Proverbs in Light of the Cross; Contentment and Trust

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Excuses might be found for a thief who steals because he is starving. But if he is caught, he must pay back seven times what he stole, even if he has to sell everything in his house. Proverbs 6:30-31 NLT

We see in this passage there is a difference between understanding why someone did what they did, and condoning what they did.

The rich and poor have this in common:The Lord made them both. Proverbs 22:2 NLT

There are rich people who steal, just like there are poor people who are honest. Rich or poor, if we trust in God’s love we will have all we need. Rich or poor, if we don’t trust God’s love we will never be content.

God promises to take care of all of our needs. If God did not give it to me then I don’t need it. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32 If I steal then what I am saying is that God does not really love me, because if He did He would have allowed me to have the thing that I want. David trusted God’s love when he said, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalms 23:1. Sure there are things that we have to work to earn that we may not have right now. When we steal we are saying that God should have allowed us to have it by now.  David realized he would not be in want or need when he said, “The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing. “ Psalms 34:10

God promises us that He will supply all our needs so we wont need to steal.

1 Corinthians 1-3; God is too big for any one Camp

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.  Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.  1 Corinthians 1:12-17

I guess it is human nature to get caught up in some camp, some camp of thought in the church. Paul realized that God is too big for our man made camps. There are liberal camps, conservative camps, different theological camps in the church, but fact is God does not fit in any one camp. Fact is, we all balance each other out. Now I am not saying that there are no errors out there that we need to be aware of and avoid. There are. But in this passage Paul is discouraging people from following their favorite preacher and just joining a man made camp.

I have my favorite authors, but I do not read just one author. I do not follow just one pastor as my mentor. That would be a cult. When one person does the thinking for the whole group there is certain danger ahead. I love it when people I have been studying with come to church and hear different people preach and Sabbath School teachers teach. I want them to hear what others have to say. I want them to get different views and then use their own brain to form their own opinion. I do not want to do their thinking for them. Be very afraid of the so called gospel worker who claims he is right and everyone else is wrong. Be very afraid of the so called gospel worker who tries to “protect” you from corruption, and tells you to only listen to him. Use your brain and let the Holy Spirit and God’s Word lead you into all truth and not  man.

For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I [am] of Apollos; are ye not carnal?  
 Who then is Paul, and who [is] Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?  
 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 
So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.  1 Corinthians 3:4-7

John 17; To Know God..

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

  Said the Saviour: “This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” And God declared by the prophet: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.”  {5T 737.1} 
     No man, without divine aid, can attain to this knowledge of God. The apostle says that “the world by wisdom knew not God.” Christ “was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.” Jesus declared to His disciples: “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” In that last prayer for His followers, before entering the shadows of Gethsemane, the Saviour lifted His eyes to heaven, and in pity for the ignorance of fallen men He said: “O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee.” “I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world.”  {5T 737.2} 
     From the beginning it has been Satan’s studied plan to cause men to forget God, that he might secure them to himself. Hence he has sought to misrepresent the character of God, to lead men to cherish a false conception of Him. The Creator has been presented to their minds as clothed with the attributes of the prince of evil himself,–as arbitrary, severe, and unforgiving,–that He might be feared, shunned, and even hated by men. Satan hoped to so confuse the minds of those whom he had deceived that they would put God out of their knowledge. Then he would obliterate the divine image in man and impress his own likeness upon the soul; he would imbue men with his own spirit and make them captives according to his will.  {5T 738.1} 
     It was by falsifying the character of God and exciting distrust of Him that Satan tempted Eve to transgress. By sin the minds of our first parents were darkened, their natures were degraded, and their conceptions of God were molded by their own narrowness and selfishness. And as men became bolder in sin, the knowledge and the love of God faded from their minds and hearts. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God,” they “became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”  {5T 738.2} 
     At times Satan’s contest for the control of the human family appeared to be crowned with success. During the ages preceding the first advent of Christ the world seemed almost wholly under the sway of the prince of darkness, and he ruled with a terrible power as though through the sin of our first parents the kingdoms of the world had become his by right. Even the covenant people, whom God had chosen to preserve in the world the knowledge of Himself, had so far departed from Him that they had lost all true conception of His character.  {5T 738.3}
     Christ came to reveal God to the world as a God of love, full of mercy, tenderness, and compassion. The thick darkness with which Satan had endeavored to enshroud the throne of Deity was swept away by the world’s Redeemer, and the Father was again manifest to men as the light of life.  {5T 738.4} 

John 15; The Vine and the Branches

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

As we look at John 15 I would like to share one of my favorite passages from the Desire of Ages, in the chapter, Let not Your Heart be Troubled. 

