David's Finlayson's sketch of yours truly, sans beard. To me it's kind of a cross between David Crosby and Will Geer who played the Grand father on the Walton's (That would be the television show).
Spoke in Centre last night for their Celebrate Recovery. They've relocated due to flood damage and renovations which are in progress, and almost completed. First Baptist Centre is their temporary digs, and a good crowd showed up last night.
I spoke on Naaman from II Kings Chapter 5. Poor guy had a lot going on that most would consider put Naaman in the "successful" category. If you read verse 1, it lists some of Naaman's accomplishments. Right off the bat, you find out that the king really liked this fellow. Not only that, but Naaman was the head honcho of the military, and he was good at it. Saved the king's bacon more than once. At the end of verse 1, we run into that dreaded word that changes everything............."BUT"...coupled with "He was a leper".
All that good stuff listed about Naaman gets undone with that single word..."But". It's that label of being a leper that cancels out every good thing about Naaman. Truth be known, addiction does the same thing. I can't tell you the number of family members I have talked with over the years whose conversation goes something like this:
"He really is a good boy but he's got an addiction problem"
"He really is a hard worker but he just drinks all the time."
"He really does love his wife and kids but when he is high he abuses them."
And on and on and on.
Every good thing spoken about this person is changed with that one word..."But".
Like Naaman, we become labeled by our condition. It defines us. It follows us, and until the condition changes, that will be our legacy we will leave behind.
Such is why we are in need of a Power greater than ourselves. That is why we need Jesus. Because He alone has the authority and ability to change our very nature and character. I know it sounds like something out of the Twilight Zone, but it is the truth. In fact, Jesus will do for us the very thing we cannot do for ourselves. He can change the focus and impact of the word "But".
As we make the decision to turn will and life over to Him, Jesus begins to change our character by filling us with the Holy Spirit of God. One by one, our defects are turned into what the scripture calls "Fruit"....such things as peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, self control, all become a part of our make up. Over time as this change happens, we become aware of new labels that become a part of our identity:
"He use to be no good and a liar but now he is a man who keeps his word".
"We use to hate to see him coming whenever we had a family event scheduled but now he is such a important part of our family gatherings".
Only Christ could do such as change us, so that the usage of the word "BUT" took on a new meaning.
Have a great weekend....
God on you....