Saturday, April 6, 2013

Stand Firm by Martin Wiles

His posture gave him a nickname still recorded in history books.

Thomas Jackson is one of the most well known Confederate generals of the American Civil War after Robert E. Lee. Though he excelled in many battles, the First Battle of Bull Run gave him the nickname “Stonewall.” As Confederate lines crumbled under Union assault, Jackson’s brigade continually provided reinforcements leading General Bee, Jr., to remark; “There is Jackson standing like a stone wall.” It was good news in a devastating time.

Believers in Thessalonica stood firm. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord (I Thessalonians 3:8 NIV).

Despite distress and persecution, Paul was encouraged by Timothy’s report of their strong faith and love. He hoped they would continue living blamelessly and holy as they awaited the Lord’s return.

Trials, temptations, persecution, sickness, and emotional struggles have a way of stealing our focus and leading to addictive crutches. While God never initiates what contradicts His nature, He allows an assortment of whatever accomplishes His ultimate goal of forming us into His Son’s image.

Washing blue jeans too often diminishes color and durability. Washing them less and turning them inside out when washing leads to a longer lifespan. God turns us inside out by using experiences we’d rather avoid.

Holy and blameless living begins on the inside and works its way out. Thoughts produce feelings which in turn birth actions. Genuine change never proceeds in the opposite direction.

Reflection: With God’s help, choose thoughts that produce holy actions.

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