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Focus Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5: 9 - 13

When I hear or read the word “resolve”, inevitably I recall the musical 1776. The script was based on historical documents and so Richard Henry Lee’s resolution for independence, states: “Resolved, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown.”

To be “resolved” or to “resolve” is not just a choice; it is something that has required some thought about what is important or necessary. For instance, growing up we heard that “Choosy Mothers chose JIF.” Now, let’s be honest – unless Mom worked for JIF, while she might choose JIF, I doubt that she was resolved to purchase JIF.

Our focus scripture this week concludes with one of my favorite scriptures: “If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit.” (2 Corinthians 5: 9 – 13, NLT) So, just a few scriptures earlier, Paul reminds us that we must all be judged by Christ one day – we will stand at The Bema seat. The Bema seat is the Throne of God. Nine years ago, I took the Youth Group from the Palmetto Church of the Nazarene to Acquire the Fire. During that weekend, there was a drama presented titled The Bema. It was a story about a group of six teens living relatively average teen lives. Towards the end of the first act (it was a two act play), the rapture occurred. The second act was about God judging their lives with the main character Adam receiving the majority of the advice. Then at the end – Adam wakes up. It was a dream (but his friends had the same dream ….) It was very impactful for the kids that were there; so, I bought the DVD that would allow us do the play. They did a great job. The funny part for me was the insight it provided. As I prepared the scripts for the kids, I had focused on the six kids initially; but there was a seventh character – his name was Phil. Phil was a really good and innocent character. The Holy Spirit then gave me some insight – Phil represented the Church at Philadelphia; the other characters represented Ephesus (that was Adam’s character), Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis and Laodicea. You may want to spend some time reading the Seven Letters to these churches: Revelation chapter 2 and chapter 3.

When the characters awoke from their dream, they resolved to change their attitude. Their attitude became one of being in their right minds for the benefit of those around them. It is easy to get caught up in exciting things and doing “crazy stuff for God” because it seems fun. I am not looking to be the proverbial wet blanket and I am certainly not looking to upset my friends in the Pentecostal church. What I am saying is that God knows (intimately) our hearts. Do we? Why do we do what we do?

As I prepare to serve on the upcoming Walk to Emmaus, I find myself taking a long hard look at my life and how I live it. Am I walking the talk, living out what I say? There are days that the answer simply is “No.” That is why I am resolved to persevere, to endure, to run the race and be the very best me that I can be. That means that I know that God knows my heart and that I am counting on Him to refine and purify my thoughts and intentions.

Amen

Comments

1rmarble@verizon.net | 200 days ago
In a previous comment I mentioned how the truth of God can be anti-intellectual and anti-logical. I think that's where we as believers seem crazy. As an older student in a university atmosphere, I would regularly have the opportunity to listen to younger students sound "resolved" about their resistance to a belief in God. They perceived themselves to be educated beyond such "superstition," modern-day children of the Enlightenment. Whenever my spiritual ears were alerted to this sense of sure resolve to claim agnosticism or atheism, as opposed to a stylish choice or a way to voice rebellion against one's parents' beliefs, I would pray and gird my loins. Spirit never wanted me to preach or argue in these cases, but rather to startle. That approach depends utterly on God's creativity, as you know so well from working with young people. Resolve is only resolve if it can withstand testing: intellectual, emotional, spiritual. And if it bears fruit, as our Founding Fathers were willing to act upon their resolve. It didn't bother me at all to drop a comment into the middle of these collegiate rants that at first listen might sound counter-logical, even "beside myself." I'm intrigued by your discovery that the different characters of the play represented the churches of Revelation. We think of them only of these biblical places that got spanked, but if you visit (or live among) these sites, you sense their personalities, and the social, cultural and geographical characteristics that shaped them for good or bad. How can we escape this kind of shaping, both of our own characters and the places we live? To resolve to walk by faith and not by sight is to take on a commitment that demands daily effort: a living decision, active and exercised every moment. Yikes!

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