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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 passage is Philippians 3:12-14, where St. Paul writes this about himself:

 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.


Each Monday and Friday, we continue to send you our LCRL’s “Word from the Center.” On Monday, it is a devotional, encouraging word from the Bible. On Friday, it’s more like a “Two-Kingdom” Op-ed piece which comments on an issue of the day; it demonstrates how to apply Jesus’ call to “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” in our own day and culture (Matthew 22:21). In so doing, we put our temporal liberties to work in service to the eternal liberties of Christ. But why should we send you both? Why Monday AND Friday? Why not just the Two-Kingdom opinion page or more news from Washington, D.C.? Why a devotion too? With all that has happened this last year, that might be self-explanatory! But let me share with you “why” nonetheless.

Each week, the LCRL engages the fundamental cultural/political issues in our country as an advocate of our church. We need to be well versed in knowing God’s preserving work in our communities, our country, and even the world. But that work is ultimately for the sake of the clear, continued, public teaching of the Good News of Jesus for all. In other words, it is in service to His saving work. Above all the noise, we share with you the ministry of being Christ’s encouraging presence amidst a world full of sin, destruction, and death. You see, the ultimate encouragement, “the peace of God that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), doesn’t come from our efforts, our works, or our policies. Instead it comes through the person and work of Jesus Christ alone, delivered through His means of grace which come to us in His Word, the Bible. That’s why we at the LCRL start each week with a Monday Devotional, a saving and encouraging Word. Then we share wisdom based upon God’s preserving Word on Friday. It’s a both/and thing!

St. Paul reminds us today that the ultimate goal of life remains the heavenward prize of eternal life that comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. This side of heaven, that goal is often challenged, undermined, silenced, and even persecuted. In the midst of all that, Paul makes sure that we know the life-persevering gifts of our Savior and the persevering nature of faith in Him. Faith in Jesus means that we can trust that the struggles of the moment are nothing compared to blessings that are yet to come. So, today, be encouraged by the fact that the power of that faith does not reside in how much or how strong we believe. No, the power of faith is its object! And when the object of faith is the crucified and resurrected Lord Jesus, the One who has prepared a place for everyone who puts their faith IN HIM (see John 14:2), we can face whatever comes our way with the persevering strength and wisdom that faith in Jesus provides.

So, BE ENCOURAGED today with faith in the One who created and redeemed the universe, who sacrificed all so that you and I could live forever with Him. BE ENCOURAGED today because even though things may not look like “all is well,” God himself is at work in the world in two distinct ways to preserve and ultimately to save. And, finally, BE FURTHER ENCOURAGED by the very Words of the One who lived, died, and rose again for you. Often in places like Washington, D.C., one realizes pretty quickly how few people keep their word or offer an encouraging message that endures. That’s why we start you off every Monday with an encouraging word from the Bible that empowers each of us to persevere through the week, even as it instills hope that lasts. Bank on it and look for it every Monday, right here!

PRAYER – Dear Lord Jesus, give us courage to be a faithful people in a faithless world. Let us be an honoring people in a world that very seldom honors anyone but self. Give us humility to be a believing people in an unbelieving world so that others might get to know You as Lord and Savior. AMEN.

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