Source of Life

www.bible.com/1713/pro.4.23.csb

Being a Proverb, this verse tends to stand its own without reference to context. As such, it exists as a piece of collected wisdom. Considering its source, its probably something that Solomon himself observed and wanted to pass on. It is an important component of our understanding of the human being.

What is the heart? Anatomically, the answer is simple. It is the organ we have so-named because it is the body’s primary blood pump. If the heart fails, we call it “cardiac arrest” and this can often result in death. So the heart is essential for the function of the human body. But is Solomon advocating for proper cardiac care here? A heart-healthy diet? Solomon being who he is, that would not surprised me, being how prescient he is. But I also don’t think that’s what he’s talking about here.

The heart is also considered in Biblical terminology the place of the soul, as distinct from the mind. In my work as a Chaplain, I’ve discovered that people have three distinct layers to their person, as illustrated below:

As you might notice, some things transcend layers. Some things are firmly rooted within their layers. But the innermost layer, as Solomon describes, is the heart. It is the source of life and the source of your being. Diseases which affect the body, or even the mind do not cause eternal damage. But a disease of the heart lasts forever. If your conscience is “seared” or burned through where you don’t care if you sin anymore, is eternal damnation, even for the former believer. The heart needs to be guarded the most closely, the most carefully. And in this we have a ready defense.

You might remember the passage in Ephesians 6 about the armor of God. tucked within verse 14 is this phrase, “righteousness like armor on your chest.” What is it that protects the heart? It is righteousness, namely the kind of righteousness (and holiness) that God affords. We have been made righteous in Christ, exchanging our pitiful rags for His holiness. Since this is the armor of God, it is God’s righteousness that guards our hearts. When you allow the darts of unrighteousness in, behind the armor, your damage your heart. You cannot sin without consequence. Even “small” sins cause heart damage. While there is healing in Jesus, and grace from the cross, sin has consequences. Your witness and your capacity for service may be greatly diminished if you continue in sin. Sin carves out little bits for itself, reducing your capacity to serve the Lord. The Lord can do much with a little, but the less you sin, the more He has to work with.

This heart, this redeemed soul you possess if yours to do with as you will. But the Lord has claimed it as His own when He sanctified you by His blood. The Lord took ownership of your soul and even staked His claim by moving in, for we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who works with our own hearts to make us holy. If you continue to sin, you drive out His presence, for God cannot tolerate the presence of sin.

Lord, help me today to guard my heart against all the million little things that threaten it, all the tiny temptations and zillion darts that assault me constantly. Lord I want to serve You more. I want to be as much as I can be in Your presence, so that I can be even more effective at working out Your will in this world. Help me to put that guard over my heart so that I may not sin against You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Relevant

www.bible.com/1713/rom.8.6.csb

So when I saw this image this morning, I knew this one that Youversion had put together was spot on. This image, of a TV set showing a Bible verse, looks like output from an old Commodore 64. I think it is an apt reminder that what we put into our mind always has an output. If you eat, breathe, and drink violence, harm to others, addictive behaviors and so on, it will be reflected in your actual behavior. You cannot drink poison and believe it won’t affect you.

As I mentioned yesterday, the mind is the battlefield between the flesh and the spirit, and the temptations of the flesh, though redeemed by Christ, still war against the promptings of the Spirit. The one who wins, as the old saying goes, is the one you feed. You feed the temptations of the flesh by giving in to them, and committing sin. You “feed” the spirit by spending time with Him, the Holy Spirit, both in reading the word, in prayer, and other spiritual disciplines.

So the choice is really yours. Don’t waste it.

Heavenly Father, again I come to you, woefully inadequate for the task at hand. I am bring nothing to this particular table, but yet, it’s not about who I am, but about who You are. Though I am inadequate, I am a child of God. Though I fail, in You I have success. Lord I bring all that I am to You to use at Your will. Help me to stand, so that I may offer to others what You’ve freely given to me. Thank You Jesus. Amen.

Revisiting Star Trek the Motion Picture (1979)

Star Trek the Motion Picture should have been to “The Doomsday Machine” what Star Trek the Wrath of Khan was to “Space Seed”.

