A Wisdom Retreat - April 30

Equal Blame—Equal Blessings

Galatians 3:28-29

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise.

Pastor Gary Tolbert told the story of a little boy who had come to see the sights of Washington, D.C., with his parents. When they arrived at the Washington Monument, the boy was speechless as he stared at the obelisk stretching into the sky. He noticed a guard standing by and walked up to him, saying, "I want to buy it," pointing at the monument erected in memory of our first President.

The guard said, "Excuse me?" The child said a little louder, "I want to buy that!"

The guard bent down and asked, "Well now, just how much money do you have?" The boy reached into his pocket and pulled out a quarter. The guard said, "I'm sorry son, that's not enough."

The boy replied, "I thought you'd say that," and he reached into his other pocket and pulled out a nickel and four pennies, holding his hand up to the guard for him to count the money.

The guard looked at the boy, then squatted down and said to the disappointed negotiator, "Listen son, you need to understand three things:  First, you don't have enough money to buy this thing—34 cents or 34 million dollars wouldn't be enough to buy the Washington Monument; second, you need to know that the Washington Monument is not for sale; third, you need to know that, if you are an American citizen, the Washington Monument belongs to you—it's already yours."

What a wonderful picture of Christianity! No matter what kind of person you are—red, yellow, black or white; tall or short; fat or thin; rich or poor; Baptist or Presbyterian; pessimist or optimist (and I could go on and on!)—you are an equal shareholder in God's kingdom if you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ.

In fact, your half-dollar and your neighbor's fifty dollar bill are on equal par when it comes to earning favor with God—you can't tip Him. You can have His favor and all its rewards freely through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God has already purchased salvation and offers it to you through the sacrifice of His Son.

Just as the Washington Monument belongs to both a little boy with pocket change and a millionaire businessman, so also the promises of God belong to every believer.

The truth is, we are equally deserving of condemnation, but by God's grace we have become equally endowed with an inheritance that will never pass away . . . claim it today!

Prayer Point: How are you reaching out to those who are different from you? In what ways are you developing relationships with men and women who have a different ethnic, social, or family background from you? Ask God to give you opportunities to develop strong relationships with those who are different from you outwardly, but share oneness with you in Christ.

Extra Refreshment: Read Matthew 20:1-16.


The Advent Event

December is one of the busiest months of the year. As Christians, we approach the Christmas season with the intention of focusing on the incarnation and making it a significant time. But it's so easy to get caught up in the busyness of the season—the parties, the decorations, the presents and the special events at church. Before we know it, the month of December has flown by, and we wonder where the time went.

One of the most significant things a family can do in December is to be intentional about finding time every day to think about the true meaning of Christmas. The Advent Event is an easy, fun and enriching family project to help focus attention on the birth of Jesus while discovering the big picture of God's plan throughout the entire Bible.

Each day in December, the family sets aside a few minutes together for this activity. There is a simple coloring craft, a story from God's Word and a motion to learn that helps children remember the timeline of Scripture. Most importantly, this resources provides a special family time that Moms and Dads can use to reconnect their families to the spiritual significance of Christmas; the birth of Jesus, our Savior.

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Many ministries today expound on life and illustrate with Scripture;
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