Quote for 09/21/2021

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the Lord.    Isaiah 54:17

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Bulletproof.  That’s the first thought that comes to me for this verse.  And it’s an odd thing to find when you realize what else Isaiah told the Jews.  He was warning them that God was coming to chastise them for centuries of disobedience.  Babylon was coming, and it was going to get beyond ugly.

But in the same breath God comforts them.  His message is that He is on their side.  Weapons might come against them, but they will not prosper.  They will cut, but they will heal.

Beyond that, they will be above reproach.  Anyone who calls them out, they will ultimately condemn.  This is what He promises all who are His servants.

The message was for Israel, but as fellow heirs through Christ, this promise is ours.  We may go through life taking cuts and abuse, but God has our back in the end.  He’s made us…

bulletproof!

Quote for 9/20/2021

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.    Proverbs 22:6

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I went to church and Sunday School as far back as I can remember.  There were times when I searched elsewhere for answers, but I eventually came back.

My younger sister suffered from mental illness and spent most of her life as a drug addict; pot, meth, crack…you name it.  I learned that she was once threatened by her supplier with a gun.  She pulled it to her forehead and screamed at him to shoot.  With her kids beside her.

She had the same upbringing I did, the same church and school.  Her last few years were clean and sober and once again in the arms of her Savior.  She died last May, and I am so very thankful that when she was old, she returned to the true ways that that she was brought up in!

Be Patient

The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.    2 Peter 3:9

I thought of this verse as I read about Abraham’s story in Genesis.  Here’s a quick recap of what God told him when and the promises He made.

God’s first promise came to Abram at age 75.  He and Sarai were childless, and Abram was resigned to the idea that someone not his heir would inherit everything.  God told him it would not be so; he would be the father of a great people.  He would indeed have an heir of his own flesh and blood.

Eleven years later, no kids.  Genesis 16 records how Sarai was getting impatient.  Her suggestion?  Have Abram sleep with her servant, an Egyptian named Hagar.  Apparently, he didn’t need much convincing to bed Hagar, and Hagar had his son in short order.  She got a little uppity with Sarai, having had the child Sarai wanted.

Sarai went after Abram like this was his idea.  Guys, let’s all take a lesson from Abram; sex with anyone but your wife – even with the best intentions (did I actually just write that??) –won’t end well for you.  Keep it in your tunic!

Cut to Genesis 21.  Abram is 99 years old.  Three travelers come to camp, God in His three Persons.  Abram prevails on them to stay while he gets them a meal.  Toward the conclusion of their visit, they reiterate God’s promise of fathering a great nation.  Sarai, now well past her child-bearing years, sits inside the tent and laughs; yeah…that’ll happen!

One year later they have their son, Isaac.  Twenty-five years after the original promise.

Being a human being and lacking patience, I’d be tempted to tell God that the whole Hagar thing never would’ve happened if He’d have been a little quicker on the trigger.

God’s correct answer would be to remind me that He is God.  How about some faith?

What are you waiting for from God?  I was waiting for work after having been laid off.  We lost everything.  I kept telling God that I trusted Him, so…when will “the cavalry” get here?  It did indeed show up, but in God’s time.

When waiting on God, we all need to remember that our human clocks run a lot faster than God’s!  Let’s make every effort to be prayerfully patient!

Quote for 09/19/2021

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.    Ephesians 6:12

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I sometimes listen to a podcast called The Confessionals.  The host interviews a stream of guests who have had some intense, supernatural experiences.  When I first ran into it, I thought it was some for the occult, but the host is a Christian and I think spent at least some time in seminary.

Why does he put out the material he does?  Because he knows that this stuff happens much more than your average Christian thinks!  He wants everyone to know about just how nasty things can get.

He understands that Christianity is much more than Sunday services and bible classes.  It’s a battle against forces that are beyond our abilities!  We need to recognize them so we can avoid them!

