If God is willing to send a part of himself -his very son Jesus- down to the earth to sacrifice his life for you and for me and for all humanity- to give it unto death- then he is worthy to be trusted with the large and small issues in your life. (Would you give your life if you were completely innocent for those who were not? That must be love!) You can trust God. Give God your heart (your affections, your inner man, your past, your future) and receive the love He has for you as shown by this selfless and pure sacrifice. When you trust God, He will give you a real peace and joy of heart – a new life- that you have never experienced before. It is an amazing thing.
As Jesus resurrected, we do as well when we put our faith in God. We get a new lease on life so to speak. We are actually made new.
Have a happy Easter because of this good news!
Don’t just attend church service this Sunday. EMBRACE a relationship with God.
Come EXPECTING a true and real touch from the Holy Spirit.
Come expecting the Lord to touch your soul as you WORSHIP Him.
Come ready to enter Into the fullness of His presence and Word as expressed in the Scriptures. Don’t just read through the Scriptures, take them into your being. SOAK them in.
Don’t go to church out of obligation or ritual, come to the house of the living God and be made NEW, be made REFRESHED, be made RESTORED.
God is REAL, so when you are truly in His presence, by FAITH, you have no choice but to be CHANGED.
One of the things that really bother me sometimes is silence- silence about the hard things: those difficult and controversial topics that we see and hear around us.
When Jesus walked the earth, He did not shy away from the hard things. Why do we?
Humanity needs the church to step up and address such things. Not in a judgmental way, but lovingly and truthfully. Yes, the Bible has already addressed these things but not everyone reads or understands it in it’s correct context, right? So as leaders, ministers and scholars in the church we need to bring the truth to the forefront. We need to talk about things and behaviors that are hurting people, destroying families and killing our culture. We can’t be shy. We can’t be quiet.
Why are we quiet? Why do we more often talk about the things that are less important? Maybe, just maybe, this is why some of our churches are empty, or ineffective.
If we love others we will warn them of dangers ahead, right? If someone is walking off a cliff won’t we try to stop them? Should we say…
“If you want to do it who am I to judge.”
“It’s not my business.”
“I can’t talk about that.”
“I don’t have time.”
“They will be angry.”
“If I say something then they would know… I did the same thing.”
Why are we quiet? Good question. Any answers?
Lord, help us address the hard things. Make us speak up. Make us shout the dangers ahead, especially if we have already been there and know truly how bad it is. Help us save our children, our neighborhoods, our communities. Our world.
Thank you, Lord. With your help we can talk about the hard things. Give us strength and wisdom and the power of Your might and Word. Amen!
It’s Sunday. An icy one at that. No church today at Five Rivers due to dangerous road and parking lot conditions.
But that will not change the Sabbath. The Sabbath: “A day of rest.” Oh how I am grateful for that! Can you imagine working each and every day without one day of rest?! Everyone likes that idea.
However the Sabbath is more than that. It is the day to love and honor God. One day out of our seven you are to give exclusively to God. If you don’t pray and worship God on the other six days of the week, you’d better do it at least this one day. God should get one day of your attention.
The Sabbath is not optional. Commandment five: Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. God demands the Sabbath. However, He made it for your good to nurture your body, mind and spirit. Just like you demand your children to do certain things- not out of your own selfishness, but out of your love and care for them.
God deserves the Sabbath. He deserves some of you. He made you and everything around you. He has provided everything you need. From your great need of salvation to your simplest need for daily bread, and everything else in between: friends, beauty, love, children, companionship, nature, space, pets, water, laughter, comfort, provision, healing…
You need the Sabbath. Not only does your body need a day of rest, but your spirit needs God. Every human being is made with a spiritual component. You cannot deny there is a spirit part of man. It is this part that especially needs God, and without your relationship to God, the rest of your being- your physical, mental and emotional parts- will suffer. When you refocus spiritually- when you look to God, He reveals your spiritual condition.
Others need you to keep the Sabbath. When you refocus spiritually you see the needs around you, and not just your own. Society needs the Sabbath.
