Friday, January 30, 2015

This Present Age

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul mentions "the rulers of the darkness of this age". Who then do these beings rule over? We don't know for sure, but as we look around us, some clues will present themselves. Have you watched a brother or sister in Christ brought nearly to tears of frustration dealing with the minions of a faceless bureaucracy? Sure, happens all the time we say. Looks like some of that ruling going on there. Diseases, injuries, genetic deviations (other than your brother I mean), that cause suffering appear around you? Yup, some more of that ruling darkness. Accidents that should never happen occur each day on the roads around us. What exquisite timing to bring those vehicles together. The cause of so much pain and death remains a mystery to us. It may well be those rulers of this present darkness. Then, we see the battlefield of the mind, probably even experience it ourselves. Yes, there is much darkness in the world, and we well know it.

What Paul saw all around him continues in this age to this day. As we look up to our Lord in great hope and faith, we know that the Healer will come again soon. The world may be dark for the moment, but a great light has shined in the darkness, and His second coming will not be delayed. Losing hope would be easy for us if we were to stare too much into that darkness. The Light and the Life give us hope as we read His Word. Deceptions abound in the darkness causing fear and depression. Only the Light of Jesus shining in Him and through His disciples wielding His Word stands against that darkness. Saints, take up the whole armor of God! We are in the fight of our lives.

As Paul said, "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might."


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Great Gravity! I'm Stuck Here

As we grow older, the force of gravity appears to attract us more to the ground. It may be a love thing. With each passing year the earth loves us more and tries all the harder to draw us into itself. At least that sounds like a plausible explanation for why we eat less but weigh more as we age. One day, we wake up, try to get out of bed, and are forced to admit, "Great gravity! I'm stuck here." Then of course the bladder hollers at us, again, and we must admit that gravity doesn't have quite the hold on us we thought. However, if the earth loves us and wants to keep us here, we have a message of a greater love.

Let me tell you of a love that breaks us free of this earth, or better still, let the words of Jesus work in us this day:

"I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:2b-3)

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

There are many other words of love in the Bible. Before we entertain too much of that 'stuck here' feeling, read the word of our Lord.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Upscale the Doom

Enjoying breakfast alone with God is not so unusual in my home, but this morning I did it in a public restaurant. Our little town did not do so well in supporting our one café on this fine morning. Perhaps everyone is getting the chores done so that they might enjoy a day expected to be in the 70s. Listening to the weather in New England last night and this morning causes a feeling of displacement. Close the curtains all around to shut out the view of outside, and one might feel chills and a need to count the canned goods in the pantry. As often happens in this age, the storm does not seem to be living up to predictions. So, which position would I rather be in as a weather prognosticator: the one where I predicted little and got folks in trouble or even killed, or the one where they mocked me for coming up short once more? I would of course take the mocking. Then there is the other temptation.

When enough people pay attention to a person, that person then faces the temptation to upscale the doom. Some of us call this fiction writing and try to make a living at it. Others, it seems, get caught up in the doom-crying and proceed to make life miserable for hard working folks. We'll call them meteorologists for short. Then there is that third class of doomsayers: the Bible calls 'em prophets. No matter how much these men and women upscale the doom, most folks of their day fail to believe them. Unlike fiction writers and weather forecasters, prophets - the ones not labeled 'false' - speak from God, and their words of doom come true in the proper time.

Have a great day in Christ!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Encouraging News

I feel the urge to encourage on a Monday morning! But then, I also worry sometimes over saying the wrong thing. That is life for the encourager. We don't always say the right thing, and sometimes even come up with something funny at the wrong time. Encouragement is a skill that needs practice. A person mourning a loss does not need jokes and trite sayings. We can encourage in many cases through silence better than many words. Of course, the best words for this purpose are in God's word.

The Word tells us of Jesus, and a whole bunch of His beloved sons and daughters who faced life much as we do. Don't always know the right thing to say? Neither did Peter, who in a couple of cases only knew the very wrong thing to say. Feel at a loss when comforting someone? Job's wife and friends weren't exactly a lot of help in his situation. Yet, in both testaments, the Bible speaks of God's great love for all of us. Words such as everlasting, awesome, and steadfast describe God's love for you and me. That is some encouraging news on this new morning!


