Never Weary

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August 30, 2017

 Never Weary

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Galatians 6:9–10

Ever so often, and too often, we face the kind of widespread tragedy that we witness now from a distance on the Texas coast. The trouble is varied, from blown-down houses, lack of infrastructure, floods, rain, lack of necessities to the intangible but very real problems of weariness, worry, sadness, loss, and despair.  The sustained length in time of all the above is unusual and especially tiring this time.

At first, the survival mode keeps everyone moving because they have no choice. Yet, that can only be sustained for so long. The sheer weariness of body, mind, and spirit, starts to sap the strength. People eventually require a time-out and rest.  The rescued find that in shelters where they can. The rescuers do not. They keep going. But they too must rest at some point.

That’s why it takes all hands to hold, to lift, and to strengthen the worried and wearied. God always seems to grant supernatural strength and endurance to hurricane heroes who never seem to grow tired of doing good, even when they are exhausted. We praise God for them, and we pray to God for them. So then, lift up also the rescuers in prayer, as you pray for your family and friends who are among the millions of others also in need of God’s sustained grace.

For those whose lives have been devastated by the floods and winds of Harvey, let us not be weary in doing good either.  The first responders are doing a remarkable work of God. We can be second and third, and perpetual responders for the long term needs that will still be there years from now.

To never weary in doing good is but to follow the example of our Lord’s work in rescuing us from the unthinkable disaster of eternal death.  Jesus did not grow tired as he ministered the love of God in His life and in His death. We love because he first loved us, and as He loved us.

For strength we pray that we may strengthen others.

Pastor Tom Konz

Pastor Tom Konz

 

P. S. That we may render aide “especially to those who are of the household of faith” consider donating at http://txlcms.org/how-can-i-help-hurricane-harvey/ .

Other aide can also be given at helpsalvationarmy.org. or redcross.org. or any number of other ways.

A Forgotten Cause of Conflict

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August 23, 2017

A Forgotten Cause of Conflict

A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. Proverbs 14:30

The song “Satisfied Mind” includes this verse: “The wealthiest person is a pauper at times compared to the man with a satisfied mind.”  Envy, on the other hand, brings a poverty of the spirit. Often disguised as ambition and a motive for hard work, envy is a disease of the soul that “makes the bones rot.”  It disrupts our tranquility and tempts us to compromise our values and violate our conscience.

Scripture shows that it is a cause of conflict. It was out of envy that the Jews handed Jesus over to Pilate.  Envy of the wicked who seem to go unpunished tempts us to join them.  The desire to acquire money by any means has led many to abandon their morality, betray their neighbor and neglect their families. It gives birth to worry and faithlessness when we compare our finances, health, beauty, strength, assets, popularity, etc. to those of others.  Envy creates a false standard for success based on comparison rather than on contentment with God’s gifts.

On a societal level, it causes much strife, unrest, and violence.  It can work into the human heart so much anger and bitterness that people lose their minds and behave in unreasonable ways.  One author even pointed out that for him it was a major factor in the confusion about his gender identity and behavior.   It is the opposite of love and faith.

Have you lost peace, sleep, contentment, and faith because of envy? The cure is the peace of God that the world cannot give, which is beyond our understanding. Paul invites us to bring all our needs in prayer to God through Christ Jesus, with thanksgiving, so that we may know that peace. (Phil.4) Faith that operates in such a prayer brings contentment. It trusts God that we do not need to fret when the wicked prosper, or feel that God has abandoned us because we don’t have it as good as others. Contentment, a “satisfied mind”, is the greatest wealth we can have.

Jesus empowers us to be satisfied because He has filled our greatest need: acceptance by God. His death and resurrection brought peace between the human race and the divine Judge. He answered the underlying fear of death and abandonment that creates such strife in our soul and pushes us to want and fight for more.  There is no peace possible until that peace comes from God through Jesus Christ.  When we can say with the hymn writer, “It is well with my soul” envy will vanish.

May it be well with your soul and may you have the gift of a satisfied mind.

Pastor Tom Konz

Pastor Tom Konz

 

 

You Are Special!

Psalm 139

August 16, 2017

You Are Special!

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

This week’s title can be interpreted in unhealthy ways.  First, I could think, “If I am special, I am beyond criticism or correction. I am to be catered to.”  That is the response of immature people of any age.   Secondly, one’s inflated ego might boast, “I can do and be anything I want.”  That vain view lacks the wisdom of knowing that we are born with some gifts to do certain things well, but not all gifts.   We are not so special that we can live independent of others or of God’s constant care and guidance.

On the positive side, that we are special is a much-needed antidote to the prevailing social disease of groupthink and identity politics.  Society likes to invent categories of people by age, race, gender, and political party. By doing so it reduces us to a set of expectations about how we are to act or vote.  Marketing experts and politicos use groupthink to steer us to their way of thinking or product, but it tempts us not to see ourselves as individuals with our own set of opinions and values.  We project upon one another stereotypes that hide the uniqueness of the individual.  Consequently, we don’t really know people, and that makes it hard to love them as they need to be loved.  This is true not only in broad circles of society but also in the intimacy of marriage.

This is especially dangerous to our salvation when we fail to see how special God Himself is.  It is the height of hubris for us mortals to subject the Immortal to categories limited by our own small minds. The result is that we make Him to be what our experience or desire interpret Him to be: loving, but not challenging; or judgmental, but not merciful; or any shades in between.  Our source of revelation concerning God’s character is God Himself.  Speaking through the prophet Jeremiah he declares, “Am I only a God nearby,” declares the LORD, “and not a God far away?” (23:23)  In Christ’s death and resurrection, God the Father reveals Himself as Holy, taking sin seriously enough to  punish it with death. Yet He is also Merciful, loving us so much that He took that punishment upon Himself.

Yes, made in the image of God, you are special. Christ died for you. In Christ, we see that uniqueness not as a reason for pride, but as a reason for gratitude and personal commitment to employ the special grace and gifts of God to the service of others.

Go in God’s peace,

Pastor Tom Konz

Pastor Tom Konz