3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
As Christmas comes – rejoicing is something we should practice. Rejoicing at Christmas Time is very important – because it is a season for rejoicing.
The scriptures are filled with passages about rejoicing. I sense a need to remind us – our congregation and our readers – of the need to rejoice in the Lord. At times life can pile up on us and we need to release and rejoice. We need to rejoice in all seasons of life. God is good – all the time – and all the time – God is good!
Has the unexpected ever happened in your life? I bet the answer is yes. The unexpected – by definition – would be when something happens when we least expect it. Like a baseball pitcher who can throw a curve ball in a fastball count – catching the batter off guard (sorry but I can’t wait for baseball season).
We try to be prepared for every contingency in life – but some times we are caught off guard. I just celebrated the life of a seemingly healthy 47 year-old who suddenly died. It caught his family completely by surprise.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
When I was younger – and I officiated baseball games – in some of the leagues where I worked there was something called a mercy rule. Sometimes it was called a slaughter rule. Either way it went like this – if a team ever got ahead of another team by 10-15 runs – (depending on the league) – the game was called to show mercy to the team being beaten so badly. In some leagues it didn’t matter how many innings had been played and I remember the mercy rule being applied in the bottom of the first inning. Mercy – defined on an online dictionary is compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.
In the Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology – Mercy is a concept integral to an understanding of God’s dealings with humankind. In English translations of the Bible, it comes to expression in phrases such as “to be merciful, ” “to have mercy on, ” or “to show mercy toward.” The corresponding term, “merciful, ” describes a quality of God and one that God requires of his people. The noun denotes compassion and love, not just feelings or emotions, as expressed in tangible ways. Continue reading
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
I found the cartoon I am using in this devotional thought on the Internet and thought it was cute and yet pointed as well. When I was younger our family life centered around church life. Now grant you my father was a pastor – but knowing mom and dad – even if they had other careers – our life would have centered around church life.
Between school and church – there wasn’t much time for anything else. Sunday was a full day of church – worship – Sunday School – family lunch – naps – youth group – and church again. Wednesday night was church again and throughout the week we were at the church one or two other nights for something. I played sports growing up but the coach knew that I couldn’t practice or play on a night I had church (he worked around it – and I was a starter in basketball and baseball).
Nowadays church is an afterthought for some families. It seems like – if there is nothing else to do I’ll go to church in some cases. Granted stores use to be closed – restaurants too. Community sports were not played on Sundays. Sunday was universally a day of worship and rest. The society just understood that things slowed on Sundays. Today some in the church are following the society’s view that Sunday is just another day. Continue reading
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
At just the right time! I’ve been working on my golf swing lately – when time allows. I’m convinced I can play better than I have been playing. Golf is hard – but not as hard as I’ve been making it the last few years. I’ve gone from stiff shafts to regular shafts (by the way – I have a nice set of stiff shafted clubs – Ping G15’s – for sale). What I’m finding out – and I knew this before but was too pig-headed to accept – is in a golf swing – it is not about power – but it is all about timing – hitting the ball at just the right time.
At just the right time! Have you ever been in the right place at just the right time? Like the time you crossed paths with someone you hadn’t seen in years at Sam’s Club or the Mall? Like the time you narrowly escaped an accident because you stopped your vehicle at just the right time? Like the time you were the last person in line to register for a class that was filled up after you registered. At times – it simply works out or doesn’t work out – barely – at just the right time. Continue reading
I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
When I was growing up – learning to play baseball – I was told many times – hitting or catching – to keep my eyes on the ball. Watch the ball all the way to the glove or to the bat! Keep your eyes on the ball was a common phrase. In many sports – keeping your eye on the ball or the goal is important.
When I was growing up – setting goals for my life – I was often told to – keep my eye on the goal. When it took me five years to get through four years of college (working my way through school – paying my way as I went – working several jobs) – I was reminded by my dad to keep my eyes on the goal of graduating.
When I was growing up – I often had to look down the road at goals I had set – to keep focused. I imagine I am not alone. I imagine that many of us set goals and aimed at them in life. Continue reading