Category Archives: Devotions

We all know God loves us, but far too often the stresses, anxieties and problems in life crowd Him out of our view. Here find a moment to re-focus and remember how incredible it is that God loves us, and what it means to live in His presence, in the peace that passes all understanding…

Want to Overcome Sin? Start with this…

20170124_103703Devotional Thought of the Day:
1 [By David.] With all my heart I praise the LORD, and with all that I am I praise his holy name! 2 With all my heart I praise the LORD! I will never forget how kind he has been. Psalm 103:1–2 (CEV)

We were told in the Second Commandment, “You shall not take God’s name in vain.” Thereby we are required to praise the holy name and pray or call upon it in every need. For to call upon it is nothing else than to pray.

It is just as true to say that every snowflake is a gift of God as it is true to say that every cent in a father’s inheritance is a gift to his children. It is just as true to say that every leaf on every tree is a work of art made by the divine Artist with the intention that we see it, know it, love it, and rejoice in it, as it is true to say that every word in a lover’s letter to his beloved is meant to be seen, known, loved, and enjoyed.

33 What are you so proud of?—Every impulse that moves you comes from Him. Act accordingly.

Sin is a huge issue in our lives.

We can not deny it. We can’t really hide it either.

It leaves us broken and shattered.

It leaves us avoiding people, some because we resent them because of some sin they committed against us. Some people we want to avoid because we feel so guilty, so ashamed, and being in their presence brings those feelings crashing down upon us.

As we look at the commands, there is one that sticks out to me, one that can be quickly dealt with, and as it is, we find the grace to deal with the others.

Luther talks about it, the commandment to not use God’s name in vain. Luther points out that means we sin when we should use it when we should cry out to Him for help,  and do not use it. When our vanity causes the Lord’s name to be misused.

Imagine not eating because you don’t want to spend the money you have in the bank. I imagine going barefoot on a hike in the mountains because you don’t want to scuff up your new boots. There is a logic that simply doesn’t make sense to these imaginations, that still doesn’t make sense when God pleads with us to call upon Him, to cast our burdens upon Him, to let Him heal us.

You want to stop living in the dark shadows of sin?  Cry out to God, call upon Him, don’t leave His name unused, for that is as wrong as using it wrongly.

What happens then, as you begin to converse with God, is that you realize how much He is doing, you start to look for how He encourages you! You see it in the care he takes with the color of a leaf, or the smile of a child, you being to see His artistry in everything, and realize that this artistry is at work in your life as well.  As St. Josemaria describes we begin to understand the good things in our lives are there because the Holy Spirit is guiding and empowering us in them, providing the impulse that drives our work

That beauty, that wonder is what leads the Psalmist to praise God, to exclaim in wonder at God’s kindness, at His mercy and love.  Our praise is always generated from seeing God at work in our lives.  Even in the hard times, even when we have to confess our sin, or lay some burden down at His feet.

This is what happens when we stop using His name in a way that it shouldn’t be used… but call out to Him, even if that cry is as simple and profound as,

Lord have mercy one me a sinner…

He hears, and He answers… and we begin to dwell in peace.

Theodore G. Tappert, ed., The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press, 1959), 420.

Peter Kreeft, The God Who Loves You (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), 20.

Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Resonance! A sermon on Matthew 10

Concordia Lutheran Church
June 28, 2020

Resonance!
Matthew 10:34-42

† In Jesus Name †

May the grace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ cause you to resonate with the Lord and with His people!

Dechomai God

The more I looked at this passage, the more I think this message is critical.

Not only do you need to hear it, but you also need to hear it in a way you can take it with you, share it with others, and help them see that they are resonating with God.

Of course, that means you need to know what resonance is.

Let me explain it this way If I play a string on this guitar, let’s say the A string. Assuming this other guitar is tuned to the same frequency, the A string on that guitar will start vibrating. The closer they are in tuning, the more the resonance occurs, the more the 2nd guitar begins to play, with no one touching it.

There is another word for resonance – one we are familiar with here. I

It is Concordia. (the name of our Church)

We are and have always been, as a church, about resonating with God. He plays a note, and our hearts and minds begin to resonate with God.  Another way to describe this resonance is the Greek word that shows up in the gospel – the word is dechomai – and is translated “receives” in today’s translation. But it means more than that, it means to welcome into agreement, to welcome into a relationship, the kind of intimate relationship where you finish sentences for each other. That is how welcome the person becomes in your life, that is how you receive them.

