Thursday, January 30, 2014
Yesterday the winter blast we were preparing for hit Georgia instead, leaving motorists in the Atlanta area stranded with icy road conditions. There are stories of people taking 10 hours to move several miles, others gathered at service stations until help arrived, etc. Then there is the item about a school boy whose bus was stuck at school, getting out and simply walking home. It took about an hour. Done during daylight, and he was in touch with his mother by cell phone.
And Mr. Obama delivered his State of the Union message, derided by many, received blandly by some, cheered by others, and really offering no great plan to move this country forward, or hold out a goal for us to work for or achieve.
It really reminded me of what St. Paul urged centuries ago, “Submission to the Authorities. 1Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” Romans 13. 1-7
Indeed, the times cry out for fervent prayer for those who serve us in government. And recent events weather-wise have shown us again we are indeed in the hands of God. The same God who promised to hear us and always give us what we need. And what we need, of course, is a Savior, Jesus Christ, who died to save us from sin. Then that we might here live “A quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”
May God grant us this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Rome, the center of the world when St. Paul arrived there. It had leaders in government, able writers and philosophers, poets, discussion groups on any topic you might chose. Paul describes them in his letter – a letter, by the way, that outlasted all their prized literature - by saying “they knew God and didn’t honor Him as God or thank Him, but their thoughts turned to worthless things and their foolish heart was darkened. Claiming to be wise they showed how silly they are when for the glory of God who cannot die, they substituted images of man who dies, and of birds, four-footed animals and reptiles.” Romans 1, 21-23.
Later in this same chapter St. Paul describes the result of their thinking and ends sadly with this, that people who do what they do deserve to die, and then this, “they not only do them, but approve when others do them” v.32.
St. Paul may have been an unknown when he penned these words but he was speaking God’s truth. The truth that stands the test of time and still sounds very modern in our day, doesn’t it?
For even today people still try to re-write the Word of God, which is simply called “My Word is Truth”. And any attempts we make to re-write or re-phrase sections of it does not work. Then shaping a lifestyle after our own thinking leads to unhappiness, moral decay, and all kinds of disarray and failures.
The Psalmist had a wise word for us. He writes, Psalm 119,89, “I have better insight than all my teachers, because I think of the truths you wrote.” And adds further, “I get understanding from your decrees, that is why I hate all deception” v.104, so he says, “I understand better than the old men, because I follow the way you want me to live,” v.100.
Good words for our guiding too, wouldn't you agree?
Friday, January 17, 2014
Psalm 36 speaks about behavior of the ungodly, they think no one notices, so they have no of God. But God is ever holy and just. And blesses faith.
I have a message from God in my heart
There is no fear of God
before their eyes.
2In their own eyes they flatter themselves
too much to detect or hate their sin.
3The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful;
they fail to act wisely or do good.
4Even on their beds they plot evil;
they commit themselves to a sinful course
and do not reject what is wrong.
5Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
6Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
7How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
9For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
10Continue your love to those who know you,
your righteousness to the upright in heart.
11May the foot of the proud not come against me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12See how the evildoers lie fallen—
thrown down, not able to rise!
In these days it is good to re-read God’s rich promises of faithfulness to His baptized people. It strengthens us in living. May He bless your day.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
New cars have a built-in system so when someone calls on your phone, you don’t even have to lift a receiver, it’s all built in. It seems everyone has a cell phone, and is (it seems to me) forever using it. One walks along, shopping and checking the list, and hears someone speaking and it’s the person shopping near you talking to a friend.
It brings up a thought. Have you ever been alone? I mean alone on purpose, went somewhere where one could be alone for a length of time?
Took time to day dream? To build plans in the air and perfect them and then just laze away the day? Maybe sitting on the side of a small stream, watching the water, fish dart here and there, a frog catching flies, butterflies flitting here and there, dragonflies coming near, and then perhaps drifting off to sleep a while?
