Thanks for Lessons on Living Life
Ezekiel 34: 11-16
MATTHEW 25: 31-46

DANCE through congregation to GLORIA … GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO

Come adore on blended knee … Christ the newborn King. GLORY in the HIGHEST to GOD!!! Lessons on Living Life from a song of the season we are entering … friends, come … come on bender knee to worship Jesus the Christ!!! The Gospel of Luke teaches us the experience of the shepherds on hearing the angels proclaim “GLORY to GOD in heaven …”

They left the child … they left Jesus the Christ … they left their God experience glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen.

Scriptures provide us with a guideline on living life it … and I carefully add the word IF because that is the most difficult word in faith. Scriptures provide us with a guideline on living IF we truly believe … if we hold true to our baptism … if we want to not only be called Christians as our identifier but that above all titles we declare to the world that we are not one of them … we are one of God’s who have Jesus Christ as our Savior, Lord, and Master. It begins in our praising and glorifying God …. AMEN (?).

The lesson of the shepherds … the discovery of Jesus … the sense that God is more than part of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling but is alive, indescribable in God’s reality … worthy of worship, worthy of praise, worthy to glorify not just here in church but throughout the land …

I can remember an assortment of teachers from my life time … my kindergarten teacher Miss Eastman who introduced me to the reality of public school life with building blocks, songs and discovery. Sunday School teachers like Dick Schoenthaler and Jack Corbett whose love of God and Jesus shown through each Sunday School class in a way that helped mold me. There were other teachers …. Don Miller, Fred Murphy, Lorraine Eaton, Theresa Clarke, and the list could go on and on. I am so thankful for each teacher and professor even the ones I didn’t like at the time. They gave me the ability to process and learn new information … they planted a seed of knowledge and then fertilized it during the time they had with me … obviously, I am thankful for my parents who spent their days teaching and mirroring their lessons of life hoping that their son would learn and make good decisions based on their teaching and example

But the ultimate source of teaching us what is expected from us during our days, weeks, months and years here is God’s Word because God’s grace is so complete … God’s love is so true …. That God wants us to live in a way that meets God’s standards not the world’s.

I want to come back to that little word IF again. If you believe … then you want to follow. If you are an Eagles fan … you will be wearing Eagles green and this year even if you are a pretend Eagles fan you may very well be wearing Eagles green come January and February. But, if you are a fan of another football team you aren’t going to wear the colors of the opposition are you? Phillies fans never wear NY Mets caps and NY Yankee fans would never find a Boston Red Sox jersey anywhere close to our bodies.

So, IF you are a Christian … if you believe that God is alive and well …. If you believe that God sent Jesus, His Son … to earth and IF you have found eternal salvation through Jesus Christ then whose colors are you going to wear during your living days here on earth? If you are part of the GOD team … if you are opposed to all who want God to lose people from God’s realm … then aren’t you going to join that team’s fan club and show the world you belong alongside them … are you? God’s people don’t choose the world and evil; wondering how to make God’s team well it’s right here in God’s Guidebook!

Friends … I am so thankful to God today for the lessons on living life that God provides to me through God’s Holy Scriptures. God is pretty darn consistent and doesn’t waver in God’s expectations … but obviously people didn’t quite ‘get it’ from the Old Testament lessons so God sent Jesus to come and clarify the standards … to show us how true believers live versus those who like to claim the name of Jesus but in all ways wear the colors of the greatest rival to God’s in how they live life … the world’s lusts … the world’s greed.. the world’s power … the world’s hate for other people … are you part of the temporary world and buying into the world’s schemes for a temporary fit on earth with earthly powers or are you ready to stand tall … proclaim that Jesus is Lord and that success in our eternal life comes from being that true believer rather than from comfortably saying you are a Christian but never opening God’s Word … being too busy to have regular conversations with God through prayer … being in denial mode when put in a position of choosing God’s call for living versus the politically expedient one?

