Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Land of No Man

In the world today we still find lands that no nation or person claims as their own. Sometimes it is war that has made the land uninhabitable or politics in the past left an area in dispute. Whatever the reason, there are these places where people don't go. Then there are those odd places called cities where some folks like to live stacked a hundred deep on one little piece of land. Above all of these human conditions is God. "For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills." (Psalm 50:10) The cattle on a thousand hills? God has obviously been out to the Nebraska Sandhills. Many other places as well, for cattle have spread along with humans over much of the Earth. Of course those places with no hills or cattle belong to God too.

For some reason a rather odd phrase came to be used for those lonely places where not many humans live or walk, and that is 'God forsaken'. This is confusing given that God is omnipresent. One or the other must be untrue. And that is our comfort, for wherever you or I may go God is there both before us and with us. We never walk alone even in those places where it may seem that our brothers and sisters in Christ are far, far away. A trip to a new place need not be anxious given that our Lord is already waiting for us at the destination and travels with us every step of the way.

'Lonely Christian' seems to be an oxymoron we get from not paying attention to where God is.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How Big is Your 30th Piece of Silver?

We don't know why Judas was happy with 30 pieces of silver to betray the Son of God, but we might have somewhat in common with this most famous of traitors. Perhaps as they counted out the silver to hand over, Judas noticed that the last one was particularly large and shiny. 20 pieces may not have been quite enough for that piece of property and the house Judas had in mind. The disciples had walked quite a few miles with Jesus over the past 3 years, maybe Judas had in mind outfitting the group with horses or a wagon. We can guess until we grow weary of it, but we too have our price. Just how large is that 30th piece of silver that will cause you or me to fall into sin?

As we look back on the testing we have endured in this life, often we find that the sad part of those sins - at least when we fail and fall - is how little it took to get us there. We might ask of ourselves, "Couldn't ye have held but a bit longer?" as we see what little resistance we gave in the effort. Of course we are weak, but you and I are not dependent upon what strength we have to save ourselves. We need our Lord Jesus, because that 30th piece of silver is just embarrassingly small so often. We need the Lord when our strength to resist proves so slippery and weak. We need the Lord because we just don't have what it takes and He has already proven that He does.

Praise the Lord Jesus for His almighty strength!


Monday, September 28, 2015

Blood Moon

Three times in the Bible we see the reference to the moon like blood, and the sun turned into darkness: Joel 2:31, Acts 2:20, and Revelation 6:12. Last night, we saw the thing itself, but the sun was not dark like sackcloth of hair. If the sun turns dark today, would that count or does the order of the signs have priority? It's easy for us to get worried over the signs and the times, running about like nursery story characters telling of falling skies. When Jesus gave His signs on the Mount of Olives, He was careful to say that all these things must happen, but the time of the end is not yet. However, we may have cause to worry in that all the things Jesus said must happen may have happened already. Eek! No, not time to run screaming into the streets. The final sign is actually one with the most hope built in. "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." (Matt 24:14)

Two things indeed grow closer with each passing day - that the disciples of the Lord will be hated by all nations for His name's sake and that the gospel of Jesus will be preached in all nations. Wait, can those two things happen at once? Of course they can, the Word of God divides as the choice to believe or reject Christ is made. Even in this nation we see that those who refuse to believe in Christ don't want to hear the good news of the kingdom at all. As the Word goes forth unto all nations, the world divides into those who love Christ and those who are anti-Christ. This division of faith culminating - you can see it coming - in the choice of a world leader who is Antichrist.

For us, our Lord is Christ and we have naught to fear in this time near the end.


Friday, September 25, 2015

The Friendship of Jesus

One friend, by his own choice, was doomed to perdition. Of the others, a number too great to be counted, our friend Jesus lost not one. Friends, a term we rejoice in, especially when it involves us and Jesus. Gladly would we assume the title of servant to the Lord Jesus, but He would not have the relationship remain at that stage. To the disciples, the Lord said:

“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you." (John 15:15)

All things heard from the Father passed from the ears of Jesus to His friends. Servants are kept in the dark about plans and ideas, but not so the friends of the bridegroom. We rejoice in His coming wedding. We get to help in the planning and in the labor of preparing the great day. We long for the union of Jesus and His bride. What great love the bridegroom must have for His betrothed! Indeed, Jesus spoke to this love:

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)

Jesus did just that at the cross called Calvary. The bride could not be saved by her own efforts. The friends of Jesus were lost except that something extraordinary be done to save us. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for His friends. When Jesus called us friends, He meant it all the way.

