Saturday, September 19, 2020

What to do on your birthday

 Tomorrow is my birthday.  All thanks to God for His blessings, His patience and His promises.  I can say like George Bailey, "It's a wonderful life!"

One birthday card I've received offered some wise advise that I might just follow.  It read:

Celebrate like a cat today.  Eat.  Sleep.  Ignore everyone who annoys you.

No matter what day it is for you, have a blessed one!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

A heartfelt prayer of confession

In my opinion, Peter Marshall, the Scottish-born Presbyterian pastor, who in 1947 became chaplain of the US Senate, was one of the finest preachers of the 20th century.  See the book, "A Man Called Peter," for examples of his inspiring and thought-provoking style.  He also wrote many wonderful and heartfelt prayers.  The following is a prayer of confession, which you might want to use in your devotions sometime.

O Lord, I come to You out of my great need.  You have pledged in Your Word that whoever comes to You shall not be cast away.  Lord, I confess before You that:

I have had longings and nudgings from You which I did not translate into action.  I have made decisions without consulting You, then blamed You when things went wrong.  I have said that I trust You, yet have not turned over my affairs to You.  I have often sought the easy way, have consistently drawn back from the road that is hard.

Forgive me for all my intentions that we born and somehow never lived.

These, Lord Jesus, are sins, grievous in Your sight, grievous even in mine.  And now I claim Your promise to change me.  Do for me what I cannot do for myself.  Lead me into a new tomorrow with a new spirit.  Cleanse my heart, (*forgive me) create within me new attitudes and new ideas, as only as You can create them.

For these good gifts, I thank You, Lord.  Amen.

* my words added

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Sharing God's Love

 Down through the ages, many people have tried to define "love."

"Love conquers all"     Virgil

"Love is the only gold"     Alfred, Lord Tennyson

"Who loves believes the impossible"     Elizabeth Barrett Browning

"The first duty of love is to listen"     Paul Tillich

"Faults are thick where love is thin"     An English proverb

"Love is a great beautifier"     Louisa May Alcott

"What the world really needs is more love and less paperwork"     Pearl Bailey

For my money the best source from which to learn about love is 1 Corinthians, chapter 13.  Since love itself is indefinable, the apostle Paul describes how love manifests itself.  When directed toward others - spouse, children, family, friends and strangers - love is forgiving and self-giving.  No doubt, as Paul was describing the fruits of love, he surely had Jesus in mind.  Through faith, you have been "caught up" in the love of Christ.  With whom can you share His love this week?

Saturday, September 12, 2020

The greatest source of help against temptation

 Finally, in prayer, you have the greatest source of help against your temptations.  As the little vessel of your soul is being overwhelmed with the waves of temptation, arose Christ with your prayers.  Our visible foes we subdue by striking and slaying them; but this invisible enemy of our souls we conquer by pouring out our prayers to God.

Gerhard's Sacred Meditations, pages 154-155

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Acts 29?

I've often wondered why there isn't a 29th chapter to the Book of Acts.

Recently, I've been reading about Paul's journey to Rome so that he might appeal to Caesar the charges brought against him.  The author of Acts, Luke, tells that Paul spent two years under house arrest while waiting for justice to be done.  Not surprisingly, Paul continues to preach and teach about the risen Jesus to anyone who will listen.

We also know that Paul wrote his epistles to the Philippians, Colossians, Ephesians and to his friend, Philemon, from prison.  Reading those epistles we know that Paul continued his ministry, strengthening the believers in Christ and revisiting church which he had a hand in helping to plant.  Still, why doesn't Acts have a more proper ending, indicating some kind of resolution to Paul's troubles.

We don't know why the Holy Spirit led Luke to end Acts as he did.  One thing is certain - the book of Acts is continuing to be written even today.

If Acts in the story of the beginning of the New Testament church, then we are part of the story as well.  We continue to preach about the coming kingdom of God.  We continue to teach about the Lord Jesus Christ.  We witness and tell others about our Savior's forgiveness, grace and salvation.  We proclaim repentance and faith in Jesus as a person's only hope for eternal life in heaven.  In this way, the story of Acts continues.  May you, in your daily life in Christ, keep adding more words to the story!

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

Finish then Thy new creation
 Pure and spotless let us be
Let us see Thy great salvation
 Perfectly restored in Thee
Changed from glory to glory
Till in heaven we take our place
Till we cast our crowns before Thee
 Lost in wonder, love and praise!

LSB #700, verse four

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Any One But Me

Few words can strike more fear into a Christian than the word, "evangelism."  It's easy to think of reason why it can be so uncomfortable to share the Gospel with another person - I might offend my friend...I don't know the Bible that well...What if I'm asked a question I can't answer...I'm an introvert so don't ask me to do something like this.

Ray Comfort's new book, "Any One But Me," is one part encouragement, one  part instruction so that you can share Your Jesus with another person.

Comfort points to Bible verses like 1 Peter 3:15 & 2 Timothy 4:2 to show that God's will is for you and me to be ready when we find an opportunity to speak about Jesus.  This is serious business as Comfort points out.  Souls are on the line.  Think of the non-believer friend who means much to you.  You could stand to know that at their death, they would receive only the judgement of the Lord?

Comfort offers 10 proven ways to overcome your doubts and fears so that you'll be prepared to give an answer to another about the hope that you have.  Get yourself a copy of "Any One But Me" today.