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I’ve Read The Final Chapter: God Wins!

For Christ will be King until he has defeated all his enemies, including the last enemy—death. This too must be defeated and ended. 1Corinthians 15:25-26 (TLB)

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:57 (ESV)

Ah, Winning! It feels good doesn’t it?! Now everyone knows that I am unabashedly and unapologetically a Gamecock fan! So, needless to say, Saturday’s victory on the gridiron against Georgia felt oh so good! You Clemson fans… well let’s just say you should be getting bored with winning by now! (or not!) Needless to say, everybody likes to “win”. 

Sometimes, however, it feels like when it comes to our culture and our society; our world as we know it. When it comes to our convictions as Christian. When it comes to a call to do good, to love unconditionally, to advance the cause of Christ, it doesn’t exactly feel like we are “winning” does it? BUT, let me remind you that the best is yet to come! Oh, it’s true that things in this world will get worse before it is all said and done, but, make no mistake about it, in Christ the battle has already been won! Look at the graphic above… HE HAS WON!

Jesus IS coming back in victory to put an end to all of this hatred and fighting and discord to take us all home to live with Him in Heaven!

So why should I worry, why should I fret? In Him I am always a winner! Thinking of the classic Christian song:

Why should I feel discouraged
Why should the shadows come
Why should my heart feel lonely
And long for heaven and home
When Jesus is my portion

A constant friend is he
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know he watches over me

I sing because I’m happy
I sing because I’m free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know he watches me.

Live expectantly, love freely, and do good!

In His Grace,

Pastor Ben

Agape – Unconditional

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – 1 John 4:7-9, 11

Love”… How often do you say it? “I love ice cream!” “I love football!” I love boating!” I love reading!” “I love to study!” “I love YOU” “I love…” Well, you get the point. When it comes to the people in our lives that we love, can we really say it too much? Ever since she was a little girl, Brittany has ALWAYS ended even the shortest most insignificant phone conversation with me with, “I love you, bye.” (Now trust me, that has always made this daddy’s heart sing!) 

But what is love? There are so many different meanings and levels of “love”. I’m confident that most of my readers have heard of “agape love”. To the Christian it carries particular meaning and comfort. But what is it? First, what is it NOT?

It is not romantic love. Anyone, regardless of faith, or even no particular faith, even atheist, can experience “romantic love”. Furthermore, agape is not brotherly love. The bond of close feeling or chemistry, a devotion to another of like mind. Everybody from members of a civic group to members of a criminal gang can and do experience “brotherly love”. Agape love is different.

Agape is not driven nor defined by emotion. No, agape love is unconditional. It is an act of the will. It is God’s love for you. It’s like John tells us, God loved (agape) us, even while we were rebellious and guilty of the very crucifixion of His Son, and yet He sent Him anyway. Unconditional! Agape! So, we may “love” sports, or reading, or eating, or anything… but verse 11 of 1John 4 tells us, because God ‘agape’ loved us, we then must ‘agape’ love others! UNCONDITIONALLY!

Listen friends, IF we really do that… love unconditionally… the world will see in us “Church Unexpected!”

LOVE YOU, IN Christ,

Pastor Ben

A Hand to Hold

A Hand to Hold

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10 (CSB)
“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh!” he whispered. “Yes, Piglet?” “Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. “I just wanted to be sure of you.” ― A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
If you are like me, the endearing tales of Winnie the Pooh and his pals in The Hundred Acre Wood bring warm feelings and a gentle smile to your face. Pooh the “silly old bear” was at once a simple and kind misfit, profound philosopher, and consummate friend. In the above quote, an exchange between Pooh and Piglet captures the quiet comfort of friendship.
There are times, particularly in sorrow or uncertainty, when there is nothing more powerful than a gentle hand to hold. Sometimes in our effort to “minister” to someone in need we feel it necessary to “say the right thing” or offer the “perfect advice”, when, truth be known, just a reassuring hand to hold and quiet ear to listen is what is needed most!
Isaiah reminds us that no matter what we face, no matter what the circumstance, our God will never leave us! His Grace is always sufficient. His strength is constant. And… His “righteous hand” is ever extended. So, when life is tough, do like Piglet did with Pooh; “sidle up to The Lord”, “take His (paw) hand” just “to be sure” of Him!
Love like crazy!!
Pastor Ben