“I am the Vine, ye are the branches,” Christ said to His disciples. Though He was about to be removed from them, their spiritual union with Him was to be unchanged. The connection of the branch with the vine, He said, represents the relation you are to sustain to Me. The scion is engrafted into the living vine, and fiber by fiber, vein by vein, it grows into the vine stock. The life of the vine becomes the life of the branch. So the soul dead in trespasses and sins receives life through connection with Christ. By faith in Him as a personal Saviour the union is formed. The sinner unites his weakness to Christ’s strength, his emptiness to Christ’s fullness, his frailty to Christ’s enduring might. Then he has the mind of Christ. The humanity of Christ has touched our humanity, and our humanity has touched divinity. Thus through the agency of the Holy Spirit man becomes a partaker of the divine nature. He is accepted in the Beloved.  {DA 675.3} 
     This union with Christ, once formed, must be maintained. Christ said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.” This is no casual touch, no off-and-on connection. The branch becomes a part of the living vine. The communication of life, strength, and fruitfulness from the root to the branches is unobstructed and constant. Separated from the vine, the branch cannot live. No more, said Jesus, can you live apart from Me. The life you have received from Me can be preserved only by continual communion. Without Me you cannot overcome one sin, or resist one temptation.  {DA 676.1}
     “Abide in Me, and I in you.” Abiding in Christ means a constant receiving of His Spirit, a life of unreserved surrender to His service. The channel of communication must be open continually between man and his God. As the vine branch constantly draws the sap from the living vine, so are we to cling to Jesus, and receive from Him by faith the strength and perfection of His own character.  {DA 676.2} 
     The root sends its nourishment through the branch to the outermost twig. So Christ communicates the current of spiritual strength to every believer. So long as the soul is united to Christ, there is no danger that it will wither or decay.  {DA 676.3} 
     The life of the vine will be manifest in fragrant fruit on the branches. “He that abideth in Me,” said Jesus, “and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.” When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing.  {DA 676.4} 
     “My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away.” While the graft is outwardly united with the vine, there may be no vital connection. Then there will be no growth or fruitfulness. So there may be an apparent connection with Christ without a real union with Him by faith. A profession of religion places men in the church, but the character and conduct show whether they are in connection with Christ. If they bear no fruit, they are false branches. Their separation from Christ involves a ruin as complete as that represented by the dead branch. “If a man abide not in Me,” said Christ, “he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”  {DA 676.5} 
     “And every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth [pruneth] it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” From the chosen twelve who had followed Jesus, one as a withered branch was about to be taken away; the rest were to pass under the pruning knife of bitter trial. Jesus with solemn tenderness explained the purpose of the husbandman. The pruning will cause pain, but it is the Father who applies the knife. He works with no wanton hand or indifferent heart. There are branches trailing upon the ground; these must be cut loose from the earthly supports to which their tendrils are fastening. They are to reach heavenward, and find their support in God. The excessive foliage that draws away the life current from the fruit must be pruned off. The overgrowth must be cut out, to give room for the healing beams of the Sun of Righteousness. The husbandman prunes away the harmful growth, that the fruit may be richer and more abundant.  {DA 676.6} 
     “Herein is My Father glorified,” said Jesus, “that ye bear much fruit.” God desires to manifest through you the holiness, the benevolence, the compassion, of His own character. Yet the Saviour does not bid the disciples labor to bear fruit. He tells them to abide in Him. “If ye abide in Me,” He says, “and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” It is through the word that Christ abides in His followers. This is the same vital union that is represented by eating His flesh and drinking His blood. The words of Christ are spirit and life. Receiving them, you receive the life of the Vine. You live “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4. The life of Christ in you produces the same fruits as in Him. Living in Christ, adhering to Christ, supported by Christ, drawing nourishment from Christ, you bear fruit after the similitude of Christ.  {DA 677.1} 
     In this last meeting with His disciples, the great desire which Christ expressed for them was that they might love one another as He had loved them. Again and again He spoke of this. “These things I command you,” He said repeatedly, “that ye love one another.” His very first injunction when alone with them in the upper chamber was, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” To the disciples this commandment was new; for they had not loved one another as Christ had loved them. He saw that new ideas and impulses must control them; that new principles must be practiced by them; through His life and death they were to receive a new conception of love. The command to love one another had a new meaning in the light of His self-sacrifice. The whole work of grace is one continual service of love, of self-denying, self-sacrificing effort. During every hour of Christ’s sojourn upon the earth, the love of God was flowing from Him in irrepressible streams. All who are imbued with His Spirit will love as He loved. The very principle that actuated Christ will actuate them in all their dealing one with another.  {DA 677.2} 
     This love is the evidence of their discipleship. “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples,” said Jesus, “if ye have love one to another.” When men are bound together, not by force or self-interest, but by love, they show the working of an influence that is above every human influence. Where this oneness exists, it is evidence that the image of God is being restored in humanity, that a new principle of life has been implanted. It shows that there is power in the divine nature to withstand the supernatural agencies of evil, and that the grace of God subdues the selfishness inherent in the natural heart.  {DA 678.1} 
     This love, manifested in the church, will surely stir the wrath of Satan. Christ did not mark out for His disciples an easy path. “If the world hate you,” He said, “ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for My name’s sake, because they know not Him that sent Me.” The gospel is to be carried forward by aggressive warfare, in the midst of opposition, peril, loss, and suffering. But those who do this work are only following in their Master’s steps.  {DA 678.2} 
     As the world’s Redeemer, Christ was constantly confronted with apparent failure. He, the messenger of mercy to our world, seemed to do little of the work He longed to do in uplifting and saving. Satanic influences were constantly working to oppose His way. But He would not be discouraged. Through the prophecy of Isaiah He declares, “I have labored in vain, I have spent My strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely My judgment is with the Lord, and My work with My God. . . . Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and My God shall be My strength.” It is to Christ that the promise is given, “Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and His Holy One, to Him whom man despiseth, to Him whom the nation abhorreth; . . . thus saith the Lord: . . . I will preserve Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that Thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves. . . . They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them.” Isaiah 49:4, 5, 7-10.  {DA 678.3} 
     Upon this word Jesus rested, and He gave Satan no advantage. When the last steps of Christ’s humiliation were to be taken, when the deepest sorrow was closing about His soul, He said to His disciples, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.” “The prince of this world is judged.” Now shall he be cast out. John 14:30; 16:11; 12:31. With prophetic eye Christ traced the scenes to take place in His last great conflict. He knew that when He should exclaim, “It is finished,” all heaven would triumph. His ear caught the distant music and the shouts of victory in the heavenly courts. He knew that the knell of Satan’s empire would then be sounded, and the name of Christ would be heralded from world to world throughout the universe.  {DA 679.1}
     Christ rejoiced that He could do more for His followers than they could ask or think. He spoke with assurance, knowing that an almighty decree had been given before the world was made. He knew that truth, armed with the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit, would conquer in the contest with evil; and that the bloodstained banner would wave triumphantly over His followers. He knew that the life of His trusting disciples would be like His, a series of uninterrupted victories, not seen to be such here, but recognized as such in the great hereafter.  {DA 679.2} 
     “These things I have spoken unto you,” He said, “that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Christ did not fail, neither was He discouraged, and His followers are to manifest a faith of the same enduring nature. They are to live as He lived, and work as He worked, because they depend on Him as the great Master Worker. Courage, energy, and perseverance they must possess. Though apparent impossibilities obstruct their way, by His grace they are to go forward. Instead of deploring difficulties, they are called upon to surmount them. They are to despair of nothing, and to hope for everything. With the golden chain of His matchless love Christ has bound them to the throne of God. It is His purpose that the highest influence in the universe, emanating from the source of all power, shall be theirs. They are to have power to resist evil, power that neither earth, nor death, nor hell can master, power that will enable them to overcome as Christ overcame.  {DA 679.3} 

