Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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July 25 – God’s Providence And Blessing

“And Saul approved of his [Stephan’s] execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.  Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.” Acts 8:1-4

 Devotional Thought For The Day

What thoughts might you have had if you had witnessed Saul’s destruction of the nascent church of Jesus Christ?  If you were a believer, an ardent and committed believer, and if you had resources to make this evil villain disappear off the face of the earth, would you have thought of pulling the trigger?  I’m sure many of us have had such thoughts – if not in regard to Saul, then perhaps in regard to other wicked, wretched, and destructive people.  And if we’re not among those inclined to violence, at the least we have wondered and cried out to God as to why He would allow such evil things to happen to His own dear children.

Luke, who authored the book of Acts, was a friend of this Saul – after Saul had encountered the risen and glorious Lord Jesus Christ and become the apostle Paul.  Paul you remember was the author of nearly half of the New Testament books. No doubt Paul approved of the inclusion of this description of his part in the persecution of the early church – he references his deplorable acts in his own writings.  One thing about the Bible is that it is brutally honest in its description of people, including the great heroes of the faith.  So, by God allowing Saul some latitude against the church, two remarkable things occurred: the church spread to other parts of the world, in that “those who were scattered went about preaching the word,” and secondly, this Saul was eventually fashioned and shaped into one of the great servants of Jesus Christ and His church.  Now, how would this have happened had someone decided that Saul [Paul] needed to be eradicated?

Today there are great challenges facing both the Christian Church in America, and also our society, culture, and nation.  Great evils are afoot and have been destroying the very heart of genuine piety and discipleship to Jesus within the churches, and at the same time, also shredding the very fabric of our nation. It is no worse for us, however, than things were for the early church, the first followers of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Some Christians may be tempted to compromise, or even to fall away from genuine faith.  Others may be tempted to take matters into their own hands – perhaps even toying with thoughts of violence and revolt. Modern day “patriots” may also be considering what may be coming down the pike if our freedoms continue to erode away and enemies of our constitution are able to further eviscerate it. All of us might want to take a deep breath and remember that God is in control, and that He has His own agenda and plan for working out and accomplishing the greatest good. The fact is, there are cosmic bills that need to be paid for some of the grotesque evils that have flourished in our own land for some time now.

Almost certainly the great dream many Americans have had of creating a new and just society, one filled with goodness and righteousness, has virtually evaporated.  We don’t even have a political party left in our country that shares, promotes, and is working for the fulfillment of such a dream.  One party has foolish, myopic, and perhaps sinister visions of a “forced” equality; the other party operates with a thinly veiled selfishness and greed. However, regardless of what happens in the future – with the “institutional” church and with the “culture,” God is in control and He is able to work great good as we continue following Jesus and “preaching the word.”  No, things will almost certainly not be what we hoped for or expected; but they may be much better for the preaching of Christ and for the growth of the church.  At the least, it seems more and more apparent that our joys, our satisfaction, our confidence, and our purpose will have to be centered in Christ alone – and there is nothing bad about that.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, You see the movements of human history much more clearly than we do, for You can see the final outcome of all things. Help us to be ready to accept the sacrifice of our earthly goals and dreams and to make everything in our lives submissive to the goal of serving You. Grant us strength of faith and confidence in You, and in Your promises and Your providence, regardless of our circumstances. Amen.