This is what it means to be Concordia, to resonate, to resonate with God.

That is who we are to be, it is what we need to get back to doing,

We need to resonate with God, we need to let Him tune our hearts so that we can sing His grace. That means we can’t cling to our old tuning… but to let the Holy Spirit tune us, and then we will sing His praise.

What stops this?

So there are a couple of things that stop our ability to resonate with Jesus.

The simplest thing is our taking our tuning peg and twisting it. It is no longer true to what the note really is, and often it isn’t even true to the instrument itself. It is off, and real music cannot be made until it is back in tune.

Maybe we desire to resonate with someone other than God, and we want to put them first. That is what it talks about when it says loving someone more than you love God. Who do you want to resonate with more? Whose approval do you want more, whose love do you need more? What is most important to you. Our lives go out of tune when we make others more significant than God in our lives.

Or maybe you do not want to take up the challenges God has in store for you. You decide not to love the people He has put in your life, whether it is because of any of the reasons we find to disassociate with people or people groups.  There are several things God calls us to do that simply don’t make sense to us until we are in tune with God. That is the challenge, we need God to help us see this, but until we do, we turn away from the cross, the challenge God has for us, thinking it ends our life when it actually begins it.

That is the third-way resonance ends, when we cling to life more than we would cling to God. And if we cling to it, we lose it, for life isn’t the way it isn’t supposed to be, and while we may say it can become like hell here on earth, we don’t even realize what that word means. If I grab this string and hold on to it, it will never resonate, it will never make the sweet sounds it was created to make.

All these things – loving someone or something more than God, refusing to walk with Him through life, as He meant for you to live, and when we cling to life, smothering it, are what it means to sin. It means to so mess up our lives that we cannot resonate with God at all. That is the definition of sin, messing up how God would tune our lives.

The Tuner

Inbuilt into this guitar is a tuner, and we have one, given to us in baptism, the Holy Spirit. Because Jesus freed us from our sin, the Spirit comes along and helps us resonate with God, tuning us so that we can make the music in life we were called to make. We begin that tuning in baptism when the Holy Spirit beings to transform us into the image of Jesus.

The Spirit creates in us the music we were meant to make, not just of our life in this life, but eternally. This is what the death and resurrection are all about, this is what we need to remember from today – the work God does in tuning us!  Tuning us so that when we hear His voice, our hearts and minds and our entire life resonate with Him. Now and eternally!

As He tunes us we look forward to the resonance more and more, we look forward to the moments when we realize life is so much more than what we would have without that resonance, we realize the resonance is our lives.

Dechomai Community

There is one last thing to the resonance.

As we resonate with God, we begin to see people differently. For we see their ability to resonate with God, and we can see God trying to draw them.

That is why Jesus moves from received Him to receive the Father, to receive those who would bring God’s word to you to receiving other people who have been forgiven. For if we are resonating with God, then those who resonate with Him will resonate with us, and our music and hearts will become more and more united.  And that is why we will hand to someone a cup of cold water – in His name – so they will resonate with Him.

That is obviously easier when we are together… that is what ties us together; that is why Paul will say when one of us laughs, we all laugh, when one cries, we all cry…

It is a matter of having received each other in our hearts, where our Lord dwells, it is a matter of resonance together with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and with each other.

It is being Concordia…

And may the peace of God, which passes all understanding, guard our hearts and minds as this happens! AMEN!

The Synonym of Happiness… (or how to get happy in the midst of suffering)

20170124_103703Devotional Thought of the Day:
1 If our faith is strong, we should be patient with the Lord’s followers whose faith is weak. We should try to please them instead of ourselves. 2 We should think of their good and try to help them by doing what pleases them. 3 Even Christ did not try to please himself. But as the Scriptures say, “The people who insulted you also insulted me.”Romans 15:1–3 (CEV)

Instead, it took half a lifetime to appreciate, through a million experiments, every one of which proved the same result: that the way to happiness is self-forgetful love and the way to unhappiness is self-regard, self-worry, and the search for personal happiness. Our happiness comes to us only when we do not seek for it. It comes to us when we seek others’ happiness instead.

Happiness has an odd synonym, Or perhaps not a synonym, but a word that is so intimately related to it that they can’t be divided.

Happiness and self-denial.

