Cliff Hanger Text; Luke 4:9,29
A device often used in a continuing series is a cliff hanger. A character is left in a difficult dilemma such as hanging from a cliff when a show ends. This leaves the audience ‘hanging’ until the next episode, thus, the name cliff hanger. This word came to mind as I read Luke 4. A friend is trying to quit smoking and asked my opinion on meditation classes to overcome addictions and temptations. My advice: candy worked for me seventeen years ago. Thinking of sugar (Charm suckers with bubble gum in the middle) instead of nicotine was my meditation method. Yum. I went on to advise meditation on God’s Word. Jesus used the Word of God to fight satan’s temptation. If it worked for Jesus, it should work for us. When satan led Jesus to the wilderness to tempt Him, he told Jesus to jump off a high pinnacle for the angels would surely catch Him if He was who He said He was. Jesus told the devil, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord, thy God.” In other words – “Don’t jump or do other stupid stuff when you know better and expect God to send angels to catch you.” At that, the devil left Him alone awhile. I read on to see what happened next. Jesus full of the Spirit went to Galilee and taught in their synagogues. Can you say revival? Next, He traveled to His hometown of Nazareth, went to church, and read the Word. No revival came, only ridicule. Once again Jesus was led out, not by satan this time, but by people who tried to push Him off a cliff! satan told Jesus to jump and these people took it a step farther and tried to push Him. What did Jesus do? He simply passed through the middle of the crowd and … What happened next? Read Luke 4. satan may tempt, people may push, but God’s Word will help you pass right through the middle of it all.
An Honorable Profession Text; ROMANS 13:7
Mother’s Day has been celebrated on the second Sunday in May in the United States since President Woodrow Wilson signed a resolution declaring it a national holiday in 1914. Mothers are honored on this day which is designated to be their day. Anna Jarvis worked tirelessly to see this holiday come to be, yet never became a mother herself. One of the most famous mothers of our day also had no children, but was a spiritual mother to those who were downtrodden. Mother Teresa believed change starts with one person. Her philosophy: “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” The Nobel Peace Prize winner worked tirelessly to end poverty and believed that all should, “Be faithful in the small things for it is within them your strength lies.” Rose Kennedy, mother of nine, also comes to mind when we think of great mothers. To her, being a mother was a very serious thing. She once said, "I looked on child-rearing not only as a work of love and duty but as a profession that was fully as interesting and challenging as any honorable profession in the world and one that demanded the best that I could bring it," Now most of us don’t have mothers who are as famous as these ladies, but we do have, or know a mother whom we can honor today. Mothers work tirelessly for things they believe in. They teach us to be faithful in small things and to help those who aren’t as fortunate as ourselves. Even though many mothers do have other careers, they still believe that motherhood is an interesting and challenging career that demands they bring their very best to day in and day out.
Only The Beginning Text; Ii Timothy 2:15
Graduation is defined as a ceremony where academic degrees are given. People often define graduation as the end of an era. We define the graduate as one who has finished their education. The end? Finished? Wait a minute. Education is a lifetime process. It never ends. Each day there are new things to be learned. Studies that continue in our everyday lives don’t always offer degrees, but do offer opportunities to better ourselves and others. Tom Brokaw once challenged a group of graduates saying, “You may think of this as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world.” This is a great challenge to all of us, especially Christians. As Christians we are called to a higher standard, and indeed do have the power within us to change the world around us. When Paul wrote to his spiritual son -Timothy from prison, he encouraged him to change the world through Christ. It is thought Timothy might have been somewhat timid. Paul not only told him to speak boldly, but to speak words that truly make a difference. He told Timothy to study and learn to divide mere words from truth. This is good advice in the world that we are living in today. Listen to words wisely. Learn to recognize truth and always speak it. An educational degree may indeed be a ticket to a good life, but is also a challenge to continually improve. Likewise, the Christian life is a good life, but calls for continual growth in Christ so that we may improve our lives and the lives of others through the Truth within us.
True Heroism Text; Joel 3:10
The Memorial Day Holiday originated as a day to honor soldiers who had died during the Civil War. Many unmarked graves of unknown soldiers were decorated with American flags and flowers in remembrance of great heroic sacrifice. Through the years the tradition grew to include not just the graves of soldiers, but graves of all who had gone on before. We all have cherished memories of someone who we wish were still here. Many of these people will never be remembered by the masses, but to us they are a hero who helped us fight a battle or achieve a victory in our lives. These people fit into a very special group of heroes defined by Arthur Ashe. “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” Author Ashe, the first, and still only, black player to win the men's singles at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, or the Australian Open, served others faithfully pushing to create inner city tennis programs for youth; helping to found the Association of Men's Tennis Professionals; working tirelessly for AIDS awareness and speaking out against apartheid in South Africa. He died a hero to many in 1993. In his biography we find he identified his hero as his mother who died when he was six. She taught Arthur to read when he was only four. He spoke of her often. Ashe could have given up at the age of six. He didn’t. Even as disease caused his health to decline and his body to become weak in the last years of his life, he continued to fight for what he believed in as true warriors do. Who is your hero? Remember them today. But also make a commitment to be a true hero serving others; and a warrior standing firm for Christ in whom you have believed. Let the weak say, “I am a warrior” Joel 3:10 ESV