It’s a strange feeling to live in the world yet not be of the world, yet those are words John penned in 1st John 2:15. At the same time, most anyone awake senses the truth that we are just passing through down here, and doubtful we’re going to be in this world all that much longer. Many e-mail’s going back and forth ‘talking’ about how we’ve had moments of wishing life could be “normal” again, yet we basically know that will never happen. “Normal,” as we once thought of normal isn’t ever coming back!
In one of the several devotions I read each morning, today’s study was about John Lambert, who was put to death for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. On the day appointed for Lambert to suffer, he was brought out of prison at eight o’clock in the morning. Knowing the hour of his death was at hand, he was brought out of his cell and into the main hall. He saluted the gentlemen present, and then sat down to breakfast with them, showing neither sadness nor fear. When breakfast was finished, he was taken directly to the place of execution at Smithfield in England.
According to historians, the manner of his death was horrible; after his legs were consumed and just a little fire was left under him, two of the guards pierced him with their halberds, (a combination of spear and battle axe), and then he was lifted him up as far as the chain would reach. All the while, Lambert, raising his half-consumed hands, cried out to the people: “None but Christ! None but Christ!” and after being let down, fell into the fire, and there his life ended. As I read his account, my stomach turned, and my eyes filled with tears at the amazing courage of saints such as Lambert, whose bravery and conviction was so strong they were not even think of denying Jesus whom they loved. So many of us as Americans don’t even know that we are spoiled! Our possessions, any money we have, our careers, our education…whatever we think we own, God graciously allows us to enjoy for a time…however, nothing is guaranteed.
That said, John writes in 1st John 2:15 telling us to not, “set the affections of your heart on this world, or in loving the things of the world.” All the while with each passing day I’m more and more amazed how incredible it is to think about God’s marvelous mercies He continues at this moment to pour out on mankind. When I stand before the Lord, I shake at the thought of attempting to explain why I spent most all my time looking at TV or enjoying the pleasures of this world. Shopping! Going out to eat! Going to car events or games! Going on vacations!
Consider with me the question of what will we have to show for our time on this earth? Every morning you wake up, that’s His mercy. Every time your spouse, children, grandchildren come home from their busy day, that’s His mercy! Every time you connect with a loved one by phone, that’s His mercy! Each time you can pay your bills and give into the Kingdom, that’s His mercy! The thought of having nothing to show for my life makes me feel a knot in my stomach!
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may know what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Rom. 12:2)
Blessings, Psalm 20:7 Dale & Jeannie