Saturday, February 28, 2015

Cleaning Day

Saturday in life is not a day off. Not that I haven't taken a few of them off, but the Lord tells us of six days of labor in His word. If Sunday is the day we honor the Sabbath by resting, then Saturday must be a day of labor. This does not mean that you must go into work and give the boss a day of your labor for free. Homes, cars, and even families require maintenance and cleaning. Today can be a cleaning day for us, or perhaps a day of volunteering at a local charity or other good works. Attending your child's sports event probably requires a good bit of labor. Of course labor does not necessarily involve physical exertion in this age. Perhaps we are missing something in that though. Is it possible that men should leave the offices and cubicles and go back to the fields and lands to labor? Maybe, but at a certain age that sort of thing becomes less appealing as our ability to perform wanes. I at least would need a training program of some sort before attempting a long day under the sun at hard labor.

Why so much talk, er, writing about labor this morning? I think I will clean my home today. Winter firmly holds spring at bay across much of our continent, but I feel the mood for a spring cleaning today. I pray that my strength and endurance are in line with what my spirit is willing to accomplish this day. Yes, easy to say what I will accomplish before the work begins!

Praise God for the strength to get started on this Saturday!


Friday, February 27, 2015

The Transient Place

Ah, Friday, the day of anticipation for the weekend. So, why do I feel sort of waiting, kind of peaceful, but also a little down; no forward motion, but yet nothing held in check either? Feelings of this type are certainly nothing to guide life by. However, we do come to moments of waiting in a transient place. Tomorrow may bring that great challenge. Tonight may see the bursting forth of that new mission for Christ. Today, life seems on hold. Another work day, a few duties to perform, and the normal chores are all that life appears to offer on this day. Rejoice! God has brought us here, and this is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Life cannot be easily solved each hour, as we see on those television shows we watch. We cannot make spring arrive today or force God to action when He would have us be still. Saturday will not come any sooner by wishing it so, Sunday arrives in its own good time. The day of our Lord's return cannot be advanced by me or you. Today is what we are given let us rejoice in it, especially when no storms are breaking and no alarms are sounding off. Enjoy a day of peace as God provides.

Hallelujah for the day God has given us!


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Such a Rebel

The up-and-coming model claims she doesn't like to be told what to do. No surprise there, diva-like behavior is often associated with models and other celebrities. But that isn't the reason we aren't surprised; we too have the rebellion in us. Few people like to be told what to do. This is why surrender to Christ is so important for salvation and sanctification. Once the Serpent mucked things up between the Man and God we all went for a ride on the rebellion train. Where there had been a loving relationship, now the Man and his woman hid in trees and covered their shame. The fruits of that rebellion gave us the first murder in short order, then all the other first sins. Sacrifices for sin, punishment by death, a world-ending flood, but no, none could stop the rebellion for long. God gave His good and perfect law, but that couldn't stop the rebellion. Prophets, kings and teachers came with words of hope and warning, but no, the rebellion continued.

Finally, after an entire Old Testament of rebellion, Jesus told a teacher that he must start over, completely over, as in a rebirth. Learning couldn't do it, wealth and giving were not enough, even obedience to the Law could not change the basic rebel heart deep down in each of us. So, God sent His only Son to give us a chance to be reborn. A start over that we long for, but not in the way we usually imagine it. No going back to an age of our choosing with the knowledge we have gained since that time. No restart in business with our youth and strength intact. Instead, God provided a gift of the Holy Spirit to change that heart within, a gift of mercy for our sins, and a gift of grace paid for by Jesus on the Cross. Our restart is more like a seed that must push up the new growth through layers of filth and decay. That old rebellion tries to grab the new plant and choke it out. The world doesn't like to lose one of its own. Praise God for the cleansing, healing power of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Let that old rebel die a bit more today, Jesus is coming!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Death Pledge

Sounds very sinister, no? The origin of the commonly used term, mortgage, is from the old French legal term for death pledge. I guess back in the day buying a property in France really was a 'til death do us part sort of thing. So, speaking of that, is this what a Christian does when giving his or her life to Christ, a death pledge? Doesn't seem quite right, does it? For one thing, we would be like that person who walks into the real estate office to mortgage the most expensive property, but has no money or means to pay off his 'death pledge'. The person might further be sent to his or her banker to determine the life's worth, only to hear, as most of us would, a depressingly low figure tallied up for what our life is supposedly worth. No means to pay, and our 'death pledge' is judged insufficient even to purchase an earthly home. How could a life here possibly pay for that which we desire, a home in Heaven?

