Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The View from Upside Down

I was reading about Paul and Silas in Thessalonica the other day (Acts 17). Paul spends "3 sabbath days" ministering to Jews in a synagogue there, explaining that "this Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ (v 3)". Some were converted, but some were not. And they were angry. So angry, that "they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar (v5)", and dragged the man that Paul and Silas were staying with to the authorities. This is a pretty common theme in Acts, but this verse caught my attention:
"And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, 'These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another King, Jesus'." Acts 17:6.

Whoever said the bible isn't relevant today is full of bologna (I had to sing the Oscar Meyer song to spell that, in case you were wondering). I so needed this scripture. Here is what God laid on my heart:

1. Is my world upside down?
I have been saved by grace. Jesus Christ is Lord, He died instead of me (Romans 4:25), I am no longer a slave to sin or my old ways (Romans 6:18). This changes everything. Am I living like it? My faith in Christ should turn my world upside down; but have I let it? To be honest, some days, I don't. I should be absolutely wrecked over this, and I am. There is no greater news than THE good news, and instead of enjoying the gorgeous view from upside down, I am down here trying to keep everything right side up.

2. Our world is right side up.
The Jews in Thessalonica liked their world right side up, thankyouverymuch. The proof and explanation of the gospel changed everything they stood and lived for. The way they ate, their customs, their profession, their schooling, everything. Is this not what we are facing today? ICYMI, true christian faith is not the popular way to go. Our faith makes us different. We know that sin is death and destruction, yet the world pushes us to dim our light a little (if not snuff it out), so that it's not shining on their darkness. Pursuing holiness is viewed as prudish, intolerant, hateful, and boring. Friend, we cannot waiver and conform. Every day, the ways of the world should become more out of focus. Paul was run out of town for his beliefs. Do not give up because it is easier. Jesus told his disciples "In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Sister, my prayer for you and I today is this: Lord, let us feel the devastation of being far from you. We turn to you, with repentant hearts, yearning to be closer to you. We cannot live right side up in this world. Turn everything upside down, bring it into focus. We live for you. Let the distance between sin and repentance become shorter every day. Remind us to pray without ceasing. Let your word dwell in our hearts richly. Thank you for changing everything.

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