THE SCARY THINGS…

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. John 14:1 ESV

These are troubling times, of that there is no doubt. But, couldn’t the same be said of any time in which people have lived? Were not the times that the Apostle Paul lived under a brutal, sadistic dictator troubling? What of the evil slaughter of millions by Adolf Hitler? History is replete with troubling times. Now, enter a new villain to the world stage.

For many of us, the tyrant that threatens life as we know it comes not in the from of a person or group of people, but a tiny virus that has spread across the world. This has caused death and sickness in many forms from the soul outward. People rush to get vaccines (that are not as effective as we had hoped) in an effort to feel safe, only to be left with the same restrictions and fears they had before.

This is not to say that the vaccines don’t help by lessening symptoms and shortening the time it takes to recover. I will take that on face value until proven otherwise. (As a matter of full disclosure, I am fully vaccinated myself on the advice of my doctor). I will not inject politics into this, either. But I would remind people that the real sense of peace and security comes from Christ and not a laboratory.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. –Philippians 4:7 ESV

Recent Events

We very often take things for granted when they are in abundant supply. Sometimes it takes a sudden, drastic change of circumstances to see the value of what we might think we are entitled to.

While such changes can be often painful and frightening, for a child of God they can be beneficial if they cause in us a renewed sense of dependence on our Creator. The Bible is replete with verses to support this position. Take, for instance, Psalm 119:71: My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees. (Psalms 119:71 NLT)

My personal and recent experience with this began on December 17 when I found myself on the way to a large hospital from a smaller one in an attempt to save my life from a serious heart attack. How long had doctors warned me about unmanaged diabetes and the damage it would (not could) do to my heart? Answer: a long time. A cardiac catheterization with placement of two stents, combined with several days in the ICU and main hospital, gave me some time to reflect on [and come to terms with] my need for sincere gratitude to my Sovereign Creator. He saved me when many people would have died from something as severe as I suffered. I know He has His reasons. May I do my part to carry out His will for me as I move forward from here.

Where do I go from here? Where He leads. My outcome is uncertain, but only from my perspective and strictly physically speaking

The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. (Psalms 34:19 NLT) On face value, one can say that this speaks of certainty. What is uncertain is when and in what manner the Lord chooses to rescue us. Sometimes, my plans are not His! The goal is for me to align my will with His.

Hoping you all have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year in service to the LORD!

PRINCE OF PEACE

I wrote this on the last day of my sojourn in Hartford Hospital (Christmas Eve):

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” – Luke 2:14 ESV

Jesus, our Prince of peace, offers a peace unparalleled in human history -not something temporary or contingent on special conditions that are constantly changing or impossible to meet.

Recovering from a serious heart attack that almost cost me my life has been an obviously stressful thing. A week in the hospital can give anybody cause to reflect on their life, thereby doing the “would have, could have” routine and coming up short.

Being here in the cardiac care unit, hoping to be released today on Christmas Eve has opened my eyes to the precious nature of Christmas more than ever.

The Glamor of Sin

Hebrews 3:13 TLB:
Speak to each other about these things every day while there is still time so that none of you will become hardened against God, being blinded by the glamor of sin.

Too often, people regard sinful lifestyles as the way to achieve tangible results that bring some sort of satisfaction. What I have always found in my life is that such “rewards” are short-lived and leave one wanting. I have also found that the things of God are satisfying – both now and forever.

A Change in Perspective

I recently suffered a major heart attack and am recovering, thanks to the efforts of all the medical professionals God has put in my life to steer me back to health. As I have been reminded of numerous times, many who suffer my cardiac malady do not survive. I was supposed to die, if I follow statistics.

Interestingly, the Bible already gave me the diagnosis of death way back in Genesis when the fall of mankind occurred. Christ, on the other hand, has given me life that transcends death (Isaiah 25:8; 2 Timothy 1:10).

The eternity He has put in my heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11) is realized in the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. For that I am eternally grateful.

No further commentary needed.

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. -Philippians 3:7‭-‬9 NLT

The Change Required

And rend your heart and not your garments.”
            Now return to the LORD your God,
            For He is gracious and compassionate,
            Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness,
            And relenting of evil. -Joel 2:13 NASB77

In our hearts as children of the most high God, we know what is required! ❤

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize!

To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us.-Psalm‬ ‭123:1-2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Throughout the Bible we are given examples of how remaining focused and persistent will always be rewarded. Whether it is our Lord telling the story of the woman pleading with the corrupt judge or Paul (in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) reminding us to “pray without ceasing,” examples are everywhere.

Eternally Secure!

And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day.
John 6:39 NLT

It is a wonderful blessing to know that we are secure in Christ. The Bible makes this abundantly clear and the presence of the Holy Spirit affirms this each and every day.