We know of course that Jesus paid the price and went to prepare a home for us in Heaven. We can no more pay for that heavenly home than we could hope to buy every house on this planet. Our earthly fortune is unclean, our good deeds counted as dirty rags, and with Paul we account our former accomplishments as refuse for the trash pile. We don't attempt a 'death pledge' we pledge our lives to Christ. Without the price Jesus paid for us on the cross, we know that even our life pledge would be judged unworthy. However, Jesus made our lives of incalculable value by purchasing us at the cross.

We don't buy our place in Heaven, Jesus will return and take us there when that place is fully prepared; no charge and no mortgage. What we can by no means afford, God's love bought for us at Calvary. Why does our Lord do this for us? Simple, He wants us there with Him forever. What a glorious Lord we have in Christ Jesus!

In Christ,

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

An Obvious Mutiny

Three of those atomic clocks grace my home, and this morning one of them staged a mutiny. I woke up to find the clock on the north wall 2 hours ahead of the others. Other than that momentary look of surprise and panic on my face, I cannot see a good reason for this mutiny. Of course, I had to then conduct a poll among the other clocks in the house to make sure I hadn't lost 2 hours somewhere. With nearly every other clock in agreement, we had a rather obvious mutiny in the ranks. I use 'nearly' as there is one clock I failed to fall back, but that problem will be corrected soon. In the first chapters of the Bible, God ran into an obvious mutiny too.

As the Lord arrived for an evening walk with His favorite gardener, He found the man hiding in the trees. The Lord asks the natural question, "Where are you?" The Man proceeds to the next step in that parent-child relationship that continues to this day. It is interesting that from the moment their eyes were opened, the man and woman began hiding things. What the Lord had created and saw that it was good, now felt bad. What the Lord created as innocent and pure, now felt ashamed to face the Creator. Nothing can be hidden from God, but Adam and Eve tried to hide. When found out, Adam the Man blamed Eve. Eve in turn pointed the finger of blame at the Serpent. Notice that the Serpent was not questioned by God. The obvious mutiny was traced to the obvious source.

Does that mean we get to blame everything sinful on the Devil? Sorry, we are responsible for the decision to sin. Our obvious mutiny and every sin must look one and all like that very first one back in the Garden of Eden. We try to hide it, then we try to blame someone else; we have no good excuse, and if it weren't so tragic it would be funny. If we could but see how silly and childish we look trying to hide our mutiny from the God who sees all things, we might just choose another route next time. But, we don't and even cannot in our own strength. So, we come as Paul did to the point of offering up our weakness to God. It seems a strange thing to do, but then again, we are the ones trying to hide in the trees.

Have a great new day in Christ Jesus!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Chasing Your Tail

By the time the latest investment trick comes along and someone publishes a book telling how to get rich using it, it is too late for people like you and me. While the person who did the trick gets another fortune from the book, we find out that it isn't a trick if everyone is doing it. The world is quite skilled at making us chase our tails in that way. However, amongst all that whooshing noise of people chasing their tails, we may well hear the still small voice of God telling us something that does work and to get to work on it.

Not every method in this madness is a trick, but discerning the kernel of good work from the chaff of tricks can be quite daunting. What does God send to help us with this discernment? We can calm our emotional reaction over the latest thing by asking a few questions: Is it obedient to scripture? Is it faithful in the small things? Is it loving my neighbor? And one that always requires prayer it seems: does it glorify God or is it only for my glory? I, for one, find it easy to come up with ideas for glorifying myself. A lot of fantasies seem to end that way in my daydreams. Prayer and fasting help to separate the chaff from the good works too. The counsel of righteous brothers and sisters in Christ also helps us to calm the doubts, banish the fears, and throw out the chaff of fantasy in our business dealings and life in general.