Christianity is much more than familiar Bible stories and Gospel passages!  There’s a very dangerous enemy that constantly stalks us with all the supernatural power and darkness at his disposal!

Quote for 09/18/2021

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice:    Psalm 95:6-7

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This Psalm is the basis for the Venite, a chanted piece in the order of worship Catholics and Lutherans know as Matins.  I learned it in grade school, as we were closely educated about each part of Matins as part of our parochial education.

Matins is seldom performed anymore.  As often happens, God’s Word and certain orders of worship are “modernized” for a new age.  I can’t remember the last time I sang the Venite.

It’s a beautiful piece, not so much for the music itself, but to sing a psalm of David in church, praising God!  What comfort there is in these verses when we sing them, declaring ourselves to be the people of such a loving God!

Hear a version of The Venite Sunday Matins.

Quote for 09/17/2021

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.    Isaiah 55:11

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My favorite example of this is a Russian woamn who came to the US as a chaperone for a group of visiting children.  She was cold and abrasive.

One weekend her hosts took her to Chicago for a shopping trip.  She was put up in a private home in the daughter’s bedroom.  On the nightstand was a white confirmation Bible.  The Russian opened it to see what it was about, never having seen a Bible before.

She read it the whole night, never sleeping.  In the morning she came to her hosts, saying she never knew such good news!  Could she be accepted by Christ too?  They prayed with her and baptized her.

Her number one priority for that day’s shopping?  A white Bible…just like the one that delivered the soul-saving message of Jesus!

Quote for 09/16/2021

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,    Ephesians 2:19

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“You’ve got to be kidding!” is the response to news that is just too outrageous to believe.

That was the likely response when people in the first century heard that they could be saved just like the Jews!  Everyone in those days knew who the Jews were and what they were about.  Some blew it all off.  Other believed and resented the Jews for their special status with God.

Small wonder, then, that today’s message is found throughout the New Testament!  It’s delivered to many people in many ways as Paul and the Apostles worked to convince all they preached to that they really could become as good as the Jews, fellow heirs with them in God’s household!

That same news is for us today.  No matter our past, no matter our lineage, we are all one with the Jews, the Gentiles, and all who accepted the forgiveness Jesus gives us!

Quote for 09/15/2021

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.    2 Timothy 2:15

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Paul’s first letter to Timothy was instructing him against the false teachings he was battling.

His second letter was written from his Roman prison.  By this time, he had no illusions about being let go.  Some consider this Paul’s last will and testament, his final set of instructions and encouragement to Timothy, which I’m sure he hoped would be shared around.

Just as then, we today are pressured to be ashamed of our faith and bullied into forsaking Him who would never forsake us.  Today we are besieged with messages of a different word, a way concocted by man, not blessed to us by God.

We will find ourselves having to answer to God for our lives in the end.  Let us take Paul’s final message to heart and be that worker who has never been ashamed of the Gospel, a worker who never failed to faithfully know and share God’s Word.

Quote for 09/14/2021

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.    Galatians 3:28

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I can’t help thinking these words were tough for St. Paul to write.  His whole life was as a Pharisee, the best of the best, a Jew of Jews.  He was better than Gentiles, better than the Samaritans.  I don’t doubt that he thought he was better than most Jews!

Yes, Jews are God’s people, the ones who gave us Jesus.  But that gift erased all boundaries!  That gift made us all siblings, co-heirs with Him of our Father.

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, no Christian better than another.  Indeed, no Christian is better than even an unbeliever.

But we are forgiven and one with Jesus!

Quote for 09/13/2021

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.    1 Corinthians 15:56-57

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It’s as if we’re walking a bridge above a bubbling volcano.  The danger is overwhelming to the point of not trusting the bridge we’re on.

Below us lies sin and horrible death – eternally!

But our bridge is Jesus and the forgiveness from God His own sacrifice provides.  Our bridge to safety – bliss even! – might be narrow and hard to stay on, but it is most certainly Jesus Who will see us through to a safe crossing…and victory!