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Posts Tagged ‘endurance’

Like you, I’m saddened by the erosion of Bible-based morality in our communities that is even seeping into some congregations.

But I’m far from discouraged by it.

You see, this just serves as a reminder of the opportunities we Christians have to shine as lighthouses toward a darkened ocean.

Do I like that increasing numbers of people don’t care what scripture says about godly marriage and gender-appropriate conduct? Am I glad that so many have decided that congregational involvement is not needed in their lives?

Certainly not.

But the clear and repeated story of the Bible is that society ebbs and flows in the spiritual realm.

Based on my reading of scripture, we’ve got quite a ways to go before the downward slope of our national relationship with God hits bottom.

We can pray that national revival occurs long before that.

And we can pray for wisdom to love and serve people in such a way that our faith will shine like a lighthouse to those who feel like ships tossed in a dark, storm sea.

As long as there is even one neighbor or co-worker or struggling relative to whom we can show the love of Christ, we should be encouraged.

The power of grace abides and as long as we have hope to share, it’s vital that we remain faithful to the end of our days.

Perhaps “the end of days” Jesus described in Matthew 24:12-13 will happen before the end of our days physically.

In any event, let’s both be vigilant in looking for ways to guide others into the safe harbor of God’s gracious love.

As always, I love you
Martin

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“He gave His life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us His very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.”

Titus 2:14 pretty much sums it up.

Let’s do good deeds today.

It’s what the committed do.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Traumatic events such as the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001 almost always produce feelings of loss and weakness.

But they also give us the opportunity to rebuild new hopes and gain new strength.

It’s true in the natural world and in the spiritual world.

Most every believer has experienced an extreme loss somewhere along the way in life, a loss that left him or her in a painful fog with little emotional strength to put one foot in front of another.

It’s at such times, though, that the value and power of faith in Christ can be clearly seen and received.

In the weeks and months after the 9/11 attacks, there was a sense of unity in this country that was special and that has long since dissipated.

I pray that our current atmosphere of chaotic finger-pointing and animosity toward Bible believers will somehow be reversed.

But if it doesn’t, we still have available all the help and hope we need.

Even when all else fails.

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness,” Christ said to the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Paul was suffering as a result of God’s desire to strengthen and humble him.

Paul didn’t like it, of course, but over time realized that this hardship was for his best.

And for the best of God’s kingdom.

Because Paul suffered and learned, we’ve been able to learn from suffering.

So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me,” Paul wrote in verse 9.

People will be more interested in learning about our faith if they see it actually help us through a tough time.

So please don’t gripe about hard times.

Instead, rejoice in God’s grace during hard times.

It’s how Christ’s grace and power becomes more visible to us and to others.

As always, I love you
Martin

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I never liked pop quizzes in school.

I did OK most times because I generally kept up with my homework.

But there were those days when I knew I was unprepared as the teacher said, “Close your books and take out a piece of paper….”

Invariably, I told myself that I wouldn’t get in that situation again.

And I didn’t.

Until I got back into that situation again.

We get distracted.

And then we get destructed.

Ugh!

It’s SO much better to stay ready for the test.

Jesus said as much with His parable of the 10 bridesmaids and their lamps and the unknown arrival time for the bridegroom.

Almost 2,000 years earlier, Job taught the same principle regarding spiritual vigilance.

“For You examine us every morning and test us every moment.” (Job 7:18)

Our Abba Father is watching us every moment and examining our hearts every morning as we plan our day.

Let’s do our best to score 100 on those tests.

Our Abba Father will be proud.

And we’ll enjoy contented smiles for knowing we’ve done our best.

As always, I love you
Martin

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My hero is amazing.

Here’s a description of this man that I read this morning:

“He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.”

These words from John 1:14 are, of course, describing the Messiah, the Lamb of God, the Good Shepherd, the King, the Savior, the Lion.

There are countless descriptions of Jesus Christ offered in the Bible, both in Old Testament prophecies and in historical accounts of His life and teachings. But all of them would be sorely lacking value if not for the characteristics described in the verse above.

We all want friends — best friends — who are full of unfailing love and faithfulness.

We want friends who will never leave us or forsake us.

It is deeply comforting that Jesus’ love for me was so great that He was willing to suffer in advance for the sins that I would commit after entering this world 1,923 years after His crucifixion.

Since Jesus was willing to do this for me, my appreciation should be reflected by my willingness to show unfailing love and faithfulness toward others.

I have some friends who are struggling. You do, too.

Let’s put John 1:14 into practice in how we support them.

After all, isn’t that what Christ does for us?

As always, I love you
Martin

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My hair has a bit more gray than it used to.

But my faith should also have more green than it used to.

You’ve perhaps heard that the best grapes come from the oldest vines.

I like that idea.

So does God.

Check out what Psalm 92:14 says about faithful believers:

Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.”

You know some people at your church who fit this description, volunteering frequently and overflowing with vibrancy in their relationships with other church members and visitors.

They are wonderful role models for us all.

And they are fountains of blessing for God who loves to see their fruitful love for others.

Their gray hair might be chemically colored but their spiritual vibrancy and fruit-bearing is visible for all to see.

I want to be like this.

Even if you don’t yet have gray hair, I pray that you’ll demonstrate a green faith.

You’ll be making the world a better place.

As always, I love you
Martin

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We’ve all done it.

We shouldn’t have.

But we did.

Thank God for His gracious decision to give us another chance.

I’m talking about not following through on commitments we made to volunteer at church or to tithe weekly or to keep forgiving that irritating co-worker or to maintain a daily devotional life.

The list of commitments that you’ve made to God over the years is far more comprehensive than the above, I’m sure.

It certainly is with me.

Let’s do our best to abide by Jesus’ command to always have the transmission of our lives in drive rather than reverse.

It’s about living for Him and doing what He wants and not putting our faith gear into reverse, slipping back into our old ways and old reasons for living.

“Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)

Spring is a busy time in the church calendar. Let’s look for ways to volunteer and to give and to be vigilant to reject the temptations to skip out on our commitments.

We are profoundly grateful that Jesus didn’t pull His hands off the plow when He was working the field that was white unto harvest for Him. We’d have no eternal hope if He had not followed through.

There are people in our lives who need us to follow through with planting and watering of gospel seeds if they are to learn about the eternal hope we’ve already found.

Plow on, my friend. Break up the fallow soil of your worker or neighbor or relative as you love and plant and shine.

After all, our King died for His subjects.

As always, I love you
Martin

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