Stand Firm or Not At All

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My Musings – “Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today’s mighty oak is yesterday’s nut that held its ground.” Probably said by Rosa Parks (Rosa Louise McCauley Parks, 1913 – 2005, African American civil rights activist).  Variations of the first part of this quote have been attributed to many different people, with the true origin of the quote unknown.  I think we might be safe in attributing it to Isaiah.

The Biblical definition of faith, is found in Hebrews 11:1:  “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (NIV 1984).” In other words, a firm belief in something for which there is no proof.   Another version states that it is the substance (what’s tangible) of hope (what’s intangible), the evidence (proof) of what cannot be seen (unprovable).  You may end up being called a nut.  But if you don’t stand firm, you’ll never become a might oak.  in fact, if you do not stand firm, you will not stand at all.

My Advice – Don’t just stand for something.  Stand for someone.  Stand for a firm belief in Jesus Christ.  If you do, though you cannot see it, you can be certain that you will never fall.  You’d be nuts not to.

 

 

No Authority Except

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Romans 13:1-2 – “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”  (NIV 1984)

Declaration of Independence – “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”

George Washington – “It is impossible to govern the world without God. It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits and humbly implore his protection and favor.”

Abraham Lincoln – “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”

John F. Kennedy – “With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”

Ronald Reagan – “America was founded by people who believe that God was their rock of safety. I recognize we must be cautious in claiming that God is on our side, but I think it’s all right to keep asking if we’re on His side.”

My Musings – Our country is not perfect.  These men, who rose to become its leaders, were not without their flaws.  But I would like to think that our nation was established and has been favored by God because of its ideals and the shared sentiments of men like these and the citizens they led.  My hope is that it would grow even stronger in these convictions.  My fear is that they are rapidly crumbling.

My Advice – Acknowledge God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overcoming the World

1 John 5:1-5Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.(NIV 1984)

My Musings – In life situations, sometimes having made the trip is more rewarding and satisfying than arriving at the destination.  But when you make the trip with Christ, arriving at the destination will be the ultimate in reward and satisfaction.

Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles one has overcome while trying to succeed. (Booker T. Washington)

My Advice – Don’t let obstacles stop you. They may slow you down as you learn how to overcome them, but do not let them overcome you.  Overcome them.  But do not just overcome the obstacles, overcome the world.   “Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

What Might Have Been Is Possible Again

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Genesis 1:1, 31In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. (NIV 1978)

“Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.” – John Greenleaf Whittier

“Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.” –  Robert Kennedy

“But what would have been the good?” Aslan said nothing. “You mean,” said Lucy rather faintly, “that it would have turned out all right – somehow? But how? Please, Aslan! Am I not to know?” “To know what would have happened, child?” said Aslan. “No. Nobody is ever told that.” “Oh dear,” said Lucy. “But anyone can find out what will happen,” said Aslan. “If you go back to the others now, and wake them up; and tell them you have seen me again; and that you must all get up at once and follow me – what will happen? There is only one way of finding out.” ― C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian

My Musings – “And it was very good.”  That is what God saw then.  What does He see now?  Certainly not the goodness of His original design.  We can look at the ways things are now, and wonder what might have been had Adam and Eve not fallen.  This is not a dream of things that never were, but what could have been.  Why not?  Because of man’s sin.  “Of all the sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, “It still would be good if man had not sinned?”

We are not told what would have happened.  But as Aslan is quoted, “anyone can find out what will happen.”  It is written in the rest of the Book.  There is only one way of finding out  – by following Jesus.  He is the only way.

My Advice – Do not question what might have been. Do not despair about how things have become.  Set your hope on what can yet be, by putting your faith is Jesus.

For Sure & For Certain

Hebrews 11:1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – We hope for things we do not have. But if we have faith we are sure we one day will. We can be certain of things we cannot see, if we have faith. If we have faith, we do not have to see to believe.

My Advice – If your sureness is based upon only what you have, not what you hope for, and only on what you can see, it is not much of a faith. Trust God to fulfill your hopes and give you certainty in the face of uncertainty.

Able to Bear, A Way Out

1 Corinthians 10:13No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so you can stand up under it. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – A key word in this verse that can easily be missed is also. First off God has given us the ability to simply resist temptation. And while we do not need it, He also has given us a backup plan. With every temptation He will provide a way of escape.

My Advice – Do not think that your temptations are special. They are common. Others have escaped them and you can too. God doubly blesses with the ability to resist as well as a means of escape.

Where Has the Time Gone?

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Psalms 39:4-7“Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.  You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath.  Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it. “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” (NIV 1984)

My Musings – An old year is fully spent and a new year has barely begun.  Traditionally, a time of reflection on what has transpired in the past and what the future might hold.  I do not recall when I began to think of time as fleeting.  When I was younger, I rarely had such thoughts.  But now I am at that age, where my own father has passed and my youngest son is beginning to have his own thoughts on “where time goes.”  Maybe I began having those thoughts when my oldest son died before reaching his tenth birthday, and I had my first real taste of how fragile life on this earth really is.  And, as the Apostle Paul said, “if only for this life we have hope…we are to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:9, NIV 1978).”

But our hope is not only for this life.  It is for forever.  For elsewhere Paul wrote, “brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, NIV 1984).”  And what an encouragement it is.

My Advice – Do not “grieve like the rest of men” who see their lives as slipping away, with no hope beyond the grave. Because our hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ who conquered the grave for us.  Rather grieve for those who do not have such hope, and pray that they may find that hope by trusting in Christ before it is too late.