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Archive for May, 2017

Luke 16:24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

When we think of the story of the rich man and Lazarus, we tend to focus on the stark contrast between the two men; Lazarus being poor, and the man being rich.  Lazarus goes into the bosom of Abraham, and the rich man is in hell.  Sometimes, however, we can be so busy focusing on one aspect of the story that we miss an even more profound teaching by our Lord Jesus.
Notice, in this passage, that the rich man calls up to Abraham, and asks Abraham to have pity on him. There would be nothing too unusual about that, since in the story he is in torment and is asking Abraham for relief.  It is what he says next, however, that is so striking: “send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.”  Let’s consider this for a moment.  The rich man is asking Abraham to have pity upon him, but then he asks Abraham to “send Lazarus.”  It is as if the rich man sees Lazarus as nothing more than a poor servant!  And this brings us to an important principle:

Whatever mindset you leave this life with, is the mindset you will have in the life to come.  

Let that sink in for a moment.  If you have a selfish mindset in this life, that is the mindset you will take in the life to come.  If you have a prideful mindset, that is the mindset you will take in the life to come.  If you are filled with hatred, hatred you will carry into the life to come.  Contrast the story of the rich man and Lazarus to the story of the thief on the cross.  Notice what he says to the Lord Jesus before he dies:
Luke 23:42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Notice his mindset.  This man recognized he deserved his punishment, but in humility appealed to the Lord Jesus, and the Lord Jesus showed him mercy.

What is your state of mind right now?  None of us knows how many days we have left remaining in this life.  There is an urgency to change your mindset now, while you have the opportunity.  This is truly what it means to repent – to change your mindset.  If you are selfish, now is the time to become selfless.  If you are harboring unforgiveness, now is the time to forgive.  Are you greedy?  Begin giving today.  In other words, change your mindset TODAY.  

 

In general, it is easy to recite the words that we see written in the Bible.  Most Christians know the prayer that the Lord Jesus taught His disciples to pray as the Lord’s Prayer, and it is recited weekly in congregations around the world.  But have you given thought to what the Lord was instructing His disciples to pray?  What does “Thy Kingdom Come” mean?  Were the disciples being instructed to pray that God’s kingdom be set up upon this earth?  That would seem to contradict the very words of Christ Himself, when He said that His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36)  If this is not an earthly kingdom, then where were the disciples asking that it come?  All we know is life here on this earth.  Perhaps, when the Lord Jesus instructed the disciples to pray “Thy Kingdom Come,” He was implying that the kingdom was to be revealed to them in their lives.  Is it possible that this prayer was given to the disciples because they believed that Jesus is the Christ?  In other words, only those who believe that God fulfilled his promise in Christ Jesus would be able to pray this prayer.  Perhaps it is not a request at all; perhaps it is a declaration. “God, your Kingdom has come in the form of Christ Jesus.  What you have promised, you brought to pass.  God, what you intended has occurred.  Indeed, your will has been accomplished.”  This is not a prayer of hope; it is a declaration of praise given to those who not only believe that Jesus is the Christ, but submit to His will.  If we pray this prayer today, we should do so with much joy, as we are declaring that God brought to pass that which He promised in his covenants of promise to Israel.  We are declaring that the long awaited hope was made manifest in Christ Jesus.  We are rejoicing because God indeed did fulfill his promise!