It’s in times like that that we can, as St. Paul wrote to the Romans in chapter l, we can “open our eyes and there it is". By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of His divine being.” In such quiet times, we can more clearly see God is at work in this world, and feel the deep love God shows the sinful world when He sent His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to die to pay the debt of sin we owe. Ephesians 2,8 calls us “Dead in sin, and made alive in Christ, It is a gift of God.”
In the hurry and haste of the life we are living, it is moments in such quiet times that the truths of the Gospel have time to settle and really become part of us. We must take the time to THINK things through, and so find the love of God is strong and enduring, and it is caring and saving in Christ.
May the Lord bless your day, and give you some place for quiet meditation to your blessing.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
This time of year always reminds of the snow-covered fields on our Wisconsin farm. There they were, fresh snow, unmarked by footsteps, or sleds or wagon wheels. Freshly falling snow gives the world a new, clean outlook. Fence posts sport little white caps, and all the unsightly stuff always around takes on sort of beauty with its pristine coat. It reminds somehow of tasks yet to be done, of things set before us to do, of something coming.
The daily paper, magazines, news channels, offer great plans for the year.
They lay before us wonderful, and successful, enter[rises to be undertaken, or good ways to increase and enhance our life styles. But further and deeper looks at these offerings remind us it’s all been done, and always ends in failure. Leaving us frustrated and unhappy once again.
I offer something that will not disappoint, for it goes to the root of life’s problem. The Bible teaches us that man has failed. It says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” When man was created, he was holy. Then he shattered this by his listening to the tempter, Satan, who helped Adam into sin by offering his “Yea, hath God said?”
St. Paul, in his letter to young Timothy, writes, “I am an apostle and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I suffer these things (he is writing from prison), nevertheless I am not ashamed; for I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” 2 Timothy 1, 11.12
There is the truth of it. He, being one whose faith is in Jesus Christ, knows where he is going and what the outcome will be for him. For God has a plan for this world, a plan set already before the word began. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, carried out this plan to save this sinful Adam and every person on this earth. That is why the Apostle can say, “I am not ashamed”, for He knows where he is going, what the end will be.
For St. Paul, as for any Christian, the snow-white field, lying fresh, simply becomes a field he travels to his end with God in heaven.
God bless the walking through 2014.
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Yesterday I sent several Scriptures for use for the year. Since I sent that email, I looked at E C Peterson’s The Message and found it speaking to the modern man. So I am sending it along. It speaks as directly to today as Jesus did when He spoke the words of the Sermon on the Mount.
Here is Peterson’s translation for Matthew 7,24-27.
“These words I speak to you are not
Incidental additions to your life; homeowner
Improvements to your standard of living.
They are foundational words.
Words to build a life on.
If you work these words into your life,
You are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock.
Rain poured down,
The river flooded,
A tornado hit,
But nothing moved that house.
It was fixed on the rock.
BUT, if you use my words in Bible studies,
And don’t work them into your life,
You are like a stupid carpenter, who
Built his house on a sandy beach.
When the storms rolled in and the waves came up,
It collapsed like a house of cards.”
Matthew 7, 24-27 MSG
Jesus teaches when we cling to His Word, use it to guide us and direct our actions, His blessings falls on such a life. The Psalm gives us wisdom such as this: “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” Psalm 139,105. May your walk in 2014 be rich blessed.
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Shade tree wisdom at the New Year 1214
Stepped out for the paper this morning and in my exuberance shouted a “Happy New Year” to the silent and still dark world out there. Back came a
“And a Happy New Year to you, my exuberant friend.” Well.
“And a Happy New Year to you, my exuberant friend.” Well.
But it’s a new year, and I have some advice for you. They are the words our Lord Jesus used when He ended His Sermon on the Mount. They are wise, and well to read again and again, and put to use in 2014.
24“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
You have discovered in 2013 that we Christians are still often battered, derided, and tested, so I lay on your mind the closing words of St. Peter in his second letter when he writes:
“Be on your guard, and don’t let men without principle sweep you off your feet, but grow in grace and of the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory forever.: 2 Peter 3, 17.18.
May God bless the year 2014 as you walk in Him.