Archive for February, 2013


Imperishable

From Pastor Bordwine

 

“I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish;

and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”

(John 10:28)

Recently, a woman relayed to me the sad story of how her marriage had ended. She had been with her husband for 30 years when, without warning, he announced that he wanted a divorce. This woman was astonished, of course, because, as she said, she had assumed that this relationship would continue until death. She admitted, therefore, that she had taken her marriage for granted because it had endured for so long.

I would not find fault with this woman for the assumption she made regarding her marriage. From her perspective, she had every reason to feel secure. The woman had no way of predicting what her husband was going to do. This story illustrates a miserable truth regarding this life: Even our most cherished relationships are vulnerable.

There is one wonderful exception, however, and that is our relationship with Christ. Our union with Christ is forever. This fallen environment cannot weaken or destroy our salvation. This makes our relationship with the Savior all the more precious and a source of tremendous confidence and peace.

There one basic element in our relationship with Christ that makes it indestructible. The truth is that God chose us, we did not choose Him. He established our relationship with His Son. We were incapable of establishing such a relationship. This means that the attributes of God are responsible for safeguarding our union. God’s unequaled power, for example, protects us from all assaults. Unless there is a power somewhere in creation that is greater, we can rest assured that we are eternally secure.

The nature of our salvation, therefore, should be of great encouragement as we live out our days on the earth. We need never doubt our everlasting redemption. We have no reason to question the end of our spiritual journey. We will arrive in heaven just as surely as if we were already there. We should also be fully convinced of our safety as we seek to live as servants of Christ. We do not have to worry about being overcome by the adversary regardless of how ferocious he may sound.

Living in the context of our relationship with Christ offers all of these advantages and more. When we face obstacles or encounter hostility as we learn and do the will of God, we should remember that all obstacles, all hostility, and all threats have already been met by our Savior and they have been defeated.

The next time you find yourself struggling with some aspect of your Christian life or the next time you face hostility due to your Christian convictions, return to the truth of your safety in Christ. There you will find courage to face what may be a frightening situation. There you will find strength to rise up and try again. And there you will find God’s wisdom that will enlighten you and guide you so that you might glorify the Father and the Son.

And by all means, hide these words of the Savior in your heart and believe them and rejoice in them:

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:29-30)

Our union with Jesus Christ is imperishable. Glory to God!

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The Futility of Worry

Pastor Bordwine

“And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span?”

(Luke 12:25)

Late tonight, Lord willing, my wife will board a plane and commence a long trip across the country to visit family. And, as usual, I will worry about her well-being until I hear that she has arrived safely at her destination. A few days later, this pattern will be repeated as my wife returns to Washington. I know, of course, that my anxiety will have no benefit whatsoever as my loved one flies up in the sky at 35,000 feet. But I cannot seem to help it.

To be honest, I worry a lot about many things, particularly those issues that involve my family. I recognize the fact that my anxiety over various things sometimes exceeds what is “normal.” This has been a characteristic that I have wrestled with most of my adult life.

I have long known what the Bible has to say about worry. The Word acknowledges that anxiety is a product of our fallen natures. Rather than chastising us constantly for this fault, however, the Scriptures tell us what to do about it. In many verses, although worded differently, the same exhortation is given to the people of God.

In one of His most well-known teachings, for example, Jesus encouraged His disciples to focus on serving God instead of worrying about what they would wear or eat or drink. (Matt 6:25 ff.) He pointed out that the Father in heaven had loving regard even for the birds of the air. Therefore, Jesus reasoned, His disciples should realize that they are more precious to God than any other being. So if God watches over such small creatures, they should have full confidence that their Father’s love for them is much, much greater. Jesus taught His disciples they could count on the Fathers care for every necessity of life.’

I resort to passages like this when my anxiety level rises. I have to let the sure Word of God overrule my worry, which is, after all, baseless. I don’t control circumstances, God does. I cannot ensure the safety of my wife as she travels by air to the east coast, but God can. Learning this simple truth is vital for a couple reasons. First, it will help to relieve our stress. Second, and most importantly I think, embracing the truth, explained by Jesus, lets us honor God as we should. When we cast our burdens upon the Lord, it is a form of worship because we are confessing by such action that we know that our lives are in His hands and, therefore, we really can be at ease.

The futility of worrying, although a constant consideration for many of us, is revealed in the verse chosen for this devotional: “And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span?” This saying was part of the Savior’s exhortation to His disciples referred to above. His point is that we cannot change anything through worry. All we do is create stress for ourselves, which can have a detrimental impact on our productivity and relationships.

For my part, I’ll continue to react to worry by reviewing the teaching of God’s Word. And I will continue to pray that my sanctification in this area progresses to the point where I am able to dispense with anxiety concerning matters that I cannot control.