I will keep the Sabbath today even if I don’t go to church. I will pray and read God’s Word. When my clan wakes up we’ll read and pray as a family. We’ll sing an old hymn together (even to the sighs of my teenaged sons.) We’ll worship together. Then I’ll rest the remaining of the day as much as I am able.
Later on, of course, I’ll have to make dinner, do laundry and get ready for a new week, and my “resting” will have to come to an end. This evening, out of necessity, I will begin preparing for tomorrow- I will write some lesson plans and grade a few papers. I’ll check my sons’ school work and help them get ready for the week. At the end of the day, as I lay my head to rest I will thank God for this day and lay everything into His hands and sleep. Tomorrow morning, I will be off as a shot. So for today, I will rest as much as I am able.
Remember that God made the Sabbath for us, to help us. We are not made for the Sabbath. We are not a slave to it. The Sabbath was made so we can get some rest, recharge, and refocus. Do as much of this as you can.
So it’s Sunday. A day of rest. Thank God.
By the way, if you are working on Sunday, that’s ok. Just give yourself (and God) another day to be your Sabbath- pick a day, any day.
Ok, back to resting…before everyone else in my house wakes us 🙂
There are a multitude of philosophies this time of year. If there is one thing about growing older is this: you’ve tried it all. So my philosophy for the New Year after trying and considering so many is this… Be ready to complete the calling in your heart.
I know some of you say, the heart is deceptively wicked above all things– you can’t listen to your heart. This is true to a certain extent. However, you CAN listen to your heart provided it is guided by God’s Spirit. I believe there is one ultimate truth- a timeless truth which has spanned millennia in both spoken and written form and changed the course of history unlike anything else. As long as your heart is guided by God’s truth you can listen to it.
God has formed each and every one of you and He guides you. That guidance is found in written form. So read it.
When you stop reading God’s Word you get off course. Your focus is off. Bad attitudes creep into your heart, eventually wrong words slip from your tongue and bad behavior is seen in your life. God’s Word keeps you on a straight path.
For those of you who are unaccustomed to God’s Word, what we call “The Bible,” the basic – and even not so basic- truths are there. Do not get caught up in all the accounts in the Hebrew Scriptures, or the Old testament. They need to be read with wisdom, discernment and understanding of history. Begin with the Christian Scriptures, the New Testament, where you will find simple grace and love and mercy and (more) easily understandable guidelines for life.
And then PRAY, and do what God is telling you on a personal level. Listen to what God tells you in your heart. You know God is the one who gives you dreams and aspirations, right? As long as they are good, noble and are not (selfishly) ambitious. If your heart is right then listen to it. Go for it! Complete your aspirations and follow the path set for you.
Last night I was talking to a bright young college sophomore. He is an engineering student at the University of Delaware who is also in the ROTC (Recruit Officers Training Corp) program. He is the son of a friend and also happens to be a friend of my own son. They have grown up together. I asked him how things were going at the university and can you guess his answer? He didn’t give the pat, plastic face answer we often give (because it hides our weakness and struggle) of “fine.” He gave an honest answer. He said, with a smile, that it was hard. I admire that, and from his demeanor and watching him grow up and knowing he has faith, I am confident he is on the path God has for him. God doesn’t always give us easy assignments, usually they are hard. Life is usually hard. But when you are on the path God has for you there is purpose, direction and a deep joy, that we can call contentment. When you are on the right path, even if it is difficult at times, you can do it. When you are doing what your heart tells you to do, knowing that God has directed your heart, then you are ready for the New Year.
So are you ready for the New Year? Get in touch with your Maker. Walk in truth and love and follow the leadings in your heart.
But what if you don’t see the necessity in following God’s will for your life? Then consider the following parable Jesus told as written in the Gospel according to Matthew, verses 1 to 25.
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.
The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out:
‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
This passage, in particular, speaks to God’s people, those who have devoted their lives to Him. You must be ready and waiting to meet him at any moment doing what He has called you to do. Otherwise you are NOT ready. Lord, have mercy if we are not.
I am so thankful that when I have not been ready to meet Him, He has been patient and guided me. When He speaks to you, be sure to listen. Be ready.
Have a happy New Year 2014 and God’s blessings to you!
Forgive all my typos and bad grammar…I wanted to get this out today, the last day of 2013. Love to all.