Take 5 (February 24-28, 2014)

take5Jim McQuerrey • Pastor of Worship Ministries

Introduction: How to Say a Christian Good-Bye

When a sad “good-bye” has your spirit down for the count, just remember that there are none in Heaven!

Monday: When It DOESN’T Look Greener…

Gen. 12:1-9

 It seems that Abram had it pretty good in Haran. Still, as God instructed, he gathered up his beautiful wife, Sarai, and his whiney, self-centered and conniving nephew, Lot, and set out for some place God would show them.  He said “good-bye” to his country, his kindred, and his father’s house and began a “Journey to Somewhere.” It’s easy to trust God when you know your ultimate destination; it’s easy to trust God when you see the fulfillment of His promises along the way; it’s easy to trust God when there are no unexpected side-trips to Egypt. It should be easier for us than it was for Abram: we know our ultimate destination; we look back on the fulfillment of hundreds of promises; we know that there are no “side-trips” with God. He has a purpose for every stop on our journey.We can say “good-bye” with confidence when we know that God directs the last step as surely as He does the first.

For Today:  Remember, It IS greener on the “Other Side.”

Tuesday: When God Says Hurry Up…

Gen. 19

There really was no time for any good-byes; there really was no reason for any good-byes. Their neighbors had tried to kill them. After all, Lot and his family were just foreigners who stood between them and what they wanted. Finally, there was no time left; and Lot, his wife, and their two daughters barely escaped with their lives. God had delivered them from destruction, but Lot’s wife could not say a resolute good-bye to what was. Sometimes, we’re like that. A moment of inspiration prompts us, and we say a half-hearted good-bye to the things that draw us away from what God has ahead for us. You can’t move forward with God when your sights are set firmly on what He delivered you from. When God says move ahead, it’s best not to dally. No need for good-byes, especially half-hearted ones. -James 5:12

For Today: “Choose this day whom you will serve.” -Joshua 24:15

Wednesday: In the end, He did it God’s Way…

Deut. 34

What an awesome tribute God gives to Moses in Deuteronomy 34:10-12Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face,  who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land.  For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel. Still, Moses was not perfect, and God denied him entrance into Canaan because of his disobedience. On the other hand, God gave Moses a good-bye song to give to the people of Israel. It’s found in Chapter 32. It may not have made the people’s Top Ten Hit List, but it was the song they needed to hear and teach to each succeeding generation. We’re no different from the Israelites of Moses’ time. We go humming along through life, making up our own melodies and trying to outfit life with our own harmonies. Why not say good-bye to Sinatra’s (and our) notion of “I Did It My Way?” In the end, we will all do it God’s way.

For Today: Let God sing His Melody of Life through you.

Thursday: You Really CAN Go Home Again…

Ruth 1

She had had all she could take. First, a famine had driven her family from their home in Bethlehem to find sustenance in the land of Moab. She had already said a painful good-bye to her husband, and now her two sons were dead also. Naomi’s final good-byes to her young daughters-in-law were mixed with pleas for them to return to their families who would care for them and where they might find husbands. Orpah gave in, but Ruth would have none of it; and Ruth said a firm and final good-bye to her land, her culture,  and her gods as she and Naomi set out for Bethlehem. Their first days there were difficult ones, but God soon blessed them in marvelous ways. Have you ever felt like Naomi, shredded by tragedies in life that pile up one on top of the other? If so, accept the love, friendship, and companionship that others offer, say good-bye to your Land of Misery, and strike out for “Bethlehem.” That’s where the Wise Men found Jesus; and that’s where you’ll find Him too –waiting there to bless you as you come home to Him.

For Today: Look for ways to reach out to the “Naomis” around you each day.

Friday: It’s Worth Your Time…

John 14:1-13

It was a rather extended good-bye. Jesus had just a few hours left in which to prepare His disciples for a world without Him. Knowing that they would need to be strong in their faith, Jesus carefully reinforced their understanding of who He is. Jesus didn’t just say, “Well, I’m done soon. You guys keep going.”

He took the time to prepare their hearts and their minds. Maybe they didn’t get it all at once, but the groundwork was laid for a lot of those “ah, ha!” moments after Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Most of us neglect to prepare our own loved ones for a world without us. Our final good-byes should begin far enough in advance to prepare those we love for a world without us—long before we are incapacitated by illness. It may seem morbid to talk of these things prior to our departure from this world, but time spent now will certainly help our loved ones accept of our final good-bye.

For Today: ‘Nuff said.