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Perspective

By Jaime Luce

Perspective, it’s what governs every action we act on.  Whether our actions are in thought, word or deed they are all first rung through the place of perspective.  Think about it.  There isn’t one thing you will do today that wasn’t based off of what you perceive to bring about a particular outcome even if it’s just your routine.  You perform daily tasks because in some form or fashion it will bring about results that from your perspective will give you a desired end.  If you use a coupon it’s because you believe it to be the best way to save money where as someone else would say that taking the time to look for and cut a coupon was a waste of their time, that their time was more valuable therefore not worth the possible gain in finances.  Whether we realize it or not we are all in a race to a finish line.  Like a swimmer we are either focused on our stroke, form and even our breath making strides with every reach or we are just treading water.  Perspective is everything.  It was this understanding that really struck me while reading Jesus’ words in Matthew 5.

This passage contains the famed Beatitudes.  Don’t you love it.  These are to “be our attitudes”.  This chapter is an in your face confrontation of what we are supposed to be as followers of Christ.  That our actions are not the final say on whether we’re hitting the mark or not.  It’s what’s in our heart and in our thoughts.  Jesus doesn’t give it to them nice and sweet.  You know we would all prefer the Mary Poppins version.   You know, “a teaspoon of sugar helps the medicine go down”.  Well I don’t ever see where Jesus ever wasted any time making nice nice.  He was a King and our Savior and when your saving a person drowning you don’t waste time making introductions and hoping they like you enough to save you.  There’s that perspective again.

We live in a culture of offense.  If we don’t like what someone says or the way they say it we think we are right to dismiss what is being said.  We have no desire to grow or be made better by the character of God we are supposed to be emulating.  My favorite example of this is the 10 Commandments vs. Grace, the Old Testaments Big Bad Law.  We say don’t tell me that law.  I’m under grace.  Well Ma’am, sir, yes you now have the wonderful unmerited favor and amazing grace that said you no longer have to pay the penalty of your sin.  It’s truly fantastic and we are no longer under any condemnation.  We are made new!  But would you want to put on your freshly clean showered body a dirty stinky old piece of clothes.  Who does that?  God’s precious grace is so powerful it is the tool we use to live a new life, not the old.

Let’s look at the 10 commandments from a fresh perspective.  Have you ever thought about what our world would be like if everyone Loved the Lord with all their heart?  It would be a world where everyone served him first above all other things in the order he designed.  A place where there was no murder, no theft, no lying, no greed and where every family had whole healthy relationships between parents and children.  Honor was the standard and everyone enjoyed long life full of blessing.  My friends that is paradise!  A God given utopia.  God’s design for us from the beginning was the Garden of Eden.  If your perspective of God is that he’s a mad mean God who is looking how to make life hard and without fun then you have the wrong image of God.  He’s a wonderful loving father who wants to provide for our every need in order to live a blessed life.  I’ll prove it to you.  In Genesis 2 God provides for a perfect environment from giving man a helper in Eve to feeding perfectly the plants with an exact temperature and mist to grow them everyday.  A place where he came everyday in the cool of the day to just walk and talk with them. The land had flowing water streams, hills filled with gold and precious stones and complete peace among everything that had breath.  But the real showing of God’s merciful and caring character is after Adam and Eve sinned.  He didn’t call them out and embarrass them.  He asked what happened and then made clothes for them to properly cover their shame.  He loved them.  Then to protect them from a worse fate of eternal damnation with no hope of salvation he made them leave the garden.  This was God loving us as well.  We needed salvation from our sin and Jesus was our reconciliation to God and his plan.

His plan was and is still to meet our needs.  That’s why Jesus said in Matthew 5:17, “I didn’t come to destroy the law or the Prophets.  I did not come to destroy but to fulfill”.  His sacrifice and perfect grace that was imparted to us was a gift to help us live a life that was intended for us, a life like that reflected in the 10 commandments.  In our fallen state we could never measure up but with Jesus all things are possible.  God said of himself to Paul that his strength is made perfect in our weakness.  He knows how to make perfect in us whatever needs help.  When we see correctly his plan, we can more easily receive his grace to live a holy and righteous life free from the evil that destroys us.  I know this is a challenge but I do challenge you to look at God through a new perspective.  To see his laws as a blessing not a list of do’s and don’ts that are made to restrict.  That’s not the God I serve.  That’s not the character of the one who gave his only son to save a world.  The scripture says that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. That’s the character of our God.  Now like Paul let’s live a life worthy of the calling.  We press toward the price of the high calling.  It’s time to step up and live a redeemed life.  His grace is sufficient for you.  Life is good with the right perspective.