Friday, January 23, 2015

You May Be Bored

Ah, Friday, the day of release. For many, a job seems just a bit easier to bear on a Friday. The weekend begins this evening. Glorious freedom! Then, boredom. Saturday afternoon comes and there's nothing to do. Boredom for the Christian is a test much like the other tests we endure. You may be in a place of waiting on the Lord to act, keeping watch through the long hours for His perfect timing. Patience does not come easily to us. Boredom may stop by for an extended visit first. Patience knocks gently at the door, but boredom barges in with big blanket of smothering disinterest. Writing about boredom takes courage, for I can almost hear it saying, "Someone is talking about me, I'm called!" No, no, stay far away dread boredom!

In this age of distraction, many fight with every dollar to keep boredom away. We go to shows and movies to see something we want to see most times, but there are also those times when we do it just to avoid a boring evening or afternoon. We may purchase games or other media for the same purpose. Books we may find harder to read when boredom arrives, which says something about the value of a book. We may make the awful mistake of complaining our boredom when people are present. Yes, God's beloved creations and we are bored around them! Actually, that tends more toward the childhood of our lives. As adults we have learned the cruelty in looking at a friend or loved one and announcing, "I'm bored..." (This is not to be confused with sharing our feelings with the spouse peacefully reading on the couch.) Boredom may however be the seat of creativity.

That condition we seek to avoid, may be God's calling to something creative in life. How like our Father in Heaven we are when creating something new. You may be bored - but just wait! - God can make something wonderful grow out of that boredom.

Rejoice in your work today as God's love overflows your cup,


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Grasping Grace

On a cold morning in January, I ask myself to grasp the grace God has given, and I come up short. How does one understand all of the grace God has poured over the former sinner? Perhaps grace does what we cannot do; that is, make us like Christ. All of my effort will not save me or make me like Jesus without grace. God knows full well my nature in this world, but through the grace earned by His Son on the cross the sinner becomes the saint. Grace may be God seeing me at the completion of His work, though the desires of the flesh still demand my attention in this world. Grace may well be thought of as God seeing me as I cannot yet.

Undeserved is the word often associated with grace for the Christian. As the Spirit of God makes me aware of sin, I can see the undeserved part too clearly. Grace is given by God because of His Son, not due to anything I've done. Grace was a decision of the Almighty based in His love for me. A love definitely above my current pay grade. Yet, Peter stated that I have been given everything I need to live a godly life. Not 'will be' given, or might be given, but have been given already in this life, all I need to live the godly life as Christ did. That gift must be grace, for at times I cannot see how anyone can get through this life without sin. Do I make excuse for myself this way? Hmm, real possibility there.

Of course, the awareness of sin, the demands of the flesh, both serve only to remind me that I cannot do it any other way than in Christ. The weapons of the adversary send me running to my Lord. A fall into sin tells me that grace is gifted to me by God, and is never something owed to me through my good behavior. The badness of me highlights the goodness of God, not so that I may sin more but rather as a promise of God's grace working in me. One day the reflection of Christ will shine forth from a sea of faces; the loving end result of God's grace.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Do a Bible Study, Gain Skill in the Word!

If a person wants to see miracles, he or she had better first believe in the miraculous. If a person wants forgiveness, he or she might do well to believe in the one who can forgive sin - Jesus. In this age, people are known for wanting the promise of Heaven without a Savior. People want a higher power, but one that they can control in some way. A Supreme Being who is all powerful and beyond control, manipulation, or deceit is just too much for many of our fellow humans. What if a somewhat lower power, subject to human manipulation, capable of a seeming miracle or two, and speaking great blasphemies comes along in this age? Ah, yes, I believe God's word does speak of such a person coming along soon.

We know that much of the world sits vulnerable to the Antichrist and his false prophet. They refuse to believe in Jesus the Savior, rebel against Jesus the Lord, and cannot stand the thought of our Sovereign God. Any alternative to belief in the only one who can save them is preferable to many. Grab a big rock, paint a figure on it, give it a name, (Thurgl the Pantsless) and someone will come along and worship the thing. Make up a system of worship that involves levels to attain, deprivation to endure, and throw in a guaranteed weight loss program, and you have a religion the world will embrace. Quite a few of the chosen ones will even give ol' Thurgl their worldly fortunes to hold. What can we do to fight this?

We are issued a set of armor for defense, but there is one weapon involved - a thing we can swing with skill. Paul called it the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph 6:17) Here is where we can train and have discipline in a skill. Using the Bible well does not come easily. Many a Christian has used the Word more like a club, bashing everyone who comes within range. We are to use the Word as a swordsman of old. This requires practice, training, skill, and strategy. The right verse at the right time is far better than clubbing the victim with the only verse we have memorized over and over. Study and train, learn and grow in the Word. Ask God to send a trainer to you. Be ready to be sharpened by the Word when you begin your training!

