So yesterday in church, our eighty-something, going on forty pastor Fr. Boris Zabrodsky preached on a well-known verse: If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9.
Before I switched to yawn mode, I prayed my standard "before the sermon prayer:" Lord, I know You are speaking to me this morning. Please open my heart to what you wish to say."
As Fr. Boris talked, I realized something quite different from the message he was delivering, something that applies to any part of my life, that "confessing" and "believing" had a promised result.
People "confess" all the time. Depending on the individual, those words may be heavy with the weight of conviction, or hollow, containing no committment or action to bolster them, another clanging gong in a noisy, chattering world.
Sometimes the difference is not readily apparent, like a greenhouse tomato that never ripens or a succulent peach that's mealy at the first bite. At other times...well, we've all experienced moments when a person who is the real thing speaks just a few words, and we merely sit, stunned, and thinking, "Wow! Just, wow!"
On the other hand, people may wholehjeartedly believe in something, but when it comes time to "stand up and be counted," they're silent, whether from shame, embarrassment, fear of another's opinion, etc. Again, we've probably all known the friend that suddenly goes silent just when we need him to speak up, no matter how much we know, way deep down, he supports us.
Far too often, people live with a hurtful disconnect between the outward and the inward, the public and the private, what they say and what they want, what's important to them and what's they'll admit is important to them. I think that leads to living half lives.
But when people dig strong roots of belief - and aren't afraid to say so - they are saved.
And from what are they saved?
No better teacher than Mike
Joliet Junior College English professor couldn't generate interest in his community Chinese classes, so he create some whimsical YouTube videos and "taught" online. The result? A book deal that's already been a smashing success in the UK, a book slated for U.S. release in November.
An Extraordinary Life: Joliet woman made everything special
Even a simple trip to Hobby Lobby became an adventure
Lockport equine facility to host fundraiser for Manhattan boy
The owner doesn't know little Bryce, who has both Down Syndrome and an aggressive leukemia. She didn't even know that he loves horses when planned an event that featured horse rides. She simply had her own reasons for helping.