Thursday, August 6, 2020

Letters to My Grandchildren: Submission

My Dear Grandchildren,

Today, we’re going to take a look at a word that so many people these days just hate. And the word is submission. People hate that word because they have been taught to be independent individuals. Such people submit to no one. But the fact of the matter is that God made all of creation with submission, and therefore authority, in mind.

Consider how God established our world. When He created Adam and Eve, one of the first things that He did was to give them authority over it.
God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule[!] the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.” Genesis 1:28
So, right off the bat, there is authority. And this authority that God gave to Adam and Eve wasn’t to be exercised in a vacuum. Adam and Eve were to rule as those who are in submission to God. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Collect of the Week

Almighty God,
who sent your Holy Spirit to be the life and light of your Church:

Open our hearts to the riches of your grace,
that we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit in love and joy and peace;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Comment on a Lectionary Reading: Matthew 14.22–33

Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” Matthew 14.22–33

                                                 ****

This week I’d like to comment on a sentence that you might have read too quickly and not noticed.
After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray...
So, Jesus went off by Himself to pray. I wonder what He prayed about. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know. Well, the text doesn’t tell us what He prayed about in this situation, but the Bible is pretty clear about what Jesus prayed about at other times. Let’s consider some of them.

Friday, July 31, 2020

A Prayer

Father,

You are the God who has rescued us. You have delivered us from the domain of darkness and the cruel king who rules that domain. Every day that we spent there was a taste of death. And our future, if we remained there, would have been worse.

But You delivered us from that domain and transferred us to a different kingdom, the kingdom of Your beloved Son, Jesus. And now we are subjects of a very different kind of king. He is a good king who loves all those who serve Him. And now, every day is another opportunity to taste more of the life that is His gift. And our future is glorious.

Father, it is obvious to us that we do not deserve any of this. What we deserve is to be left in that other domain. What we deserve is to suffer for time and eternity. But for reasons that will forever mystify us, You have been so very gracious to us. And we give You thanks for that.

We acknowledge that now that we are members of Jesus’ kingdom You have expectations of us. You call us to live worthy of this kingdom and worthy of this King. And that is exactly what we want to do. But our sin gets in the way. So, we ask You, Father, to do whatever is necessary - whatever is necessary - so that we will clearly see our remaining sin and thoroughly hate it so that we will repent of it and pursue instead godly traits of virtue and integrity and character. We know that doing this will not be easy. Dealing with sin will hurt, sometimes greatly. But we want to walk worthy of our Savior. So, we look to You to work in us by Your Spirit so that the change will happen and be obvious.

We know, Father, that You are the God who listens to the prayers of His saints. And that is so encouraging to us when we pray. And while You hear all of our requests, You don’t grant them all. You are too wise and too loving to do that. But we know that the requests that we have made this morning are the kind that will be granted. And so, we look forward to seeing that happen.

As we offer this up to You through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Letters to My Grandchildren: Anxiety

My Dear Grandchildren,

Well, another letter. But I need to warn you. This one is going to be long, and I suspect that it will stretch you a bit. But I have read or been told things that didn’t make much sense to me only to find that later they made a lot of sense. Let’s see if that describes you too.

The topic that I want to write about is anxiety or being worried. And, of course, the place that we’ll start is by offering a definition. Anxiety or worry are just different words for fear. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Stray Thoughts: Jesus' Call to Hate

During my daily Bible reading recently I bumped into something that made me pause and question. Here’s what I read.
If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Luke 14:26
One of the words stood out to me. It was the word ‘hate’. Really? Jesus wants me to hate? And to hate people who are the closest to me? This can’t be right. If I did this wouldn’t I be disobeying some commands from God, like honoring father and mother? But there it is in the Bible.

I think that you can see why I had to stop and think about this.