In Christ,

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Wherever I Am, in Christ I Am Victorious

The young person graduates from the small town high school and longs to see the bright lights and big city. Where does the graduate from the big city school go to? We have a bad perception that to live this life without winning six Academy Awards, a Super Bowl, and the Presidential King's Medal of Super Accomplishment is to have not lived at all. For the young person to go off to Hollywood and fail to become a superstar is seen as some sort of personal defeat. Paul said that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, why ain't I this mega, super, uh, thing that triumphs over all? Maybe we look at victory in the wrong way.

What is it to be victorious in Christ? Is it a location on the map? Does the big city shine brighter in Heaven's books? Will a list of accomplishments as long as a set of encyclopedias assure my salvation? (Some of you may not remember what an actual encyclopedia set looks like, so the reference may be lost on you.) In Christ we say, "Of course not!"

Our victories are stored in Heaven awaiting our arrival. Nothing of our triumph in Christ may show here for the masses to applaud. You may live in a city, I may live in a small town, but we are victorious in Christ. Actually, there is no 'may' about it, I do live in a small town. Wherever I am, in Christ I am victorious. A farm, a village, a hamlet (isn't that a little pig?), or the most populous of megalopolises (mega-whosis?) may be the place we call home, but Jesus is there. Alone in the wilderness or one among thousands at a big event, Jesus is there with me and you. Perhaps you or I cannot point to one accomplishment that the world considers worthy in this life, yet in Christ we win! At the end of this life there may be no award or honor that says we were even here, but we can point to Jesus and say, "I am victorious in Christ my Lord!"


Monday, January 19, 2015

Do We Dare Tell of Hell?

A warm weekend in January; we are indeed blessed! Do we only tell of the blessing, or dare we tell of Hell? Some would think the good news of Jesus consists of retirement, wealth, health, and good times all around. Gosh, who wouldn't want that? Others might advertise the church as a great place to pick out a faithful spouse; a sort of smorgasbord of assured marital bliss. How wonderful! Then suddenly, a person may not hear it much these days, a minister stands and warns of a place called Hell. What's this? How dare he intrude on all-around bliss.

The good news of forgiveness, mercy and grace ended in Heaven, but it also was good news for avoiding the alternative. Jesus spoke of that terrible place in a parable about a certain rich man and Lazarus. The Revelation tells of a lake of fire. Do we as followers of Christ fail to mention this other alternative as a word of warning to the unbeliever? What happens when Hell as shown in the Bible is not preached?

The famous actress decides that Hell is the groovier place to go. Others say that only Heaven comes after and that we are in Hell now. Rock stars claim that Hell is the place to go because that is where all the friends will be. Heaven is the boring place, Hell is where the big party is. These lies and misconceptions sprout and grow when those who know better fail to say anything. If you are walking toward a cliff that you cannot see, and I knowing of the dreadful precipice fail to warn you, who is at fault? Where is the love of Christ in keeping silent when words of warning are called for? Of course, we have much good news and do not need to constantly tell of that dreaded eternal torment, but we have a duty of love to speak, write, or sing a word of warning when unbelief refuses the Good News of Christ Jesus.

Now, I sincerely hope that the subject of Hell did not cause you to immediately think of your workplace. If so, all I can do is say, "Sorry!"


Friday, January 16, 2015

Working in Real Time

A strangeness lurks in the world wherein large, powerful organizations seek to coordinate, disseminate, or transmit information in real time, while at the same time the individual lives in his glorious past or seeks her better future. Enormous sums of money are spent by these big corporations or governments to make information flow faster, while it seems that most folks want to be anywhere in time but right here and now. Weeellllll, that's not exactly their fault. Even the big-dollar satellite and fiber optic information systems have noticeable delay for the users, and the world right now has a lot of bad news to offer the individual. It seems that in many cases the faster we can get information from around the world, the less we want it.

Working in the here and now, or that thing known as real time requires a lot more good news than the world can offer. We need a better good news and we need it with us constantly to face this rolling disaster of a world. As believers in Christ Jesus, you know of course where I am going with this. Jesus gave us promises that are good for us to recall in times of stress, depression, worry, and fear, or pretty much all the time. As the world serves up enough bad news to make us tremble every moment, Jesus promised, "I am with you always, even unto the end of the age." (Matt 28:20) And, let us not forget the wonderful promises of a new age as Jesus ended His great Revelation with a vision of the New Jerusalem coming down and God making His home with us forever. "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be nor more pain, for the former things have passed away." (Rev 21:4) Now that's a good news promise!

