BELIEVE IT OR NOT
I recently went online to the Book of World Records and found some interesting facts. There were photographs of some of these:
- 10 bowling balls stacked with no adhesive or support
- 9 golf balls stacked with no adhesive or support
- 62 books stacked on a mans head; 73 tall, 217 lbs.
- 109 bees in mouth for 10 seconds
- 35,000 scorpions eaten over a period of years; 20-30 a day
- heaviest birth weight to live: 22 lbs., 8 oz.
On the Ripleys Believe It Or Not website, I also found some points of interest. These were all accompanied by video.
- sword swallower; ten 27 swords
- razorblade eater
- eye smoker
Do you believe all these so called facts? You can choose to believe them, or not. Some of them are ridiculous, far-fetched, and pretty much unbelievable. But, there are pictures. There is video. There were witnesses. We can believe it, or not.
Today, our lesson tells of the resurrection of Jesus. Think of it: A dead body ... dead for days ... buried ... brought back to life. Do we believe that? Well, of course we do, or we wouldnt be here today!
When we believe something, or believe in something of significance, and I mean really believe, were never the same. Our belief changes us, our behaviors, our thoughts. Its really fascinating to think about how our beliefs do this. We believe some things because its how we grew up. Heres a personal example: I believe Tide and Downy are the best products with which to do laundry. My mother used them. Ive tried others, but Ive always come back to Tide and Downy. It doesnt matter which scent, Tide and Downy are number one to me. I wont use anything else. I impress this upon my children. If I have a choice between a $2 box of another brand and a $10 box of Tide, Ill choose the Tide. To me, its worth the sacrifice of more money. If I couldnt get it here in Fort Smith, I would drive across the state to buy it or Id have it shipped to me. Im convinced of its effectiveness. Nothing else will do. But, Ive always believed this. Its how I grew up.
My daughters know how passionately I feel about some areas of my life. They know how strongly I believe in clean clothes, clean hair, clean bodies, clean cars, and clean houses. They never doubt my dedication and love for playing and watching sports. I have to wonder sometimes, though, if my love and dedication to Christ comes through as strongly to my girls as some of these other, non-eternal things. I hope so. Id hate to think they would grow up thinking trivial things are more important to me than the spiritual.
Sometimes,we believe the way we do because weve discovered it on our own. Robbies salsa would be an example of this. For years, Gary and I have eaten and enjoyed various types of salsa. Red, green, thick, thin, hot, mild -- we like our salsa. Then one day we tried Robbies salsa from Pauls Meat Market. We agreed it was the best ever. We were sold on it and purchased quite a bit as we ate it over the next few years. We recommended it to others and had them convinced to buy it as well. One day there was no Robbies in Pauls. I asked about it and was told that there might be a problem getting it. It was hard to come by and there might not be any more made. Panicked, I asked who else might still have some. He made a call across town and found about a case and a half. The next day it was in my pantry. The thought of a limited supply scared us. Knowing we would have to settle for less than the best left us disheartened. Sure, there were other salsas we liked, but we strongly preferred Robbies. We called the jars we had liquid gold and vowed to eat it sparingly so it would last longer. We made a mental list of regular guests in our home and deemed them either Robbies Worthy or not. Those making the worthy list were few. Fortunately, Pauls started carrying Robbies again and we can easily get all we want. Were even sharing it again!
Back to Jesus and His resurrection.
Do you believe it because its what you were taught growing up? Is it one of those Bible stories that we just take for granted? If so, we might need to spend more of our time thinking about it, reading it, studying it, and praying about it. In addition to believing it because we always have, we need to make it our own discovery. Only then will it affect us like it should. Only then will it change us. When we really believe in the resurrection of Jesus, we will feel so humbled, so loved, so thankful, and so indebted, that our lives will never be the same again. We will do whatever it takes to return this unbelievable love. No matter the sacrifice. No matter what others think. When we really believe, we will tell others of our discovery; we will consider it gold. My American History teacher in high school often said, With freedom comes responsibility. He was right. Its the same with our Christianity. With belief in Christ, with faith in Christ, with freedom in Christ comes responsibility.
We know this in our hearts. In our hearts we want nothing more than to live every day for the glory of our wonderful God. We want to be obedient, we want to give Him our lives, we want to please Him; but we mess up ... a lot. Praise God for the grace He gives us. At times we should ask ourselves if we are truly allowing ourselves to be changed by God, His Spirit, and His Word. Are we being transformed like in II Corinthians 3:18? Are the fruits of the Spirit evident in our lives? Galatians 5:2226 reads, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christs have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Are we living and walking in the Spirit or are we allowing our fleshly, human, worldly part of us take the lead? Listen to Colossians 3:1 & 2. If then, you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things of the earth. Do we do that?
I like to read Colossians 3:511, because I measure up pretty well. There, we find condemnation of sins like: fornication, evil desire, covetousness, blasphemy, and filthy language. Ashamedly, I dont measure up so well in verses 1217. There, we are encouraged to put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do ... put on love ... let the peace of God rule in your hearts ... Arent those verses just as important as the ones we found earlier in that chapter? Of course they are!
My point is this: If we really, truly, genuinely, absolutely, positively believe in the resurrection of Jesus and all things for which it stands, it will show in our lives - every day. It wont matter where we are - in town, on vacation, at a ballgame. It wont matter if were with friends, family, strangers, Christians, or non-Christians. It wont matter what were doing, nor will it matter that temptations and old habits are pressing in hard on every side. When we genuinely believe, it will show. Others will know just by watching us. Think of the change it made in the life of Paul. Think of the fire it started in his heart.
Do you remember the story about the boy who had a spirit who would sometimes throw him into water or fire? He was brought to Jesus by his father who said to Jesus, If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. Jesus said to him, IF you can!? All things are possible to him who believes! And immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help my unbelief! What a statement! Even the apostles said to Jesus, Increase our faith!
Im not sure Ive ever heard anyone pray that prayer, but its one Im going to start praying. Increase my faith! Help my unbelief! If we said this to God through tears and humility, can you imagine the change in our relationship with Him?
Thomas couldnt or wouldnt believe that Jesus was alive after the crucifixion - even though his friends told him it was true. He had to see it to believe it. Jesus didnt scold Thomas; instead, He invited him to look, to touch, to feel, and to believe. Thomas responded, My Lord and my God! Jesus said to him, Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. (John 20:29) He was talking about us. We havent seen the wounds, but we believe!
John 20:30, 31 says: And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ and that He is the Son of God? Or not? I know you do, and I know you are looking forward, as I am, to having that life in His name.
I encourage you to lay aside all the things that keep you from changing to be more like Jesus. Allow the Spirit to lead you and guide you. Live in such a way that you reflect the love of God and the life of Jesus wherever you go.
PLAY the song: I Will Never Be The Same Again
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Ladies Bible Class, 26 April 2005
Link to Rochelle's lecture "The Storms of Our Lives"
Link to Rochelle's lecture "Our Inheritance"
Check out Historical Evidence for the Resurrection outside the Bible
Link to Jeannie Cole's Ladies' Bible Class lectures
Link to WINGS Home Page