Following Christ is a sure thing; chasing the tail is so exhausting!


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Spam and Salvation Without The Savior

An instant lottery winner? Alrighty! The lottery is so instant that I didn't even know that I had entered. Spam can be fun when you are in on the joke. However, fall for it for just a moment and click on one of those links... then doom and destruction follow as surely as the fool said, "I can save myself!" The world offers up a great many little salvations. Save up enough loot and surely the person is safe in life. Accumulate enough power and surely the wealth necessary to save this life will follow. Work hard and acquire enough skill and surely power will follow dragging the inevitable wealth with it. Big deep breath. Work hard, gather a lucky break, become famous, influence millions and surely the power and wealth will come to save this life and make a mark on eternity. None of that works for eternal life!

The wealthy, powerful, and famous of yesteryear are all gone to the grave. Those who died without the hope of Jesus are gone forever. How awful! What effort went into that life only to see the body dumped in a hole in the ground? How many gained everything but that lucky break then ended their one given life in despair? What became of that person when power crumbled under rebellion, accumulated wealth disappeared in a financial crises, or fame found that no one in the far country cared? We must have something better stored up for eternity, preferably kept safe where thieves cannot break in and steal or rust destroy.

Spam and salvation without the Savior are pretty much the same amount of useless. Jesus said that He alone was the way to the Father, who gives eternal life. All attempts to save myself will end in that hole in the ground. All accumulations of earthly treasure will end when you leave this life. But we have our hope in Christ Jesus, and that treasure cannot be stolen, disappear, or be lost. Eternal life is ours in Christ the Lord! We don't need to leave our name on things that will crumble and fall, for our name is held safe in the Lamb's Book of Life. Jesus said, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10) More abundant life, therein is our hope in Christ. Reject the thief; live in the Savior!

Have a great Saturday in Christ Jesus!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Wait, The Powerboat Speaks

We don't all move at the same speed. When it comes to quiet time, some of us need more and others less. I don't have to change the person who loves to be busy. The Christian who seems to constantly move at a 'hundred miles an hour' doesn't need to speed me up. Jesus didn't command us to change everybody to what we think is best, but to "love your neighbor as yourself." Obedience to that command gives us two reasons to avoid envy of our neighbor's condition or circumstance. Loving your neighbor makes one glad for who he is and what he has. Loving yourself means that you don't need to become him or covet his stuff. In the same way, Christians who are very different in their approach to life come together to form the Church, the bride of Christ.

The powerboat and the sailing vessel strive toward the same harbor. We all want to see Jesus and enter into His eternal kingdom. However, the boats make different speeds at different times. There are those times when the wind is fair astern and the boats could, it seems, be lashed together. This may not be well as then neither vessel can do what it does best. Could they not complement each other, or help the other in some way? Sure, but it would take cooperation, mutual respect, love, and a master sailor to be in charge. Ah...I suppose we have hit upon the way Jesus will bring all these very different vessels of ours into that one eternal harbor. Love and the Master, a sure way for us all to arrive safely.

Let Christ Jesus lead the way!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Advantage of Wooden Ships

The old days of wooden sailing vessels bring back fond memories of salt air and slow delivery. An order from the back of a cereal box involved the ancient art of waiting 4-6 weeks for your parcel to arrive; probably to give them time to make the ship. Actually, the advantage of sailing vessels that came to mind this morning was the day of no wind. A becalmed sailing ship could make no progress save where an ocean current might lead. The master of the ship might have sailors swab the decks a few times, take a swim if any were so inclined, or mend some gear, but eventually the crew came to the point of nothing to do. Today, we avoid this with all our might through entertainment, study, exercise, work, and other tasks of a busy nature. The advantage they had back in that day was in an enforced nothing at times.

