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Friday, February 26, 2021

Cultivate in Me the Fruits of the Spirit

The fruits of a Christian who is firmly grounded in God's truth include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5). The founder of this blog, Ed Lundwall (US Army Chaplain, retired) elaborates on this. He lists:

1. Respect for authority

2. Truthfulness

3. Concern for the spiritually lost

4. Faithfulness in small things

5. Recognition of Jesus Christ's authority in all things.  

6. Living a lifestyle that is consistent with the biblical worldview 

In this season of Lent, may the Holy Spirit cultivate these fruits in us to a greater degree.

Related reading: Divine Authority;  A Discipling Church Speaks TruthThe Goal of Discipleship

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Be Salt, Light Where You Are!

A few of my childhood friends dreamed of being missionaries in exotic places. This was held up during the church's Missions Week as the ideal Christian service, one that reveals a deep commitment to the Gospel. In reality, God wants us to serve where we are, and He enables us to be fruitful in the ground in which we are planted. He equips the saints for ministry through the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 5:13-14 describes the faithful disciples as the "salt of the earth" and the "light of the world" which means that living faithfully in one's locale has effects well beyond one's location. The terms "earth" and "world" speak of a vastly greater influence than we can imagine.

Today, be salt.

Today, be light.

Today, be a missionary where you live and work.

Ruth Graham gave up her dream of being a missionary to Tibet in order to marry Billy. God used her instead to lend support to her husband. 

Billy and Ruth were married August 13, 1943. They worked as a team to share the Gospel worldwide. At Ruth's memorial service her husband said, "Ruth was my life partner, and we were called by God as a team... No one else could have borne the load that she carried. She was a vital and integral part of our ministry, and my work through the years would have been impossible without her encouragement and support."

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Mindful of Mortality


"Remember that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return!"

People who remain mindful of their mortality live differently. Some may dwell on death too much and become morose and fatalistic. That seems to have been a common condition during outbreaks of the Plague in the Middle Ages. In these days of COVID-19 there is no doubt that the threat of death has many depressed. Some are grieving the loss of loved ones.

Being mindful of death expresses itself in different ways. We may decide to fill our days with as many positive experiences as possible. We may be inspired to pray and seek a closer relationship to God. We may toss all caution to the wind and live recklessly. Regardless of how we react, we have no certainty about the hour of our death. We live in the ever-present shadow of death as best we can.

Writing to the Christians in Phillipi, the Apostle Paul explained how he chose to live with death:

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if to live in the flesh,—if this shall bring fruit from my work, then what I shall choose I know not. But I am in a strait betwixt the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ; for it is very far better: yet to abide in the flesh is more needful for your sake. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide, yea, and abide with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith; that your glorying may abound in Christ Jesus in me through my presence with you again.  (Phil 1:21-26)

Paul lived in the glorious hope of being with Christ and of one day receiving a resurrection body. He did not know what his future held, but he knew that death was not the end. He understood that his days were numbered and he was determined to make the most of them.

The anthropoloigst Loren Eiseley lived from 1907 to 1977. He died at age 70. He did not reach the age his father hoped for him. In his book The Invisible Pyramid, Eiseley recalls watching Halley's Comet soar through the night sky with his father. He wrote:

In the year 1910 Halley's Comet - the comet that among many visitations had flared in 1066 over the Norman invasion of England - was again brightening the night skies of earth. "Menace of he Skies," skrieked the more lurid newspapers.

Like hundreds of other little boys of the new century, I was held up in my father's arms under the cottonwoods of a cold and leafless spring to see the hurtling emissary of the void. My father told me something then that is one of my earliest and most cherished memories.
"If you live to be an old man," he said carefully, fixing my eyes on the midnight spectacle, "you will see it again. It will be back in seventy-five years. Remember," he whispered in my ear, "I will be gone, but you will see it. All that time it will be traveling in the dark, but somewhere, far out there" - he swept a hand toward the blue horizon of the plains - "it will turn back. It is running glittering through millions of miles."

I tightened my hold on my father's neck and stared uncompreheningly at the heavens. Once more he spoke against my ear and for us two alone. "Remember, all you have to do is be careful and wait. You will be seventy-eight or seventy-nine years old. I think you will live to see it - for me," he whispered a little sadly with the foreknowledge that was part of his nature.


As Eiseley aged, he never forgot this moment with his father. He had promised "Yes, Papa" with "the generosity of childhood, not knowing the chances that men face in life." After a visit to his doctor, and "breathing like a tired runner," Eiseley contacted an astronomer friend to ask where on the homeward track the Comet might be. He was told that he was too young to see it. Loren Eiseley died 9 years before Halley's Comet returned. He was not able to keep his promise.

Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom (Psalm 90:12)

Related reading: Faith Facing Death; Why Ash Wednesday?; INDEX of Topics at this blog