So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)
It was October 9, 1933. A congregational meeting at Trinity,Davenport. Finances were not good.
The country was in the midst of the Great Depression (1929-1933 officially). Add on the Dust Bowl hitting the Midwest. In 1932, there were 14 dust storms; the following year, 38.
Can you imagine the conversation at the church? A Fall congregational meeting. Budget concerns. Farmers had nothing to give. Staff salaries.
“In view of present economic conditions, it might be well to close our school entirely, or to cut down our teaching force until such a time when we can again continue with renewed vigor without being harassed by thoughts of bankruptcy.” The actual notes from that meeting.
What course of action was chosen? To wait. Likely looking at what happens in the church year, Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas services.More offerings.
Let’s wait till January.
Next meeting: January 8, 1934. Pastor Harms addressed the gathering. He pointed out “1) the absolute need of our school just during times such as we are now experiencing; 2) the necessity of helping our school in its present status, as any retrenchment in our activities would seriously cripple our school for the present and the future.”
There was a vote. “Moved and carried to whole-heartedly continue to support our Christian Day school 100%.”
I’ve been around the church scene for a while. Once a school closes, it’s likely never going to open again.
These dear believers walked by faith in Jesus; they were committed to preaching the Gospel to kids and all.
Note: nothing was said about the offerings during the Advent/Christmas season.
The mission drove Trinity then, as it does our Lord always.
I remember it so clearly.
Several years ago, I was asked to lead a dinner prayer.
I prayed for many things, our military personnel, the military chaplains, families, the Congress and…President Trump. Immediately a man vocalized his deep disagreement.
I kept on praying, not absolutely sure what happened. Later, it became clear of his deep disagreement about praying for the current president.
But Scripture teaches this; it’s not a personal matter.
“I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions,” (1 Timothy 2:2).
The immediate next verse is most instructive: “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior…”
Praying for all people, including “kings and all who are in high positions,” pleases our dear Lord.
Personnel preference or policy agreement or disagreement has no play here. That government official needs God’s help.
I didn’t get the chance to speak to that dear person who immediately showed his disagreement.
Is there a deeper lesson here?
Keep a level head; own a tender heart, softened by His Word and Spirit.
And, pray for all.
A child of God owns confidence that God will do His work.
And, He actually considers your counsel, being in His family, as you are.
At first, you don’t get it...
A dog used for church work.
Well, you hear stories, lots of them...national and local ofGracie.
Sitting in a restaurant. Gracie takes her customary place atthe feet. Two women enter.
Suddenly she goes over, placing her head on a knee.
The woman erupts in tears; she had just lost her dog.
A little research brings discovery.
Dr. Stanley Coren, of the University of British Columbia,writes that dogs are able to smell a person’s emotional state. They even mayadopt this emotional state.
Others call this a “social referencing,” a dog’s ability towatch, sense and even to interpret behavior.
Lizards, mice, eagles don’t own this ability. God didn’tpencil this into their design sheet.
No evolutionary accident here. God did it.
This imprint mirrors His own heart, full of the “tendermercy of God,” (Luke 1:78).
Indeed, Jesus is humanity’s “best friend,” (see John 15:15).
Step back a bit. Ponder.
God’s heart for you is revealed in His detailed design ofdogs.
Gracie died this past Sunday. Memories of thankfulnessabound. Doors were opened for Gospel telling by her handlers.
This is a cause to rejoice.
So goes the general attitude around us.
A House Hunters episode (HGTV) showed a “throuple,” seekinga house in Colorado Springs.
What is a “throuple?” Per this show, one man and two women,this makes a marital couple.
But Jesus’ attitude is far different. He states in Matthew5:19 that whoever “relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teachesothers to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.”
“Relax” means “to lessen the force” or “to downplay theirimportance.”
Jesus is a stickler for His Word, all of it, every bit ofit, every “iota” or “dot,” (Matt. 5:18). He permits no water-downed teaching. Amarriage is a marriage, His way or no way.
No one goes to the doctor if they don’t think they’re sick.And a water-downed Ten Commandments results in a diminished need for spiritualhelp from the Great Physician.
Church attendance then becomes an option, the last option,if I feel like it.
Forgiveness of sins, its desperate need, doesn’t even register.
Clueless, just like the frog in a slowly heated pan ofwater.
Don’t fall for this propaganda.
Jesus knows best.
To make you feel better is not His goal.
He made you, of course, with emotions, joy and sorrow, etc.This is good.
His target, though, is not to make you happy.
What is it?
It’s to deepen your dependence and trust in Him.
Listen to St. Paul.
“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content…Ihave learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I cando all things through Him who strengthens me,” (Phil. 4:11b, 12b-13).
Only this dependence brings contentment.
Paul had to learn this over time by very tough ministry.Take note that God didn’t change his call or life circumstance; He directedPaul to His grace.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is madeperfect in weakness,” (2 Cor. 12:9).
Weakness is the fertile soil into which He plants His mercy.
Every worship service owns the same intent, as does thewhole Church Season of Lent: to strengthen faith.
“Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven andearth,” (Ps. 124:8)..