In this age, we have to imagine say a week off work combined with a week-long power outage...and some sorry jerk broke in and swiped all the batteries, even the ones in the devices. The car keys are missing, the truck won't start, and the phone is dead. We have quite a few potential distractions to quiet time! Nothing to do looms before us, boredom, ennui, oh, the dreadful quiet! A day of nothing to do might just force us to get alone with God and listen for His still, small voice the prophet heard way back in biblical times. Why should we be forced to this extreme? Well, because we tend toward the busy so much, as though quiet is the name of a monster chasing us to our death by work. A bit of enforced quiet time brings the Christ-one closer to the Lord.

Have a beautiful day in Christ Jesus!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ah, Lent, Why Am I Worried Over Thee?

Build a large and lengthy obstacle course, and inevitably someone will complete it and feel pretty good about themselves. That's all well and fine if it is just for physical exercise, but what happens if a religion does that on a spiritual level? Construct plenty of monuments, command enough ceremony, set aside enough holy days, build an educational ladder of duties and classes, then grant levels to attain like a video game, and you may have the Pharisees beat for a self-saving sort of religious exercise. Lent or any other religious duty is not bad of itself when used properly, but one must take care to not give the impression there is any other way to salvation than Jesus Christ.

Too many religious exercises, and a person may fall into the trap of thinking that he alone accomplished his goodness. Much like the wealthy fellow who sees no need for God in this life, the self-righteous may see a strict training regimen as a way to save the self without the Savior. Our churches and even small study groups should not help to foster such a self-centered belief. With good reason Jesus said that He is THE way in John 14:6. Nicodemus could not birth himself again - or even the first time for that matter - and no one can save him- or herself. We need our Savior, and praise God we need Him every moment of each day.

Have a wonderful Wednesday in Christ!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Spiritual Right Cross

Nicodemus came to Jesus seeking, but he definitely didn't know what he was getting. Before the man could begin asking the questions, he got an answer that laid poor Nico out like he'd been hit with a spiritual right cross. "Be born again?" he sputtered, "How can a man enter into his mother and be born twice?" John 3 tells one of the great stories of the Bible. Jesus met with the teacher of the Jews who tried to tell what he knew: "We know that you are..." Jesus told the man to start over his entire life by being born again. Yeeowee! What a spiritual smack down our Lord could lay on a person. Well, of course He could, but never in anything but love did our Lord use that power.

Highly educated, honored among his people, and a ruler of the Jews, Nicodemus fit the bill for what the world might call a 'good' man. Yet, Jesus from the very start did not buy into the 'we know that you are' bit from Nicodemus. Instead, Jesus began teaching that teacher until Nicodemus was left speechless and learning. The Bible does not say that Nicodemus was saved at the moment after he asked, "How can these things be?" However we know from later references that the man came to believe in and honor Jesus, even to the point of risking all by preparing the body of Christ for burial with Joseph of Arimathea.

May God bring us to the point of learning from His Son often in these end days.


Monday, February 16, 2015

To Judge or Discern

A couple of president's are celebrated this day. One who ran a large plantation with slaves, and one who set all of the slaves free. Of course, no president has been or is the perfect man. We can dig up something in each presidential life that is probably not to our liking as judges. Oops, isn't that judging thing what Jesus told us not to do? Ah, but we are also to discern and be wise. Judging levies a sentence on the accused: discernment sees the fruit and notes the soundness or rottenness of it. For too long Christians failed to say anything in order that we didn't judge, and a few rotten fruits fell into the crate of society.

We live in an age of unparalleled information. In this age, there is something else going on too: Christians gathering in prayer for our government and our nation. The rotten fruits may be in the shipping crate already, but we can pray for God to send a cure. Many a formerly 'rotten' man or woman has come to believe in Jesus and received the healing from within, right where all that rottenness lurks. The healing power of Christ works on all that bad fruit, and it is not too late for prayer and the power of our Lord.

Well, someone on the media waves said that the cold and flu season was winding down last week. I guess that means that it still retains enough punch to wind a fellow right down. I was out of it from Thursday night until sometime yesterday, and the aftereffects linger yet awhile. Praise God for the body's defenses, and for the noble sacrifice of many Kleenexes.

