Zeal

This originally appeared in the May 1, 2002 LaPlata Home Press.

Recently, during a junior high weekend at a nearby college, the speaker took a drink of his bottled water and shouted, “Let’s hear it for Agua Fina!” and most of the 250 kids gave a cheer. Then he said, “I love junior high kids, they’re zealous about anything.” That is pretty much true. At that age, discovery is exciting and it’s easy to be excited especially when there is a large group of junior high kids.

However, zeal needs focus as we take on responsibility for ourselves. For instance, patriotism seemed to have been on the wane in the USA until the tragic events of 9/11. Now, patriotism is growing in America again. Sports fans seem to be the most zealous of all. They get totally crazy at times. Going shirtless in Green Bay at 12 degrees and a wind of 20 mph, and painting their faces with their team’s colors. Of course, as the saying goes, it takes all kinds (sic).

The psalmist, David, wrote, “My zeal has consumed me” Psalm 119:139. His overwhelming desire was to know and obey God’s law. He even predicted that Jesus would have great zeal for the House of God (Psalm 69:9). John notes this in John 2:17. “His disciples remembered that it is written, ‘ZEAL FOR THY HOUSE HAS CONSUMED ME.'” Jesus had just driven out the money changers in the temple because they were making it impossible for God’s people to worship God properly because they were robbing and cheating the people. In other words, his zeal was for the things of God and that God be honored by holiness, not unrighteousness.

We have been encouraged to ask WWJD? Before we do anything, ask what would Jesus do if he were presented with the situation we are in? Jesus is always the perfect example for us, therefore, he is our example for zeal, a zeal that even surpasses that of junior high kids (sic). The answer to WWJD is to have the same type of and level of zeal for the things of God as Jesus had, that is, loving and knowing God’s word and will, living holy and righteous lives, exercising discipline and faithfulness throughout our life, and so much more. It is the desire (zeal) that Jesus had, that should be ours too.

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Memory

This first appeared in the LaPlata Home Press September 11, 2002 in a weekly devotional called Flowing From the Mouth of the Jordan.

When I was 3 1/2 years old, my parents, my Grandma Dillman, and I took a trip out east.  We went to Gettysburg, Niagra Falls, and other special places of interest. The next year we went to the Rockie Mountains, the Grand Canyon, and Knotts Berry Farm as well as other places of interest of interest to us.  I remember blotches of these moments. For instance, the only thing I remember at Knotts Berry Farm was riding the train. I sat in a seat by myself (remember I am 4 1/2 years old) and two guys dressed as western bandits sit behind me and tell me to “stick-em-up.” My parents told me I told them “NO!”

Most of what I’ve told you I barely remember. In fact, the details of what I could tell you about each situation have been filled in by my parents, especially by the pictures they took of these two trips.

Every Sunday, when God’s church gathers in each church building, the church shares together in the Lord’s Supper (i.e., Communion). The Lord’s Supper is a sharing in remembering what God has done in Christ on the cross. We were not there when he nailed and died and taken down and laid in a tomb (John 19:17-20:10). We were not there when he bore our sins on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21). But, when we came in faith to Christ in baptism, we participated in Jesus’ death for our sins (Romans 6:3-8) and the Lord’s Supper reminds us of the depth of love God has for us, and the forgiveness we’ve received in Christ through our faith and obedience.

Just like the pictures of my family’s trips fill in the blanks of my memory, reminding me of what happened in Gettysburg, and Colorado, etc., the Lord’s Supper reminds us of the work of the cross in our lives. The cross brings forgiveness of sins to those who have faith. For the Christian, participating in the Lord’s supper is as if we are participating in the cross, because Jesus experienced our sin in his suffering.

All Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Version.

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