I have AIDS. No really, I have aides.

Older Readers will licikely remember when Magic Johnson shocked the world with his sudden and startling announcement, which ended his professional basketball career. Magic had AIDS. Since there was no known cure, his lifestyle ended his outstanding athletic achievements.
For those interested, Wikipedia helps us remember: “… Johnson retired abruptly in 1991 after announcing that he had contracted HIV, but returned to play in the 1992 All-Star Game, winning the All-Star MVP Award. After protests from his fellow players, he retired again for four years, but returned in 1996, at age 36, to play 32 games for the Lakers before retiring for the third and final time.”
Readers who know me will be equally shocked at words which sound exactly the same. I have aides. I first contracted aides in upstate New York as a result of my catastrophic injury. I was no longer able to care for myself and the demands were well beyond the abilities of my family. So it was necessary for me to receive help – I needed aides.
Don’t miss my point here. Little things can make a great difference. There is a great difference between AIDS and aides!
There’s also a great difference among aides. My chief aid is my beloved help-fi Cmate who has been my faithful life companion for over 45 years. She is my chief helper in more ways than I often realize. She has truly given of herself, sacrificing many pleasures and pursuits as she has followed the Lord, been a wonderful helpmate to me and kind and loving mother to our children.
I have been blessed with a host of other helpers as well: children and grandchildren, friends (faithful “old friends” and many new ones, especially from church). I thank God for the loving assistance and care. He has provided for me through each one of them.
Further, I have the benefit of professional aides provided through the Veterans Administration. Included here is a very faithful morning helper who has been with us for over two years.
So I am very grateful to be able to confess and announce that I have aides – not AIDS!
Getting back to my original point, little things (like the letter “e”) often make a huge difference. This is especially true when it comes to understanding the Bible (or anything else I suppose). Little words which are placed or positioned before (pre-) a noun are called prepositions describe relationships and give depth of understanding.
So, when it comes to understanding something give careful attention to the prepositions. This is especially true when reading and studying the Bible. Let me illustrate. Frequently when I make an acquaintance, I am asked about my occupation. When I reveal that I have been a pastor, I hear words to the effect “Oh, I believe in God.”
What does it mean to believe in God? Does it merely mean that God is – that God exists? The Bible says that even the demons believe that there is a God – and shutter!
Some people think that God is good and so he will (or should) save everyone. Other people say they believe in God and actually mean that they are trusting in Jesus. When asked to explain, their thinking goes something like this: Jesus is God – the words God and Jesus mean the same thing; believing is having faith in or trusting.
Still others may know the words of the apostle Paul: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8, ESV)
In order to better understand this verse, it is necessary to consider its context – in other words, to listen in on the complete discussion. Paul has been thanking God for his gracious and glorious works of salvation. He has praised the work of the triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit in providing salvation for sinners. He has just praised God for providing spiritual life to sinful, disobedient people who are dead in their rebellion and transgression of God’s law.
Paraphrasing the above verse: Believer in Jesus, God has graciously saved you on the basis of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, who took your penalty and in whom you have trusted. Even this though, is not something you have done – for God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit have done everything necessary to save you from his wrath or anger against sinners.
But believing in Jesus is more than forgiveness from sin. God has created us and saved us in order for us to be followers of Jesus, who do good things in his name. Believing in Jesus involves obeying him, serving him, pleasing him and sharing them with others.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10, ESV)
So, I thank the Lord for aides. I am so very grateful for my faithful and loving aide, who has been my helpmate. I also thank the Lord for the aid of my family and friends as well as the aid provided through the agency of the VA. But most of all I’m thankful for the aid of God my Savior, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He has brought me into union with him and will keep me secure forever.
Westminster Larger Catechism
Q. 79 May not true believers, by reason of their imperfections, and the many temptations and sins they are overtaken with, fall away from the state of grace?
True believers, by reason of the unchangeable love of God, and his decree and covenant to give them perseverance, their inseparable union with Christ, his continual intercession for them, and the Spirit and seed of God abiding in them, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
(Proof texts from the Bible available at reformedconfessions.com/westminster-daily/06/11)

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