Friday, June 12, 2009

#41 Type O Negative

Romans 5:9 NASB “…having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”

Blood is an amazing thing. The Bible refers to blood as containing life of a living being (Genesis 9:4). Without our blood we cannot survive. Blood flows through our lungs and picks up life sustaining oxygen. The blood has a specialized protein called hemoglobin that allows the blood to carry oxygen to the cells where it can be used. Of course our blood contains other substances too. One of the substances contained in blood actually has helped many college students afford to buy groceries. Plasma is a yellowish substance in which the blood cells are suspended. Plasma makes up about 55% of the total volume of blood and it is collected through a process call plasmapheresis (plaz-ma-fu-re-sis). This process actually pulls the blood out of the donor, spins the plasma out of the blood and then reintegrates the blood back into the donor. Plasma collection facilities will pay donors for this life saving substance.

Something that we most often hear about when we talk about blood is the type. Because it is a complex subject and I am not a hematologist, I will not attempt to explain how and why blood is typed. Suffice it to say that when each of us requires blood to be added to our bodies, we need the blood that is compatible with our blood type. I will also not attempt to discuss which blood is compatible with which type. I will say that there is one blood type that can be used with any person in need of blood. That blood type is O Negative (O-). This O- type can be given to any person regardless of the type of blood that is inherent in their body. Type O- is particularly helpful in emergencies when the blood type of a person is not known.

Valuable time that would be used to determine the type of blood can instead be used to treat the injuries or other problems that a patient may be facing. Type O- has the power to save, and blood collection facilities cherish this blood that is found in less than 7% of the people across the United States. When we think of blood many of us are grossed out and would prefer to change the subject. Seeing blood has never really bothered me unless it is my own. Granted, I do not look for opportunities to try and see others bleeding, but I can remain calm when a situation arises that requires me to deal with seeing blood.

However we may view having to deal with blood in the physical world, I am very glad that blood comes into play in the spiritual world. When sin entered the picture back in the Garden of Eden God Himself made the first sacrifice in order to cover Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21). From that point forward there was a requirement of sacrifice. Generation after generation sacrificed animals that were pointing forward to the coming Christ who was the spotless Lamb of God (John 1:29). Of course we know that Jesus was crucified not for what He did; rather “He who knew no sin became sin for us.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

The thing that I love about the sacrifice that Jesus made is that it was universal; not in the sense that everyone’s sins were immediately covered, but rather that the opportunity was created for all to be able to come into a saving relationship with God the Father through Jesus the Son. When Jesus went to the cross He did not go just for one particular race or ethnic group. He did not die just for the rich or just for the poor. He did not die just for men or just for women. When Christ went to Calvary friends He went for all of us with no respect to creed, color, or socio-economic background. In fact the Bible tells us that God sent His only begotten Son so that WHOSOEVER believes in Him will not perish, but they will have eternal life (John 3:16).

Essentially what we see is that Jesus is the type O- that each of us needs to be rid of the disease of sin. No matter what your emergency or crisis in life may be Jesus is the One that you need to turn to in order to find hope and salvation beyond this world of sin and sorrow. You and I need a deep infusion of the blood of Jesus in our lives. If we rely on our blood to save us then we are destined for disaster. If we fail to turn to Jesus and do not accept His gracious donation of our behalf then we are in essence denying the very blood that was spilled out to wash away our sins and to bring us into a saving relationship with our Holy God (Isa 1:18). I appeal to each of you tonight to allow the blood of Jesus to cover your life.

Pause long enough to ask yourself if you are truly allowing Christ to have total control. If you are not giving Him full access to your life then stop what you are doing and pray that the Lamb of God will allow His saving, type O-, holy blood to be poured out to wash away your sins. It is only in that fountain that flows from Emmanuel’s veins that you and I will see the world of peace and hope that our Father has provided for us beyond the cares of this life.