Rejoice in the day, even if it brings tears and sorrow,

Your friend in Christ, Bucky

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Then He Healed Them

In the news these days we see crowds of refugees coming from the Middle East, mostly from one nation. I thought that one particular verse today might shed an interesting light for us. "Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them." (Matt 4:24) The man spoken of in this verse is of course our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

In that day, all of Syria knew of our Lord and they came to be healed. Where does that leave us today? Have the people of Syria once again heard the call to come to Jesus? Is that why they are coming west instead of north or east? Perhaps some think they can get rich in Europe or America. That has happened before. Others may think that flight to anywhere is better than where they were. That too happened in the earlier migrations to the west. Many reasons may exist, but the closer any refugees come to us, the more they should hear the good news of Jesus.

At one time, all of Syria knew the healing power of Jesus. That can happen again.

Have faith in Jesus, trust in His sovereign control of events in this world,


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Opposite Dreaming?

Rain! Hooray! The Lord sent us some good rain last night and we are grateful to Him. Why then did I dream about the desert and thirst? No foolin', I walked into a mall in Las Vegas alongside someone I did not seem to know. We were met by a group of people preparing for a worship service, all dressed in various colored uniforms. I asked about the attire and was told that each denoted a level of achievement in the religion. "Cult, we're out of here!" My dream self said and we tried to turn around and leave. The headman said that we had to leave out another exit, and we followed him and walked and walked. Finally, he opened a door that let out onto the desert. The choice was to face the desert and possible death by thirst, or, to turn around and join the cult. We weren't told what color uniforms the initiates got to wear.

Anyway, to cut it short, my dream self and the companion went out into the desert. Yay, score one for faith in Christ! Of course, if all cults were so easily spotted by their use of bad uniforms, no one would have trouble avoiding them. I guess I gave my dream self an easy one in that regard. The temptation to join a system of achievement that supposedly leads to salvation is a strong one in us. The enemy has used it to good effect throughout the years. The fiery dart from the enemy usually begins with, "You're not good enough." The funny thing is, that's true, none of us are good enough to save ourselves. However, the way to salvation is not paved with our effort or achievement.

Praise God that Jesus is the way to salvation, and His way is paid for, constructed, and ready for all who will believe in Him!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Heaven, um, Where Is It, Please?

Saved by Christ Jesus, we are going to Heaven. Does anyone know where it is? The atlas section of the local gas station doesn't seem to have a road map with that destination on it, and who knows whether a car would go there in any case. The Internet holds some various ideas about what one must do or achieve to get there, some of them are conflicting, but no map, globe, or coordinates seem to exist to point out a destination. Flying directions might work since it would be a bit disappointing to die and find out that Heaven was a place we could just walk to, but that doesn't seem too likely either. I wonder if one might find a guide to lead us there?

Ah, there it is. Jesus also promised to return and take us to that place He has gone to prepare for us. We don't have to know where it is when we have the Shepherd to lead the flock home. No sheep knows the way, but every one of us little sheep knows the Way, the Truth, and the Life. A road map to heaven is useless knowledge for us when we cannot get there in our own ability. What we don't need to know, the Good Shepherd knows very well. Our Lord knows how to get every sheep home to His place. We just follow the Way on our way home.

Have a great day in Christ,

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Scale of Sin

A day's work, a night's sleep given up to serve others, surely I am saved now? Nope, never, negative, how many times must I remind the me that good works done to save the self is the very definition of selfish? Had Jesus died on the cross to save Himself first it would have done us no good. I cannot hope to pile enough good deeds on some scale that I cannot see in a vain (that's the selfish vain) hope of at least balancing the sin. How horrible to have to stand in line at the judgment day hoping the weight of good deeds I bring is enough to make the scales tip in my favor.

Imagine for a moment that is the case. God sits behind a giant balance scale. A soul approaches the judgment stand with his bag of good deeds. God places the sin we all bear on one side. It is black and heavy, as in uranium heavy, so dense that no light escapes and it seems to seduce more light into it. The scale tips the wrong way with a hearty clang. Uh-oh...