Have a joyous Friday in Christ!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Blessings By The Cup

Early morning, sliver of a moon shining in the dark, strange heavy music playing in the background. Yes, I'm perilously close to writing, "It was a dark and stormy night." I live dangerously by taking up the writing of a devotional with decaf coffee. I wonder if someone has invented the coffee maker that produces one cup of caffeinated coffee, then a few cups of decaf? Sure, I could get a Keurig or some other single-cup coffee shooter, but it sounds expensive. Oh, the terrible terrors of a Thursday morning! As you can read, I am blessed beyond anything I deserve on this fine morning.

Jesus loves me and you! We may tend to think in terms of a children's song, but the message was intended for all people. The song makes the message more accessible to children, but we shouldn't set it aside. It is in adulthood that the real fears and challenges of life arrive in their battalions. We need the love of Christ each and every moment. Blessings of God's love are poured out upon us by the cup. If we think in terms of some little tea cup, we are not thinking of the God-sized cup His blessings pour from each morning.

Rejoice in God's blessings today!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

When is a Good Servant No Good?

Don't struggle overmuch with that title. No trick question or deep riddle grabs us today. A good servant is a good servant because Christ Jesus will make him so. Paul was confident that He who began the good work in Paul the apostle would finish His good work in Paul. (Philippians 1:6) To that end, as Jesus went to prepare a place for us (John 14:2-3), He sent the Holy Spirit to prepare us for our place.

Some of our actions and thoughts may not seem like those of a good servant of the Lord. The saints who lived before us struggled with that same problem. Perhaps the remainder of this life is left for us to figure out that our strength was not enough to save us and our strength is never enough to make us into the good servants even our standards call for in this life. Paul as the great teacher commissioned by Jesus to go to us Gentiles, summed it up quite well: "For there is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:22-24)

Justified freely - freed from sin to become good servants, and even the addition of our feeble efforts will not stop the good work of Christ in us. Yes, I believe that a Christ-one's efforts to improve the self are accepted as a sweet sacrifice by God. Certainly Jesus could do all without help from any of us, but I don't think He works that way. It isn't that He couldn't do it without us, it is the love of Christ that makes Him 'wouldn't' do it without us.

Have a lovely day in Christ Jesus!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Knowing Who I Am in Christ

We may feel the temptation to think of ourselves as nothing to show humility. Really? To stand before the Lord who created me and say that I am nothing sounds disrespectful. Where did we find that lie? Oh, I suppose where most lies come from, the mouth of that roaring lion our adversary. Our Lord did not create a nothing and give it a name. Jesus didn't go to the cross and die for a nothing. I am reborn in Christ, dare I say that my Lord rebirthed a nothing? Yet, too often we think that is what humility means. Time to learn what my Lord says about me in His word!

This morning, we studied John the Baptist. Now there was a man who knew his place in Christ and in relation to Christ. Yet, John did not tell anyone that he was a nothing, or unimportant, or beneath notice, or any of the other things we may be tempted to think mean humility. John did not claim to be what he was not, but he proclaimed his testimony with honor. Citing a verse from Isaiah (40:3), John said that he was the voice crying in the wilderness. He bore witness to the coming of the Messiah, and pointed out Jesus as the One. Without false humility or putting himself down, John took up his cross and testified of the Christ. May we learn our place in Christ and be something for Him!

God bless and encourage you on this great day in Christ!


Monday, January 12, 2015

Doing the Right Work!

Ah, Monday, the day to return to work and do all as unto God our Father. Must we? Is not our job to slide under the radar, crab about the boss, and slip the stumbling block into our neighbor's project? Well, if you watch the world that may indeed seem what work is all about. However, in Christ we are called to a different sort of work. Here we have the word given to turn the other cheek, do good to those who hate us, and love our neighbors. We go to work to do all as to the glory of God. Every boss, good or bad, crabby or sweet, deserves our best service as though we do it to our Father in Heaven. Is any of this easy? No, of course not, that's why we call it work.

Doing the right thing takes the strength God gives to us. A rebirth in Christ allows us to seek the path our Lord points out, especially when that other way is so tempting. Yes, the dark path will present itself seductively, sometimes literally so, in the workplace. There are those who go to work as a hunting expedition for a spouse or a conquest for their next sexual partner. Also, the way to the top may seem only possible by climbing over the one in that position now. The environment at work often seems to encourage the worst sorts of behavior. And here we are, beloved of Christ, called to do those very opposite things: faithfulness to the wife or husband, supporting the boss, recognizing the teammate even as your efforts go overlooked, and many other opportunities to glorify God. Haven't been promoted in like 10,000 years? Maybe God wants you to do a great job right where He has you today.

