Another Dose of Spiritual Antiviral Medication

Here's Lon's dose of spiritual antiviral medication for today.

Reach Out for Jesus

Here's Lon's second lesson on "Fear and the Church" from the storm on Lake Gennesaret in Matthew 14. The first was, "Don't Be Afraid to Leave the Boat." This one reminds us that when the storms of life swirl around us, and they will, the first thing we need to do is "Reach Out for Jesus."

Don't Be Afraid to Leave the Boat

As we navigate this Covid-19 crisis together, here's a lesson from Lon on "Fear and the Church" using the storm on Lake Gennesaret in Matthew 14 for comparison.  Although Peter lost his faith and focus on Jesus afterwards, he was the only disciple brave enough to climb out of the boat.  This current crisis may call for us to "leave the boat," especially when it comes to caring for our neighbors.

With God, Less Can Be More

LonLESS + GOD = MORE (MUCH MORE)

The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men.  I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has
saved me.’”  Now announce to the army, “Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.”  So, 22,000 men left, while 10,000
remained.  Judges 7:2-3

Gideon was the weakest member of the weakest clan of the weakest tribe in Israel.  Actually, they were farmers, not fighters.  Even so, he had no problem rallying people to the cause of taking back their land from the Midianites.  In fact, it didn’t take Gideon long at all to enlist 32,000 men.

Concerned that there were too many soldiers, God told Gideon to whittle down his army.  Obedient to the Lord, Gideon first gave all the men who were fearful about fighting the Midianites permission to leave.  With that permission, 22,000 of the 32,000 walked away.  Down to just 10,000 now, God gave another strange instruction to Gideon, “Take the remaining soldiers down to the river, to allow them to drink the water.  Any of them who lay down their weapons and cup their hands to drink (like gentlemen) will be disqualified.  But those who lap up the water like dogs will stay and fight (good soldiers never abandon their swords).”

Read more: With God, Less Can Be More

Everlasting Love

“I will always love you”  Jeremiah 31:3

I can’t think of a promise that gives me more confidence and comfort than this one from Jeremiah, especially considering the setting of Jeremiah’s day.  He was called by God to warn Judah of God’s judgment after years and years of idolatry and rebellion.  Jeremiah had one of the most difficult ministries of any prophet and was known as the “weeping prophet” because of his laments over the sinfulness and destruction of a nation once blessed by God.  And yet, in the midst of his warning, Jeremiah was reminded of the heart of God for His people – God’s everlasting, never-failing love!  Despite our sin and failures, we can be assured, too, of God’s great promise, “I will always love you!”

Centuries after Jeremiah, through a rhetorical question, Paul described the inseparable love of God, “Can anything separate us from the love of Christ?  Can trouble, suffering, and hard times, or hunger and nakedness, or danger and death?”  Romans 8:35

It’s easy enough to wonder where God is when we are hurting.  Our pain can trick us into thinking that somehow God has abandoned us.  Even the heroes of our faith questioned where God was in bad times.  King David, who wrote most of the Psalms, cried out, “My eyes fail, looking for my God.  Where can I find Him?”  Psalm 42:2

Read more: Everlasting Love

Walking Into 2020 with 20/20 Vision

Question: “Where do you see yourself in 2020?”  Answer: “How do I know? I don’t have 2020 vision.”

One thing I see in the new year are a lot of jokes and puns about good vision.  Another thing I’m pretty sure of is that most all of us will have some wonderful days and some days when we’ll wish we never got out of bed.

2019 certainly had its share of trials and troubles for many of us.  I’m having to remind myself that, although there have been some terribly difficult days, the good news is that God “never leaves not forsakes us.”  That’s in the Bible.  In 2019, I’ve learned from and leaned on those scriptures more than I ever have in my life.

Jesus told us that Satan’s goal is to keep us looking to our past, especially the rough places of our past, wanting us to lean on our guilt, fear, and insecurity to keep us from growing and living a full, joyful life.  That’s a warning from Jesus.  His promise, though, is that he has come to give us life more abundant than we can imagine, despite all the negative stuff going on around us.

Read more: Walking Into 2020 with 20/20 Vision

All I Want for Christmas

“So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.”  Colossians 2:16-17

I don’t know that I’ve always understood, let alone believed, the “promise of Christmas.”  But there has always been something special to me about this time of year, going back to my earliest memories of childhood.

What is it that we love about Christmas, especially once we get past all the initial trappings?  For me, I think it’s the sense of wonder, beauty, and anticipation.  It’s the music, the look of surprise on a child’s face, and the amazing food.  It’s being in the companionship of family and good friends and church folks.  It’s also the absence, if only for a day, of meanness that is typically on display out there.

Read more: All I Want for Christmas