Christianity 201

December 7, 2022

Aliens and Strangers in Another Kingdom

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:34 pm
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“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? – Luke 6:46 NLT

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”Matthew 7:21 NASB

As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. – I Cor. 15:48 NIV

Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 1 Peter 2:11 NLT

Our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly wait for a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. – Philippians 3:20 CSB

A year ago we introduced you to Curtis K. Shelburne who writes at Focus on Faith and also hosts a podcast with the same name. By clicking the title which follows you can read this where it first appeared, and send our contributing writers some ‘link love’ at the same time!

“Why Do You Call Me ‘Lord’ and Do Not Do What I Say?”

A fish out of water. It’s rather amazing how easy it is to be one of those finny creatures.

We’re not talking here about lip injections and a person (I’m avoiding sexism here) who paid good money to look like a large-mouth bass.

What I’m talking about is being “out of your element.” That happens to all of us from time to time, maybe right where we live and right where we’re sitting.

You get called on to do something way out of your usual area of expertise or routine. You’re asked to make a speech at a civic club or, worse, a memorial service, and you never have done that before. You get a call from a doctor’s office. Just a few moments ago, you felt fine, but now you’re a cancer patient, and you’re pretty sure either the cancer or medical science is more than capable of making you feel anything but fine. A new world, and you’ve not even left your chair.

But sometimes, the “fish out of water” discomfort does indeed have to do with a change in geography and your place in it.

I remember years ago now (Was it really that long ago?) traveling to Uganda to see sons who were doing mission work there. When I saw bullet holes at the Entebbe airport left from the famous “Raid on Entebbe,” I knew we weren’t in Kansas. The guys weren’t kidding when they said we’d probably be better off keeping our eyes closed on the journey from the airport to Mbale. We didn’t, but, wow.

And then there was the day when I’d been teaching church history in a nearby village, my son was driving me back to home base, and a soldier with an AK-47 motioned for us to stop, and we didn’t. I was simply told, “Don’t look at him. He just wants a bribe, and I don’t want to mess with it. If he was wearing “XYZ” uniform, we’d stop.”

A few days later, I was rafting down Class V rapids in the Nile with another son. I listened really carefully at the “so you don’t drown” briefing.

Years ago, my wife and I spent a few days in New York. Talk about another planet. Interesting place to visit, but I looked out of a hotel window near Times Square and realized that leaving the hotel and joining that mass of humanity also meant leaving my comfort zone and making do with a lot less personal space.

I spent the night at a fire station in Amarillo recently. My son is that shift’s captain at that station. Do I need to tell you I followed his lead? When the “tones dropped” and we headed down to the fire truck, I was excited, but sleepy and completely out of my element.

In some of these cases, and others, my sons and those who knew the “territory” were not only helping guide me, they were keeping me in one piece. I knew that. And I listened. Only a fool wouldn’t. But I don’t need to tell you that fools who are sure they’re the smartest person in the room are not in short supply, a danger to themselves and others. Unable or unwilling to listen to folks smarter or with more experience than they are, and even undercutting the folks they hired or appointed for their expertise, the un-listening dimwit bumps into stuff needlessly. And folks get hurt.

A little (or a lot) more humility is a blessing to us all.

For those of us who say we follow Christ, folks who are citizens of his kingdom first of all, this means asking his help to learn kingdom ways, even if we find that they don’t come naturally.

In humility, we need to listen to our Guide. If he really is our Lord, we need to ask for his help and his power to do what he says.


Revisit the introduction for website link and podcast site link.

Copyright 2022 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

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