“The Doomsday Machine” in Star Trek: The Original Series was about a destructive spacecraft consuming whole planets in its path. Captain Willard Decker ended up sacrificing his crew and himself to stop the machine. Kirk stopped the machine by sacrificing Decker’s ship, the USS Constellation. Kirk barely made it off the ship alive. Here’s a picture of the Doomsday Machine in case you forgot. You might remember that the crew at that time opined that this device was a relic of a long-forgotten war.

Fast forward to the first Star Trek Movie. There we meet Captain Decker’s son, Matthew Decker, who has been to Starfleet Academy and become a Captain in his own right, now overseeing the refit and future mission of the Enterprise. But now comes another threat, another entity threatening earth with destruction. It turns out to be a very similar cylindrical vessel with a large opening on one end, just like the Doomsday Machine but with extra pieces. What a surprise. This is concept art for V’Ger.

If you remember how good the Wrath Of Khan was, then you might be able to imagine how good The Motion Picture should have been. The Wrath of Khan took one of the villains (and very capable actor, Ricardo Montalban) from the original series and made something of a sequel to the original’s story, bringing back the villain on a revenge story now that Kirk has become an admiral (and a father). Teh revenge plot was what kept the story moving, but as I’ve gotten older, I see more clearly the plot of Kirk dealing with middle age being the primary plot of the film, as in the one line (I may paraphrase a bit), “There’s a man out there that wants to kill that I haven’t seen in 30 years, and now I have a son that would be happy to help him.” If the movie was just about the revenge plot, it would still be action-packed, but it wouldn’t be as good. What makes the movie is the characters, their interactions, their empathy and their humanity. We feel like we’ve known these characters for thirty years. We pay attention when they go through the came life crises that we do, and we empathize with them more.

Not so with Star Trek the Motion Picture (STTMP). And here’s what the movie should have been.

STTMP should have been Decker’s story, but told from Kirk’s perspective. Kirk should have been the wiser, older man mentoring the next generation of Starship Captain. STTTMP should have been Decker’s redemption story, and I think he should have been more like the Kirk of the 2009 reboot. We should first have met Decker as a rebellious teen when Kirk goes to visit his home to deliver the news of the death of his father “in the line of duty.” I feel like Kirk, and we would see him dressed in a TOS dress uniform, would tell Decker’s wife the sad news and the younger Decker would come strolling in, pretending not to care. His father was always gone, always on duty. The younger would have grown up hating Starfleet. But when Kirk talks to him, man to man, Kirk would have reminded him that his father gave his life to save others, maybe even the whole galaxy. And then would come Pike’s iconic line from ST (2009). “I dare you to do better.” Somehow, this would get through to Decker, and the next time we see him is as Captain of the Enterprise. That little character bit would have done a lot to show us what kind of person this younger Decker was, and what Kirk’s relationship was to him. Kirk then moves into the role of mentor, and we might get some minor backstory, like how Kirk chose Decker to be the next Captain, and mentored him through the academy, because Kirk feels somehow responsible for the older Decker’s death.

And with that groundwork, we get a better characterization of both characters. V’Ger then becomes not just some alien probe, but a chance for the younger Decker to deal with the same problem his father had, and how he wrestles with the lives of his crew and how he solves the problem. The dynamic between Decker and Kirk would be more defined. We would understand Decker’s reluctance to hand the keys over the Kirk, because deep down, there may actually be resentment towards Kirk, especially once Decker learns the “true” story of the Doomsday Machine and his father’s grief-induced insanity and sacrifice. Decker may resent Kirk for not trying to do more to stop his father, and dialogue to that effect would have helped us see the dynamic between these two characters. I could see this as a plot twist after Spock takes his suit to do recon, to find a “recording” of the original battle (with updated special effects), and returns to tell Kirk that this ship is from the same culture that built the original machine. Suddenly the story takes on new meaning for both Kirk and Decker.

This story might tell us a bit more about the culture that launched this machine-entity, a common origin for both this one and the last one. And of course, the plot twist at the end is that both the Doomsday Machine and V-Ger are both long-lost probes from Earth, but sent back from wherever they came from. This one is improved and more powerful because the first one was lost. And they realize then that they cannot destroy this one with Starship. It also might illustrate the old saying, “sometimes when you look into the abyss, the abyss looks back.” It might also have been a way to back-door introduce the Borg (and I think some actually understand this movie that way).