I am here today to again shout GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO!!! GLORIA my friends … GLORY in the HIGHEST to our living God!!! Do you join me in giving THANKS for LESSONS on LIVING that God provides or are you quick to dismiss them so that you fit in out there <>?

Some easy lessons from God’s lesson book …. “Do not make an idol for yourself … do not bow down to them or worship them. Have no other God before me.” Ok, so that’s not easy if you want to fit into the world … but it’s a God lesson on making life better. GIVE GOD THE GLORY …. GIVE GOD THE LOVE … GIVE GOD THE CREDIT and don’t let some human created something be it an object like a beautiful new car as they would call out on THE PRICE IS RIGHT or bowing to the directives of organizations created by man or to individuals who have power. GOD … is GOD and this is a lesson I hope and pray you are in agreement on.

Perhaps God’s greatest lessons for living life are wrapped up in our living lives that reflect God. God loves all humanity … all of humanity was created in God’s image. So, from the Torah in the book of Leviticus we hear “You shall not take vengeance nor bear a grudge against any of your people; instead you must love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.” God gets a little more specific in how we should treat our neighbors with disabilities … “you must not insult a deaf person nor put an obstacle in front of a blind person that would cause them to trip.” Jesus more firmly proclaimed that the greatest commandment is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your souls and with all your mind. The second is you shall love your neighbors as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” ALL THE LAW and prophets … but wait the rules are made even clearer by Jesus … the lessons on how we live as Christians versus the world … “Love your enemy do good to those who hate you. Judge not.”

Thanks be to God … the lesson for faithful folks like you and me are clear. There’s a lot of love in the classroom of God … we are not to be part of the hate culture … we are not to be part of the insult celebrations that put others down … now in saying this it does not make us meek or weak … it does not mean we are not to stand up against injustice and allow people to be crushed by evil. No, the lesson is WE ARE TO BE DIFFERENT and not hide those differences away. In Proverbs we are taught, “SPEAK OUT on behalf of the voiceless; and for the rights of all who are vulnerable. SPEAK OUT in order to judge with righteousness and to defend the needy and the poor.”

Ah, the needy and the poor … God and Jesus are pretty clear when it comes to how we should care those who have less and it’s clear that God is not about the concept of reducing benefits, cutting housing, and eliminating food programs for those in need. Again, in the Torah we hear in Deuteronomy, “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him … you shall give to him freely and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him.” In the beginning of the 34th chapter of Ezekiel we hear how God will hold those who “don’t strengthen the weak, heal the sick, bind up the injured or seek out the lost with justice’ accountable for their actions against God.

I give thanks knowing that God calls us … as God’s people … as true believers in Jesus Christ to stand up for the poor … to be the voices of righteousness … THANKS for the lessons on living life that may be challenging but are truly about loving others, caring for those who need to be cared fo

In Matthew 25 Jesus is very clear on the subject of who God finds acceptable amongst those who say they are God’s followers and believers. In 15 verses there is a clear study guide for the final exam. Caring for the poor … welcoming strangers … and more. No second guessing … just some decisions of living we each have to make. Maybe worth a careful read when you get home today.

God loved us first … so we could discover what love is all about … God sent Jesus whose words were recorded so that we could know directly from God the lessons of living life God expects from us; Jesus said His words came from the Father in heaven so unless you want to say … God who cares about God I won’t do those things Jesus said … well not everyone passes final exams.

“And, this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love each other as he commanded us. The person who keeps his commandments remains in God and God remains in him, and this is how we know that he remains in us because of the Spirit He has given to us.”

Yes, we will slip and fall …. THANKFULLY a lesson on living life is knowing God will forgive us our sins but that doesn’t mean we can each choose to live against God and play for the other team.

So, are you ready to come and bow on blended knee in front of Jesus Christ and sing GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO! GLORIA … GLORIA … God, THANKS for giving us Your lessons on Living our temporary lives here on earth so that we will be taken into Your kingdom for our eternal lives! AMEN

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