The sinner, for that is what the scale says now, approaches and begins to lay the ping pong balls of good deeds on the other side. A lifetime's worth of occasional good deeds piled up as high as the scale can hold quite fails to move the sin upward one bit. Sorry, pal, it still says sinner in spite of all your efforts. Then, just when all hope seems lost, Jesus takes the weight of sin away. "I paid for this, it doesn't belong here!" He says.

Not one of us can ever hope to make up for the wrong we have done by performing good deeds. None can apply enough good works to balance the sin of Adam that weighs us down. Our hope is in Christ. Jesus saves.

Rejoice in Christ this week!

Friday, September 18, 2015

No More Trophies!

Last night I took up my post as a night camper/gymnasium guard at the trophy room of the Julesburg High School. Ah, a great chance to find out about Burt's exploits back in the day. Trophies filling the room with plenty of time to peruse and learn. Lesson learned: your school doesn't really know what your name is. On one wall it might be Burt and on the other 'Bill' will do for the plaque. Small schools also tend to have runs of championship trophies. After 14 hours on duty in the trophy room, I have changed my mind. No one should have or be allowed trophies. My brother in Christ might be Bill, Bubba, Blanche, Burt, or Betty, who cares what his name is as long as it isn't on a trophy! The large trophy room became a small prison after fourteen long hours on duty. And 3 flies in a 600 sq ft trophy room is definitely 4 too many.

My irritation threshold is so abysmally low! Many a person has endured far worse without complaint, well, maybe with just a little complaining. It is so easy to get tired a little and stop praising the Lord. Grumbling against the Lord is dangerously close when the complaints get going. Even if we just stick closely to the facts like, my everything hurts this morning, my eyes are crossed, and I'm pretty sure this new t-shirt they gave me has developed a funky smell overnight, we may want to watch more closely for the blessings God has given in this latest test. For one thing, I'm here to whine, moan, and complain with great energy and enthusiasm this morning. The Lord blessed us with a thundershower last night, our first in quite some time. Cyclists don't seem to be too odd, although that weird headgear began showing up this morning. Blessings abound even in the midst of a trial by hours.

Have a great weekend in Christ!

Bucky (I think. I didn't find my name on a trophy anywhere.)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Here They Come!

No, not the refugees in the news lately. We have a bit of an invasion taking place today in our little town as scores or hundreds of bicycling persons arrive to take part in the Pedal the Plains ride. The question to ponder in this might be: what if these were refugees from a foreign state, like maybe Boulder or Fort Collins, and they wanted to stay? Where would we put them? Do we even want them here? Towns much like ours in Europe are facing that question even today. People from a different religion (they worship open roads and sweating) arrive at the town border wanting to settle in but they dress so differently (funny tight shorts and weird headgear). What do they want? (To ban all cars and trucks except bicycle support vehicles, of course.) We might one day be called upon to answer this very question. Who are the least of these and what happens when they knock on the door asking for food, clothing, water, or, gasp, a place to stay for awhile and then move in for good?

We all have comfort zones, yes, even in our walk with Christ. One day, you or I might just have to get relocated out of that comfortable zone of life and into something quite different. Jesus does not always allow us to stay in the same place and do the same job for decades and centuries. Okay, centuries might be a bit much; we might even want a change if we had the same job for that long. After 400 years or so at the big company up on the hill, you might plead and beg God to send you on a mission to the Congo. Change can be a frightening and anxious prospect whether it is for a long weekend, as ours is, or for the foreseeable future such as a career change or marriage (yikes!). Always the answer for those who believe in Christ is the same: Trust HIM!

And with that, the soldier of Christ went to guard the gymnasium from sleep walkers and people in weird headgear.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Set In Our Ways

It seems that learning a foreign language works way better in kids than in older adults. Memorization skills decrease with age or maybe we just forget everything. The brain pathways of kids are more open to new learning, I guess, while the old folks like us are just set in our ways. So, if someone has reached the age of say... a little ways past maturity, does that make the work of the Lord more difficult? Will resetting a new Way for those set in their ways require more effort of the Lord? Might as well ask: is anything impossible for the Almighty? Hmm, let's see...

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless." (Gen 17:1)

The Lord imputed righteousness to Abram at the tender age of 99 and set him on a new way. Perhaps we are not so old and set in our ways as we might like to think. God set me on His new Way long before the age of ninety and nine, but I don't believe for a moment that it would have made any difference had I been 109 or 199. The Lord speaks the word and it is done, hence the title Almighty. The work of salvation does not depend upon age or our strength of will: it is God's will and our age is no impediment to the Almighty. The same goes for all of those annoying bad habits and besetting sins of mine that I think are set in my ways. When the Almighty removes them they will be removed for good. In the meantime, I am reborn in Christ and walk before Him blameless!

