Thursday, July 12, 2007

Luke #10 - Common Experiences

Luke #10 – Common Experiences

“And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; and entered the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth: (Luke 1:39-40 – King James Version).

Common experiences are a strange thing. I spilled boiling grease on myself in 2002 during a youth retreat, receiving second and third degree burns. I learned a lot of cool comebacks like “I’m on fire for the Lord” and “My relationship with Jesus is sizzling” and “I’ve got a burning love for the Lord.” (Those were just to make you laugh and have nothing to do with today’s thoughts…I’ve got to laugh; this story breaks my heart.) I was immobile for a few days, but the first day that I was up and around I checked my email. There was an email telling me of a child that had pulled a boiling pot of water onto himself and was so badly burned that survival was unlikely. Immediately I lay my head on my desk and began to weep. I was broken. I could imagine that little one’s pain because I knew it, though on a lesser scale. Just yesterday, two full years later, I read about a boy burned in an accident and was again broken.

Not all common experiences are bad. If I read a particular Scripture or hear a song that moves me I want to talk about it with someone else. The choir in our congregation performed Experiencing God: The Musical. For those that labored over that musical have a bond. We are always anxious to sing it together. No one ever complains when we get the books out and practice some part or that entire musical. It stands as a landmark for many of us because God spoke to us powerfully through that experience.

Mary and Elisabeth had a very common experience; they were both being used of God to fulfill His purposes. Elisabeth bore the herald of God who would prepare the way for the Messiah and Mary bore the Messiah. Elisabeth became pregnant at a very old age; no doubt, a miracle. Mary, as a virgin, was impregnated by the Holy Spirit; no doubt, a miracle as well. Verse 39 says “in those days;” a more fitting rendering may be “in THAT day.” This rendering more properly shows the haste Mary made in leaving to visit Elisabeth. She wasted no time in going to rejoice over their common experience and to confirm the message the angel had given Mary concerning Elisabeth.

What’s my point? I think that if more people were experiencing the hand of God there would be more sharing, more church attendance, more giving, more testimonies, and more fellowship. We can have all kinds of common experiences in Christ, but I am amazed that we don’t seem to. I love going to church; to worship; to learn in God’s word with others; to experience the hand of God moving with other people. I make haste to get to those opportunities. I want to experience God with others and to share how God has shown Himself to me and worked in my life. I want to hear their testimonies.

Has God stopped doing miracles? No! We’ve stopped giving HIM the credit. Has God stopped speaking to people? No! We’ve stopped listening. Has the Holy Spirit stopped convicting hearts? No! We don’t want to surrender. Has the blood of Christ lost its power? NO! Heaven forbid! Has the Spirit stopped comforting hearts, drawing, and instructing? No! We simply are not responding.

Now I am sure I am speaking to the choir, but think about these things for a moment. Is God still fresh to you? Do you go to church and share gossip or does offering worship to God take the center of your activities? Do you spend time with other Christians because of a common awe of Christ or because that just the thing to do? Are we open to share our good and bad experiences with others that God may use us to minister to others? Will we comfort others with the comfort we have been comforted with?

I think we should constantly analyze and examine our motives. We can only worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:24), so we need to make sure that is what we are doing. If we seek God, He will be found (2 Chronicles 15:15). Let’s take all of our experiences with the Lord and use them to call people to righteousness, to comfort the hurting, to rejoice with one another, to lift the weary, and to encourage the weak. Now is not the time to keep things private but to share ourselves and our Lord. Forsake not the assembling of ourselves, but encourage others to do good works, for the Day of Judgment is drawing near (Hebrews 10:24-25). Have you experienced God lately? Share it.

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