No one knows exactly how we feel when we lose a loved one or good friend to death, but we are mindful that others have also experienced the loss of a loved one. The experience of one such person is recorded in the Bible in the book of Job. Job had it all, he had ten children, fields of livestock, an abundance of land, a houseful of servants, and a substantial stack of cash. And then, without warning, like an avalanche, adversity struck. He lost his livestock, crops, land, servants, and all ten of his children. Soon after this, he lost the last human sign of hope, his own health. Job experienced a sea of pain and suffering and chronicled his experience of intense inner suffering. It was in the midst of his pain he made a profound statement of faith recorded in Job Chapter 19:25-27 - I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes - I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! During uncertain and difficult times, we need to remember God’s promises, God’s presence, God’s protection, and God’s ultimate provision.
I am sure we all remember where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news on 9/11/2001. We know what happened 19 years ago. We know what has happened in the years since, but what about tomorrow and the years to come? In light of this tragic event and others what would God want to say to us? What would He want us to do in response? Hopefully, we have developed a better perspective on life since 9/11. Here are some things we should all remember: 1. We must not forget that people are more important than our careers and our possessions. 2. We must not forget the value of sacrificial living. 3. We must never forget our Lord Jesus.
We also will never forget the New York City firefighters and first responders who responded to the call on September 11. They went into the World Trade Center to rescue lives. As people were rushing down the stairs to get out of the burning tower, firemen were seen climbing up the stairs. 9-11 gave us a clear picture of what sacrifice looks like. Police officers, firefighters, medical emergency folks and soldiers are our heroes. But they aren’t the only ones. Thousands of people gave sacrificially in response to the crisis. Many rescue workers labored days on end in an effort to locate survivors. People from all walks of life volunteered their services in whatever way possible because they wanted to help. We need to follow the examples we’ve seen in people who have sacrificed time, money, and even their lives to serve others. Remember, our hero Jesus and His sacrifice for us so we can have an amazing future regardless of what happens here.
I have seen signs dotted all over our landscape wherever men were working building buildings or repairing roads like, “CAUTION: MEN AT WORK.” From the first chapter of the Holy Scripture it is clear GOD WORKS. It was God who created and gave harmony to the world according to Genesis Chapter One. When God spoke, things took shape. The story of the Exodus magnifies God’s mighty power and shows there is no one like Him. Egypt had a host of so-called “gods,” but Creator God stands alone. The demonstration of God’s power to produce chaos in the land of Egypt and then restore things to order demonstrates the Almighty’s power.
I am so thankful for the many different ways God is working in our fellowship. We should rejoice in the fact GOD IS AT WORK. We as a church family are so blessed to put the Lord on in baptism and start walking in the light of God’s grace (1 John 1:7). The spiritual enemy who wars against God and His people is always trying to convince us God is not at work and He doesn’t care about us. These are foolish positions to take, but Satan has been somewhat successful with some people. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Hebrews 7:25 - Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.
1 Timothy 1:13-14, Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. As believers we must never lose sight of the fact that we do not deserve mercy (Ephesians 2:1-5). The Apostle Paul plainly admitted he was no better than anyone else. In fact, he called himself the “chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).
Paul’s life had been touched by mercy and grace, both of which he did not deserve, nor do we. This truth alone, gives us a foundational reason to show mercy and be gracious. Jesus said, Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy (Matthew 5:7). Grace and mercy are often linked together in the scriptures and when they are peace is always nearby. Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father's Son, will be with us in truth and love (2 John 1:3). The Christian life is not about judging, condemning, and looking down on others. It is about loving others and following a God who is willing to extend grace and mercy to people who do not deserve it. His mercy towards us requires something of us. Micah 6:8b, And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
When I was a young boy I played as much baseball as possible. All my friends played baseball because it was fun and cheap entertainment. All you needed to play was a glove, a ball and a bat. We could make or find something that could be designated as bases. I also watched a lot of baseball on television in those days. Lou Brock was one player that especially fascinated me because he was so fast at running the bases. Lou Brock’s name became synonymous with stealing bases. He had stealing bases down to a science. Pitchers were always trying to pick Lou off base because he would take such large leads prior to stealing the base. You may know that the pitcher out of the corner of his eye, tries to see how far the runner is off of the base. He is especially looking to see which way the runner is leaning. The key for the pitcher to pick off a base runner is to throw to the base when the runner is leaning in the opposite direction. That is similar to the way Satan tries to get at us. Let us be careful which way we are leaning. There are only two ways to lean, we are either leaning towards the world or toward Jesus. When we have our spiritual armor in place, we are not simply leaning on Jesus we are standing with Jesus and His Word.