Remember, in Galatians 5 all our works of the flesh are saturated in selfishness and not  one of them is good. When we are crucified with Christ all of our selfishness is crucified and then we have the fruit of the Spirit. It is called the fruit of the Spirit because it is the work of the Holy Spirit and not our own.

You may find more studies and deveotionals at In Light of The Cross.

John 14; “So it May be With us”

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

John 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 

 14:11    Believe me that I [am] in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake. 

 14:12    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 

 

14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. 

There was in Him nothing that responded to Satan’s sophistry. He did not consent to sin. Not even by a thought did He yield to temptation. So it may be with us. Christ’s humanity was united with divinity; He was fitted for the conflict by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And He came to make us partakers of the divine nature. So long as we are united to Him by faith, sin has no more dominion over us. God reaches for the hand of faith in us to direct it to lay fast hold upon the divinity of Christ, that we may attain to perfection of character.  {Desire of Ages, p. 123}

John 13; John, The Knowing Disciple

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

At the last super, when Jesus tells His disciples that one of them is going to betray Him, they all asked, “Lord is it I? Matthew 26 However, John, instead asks, “Lord who is it?” John 13 John knew it was not Him. He knew that He loved Jesus and had not betrayed Him. John was a confident disciple because he was confident in the love Jesus had for Him and that He had for Jesus. Look at John’s frequent use of the word “know.”