Trust in the Lord, our next promotion may be to a kingship in Heaven working directly for the King of kings!


Friday, January 09, 2015

The Watchman

Ah, Friday morning! How great it would be to say all is well in the world. For a watchman to say that would be just the terrible disservice the world does not need. Ezekiel received an assignment as a watchman for Israel (3:17). He had much to report that the people didn't want to hear, not that anyone would want to hear his words: on the scroll he read lamentations and mourning and woe. (2:10) However, if the watchman is given tidings of woe to report, then warning of woe he must give. Lamentations and mourning are not quite the good news that we desire. Yet, those are what Ezekiel received from the Lord. The prophet even gave the word about stuff that has not yet happened that is not comfortable for many to hear. Yes, a watchman does get those days when he can say, "All's well!" to the city. In this world of our day, those days are purty scarce. We have so many warnings each day that we learn to ignore many of them. Jesus told us that times like these would come, but He also said to not be overly troubled by the pains that must come before the end. How can we not be troubled about this?

We stand as watchers, but our news is good. There is salvation in Christ! We do not stand like Ezekiel with nothing but lamentations and mourning and woe to report. God has given us the good news of a child born in Bethlehem. "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord!" (Luke 2:11) The shepherds received the good news and repeated it to the nation as they returned to the fields. Mary told Luke years later and we have the news today. Christ is born! But the good news doesn't stop there. Jesus died to save the world from sin, but rose again on the third day. Then, more good news! Jesus will return to us one day. How much good news can we stand?!

There is much lamentation and mourning and woe in the world, but we have the good news of Christ to tell. Let us take up our posts as watchmen for the world.

In Christ,

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Scrambled This Morning

Scramble the eggs and not the man. Okay, that last is probably not going to become a famous quotation anytime soon. I feel fairly well scrambled this morning due to some computer work extending late into the evening yesterday. How do I write eloquently and theologically when my brain is humming little tunes not unlike television show themes of the Sixties? Did Matthew, John, or Paul have mornings like this? I'll bet they took the time for breakfast when the wits didn't seem to be in line. Babble, babble, scrambled babble. I write nothing coherent, therefore I am. Did Shakespeare use that one first? Maybe he did on a bad day back in the tight hose and poofy skirt era.

An interesting question this morning in light of a particular event in France yesterday. Freedom of speech brings with it responsibility for one's words, drawings, paintings, ceramic bowls etc. But, does that give someone the right to murder? Of course not! If my words insult you, do you then gain the right to punish me? Well, under the law of Moses, there does appear to be not only right but duty to punish blasphemers with death. Ohhh, does that mean...?

If I read one thing in the Bible that pertains to this issue, it must be what Jesus said about love, as in: loving my neighbor, doing good to those who hate me, or this one - doing unto others as I would have them do unto me. This love does not lead to murder, shooting, beheading, and the other things that some think must be done when their religion is insulted. Do we as Christians like it when Jesus or God is insulted in speech or art? Certainly not! But we are called to pray for those who do these things, to show them the love of Christ in our lives, not to harm or kill them.

May God's great love show in us this day,

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

The Test Takes Time

Looking at the Christian, we may see the test of his or her faith as the event itself. Generously, we think, we may admit that the recovery also makes up part of the test. Then, we wonder, why doesn't he/she just get over it already? Little do we know that the testing of faith may take up a lifetime. A disease may have no cure, a few drugs or a controversial treatment may help the person make a life for a time, but the hope for a cure rests only in Heaven with Christ Jesus. Christians live with tests like that all the time. A devastating accident causes injuries that the body and mind never fully recover from - we know it somewhere, but tell the person he or she must 'put it behind' as if that is ever really possible. Others are born with challenges the rest of us can only wonder at, as we tell ourselves that they don't realize the extent of their disability. Can we be sure that man or woman does not know their mind does not work as quickly or as well as most?

Somehow, the test of a lifetime goes by day to day, year to year, and the overcoming of that steadfast endurance must really frustrate the Adversary. Why don't they, as Job's wife demanded, "Curse God and die!" in their condition of suffering? The Devil must wonder this often as he hurts another believer in Christ. Yet, days and weeks and months and years go by with big suffering or small hurts testing a faith that endures in Christ. Big tragedies or small hurts, we who believe in Christ live out the day.

