When was the last time you were really afraid? Maybe that’s not even the right question. Lots of times, I have found out that I was afraid of the wrong things, or sometimes, there was nothing for me to be afraid of at all. When that happens there is always a feeling of relief.
There must be some kind of ingrown fear that we as God’s people have missed the mark. Of course, the truth is we all have not been good enough; we all have missed the mark! So we ask God to accept us with all our mistakes as, good enough, Knowing all the time we are never good enough!
Having fear, being afraid is not always a bad place to be. It is those who are not aware of the dangers that are at greatest risk! If I don’t know and understand the danger then I am only one step from disaster! Here is where the problem is or at least begins. If I had just known, well I would have done something about it! I take Paul’s writing serious to work out my own salvation. Here is our big mistake, instead of working it out with fear and trembling, we work it out with effort and merit.
It is only when we are aware and convinced of our inevitable short-comings, our own un-righteousness that we will we ever discover the righteousness of God. The question is not am I good enough, but was Jesus made bad enough. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:21; God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. The only way any of us get right with God is because Jesus was made bad enough, an exchange of my wrongness for His rightness. He became sin, so we could become the righteousness of God. The great transfer of our sins to Jesus happened at the cross. Not because of some kind of effort on our part, but because of tremendous effort on His part. If you don’t feel like you are good enough, well welcome to the family of God! Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. He paid a debt He didn’t owe; I owed a debt I couldn’t pay. What I am really afraid of is this, living by my righteousness instead of His! What is it I have to do? Accept and receive the gift of the righteousness of God. Then, live like I have received the greatest gift ever, because I have!
I love the verse in Isaiah that tells me, “They shall mount up with wings as eagles.” I like it especially because it says our strength will be renewed, if our hope is found in Him!
I have to remind myself often that the Bible is loaded with stories about people who were, in themselves, at the bottom of the pile as far as personal strength was concerned. God is honored in showing strength through weakness.
Moses was such a man. At 80 years old, he is commissioned by God to really get busy and go to work. I sometimes think at my “advanced age” how tired and worn out I feel. But we know Moses “mounted up like an eagle for the task given him. When we read the whole passage we see the condition necessary for the renewal. Read some more; “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary.”
It’s a matter of where my trust is, where my hope is. It means, look to God for the solution to life’s issues. It’s about patiently waiting, in hope. God responds with renewal to people like that . . . He gives them strength and endurance.
This renewal takes place first in the heart. God gives strength to those who want to depend on Him. But he also refuses to come to the aid of those who actually have no heart for depending on Him. With God, the heart is always first.
When Malachi wrote of the priests of his day, he described them as tired, begrudging servants of God. When they offered the sacrifices, they “disdainfully sniffed,” a signal of boring, unmotivated service to God. And God despised them. They didn’t anticipate God’s involvement in their service to Him. They had long ago stopped hoping in God.
Tell me, should God be happy with such service to Him? Serve Him first with the heart fully looking to Him, and He will energize the body. Start with the affections and your body will “mount up like the eagle.”
Years ago a product called Geritol was advertised on the black and white television screens of the United States. Geritol was a product for “iron poor, tired blood.” Well, a warm confidence in God will energize the body like that. It will “renew your strength.”
So, be encouraged. The task is not too daunting for those who want to serve Him. Your wings are not clipped as you thought, your legs are not wobbly—you can do His will only if you trust Him. Watch for His signals. Trust Him as if it is the most important in life, because it is and then, get ready to fly like an Eagle!
We are humbled to honor our veterans this Friday, November 11, 2016. The first Veterans Day was set to remember end of the First World War and later, the Second. It is not without significance that it occurs every year on the 11th day of the 11th month, on the 11th hour. That’s when arms were laid down. In 1919 President Wilson said…”To us in America, the reflections of this day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”
I am so thankful for all those gave to serve our country, I am most thankful for the victory their sacrifice paid for. In this world and in the spiritual world Victory is always costly. It is proper to remember that. I also love President Wilson’s idea that it gives an “opportunity to show sympathy with peace and justice.”