In Christ,

Thursday, February 12, 2015

We Need a Strong Leader

"We need/want a strong leader," so say many in this world according to polls conducted in many nations. Who then is stronger than the Most High God? We wonder in this age if God is not given only to work through our hands and feet. Many ask, "Where is He?" However, as a believer in Christ, I'm thinking that God does as He pleases, just as He has since the beginning. In Psalm 33, the word tells us, "The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect." (v10) Then, to remind us of who does hold the strength and power, verse 11 states, "The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations." The word of the LORD shows the strength we already have in a leader, why is it that so many desire more?

Of course, our human leaders are much like us. As we learn of our weakness, we desire a leader who is all that we are not. All that I am not? Yikes! What an awful burden to place on a poor human leader. We have the privilege in this nation of complaining about our president, and complain we do! With our prominent place in the world, many others feel the need to complain about our leader too. Fortunately, none of us are able to solve all the world's problems, and we must come in prayer to the One who saves.

We will have that strong, perfect leader one day. Jesus will sit on His throne and judge between the nations. Until that day, expect a lot of leaders in the world who give us plenty to complain about. The very things that go into a strong leader these days tend to make him or her a celebrity, which in turn brings pride, and we know what comes after that. Well, at least we should know. The biblical version is: "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." (Prov 16:18) We tend to hear the shortened version a lot, but the result is similar.

Have a better day in Christ,

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Remember the Night

Good morning! Time moves on and the sun rises. The desperate prayers in the darkness are forgotten and self begins the day in its own strength. While it doesn't do for the Christian to dwell on the past overmuch, it does well for us to remember the strength and consistency of our prayers during those tough times of darkness. We did not easily forget our Sovereign Lord when the fear in the dark brought us near to tears so powerful did it seem. Self did not feel so strong then! We did not cease from prayer when the forces of the world gathered against us. We do not live only in the darkness, but it does us well to recall the night at times when life is easier and we pray somewhat less often.

Jesus our Lord often drew apart to pray in the night while the disciples slept. As a man who walked the earth without fear, what we feel in the dark is not His reason for coming to the Father in prayer. We too should look up and pray in those times when we are fearless and strong. We may not feel the need as we do in the darkness, but let those times of adversity teach us consistency in our prayer life. Share with God the good times in life. Celebrate with the Lord when things and circumstances seem high on the mountaintop. Need a reminder at such times? Recall the night when the Lord crossed the darkness of death's shadow firmly guiding you and me through that dreadful time. Remind the Lord that He promised never to leave us, even when all seems well in life.

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, Rejoice! (Phil 4:4)


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Presenting My Success

In the days of my unbelief, I had the answers for Jesus. He wasn't asking any questions from the likes of me, and I certainly couldn't explain to the Creator's Son how to go about His business. On the other hand, when it came to salvation, I thought I had the answers for Him. Jesus is the Savior, He is all about the business of saving the nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, but little ol' me thought the answer was in how good I was...or could be with just the right circumstances involving education, wealth, job, etc. Sometimes, I even presented the makings of my success to the Son of Man, and told Him in prayer how to best go about making me good and successful. How else to save myself but to be so good that God had to let me into Heaven? Then faith knocked on the door of my heart.

Jesus, it seems, will not accept the dirty rags of human goodness. No matter how sweet or lovely (in human terms) I tried to make the package, Jesus wanted to save me in His way. Once the Holy Spirit brought me to the point of belief in Christ Jesus, then the old rags of my goodness looked pretty much the way the Bible writers said: dirty, ugly, foul, and worthless. I realized, at last, that for Jesus to be The Way, then all of life, love, salvation, goodness, and righteousness must be His way too. I cannot place Christ in a box and present Him to God as my success. He must present me to the Father as His success. Only Jesus' way will work; presenting my success is a sure way to offer nothing of value.

Have a wonderful day in Christ Jesus!


