Hopeful Saints

This past Sunday I was on vacation visiting my younger daughter and her husband in South Carolina, so I got to attend a different church and hear a different pastor preach.  I always enjoy this — seeing what other saints are doing and how they are thinking.  The message was a good one, a reminder that as saints we can be hopeful.

Many people today are fearful — they are afraid of their own death, and they are afraid that the world will end through some man-created catastrophe — global warming, nuclear war, an unstoppable plague etc..  These fears have always been around, and so far it hasn’t happened.  The Bible actually tells us that although the world as we know it will come to an end, it’s not our job to predict or worry about how it will happen. When that day comes, it will be like a thief in the night — something we probably aren’t expecting at all.

The best news that as Christians, we know that the end of our life or even the end of  the world will actually be a blessing.  Why?  Well, when that happens all God’s saints will be:

  • Raised
  • Reunited
  • Restored
  • Rewarded

The Bible tells us that our bodies will be resurrected.  We will be ourselves, but without the aches and pains, the sinful desires, the anxiety and depression that we experience now.  We will be reunited, with Christian friends and family members who have gone before us.  We will get a chance to meet some of the great cloud of witnesses–saints of the Bible or from history that we admire.  What would you like to ask Martin Luther?  or Mother Teresa?  or the apostle Paul?  The world itself will be restored to it’s pre-fall condition.  I guess that means no disease, no destructive weather, no failed crops.  The most beautiful scenery we have ever seen will be surpassed by the beauty of God’s world in that day.  Finally, we’ll be rewarded by the continuing presence of our Lord.  What could be better than that?

As saints, we have nothing to fear.  We can be hopeful.  God will never leave us or forsake us.

“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4

 

 

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The Attitude of This Saint

Recently, it has come to my attention that I need an attitude check.  Yeah, we use that on teenagers, or at least, I used that on mine.  You see, I’ve been walking around with these thoughts that I should quit certain activities because I didn’t like the way they were being led.  I didn’t want to be a part of that, it’s taking up too much of my time, etc.

Then there is my work.  I’m an older lady that just got a new boss that is the same age as my YOUNGEST son.  Yup, there is a clash there.  I could handle it if he seemed a bit more mature, but he is such a millennial!! But he is my boss….

In my quiet time I read this in Ephesians 4:

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

The NIV uses the word attitude; the ESV uses the word Spirit.  I like the one with the word attitude.  I’ve been shown that I need to change my attitude about these events and I’m sure I’ll be at this for awhile.  I should have the activities and my boss in my prayers and drop the self-righteous attitude, because that’s what it is.  Believe me the self righteousness just crept up on me and I didn’t realize that is really what this was until recently.

So, be careful out there, saints!!!  We may be saints but we shouldn’t be self righteous!!

Living With the Saints

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18

Let’s face it, the saints aren’t always easy to live with.  If they were, St. Paul would not have to give us the instruction above from the book of Romans. They gossip and brag, complain and criticize (sins of the tongue are so easy to come by).  They can be stubborn, impatient, hypocritical and unreliable.  Some have personalities that just don’t jive with our own– maybe they seem blunt, controlling, demanding or unreasonable.  These things are all part of our “sinner” nature.

Funny, isn’t it, that Paul doesn’t tell us to change them  He also doesn’t tell us to give up and leave the church.  He tells us to be peaceful within ourselves. What does that mean?  Here are some ideas:

  1. Empathize with others as human beings.  You don’t always know what sort of day, or life, another person has been enduring.
  2. Give people the benefit of the doubt.  Something that offends you may not have been intended in the way you understood it.
  3. Don’t respond in anger.  You’ll probably regret it later.  Take time to cool down before you speak.
  4.  If you are truly upset by something another said or did, go and talk to them privately and nonconfrontationally.  You may be surprised at the results.
  5. Remember that everyone isn’t like you (my husband tells me this all the time!).  We all have different levels of spiritual maturity, different priorities, life experiences and interests.
  6. Remember your own sins.  I know I have my full share of irritating habits, so I should be willing to forgive as I have been forgiven, by other people and by God.
  7. Finally (and I should have put this first), pray.  Don’t ask God to change the person, but pray that they would be blessed, and that you will come to love and understand them.  Then leave them (and your hurt or anger) in God’s hands.

These are some things that have helped me, but I’d like to hear from others.  What are your strategies for living with the saints?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on the Community of Saints

“The community of the saints is not an ‘ideal’ community consisting of perfect and sinless men and women, where there is no need of further repentance. No, it is a community which proves that it is worthy of the gospel of forgiveness by constantly and sincerely proclaiming God’s forgiveness”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

If you have never read Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I highly recommend it as a realistic look at living in the Christian communion of saints.

 

Who Me?

I’m a Saint?  No way….  I am no where near sainthood.  I struggle with so much, daily Bible reading, daily prayer, loving on everyone I meet.  I can’t be a Saint.  But the Bible says I am.

When I hear the word saint I think of Theresa of Calcutta.  Now there is a Saint, working in Calcutta to help the poor.  Wow.  What about the missionaries out there who risk their lives everyday to bring Christ to the world?  I don’t measure up.  I can’t be a saint.  But the Bible says I am.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

OH.  I’m a Saint through Grace!  Thank the Lord.  I know that I’d never measure up.