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Sunday, January 23, 2022

When God Calls

“There’s no place like home” comes to mind when I read Psalm 71. Here, God is called our “refuge”, he is our “rock” and our “fortress” – how comforting to know that in Him we have protection, peace, and safety from all who seek to do us harm! Here God is said to “recue me” and to “deliver me” and to “save me”. In Him we have “confidence” enough that He should be “relied on”.

“There’s no place like home” for many is a sentiment that rings true of peace, comfort, and fond memories. The home should be a refuge, a place where we can get away from the stresses of life, and a place where families can reconnect and enjoy one another’s company.

“There’s no place like home” probably doesn’t conjure the same feelings in each of us. Sometimes, home is stressful, home has problems, sometimes home doesn’t bring us peace or fond memories. We live in a fallen and broken world full of broken people, sinful choices, mistakes, and imperfection. Mentioning “home” for some may come off as insensitive, uncaring, or ignorant.

However, there is another home, our true home, that promises us a “peace that passes understanding” (Phil. 4:7), “comfort in our troubles” (2 Cor. 1:4), and hope for a future when “God will wipe away every tear” (Rev. 7:17). The children of God are promised a place with our Heavenly Father in John 14 when Jesus tells his disciples: “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:2-4).

In this world, we have trouble (John 16:33), but only for a time. One day, “The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thes. 4:16). On that day, those in Christ will have a new home and can truly say, “There’s no place like home.”

Saturday, January 1, 2022

To the angel of the church in Philadelphia

A lot of people take time for reflection in the New Year. It’s a good time to look back at what you wanted to get done, get started, or stop doing and see how that compares with today and tomorrow. Reflection can reveal to us how we’ve slipped back into old habits that we needed to break away from or that we’ve started a new habit we might need to reconsider. Whatever the case may be, let’s always be sure that the standard we use is not judging one another in his or her faithfulness, but is instead comparing our own lives to the standards set by the law of Christ.

For Christians, we don’t need to wait for the New Year for this kind of reflection. Each week, we gather together in the name of God to worship through the offering up of our praises in prayer and in song. We worship through giving and we worship through our time in communion.

This communion, or Lord ’s Supper, is a time that requires reflection. Paul writes to the church in Corinth to remind them of this need. He says that when they would take of the supper “without discerning the body” that they would be found in judgment “against themselves.” (1 Cor 11:29). This is what he means when he says it’s possible to take the supper in an “unworthy manner” -- it’s a manner without thought, without reflection, without discerning the body of believers or the body of Christ (1 Cor 11:27).

So when I worship in communion, Lord help me to discern Christ and His character. His capacity for love & compassion should inspire me to put the needs of others before my own. His capacity for service and devotion should inspire me to find new people to share the Gospel with and in new ways. His humility and submission to the will of the Father should humble me, and allow me to see ways I still need to be conformed into the image of God.