Then Decker’s sacrifice at the end, the “I want this” moment fits together with the rest of the movie. He knew his own father sacrificed himself to save others. Now he sees himself doing the same, as that becomes the solution. Kirk doesn’t become the hero at the end, but Decker. And Kirk takes time with his friends at the end to mourn both men.

Kirk: “You know I chose him, Matthew Decker, to be my replacement on the Enterprise.”

McCoy: “That kid always hated you. Why on earth did you choose him?”

Kirk: “Bones, you remember his father? I knew that if this boy was anything like his father, he would become a great starship captain, probably better than me.”

Spock: “If I recall correctly, Captain Willard Decker lost his crew and his own life, driven insane with his grief. That’s hardly starship captain material.”

Kirk: “But Spock, don’t you see? The man was passionate for his crew. That’s what drove him insane. They weren’t ‘just crew to him, but family. A good captain always looks after his crew as family. And even though his son didn’t see that, I saw it in Matthew. I saw his passion, even as a young man. I knew this was the kind of man who deserved to sit in the Captain’s chair.”

McCoy: “I wonder what kind of Captain he would have been like.”

Kirk: [looking out the window of his cabin] “I think we’ll find out one day, somewhere, out there among the stars. That’s where a captain belongs.”

end scene

Now to be honest, I wouldn’t have minded if throughout the whole movie, it looked like Kirk and his crew were going to be replaced by a new generation, as kind of a send-off to the old crew, only to have to resume their old duties at the end, like being on-hand as instructors or guests at the shakedown cruise of the refurbished vessel, only to be called back to action when the threat of V’Ger dropped. But each of the old crew would have to learn all the new controls, and it would take time for everything to be as efficient as it had been. Can you imagine Uhura perplexed at the new Communications Panel and asking, “Hailing frequencies? I don’t know which button opens them.” And then a helpful subordinate in the heat of the moment pushes it for her. You could have a lot of these little character moments that show you these older characters have a lot to learn about this new Enterprise, but gradually grow into these new roles, both as learners and as mentors. Really, only Scotty would know what he was doing as he was overseeing the refit.

In short, I would play up this movie’s connections with “The Doomsday Machine” as a way to revisit the mysteries of that show and reinforce the relationship between the otherwise unknown Decker and Kirk. I think that would have immensely improved the film and brought more story to bear, to make the impact of the sacrifices and people involved more meaningful.

Every Thought Captive

www.bible.com/1713/2co.10.5.csb

For though we live in the body, we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.
(2Co 10:3-5)

I love how this starts out as Paul saying we have a war to win, taking up very masculine language to topple strongholds and raise victory over our enemies. But then he subtly changes tack, saying that the strongholds we are overcoming aren’t castles and fortress, but proud thoughts and arguments. Our weapons move from swords and shields to words and logic, offering this divine wisdom in answer to the world’s poor substitutes.

And then Paul changes things again! Instead of fighting “out there” and “them”, we suddenly realize that the battlefield is us. It may also be all of those thoughts “out there” that others have that need to be brought under the submission of Christ, but the first battlefield is in our own mind, the lusts and thoughts of our our heart, the pride we have before God as he haughtily declare that we know the truth. Hmm.

Just to reinforce what he is saying, he says this in the next verse:

And we are ready to punish any disobedience, once your obedience has been confirmed.
(2Co 10:6)

Ouch. I guess that means I need to take up (spiritual) arms against myself, for my greatest battlefield is in my mind.

Now, I want you to consider for a moment the implications of this. If we consider that the human person is made of of these three components, the flesh, the mind, and the spirit, where exactly is the battle taking place? And why there? Now I consider the mind to be the essential interface between the spirit and the body. and when it comes to spiritual warfare, especially in ourselves, it usually is warfare between the flesh and the spirit. We this confirmed in Galatians 5:

I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want.
(Gal 5:16-17)

But the mind is caught between the two. The mind is where we make decisions, carry out actions we’ve determined, and experiences the “what if” of temptation. It is that neutral ground between “I need a sandwich” and “I need to pray.” Yet it is upon the mind that the forces of flesh and spirit line up to meet.

