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Monday, April 18, 2011
Don't Make a Vulture out of a Chickadee!
I had to face a beast today. This flying monster struck fear in my heart with ease, causing me to flinch and doubt myself with its every move. Somehow the bohemian winged savage had penetrated the outer defenses of my home and was on my front porch just waiting to find its way further into my residence to undoubtedly wreak havoc. With my very life in peril, I braved forward and, with sweat beading from my pores, managed somehow to overcome my trepidation and capture it. Brother Marvin held open the door so I could, grappling and struggling to maintain strong hold on the raging rogue, thrust it out into the world--we were safe. Victorious over the invasion of ...
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That’s right – I had to capture a 'monstrous' Chickadee and remove it from my enclosed front porch today. The poor little creature was in a flying panic as I approached it (my front porch has windows all around it) and was flapping and slamming into windows in a futile attempt to escape. Even though I knew the small bird couldn't inflict any real damage to me, every time it flew I flinched and ducked! Even as I finally captured it against a window with my hands I felt fear. Once I had it in my hands it was vainly trying to peck away at me ... and of course it didn’t even hurt. I had to laugh at myself and be glad there was no video of my less than manly approach to capturing the creature.
As I released the terror-stricken bird and watched it fly away I couldn’t help but think of how my response to confronting the tiny creature was much like how we deal with the “monster sized” sins in our life. Most of the bad/sinful habits we have started as small insignificant things –“chickadee” sized matters that we believed would never control us that now, even though they are the same “size” they are monsters that control our life. Vultures, circling our dying, sinful-habit infested 'temples', awaiting our eventual, inexorable demise so they can finish us off for good, feasting on the flesh of our spiritually dead carcasses.
For instance: take such a small thing as a cigarette – yet how many people are seemingly powerless and controlled by them? Did you know the average cost per year to the “pack a day” smoker is now up to $15,000? From dental costs to laundry to property damage to productivity loss, the incidental costs of smoking can really add up to a whole lot more than you might think. It is such a small thing – how did it get so big?
For me this one moderate sized slice of pizza represents a “small” thing that turned into a monster in my life. My personal sin of gluttony was fully exposed as I was powerless against pepperoni pizza. I used to joke that I was incapable of ever passing up the chance to eat some pizza – the joke was on me as I ate my way into obesity.
The list of apparently miniscule midgets that turn into out of control gargantuan monsters in our life--causing us to run from them like an elephant from a mouse is looooong. The reality is that we all have to face temptation; we all have a natural sinful desire to do the wrong thing that no one ever had to teach us about.
This week we celebrate the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As He hung on the cross between heaven and earth as was coming close to death He made a simple, yet eternally powerful statement:
"It is finished"
Thanks to the amazing love of God by sending us His only begotten Son, who was willing to die for us all on the cross, we can all live in freedom from sin. The religious folks will tell you that you must jump through various hoops, follow their rules, their special understanding of how to earn God’s love in order to get to heaven. If you are religious then your “small sins” are an ongoing point of guilt and condemnation. If you have a relationship with Jesus, then you can learn each day how to allow His love and grace to guide you and keep you from allowing those small things to become monsters that could ruin your life.
Pop quiz –
How many of you can quote John 3:16? Great job! Question #2 on our quiz – now quote John 3:17….
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:17 (NKJV)
You may look like a wimpy fool when facing your “chickadee” sins. On your own they will easily defeat you, growing in stature and fearsomeness until one day you have a deadly vulture circling you and you are dwindling pathetically in strength ... unable--under your own power--to defeat it.
This week I want you to know that the message of the empty cross we all can celebrate on Sunday is, that Jesus can, and will, set you free from all of your sin. He did not come to condemn you; He came to set you free. So stop ducking and running away from your sin.
Confess it to Jesus:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NKJV)
Allow Him to forgive you, clean you up and come into your life and you will soon be able to face those sins with a new confidence, a lack of condemnation and the power (through Jesus) to release them out of your life and watch them fly away.
If you do not have a church fellowship to attend this Sunday I invite you to come fellowship with a great Community of Faith and Love called Shiloh’s Lighthouse. This Sunday, starting at 10:30 A.M. we will celebrate Easter; have an egg hunt for the children and a full meal following the service. Bring your entire family and leave the religious guilt at the door – nothing here but freedom and grace as together we learn how to be the people God created us to be.
Keep the faith, and let Jesus help you keep your Chickadees from becoming Vultures ….