This has been a week of varied weather patterns. One day it will be sunny and cloudless, the next will be windy and rainy. I rather enjoy it that way, as it keeps one guessing what will be next. One thing for sure, though, our weather has not been so dramatic as back east with their ferocious snow storms. We are blessed with West Coast "Southern California" weather, no matter what time of year. And that means no snow (except in the mountains, of course).
Tuesday morning, I was given the assignment to lead a devotional for the morning break at the Coronado Stone manufacturing plant in nearby Fontana. For that ten-minute devotional message, I was asked to speak on a passage from the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus. The passage was Matthew 5:21-32. My goodness, there is a lot of "meat" in those few verses, so I had to be concise and to the point in that time frame of sharing. Jesus talks about murder, anger, secret thoughts, worship, forgiveness, divorce, morality, temptation and attitudes. Wow!
So, as a preacher, I broke it down into three parts. First, I spoke about the spirit of destruction which can overtake us and send us on a path of pain and suffering. This thought pattern enjoys the attitude of contempt and feeling of superiority, which kills the soul of others. Therefore, there is physical murder and there is emotional murder. It is the untlimate end of hurtful anger. Be careful what you say. Be very careful what names you attach to other people!
Secondly, I talked about the spirit of restoration. When conflict or confusion or conduct has created a barrier between you and someone else, make it right! In this passage, it pointedly speaks of issues that we ourselves have created, rather than the hurtful actions by others against us. We make mistakes, we mess up, we cheat and lie and steal in so many ways. We cannot go and worship at the altar when someone else has something against us. We cannot attempt praise and try to enter into an intimate time with God when there are problems which we have caused between us and those around us. We must be right with our fellow man before we can be right with God. There is a price to pay (one that is spiritual), and we must face our past and find forgiveness with redemption.
To close, I shared my thoughts on the spirit of holiness. This is doing right in every way -- words and actions and thoughts. We are to flee from temptations, as well as run from the wrong motivations which come to the forefront at different times. We are not to use legal means to cover up our moral failures. We are not to allow impure thoughts and immoral behavior to continue to be barriers to our holy desires. God honors our pursuit of holiness!
Tuesday evening, I spent some time with a young couple in premarital counseling. They are to be married in April. I had a wonderful time of sharing and talking and finding out more about their lives, their hopes and dreams for the many years ahead. I had already given them written assignments on the Biblical purposes of marriage and questions to answer, questions about their personal feelings about each other and such.
The rest of the week was filled with study other meetings and errands and even car maintenance appointments. Last night, though, Sondra and I went to dinner at the Market Broiler restaurant. Friday nights are typically our time together for going out and spending an evening that is relaxing and fun. Too tired to wait an hour after dinner for the next movie (one we wanted to see) at the theater close by, we went home and watched a movie on DVD.
It was Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family: The Play. I had not watched any Tyler Perry movies before, although I had heard good reports on them. This one was awesome! I recommend it highly. Tyler Perry wrote, edited, directed, produced and starred in this play that was filmed on a New York stage. It's about a lady who wants to tell her family that she does not have much time to live. The surrounding drama of family life of her five adult children made it hard to get them all together for such a purpose. The grandma (named Madea, played by Tyler Perry) gives insight throughout as the drama unfolds. Almost every topic of life comes to the surface in this comedy filled with very moving, powerful and serious moments. Issues that are dealt with are ones that fill the specturm of livng in this world -- Christian values, clothing, family secrets, pain, love, marriage, conflict, money, decisions, youth, life crises, and death.
I hope you watch it and tell me what you think.