Lost Legos and Jesus 9-18-23

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My boys and I love Legos. Still we get distracted by other fun activities and the Legos might sit for weeks at a time without being used. When we come back to them, they have not built themselves into a new creation. They are still the same as when we left them. Further if we put them into a pail and shake the pail, they do not build themselves. Instead the things that we built actually fall apart.

The Lego example illustrates the Second Law of Thermodynamics (a law of energy decay) that shows that things go from a more ordered state to a less ordered state. The rust on our cars is a great example of this law and so is the rotting garbage in a dumpster.

Another example is the human body. Although I still feel fairly young and healthy, I cannot see as well as I used to and I am not as strong as I used to be. Further my hair is turning gray. My body is going from a more ordered state to a less ordered state.

The Lego illustration showed us that there has to be a creator. The example of my aging body shows that one day I will meet that creator. Hebrews 9:27 warns, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”

As a child, I became a Lego creator. Many of my creations were lost or destroyed. Today I do not even know what happened to the Legos that I had as a child. Thankfully my creator is much more loving of his creation than I was of my Legos.

John chapter 1 makes it very clear that Jesus is our creator. By the third chapter of John we are shown how much he loves us. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Jesus did not just create us and then forget about us. He knows the details about us. Jesus said in Luke 12:7, "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

As the hairs of my head turn gray and fall out, Jesus knows how many I have left. He also knows about my sin and that because of my sin, I have come short of his glory. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23) This reality presents a problem for all of us because “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). In other words our sin is an even bigger problem than the fact that our bodies are going from a more ordered state to a less ordered state.

If I were simply buried in the ground and forgotten once I die- like childhood Legos- then there would not be a lot to worry about. But we are not forgotten by our creator. We are both loved and held accountable for our actions. If we return that love and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as we give our lives to him, then we will live with him forever in a wonderful place he has prepared for us. If however we reject him, he will not just throw us away, he will throw us into the lake of fire where we will be punished forever (see Matthew 25:46).

Some may think it is cruel of God to hold his creation to such a high standard, but he is not expecting much from us. He made us and loves us so much that he died for us. To expect us to simply submit to a creator who made us, loved us, and died for us is not expecting too much. In fact, it is making heaven a better place because it is keeping out those who do not care enough about God and others.

Jesus is our loving creator. Live for him who died for you. 

Unity Through Humility 9-7-23

Hand drawn homecoming illustration

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Jacob and Esau were twin brothers. Esau was only a little bit older than Jacob and when they were born, Jacob had a hold of Esau's heel. This was not the only time when there was a hint of tension between these two brothers. As the older of the two, Esau had the birthright. That meant when their father Isaac died, he would get the inheritance. But one day Esau was hungry and traded that birthright for some food that Jacob offered him.

Although the birthright now entitled Jacob to the future inheritance, their father had a right to give away gifts any time before his death. That meant that he could bless Esau with many possessions even before he died. This would have allowed Esau to get what amounted to an early inheritance that could have potentially left Jacob with little after Isaac died. Jacob thus figured out a way to trick his dad into giving him the blessing instead of Esau. Thus Esau was so upset that he had neither the birthright nor the blessing that he wanted to kill his twin brother.

Jacob is convinced that it is best if he just leave and give his brother a chance to calm down. But after 20 years, Jacob decides to come back home. By the time he returns he is married, has children, and has built up huge herds and flocks of animals. He had been quite successful even without his father's wealth. During that same time, his brother Esau had also seen a lot of success. Remember that Jacob had left 20 years earlier because his brother had wanted to kill him.

One of the reasons that Esau had been so upset was that the blessing that Jacob received said that Jacob's brothers had to bow down before him. Further, Esau was told that he would have to serve Jacob. So based on the traditions and rules of that time and within that family, Jacob had authority over Esau. Instead of flaunting that authority, Jacob does something very special. “But he himself passed on ahead of them and bowed down to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.” (Genesis 33:3) Instead of demanding that Esau bow to him, he bows to his brother.

The results of Jacob's humility are very touching. “Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.” (Genesis 33:4)

As chapter 33 unfolds we see both Jacob and Esau showing love and humility toward each other in spite of past hurts. We see a family reunited and we even see Jacob wanting to come to visit his brother once they get settled (vs 14). Throughout the chapter, we see Jacob calling himself Esau's servant even though legally, it was the other way around.

Jacob is a wonderful example of a man who has been given authority, yet set aside that authority to serve someone else. Jesus did that in an even more dramatic way. He set aside so much of the power and authority he had in heaven to come to earth as a humble man. Once on earth, rather than demanding to be served he served others. He washed feet, healed the sick, fed the hungry, and died for the sins of the whole world.

When Jacob showed humility toward his brother Esau, it paved the way to them being reconciled and setting aside the animosity that had been between them. Jesus did the same thing. By showing humility and becoming a humble servant, he was able to bridge the severed relationship between God and man caused by man's sin.

For those who have a brother like Jacob, it is a huge blessing, but we can all have a Lord and Savior who is even better than Jacob. That Lord and Savior is Jesus Christ. All we have to do is to believe in Jesus as we fall before him in love like Esau did to Jacob. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)  

Wrestling With Jesus 8-21-23