Monday, February 09, 2015

The Monday Morning Superhero

In the comic book days of yore, or maybe that was the days of mine, the superhero sprung from bed or whatever and went speeding to the rescue. Seldom did a comic book superhero fail to answer the call to come help. Superman's day job not only allowed him the necessities of life in the big city, but also the freedom to take off whenever needed to attend to the big bad causing so much trouble. We all want to be like the big guy, but even the super fellow had his one weakness.

As I recall, if a chunk of his home planet, Krypton, came near him, he would have but the strength of a normal man. How horrible! To be reduced to what every other man must depend on each day, oh, the tragedy, the utter horror and despair that must consume the poor less-than-super man! As I grew older and away from the comic books, I had only what strength God gave me to face the day. And, I grew to have less sympathy for the comic book superhero and more for the Monday morning superhero.

This hero gathers up what seems a rather sparing provision of strength and praises God that it was just enough for this morning. The big bad may not spew flames and toss buildings around for this hero, getting to work might take all she has on this particular day. The kids spring out of bed, but for these heroic parents the bedspring failed to fire (or worse, it seems to have fired all night long). We know the day and we know that feeling. It doesn't happen all the time, and a big praise to God for that, but on those days when it does the struggle seems that much heavier for us. We know that God provides just enough strength on some mornings, but it feels like just less than enough.

Praise God that feeling falls to such small things on most days. A bit of breakfast, singing a song of praise to God, a little time in the Word, and we are ready to go for the day. Going over our memory verses during a morning stroll defeats the feeling too. Get up and have a godly day in Christ Jesus!


Friday, February 06, 2015

God's Word of Love and Delight

Once, or maybe twice or thrice, I thought of the Bible as a big paddle. I would arrive in church and the pastor would paddle me with the Word. Surely I was going to Hell with behavior such as mine. There was no way that I could make the grade; every Sunday brought another spanking, each Wednesday night another time of sore spiritual buttocks. The Bible even agreed with me. "For there is none righteous, no, not one," it said, just before another paddling for the thou shalt not's that I had shalt, at least in thought if not in deed. The thought life was wicked beyond all reason, and the Word agreed with me on that too, letting me know that my heart was desperately wicked and wondering who could know it. Then Romans came and a solution presented itself - just get rid of the body and the 'heart' can live in perfect behavior, ready to be fully qualified to receive Heaven. Weird how those disembodied 'hearts' went around Heaven in the Revelation complaining about whens and how soons.

It takes every new Christian of whatever age a long time to come to grips with grace, salvation, holiness, and imputed righteousness. We can get a lot of things wrong along the way. God sent a message of His love and delight, but in our original sin we often see all the worst parts and none of the good in the Bible. We see the depravity of our sin, but fail to take in the cure that Jesus worked in our behalf on the cross. We begin to know the wickedness of the heart, but don't quite get the grace of God through Jesus Christ. We still feel the urge to self-justify, self-save, and try with all our might to be self-righteous when Jesus alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. This is why Jesus gave the command to make disciples of all the nations and sent the Holy Spirit to remind us of His Word. The Word that says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)


Thursday, February 05, 2015

I'll Admit It!

First of all, I have discovered that I cannot save myself, not spiritually or even physically. I have been lost and someone found me in so many ways. The state of lost is a good thing to discover, else one tends to continue forging ahead to the point of destruction. Found is a good thing after discovering lost, and I'll admit it; I didn't do it on my own. In life I have helped others, but I must admit too that I have been helped far more than I can ever repay. So then, where does all of this soul-bearing admission take us this morning?

I wondered about witness. Part of it is to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, but where does witness come in? What is my story worth in the overall witness and how do I go about it? Of course, the answer is found in, "I'll admit it!" Mistakes and assumptions I have made throughout my life. Admission of these things shows that God didn't give me some 'better than thou' head start. I have been afraid, so deeply afraid that it has a name in medical dictionaries. I have desired wealth and endured poverty. Thoughts of illicit and illegal gain have tempted me. I am so much like every other Christian who has ever been saved that we won't go into all the sinful thoughts that have tempted me over the years. All can be a part of my witness for Christ.