We see that in the fact that it was for the joy set before Him that Jesus endured the suffering on the cross. We see it in the appeal to Christliness – and the definition of Jesus who age it all up in Philippians 2. We see the same thing in Paul’s words to the church in Rome that appears above. As we are patient (long-suffering is a better transition) with those who are weak, we are focusing on their joy, on their contentment, on their ability to experience the love of God.

That doesn’t mean we condone their weak faith, but we put their growth as more important than ours.

We seek their best interests, we look to strengthen their faith, and in doing so, we find the joy we need. As Kreeft points out, forgetting self in the cause of love is key to joy, the key to happiness.

I know this to be true, as I see people amid suffering, and watch they grow in their faith as the Holy Spirit comforts them as they realize God’s peace. Seeing this happen is the greatest and most enjoyable of blessings.

It is why I love to share the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist. When I see people realize the incredible blessing they’re receiving, it makes everything else worth it. It’s when I hear that the Holy SPirit’s comfort is helping people through what they are going thru and that a simple word, or just being there helps them, this too is something that is a blessing.

It is the real reason why some pastors work more, ot have more opportunities to see God at work in people’s lives.

A warning about all this is in order.

Don’t just try and start living sacrificially on your own strength. It will burn you out. And examine yourself regularly, make sure you haven’t begun to live sacrificially on your own strength – you will burn out, and even develop a martyrdom complex.

Note that Paula advised this for those stronger in the faith – trust in God is the only way to accomplish this. We have to depend on Him for the joy, as well as the strength to do this, it is our intimate relationship with Jesus, that unity as we are drawn and united to His death and resurrection that makes self-sacrifice not only necessary but the great blessing it is.

He is our joy, and seeing others find that joy and the peace that comes with it can only be done as we are there with Him.

So you want joy, spend time with the Lord of life, the ord of Life, and as you do, you will be transformed, and love in a sacrificial manner as He did.

Lord, help us find life in Christ and find the joy He knew.  AMEN

Peter Kreeft, The God Who Loves You (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), 16–17.

The Easy Way to Become a Saint

St francis at the crossDevotional Thought for your Day:
16  I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17  Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.
Ephesians 3:16-17 (NLT2)

For a saint is simply a great lover of God, and nothing elicits love more than love. “Everybody loves a lover.” Nothing makes us saints faster than being hit over the head with God’s love.

37 When you love somebody very much, you want to know everything about him. Meditate on this: Do you feel a hunger to know Christ? Because…that is the measure of your love for him.

Thus the Creed is nothing else than a response and confession of Christians based on the First Commandment.

In the old comics, a lightbulb would click on in a bubble over the head of a character who got a brilliant idea. It is a way to describe the aha moment, what they once described as being enlightened.

As a former martial artist, there is another time you see bright lights, and that is when you take a punch or a kick to the head. You become a bit light-headed, you might even see stars!

I think we need the same kind of thing spiritually, we need to be hit upside the head by the love of God.  The love that makes us realize how stupid our sin is, how incredible the love of God is. He did this with Paul the apostle, spiritually hit him over the head with love, so much so it took Paul a few days and a miracle to see again.

We need to see God’s glory, and we need to realize that His glory is nothing more and nothing less than His love.

His love for you… and for me.

We have to see him, looking down from the cross, and in love saying, Father forgive them… (that means you and me) We need to see that love poured out on us as we were baptized, as His Body and Blood are given to eat and drink, as the Holy Spirit clothes us with righteousness.  It is that love that makes us holy, set apart for one thing – to be loved and love. That is what makes us saints.

This is not just the quickest way, it is the only way…

Lord Jesus, confront us in our brokenness, and ensure that we know You love us! AMEN!

Peter Kreeft, The God Who Loves You (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), 13.

Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Theodore G. Tappert, ed., The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press, 1959), 412.

Do You Understand the Love of God?

clydes-cross-2Devotional Thought of the Day:
19  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.  Ephesians 3:19 (NLT2)

“‘God loves you’—isn’t that the most well-worn of clichés? It’s just standard filler for the laziest, most obvious and repetitive homilies. Smile. Yawn. Everybody knows that by now, at least everybody who has ever been in a church or read a Bible.
No. Exactly the opposite. It is not familiar. It is shattering. It changes everything. And most Christians do not realize it.”

