Held Accountable

by Sylvia Bambola August 12, 2013 11:49 AM

Right after Jesus reveals that the secret of greatness is tied up with becoming child-like and a servant, He tells his disciples that anyone who receives these child-like believers also receives Him. And then this dire warning: and whoever causes one of these child-like believers to stumble and sin is in big trouble. In fact it would be “better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Then Jesus goes on to say in Matthew 18:7 (Amplified) “Woe to the world for such temptations to sin and influences to do wrong!” and “woe to the person on whose account or by whom the temptation comes!”

This is pretty serious stuff. From it we understand that there will be a day of reckoning; that all those influencers who peddle evil and smut and perversion (we need not look any further than the entertainment industry), and entice to do evil, will be held accountable and have to answer for it, and it’s not going to be pretty. But we are accountable, too. Our actions, the way we live our lives, the things we say, can also cause people to stumble and we need to take it seriously.

Jesus said it would be better to cut off our hand or foot or pluck out our eye if they cause us to transgress rather than to be thrown into “everlasting fire.” Yes, there is an “everlasting fire,” and it’s called hell. And what Jesus was advocating was not to literally cut off our body parts, but to remove ourselves from sinful situations and stop participating in sin. The Bible tells us that hell was created for Satan and his angels (Matthew 25:41). Sadly, there will be many others residing there, and that fact breaks the heart of God for He wishes that none should perish.

For our part we have to stop winking at sin, stop pretending that the things that go on around us doesn’t matter, when in fact they are polluting the whole world. And in our own lives we need to call our sin what it is, “sin.” We have to stop acting like what we do doesn’t matter. It does. Will this make us stand out like sore thumbs? Be chided? Ridiculed? Shunned? Maybe. Probably. But now that’s the thing that doesn’t matter.

Until next time,

Sylvia

Category: Spirituality

Secret of Greatness

by Sylvia Bambola March 12, 2012 20:18 PM

Imagine spending three years with Jesus, following Him around with eleven other sidekicks, watching Him do all those wonderful miracles, then having the gall, at the end of it, to argue with your eleven buddies which one of you was the greatest?  It’s hard to wrap one’s mind around it, yet it shouldn’t be because we all, in some way, want to be great. It’s the pride thing.

Mark 9: 34 tells us that the disciples had “disputed among themselves who should be the greatest,” and this after three of them had just witnessed Jesus transfigured in front of their eyes as He talked to Moses and Elijah, and after all twelve witnessed Jesus casting out a demon from a boy they themselves had been unable to cast out. Here they were in the presence of true greatness and all they could think about was their own importance.

Then in Luke 22 we see them again disputing who was the greatest. They were celebrating the last supper. Jesus had just told them he was going to suffer and die, had talked about the kingdom of God, and also that one of them was going to betray Him. And right after a brief inquiry by the apostles of who the traitor was, came this stunner in Luke 22:24, “And there was also a strife among them (the disciples) which of them should be accounted the greatest.”

Both passages reveal the depths of man’s self absorption. And be it right or wrong, most of us want to be “great”. And since we do, it would behoove us to learn how to accomplish it.

In both the Mark passage and the one in Luke, Jesus basically says the same thing: those who want to be great must be the servant of others. Talk about radical! Upside down, even, to our way of thinking. In a world where most people are trying to scramble to the top Jesus says the path to greatest is serving others.  Serving others means humbling ourselves, putting our own selfish interests aside in order to consider the interests and wellbeing of others. It can mean taking the lower place instead of the higher, more prestigious, one. And since it fundamentally goes against the grain of our human nature, we could never achieve this without the help of the Holy Spirit. He is the only one who can change us, who can enable us to overcome our pride, and make us into the truly great people God has created us to be.

I say, let the work commence.

Until next time,

Sylvia

 

Category: Spirituality

Celebrating Freedom

by Sylvia Bambola July 4, 2011 10:09 AM

America is a great nation.  I think it’s the greatest in the world.  By blood, sacrifice, and perseverance it gained and sustained its freedom.  By innovation, hard work, and ingenuity it gained and sustained its greatness.  And its people are among the friendliest and most generous in the world.

 

Oh, there is so much to be grateful for here in America, even in these hard times!  And as we celebrate our Independence Day, let us remember all those who have sacrificed so much and continue to sacrifice to keep our nation secure.  And let us remember the Creator Who gave us the inalienable rights we cherish: “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

 

Over and over again, despots throughout the ages have tried to stamp out personal freedom and liberty. And yet they won’t yield. “The greatest gift that God in His bounty made in creation, and the most conformable to His goodness, and that which He prizes the most, was the freedom of the will, with which the creatures with intelligence, they all and they alone, were and are endowed. (Dante Alighieri, The Devine Comedy)"  May we not take it and our God for granted.

 

Happy 4th of July!  And God bless America!

 

Until next week,

Sylvia

Category: General | Spirituality