Amazingly, Jesus did not reach down and pick out only the perfect, sinless ones from the human sea. Paul reminds us that would be an empty bucket in any case. Our Lord did not pick out the ones with strong resumes in self righteousness. The religiously accomplished found no affirmation in Christ. Lost sheep the Savior came to find, and find us He did. We have a witness to share. Every Christian I've known can match me mistake for mistake, sin for sin, none of us was already found when Jesus slowed down and then turned around our headlong rush toward destruction. We all can say with the saints who have lived before us, "It's good to be found by our Lord!"

Enjoy the day in Christ,

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Nothing, Never, No Not Ever

Hmm, snow's back. Back in the day, well, his epistle to the Romans to be more specific and biblical, Paul was convinced that we could never be separated from God's love. What convinced the apostle of this? We may never know, or will we? Insights and convincing such as that must come from God's Holy Spirit. Man is too flawed and fallen a creature to come up with something as foundational as the idea or knowledge that convinced Paul. Nothing and never and 'nor any powers' are big terms when looking at eternity, and only God can see all of eternity.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)

The powers of the world we fear cannot separate us from God's love. The powers of the imagination that cause anxiety cannot separate us from God's love. The powers that act in the circumstances of the world may separate us from each other for a time, but nothing and no power can separate us from God's love. The power of my emotions cannot separate me from God's love. Strange dreams, odd happenings, a little snow in the morning, a lack of time, an overabundance of sunshine and good cheer, nothing and none of it can separate us from God's love. Yes, not even the good things given to us can separate me and you from the love of God in Christ.

Now, go out and enjoy that love!

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Skimming Just a Bit

There's nothing quite like a bit of Internet spam to get one thinking in the morning. One I received this very day uses uncomfortable terms like skimming and loophole. In our Bible study lesson this morning, we learned that the priests and merchants back in the day had found a loophole in the Law and were skimming some profits off the folks who came to Jerusalem for the Passover. Jesus, you may recall, did not take kindly to this sort of activity. Access to the Temple required passing through a gauntlet of moneychangers, vendors, inspecting priests and other obstacles to worship. Jesus took up a whip of cords and chased the obstacles back outside the Temple. If something makes my Lord angry, then it follows that I should stay well clear of it.

Terms the world uses to entice us, such as, simple trick, skimming, and loophole, kind of bring to mind the sort of trick that lands the simple in jail. While we can witness in jail, it makes for a better witness to obey the law and live a clean life. If what the world offers us sounds a bit like something the Mafia does in those movies, then let the Christian be wary. Praise God for the promptings of my conscience from our dear Holy Spirit.


Monday, February 02, 2015

Second Guesses is So Easy

The comments about the final play of the Super Bowl remind me that second guessing after the fact comes so easily to some folks. Of course it's the worst play ever and all that... after we have seen that it didn't work. If you have been privileged to have a design or engineering job, you know the second guessers will come out in force when the project is ready for showtime. Those who have put no, that is zero, none, and not any, work into the design show up to take their potshots at the result. I have seen my boss sit down with a customer and ask them to name a price, whatever they may think. The customer has no thoughts to share. The boss then names a listing price based on his years of experience with selling homes. Suddenly, the customer has thoughts, sometimes several of them. Where did these come from?

Of course, we are just as guilty. We second guess God all the time. Why does He make me suffer so? Why doesn't He shower me with all that I think I need? Why does God seem to ignore my prayers? These and many other questions and second guesses come to mind often, probably helped along by the fiery darts of our adversary. Even the thought that I might somehow earn my salvation is a second guessing of the price God already paid at the cross. We seem to be born to it. No surprise there, as soon as the Serpent said his lie, Eve began second guessing God. Is there any hope for us?

Jesus is our hope. In Christ we find the strength for faith; which is the opposite of second guessing God. We believe and our faith grows strong. We trust and faith in Christ becomes our shield against the enemy. Hey, I think Paul wrote something about that shield of faith. Guess I don't need to second guess the great apostle!

Have a wonderful Groundhog Day in Christ!