Each new morning is a testament to our faith in Christ. Each evening we lay down to sleep adds glory to God's sovereign crown. Every prayer to God sends up a sweet incense before the throne of Heaven. The test of a lifetime belongs to every one of God's children. No one has a free pass, but every one of us accepts a salvation that God gives freely through His Son, Jesus. That which we cannot earn, is given. The strength to endure a life of testing we are not born with, but that too is given as needed.

Blessed be the name of our Lord Jesus!


Monday, January 05, 2015

That I May Learn

Good Monday! Oh, sorry, the first Monday of the year should perhaps not start out so cheerfully. Years ago, God started bringing questions into my mind. You have faced similar questions in your faith by this point. What is the purpose behind these questions? That I may learn. That you may learn. That all those who call God 'Father' may learn and grow in faith.

We watch in Paul's message to the Romans as the apostle struggles with questions of faith. "Why do I do those things that I hate?" Paul asks. We ask much the same question today. "If I am saved, shouldn't my sinful behavior be a thing of the past by now?" We live a life of questions here in this boot camp to eternity. Some we gain answers to more quickly than others. The one about when Jesus will return will be answered when Jesus returns. We don't get to know that one before the time set by God our Father. Others we learn and grow into as God leads us in this life. Bible study and messages from our teachers help us to gain the answers for which God has placed the question in the mind.

The robe of righteousness may be a few sizes too big right now as we look on life as we know it. Rest assured though that He who began this great work in us will indeed grow us into the robe He has given.

Have a righteous new year in Christ Jesus!


Saturday, January 03, 2015

Not Those Things Anymore

The mouth opens, and it slips out before you can stop it. "I'm a/so/such a/not ..." Woopsie! Is that true though? Usually we retain labels far past their expiration date. Take the label, 'sinner' as an example. Does our Lord say that you are a sinner after salvation? Did the Lord die on the cross to save sinners only to leave us as sinners. If so, what in the world did He save us from? We know better from our study of the Word of God, but do we always say better? I am a new creation according to 2 Corinthians 5:17. I am righteous and holy in Ephesians 4:24. These do not sound like the qualities of a sinner.

Worldly labels from past circumstances follow us too. Why do we listen to what the world says of us? The New Testament overflows with what we are now in Christ. None of them are real big on retaining those awful labels of our past life. God gave us a great gift in making the past, past. As in He doesn't call us those things anymore. If my Lord Jesus doesn't say that I'm a sinner or other derogatory things now, how 'bout I start the new year saying the good things about me too! I'll help you get started too.

You are a holy partaker of a heavenly calling. (Hebrews 3:1)

You are an heir of God since you are a child of God. (Galatians 4:6-7)

You are a fellow citizen with the rest of God's family. (Ephesians 2:19)

Now, let us go forth in Christ!

Friday, January 02, 2015

Struggle, Struggle

The first Friday of the new year; what a great way to start a year! I heard this past week about the struggles of a man to bring his business back from a huge failure. Customers no longer trust him because some of them lost money in his bankruptcy. Suppliers will not advance credit on materials because they too were burned in the failure. Now, he must both pay up front for materials to complete his projects, yet wait until job completion for any money from the customers. It seems both unfair and an impossible situation. Having suffered a failure of my own, I am sympathetic but not of much help to him in the way of money. Both of us might ask why our Lord does not provide a quick and overwhelming cure from His sovereign resources. Then again, maybe God is providing in ways both small and large, but we fail to see it in the struggles of the day.

Struggle and struggle some more seem to be our lot in life. Believe in God and more struggles come our way. Trust in the Savior and the world attacks. Well, of course it does! John the Baptist declared the coming of the Lamb of God who saves the world. The powers in the world immediately sent an attack squad of legal types. "Who are you? What right do you have to do this baptising!" they demanded. Jesus began His ministry and the same groups came after our Lord. Demons, sickness, lameness, and storms all rose up in attempt to stop our Lord's ministry. And, what could be more unfair than for the sinless Lamb of God to be executed for our sin?

Yes, struggle comes when we give ourselves to Jesus. What we must do is remember what the struggles are about. Don't deny the Lord when the struggle comes, and you succeed where Peter failed. Help those struggling in Christ against the world, and we triumph where the young and zealous Paul the Pharisee waged war against our Lord. Give your last two mites and you join a certain poor widow in God's honor roll. Struggle, struggle, and struggle some more, and we live in the glory of Christ with His saints.

Praise, glory, and honor to God who loves us all!