September 2018

               Boy, it’s been hot. Hasn’t it? It’s not as if that is a surprise in this part of the world in which we call home, but the triple digit temps are a bit more unbearable than even we are used to. When I got in my truck to come to church this past Sunday evening the temperature said 108˚. That’s hot! Just a couple of months ago it seems we were enjoying the occasional cooling showers of late spring and early summer. Even then I kept thinking; “Just wait till August!” I’m sure you were thinking the same thing.

                But the Texas heat is not the only thing that seems really hot these days. It just seems to me that we living in “heated” times. Tensions are high. Fuses are short. And folks just seem hot about a lot of things. The political temperature is extremely heated right now with the barometer rising on all sides, and because the climate is so hot civil discourse and healthy discussion is nearly impossible. Racial tensions seem hotter than we have seen in years, and folks are running around calling each other “racist” sometimes without provocation. People are drawing up sides in the racial divide and it has become so heated that it incites violence, rioting and civil unrest in some part of our country. Things are heated up globally too! In the Middle East the unrest continues with Islamic Extremists in Iran, Syria and Turkey. On the other side of the globe there is North Korea, where at the time things seem to have cooled down for the moment, but that hot box seethes just under the surface. Europe is feeling the heat of terrorism with recent and rising attacks. Our world is a “hot-box.” It just seems the climate of our world is extremely heated right now.

                There is a song I use to sing to my kids when they were young that was popularized by a 60’s rock back called “The Lovin’ Spoonful.” Maybe you remember them. They sang a song called “Summer in the City.” I always thought the lyrics were funny, and I used to sing it to my kids all the time, “Hot town, summer in the city, back of my neck getting dirty and gritty. Been down, isn’t it a pity? Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city. All around, people looking half dead, walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head.” The heat gets to us, doesn’t it? It affects us, how we feel, how we react, how we do life!

                Why does it surprise us that things are so “hot” and “heated” around us? Why does the heated climate of our world and the world situation catch us so off guard? Just as one living in central Texas knows it’s going to get “hot” in the summer, ought we not to know that living in this fallen world things are going to get “hotter” still. Peter said in 1 Peter 4:12close1 Peter 4:12 Suffering as a Christian 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. (ESV) close1 Peter 4:12close1 Peter 4:12 Suffering as a Christian 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. (ESV) Suffering as a Christian 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. (ESV) ,  Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.” Don’t we, as believers, know things are going to get hot? And even more than that, how are we as believers, to navigate and handle the heat of our day? How should we respond and react in the midst of all this “heat” around us? Walk around “hotter than a match head,” as The Lovin’ Spoonful suggested?

                Can I tell you?  I think we are to keep our heads and hold to the refreshing, soothing and cooling promises of God and His Word. The Apostle Paul says to a believer in Ephesians 5:15-16closeEphesians 5:15-16 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (ESV) closeEphesians 5:15-16closeEphesians 5:15-16 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (ESV) 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (ESV) , “See then that you walk circumspectly (cautiously), not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” And Paul repeatedly calls Christians to live “soberly” or “sober-minded” in this heat-stroke prone world (1 Thes, 5:6,8; 1 Tim. 3:2closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST'closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST'; Titus 1:8, 2:2, 2closeTitus 1:8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. Titus 2:2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Titus 2:2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. (ESV) closeTitus 1:8closeTitus 1:8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. (ESV) but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. Titus 2:2closeTitus 2:2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. (ESV) Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Titus 2:2closeTitus 2:2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. (ESV) Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. (ESV) :6, 2:12).  In other words, Christian, don’t get a “heat-stroke” in this heated up world in which we live.  Fix your eyes on Jesus, who is still on His throne, who is still very much in control, who is not caught off-guard by the heated climate of this world.  I love that!  When the rest of the world is sweltering in the heat of our day, we as believers can rest in the cooling shade of the sheltering arms of our Savior and His promises. That’s good! Here is how God says it through the Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 49:10closeIsaiah 49:10 10 they shall not hunger or thirst,
neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them,
for he who has pity on them will lead them,
and by springs of water will guide them. (ESV)
closeIsaiah 49:10closeIsaiah 49:10 10 they shall not hunger or thirst,
neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them,
for he who has pity on them will lead them,
and by springs of water will guide them. (ESV)
10 they shall not hunger or thirst,
neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them,
for he who has pity on them will lead them,
and by springs of water will guide them. (ESV)
in speaking of His people, us, They (believers) shall neither hunger nor thirst, neither heat nor sun shall strike them; for He who has mercy on them will lead them, even by the springs of water He will guide them.”  And listen to the Prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 17:8closeJeremiah 17:8 He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (ESV)
closeJeremiah 17:8closeJeremiah 17:8 He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (ESV)
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (ESV)
, “For he (the believer, child of God) shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” In this heat filled world that’s just pretty “cool” isn’t it?  So rest in His shade and don’t let heat get to you. The cooler months are ahead.                    I love you, Bro. Buddy