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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Murphy’s Law

Romans 5:1-5
(Use the link below to read the verses.)

  

When I was first married, we had a small leak in our half bath downstairs. When I tried to repair it, instead of tightening the pipes, I disconnected them. Do you know how small those pipes are? And do you know what small pipes do to water pressure? Water shot out of there so hard and fast that pieces of toilet paper were blasted onto the ceiling.

 

That was a perfect example of Murphy’s Law which is, “Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong”. Yup! Been there, done that!

 

My co-worker recently had a streak of bad luck. First her stove died and they went for weeks before the replacement arrived. Then one of their cars was making some weird noises. Several hundred dollars later, the noise was gone. Finally, the dish washer started leaking and had to be replaced. Have you ever heard of the saying, “If it weren’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all”? Been there, done that!

 

Adversity, affliction, problems, struggles, suffering, issues, trials, temptations, testing, or troubles - whatever you want to call them; we’ve all experienced them. But Paul and James suggest dealing with them in a highly unusual way.

 


We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.    NLT
 
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.      James 1 NIV

 

To respond to adversity with rejoicing or pure joy seems not only counterintuitive, but ridiculous. Why would you do such a thing? I’m glad you asked.

 

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.   NIV
 
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.         Romans 8 NLT

 

This is not to say that adversity isn’t hard, because it is. But even in adversity, we can know that God is with us; He is working in our life to draw us closer to Him; and that He loves us no matter what happens.
 
That, my friend, is cause to rejoice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, November 16, 2018

GOD’S REMNANT


Reading: Romans 11:1-6

“REMNANT SALE,” I read aloud in the flyer from the fabric store.

“What’s that?” my friend asked. I hadn’t heard the term in years, but I recalled buying remnants back in the day when I was into making purses from heavy fabric.

I explained, “It’s a small amount of material left on the end of a bolt of fabric, usually less than a yard. It would seem useless to sell because there isn’t enough to make something from a pattern for a dress or a suit or a robe. But these can be great for small one-of-a-kind items like purses, placemats, potholders, etc – or they would be perfect for making a patch-work quilt.”

When I read the verses for today, the word “remnant” caught my eye. Several translations used this term for the small group of Jews whom God “reserved for Himself” during Elijah’s time – Jews who had remained faithful to Him after all the others had walked away in disobedience and followed different gods (see Romans 11: 4; also read the story in Kings 19: 10-18).

Paul further expanded the term to include Jews of his day who had been chosen by God’s grace (and indeed, extends today to those who are a faithful remnant of Jesus). We believers who are not Jewish by birth are included in the remnant by adoption. “The grounds for the existence of the remnant was not [our] good works but [only by] God’s grace.” (From note on vs 5 in the NIV Study Bible).

We, God’s Remnant, are set apart by His grace and favor for a special purpose, which I am imagining to be that patch-work quilt of believers from “every tribe and tongue” that enjoys, appreciates and shares the unique pattern He has created us to be together!

How grateful I am, Lord, that through your grace and mercy, I am among the quilt remnants that make up the whole Body of Christ. May we individually and together be a display of your beauty to the world around us.  Amen

Thursday, November 15, 2018

THANKfull and Resilient is Living and Loving Large


A THANKfull life is a resilient life

"...our God has not forsaken us in our bondage. He has shown us kindness..." (Ezra 9:9a)

I have probably written this before, but when I am down, or in a bad place emotionally, counting blessings truly does make a difference. If nothing else it takes the focus off me and forces me to look with eyes wide open, for the good things all around.

It is easy some days to get lost in the struggles and difficulties. But, by opening my eyes I can see the silver lining in most situations. Just jotting down a few of them in my journal, right next to my complaints and moaning brings perspective.

The truth of the matter is, God is good...all the time. He loves us...all the time.  He is good when we can't pay our bills, when divorce tears a family apart, when illness bring death. He is good.

The truth we tend to believe are the lies the enemy imparts every chance he gets. "You deserve better. You're not lovable. This is as good as it gets so give up now."  Lies, every one of them. 

When I/we turn from griping about our plot in life, to gripping God's goodness and embracing His word, it all comes together. Thankfulness leads to confidence in our circumstances and provides hope for the future because it “renews our minds” and shifts our focus from lack to abundance, and from our circumstances to our Savior.



Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Insert Your Name Here


How many times have we witnessed this scenario? A colleague or acquaintance is well thought of as a highly ethical person, a Christian perhaps, a living example of “do the right thing.” Then one day our model citizen slips on a moral banana peel, speaking ill of someone behind their back, for instance, or playing the nasty political card at work. Then invariably, someone—could be us—says this: “Now we know the real [insert name here].” Despite all the goodwill they have amassed through right decisions, we regard their wrong as the sole determinant of their true self.

Why do we seize upon people’s mistakes like this? Why do we discard in an instant the good reputation painstakingly built over the course of a lifetime? Is it that we think ourselves more attractive beside a morally blemished neighbor? Does our pronouncement arise from a deep sense of cynicism, our hope for good shattered yet again? It could be a lot of things, I suppose, for we all yearn for a rightness we can trust, elusive though it seems.

We do well to know what is right and to want what is right, but it is not ours to judge the wrongs of others. This is God’s job, and His alone. Moreover, we cannot muster from within ourselves the righteousness we crave; this, too, is God’s job, for Christ has taken our sin upon Himself and given us, in exchange, His own righteousness.1 This is His gift to all who receive it through faith.

Then to anyone who would define God’s people by the sins Jesus already died to forgive, He says this on our behalf: “Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. . . He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness.”2

If you are in Christ, then insert your name here, for He defines the real you.

Father, in truth you see my darkness, and in love you’ve become my light. By your sacrifice, I know your righteousness. Fill me to overflowing in grace, so others may know it, too. In Jesus’ name and by the power of your Spirit, I pray. Amen.

Christ in me is righteousness.

1 2 Corinthians 5:21
2 Micah 7:8, 9