Right now on Wednesday evenings I am teaching through the Book of Revelation. It is an amazing book of the Bible, but so misunderstood.  Some think it is like a mystery or a riddle that we have to figure out who the characters are. Others think that it is a prophetic calendar, that we have to determine how this is the time it is describing. Who is the beast? What is the mark of the beast? who is this who is that? Is the pandemic a sign there, what about the racial tension?

Amid all the questions, all the theories, all the guess, and hype there are two things the Revelation really does teach us. No, make that three.

1. Jesus is the LORD, He is, along with the Father and Spirit, God who is worshipped, and will be worshipped by all of creation.

2. Jesus is with us in the midst of life. Life may seem broken beyond repair, it may seem oppressed and anxiety-laden by external events, or the effect of sin. Jesus is there to save us.

3. God loves us. Not in a simplistic way that has no effect on us, but in an intimate way, where He cares for us, bringing healing and peace to our brokenness.  This is what the Apostle Paul desires so much that the church experience, for we cannot understand it. It is too deep, too wonderful to be able to describe it.

Those in His presence fall in awe, with all creation they praise Him, thanking Him, in awe of His care.

In the midst of trials, we need to see this, in the midst of isolation, we need to realize He is there, in the midst of being knocked down and shattered by the world, or by our own sin, we need to experience this love of God, and that He is there with each one of us.

God loves you…. He, the Lord, is with You.

Think about that!

and rejoice….

Peter Kreeft, The God Who Loves You (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), 11.

June – the time of Job… and Jeremiah

District photoDevotional Thought of the Day:

“Why do you still trust God? Why don’t you curse him and die?”
10 Job replied, “Don’t talk like a fool! If we accept blessings from God, we must accept trouble as well.” In all that happened, Job never once said anything against God.  Job 2:9-10 CEV. 

Give your whole self to God and to His images, your brothers and sisters. Risk. Be crazy. Hold nothing back. Don’t be reasonable. Don’t be an investor. Be a lover.
Tell God right now that this is the one thing you want above all: the gift of loving Him completely. Tell Him you will never let Him go until He blesses you thus. Tell Him that even in eternity you will not let Him go until you are 100 percent love. And then you will never want to let Him go.

“when the creature failed, he flew to the Creator. He evidently felt his own weakness, or he would not have cried for help;”

This week I one of the lectionary readings to preach on what has become, if not a favorite passage, at least a life theme.  No, it’s not the Job reading above.

It might be worse,

Here it is.

7 You tricked me, LORD, and I was really fooled. You are stronger than I am, and you have defeated me. People never stop sneering and insulting me….9 Sometimes I tell myself not to think about you, LORD, or even mention your name. But your message burns in my heart and bones, and I cannot keep silent. Jeremiah 20:7,9 (CEV)

I have to admit there have been times where I have felt this way, seriously felt this way.  Not enough to assent to Job’s wife’s demand, but where situations cause despair and distress that is overwhelming and makes you want to yell at God.

just like Jeremiah did.

Sort of like I wanted Job to do…

Jeremiah did… Job didn’t.

What made Job able to do it?  What made him able to accept the curses as well as the blessings?  What is the difference between these readings that always seem to coincide in my life.

And why can’t I be more like Job?  Why can’t I help others to be more like Job?

Maybe Job was more like Jacob, displaying the attitude Peter Kreeft describes at the end of his best book. (One of the top 5 books in my life, I think – just finishing it, I need to read it again!) May Job understood what Spurgeon described, the need to cry for help… that was so great you couldn’t hold it in… and God listened.

Jeremiah was young… maybe Job had experienced it before.. and knew. he could cry.. and God would be there.

In times like this, I need to hold on, to demand that God can only be free of me when he helps me love Him, and those who bear His image, completely.  Nothing else need matter except that, and truly, that is what I need to hold on to, to the fact that God can change us, and will complete that work.

I just need to hold on, to trust, to demand the blessing of being transformed into the image of the One who loved that purely.  (That probably means I need to pray for the strength to do that as well. That I can do it year-round, not just in my annual encounter with Job and Jeremiah…)

I am pretty sure you need this as well, so let’s pray for each other, let’s beg God on each other’s behalf…

Lord, help us hold on.

AMEN!
Peter Kreeft, The God Who Loves You (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), 225.

C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896).