Disqualified? I think not!

Little man holds a red Question Mark

By Jaime Luce

 

Have you ever had one of those times where you have read a passage in the Bible many times but see something for the first time?  Well I do, quite often really, and today was no different.  I was reading Matthew 1 and right there in verse 5, the genealogy mind you, something just jumped off the page and stuck to my eyeballs.  Okay well not quite, but it did feel that way.  Anyway, since I was blessed to be born into a Christian home with knowledge of the Bible and those mentioned in it I was taken aback to see this as if I never read it before.  I was very familiar with the person Boaz since my mother loved the story of Boaz and Ruth which I heard often.  But today, and why it took so long to see I don’t know, but right there in Verse 5 we see who his mother was.  Are you ready?  Wait for it…   I couldn’t believe it.  Rahab!  Rahab the Harlot!  How would you like it if every time your name was mentioned it was followed by the title “Harlot”?  Talk about never outrunning your past.  I mean I can’t think of her any other way.  Well, that was until today.

Now maybe you aren’t familiar with either of these people so let me help clarify.  While the children of Israel had been delivered out of Egypt they had not yet possessed the “Promised Land”.  In order to prepare to go and possess it Joshua their fearless leader, trained under Moses, was sending in spies to see what they were up against for this first city Jericho.  While doing all this spying word gets out that they are there and they are famously hid by Rahab on the top of her roof. Now Rahab was not an Israelite but a harlot (see how I did that again)  and in the midst of the fear that all Jericho was feeling she made a decision to believe what she had heard about their God.  How he had opened the Red Sea and they made it through on dry ground, how their enemies were annihilated and now he was coming for them.  She responded like most red blooded fearful humans would.  She promised to hide and save the spies and in return they would spare her and anyone in her house when they came to destroy the city.  All she had to do was hang a scarlet cord out her window and all of Israel would know they were not to touch them.  Sounds like a pretty good deal.  Sometimes the best choice is your only choice. Huh hum, well sometimes, not all the time.  But in this case it was.

I always knew that her name was mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus.  And that her act of hiding them was a memorial to her but I have to admit that I never saw anything else that said she wasn’t just making a shrewd move to save her life.  I mean really, we might all do the same if we thought we were going to die.  So I never gave her credit for truly turning her life around.  Then I go and see verse 5 “Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse and Jesse begot David the king.”  It’s right there in black and white.

So let me tell you why this is so amazing.  The proof of her life change was seen in two specific things.  One that she married an Israelite.  She stopped with the harlotry and married an Israelite and then gave birth to Boaz.  How do I know that she changed?  Because Boaz was an honorable man.  He was a man of great wealth and renown who had compassion and wisdom and a heart of generosity.  He valued the law and the ways of God.  He loved the one who was a foreigner, not an Israelite and she was destitute.  This is the proof of a mother who raised her son to know the God whom she came to know who rescued her from certain damnation.  This God she came to know gave her beauty for ashes.  Her past was nothing anymore.  She gained a whole new life free from who she was and living among new people with a new future.  She had a complete overhaul.

I don’t know what you may have gone through or what you may be going through but you are not disqualified from the life God has planned for you.  According to Romans 2:11 God does not show favoritism.  He’s no respecter of persons.  Jeremiah 29:11 Says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  This is exactly what he did for Rahab and it’s exactly what he will do for you.  Not to mention the hope we should gain by seeing our potential as mothers.  God will be faithful to lead us and guide us in raising our children into men and women of honor.  We don’t have to fear the dishonor of our past but we can hold fast to the honor set before us.  Rahab’s lineage continued to the birth of Jesus all because she believed in the God of her salvation and let him change her life.  So consequently all we have to do is follow her example.  Today you can choose Him.  Today you can hold your head up high and call on your redeemer Jesus.  I like how King David said it in Psalm 121:1-2, who by the way was Rahab’s Great Grandson, “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come?  My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.…”  Disqualified?  I think not!

God’s got this!  Do you have him?