Here’s a sermon waiting to happen.
There are times when we question this truth. We speak the word. The effort seems vain. It appears useless. But God “knows the end from the beginning,” Isaiah 46:10. His word will achieve what He sent it to do. We have no reason to be discouraged.
In Plow New Ground, this is Ed Mathews’s last paragraph, not counting the prayer, in his last devotional based on Isa 55.11. It has been a blessing to read this year. I recommend it.
How to separate your work in the kingdom from expected immediate results?
#1. It should cause no little thought that the first sin registered in the early church revolved around money.
#2. Good progress today on an old project. Feels good. Working on material about conversion and the Lord’s supper.
#3. Lunch today at Anchieta with the Missus, after a quite productive morning. Did somebody say nap?
#4. An American friend who works with Embraer said today he’ll be here for a week working with the company. Usually comes a day early to be with the church.
#5. Did I show you the link to the latest new item for the office?
#6. An original verse: Courage! Speak the truth! Act for justice! / Jettison all unrighteousness and malice.
#7. A Bible verse: “Do not make friends with an angry person, and do not associate with a wrathful person, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare” Prov 22.24-25.
The steps for getting there are equally clear. The tempter must be resisted, Ephesians 4:26,27; 6:11; I Peter 5:8,9. Sin must be abandoned, laid aside, and left alone, John 8:11b. And, above all, being with God must become a commitment, an obsession, a lifelong quest, Psalms 73:28; Hebrews 10:19-22.
This is our goal, to draw near to God. Ed Mathews’s devotional describes it beautifully, with Jas 4.8 as base text today.
#1. It’s a glib and often ignorant remark to say a deceased person is in a better place.
#2. I have salvation today, so anything else is small potatoes.
#3. Expectations are a dangerous thing and can turn into deadly weapons.
#4. Christmas Eve storm knocked out power. Christmas day spent without water. Day after, toilet had to be fixed. Merry!
#5. Missionaries sometimes spend the last weeks of the year wondering if they’re going to get a notice from supporters of terminated support.
#6. An original verse: Fire and water spill upon the earth, / Destroy the fragile human’s sovereign myth.
#7. A Bible verse: “Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest-ready fields” Mt 9.38.
God bless you all — every one.
Your life be open to fully receive.
Make choices on the side of joy.
Accept what is, find peace in place.
For your enjoyment:
“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” —Jane Austen
Except when you need to get out for a change of scenery. Just now and again.
Thus, I am an atheist living in a unique society that was built on strong moral values that find their roots, at least in part, in religious convictions that I do not share in their detail. I should be very careful, however, to not lose sight of the fact that I am reaping what I did not sow. I should have more faith in those who already have faith. I am now a cognitive dissident. And with that, my work here is done. You’re welcome.
Isaiah 7.9 is the main text for today’s devotional.
The way of doubt. King Ahaz hesitated. He was overwhelmed by his predicament. When Isaiah prompted him “to ask the Lord…for a sign,” Ahaz refused, Isaiah 7:11,12. Doubt dooms the doubter. It kept the people of God out of the Promised Land, Hebrews 3:16-19. It is the cleverest ploy of the devil, Genesis 3:1. A lack of faith is like a fox in a chicken coop worrying about having enough to eat. The Lord expects more from us than that, Isaiah 7:9b; James 1:5-8.
Focus question: What situations cause us to feel overwhelmed and begin doubting?