Aches and Praise Four Hundred & Ninety Nine

April 2, 2021

Dear friends,

In last week’s blog post, I quoted a story by Joseph Stowell about his friend, Bob, collapsing on the sidewalk and three medical technicians rushing to his aid. The lesson from that illustration is that we need to focus on what is most important. Just as the trained workers ignored unimportant matters, such as the state of Bob’s shoes, in order to treat his heart, so too, we need to prioritize our walk with the Lord.

Recently, as I’ve been preparing to host a study for men on Zoom of the gospel of Luke, I’ve been reminded that all that we need in order to live a godly life is contained in God’s Word. In the first chapter of the gospel of Luke, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary in Nazareth. After telling her that the Lord is with her, Gabriel said: “Do not be afraid … you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus … and His kingdom will have no end” (Luke 1:26-33). He concluded his visit by saying: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God … For nothing will be impossible with God” (1:35-37).

For the past year, people around the world have been afraid and many continue to fear that the pandemic will take their health or their life. Sadly, the coronavirus has caused much pain and sorrow. As believers in Almighty God, though, we don’t look at our circumstances the way that others do. As the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Philippi: “… I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:8-11).

As we enter into Easter weekend, may we stop to reflect on the condemnation that resulted in the crucifixion of Jesus and the glorious resurrection from the grave that shouts that salvation is possible for all who turn from their sins and receive Christ as their Saviour and Lord.

Scripture for the weekend: “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (NASB)

Thought for the weekend: “As Christians, we all have our Jonah moments. We sense God’s call and run the other way. Fear, prejudice, a lack of faith, or a school of other excuses hinder us from obeying what we know He wants us to do.

Because He’s committed to helping us grow and bear spiritual fruit, He orders the circumstances of our lives to give us every opportunity to turn back to himself. What looks like punishment might instead be the velvet glove of mercy.

When we return to Him, He’ll again work through us to bless other people. We may not see an entire city come to faith in God like Jonah did, but we can be confident He’ll use us to accomplish His good and perfect will in the lives of those around us.” – Lori Hatcher (from her book “Refresh Your Faith: Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible,” published by Our Daily Bread Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI)


By His grace,