Friday, July 21, 2017

Armor of God: Shoes of the Gospel of Peace


These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isa 9:6 NLT
Soldiers walked across a great deal of stony ground. If they had gone barefoot they would have been easy prey for any enemy that had good footwear. Satan strews the way of the Christian with many sharp stones. These stones prick us and cause us great discomfort and undermine our peace. We might ask if our Captain is leading us in the right direction. We might ask if He cares about our needs since our feet hurt so much. We can become disgruntled and grumble and then we look down and see that we have forgotten to put our shoes on.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace. At His birth the angels announced peace on earth. At the Last Supper He told His disciples that He would give them peace that the world could not have. Paul spoke of having peace that passes understanding. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has given us peace with God. It abolishes the upward fear that mankind has. It also gives us the peace of God. God loves us and that is a very peaceful thought and assurance. No stones of the wicked one can prick our feet when we have them shod with the peace of the Good News of Jesus Christ. His word to us is always Peace. Walk in that promise.

Dear Father, Thank You for providing us peace that comforts and keeps us in every trial of life. Amen. 


  The Friday Benediction
Until Monday, my friends, may the good God envelop you with His grace; may you prove the common confession of faith, “I believe in the holy Christian church and in the fellowship of the saints”, and may you be enriched with joy and hope as you exercise that confession this weekend.  Amen
 


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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Armor of God: Breastplate of Righteousness


For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Rom 10:4 NKJV
In our struggle with the world and its strong stand against truth we will encounter many challenges to our faith. One of the greatest that the prince of this world will employ is the truth of our own unworthiness. That is a true accusation made against us by the prince of liars. He hurls it at us to dissuade us from trying to follow our Captain. “You are not worthy to be in His army,” he says. But the point of being in Christ’s army is that He has made us worthy. We must never forget that we have been called by Him and made worthy by Him.
Paul honestly states that in our flesh dwells no good thing in a God-ward direction. We are sinners and He is holy and righteous. But God in His great love sent Jesus to die that our sins might be forgiven for His sake. Believing in Christ means that we have now put on the righteousness of Christ and have given up our own dirty sins in exchange. Whenever Satan assaults us with the truth of our own unrighteousness, the breastplate of righteousness supplied by Christ can deflect and defeat the fiery arrows of our enemy. Our own good deeds will always fail at the challenge of Satan, but the Righteousness of Christ will always prevail.

Dear Father, Thank You for giving me robes of righteousness in exchange for my filthy rags of sin. Amen. 


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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Birthdays


Since today is my birthday, I thought I would share a birthday blog I wrote for the Bethel Lutheran Church Beacon. 
There is some special event that each month reminds us of.  For me, July is birthday month, not because we all have birthdays in July, but because I do. Whose is the first birthday that we learn? That’s right, ours. With our children and grandchildren, we cover all twelve months of the year, but I still think of July as birthday month.
As a child, it was exciting to have one and it took forever to get to the next one. Now they are less exciting and they seemingly come more quickly. As a child, they made us feel like we were really growing up. Now they remind us that we are getting really old, at least that’s the way my grandkids see me.
But there is also something more sobering that birthdays remind us of. There will be a limited number of them. The psalmist says that we get three score and ten of them (70) and if by virtue of strength, four score (80). By the psalmist’s figuring, I am down to four more. That poses two questions.
The first is, what am I going to do with that limited time? My grandmother had a plaque on her wall that said, “Only one life will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” Do my days, months, and years amount to what Christ wants them to accomplish for Him? Since He set the bounds of my life, and He has also set the expectations for the time given. Birthdays can help us evaluate whether we have used the past year for Him and how we might lay our plans for service to Him in the year ahead.

