Where's the Beef?

   Have you ever sat back and wondered why it is we seem to only put a great emphasis on Jesus during holidays? I mean, look at Easter & Christmas. It is no secret my feelings towards those days as well as what scripture reveals about them, but that is not what this article is about. If you observe those days, why are they so much more important than any other? Why is it that during the rest of the year, we seem to only focus on Jesus when we either need something, or it is convenient for us?

   Let's take a look at a bit of scripture shall we…..

Luke 23:32-43

32And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.

33And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

34Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

35And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.

36And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,

37And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.

38And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

39And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

40But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

41And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

42And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

43And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

   What we end up seeing here is an act that many go through. Sometimes it's not till the very end that people realize how lost they are without Jesus and they repent. This thief knew his life was over and there was nothing he could change about it. He was about to die. What he could change was what would happen when he left this place. By repenting and believing on Jesus, he secured an eternity with God. Let me also interject a side point. This flies in the face for those who believe baptism is necessary for salvation and forgiveness. It is a work solely based on faith in Jesus Christ, as it is His grace that saves us.

   Back on spot. What this passage is NOT telling us, is that we should all wait until the end and then change. No, far from it. This man came to the realization of just who Jesus was, and what He was doing, why He was here, and had no intentionally put God off. If we do it, one would have to question that last minute change of heart, yet, only God could judge that. You do have to understand, God knows the difference in just words coming out of your mouth to try and obtain a get out of jail free card versus true repentance and belief on Jesus. THAT is what this thief demonstrated, true belief and repentance.

  So where is my point for those who are saved? Well, we say we believe, trust, love, and honor God, and even that we repent. To mimic a very old commercial….where's the beef? I mean how often is God REALLY your first thought? How often is He more of just an after-thought? You know, like this…

  1. Man, that was some good food. OH! I forgot to thank God for it.
  2. I got that promotion I wanted for so long because of my hard work. OH! Yeah, God, you had something to do with it to.
  3. The doctors cured my illness. OH! Yeah, God you gave them the ability to do that in the first place.
  4. I can't pay my bills, I can't get a loan, and my friends won't lend me anything. OH! Hey God, can you help a guy out here?
  5. Man, that was a good sermon about going out and telling people about Jesus.  OH! Hey God, I'll get to that tomorrow okay? I need to go have my Sunday dinner with my friends and catch the game.
  6. That was an awesome book I just read. OH! God, I'll start reading the Bible tomorrow.

   And the list goes on. You know it, because you do it! You can deny it to anyone including yourself, but you can't deny it to Him. So where's the proof He is first? What would you do if He chose not to pay you attention, and let you know He loves you? That would be a hard pill to swallow. And you know, we often do and just don't realize it. When we start turning our backs on Him, He's a gentleman and doesn't force Himself on anyone. We talk about how America is fading away from Him, yet the examples we lead don't show the rest of the world that we offer anything but lip service.

   So where do you go from here? You begin by letting go of the past and focusing on right now. From this point forward, you can be either in His will, or continue to deny Him and be outside of it. The choice is yours. Don't think just because you haven't done what was needed before that it can stop you now. Pick yourself up. He's waiting. Don't make excuses about you have to get yourself right first, because that's just it. YOU never will. Depend upon yourself and fail. Depend on Him, and win. It really is that simple. And tomorrow may never come for you. Are you ready?

  Noah liked the wine, but God used him in a mighty way. Moses? Well, he murdered someone and God had Him lead Israel out of Egypt. Jesus even had a tax collector for a Disciple (which back in the day was not a good thing to be) named Matthew that went from serving money to serving God. (That's a lesson for us all!) And then the Apostle that persecuted believers of Jesus. Saul, who became Paul, certainly made an impact.

   If you haven't been fed daily by prayer, reading God's Word, doing His work, and Christian fellowship, you are starving yourself spiritually. You need to change. It's not too late, so what's it gonna be?

In His Grace,

            Mike Harris


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