Everyone in Everything

…just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:33 ESV)

Taking Scripture out of context is dangerous. If you read 10:33 without reading 10:31, you will become the quintessential chameleon–blending in everywhere you go, pleasing everyone you know, becoming whoever you’re with. So here goes verse 31:

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV)

If God’s glory is your highest aim, pleasing others can be your second aim. You will please God and others. If God’s glory is your highest goal, then pleasing others can be your second goal and you won’t become a “people pleaser.” For Paul it is a question of motive. Why does he please everyone in everything?

“…that they may be saved.” 

Paul glorifies God and pleases others hoping that it will result in the salvation of others. This is why a believing wife will respect her unbelieving husband–not seeking her own advantage–but hoping that he may be saved. This is the reason the father of a wayward child will appear to capitulate–not seeking his own advantage—but wishing that his son may be saved. This is why a friend will bend over backward to help an unbelieving friend–not seeking her own advantage–but praying that her friend will be saved.

Who is your everyone? What is the everything you can do so that he or she may be saved?

The People That Walked in Darkness

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. (Isaiah 9:2 ESV)

Last night Hannah came home and announced that the sky was showering meteors! Immediately she and I went outside and stared up into the sky…and saw nothing. Well we saw stars like normal. So we came back in, googled it and headed out to a dark spot. We went into the darkness to see the light!

We loaded up (11 pm) in the Honda Pilot. Wendy, Hannah, Trent (and his two friends who spent the night) and I headed to a dark spot and waited. In the darkness we waited for the light. We peered into the sky to see falling stars. The sources of these meteors is as striking as the meteors themselves. Here’s what wired.com had to say about it:

Although most meteor showers happen when Earth passes through a path of debris left by a comet, the source of the Geminids is a 3-mile-wide asteroid-like object called 3200 Phaeton. When it was discovered in 1983, it looked like any other asteroid. But further observations using NASA’s STEREO spacecraft over the last few years have revealed that 3200 Phaeton has a tail like a comet. It’s now called a rock comet—yet another in-between object that seems to be part asteroid, part comet.

Imagine it–3 miles of light. The meteors came through; the light penetrated the darkness. We were in awe of the splendor and glory of God’s creation.

Imagine 400 years of darkness. 400 years of longing for God’s voice in the midst of the darkness. 400 years of silence. And out of the darkness piercing light erupts–like a shower of meteors out of a 3-mile-wide asteroid. Read the story of Jesus’ birth. The resounding refrain is light! Angels with glory shining around them. A star guiding magi from the east.

God dwells in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16) but at Christmas he condescended to become one of us. Light penetrated the darkness. John said it succinctly, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Jesus is light worth waiting for. He is the meteor shower of all meteor showers.

Bold Requests of God

Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a king,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal Spirit,
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine own sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.

This favorite Advent carol has six bold requests. Charles Wesley revealed his deep longing for God when he penned the words. I challenge you to make these same requests your own:

Come thou long expected Jesus. Do you really want Jesus to invade your space? To call your heart His home? To become your boss? To be Lord of all of your life? Ask Him. I dare you.

From our fears and sins release us. What is your worst fear? Your greatest temptation? Do you believe He can set you free from it? Do you believe he can break the chains of sin that bind you?

Let us find our rest in thee. Are you weary? Tired of the rat race? Frustrated with the hectic season called Christmas? Tired of trying to keep up with your neighbors, outdo your coworker, impress you relatives? Rest in him. Jesus himself said, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.”

Now thy gracious kingdom bring. Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done…on earth as it is in heaven.” What kingdom thwarting habit are you practicing? Who has been reached through your obedience?

Rule in all our hearts alone. This is a bold request. “Jesus, rule…alone!” No one else. Nothing else. No selfish ambition. Just Jesus.

Raise us to thy glorious throne. Jesus, change us from the inside out. Replace hopelessness with hope. Fill our emptiness with your fullness.  David talked about this in Psalm 40:

I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. (Psalm 40:1-3 ESV)

Notice when David was raised to God’s glorious throne–after he patiently waited.  If you are in a pit, put your hand in his and let him draw you out and raise you to his glorious throne. He’ll change your tune! (my paraphrase of “he put a new song in my mouth.”) Then many will see and fear and say, “What happened to her! What’s up with him!”

Today, pray those six requests of Wesley’s old hymn. The next time you sing it, be careful what you ask for!

Ignorance is Deadly

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
because you have rejected knowledge,
I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.  Hosea 4:6

Israel traded the glory and grace of God for the shame and disgrace of the world.  They didn’t know God.  Their lack of knowing God resulted in their destruction.  They should have known better.  Hosea’s own life was an object lesson in the deep love of God for His people.

In Hosea 1:2, God gave Hosea a strange command: Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.  Hosea, God’s prophet, married a prostitute.  They had three children together.  Then she left him for another man.

Then Hosea did the unthinkable.  He showed up in the red light district and found his wife, Gomer, selling her body.  He stepped into the fray of lust-filled men and bid on his own wife.  In his words: “So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley.”  I wonder how she felt.  The embarrassment.  The shame.  What was the look on her face when she looked over the men who wanted her and saw her own husband?  And he wasn’t any husband…he was the prophet to the king of Israel!

Then he said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days.  You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.” (3:3)  In other words, Gomer, you’re coming home!  I want you to be mine.  There’s no mention that he asked her who she had been with, what she had one, or where she had gone.  He bought her back.

Then, in chapter 4, God calls Israel out for her ignorance.  Israel was ignorant of a God who would stand among the lust-filled suitors of the day and bid the highest price on his bride.  Israel was ignorant of a God who would embarrass himself by condescending to her and bringing her home.

And today most of the world is dying from ignorance:  ignorance of a God who became a human being, was tempted in every way like we are–yet without sin–and was ultimately made sin for us that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Ignorance is killing people.

They can’t imagine a God who would mingle among the mess of their lives and take them home to live with Him.

He did and He does.  That’s the message of Christmas.  God became a human being, the Creator walked among the created.

Do you know Him?