We are a Blessed People February 21, 2014

 I was thinking this week about what a blessed people we are.

Often it is easy to think of all the problems we have and issues we are trying to work through. For example, I don’t really like Windows 8 at all and I’m not used to it.  I think it tries to do too much and make too many decisions for me. It also puts too much junk on my computer and I have less control—but what that also means is that I have a relatively new computer since Windows 8 is on it. The fact that new technology frustrates me also points out that I have new technology available to me!

I have things I need to fix at the house: there are dishes to wash, messes to clean up, and grass that really needs to be mowed. Of course what that means is—that I have a house, I have food, and it has rained enough for things to grow. I have a van to get smogged and registered—that means I own a van. There are issues with kids and siblings, plans and futures—but that means we have kids and they have futures. Right now I am sore from working out and trying to get in shape and lose some weight—that means that I still have good enough health to walk and run and I have plenty of food in my life.

It is easy to get frustrated about issues, about people, about plans and ideas. I am finding that if I stop and reflect on the things that I consider to be problems, they typically reflect what a blessed person I am.

When we get frustrated with the details of life, let us remind ourselves that we are blessed enough to be frustrated by them!

On Setting our Hearts on Jesus’s Return February 12, 2014

In 2 Timothy 4.7, 8 we read, “I have fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. At last the champion’s wreath that is awarded for righteousness is waiting for me. The Lord, who is the righteous judge, is going to give it to me on that day. He’s giving it not only to me but also to all those who have set their heart on waiting for his appearance.” Paul is able to make a positive statement at the end of his life that he had completed the work that God had for him. He is looking forward to a champion’s wreath.

He goes on to state that this wreath is will not only be given to him to all “who have set their heart on waiting for his appearance.” Several translations state to all who have loved his appearance. The idea is that this something they are eagerly looking forward to and they have set their affection on Jesus’s coming. What does that mean? Does that mean that those who sell everything and go sit on a mountain top longing for his coming are the ones who gain this wreath? It can’t mean that for the apostle Paul never did that in his lifetime.

To love something or to have our heart set on something means that we are constantly looking forward to it, that we are continually evaluating our actions in light of it, that it is ever on the forefront of our thinking.  Basically, that we orient our life around Jesus’s coming.As we set our hearts on the coming of Jesus Christ there is a purifying effect that it has on our lives. There is a champion’s wreath awarded for righteousness that awaits us (see also 1 John 3.1-3).

– Pastor Stephen