Standing on the Promises

Yesterday was the National Day of Prayer but we almost missed it! How Glad I was to notice it on the television and spend the last 35 minutes of our evening praying for our nation. Just as in any family we often have our differences. God offers us the opportunity to pray together and sing together as one church, to remind us that for those of us who follow Him, through Christ we are all one. Unity in Jesus is one of the great promises of the Bible, but one that we have to stand on during the storms and we certainly are in the midst of a storm today! We are in a storm overseas with the war in Ukraine. We are in the storm at home fighting with each other over the best way to combat a pandemic that never seems to end. We are in a political and media storm as the battle for the innocent lives of the unborn hangs in the balance. We must pray…but more than that…we must stand together or as Benjamin Franklin noted in 1776, “We must indeed all hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately.” But what we stand together on is not political cleverness, social acceptance or military power. What holds us together as the family of God is Standing on His promises and loving one another as He commanded.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35 NLT

The Glory of Unity!

The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, John 17:22 ESV

It is quite poplar at church to say that we should be one in the Spirit, but much as I have tried to get a hold on that unity, it seems elusive at best. Singing about it, having communion together and shaking hands after church feels great, but my sense of unity seems to evaporate somewhere in traffic on the way home. Part of the problem is that I along with many of you don’t get the first part of the verse. When Jesus talks about glory, I get this weird image of God giving us a standing ovation in heaven or perhaps Jesus pulling the Father aside and whispering, “See Pete over there – isn’t he great!”

The problem we then run into is that, we try to work up Christian unity by our own efforts. I don’t know how that works for you but the sad truth is that I am totally incapable of doing it. Unity comes only from God’s glory and the most glorious thing that the Father ever gave Jesus, happened at His baptism. Then the Heavens opened and the Spirit descended like a dove. That is a glory that only comes as a gift (Just like Salvation). We can’t work it up, plan it into existence or take credit for it. It is a unity that only comes from heaven and it is God’s gift. To live in His unity and His glory will only happen when we place our life as a living sacrifice on His altar and then wait for His Spirit to come and bring about what only Jesus can do. That way when it happens even for a moment, He gets all power and glory forever and ever Amen!

God’s Littlest Toes

 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Romans 12:5 KJV

If we were asked to pick one single member of our body that we would miss the least, many would answer, our little toe. After all that toe is not only very small but probably no one would even notice. But not long ago I had a revelation about its value when that toe met the leg of our kitchen table. First came the pain that made me sit down for several minutes until my head cleared. My brain didn’t care about my strong hands, smooth biceps or well combed hair. All I could focus on was just exactly how much I loved my toe!

The same is true in God’s body called the church. You see, not only was I in pain on the day when I broke my toe, but it affected every part of my life. My morning walk was transformed into a morning hobble to the coffee pot. Our seat towards the front of the church was traded for one nearest the door. Over those six weeks, a walk on the beach or working in my garden were both definitely out. Even getting my shoes off and on was a delicate task. Slowly I learned that humility is the first step towards appreciation. Maybe there are members, not only of our body, but also of our church or our own family whom we are just taking for granted. Maybe we are overlooking their value because we haven’t slowed down enough to notice them. But we are all noticed by Jesus Christ. Let’s not wait for even one of them to be broken before we learn to treat them with respect! After all even God’s littlest toes were loved so much by Jesus that He gave not only His love and but also His life for ours!