So this Veterans Day, I will honor those who gave of themselves for the freedom of our country, but then I will deliberately think about the great opportunity their sacrifice has given me. With great gifts, comes great responsibility.
Paul writes, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery Now if what the American GI did for me is such a magnificent blessing, (and it is), how much more magnificent is the blessing, and responsibility given to me by Jesus Christ? I don’t know about you but maybe I need to spend more time and effort in working on my response to the wonderful blessings God has given! That is not an uncommon theme in God’s word. From the very beginning of God’s interaction with humans, we are always blessed to BE A BLESSING. Jesus teaches it this way. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.
To all the veterans who served our great country, we thank you so very much and it is my prayer we accept the responsibility that comes with freedom.
There is an old hymn, Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. I hope we accept the blessing and opportunity.
This Sunday night, October 30, we host the area wide meeting! I hope and pray we all can be here to share some of the mission efforts we are all engaged in. I ask for us all to make a special effort to be here at 5:30 for singing and praise!
From the very beginning of the Christian faith, we have been called to missions. Jesus, in his final instructions to the remaining eleven disciples, (some of them who were still not too sure) said go into the world and make disciples. Now I like those kinds of simple, direct instructions, given by one who has all authority. I also believe the worst reason for doing mission work is to simply fulfill a responsibility created by a command. We share the good news about our God and Savior because of our devotion to Him and our love for each other.
The greatest missionary that ever lived, I believe was Paul. He was motivated by two things, his love for God, because of what Jesus had done for him and his love for people. Now Paul did receive more precise instructions, both negative and positive. Jesus prevented him from going some places and gave instructions in a dream to go! During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." Acts 16:9
Every couple of years the area wide churches gather together, not only to worship but also to share some of the different missions each one is engaged in. I love the diversity in missions demonstrated by the different churches.
It is beneficial for us to see other church families and how they are sharing the gospel both locally and globally. So this Sunday night as we sing and fellowship with brothers and sisters, some who I know and others I have never met, I think about the answer to this question. Why do Christians share Jesus Christ with other people? I hope the answer is because we value God’s love, we know the incredible encouragement of being part of God’s family. The privilege of being part of God’s plan humbles and awes us. The most selfish thing I could ever do is to not share Jesus Christ with anyone. The prayer for my local, area, worldwide brothers and sisters is that we share our resources, our blessings and our opportunities in order to share the most important thing we all have, our Saviour. May the joy in our salvation grow, and our hearts filled to overflow with Him.
All summer I have been more diligent in my exercise. I try to ride my bike, after daylight, at least 5 times a week. If you are out early you just might see me. I know that’s why I have enjoyed the cooler weather during these last dog-days of August. I try to change up my route every so often, to keep from getting in a rut. Currently I am riding out west of town on 380. One day last week I was headed back to town and heard all kinds of hollering, Go Philip, Go Philip. I looked up and it was Ryan and Kenley Cox on their way to school, with the window down cheering me on! Let me say by that time in my ride I really needed the encouragement! As I turned north to head home, I thought about how we all depend on encouragement.
The writer of Hebrews tells us to urge each other on in our faith walk. It comes with the idea of exhorting each other on our path of faith. I love the picture the author paints in chapter 12:1. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
Well, just who are these “witnesses” and how do they surround us? In chapter 11 we are told that the Old Testament believers were looking forward to the coming Messiah. At the end of chapter 11 he says those believers had faith in God to guide and direct them, but God had something better planned for us. Then he begins chapter 12 with a reference to these faithful men and women who paved the way. What the Old Testament believers looked forward to in faith—the Messiah—we look back to, seeing the fulfillment of all the prophecies about His first coming.
We are surrounded by the saints of the past in a unique way. It’s not that the faithful who have gone before us are simply spectators to the race we run. It’s a picture for us to see, and it means we ought to act as if they are there, cheering us on to the same victory in the life of faith that they experienced! We are inspired by their cheers! Their past lives of faith encourage us to live that way, too. I love the way the author uses the word cloud. It tells me there are millions and millions of believers who have gone before us, each encouraging us to live a life of faith!
Thanks Kenley and Ryan.
Now this week….GO GO GO.