He grasps Jesus’ words,   John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 

John himself writes, 1 John  2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 

 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 

So John tells us that knowing Jesus equals eternal life, and knowing Jesus equals commandment keeping. If A=C and A=B than C must =B.

1John 2:29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. 

1John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 

1John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 

 4:17       Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 

John knew the power of a relationship with Jesus, giving him confidence in the judgment, knowing in this world we can experience Jesus’ power over sin.

1John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 

John wants us to have the same confidence that he had. He does not want us wondering, or hoping and wishing that we have eternal life. He wants us to know we have eternal life. If we know Jesus, we know we have eternal life. No Jesus, no life.

John 11-12; It Aint Gonna Happen!

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

John 11:1 Now a certain [man] was sick, [named] Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 

 11:2      (It was [that] Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) 

 11:3      Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. 

 11:4      When Jesus heard [that], he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. 

As we continue reading the story of John 11 we find that Lazarus does die. So what did Jesus mean when He said it was not unto death? I think what Jesus meant was, that even though Lazarus will die, he will rise again. It would not end in death. In Isaiah 54:17 the Lord says, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.” That does not mean that weapons will not put us to death, but that we will still, even in death accomplish great things for the kingdom of God. It also means, that even if we die, we, like Lazarus will rise again. The chief priests were fighting a losing battle against Jesus. Since He raised Lazarus from the dead, in chapter 12 they plotted how they might kill Lazarus too. What good would that do? Jesus would just raise him to life again.

The so-called religious rulers of the day could not destroy Jesus or His followers. They may have put Jesus to death. They may have used the cross of Christ as a weapon against Him, but it did not prosper against Him. Instead it made the Kingdom of God prosper! Of course Jesus was raised to life as well. So was Lazarus. Even Satan can do nothing but cause the kingdom of God to prosper! If you belong to the kingdom of God, then no weapon formed against you can prosper either. Even death cannot prosper against you. If you belong to God, then all of Satan’s threats are for naught. Remember Satan is a liar. Whenever he threatens you, be sure of one thing, it aint gonna happen!

John 10; The Good Shepherd

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I love the commentary on John 10 in the Desire of Ages in the chapter, The Divine Shepherd. I especially like this part:

   As an earthly shepherd knows his sheep, so does the divine Shepherd know His flock that are scattered throughout the world. “Ye My flock, the flock of My pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God.” Jesus says, “I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine.” “I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands.” Ezekiel 34:31; Isaiah 43:1; 49:16

     Jesus knows us individually, and is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He knows us all by name. He knows the very house in which we live, the name of each occupant. He has at times given directions to His servants to go to a certain street in a certain city, to such a house, to find one of His sheep.    

     Every soul is as fully known to Jesus as if he were the only one for whom the Saviour died. The distress of every one touches His heart. The cry for aid reaches His ear. He came to draw all men unto Himself. He bids them, “Follow Me,” and His Spirit moves upon their hearts to draw them to come to Him. Many refuse to be drawn. Jesus knows who they are. He also knows who gladly hear His call, and are ready to come under His pastoral care. He says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” He cares for each one as if there were not another on the face of the earth.  {DA 479-80}

John 7; It’s a Conspiracy!

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

John 7:19 Did not Moses give you the law, and [yet] none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? 

 7:20       The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee? 

Either the group talking to Jesus here, were ignorant of the conspiracy to kill Him or they were two-faced. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5 that we are not to be paranoid about conspiracies, but to cast all of our care upon Jesus. At the same time, Peter acknowledges that the devil is out to get us.

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 

 5:8         Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 

 5:9         Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 

In John 7 the multitude had mixed opinions about Jesus. However His conduct is what validated His words and works.

While people are telling Jesus that He is crazy for thinking someone wants to kill Him, the Pharisees send out a group of conspirators to get Him.

7:45        Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? 

 7:46       The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. 

