Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Gray Area part 3 (1 Corinthians 8:4-13)

"Sometimes it seems easier to take care of an animal than a stray person"
"Hairy" was a stray we took in.
Minolta Camera with Topaz Simplify Photoshop Filter

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

One of my favorite leaps of faith was when I was a Technical Writer at The Boeing Company.  When the web first became public, I was sitting in a Computing Department. My jaw dropped and I ran out and learned HTML.  God had already provided my artistic talent.  So I jumped right in.  It worked out really well for many years.  So if you're looking for work don't forget to look inside and beside you.  God has plans.  Every time I think of this I have to smile and thank God.

Jesus told us to give food to those who are hungry and water to the thirsty.  These easy little tasks bless Him as well.  This is both physical and spiritual as I see it.  Sometimes people are hungry for truth, righteousness and goodness.  We can feed them.  Sometimes they are thirsty for a simple, refreshing viewpoint.  I've had some fun with giving people literal water.  When a guy was out taking down a rotten tree I brought him a glass of water.  That's an easy one!  He really appreciated it.  But sometimes it seems these words of Jesus' are more than a glass of water.  He's telling us to reach out of our comfort zone and friendships and help someone in need.  Not so easy.  It might even mean giving up a favorite obsession.  

One of the issues the early Church had to deal with was idols.  They were everywhere.  To become a Christian, they had to turn away from their idols and focus on Jesus.  But there was this food on the idol's table. It seemed a shame to let it go to waste.  After all it was meant to be an offering to bring good luck.
4 Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. 5 For even if there are so- called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.

In today's world we all know idols are just wood or cement.  Most of us don't have much hope that they will do anything of value except look pretty on the coffee table.  I remember receiving a "Prayer Rug" in the mail.  If I knelt on this paper rug, faced a window and prayed, I'd be rich!  And if I sent them money woohoo!  I'd be even richer... sigh.  No worries I didn't try it : )  That's not God's way.  We still have idols huh?  Things like these make it hard for new Christians.
7 However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.

9 But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? 11 And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
What this means to me is if I claim to be a Christian, then decide I have no moral responsibility to prevent tempting others; I'm causing people to fall. One example may be alcoholism.  If I offer wine to someone who comes to my home who has been addicted to alcohol in the past, then tell them their chains are gone they should drink.  I am in danger of putting someone back into a dangerous addiction which isn't what Jesus had in mind.
(1 Corinthians 8:4-13 NKJV)

Here's my prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,
I pray You will help us all understand these words and not cause others to stumble.  The freedom we have in You is so superior, it's not worth tripping around.  I lift up Russia, Ukraine, and Europe to You.  I pray for safety and Your hand of peace.  I pray for Iran and Syria as well.  Please grant our leaders wisdom and our people hope.  I also pray for peace in Jerusalem and that Israel will stay strong.  Thank You for the many blessings You have provided.  I also lift up my friend Lisa and pray You will heal her body and mind.  Please bring wisdom to the doctors for safer cancer treatments.
In Jesus Name, Amen.

In Jesus, we are one Church of many nations : )
Another song from the Irish folks- Rend Collective Build Your Kingdom Here (link) .

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