Our Chief Editor

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 NKJV

Today I have small confession to make. I love to write but I hate to edit! I still remember the editing of Sister Mary Friel in my Child Psychology class. If she found a single error on our daily writing assignment she would give it a big red check mark and return our paper with a provisional F. If we corrected and resubmitted our work by the following class our grade would be redone: if not the failing grade became ours!

This method led me to carefully inspect my work. I checked for spelling errors, footnote placement and grammatical nuance. Seeing the large red slashes across my writing bruised my ego but it trained me to become a better writer.

I love the quote from Hebrew about Jesus being the author and finisher of our faith. However Jesus also wants to become the Senior editor of our hearts. He is waiting for us to submit our plans for final revisions to Him. If this morning we put our plans on His desk, He promises to lovingly correct us and help us turn in an A paper for the day!

Father before I begin this morning, I confess to you my inability to write a single line without your editorial assistance. Help me to be honest with others. Correct my easy tendency to self-serving motivations. Teach me how to use words as a healing balm not a knife of sarcasm that cuts with a smile. Help me to remember that the only article worth publishing today is the Good News of Salvation and hope through the cross. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen

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The Road Ahead

This year has been filled with changes in our lives. Some of the changes have been great and some difficult. The greatest struggle when life starts up a new pathway is that we don’t know what lies ahead. One change for me has been retiring from my small business and taking a part time job in a store. I had been tracking my daily steps over the last year because my wife and I like to see if we are meeting our daily goals when we walk. Since starting at a large store I was astonished that now my step counter often shows me at 150% of my goal. I have to admit that I was pretty impressed with myself until I stopped to wonder what numbers a marathon runner must have not only in their race but in their daily training. In Hebrews the Bible gives guidance for how we are to keep in shape for the race ahead.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1

What kind of race are you running today?

 

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God is a Rewarder – Part One

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And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him  Hebrews 11:6 ESV

Imagine the conversations between Abel and Cain about God. Though Cain was the first-born but he became bitter and distant from God in his heart. The scene could have sounded a bit like this:

Abel: Hey Cain, what’s going on?  You seem really different lately.

Cain: It’s just really hitting home to me that God will never let us go back to where Mom and Dad came from

Abel: Listen, I know how you feel but I just know that God will work things out!

Cain: God! Hah! He doesn’t care a bit about what we do! He’s only concerned that we remember to bring our sacrifice at the end of the harvest.

Abel: You can say what you want Cain, you’re the older brother. But for me, I believe God still has a plan and I’ll do whatever He asks to learn more about it!

This is the first of a three-part series on prayer. The imagined conversation is meant to help us put into perspective that what we believe about God influences everything even before we begin to pray. The author of Hebrews tells us that this faith in who God is precedes any reward we could expect from Him. Cain surely had heard about God from Adam and Eve. He knew about the creation, the gift of Eve to Adam, the dominion given to them and about the garden of Eden. Yet, with the passing of years something changed inside of Cain and he became cold and hardened towards God and towards his brother.

The fact that God rejected Cain’s sacrifice had less to do with the kind of sacrifice that Cain offered and everything to do with the faith that Cain offered it with. Cain had come to God out of requirement and though he offered his first fruits – the best of his harvest, he didn’t offer with the pure faith that his brother Abel had. Something in Cain was already far from God long before his rejection and subsequent jealousy and hatred of Abel. God had lifted up a mirror to Cain and he could not accept the reflection that he saw.

Just believing in God’s existence is not the same as believing in the existence of a good God who cares for us and watches over us. Before you go to pray today, first go to God simply recognizing and resting in His goodness. Go like Abel did, trusting that even though we can not see the solution for our situation, that there is nothing better we could do but to bring our sacrifice of praise to Him!