Bible Reading: Luke 7:31-50
People have predetermined what God should be like and if they are not careful…they will miss Him when He shows up. The only reliable source from which to learn about God is the Bible. We need to read it daily…so that we can easily recognize God and not be deceived.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
Frank Abagnale was born on April 27, 1948. He led an amazing life as an airline pilot, medical doctor, college teaching assistant, a U.S. Bureau of Prisons Agent, and a lawyer. All before he was 21-years-old! Well, kinda’. You see, he really wasn’t any of those things. Actually, he was a con man, a fake…he just pretended that he was those things…and he did it very, very well. He became one of the most famous impostors ever…claiming to have no fewer than eight false identities. And on top of that, he made fake money and forged checks. Between the ages of 16 and 21 he cashed more than $2,500,000.00 in forged checks in all 50 states and 26 countries. How did he manage to fool people so well? First, he would read and study about the profession he was going to fake. For instance, when he was going to fake being a doctor he watched movies about doctors and read books about medicine…so that he knew the way that doctors behave and some basic medical terminology. Then, he made fake certificates and diplomas from colleges that said that he had graduated from them with a medical degree. And finally, he did what he was really good at. He found out what people expected a doctor to act like…and then he played the part. Another time he acted like he was an airline pilot. First, he managed to get hold of a pilot’s uniform. Then, he would go to the ticket counter and tell the agent that he needed to catch a plane as a passenger to some city because he was supposed to fly a plane out of there the next day, or so. It was a common thing that pilots had to do and was called “deadheading”. He never had to actually fly a plane…even though on occasion he was invited to sit in the cockpit and one time a pilot asked him to take over for a few minutes (he put the plane on autopilot instead of flying it, himself). But, as a fake pilot he flew over 1,000,000 miles on 250 flights to 26 countries…and all for free!
Eventually, Abagnale got caught. He was sent to prison in several different countries (France, Italy, Sweden, United States) for the crimes he had committed. He now lives in Charleston, South Carolina. He owns a private business that works with companies as a security consultant and fraud issues, and occasionally does work for guess who…the FBI. Oh, and one more funny thing…his son works for the FBI, as well.
How did Frank Abagnale manage to fool so many people? He found out what they expected someone to act like…a doctor, a pilot, a lawyer…then he acted that way. They already had a picture in their minds of how a person would act…how they would talk…how they would live…and he just fit into their picture.
Just the opposite happened to Jesus. For many, many years the Jewish people had been anticipating that their Messiah would come. They were anxiously waiting for His arrival. Their religious leaders looked through the Scriptures (the Old Testament) and found passages that described Him and began to build a mental image in their minds about what He would be like. As time passed, more and more people began to agree with them and accept their picture.
Then Jesus came…but He didn’t fit their picture.
- Their picture was one of a mighty warrior who would become an earthly king.
- He would fight against the Romans and overthrow them.
- He would reestablish Israel as a great, ruling nation.
But that’s not what Jesus did.
- He was a mighty warrior…but He fought against the devil, the spiritual forces of darkness…not the Romans.
- He was a king…but His kingdom is not of this world, it is the Kingdom of Heaven.
- He did reestablish Israel as a great nation…but not to rule over the world, but to serve the world.
Jesus did not fit their picture and He told them that He never would fit their picture. That is the reason why so many of the Jews did not accept Jesus as the Messiah…they had the wrong picture.
You and I need to be careful because it can be very easy for us to make our own picture of what God should be like. We want God to be loving, and to provide for us, and to forgive us when we sin, and to make us happy. But we don’t want God to tell us what we can and cannot do, or punish us when we sin, or allow us to go through difficulties. If we are not careful…God will show up and we won’t recognize Him because He doesn’t fit our picture.
Can you imagine going to the airport to pick up someone that you had never met? That would be very difficult. But what if you had a picture of them? Then it wouldn’t be so hard. But what if you had been given the wrong picture? What if the picture you had was of someone else? Why, you could be standing right in front of the person you were supposed to pick up…and not even know it was them. That’s the way it can be with God. We have come up with the wrong picture…and when He shows up we don’t recognize Him.
So, where do we get the right picture of God? From the Bible. The Bible tells us everything that we need to know about God. It gives us a perfect picture of Him. We don’t need to look anywhere else. With that in mind…what does God look like, to you? Have you read the Bible good enough…so that when He is at work in your life…you will easily recognize Him? I hope so. But let me encourage you to do something…read some more. In fact, read some every day. That’s what I try to do. I don’t want to ever forget what God looks like…so every day I look at His picture in the Bible, again.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,