Sunday, June 30, 2013

The World Is Waiting--or Not!

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) - The F...
William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) - The Flagellation of Our Lord Jesus Christ (1880) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How can we sing the songs of the Lord
    while in a foreign land?

Psalm 137:4

New International Version (NIV)

         Americans are everywhere.  And there are all sorts of people from around the world coming to the United States.   Immigration has been in the news in a big way of late, even as we see Americans traveling as tourists in best case scenarios and acting as invading armies in others.  The world sometimes feels like it's spinning faster and faster.   It has seemed smaller for many decades now.

          When I was a child I used to dream of being a missionary.  In actuality I don't think I'm cut out for that type of work.  In any case my calling is gone.   There is so much evil in the world that missionary might be one of the most dangerous jobs a person can do.  There are some places where the missionary's job can bring a death penalty or even worse.  I say worse because for many Christians death might be deemed a blessing and a reward.

         Jesus is feared, hated, discredited, and ridiculed in many places including the Western countries that we typically think of as Christian countries.   How can we feel inspired to sing the praises of Jesus Christ when we live in fear or uneasiness?

          Get over it!   We all have a job to do and sometimes it ain't pretty.  Our love for the Lord must go beyond the love we have for ourselves and this life on this Earth.

If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed! Come, Lord!

1 Corinthians 16:22

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Give Thanks for the Goodness

Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Psalm 23:6

New International Version (NIV)

         This is my blessed assurance.  If I walk on the Lord's pathway I will always be taken care of.  I have nothing of which to be afraid.  I can look forward to my eternity with God, to be rejoicing in His presence.  God promised this and that's all I need.  

           When we learn to realize that there is good to be found in everything and every situation, we are closer to understanding another molecule in the bigness of God.   We need to keep our eyes and minds open to the amazingness that is the Lord.   Miracles are all around us and we don't even have to look that hard for them.

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,  because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

1 Timothy 4:4-5

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

What Are You Thinking? What Are You Doing?

Satan before the Lord
Satan before the Lord (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You are a righteous God
    and judge our thoughts and desires.
Stop the wickedness of evildoers
    and reward those who are good.

Psalm 7:9
Good News Translation (GNT)

       I've never served in the military, yet I've been at war all of my life.  My enemy rarely comes across as anyone who wants to hurt me or kill me.  The temptations offered by Satan are often enticing and seemingly to my benefit.  But are my gains in this world necessarily good for me?

       When we get what we want, what we receive does not always come from God.  My true blessings have  been from God.  Those blessings have lasted and remain with me.  Other temporal blessings that seemed nice at the time were not from God.  Those false blessings caused problems for me in the end and I regretted  having been duped by the evil one.

       It's the assailing of my mind that weakens me and ultimately deceives me.  As I've grown older, I've grown wiser.  Still I'm susceptible to that which can cause me to sin.  Sometimes I feel like if I could just stop thinking then I might be safe from the wretched influence of Satanic forces.   But then if I stopped thinking I would miss the beauty of the Word that will save me from this influence.

       A spiritual battle rages on and tries to claim all of us as victims.  Christ frees us if we accept Him and run from wickedness.  Just as Lot's family was warned when fleeing Sodom, we should not look back toward old sinful ways.  

        God will provide us what we need as is our due.  Our faithfulness to Him will lead us to the answers we need in life.   We must offer ourselves as living sacrifices.   And if we think that we are our own and don't have to answer to anyone but ourselves, then think again.   Ultimately we belong to one power or another.  Who do you want to claim you?

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

2 Timothy 2:19

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

On Aging

Kronheim's Baxter process illustration of Reve...
Kronheim's Baxter process illustration of Revelation 22:17 (King James' Version),  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My mind and my body may grow weak,
    but God is my strength;
    he is all I ever need.

Psalm 73:26

Good News Translation (GNT)

      I don't consider myself old by any means, but I'm sure there are younger folk that might look at me and think otherwise.  I was young once so I know how it is.  Looking back, I can recall when I was in my twenties and saw my father not even yet fifty as an old guy who wasn't with the times and cherished a Sunday afternoon nap.  Now I'm many years older than he was and in many ways don't feel much older than I was in my twenties.   Obviously I'm a bit deluded .  After all, I don't even have to ask for a senior discount when it's available--the cashier just adds it based on what they perceive.

      Old age is inevitable.  Now I like my naps and my body can't handle the same things it used to in younger days.  My physical condition is still pretty good, but I can feel it waning.  Hopefully I have a long way to go with many years ahead, but I can't say what tomorrow will bring and certainly not next year or ten years from now.  One thing I can count on is that God will always be there no matter what kind of physical shape I'm in.  

       The Lord is my strength.

Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.

Revelation 7:12

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Why Doesn't God Do Something?

...what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

Psalm 8:4
New International Version (NIV)

         When we look at the troubles that we have or the grander scale of the troubles in our world, we might be tempted to ask why God allows our suffering and sorrow.  It's a common question among believers and a taunt from those who mock God.  If God truly has all the power that He is said to have, then why does he allow the bad things to keep happening?

         Why indeed!  Since we are not God, we cannot understand all of his ways.  We humans want reasons for everything.   We want easy answers and sure solutions.  This is also something that we often don't get.  Life is complex!   And if our little lives are so complex, imagine the great complexity of the boundless eternal God Creator.  

         We can't even figure out why others or even we ourselves do some of the things we do.  Things that happen in our lives are partly due to consequences of our own actions or the actions of others.  Many of the bad things that happen are preventable, but hindsight is usually the instructor in those cases.  Do we learn from our mistakes?

         Troubles, tragedy, pain, and suffering are all a part of life.  God's hand may not always be evident, but He is there.  We are His people, not His puppets.  If He intervenes, He has His reasons.  If He does not step in to stop a bad thing, then in that instance as well He has His reasons.

         Let God be God in His time as we live in our time.  Our time with God will come in due time and then perhaps our questions can be answered.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:6-7

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