Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How cold is cold?

Thirteen below zero!! That was the temperature my car’s thermometer registered this past Monday. That's pretty cold!

I’ve experienced some colder temperatures in my lifetime. The coldest was 31 years ago when our daughter was born. It was -27 degrees Fahrenheit. -75 with the wind chill that day. Now dat be chilly! Still it DOES get colder than that.

The coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth was -128.6 degrees. That was July 21, 1983 at Vostok Station in Antarctica. I have no idea what -128 degrees feels like. I’m not sure I WANT to know either. Let’s just agree that -128 degrees is very, VERY cold.

In the book of Matthew, when Jesus is telling His disciples about what will happen at “The End of The Age” He says this in verse nine . . .

"12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold." - Matthew 24:12

First off, the Greeks have several words for our word love – eros, phileo, agape – so I looked up the Greek word used in this particular text. Honestly, I was expecting to see Phileo (a friendly love) but I didn’t. I saw the word Agape. Unconditional, sacrificial love.

Agape is the ultimate form of love and Jesus said in Matthew 24 that even those who feel Agape love for Jesus and others . . . their sacrificial, unconditional love will grow cold. Now THAT is cold!!

Picture the flame on a candle as it extinguishes, leaving everything in the room in total darkness. That kind of cold - a life without light and without love. Welcome to hell.

So how can we keep our love from going cold even when everything around us is falling apart? How can we keep our light from going out? The answer, of course, is Jesus.

"12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” - John 8:12

It is easy to find our eyes and hearts focused on other things these days. Even those of us who profess a faith in Christ get sucked away from our faith by living in a world that contradicts it. With all the civil unrest these days? People are actually chanting in the streets for others to be killed. Any love THOSE people might have had at one point in their lives for their fellow man surely has grown cold. Calling for others to be killed?

That is really the $1,000,000 question. Is our love for Jesus strong enough to withstand anything? Anything?

We Christians tend to answer "yes" to that question while we are sitting in our comfortable pews, listening to our pastor's Sunday morning sermon, but would our answer be the same if we found ourselves in an orange jumpsuit with a man in black standing behind us, holding a knife to our throats?

You may never face such a test, but it WILL happen to some. For other people the test of faith might be a phone call in the middle of the night. There has been an accident. For others it might be a diagnosis from a doctor. When things get dark in our lives what will we do? How will we react?
The answer is simple. When things get dark, get closer to The Light. When love grows cold get closer to The Fire. When situations in this world make you weak, get strength through Christ. And when times seem like things just couldn't get any worse, seek Jesus. When you are "drowning" in a world that doesn't know God, lift up your hand. He'll grab it.

So when it turns cold outside, remember the love of Jesus and the warmth of His embrace. Then warm yourself in His Word, ask for warmth in your prayers and rest in the knowledge that warmer days are coming for those who believe.

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30

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