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2 Timothy 2:1-9

 

You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! (ESV)

 

 

 

Fond of Heaven

Wednesday of Advent 3

17 December 2014

During the US Civil War, General Robert E. Lee (CSA) said, "It is well that war is so terrible. We should grow too fond of it." This could also be said by Christians in the world: "It is well that this life is so terrible. We should grow too fond of it." The trouble and trial of life in this world force us to deny that our ultimate goal is in this world. We are at war against our flesh, the world, and Satan. There is no reason that we should become fond of this. People who love to be at war are considered psychologically out of balance. We go to war only because it is forced on us. Satan, the world, and our flesh are battling against us, our church, and our Savior. We are in a fight because these enemies are bringing it to us, not because we seek it.

 

All normal combatants look forward to cessation of hostilities when they are able to go home. They anticipate the peace that home represents. We Christians live with that same kind of anticipation. We look forward to the pacification of our hearts when we are called by Christ to our final home. We feel the warfare both within and out, as Paul said of his mission work in Macedonia: "We were afflicted at every turn - fighting without and fear within" (2Co 7:5). These trials do not reveal God's face to us, but Satan's backside. God's face is hidden in the midst of struggles and trials. We need to look forward to our heavenly home where we will see what we now only believe.

 

We should not expect or seek peace here on earth. It is easy to hope that when the present troubling leader: pastor, president, head elder, or parent, is changed everything will be better. Another pastor will still be a human, with all those weaknesses characteristic of fallen humanity. A new president will carry his own baggage and create his own problems. This is why we walk by faith, not by sight. What we see is combat. Only faith can see the peace of God. We will only see this peace of God if we look into the Word of God. Here God turns His face to us. This is what we hope for. This is what we should grow fond of.

 

Martin Luther


 
"There is 'fighting without,' as Paul says (2Co 7:5), and everything is full of the very worst examples; 'within' there is trembling and a fearful soul. All this makes this life bitter and hateful for us. What, then, will happen in the end? After so many disasters and troubles there will undoubtedly follow boundless joy and the greatest glory, in which we shall exult and triumph over all our enemies in the wonderful victory we pray for, as 1Pt 1:11 states concerning 'the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glory.'

 

"And may that day of our redemption and the last judgment come quickly, for I long for it much more eagerly than I long for any physical liberation. For we would still get another Mohammed and pope. It would be better for everything to be thrown into confusion and abolished at one time, together with all the evils and trials of this life, than for some temporal change to take place. For we know that for all eternity there are prepared and laid up for us ineffable joy and an unfading crown, which we do not see now. We discern only groanings, tears, trials, and oppression of the poor; we see the devil's behind; we do not see the face of God. But let us believe, hope, wait, pray; let us listen to the Word and adhere to it." 

Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis,
45.9-11
 
Prayer

Lord Christ, we feel our groanings, tears, trials, and oppression of the poor; we see the devil's behind; we do not see Your face. Let us believe, hope, wait, pray; let us listen to the Word and adhere to it. Amen.

 

For Cliff Scherer, who is getting a pacemaker, that the Lord would keep him safe and make the procedure a success

 

For Les and Carol Coolidge, who have experienced health reverses, that the Lord would guide doctors and nurses for their good and grant Less and Carol a full recovery

 

For Herbert "Buddy" Bennerfield, who is gravely ill, that the holy angels would watch over him

 

For the family of Barbara Lowery, that the Lord Jesus would grant peace and strength to those who mourn her passing 
Art: Annunciation Schnorr Von Carolsfeld, Julius (1818)

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