch to the next generation. Ben holds all of the Coast Guard’s speed records for swimming as well as most lives saved in the ocean. The class he instructs wonder how many people he has saved. One heard it was two-hundred, another heard three-hundred. No one knows for sure.

Near the end of the movie Jake Fischer, the man who replaces Randall, asks Randall what his true number was. Randall answers, “Twenty-two.” Fischer was taken aback for he expected a much higher number.

“Twenty-two is the number of people I lost, Jake. The only number I keep track of,” Ben Randall says soberly.

When we are baptized we take on the roles of priest, prophet, and king and are given the mission to bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus. That is what evangelization does, brings people to a saving knowledge of Jesus.

There are a bunch of Christians that believe they do not need a religion or a church. For them the only thing they need is Christ and Christ alone. They do not utilize the tools Jesus gave us to live our lives in an upright fashion or to complete our mission as priest, prophet, and king. Jesus does not want a billion individual relationships. Jesus wants a family. The trinity is a family and Jesus brings us into that family. God wants the same thing every other parent wants – his children to get along and love one another other sacrificially.

There is an idea that when we die we will stand alone before Jesus and we will be judged on all of the things we have done wrong in our lives. In reality we will be judged on our fruits, the good and the bad. Jesus will tell us what our true number is, the number of people we brought to a saving knowledge of Christ in the way we lived our lives. We do not stand before the judge alone. We stand with every person we helped get to heaven. They are the true fruit of our labor.

For those who have a relationship with Jesus alone, their numbers will be small. They will stand alone in judgment. Those who have embraced their true mission as priest, prophet, and king will stand with the family of God, not alone but united with the Kingdom of Heaven.

Save the ones you can Jake. The rest, you've got to let go.”