The second question is, am I ready for my final birthday? After this life there is another one, and that one is eternal. Have we prepared for it? Have we trusted Christ as Savior, put our faith in Him? No matter what birthday count we have reached, that is the single most important question for every person, the question for which we need the right answer. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Armor of God: Truth


The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” Ps. 19:9 NKJV
The first item of the full armor of God is truth. We must be girded with truth as Paul says. We are to be enclosed in the girdle of truth. If we wanted to be an accountant we would need to be clothed with accurate math truth. If we wanted to be fix cars we would need to be clothed with good mechanical truth. If we wanted to work as a publishing editor we would need to be clothed with good grammar truth. The reality is that we live our lives in a world that rejects truth, so we must be girded in truth to survive spiritually.
This truth is twofold. First we must be girded with the truth of knowing who Jesus is. He is our Savior and Captain and the Guardian of our souls. The certainty of forgiven sins and an honest leader who will keep us forever will gird us with the truth to live for Him. The second truth is that His word is true. Paul told Timothy that knowing the word made us equipped for every good work. We will want to know how to follow the orders of our Captain and the truth of His word will tell us. Knowing the Captain and knowing His word girds us with truth.

Dear Father, Thank You for providing the protection we need in our battle with the forces of darkness in this world. Amen. 


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Monday, July 17, 2017

Jesus: The True Vine


I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NKJV
I like grapes. I like grape juice. I grow grapes because I like them and make them into grape juice because I like it. Grapes do not just appear along my fence all by themselves. They appear on the vine. The vine is necessary for grapes. No one would ever debate that. But we do often debate whether we can do enough good works to please God. Good works would be grapes. We can’t grow grapes without a vine.
Jesus said that He is the Vine. Our grapes are produced only because we are attached to that Vine. The good works that we do, works that glorify God, demonstrate His grace and love, and obey Him from a glad heart, all come because we are attached to the True Vine. (John 15:1) Jesus said that if we are attached to that True Vine then we will produce fruit. Jesus is the Light and wants us to let our lights shine so that people glorify our Father who is in heaven. In the same way Jesus wants to let the fluid of the Holy Spirit move from the Vine to the branches so that we bear fruit for the glory of God.

Dear Father, Thank You for giving us the means to glorify You. Amen. 


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Friday, July 14, 2017

Jesus: The Way, the Truth and the Life


Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” John 17:17 NKJV
Pilate asked Jesus a simple question, “What is truth?” It is asked millions of times each day. Jesus said that two things were truth. God’s holy word, the Bible, is truth. Millions of people stumble and fall in their lives each day by rejecting what Jesus said is absolute truth. All who suggest that it is only partially true are wholly calling Jesus a liar. God’s word is truth. Jesus prays that we will all live in and by that word and let it sanctify us.
Jesus also said that He was the Truth. He set Himself up as the exclusive means of eternal life. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but through Me.”  Of all the possible ways men say we can reach God, Jesus said there is only one, and that is Jesus Christ the Son of God. He alone died for our sins that we might be reconciled to the Father and He alone of all the world’s great leaders, religious or political, rose again from the dead. By this He alone can guarantee us that we too shall rise with Him unto everlasting life.

Dear Father, Thank You for showing us the way in Your Holy Word and providing us the Way through Your dear Son. Amen.  


  The Friday Benediction
Until Monday, my friends, may the good God envelop you with His grace; may you prove the common confession of faith, “I believe in the holy Christian church and in the fellowship of the saints”, and may you be enriched with joy and hope as you exercise that confession this weekend.  Amen
 


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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Jesus: The Resurrection and the Life


The tombs opened and the bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead after Jesus' resurrection.” Matt 27:52-53 NLT
In his commentary on the Gospel of John, the great evangelist and Bible teacher John R. Rice said simply, “Jesus can have a resurrection any time He wants.” He wanted to have one for Jairus’ daughter. He wanted to have one for the widow’s son. He wanted to have one for Lazarus. His own death sparked a resurrection of faithful saints. How can He do all this? He can do it because He is the resurrection and the LIFE. Jesus is LIFE.
Jesus doesn’t just have a few scattered physical resurrections; He has spiritual ones by the multitude every day. Mankind is dead in trespasses and sin. We are DEAD. He is LIFE. When we believe in Him we pass from death unto life. We are buried in the likeness of His death and raised in the likeness of His resurrection. Praise God we don’t have to wait for the Last Day to have the resurrection we need to truly live now and forever.

Dear Father, Thank You for raising us up from death unto life through Your Son. Give us gladness to share that hope with others. Amen. 


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