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Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from 2 Thessalonians 2:14-15 where the Bible says,    

14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

To be a Christian is to receive eternal life and salvation as a gift from God by faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. In our reading the Apostle Paul talks about the truth of God’s word, the Gospel truth that saves, as that which we should hold on to above all else in this world. That truth saves. That truth transforms. That truth is ultimately what we cling to and stand on especially when things get crazy in this world. But that truth also sets us apart in this world to be Christ’s people for others by the power of His Spirit. So, stand firm in Christ for others! It’s worth holding on to when the craziness of this world surrounds us.  

I heard about an incredible story of a pilot who literally learned the truth of the phrase, “Hold on for dear life.” Back in 1987 on a commuter flight from Portland, Maine to Boston the pilot, Henry Dempsey, heard an unusual noise near the rear of the plane. Dempsey turned the controls over to the co-pilot and went back to check it out. As he reached the tail section, he realized that the noise was caused by the improper latching of the rear door. Just then, the plane hit an air pocket and Dempsey was tossed against that rear door, causing it to open and to suck him out of the plane.

The co-pilot suddenly saw a red light indicating an open door on the plane and immediately radioed the nearest airport requesting permission for an emergency landing. He reported that the pilot had fallen out of the plane and wanted a helicopter to search the area. But after the plane landed, the ground crew found Dempsey holding on to the outdoor ladder of the aircraft. Somehow, he had caught the ladder. He then held on for ten minutes as the plane flew two hundred mph, descending from an altitude of 4000 feet, and survived the landing with the runway merely inches away. According to news reports, it took airport personnel several minutes to pry Dempsey’s fingers off of the ladder. That ladder saved his life. That ladder was worthy of his tenacious grip!

In a similar way, Paul is telling us that especially when it really matters, hold on to Jesus for dear life. He’s telling us that Jesus holds on to us for our dear lives. Indeed, Jesus is worthy of our undivided faith. The world calls attention to things that don’t hold, things like the politics of the day, or the illicit behaviors of the day, or the self-help psychology of the moment. In the midst of the cacophony our sinful voices, Paul calls us Christians to stand firm in our faith in Christ and His Word. Faith in Him comes to fruition in a life that is eternal. Trust placed in Him is wisdom amidst the craziness of this world. Stand firm in Christ for yourself; stand firm in Christ for others; we’ll all be blessed as we do!

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, give us courage to stand firm in our faith in You and to hold on to Your word. Grant that we not only stand firm for ourselves, but for others as well. AMEN

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