The officers who were sent to take Jesus reported that never man spake like this man. But the reason of this was that never man lived like this man; for if he had not so lived, he could not so have spoken. His words bore with them a convincing power, because they came from a heart pure and holy, full of love and sympathy, beneficence and truth. There is eloquence beyond that of words, in the quiet, consistent life of a pure, true Christian. We shall have temptations as long as we are in this world, but instead of injuring us, they will only turn to our advantage, if resisted. The bounds are placed where Satan cannot pass. He may prepare the furnace, but instead of working injury, it will only consume the dross, and bring forth the gold of the character, purer than before the trial.  {Gospel Workers 1892 P, 244}

No reason to be paranoid about Satan’s conspiracies. Just keep living for Jesus!

Jesus Wept: The Bible and Human Emotions, Lesson 1

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area and home of the 2004 Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

These are my thoughts on emotions and principles as we begin our study on this quarter’s Adult Sabbath School lessons. You can download the Adult Sabbath School Lessons onto your android phone here.

” ‘I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy’ ” John 16:20

Hockey is not my favorite sport, but I have been to a few games. I have seen players skating at full speed, miss the puck and slam themselves right into the wall. Some get hurt doing that, but in a few minutes they are right back at it. I am thinking, after I slammed my body into a wall like that, I would be more careful next time. Maybe don’t skate so fast. Maybe don’t try so hard, after all, you could get hurt. While a hockey player’s emotions and passion for the game will not allow him to do anything less than slam into the wall and also the ice at full speed, off the ice we have learned not to let our emotions and passions get the best of us. After getting hurt, we metaphorically skate a little more carefully around the wall and on the ice.

I have talked to people who have all kinds of pets at their home who have told me, they prefer pets over people, because their pets won’t hurt them. At least not emotionally, which is the worst kind of pain there is. People who have been both physically and emotionally abused say they handle the physical pain a lot better than the emotional pain. And to the brain, pain is pain regardless if it is physical or emotional. I have had Bible studies with teenage boys who play games with their electronic gadget games all the time. Some people find their obsession with these electronic games as being anti-social, but I have found over time, that the boys are not anti-social. They just have been hurt many times by people and so they stick to things that won’t hurt them like people will.

While our emotions open the way for grief and sorrow, we are also taught to be wary of emotions. People tell us not to sign any important documents while in an emotional state, just like they say not to drink and drive. It’s just a bad combination. We are told that love is not an emotion but a principle. That is part true and part false. Love is a principle, yes. In Ephesians 5, Paul tells husbands to love their wives, during a time when a lot of marriages were arranged by the parents. There may not have been any emotions or butterflies in their stomachs when they saw their wives. Their wives may not sweep them off their feet, but they were still to love them by following the principle of love which is others first. In order to love his wife, a man needed to put her needs above his own and the same is true today. Love is a principle which is others first.

In our church today we see a lot of emotionalism. Some are concerned that the principles of the church are being sacrificed for all this so called emotional worship. After all, the church has principles and we are not just all about emotions. We have seen drunkards respond to an altar call, sobbing while the music plays, and then the next day they are back on the bottle. We remind them that the church was built on principles and not emotions. Was it? Really? While Jesus was a man of principle He was also very emotional. He cried when He saw others weeping. He cried out over a city He was longing to save. He was emotionally distressed in His own personal Gethsemane. They don’t call it the passion week for nothing. Jesus was a man of principle and a man of emotions.

Consider this, a man and woman can be married and practice all the principles of love, such as putting the other person’s needs before your own. However, that principle alone is not going to produce anything. Now get a husband and wife to add a little emotion and passion to the principle and they will reproduce! Do you think, that maybe, the same God who planned it all out for a husband and wife to combine their passions and emotions with their principles in order to make new babies, also planned it out for His church to combine emotions and passion with our church principles in order to make new baby Christians who will also grow up in Christ to make more baby Christians?

In hockey there are skills and rules and principles that must be learned for a player to ever finally win the Stanley Cup. He can’t just skate his heart out on the ice, crashing into the wall all the time and expect to win. At the same time, he will never win the Stanley Cup without more than a few scrapes and bruises. He has to learn skills and principles, and protect his body, while still throwing his emotions and passions all over the ice to be slammed against the wall and crashed on the ice. So in the church and in life, we must follow principle, we must follow the rules, but we won’t get anywhere trying to protect and hide our emotions and passions all the time. You will never see me on a hockey rink, but I am determined to live my life the way Wayne Gretzky played hockey. I am headed full speed towards the puck or the wall or whatever is ahead. When I fall and get hurt I am getting back up and going full speed again, just like I have never been hurt. I am playing for something much greater than the Stanley Cup! I am so glad I have a Jesus who lives and loves me the way some people play hockey!