Didn’t the flesh get redeemed like the spirit did when we accepted Christ? Yes. However, the flesh still has needs. You still need to breathe, to drink, to eat, to be warm or cool, etc. But even Paul says that self-control is still a necessity:

Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away. Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
(1Co 9:25-27)

He notes that even as an apostle of Jesus, he needs to discipline his body and bring it under strict control. Consider that. We all have needs that are crying out to be fulfilled. There are easy ways to meet them (stealing) and more difficult (earning a living, being able to honestly purchase the things you need) that calls for some self-control and delayed satisfaction. We pray before we eat. Why? Does it sanctify the food? Depends on the cook. But it also practices self-control. We are not ravenous wolves who descend on a meal in a fervor. We wait each his turn, pass the peas, and say please and thank you.

Though sanctified, the flesh must be kept under careful discipline or else it will overwhelm the rest of you. This is how addictions start. If you’ve every talked with an addict, you find a person who’s flesh is dictating to them how to live, not their spirit.

This is why every thought must be taken captive to Christ. Every thought must be interrogated, “Why are you here?” “Whom do you serve?” ” How will you help me grow in Christ?” There are thoughts that course through your mind that come from your flesh. “The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh,and the pride of life.” We need to take every thought captive, or else the mind will serve the flesh, and the not the other way around.

Lord Jesus, I need Your overwhelming power to help me overcome myself. My flesh wars against my spirit, and on this battlefield of thoughts, feelings, and emotions, I need a strong Ally at my side. Would you so equip me in this battle that I may stand, fully armored by Your armor, to withstand even this flesh that wars against me? Lord Jesus, I know that if we can win this battle, all the others will be easy. Thank You Jesus for Your grace and mercy, in Your Name I pray, Amen.

Hungry Much?

www.bible.com/1713/psa.34.8.csb

It doesn’t seem possible to actually fulfill this command, does it? How can anyone “taste” or even “see” God to know that He is good? Fortunately, “taste” can also be translated figuratively as “perceive” which should help, but “see”? Sometimes I wonder if David was just hungry, so he used his hunger as inspiration for his writing.

David is definitely arguing for an active perception of the goodness of the Lord, and that is often through seeing His handiwork, sometimes by viewing the heavens, or seeing nature as it surrounds us and fills us with awe. And when you do, it doesn’t take long to see after all.

Lord God, help me to see what I’ve been missing gazing at my cell phone or my computer screen all day. Show me the wonder that only You possess, that unmistakable wonder that the Lord God has revealed through His handiwork. May I be close enough to taste it, so that I may rejoice again. Thank You for all of Your marvelous work. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Opportunity for the Flesh

www.bible.com/1713/gal.5.13.csb

Have you ever let your flesh get the best of you? Sometimes I get really hungry, and when I get hungry, I get irritable. I can feel it happening, and I just stop caring. I mean, I can feel myself, see myself getting irritable and angry, and there’s a piece of me that recognizes what’s happening, but it’s like I am seeing it through a tunnel, and my flesh, which is hungry, tired, and doesn’t care anymore gets in control of my mouth, and things come out, hurtful things that I regret when I am sated. Some call it “hangry” but it happens whenever I’ve been out of my comfort zone and don’t know what dinner plans are. I try to avoid it, but it still happens. It’s hard to be a Christian and hungry. Lord help me when I fast.

But the flesh takes advantage of spiritual weakness. It’s not that the flesh is evil, for it has been redeemed by the blood of Christ, just as your mind and your soul has. But the flesh is more reactionary. You flinch at the prospect of pain. For some, anger is an easy ally. The flesh wants what it wants, whether it be food, water, rest, or justice. When you are hot, you want to be cool. When you are cold, you want to be warm. And the flesh let’s you know when something is wrong by delivering messages of pain. But the flesh can easily be tempted. Satan’s first temptation of Jesus was to attempt to manipulate Him through His human flesh by asking Him to use His power to turns stones into bread, as Jesus had not eaten for 40 days.

There are opportunities to serve the flesh, and there are opportunities to serve the needs of others, and unfortunately, they often occur at the same time. What would you think of a mother who fed and took care of herself first before she met the needs of her children? Or a father that spent his paycheck on beer and women before paying the bills and needs of his family? We would rightly despise both of them.

Rather, we look at those who sacrifice themselves as noble. Those who give up their own wants and needs and more honorable that those that only serve themselves. This is ideal of altruism. This is the ideal of Christian service, giving sacrificially. And for us, this is freedom. We are no longer subject or slaves to our own desires. That may seem counter-intuitive, since many see freedom as the freedom to do what we want to do. But our wants and needs are different after Christ than before. We do not see our freedom as an excuse to indulge ourselves, but to be free from ourselves, our vices and self-imposed hobbles. We are free from the sin that so easily besets us, so that we may run the race of the Kingdom, for all who finish gain the victory.

