Sunday, November 30, 2008

Take a firm stand

II Thessalonians 2: 15-17
So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.

I had to read a couple of chapters of II Thessalonians before I found a passage that inspired me to write. Much of the first two chapters contains a greeting and a reminder that Jesus is coming back. Over two thousand years ago the early Christians were looking for Jesus's return. Are we still today? Some days I think we are. I hear people say that we are in the end times, but truthfully, that has been said my entire life. I don't fear the day Jesus comes back like I used to; I'm ready in so many ways to see Jason, Mamma, Daddy, Phyllis, Linda--I have almost as much family in heaven as I do here; however, I know and love people who have not asked Jesus to put a "fresh heart in [them]" like the verse says. We talked about that in my Sunday School class. Jesus exchanges hearts with us. We have this diseased, sinful heart that is hard and holding on to bitterness, jealousy, pride...the list goes on, but Jesus exchanges his pure heart for our disgusting one. We talked about how wonderful it would be if at the moment of salvation, we immediately became Christlike, but we don't. If that were true, everyone in the world would want to be a Christian. God reveals to us slowly over time what things in our lives do not honor Him. It would be too overwhelming if we saw our sin nature clearly all at once, so God is long-suffering, patient and lets us take things one step at a time. My pastor compares it to using a Windows program on a computer. We have to click Next to go to the next step. We sometimes are unwilling to click Next because we aren't sure what God will expect of us, so we just stay on the same page or hit previous and go backward. I appreciate so much a pastor that challenges me to go to the next step because I am still learning, still growing. These are the things that "invigorate [my] work, enliven [my] speech.

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