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WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 09, 2020

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18 where St. Paul writes,

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.


THE ONLY VOTE THAT COUNTS FOREVER

It’s finally over. (Actually, nothing ever seems to be over lately, does it?) The votes are in and our new leaders will soon be in place. Many are glad that the constant politicking is behind us, but they now wonder what comes next. There are some people with great hope today and there are others who feel despair. I’ve been through a few presidential cycles in my life. Each one seems to bring hope to some and gloom to others. Our text for today goes further. It deals with a problem that is too big for even our best policies and more hopeless than merely losing an election or two. It deals with the reality and the apparent finality of death. It deals with the truth that no matter what our plans and preparations, we all face that one enemy that we cannot overcome. The Christians in Thessalonica trusted in God for their eternal life, but they were struggling with the seemingly hopeless reality that many people of faith were now dead and in the grave. Does God forget about them like so many duplicitous leaders in our sinful world do? In private moments of struggle, their thoughts (like ours) might have been like those of a father who came to Jesus and confessed, “I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). Even though the Thessalonians many not have pinned their hopes on some transient political program or leader, they still struggled with the realities of sin and judgment this side of heaven.

That’s why they and we need to be reminded of the only “vote” that counts forever. When Jesus died and rose again, God the Father stamped His approval on the work of Jesus which grants eternal life to all who believe in His gift of grace. Our sins were punished when Jesus took our place on the cross. His resurrection freely grants God’s gift of new life to all through faith alone. God’s decision to love all those in Christ was the one that counts forever. That “vote” is certain for all who trust in His promise no matter what their circumstances might be this side of heaven. Even those who have fallen asleep in Him will be raised from temporal death to eternal life when Christ comes again to judge the living and the dead. Count on it! That’s a hope that endures because it is based on the person and the work of Jesus Christ in your stead. That is a peace that passes all understanding because it is rooted in God’s power to bring all things to fulfillment for those who put their trust in Him. And, unlike so many politicians and pundits, God always keeps His promises.

Over the years, I’ve struggled to see the good in certain policies of our leaders, especially those that defied the clear moral teachings of the Bible. I’ve also been disappointed when newly elected leaders who had said the right things on the campaign trail then did the opposite when it really mattered. Saint Paul reminded those believers in Thessalonica that God, unlike us, doesn’t waver. He makes His promises; He fulfills His promises. And because He fulfilled His promise to send our Savior Jesus Christ, our future is secure in Him. In the aftermath of the 2020 election, take enduring comfort in the fact that God’s vote of “Yes” for you because of Christ is the only vote that lasts (see 2 Corinthians 1:20). In the end, it’s the only vote that really matters too.

PRAYER – Dear Lord Jesus, teach us to be useful instruments in Your hands so that we might be a blessing to the culture in which we live. But never let us forget the ultimate mission of our time on this earth. It is the work of offering all people the message of eternal life that comes by grace through faith in You alone. May we also comfort each other with those words. To those ends, bless us. AMEN.

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