Lord help me gain today gain the victory over my life. Every day my flesh with great help from temptation seeks to undermine my spirit and my freedom to serve You. May my food be the will of Him who called me. May my sustenance be the grace he offered me at great cost. May I seek to do Your will today and every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

In the House of the Lord

www.bible.com/1713/psa.27.4.csb

It is my place of peace. My sacred space is the church house, and every time I am there, no matter what church or denomination it is, I feel peace there.

And this despite some of the bad experiences I’ve had at church, with church people being cruel. I still find my Father’s house a place of refuge and hope. Which is why I miss being at church. I really miss going to church and participating in worship. Which is why I’ve attended a handful of churches recently, whoever is open, just to be there. I need it for my own sense of wholeness.

Since I’ve been working at the hospital as a Chaplain, I also have access to the hospital Chapel, which in some ways helps. I go there sometimes just to sit and pray.

In short, I am looking forward to the day when we will all be in the Lord’s presence forever, of which we’ve had merely a taste of.

I hope today has been a great Sunday for you. God bless you and I hope to have something of substance tomorrow.

No One and Everyone

www.bible.com/1713/1th.5.15.csb

What are a Christian’s relationship to society at large? I know that in the church we are to “love one another” just as Christ loves us. We are to treat one another as brothers and sisters. That being said, I have to say a few words.

Today the mandate for wearing masks in public was put in force by the most high and benevolent Lord and Master Beshear. In his great love for the people of our beloved Commonwealth, and in spite of his own need for freedom, he has unilaterally ordered that all people must wear masks in public to further prevent already declining virulence of COVID-19. This was not an order in force when the virus was at its height, but now when the actual threat is diminishing. COVID-19 has indicated that it is no more dangerous than the flu, and even less so, as it kills less people than the flu. However, that is not the point. The point is what this verse says about this mandate.

“Always seek to do good to one another and to everyone”. If this is a command from Scripture, then it is non-negotiable. Today, because of our beloved leader’s order, our own church, arguably a private organization and free to resist orders of the state within its own walls when it conflicts with worship (Freedom to exercise religion is still in effect) decided to take the path of least resistance. Our church has not opened back up since March, relying completely on online services, which I believe is to the detriment. Many other churches in our area have reopened, and we have been attending them. Our church has decided that mask-wearing will be mandatory for all attenders and volunteers. And it frankly peeves me. I have to wear a mask every day I work (at the hospital, whose own mask-requirement is about a month old). I have been told that masks are important, but the principles of wearing masks to stop COVID infection are ludicrous. I have been asymptomatic for months. I have no droplets to spread COVID. If I was sick, I would stay home in quarantine. I am not sick.

If I had AIDS, and I knew I had AIDS, and then went about spitting on people in order to infect them, that would be intentionally doing harm and would be reprehensible. COVID is not AIDS. COVID is so much less lethal than AIDS (0.05% versus 100%) as to not even be comparable. Who is out there saying we need to wear masks because of AIDS? Tuberculosis? Pneumonia? Flu? Measles? Small Pox? Anything? Not one. For none of these diseases (not even the dreaded Ebola just a few years ago) have entire states been forced to wear masks. Read that again. Only with COVID-19, are far less lethal virus, who for many, the only way you know you have it is if you have a test (which tests for all Corona viruses, not just 19), have entire states been told they have to wear masks in public.

If the glorious leader had said, “You can wear masks if you feel you need them,” then freedom would be left in the hands of the individual. I would be okay with that. If he said, “Stay at home is you feel sick.” That would be find with me. That’s how we treat every other disease. But this state mandate?

Some will say that we ought to wear the masks to help people feel safer. That we will appear to be doing good. I’ve seen the masks people wear. I don’t buy it. I wear the mask all the time. I don’t like it. So when it comes to my church mandating masks for worship?

There is one passage in Scripture which speaks to an issue like this. It is a passage in 1 Corinthians which suggests that believers who are more mature ought to make concessions for those that are weak for the sake of unity. For the sake of unity, even though I despise it, I will wear a mask if it means that we will worship together again. If modesty says I need to keep certain parts of my body covered, then covering one more part will not matter. As angry as I am with all of this, if it hurts my brother in Christ by not wearing a mask, I remember that I have made other concessions for the sake of unity, concessions dearer to my heart than this one.

