2021 Good Morning Church

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April 22, 2021

Proverbs 16:2  All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord.

I'm fascinated by how a crafty child deals with wrongdoing. First comes surprise: "What broken dish?" Then reigned innocence: "What makes you think I did is?" Maybe, finally, an admission of distant involvement, with the excuse added: "...but it wasn't my fault." It doesn't change. The difference between crafty children and crafty adults is that adults are better at feigning innocence.

It's a wise parent that doesn't get ensnared in the process of excusing but goes right to the obvious issue. That's the way God does it. Like Jesus, our Father rises above slippery defining of terms, reasoned excuses for things clearly wrong, and explanations of the inexplicable. He ignores muddying questions like that of Satan (Genesis 3:1) and Cain (Genesis 4:9). He goes to the heart and reads it accurately.

And what does He do when he isolates the sorry truth about what's in the heart? He calls us to a confessing that leads to forgiveness, which was earned for us by the Savior and offered by the Spirit.

April 21, 2021

Proverbs 15:7  The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.

What happens when someone doesn't guard their heart as Proverbs 4:23 advises? That heart can become the heart of a fool. There's no way to hide it when it happens. That inside reality spills out over their lips. Their talk tells.

One of God's great commandments tells us that we should not bear false witness against our neighbors. But, of course! At the very least! Who but a fool would lie about his neighbor, not realizing that truth will always finally have its day. Until the public exposure happens, lying makes that neighbor angry and, in turn, the liar's life difficult.

Martin Luther knew there was more to proper speaking than repressing lies. Using the tongue properly includes defending our neighbor, speaking well of her or him, and putting the best construction on everything our neighbor says and does. Not only is that right and proper, but it builds good relationships. Wise people know that. Fools don't. Let your words witness to the world which you are.

April 20, 2021

In Old Testament times, God had a unique ceremony by which he would show his choice of a spiritual leader and then invest that leader with special gifts of the Spirit to fit him for his work. Prophets like Elisha, the kings, and a new high priest were to be anointed. A specially mixed ceremonial oil was splashed on their heads in front of an audience so that all would know the Lord’s choice.

All those leader types, however, were only placeholders for the great Anointed One (in Old Testament Hebrew: Meshiach or Messiah, in New Testament Greek: Christós) who was to come. This future hero would bring security, prosperity, and righteousness to the nation and to the whole world. It would be the Israelites’ great gift to all people, the very fulfillment of their national identity.

A woman drawing water at a well in the town of Sychar was stunned one day to realize that she was speaking with none other than this long-awaited Prophet-Priest-King: “The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah’ (called Christ) ‘is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you—I am he’” (John 4:25,26).

Jesus’ anointing was not with oil but with the water of the Jordan River (see Matthew chapter 3). His anointer, John the Baptist, identified his holy mission: to take away the sin of the world.

April 19, 2021

Proverbs 9:10  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Power tools are a blessing, but they can do great damage in the blink of an eye. Electric saws nip fingers as easily as they chew through heavy timbers. Can anything make power tools safe? Safer, maybe. Knowledge and understanding can do that. The more we know about the tools, the safer we are. Knowledge helps intelligent users get the most from a lawn mower, a motorcycle, or a power drill - safely.

What's true about power tools is truer about the source of all power: the Lord God Almighty. He cares for all and protects those who follow Him by faith. At the same time He abandons impenitent sinners to their own darkened ignorance and the consequence that follows when we misunderstand great forces.

We see all this in the protection from sin and Satan we have in Christ's redeeming work, as well as the energy for godly living that comes from Him. With the psalmist we can proclaim: "Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise" (Psalm 145:3).

April 15, 2021

Proverbs 3:5  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

Are you giving your "all" to God, and through Him, to others?

As a worker and parent, are you more committed to your job than you are to your family? Or do you give your family your total dedication also?

Are you a student? Did you study as hard as you could for that test, or just enough to "get by"?

Do you reach out to other people who really need your help or is "my schedule" more important?

Are you giving your "all" in your life for Christ? Are you living for self or for God?

It is only in fully giving our "I" into the hands of God that we can give Him our "all." As Martin Luther said: "The recognition of sin is the beginning of salvation." Charlie Brown would say: "The theological implications of this are staggering." We are "saved by grace through faith alone." And this is not an act we perform to be justified before God, but it is "God at work" in us.

Scripture says our Lord gave us His all. Christ died for our sins and rose again. And everything we are and have comes from God. So whatever we "give" Him belonged to Him in the first place. Therefore we sing:

     We give You but Your own

     In any gifts we bring;

     All that we have is Yours alone,

     A trust from You, our King.

April 14, 2021

Psalm 147:1  Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him!

Once there was a man, a fine singer, who learned he had cancer of the tongue, and surgery was required. Just before the operation, the man asked the doctor, "Are you sure I will never sing again?" The surgeon found it difficult to answer the man. He simply shook his head no.

The patient then asked if he could sit up for a moment. "I've had many good times singing the praises of God, and now you tell me I can never sing again. I have one song that will be my last."

There in the presence of his doctors, nurses, and most of all, his gracious Lord, he boldly sang the common doxology: "Praise God from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen."

In response to all that God has done, is doing, and will do for us into eternity, we joyfully praise Him. To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, we lift our voices in our songs of adoration and praise, knowing that He hears us and continues to shower His abundant blessings upon us.

April 13, 2021

Psalm 139:1-3  O Lord, You have searched me and You know me.......You are familiar with all my ways.

Do you enjoy the fact that people know you? For one entire semester in high school, a teacher called me by the wrong name. How embarrassing! Even though it bothered me, I didn't have the courage to confront him.

Most of us enjoy being known. It has been said that "to know is to care." Our family and best friends know the most about us here on earth. Yet God assures us that He knows us perfectly. He even knows you better than you know yourself! God knows our mistakes, our shortcomings, and our petty sins that we try to hide. He knows how we stray away from Him and His will for our lives.

Remarkably, even though God knows us perfectly, He still loves us! He covers our sins with His mercy through our Savior, Jesus Christ, and assures us that He provides for all our needs.

As our all-knowing and caring Father, He has our best interests at heart. We can trust Him to know that even when events and circumstances seem contrary to His good plans, God knows and cares! By His grace, we admit our sins, and look to Him for forgiveness and strength.