On the Way to Slovakia

Whew!  It’s been a long day of traveling.  Two days, actually.  My computer time is set for America, of course, and tells me that it’s 2:44 p.m.  However, it’s 8:44 p.m. here in Michalovce, and we’re all pretty tired.  We got to Neward in plenty of time yesterday, arriving before 5 p.m.  Our take off wasn’t until 8:30, so we had lots of time to rest, read, walk around the airport lounge area.

Well,I was going to try to post a couple of pictures, but my setup here isn’t going to allow it.  I’ll keep working on that, but maybe I’ll just have to wait until I get home.

The flights were all uneventful.  I will say that Lufthansa’s airbus is very nice, even in the economy section.  We were treated to a good meal, and the seats were comfortable.  The overnight flight didn’t seem to take terribly long.  I nodded off several times, but couldn’t manage to stay asleep for the whole trip.  We landed in Munich right on time, and our flight from there to Budapest also went without a hitch.

In Budapest, some of Dave’s relatives met us at the airport.  That was a surprise, since Dave hadn’t planned on seeing them until our final day before the flight back home.

Michalovce is in a beautiful area.  Here’s a shot of the surrounding countryside:

It occurs to me that I don’t have an international phone, so I may not be able to to use pictures I take with my phone until I get back home.  We’ll see.

And now, Ineed to get to bed!

One in Christ Jesus

Galatians 3:28-29. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s see, and heir according to the promise.”

Have you ever wondered how hard it was for Paul to grasp this truth that he so eloquently expressed?  He was, after all, a Hebrew of the Hebrews.  By his own admission, he believed himself to be above the Gentiles. Men were of more importance than women (except, of course, for the one woman who would bear the Messiah!). Free men were of more value than slaves. At least, that’s what he believed before he met Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus.  His whole world was turned upside down and inside out, and his thinking was rearranged when he came face to face with Jesus Christ.

Believers have no business holding themselves or anyone else as being of more worth or value than anyone else. Jesus died for all mankind. He didn’t separate out people by gender, race, or color. His blood avails for every man, every woman, who ever walked the face of this weary earth.

As believers, we are one with Christ, and one with each other. No matter how many more join the ranks of the redeemed, still the Body of Christ is One. Sometimes I’m afraid we forget, in the midst of all the turmoil in our country and our world, that when one believer is persecuted, jailed, beaten, or killed, the whole body is affected.

And when one more lost soul comes to Christ and joins the body of believers, the whole body is affected.

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Later on today, around 8 p.m., I’ll be aboard a plane with seven other team members. We’ll be flying to Slovakia, where we’ll spend about a week helping a new church work there. We’ll be sharing in some physical labor, and we’ll also be involved in church services and a three-day conference involving other churches in the area. I’m very excited to be a part of this team, and I would ask you to pray for us. Pray for unity with each other; pray for wisdom; pray for physical health and well-being; pray that the Word of God will be shared with as many people as possible.

I wish Terry could come, but that’s just not possible right now. So pray for him, too, as he faces over a week without me :)   I am going to try to blog about the trip as it unfolds, but I’m not sure about the availability of wifi, so if you don’t see any new postings until I get back home, you’ll understand why.

I’ll be 68 years old on Saturday, the Fourth, the day we’ll be landing in Budapest and getting into vans for the drive to our final destination.  That’s a pretty cool way to celebrate :)

Putting on Christ

Galatians 3:26-27. ‘For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

We become joint-heir with Jesus Christ as children of God when we put our faith in His death and resurrection as our only hope of salvation.  The baptism in verse 27 is not water baptism.  Rather, it is that function of the Holy Spirit by which we are baptized into Christ and into His body when we receive Him by grace through faith. When we do so, it is as if we had taken off the old, tattered garment of sin and replaced it with the pure white robe of Jesus Christ. We become new in Him.

There is a change.

Schoolmaster

Galatians 3:24. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

I love this verse, maybe because I was a teacher, and still am teaching in a different setting than the classroom.

The Greek word  here for schoolmaster is paidagogos, which gives us our word pedagogue. The paidagogos was a servant whose job it was to care for the children as a guardian.  One of his jobs was to take the children back and forth to school.  He wasn’t a professional teacher, but he made sure the children in his charge were being schooled, and, as I understand it,  also reviewed their lessons and helped them in memorization of the Law.

Once the children in the family reached the age of becoming legal sons, official heirs of the father, they no longer needed a schoolmaster. It was something to be celebrated, a kind of coming of age.

Once Jesus came, once His sacrifice was made, we were no longer under the authority of a schoolmaster. We were set free, by grace through faith, to become joint-heirs with Jesus Christ to all that heaven has to offer.

Think about that!

Kept Under the Law

Galatians 3:23. “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.”

Before the Law was fulfilled, in the Person of Jesus Christ, we were held in custody under the Law, waiting for that Faith to come which would free us from the Law and give us the freedom of faith in Christ. The Law was put in place to  protect, to instruct, to get us ready for the greater Grace that would come.

The Old Testament saints lived, under the law, with the hope and expectation of the coming of Messiah, Who would fulfill that Law. The Law was not considered a burden by the faithful. It’s ceremonies and rituals were a constant, comforting reminder that Messiah was coming.

Friday Counseling Issues: My Friend is Driving me Crazy!

enmesh

verb en·mesh \in-ˈmesh, en-\

: to wrap or tangle (someone or something) in a net

At one time or the other during our lives, most of us find ourselves involved in a friendship that seems wonderful at first. There are lots of common interests,  and spending time with this new friend is lots of fun. But after just a few weeks, or maybe months, we realize that the new friend has attached herself in a way that reminds us of barnacles, or sucker fish, or some other life form that grabs hold and will not let go. 

You can’t do anything with other friends.  If your new friend is not included, she will call you, text you, leave you long emotional messages while you’re out without her.

You find that you have become responsible for  your new friend’s happiness and peace of mind. She tells you, “No one has ever understood me like you do,” or “I just don’t know what I’d ever do without you. Promise me you’ll never leave me!”

If you’re married,  your new friend is critical of your husband; or perhaps she praises him to the skies until it’s really pretty embarrassing. She manages to insinuate herself into your family, becoming friendly with your children in a way that makes you more than a little uneasy.

She may start dressing like you do, or fixing her hair like yours. She may ask you to help her pick out some new clothes for her because you have such marvelous taste.  She wants to know what shampoo you use, what perfume–you always smell so nice!–and what you’re making for dinner that night.

At first, all this devotion may seem sweet, even make you feel very special. It isn’t long, however, before you realize you’ve become entangled with an emotionally unhealthy person, and you desperately want to get out of the friendship. Trouble is, you’re a really kind person and you don’t want to hurt her feelings.

Or maybe there’s a person in your life who loves to call you every day, keeping you on the phone for hours at a time to talk about HER problems–never yours.  You make suggestion, but nothing ever changes.  How do you stop the calls?

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Okay, I’ve set the scene.  I’m going to try something different this week and ask you: “What would you do?  How would you extricate yourself?”  Let’s talk about this, see if we can come up with some ways that will really work.

And please be kind.  This is not a place for name-calling or foul language. Let’s just get a good conversation going!