January 04th, 2020
TITLE: Kick Away
DATE: January 4, 2020
Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed.
TEXT: Romans 8:38 m- ESV - 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
It is 2020. Every year since man's fall into sin, grief has come to humanity. 2020 will be no different.
Grief has come to the mother walking daily to a nearby cemetery where she stands quietly alone a few minutes before going about the tasks of the day, knowing that part of her is in the grave. Grief is the silent, knife-like terror and sadness that comes a hundred times a day to the widower, when he starts to speak to someone who is no longer there. Grief is the emptiness that comes when you eat alone after having eaten with another for many years. Grief is teaching yourself to go to bed without saying good night to the spouse who has gone on ahead. Grief is the helpless wishing that things were different when you know they are not and never will be again. Grief is a whole cluster of adjustments, apprehensions and uncertainties that strike at us as we move into time. And it will come in 2020.
That is why, as we stand only a few days since the New Year’s beginning, it is right that we hear St. Paul say nothing can separate us from the love of God which is ours in Christ Jesus. Jesus Christ, Whose birth we have just celebrated, is God's guarantee that no matter what is thrown at us in 2020, we shall remain in the hands of the loving Lord.
Growing up on the gulf coast of Texas, the little boy spent long hours on the beach, building intricate sand castles. Whole cities would appear beneath his hands. One day, some new kids showed up. One of them held the builder, while the others stomped his sandcastles. After the second or third day, nobody paid much attention to the builder, but they continued to receive considerable pleasure in kicking apart his work.
All that changed, however, on the day he did something different.
Silently he worked, placing cinder blocks and chunks of concrete underneath the base of his castles. Sand on top of concrete. When the local toughs appeared, the builder quickly disappeared watching from a hidden vantage point. The boys kicked, but their toes had met their match against the concrete.
Similarly, Jesus Christ is our concrete block that saves the Christian's life and work from being kicked apart.
In this first week of 2020, with unknown and numerous problems before us, we are able to give thanks. In Jesus, the great bullies of sin, death and Satan, those that have been accustomed to holding us down and destroying anything that we have tried to accomplish have met their match.
As Christians, the Holy Spirit has enabled us to build our lives upon the concrete foundation of Jesus Christ.
These three, sin, death and Satan may kick and try to destroy us, but we are safe. We are confident that they are helpless to destroy any life that is built on the Lord Jesus.
Martin Luther, the great reformer, the man who had been rejected by his church and had to slip into hiding to save his life, was able to write in a Mighty Fortress: "The old evil foe now means deadly woe.... Take they our lives, goods, fame, child and wife, let these all be gone, they yet have nothing won, the kingdom ours remaineth." Luther was not just writing words. He experienced the death of a beloved daughter; he who had stood alone so many times knew nothing could separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Saint Paul said it better than Luther, "I am convinced that nothing, (and then he lists all the difficulties he can think of) nothing can separate us from the love that is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord."
THE PRAYER: Lord, this New Year we have enemies poised to hurt uses. Help us remember that the damage they can do temporary and superficial .Because of Jesus we have been given the ultimate victory. In His holy Name I give thanks. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html
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