What about my brother who says it hurts him for me to wear a mask? I can only plead unity.

My Lord and My God, King of Kings and Governor of Governors, may You grant me the patience to deal with my weaker brothers for the sake of unity. I know I don’t have it yet, but for the sake of my fellowship and where I worship, I feel this is the path of “do good to everyone”. Father if there is greater wisdom, please teach me. For I trust in You and Your word above all else. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Shifting Shadows

www.bible.com/1713/jas.1.17.csb

Over the course of the day, the shadow cast by my home changes, from direct sunlight coming in to my office space in the morning, to the deep shadows of the evening, where the sun has gone over the house and and allowed this side to cool. When I am working outside in the yard, I welcome this shadowing of the back of the house, as it means that it becomes a little cooler to work.

Shadows are never still, but change throughout the day. The cooling shade of a tree at one point of the day recedes until you are bathed in sunlight, and during the summer months that can be uncomfortable, unless you are like my wife. She relishes the sunlight as it bakes her skin and turns her brown, and is only frustrated when the shadows begin to creep over. But such is the nature of shade and shadows.

What a contrast then it is to see that God is not like that. His light is bright and constant. His gifts are faithful and true. Our God is the standard of reliability. There is a saying, “reliable as the sunrise”. but the sun gets its cue from the Lord.

Do not set your hope that things that will change. The memories you saved to videotape a couple decades ago have to be transferred to digital, just so you can see them. In another couple of decades, it will be something else. The job that you thought you would work until you retire? They will be bought out, your insurance will change, and you may be looking for another job. That church you worship at today? Though all seems wonderful and bright, the preacher will grow old, retire, or be replaced, and everything will change again.

God alone is the unchanging constant of the universe. If you would set your hope on anything, set your hope on Him. Let your reliability come from Him, and not your hope in changeable things, human institutions like government or church. Be the influencer in your church, in your community because of the solidity of your hope in God and His provision. Show others the hope you have, the certainty you have in the Father of lights, and they will learn to trust in Him too. For that is why we are here, why He saved us, so that we could chow to others the hope we have within us.

Heavenly Father, from whom there is no shadow of turning, who has granted me every good gift and is hope for the future, may You offer hope to all who are reading this, who know better than to trust in changeable things, so that they may put their faith and trust in You. Thank You Jesus for saving me from the uncertainty of life and showing me promise of eternity through You. I pray these things in Your Name, Amen.

Dying

www.bible.com/1713/2co.4.16.csb

A little but every day, in such small increments that we don’t notice it, we are dying. Our bodies were never designed to live forever. Not even in the perfection of Eden, even the bodies of Adam and Eve needed to be sustained by the fruit of the Tree of Life. This same Tree stands in the Heavenly City at the end of Revelation, where it says explicitly that the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations (peoples, ethnicities). Of course, in that realm there will be more mire crying, sin, or pain either. Not so here.

Paul acknowledges this in this 2 Corinthians passage. We are always dying a little bit. But we are also being renewed day by day in the inner man. For every bit we lose externally, we are being built up into an inheritance that cannot fail internally. We are destined for greater things that this world, which is why we have hope. There are no things on this world that are so dear that we will not find better in the world to come.

No where do I find this verse more applicable than in hospital chaplaincy, where I could quote this verse all day to every patient, both to explain why our body isn’t cooperating like it should, and also to explain that even in the midst of suffering, we still have hope, because this body isn’t all we have. We lay hold of by faith so much more.

And this is the encouragement I want to leave you with today. Don’t give up. Don’t belief God is done with you. For He who began a good work in you will see it to completion. He will finish His work in you. But you must wait on His work, while you work out your salvation with fear and trembling, knowing what God it is we serve.

Lord, thank You for saving me. Thank You for rescuing me from this body of sin. I know these parts will fail. I know it is appointed for man once to die, and after that the judgment. Thank You for offering me faith in the midst of my failure, so at the day of judgment, I may stand before You covered by the blood of Jesus, and clad in His innocence. I pray that every day I work will be testimony of my faith in You. In Your Name I pray, Amen.