The cyclists are coming, EEEK! Have a great day in Christ! :-)


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Clam Strips

Clam Strips: a line of clams glued to a waterproofed wooden strip for decorative purposes in salt water aquariums. Which is of course a definition made up out of nothing but my own imagination. If I make up terms to suit the moment, soon the language of my writing will be incomprehensible to one and all, including myself. When Paul began writing his letter to the Romans, he did not seek to define Christ. Jesus had already come as a baby to Bethlehem and lived the life of Christ. Those who followed Jesus after the cross became known as Christians. Paul did write to the Roman Christians to answer the question that many of us have run into from time to time: What or who is a Christian? No, Paul didn't explicitly state that, but he answers the question so well in his letter to the Romans that we can play the Jeopardy game and give the question to Paul's answer.

Paul's answer is both simple and complex. Those who believe in Christ are Christians (Romans 1:16), but then there are 15 more chapters of Romans plus the remainder of the first chapter written to answer that complex question. In the same way, the life God leads us through is both simple and complex. There are simple commands that are at times hard to place into practice, such as "Love one another.", and then complex questions such as: Why am I the way I am?

We also live with a monster who lusts after the things of this world, desires control, believes in self-righteousness, and thinks it is basically decent and good. Paul takes a few chapters at the beginning of Romans to say, "Nope, it ain't!" The good news is of course that it doesn't end there. We are reborn in Christ through the love of God, and while the journey is tough, we will arrive home with Jesus one day.

There, Romans in a nutshell. The rest is of course details we all need to know. Have a great day in Christ Jesus!


Monday, September 14, 2015

A Season of Griping

If a man dies, shall he live again?
All the days of my hard service I will wait,
Till my change comes. Job 14:14

Mornings have the feel of autumn, but the days not so much. 'Tis the time of change, not quite summer but not quite fall either. Nights and mornings say one season, but days and evenings speak more of another...and the sun seems to go down 20 minutes earlier each day.

Job was in a deep funk. He had good reason, or so it seemed to him, but he also forgot that he had a good God. On the other hand, Job expected a change and he was going to endure to the end. Where do we expect a change for the good to come from except from a good God? Job expected some kind of change for the better, perhaps deep down and unspoken was a faith in the goodness of God.

The temptation to enjoy a season of griping is strong in us, but we must remember the goodness of God. The suffering we endure today builds our faith for eternity. We are encouraged to endure to the end through seasons of change and years of decline. God's victories will come in their due time. The return of Jesus comes quickly for us. Rejoice that the end of suffering is near!

In God's grace,

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Book on the Shelf

Saturday, a day for action while Sunday often has time for reflection...if we will sit with the Lord and take that time. Does reflecting time cause problems for us though? Do we walk up to a library that is the past of our life and take down a book of sorrows? Sometimes I have done this thing. The book on the shelf that I grab is one full of regrets, pains, sorrows, embarrassing moments, or some such book that I need not review. Such books may be good for a quick lesson, usually 'Don't do that again' is the lesson, but not for reflection and certainly not for that shaming and guilt the enemy would heap upon us by walking again in such mistakes.

Perhaps each of us should have one book on an actual library shelf that is a reminder to us never to read it. The book need not be one of sin such as pornography or graphic violence. A novel you didn't like or a book on a subject you abhor might do well for us as a reminder of those books from our past that we should never take down from the shelf. If the Tempter hands you that book, put it back on the shelf! The lesson has been learned and the mistake not repeated. Take down the book of blessings and remind that enemy of God's goodness and love. We do have better books to read from, or, failing to think of any of the blessings God has granted in our past, we can take up God's Word from the table and read what is best for us.

Enjoy a great September weekend in Christ!


Friday, September 11, 2015

No Matter What Happens

It may have been during a time of calm in his life that Paul dictated the great words from Romans 8 when he said: "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (vv 38-39) but something had convinced Paul that here was a thing that could not be changed by circumstance, distance, or time. The love of God in Christ would not change due to a catastrophe, a trip to a far country, or even the passage of the years as we grew older. A foreign power could not rip it away, a thief could not steal it, nor a perceived separation in our mind overthrow this thing. The great apostle through the Holy Spirit or through experience and reason, or all of the above, knew and believed that God's love in Christ was an immovable and inseparable thing.

