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Albuquerque Bedbug Chronicles-Vol.2, July 20th, 2010

July 20, 2010

 Matthew 5:43-46

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

Let me tell you some of what we have learned so far through this experience. Wow, there’s a lot. Ready for a sermonette? First, God is good. How can I say that?! Well, I’ll admit that I had a hard time seeing that  Saturday, July 10th at 9:oo p.m. when Chris said with red face and flaring nostrils, “I found bedbugs.” My first reaction was a mixture of anger and despair. I went in the bathroom and cried. How?! Why?! WHY AGAIN?!

 We can see how some immediate good came from having bedbugs. We were affected by an event on Monday the 12th.  There were several shootings about a half mile from the TLFs that we are staying in. We were called by the front desk and told to stay inside. Several people were killed in the shooting which took place at a building just outside one of the base gates. We were “locked down” for about 5 hours. The building where the shooting took place is on the other side of the street from Chris’ new workplace. Chris was not at work because he was here helping with the bedbug cleaning. It may be a small thing, but we were glad to have him here and not trapped so close to all of the trouble.

But let me tell you about some good things that I can now see. For the most part, God protected us from getting bitten. Chris has a few obvious bites. You would not believe the bites on the man and the woman in the other infested TLF. Hideous. The man is covered from head-to-toe. The woman looks like the 2nd “bite” photo in the earlier post on this subject. Why were we not bitten like that? I don’t know. I can offer a few earthly explanations. Our rooms were not as infested as theirs. Maybe our bodies have some sort of immunity because of the experience 6 years ago???

I am not sure, but I do know that He says:

Psalm 91

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.

4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

What else are we learning? Jesus is our King and He is the King of Empathy. He understands the fallen, filthy world that we live in and He chose to come to it, to live among the disease and death. He came to redeem his rebellious, fallen, bedbug-ridden creation. We got ourselves into the mess and He cleaned it up. He bought the world back from our disastrous state, a state that a Just and Holy God must allow, because of the choice of man. 

Man’s choice? Rebellion.  “I know how to run my life better than you God. I don’t need you God. There IS life apart from you God. God, you say that “my way” is not good for me, that I will slowly physically die and eventually spiritually die without you. I want to do it my way though and I want the results to be good and make me happy. I want you, God, to remove any consequences of my separation from you. I want everything good without YOU God. I don’t want physical and spiritual death because I have chosen to reject you. I want to reject you and have eternal life too! Can’t you do that God!? Can’t you create life apart from yourself? No!?”

Sin separates. It’s not a choice of God’s.  Holiness, purity is His nature.  Like the light dispels the dark and fire consumes the dross, holiness and sin cannot be in each other’s presence.  

Would God be just if He allowed sin to go undealt with on earth? If everything was blissful here and we did not have any trouble, pain or needs would we be aware of  the end result of separation from Him? How could God condemn us if we had lived a blissful existence with no clue of sin’s consequences? What if there were no consequences for the man who committed those murders in Albuquerque on Monday the 12th? What if as he faced God, after shooting those people and then himself, God said, “It’s ok. You had your reasons?” Would God be just then? I don’t think so.

I understand that’s a simplistic way of looking at the fallen state of man, but essentially we are all murderers because Jesus died on our account. Sinless Jesus. He died because of us, in place of us and for us. He died for us to give us life and to give us hope He rose. Is that harsh of me? You might think so, but that is what God says. You may say that you didn’t ask Him to, but, you see, you gave him no choice. You had one way out of your hopeless state and He took it for you. He loves you and wanted to give you another opportunity to choose Him. The choice to live.  He is the only way. Life is IN Him. Apart from Him is death.

Here is a hymn that I think states this all very well:

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can big me there depart
No tongue can bid me there depart
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Behold Him there the risen Lamb
My perfect spotless righteousness
The great unchangeable I AM
The Kind of glory and of grace
One with Himself I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Savior and my God!
With Christ my Savior and my God!

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