The Place Where The Left and The Right Find the Same Blessing…that they are both in the wrong

Good News BibleDevotional Thought of the Day

17 If you had not helped me, LORD, I would soon have gone to the land of silence. 
18 When I felt my feet slipping, you came with your love and kept me steady. 19 And when I was burdened with worries, you comforted me and made me feel secure.  Psalm 94:17-19 CEV

The perfect example of God’s love transcending our “right” vs. “left” separations is the sacrament of reconciliation (“confession”). When a “conservative” enters that holy place he suddenly becomes a “bleeding heart liberal”, for he knows that our only hope is not truth and justice but mercy and compassion. And the “liberal” suddenly wants the authority of the Church to be infallible, dogmatic and absolute when the priest pronounces that his sins are forgiven.

I had to think through Peter Kreeft’s words this morning.

In the midst of this broken, divided world, we struggle. We look for answers, and as we do some fall to the right and some to the left. Which divides us more, causes division, and it breaks us down.

We see this today,  in the midst of the pain and anxiety that is taking over our world.

In the midst of this, Kreeft finds the place where we have to deal with our own error and our own sin to be the place of the miraculous – the conservative crying for mercy, and the liberal crying for something to depend upon that is inflexible and cannot change.

For there, they both find the mercy of God.

And they both need it.

Desperately.

And as they find the God who draws them to Himself, as He declared the mercy one doesn’t want, and the other doesn’t think they need,

There they can find unity, as the pastor or priest assures them of God’s love, as the words are  heard, and you realize that God has helped us, saving us from silence, hold us when we stumbled,

We have all sinned, we have all been narcissistic. and Jesus died for all of us.

There is where we find unity, as we are all forgiven and cleansed.

Peter Kreeft, The God Who Loves You (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), 223.

A Different Approach to Grief.

man wearing jacket standing on wooden docks leading to body of water

Photo by Wouter de Jong on Pexels.com

Devotional Thought for our Day:

It is good to give thanks to the LORD,  to sing praises to the Most High! 2 It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening, accompanied by a ten-stringed instrument, a harp, and the melody of a lyre.
4 You thrill me, LORD, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done. 5 O LORD, what great works you do!  And how deep are your thoughts.  Psalm 92:1-5 NLT

Our griefs cannot mar the melody of our praise, we reckon them to be the bass part of our life’s song, “He hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.”

As you look at the Psalms, the early ones are through of trials. You see problems with the government in chapter 2, you see the brokenness caused by sin in 22 and 51, you see dealing with grief throughout and despair throughout the Psalms..

You also see worship, and it almost always comes after a lot of grief, and pain.  I even heard one pastor say that the Psalms end in worship even as they start in the complaint.

As I meditated on this, this morning, I realized we have made a crucial error. The quote from Psalm 92 made this point, and Spurgeon hammered it home.

Grief and trial are not what precedes worship.  In the middle of them, we find worship.  Worship that realizes the faithfulness of God requires that we see Him faithful to us in the midst of suffering. If there is no challenge, no pain, no sin, or resentment to deal with, there is no need for Jesus.

God meets us there, in the midst of our brokenness, in the midst of our pain, even in the midst of guilt and shame.

It is there the grief is realized to be the bass line – and often the volume of a teenager’s stereo’s bassline. But it still resounds with praise and awe. THis is lament.

He is there, with you…

 

C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896).

He Will Come to You!

Devotional Thought of the Day:

2  ‘I am Yahweh your God who brought you out of Egypt, where you lived as slaves. 3  ‘You shall have no other gods to rival me.   Exodus 20:2-3 (NJB)

That to which your heart clings and entrusts itself is, I say, really your God.
4 The purpose of this commandment, therefore, is to require true faith and confidence of the heart, and these fly straight to the one true God and cling to him alone. The meaning is: “See to it that you let me alone be your God, and never seek another.” In other words: “Whatever good thing you lack, look to me for it and seek it from me, and whenever you suffer misfortune and distress, come and cling to me. I am the one who will satisfy you and help you out of every need. Only let your heart cling to no one else.”  ( Martin Luther,  The Large Catechism)

We all have gods. We all have someone or something we cling to when all else fails. It may be a formal relationship with a god of a religion. It may be a dream for the future, when everything is “perfect”. It may be something that seems more tangible, our house, our retirement fund, a person in our lives who is nearly always there.

We all cling to, and often fight to defend our gods.