It is good and godly for us to remember on this anniversary of 9/11 just what Paul discovered. We face trials of our faith daily, some greater and others of a smaller nature. The trials to come may be greater by far than 9/11, and then we have the judgments revealed to us by the Word in the books of prophecy. This is not to frighten us, but to remind us that nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God's love and grace to you,

Thursday, September 10, 2015

What Help Today?

Each day stands before us with its demands for action. Whether it is at work or at home, we have needs and wants that require our attention and effort. Prayer, faith, and gratitude start with God, but what help does He give to face each day? In Ephesians 6, Paul tells us about a set of armor and a weapon that we are issued to join in the fight. Good stuff there! In John 14:27, Jesus tells us of the peace that He alone gives. "Not as the world gives" He says to us as we are given the peace Jesus knew with His Father and in His heart. Probably the most important help we are given each day is the presence of the Lord's own Spirit.

The constant and renewing presence of our dear Holy Spirit helps us and advocates for us as we walk the road of a day. The Spirit makes intercession for us with words and groans beyond our ability to speak or utter in the presence of God. Guidance in decisions, reminders of Scripture, and a sense of God's enduring and steadfast presence in times of trouble and in times of calm come to us from the Holy Spirit. Perhaps most of all, the Holy Spirit whispers often to us, maybe constantly to each of us, in our darkest moments and in the brightest day that God loves you and me, always and forever.

Let me this day, dear Lord, pass on a helping of Your love to all I meet. Amen.


Wednesday, September 09, 2015

The Journey Builds the Character

Wednesday already? As I held down my toaster switch this morning, I had the opportunity to reflect on past sins. Had I attempted to review every one of them from my life I would surely have burnt the toast to a flaming crisp. On the other hand, after the lesson is learned, we are well advised to move on out and forward with our Lord Jesus. Constantly going over all the past sins that are forgiven and set aside by God is not a joyous way to live. Shame, regret, and sorrow can wash away all the joy we have in Christ, if we let such things go on. We live from now and go forward in Christ. Put the past to rest at the foot of the cross.

Then, let us take that journey to build the character that glorifies God. We are walking with Christ, learning from Him, imitating Him as best we can, trusting fully in the Lord to finish His work in us. The journey from now forward is toward that time when the Lord returns in His glory and calls us home.

Grace and peace to all God's children!


Tuesday, September 08, 2015

I Don't Think He Would Like That

Long weekend, short morning and it's time to get back to it. Wherever does the time go? It would seem that some of that destructive hail returned to the area last night, but our little town was spared. Maybe we just cast the right spells? Not likely! We don't mess with that stuff because a warning voice in the mind suggests, "I don't think He would like that."

The witch of Endor (or En Dor) had the power to recall the spirit of Samuel from the grave (see 1 Sam 28), but no one came out happy in the affair. Saul still lost his kingdom and received a prophecy about his imminent doom, the witch feared for her life after discovering the deception, and Samuel didn't seem exactly grateful to be called back from the afterlife. A story good for us to recall when we feel like messing around with anything smacking of the witchcraft. However, we will often hear a warning deep in the thoughts when approaching something that is of nature that is not of our Lord.

When we come upon a method that we don't think Jesus would like, we will hear that voice or get that impression of warning. The Holy Spirit does not always speak in words but will give us a hesitation, a feeling, or sense that this thing is not something He would like. As we go through this life, it is good for us to test methods and actions that we may consider and ask, what would He like?

Have a great week in Christ!

Friday, September 04, 2015

Inheriting the Word

The first time the word 'word' appears in the New King James version of the Bible is in Genesis 15:1.

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”

Of course, we get a chance to do the old head smack, for we should have known that the first time the word arrives it would have to answer one of our most common needs - Do not be afraid. What a privilege for Abram to be addressed by God, but how is it that we always seem to be afraid? That's no question; we know quite well the story of Adam hiding in the shrubs after eating the forbidden fruit. Throughout the Word, when the word of God arrives it usually begins with a command and a reassurance. The command is to not be afraid and the reassurance is that there is no need to be afraid. God told Abram, "I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward."

