Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other notorious sinners. (There were many people of this kind among the crowds that followed Jesus.) But when some of the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with people like that, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”
When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough.” Mark 2:15-17
It’s so easy to think that once you are a Christian, you are better, or at least you’re supposed to be. After all, isn’t that the point? Isn’t that why we go to church and why we get busy doing “Christian” things and hanging out with “Christian” people, so we’ll be better? We’ll be in a better environment? Isn’t that why we send our kids to “Christian” schools, so they will have better friends and not those scumbags that populate the public schools? Isn’t that the way we think? What’s wrong with thinking that way?
“Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Matthew 8:20
We are stardust; we are golden And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden – Joni Mitchell
After the news about Pam Mark Hall being temporarily displaced from her home in Oroville (she’s home now, thank God, but not totally out of danger, so keep praying for that damn dam to hold), it got me thinking about refugees in the Bible; and when you start thinking about it, it’s hard to find anyone who was not, at least at one time, a refugee.
I just found out that one of our MemberPartners and good friend, singer/songwriter Pam Mark Hall, is one of the evacuees of the town of Oroville where she grew up, and has, of late, relocated and is housing and caring for her mother who has dementia. She and her mother are in Chico right now, readying to return home today. She says they have changed the mandatory evacuation to a warning, which means they can return home as long as they are ready to pick up and leave again at a moment’s notice should the situation worsen.
Pray for the people of Oroville, California, 100,000 of whom are temporarily homeless today, and for how long, they don’t know. Imagine if you were uprooted from your home with no guarantee that there will be anything left by the time you returned there.
In case this story is new to you, there is a dam north of the town of Oroville in northern California that is currently having difficulty holding back all the water that is overflowing the lake it guards. There are two spillways that can be opened to let out water when the level in the lake gets too high, but in the flooded conditions lately both those spillways have sustained some damage. The concern is that if one of those spillways gives way, it will release a 30-foot wall of water on the town of Oroville down river. That’s a tsunami hitting a central California town. You just don’t expect things like this to happen.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
It’s a difficult time for truth.
At the end of 2016, the Oxford English Dictionary declared “post-truth” as the word of the year. The adjective is defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” We also have “alternative facts” to deal with when the reported facts are deemed to be incorrect. And when the sources of our information are deeply ensconced in their own opinions, it’s almost impossible to sort out the objective truth. We have numerous versions of the truth but most of it appears to be opinion, and no one trusts sources that tell them something other than what they want to hear.
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There is no place in the believer’s life for blame. Blame is never justified and it never serves a positive function. It is as old as Adam and as prevalent as sin. It’s the way we divert anything incoming that might humble us or help us face the truth about ourselves and what we are doing wrong. It’s a diversion. If we are charged with something, right or not, blame throws back something on the other person, and since we are all sinners who fall short of the glory of God, you can always find something to blame someone else for.
Some of you may have noticed the Catch went out late yesterday. When that happens you can usually assume technical difficulties or personal issues. The latter can come from the fact that I spent most the morning on a Catch that didn’t work, or I’m having some kind of personal struggle with the subject matter. Both were true yesterday. After spending most of my time creating a Catch that Marti nixed (you and I are both lucky she did), I then struggled with the subject matter of a new one. The Catch I ended up sending out was a revised version of something Marti had written some time ago to explain something about relationships. Perhaps you will remember the following:
Our attitude towards someone always determines our altitude. If you think you have married the “wrong” person, like Esther, but choose to treat him/her like the “right” one, that person will turn into the right one. On the other hand, if you married the right one, yet treat him/her as the wrong one, that person will turn into the wrong one. This holds true for all our relationships. How we treat each other will determine who we become.
The big question was, and still is: how much shall I tell you about where I stand in my own marriage on these things? Shall I just put this out there as information you can apply to your own relationships, or shall I apply it to mine with my wife? I know that personal application is always the way to go, but how much shall I reveal?
I would wager that we all would agree that God has a purpose for our lives. But I wonder how many of us are convinced that God has a destiny greater and better than our present circumstances. I ask, because I am not sure I am living to its fullest extent the life God has designed for me to live among the relationships He gave me to embrace. If I am not connecting His purpose for my life with those who are the closest to me, how can I expect to suddenly fulfill His purpose when I answer His call to “Go out” and make a difference in the world?