Dear Father,

It is my prayer this evening that each of us will come to a state of full surrender and give our lives over to You by accepting the sacrifice that Jesus paid on Calvary’s cross for each of us. Please forgive us where we have failed You Father, and please wash away our sins that our record may be clean because of what Jesus has done for us. Let us accept without reservation the cleansing power of His blood and may we stand justified before You just now because of what Jesus has done. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

Friday, June 5, 2009

#40 Extended Frost

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

In our wonderful English language we have some interesting idiomatic expressions (figures of speech) that would puzzle folks from another country. For instance, I can recall when I was growing up and hearing adults comment on how I and my siblings were getting bigger. They would often say that we were “growing like a weed”. Of course this meant that we were growing fast and seemingly out of control. Another one of my favorites is often used when someone says something really unusual or out of the ordinary. We may say to someone, “You don’t have any sense.”

This does not mean that they truly have no good sense. It simply means that they are being silly or acting funny. Of course amidst these harmless expressions are some that do not make as happy. Nearly all of us have had some one “give us the cold shoulder”. This does not mean that the person’s shoulder is literally cold. It means that for one reason or another that person is choosing to ignore you or that they are snubbing you in some way.

As Christians, we must be careful about how we speak and act. In fact, we must be careful to not needlessly offend people or to cause them fall into sin. I have had people tell me that they do not like going to church because there are too many hypocrites. I always follow up by asking them, “Where else are Christians supposed to learn to do better if not at church?” We do not come to church because we are perfect but because we are sinful and want to learn to be more like Jesus.

Having said that I will say this; as Christians we should not use the fact that we are sinful as an excuse to be and do as we please. God has not called us to be failures. He has not called us to come to Him and then place our spiritual growth on cruise control. Yes, it does not matter how messed up we are when we come to Jesus. He will take us just as we are, but God would a failure if He accepted us as we are then left us there. God accepts us and then expects us to grow and become more and more like Jesus. It is through that growth process that God molds and shapes our character in such a way as to create in us Christ-like character. So if God longs to make us more and more like Jesus, why is it that too many Christians do not know how to treat one another? I think one aspect of it is that we want to maintain control of our lives.

Yes, we all want a Savior to save us from the penalty of our sins, but how many of us truly want a Lord? The thing we must understand is that we cannot have one without the other. You cannot just accept Jesus as Savior. You must also allow Him to be the Lord of your life. If we refuse to allow Christ to have full control then we are essentially saying to Him that we can do a better job running our lives that He can.

This brings us back to how we act and speak. Since I have been in the church (March 1992) I have met some really wonderful people who model the character of Christ. Sadly, I have also met some who seem to have the name of God but opted to not take on His character. You’ve all met people like this I am sure. They are the ones who always seem to have nothing nice to say to anyone. They always look for the worst in every situation or they may criticize others instead of trying to be a part of the team. These Sadducees (Sad-you-sees) are missing out on the joy that Jesus longs to give us.

When Christ was here on earth He said that He came that we can have life and to have it more abundantly (John 10:10). An abundant life is not one that focuses on the negative. It is one that takes the bad in stride with the good. Just because we give our hearts to Christ does not mean that we will never experience heartache. The Christian walk is filled with peaks and valleys. But no matter what we may encounter along to way, as long as we hold fast to Jesus we will make it through and have victory in every trial.

It is my goal this evening to challenge each of you to consider how you treat others and to consider how you present yourselves to the world around you. Are you displaying the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, , gentleness, and self control-Galatians5:22) or are you walking about with a cloud of gloom around you? If you truly seek to honor Christ with your life then you must make sure that you always—I emphasize always—seek to lift up and encourage others. To walk around giving people the cold shoulder or being a thorn in their flesh is not living your life in such a way as to honor the Lord.

Dear Father,

Teach us to model Christ in every aspect of our lives. Help us overcome the sinful tendencies that we have so long cultivated. Please forgive us our shortcomings and help us to met the "cold shoulders" we give to others that they might learn of Your awesome love. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.