Not only are we not to fear because of God's presence, we are also not to fear God's presence. He is our shield and our reward. We do not labor for nothing because God is our exceedingly great reward. But this promise was made just to Abram, not you and me. Ah, hmmm, and only Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit so we don't inherit sin, and the Law came only to Moses and a few of his buddies down below building some sort of gold barnyard animal, and Jesus came first to the Jews, and surely that Revelation thing didn't mean me, did it?

Praise God that after we inherited the original sin just by being born in this world, we got the chance to inherit all the blessings by being reborn in Christ. We inherit God's blessing to Abram and the righteousness of Christ by our rebirth in His family. The Revelation given to John was given to you and me too, and of course, that place Jesus has gone to prepare for us.

Have a great weekend this Labor Day!


Thursday, September 03, 2015

Strange Days

An odd noise comes across the street from the school to the north-ish from me. What can it be? Kind of sounds like someone raking gravel with a leaf rake. Is this the start of a strange day? Maybe, I won't know until I walk it with Jesus. However, we all can remember some days where many things came together at once and we accomplished much in that day. There are also those days where a strange dream gives way to an odd morning and then a weird afternoon. We don't know what caused the thing, but it goes down as one of those kind of strange days. That one day though, that one really takes the cake, or does it.

The day Jesus returns has a few clues that we shouldn't miss. In that day, Jesus says, there will be weddings. Uh, how is it we are to know that from any other day? Indeed, our Lord speaks of normal things going on right up to that great day when He returns. Like the day when the first rain, a deluge, fell just after Noah was sealed up in the ark, we won't notice anything particularly ominous or promising about that day. Everything will be so normal that someone somewhere might even say this cannot be the day, can it? Good news! Every day that seems most perfectly normal with normal things going on all over the world is a possible day for Jesus to snatch us up and take us home to be with Him.

But...there will be signs.

Have a perfectly normal day in Christ!


Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Because I Am With You

Doubts enter into the consciousness of the minister of God. Why should I be the one to encourage the flock when I feel so down myself? He asks. The singer feels a bit of weakness in the morning of the big performance. Yet, she steps out onto the stage to glorify God. I can tell you that the writer does not always sit down with a good idea for a devotional each morning. We all face times of doubt that we are remotely qualified to be doing what we are for the Lord. The answer Paul received to his requests for thorn removal seems good to us:

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

God's grace is sufficient for our doubts, but like little children we sometimes continue in asking, "Why should I do this thing?" Of course if we look only at our weakness and tendency to faint on the roadside, we may never accomplish a thing in the Lord's service. Jesus gave the answer even as He gave the commission, "I am with you always..." The knowledge that keeps many a minister, singer, and writer going in what they do is the same answer. When faced with a time of wondering how to carry on and endure to the end, we all receive that same short answer from God, "Because I Am with you always."

When our strength is but weakness and our endurance amounts to nothing but a desire to fall down by the roadside, Jesus reminds us of His constant presence. A presence of encouraging, strengthening, empowering, and of course His steadfast tender loving care of every sheep in His flock.

Rejoice in Christ!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Unbelieving Doubters and Doubting Believers

Yeah, or something like that. This morning I got together with God and a few brothers in Christ, and we held a study on the last chapter of John plus a bit. The famous stories of Thomas and his conditions for belief at the end of chapter 20 of John's gospel brings to mind the unbelieving doubters we run into. The story of Peter and his questioning by the risen Savior brings to mind the doubts of believers that we all have at times in our walk with Christ. Of course there is so much to learn and read in just one chapter of John (plus a bit), that I quite forgot to get to my point about the UD-DB's, and that is that Jesus is the cure for both of them.

In John 20, Jesus returns when Thomas is present and overcomes the wavering disciple's last unbelief with a solid proof, Himself that is. On the other hand, Jesus lets Thomas know that the real blessing is reserved for those who believe in faith; that is, without seeing the risen Lord in person and putting a hand into His wounded side. In John 21, Peter takes a walk with Jesus after breakfast and for each of that disciple's denials Jesus asks for his love and gives him a mission. Both men have their position in faith and both receive their cure from Jesus.

When we walk with Jesus, we will at times have our doubts about our salvation, peace with God, the steadfast love of the Lord, and other things. Yet, those arise from looking at the self. Jesus with tender care will bring our focus back to Him. We may not see or touch Him, but we will know that He is here with you and me.

Have a believing day in Christ!