But these gods fail, our dreams don’t become our realities, our relationships are shattered by sin, our finances get plundered by recessions and other emergency needs.

The gods we cling to, that we run to in time of trouble, fail.

Many Bible translations will use the word lord in all capitals in the Bible.  This use of LORD is how they will type God’s name, in fear they will somehow misuse it. I think God understands that, and will respond whether we call him God, LORD or Yahwher (closest we can get to pronouncing His name in Hebrew)

But that is why He comes to us, why He has always forgiven those who cry out, crushed by their guilt and shame. It is why Jesus came, to reveal to us that God the Father loves us, as much as He loves Jesus, His only begotten Son.  He sends the Holy Spirit, the comforter, to be with us, to help us realize peace when everything is falling apart.

Even when those other gods fail, He will answer us. He will heal our brokenness, He will free us from guilt and shame, and restore us to a life that is meant to be spent with Him. This is His promise to you, to be your God, to be the one you can run too, and find rest and peace in, even in the midst of life’s brokenness.

Call out to Him, He has promised to answer… even if you do not believe if you do not trust in Him yet.

When Life Seems Like the Titanic, or worse.

pexels-photo-2056194

Devotional Thought for the day

I belong to God, and I worship him. Last night he sent an angel 24 to tell me, “Paul, don’t be afraid! You will stand trial before the Emperor. And because of you, God will save the lives of everyone on the ship.” 25 Cheer up! I am sure that God will do exactly what he promised. 26 But we will first be shipwrecked on some island.  Acts 27:23-26 CEV

Christians have been making Peter’s mistake ever since, trusting in Caesar and chariots and horses and treaties and nukes and antinukes rather than in the love of God, the love on the Cross. This love is infinitely more powerful than and totally in control of all the forces that crucify it, all the chariots and horsemen, even the horsemen of the apocalypse.

Noah was so shut in that no evil could reach him. Floods did but lift him heavenward, and winds did but waft him on his way. Outside of the ark all was ruin, but inside all was rest and peace. Without Christ we perish, but in Christ Jesus there is perfect safety.

We go on to say: “Let your will be done in heaven and on earth.” We say this not so that God might do what he wishes, but that we should be able to do what God wishes

I do not know how I would react, if I was one of the sailors or passengers on the ship with Paul. Yeah, we’ll be safe – all of us – but the ship will be wrecked. I imagine that even Noah was a bit anxious as the floods lifted him higher than some planes normally fly.

It is no wonder that we want to trust our weapons, our country, and our ability to fight back. For how do we find peace in times of oppression, in times where we are persecuted and attacked.

Many communities are facing this – those who find that nothing has changed in the death of George Floyd, or David Dorn. Those whose streets are filled with plywood rather than windows, those who cannot even find a home, because they are refugees. Some places where seniors dwell together still live in great fear of COVID 19. We all live in fear, and turn to something, anything for protection. Just about everyone I have met is stressed, worried, and focused on surviving today.

I wish we could all have the faith of Paul, who not only was ready for the shipwreck but to testify in front of Nero.

Please understand, we advocate for justice – even when we have to ask forgiveness for the injustice we actually committed.

At the same time, we need even more to trust in the Lord, for whether our boat is lifted by the floodwaters, or crushed against the rocks, He is with us.

We need to be aware that the power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in us, (Eph. 1:19-20) and that power is the love of God.  That is why Kreeft makes the comment. This love is infinitely more powerful than and totally in control of all the forces that crucify it,” 

Even if crucified, even if killed, our life is there, hidden in Christ (Col. 3:1-4) and the power of death has already been defeated. That knowledge, that trust in God should empower us to work for justice, even as we do so peacefully, aware that He is stronger than the world.

So as Paul said, “Cheer up!  Just a shipwreck ahead of you, and then a trial, but God will deliver exactly what is promised!”

Your salvation and mine. ANd the presence of God in this midst of the storm…. the God who loves you.

Lord, help us to depend on you as Paul did. Even thru the shipwrecks, and the trials, through the persecutions and oppression, and even our own death. Lord may Your will be cone in our lives… and help our seeing that cheer us up.

AMEN!

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Peter Kreeft, The God Who Loves You (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), 212–213.

C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896).

Tertullian, Cyprian, and Origen, On the Lord’s Prayer, ed. John Behr, trans. Alistair Stewart-Sykes, Popular Patristics Series, Number 29 (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2004), 75.

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