Morning Musing: 1 John 4:15-16

“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God – God remains in him and he in God. And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When I was in college I took a course in logic. I enjoyed most of it, probably because it was an intro course and didn’t delve in too deeply to the subject. If you go much past the surface, the study of logic can quickly begin to look like something out of an advanced calculus course with Ps and Qs and Rs and a variety of other letters and strange symbols and the like. At a basic level, though, it is good to learn how to both recognize and make good arguments. At the very beginning of the class, though, one of the first things you learn are some of the basic laws of logic. These laws appear more places than you might realize, especially in math. Now, I don’t even begin to suggest I understand any of this well enough to try and tell you much about it. But I at least recognize some of them still when I see them. One of these basic laws is called the transitive property. Why am I bringing all of this up today? Because it’s what John uses in his letter here and the implications are worth some attention.

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Morning Musing: John 11:35

“Jesus wept.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I remember being a smart-alecky church kid. Whenever we were asked if we had memorized any Bible verses, there was always one we could cite. Not chapter and verse, mind you, but at least the verse itself. It was this one. It’s easy. Two words. Nine letters. Eleven digital characters in total. Anyone can memorize Bible verses. You’re welcome. But as short and simple as this verse is, there’s a whole lot of truth packed into if we are willing to sit long enough to see it. Let’s talk about it.

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Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 4:14-16

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens – Jesus the Son of God – let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Confession time. Okay, we’ll just make it introspection time. That’s a little easier to do while you’re reading a blog by yourself. Have you ever struggled with a pattern of sin? I’m not talking about a sin you committed once and moved on. I’m talking about something you did once, then a second time, then a third time, and suddenly found yourself locked in a pattern where you kept coming back to it in spite of your best efforts and desires to quit it entirely. I suspect you have. That is, unfortunately, a trait humans of all shapes and sizes share. Even if you don’t accept a generically Christian definition of sin, you have some standard of right and wrong to which you’ve subscribed and which you violate on a consistent basis. How do you manage to break out of that? With grit, grace, no small amount of determination, and the reminder that you’re not alone in your efforts. Let’s talk about it.

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Digging in Deeper: Romans 13:3-4

“For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the one in authority? Do what is good, and you will have its approval. For it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For it is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

While we can debate whether America was founded as a Christian nation as we understand the idea today, one thing that is indisputably true is that it was established on ideals found only in the Christian worldview. Whether they were orthodox believers or not, that worldview was the overwhelming framework of the Founders. In a letter to the Massachusetts Militia written almost exactly 223 years ago (Monday is the actual anniversary), John Adams made a famous remark about the character he believed was necessary to sustain our nation into the future. He said this: “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” It seems of late that our culture is engaged in an experiment to test whether Adams’ observation is true. The results are starting to come in, and they aren’t exactly encouraging. Let’s talk today about where we are as a people and what we can do about it.

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Morning Musing: Matthew 6:14-15

“For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your offenses.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When was the last time someone offended you? Don’t worry about the so-called “snowflakes” on college campuses across the country. Neither am I talking about your seeing something on the news happening in some other part of the country or world that made you angry. I’m talking about just you. When was the last time you were deeply, truly offended by something another person in your social circle did? Have you forgiven the person for that offense? Or, are you holding onto it for one reason or another? Forgiveness is a tough topic to tackle and for a number of reasons. And yet, if you would confess to being a follower of Jesus, it’s one you can’t avoid. Let’s talk this morning about forgiveness and why it matters so much.

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