Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow!

Grace, Mercy, and Peace be to you from our Father, and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Dear Christian Friends,

Blessings are wonderful, aren’t they? Warm, sunny days in the summer when the wind is just light enough to touch the sweat off your brow. The smile and heart-felt cheer of good friends and family as they surround you in the loving embrace of togetherness. Victory via new fencing over that long-suffered rabbit who keeps getting into the vegetable patch and stealing the carrots.

Our Lord blesses us in so many ways, undeserved and, many times, unfortunately, under-appreciated. But I can think of one blessing as I sit here that the Lord chooses to grant us that gives more wonder, hope, and love than all the others: children.

God chooses to bless us with children so that He can teach us and build our faithfulness. Luke 18:16b-17, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Jesus used the imagery of children to guide us toward faithfulness. It is not by the power of our own minds or the desire of our hearts that we receive His grace. Instead, by the simple faith of a child, an undeterred belief, placed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit through God’s Word, we know our Savior Jesus Christ.

He preaches His Word to us through the memory verses and prayers our children recite to us, giving us the ability to hear the Gospel even from those we are instructed to teach. Romans 10:17a, “So faith comes from hearing.” And not just our own children. God grants children to His congregation and to the world for the same purpose, to provide another outlet for His Word.

It is our vocation, as parents and guardians of children, both ours and our neighbors’, to protect them, reborn into the Spirit through Baptism, newly born into this world through the pains of childbearing, or as yet unborn from the womb but existing, for our Father knows them all. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,” Jeremiah 1:5.

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Whistle While You Work? I Don’t Think So, Joel Osteen

Grace and Peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Dear Christian Friends,

Work. It’s a word that conjures up rather despicable thoughts in my mind. In fact, I don’t like the word at all. It reminds me of the ugly, inhumane job that I had during many high school and college summers at a local discount retailer, pushing carts outside in 102 degree weather. I think about the awful amounts of homework that I was required to complete in order to pass a class. I sneered in disgust at the possibility of having to take out the garbage at home, or even do chores.

Yes, maybe I am complaining too much, but we all have stories of too much work that we have to do in our lives. Sometimes, it seems to crowd us, overpowering our senses with the size of projects, the deadlines, the writing and rewriting, the manual labor. These things are overbearing and hard to resolve, when they just seem to be coming and coming.

Yet, we still must do them. “Why?” you may be asking. “What purpose does it serve to overwork ourselves?”

I don’t think the question should be, “Can’t I avoid doing all this?” The question that we must ask ourselves is, “What purpose does the Lord have for me in doing this work?” We need to realize that God gives us this work for a purpose. Whether to show us what we are capable of, to test us and make us stronger, or to help us provide for our families and loved ones. The work that we do is a testament to our faith that what we do is what the Lord has given us to do. He wants us to graduate from school, or feed and clothe our families, or use the gifts he has given us.

Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

With these wonderful words of encouragement, we should remember that we do not do the work just for ourselves, but for the Lord as well, who wants us to prosper and grow in Him, using the gifts He has given us, to serve Him through the work that we do.

Remember, the Lord has prepared you to do the work that is set before you. Work hard, trust is His goodness, and He will give you hope and life. Proverbs 28:25, “A greedy man stirs up dissention, but he who trusts in the Lord will prosper.”

Read also: Isaiah 53 (The Suffering Servant), Psalm 128, 2 Timothy 3:10-17, Colossians 1:24-2:5, Genesis 29:14-30 (Working for the greatest earthly gift the Lord gives…)