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!
Let’s have a party at church.
Yes, let’s have a New Year’s party!
Now to those of you who have a “service” on New Year’s Eve: this may not be for you. You may already get it. But for the rest of us….
The church should have a party. Let’s share what Jesus has done for us. Let’s eat together (have communion) Let’s share, and laugh and sing, and even dance (innocently of course.) Let’s celebrate. For those who can’t celebrate at the moment, just being in the company of friends may soothe a sad heart.
The point is this: the church should be the center of all life. Even on New Year’s eve the church family can share life together. We should be the kind of people that want to spend time together. Let’s celebrate what God has done in our lives this 2014 and look forward to what God wants to do through us in 2015. We don’t need to booze it up- Jesus has satisfied us and we don’t need to get drunk or high to make us feel good.
I pray the Lord gives me opportunity to do this as a church leader…right now I am not in the position to do so. I pray that God will open up the door for me to bring Jesus and the church to the center of our everyday lives. That’s what Jesus meant when he said to, “Go out into all the world and make disciples of all nations.” I am tired of the church- that is the Body of Jesus- being second or third or last in our everyday lives. Our Christianity should pervade every part of our lives-school, work, celebrations and social arenas- and in that way we can invite others into the goodness and the hope we have. Let’s be so open that all can see the life- and the hope- we have.
So, let’s have a party…at church.
I pray that the Lord will continue to speak to each one of you!
May the Lord bless you, keep you and make His face shine upon you…and give you peace…
Happy New Year, 2015!
Jesus came to the earth, as God with Us- fully God and fully man. As Jesus walked the earth He gave hope and healing. He then gave His life and took the punishment for the sins of all humanity. Being short sighted, the Disciples were distraught thinking that Jesus was no longer with them. But was He gone? No, He was still God with us, though He died, he arose three days later, returning to them in a glorified body.
Hope and joy again. He walked and talked with them for forty days. Then He said he was leaving again. Really? Again that feeling of desperation came upon them. But He said,
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
And He did. Jesus sent His Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and He never left us again. He is truly with us at all times.
Let me repeat. He is with us all the time. He is just as much with us now as He was when He walked the earth with Peter, James, John, His family, and perhaps even more so.
One of the mistakes of modern times is that we think God is not here simply because we don’t see Him. On the contrary, God is with us constantly. He is as present as the objects you see before your eyes now. We don’t question the existence of microwave radiation or UV waves. The same could be said of gravity, wind, and other scientific phenomenon. We see evidence of their effects, are told they are real and that is enough for us. God moves among us, we sense His spirit and see Him do great works in the hearts and lives of men, yet we often doubt or forget He is truly with us at this very moment.
This idea of God being with us was first introduced to me as a young Catholic girl. Every week I would attend CCD- Catholic Catechism and Doctrine class after school at my local parish of Saint Thomas Aquinas of South Philadelphia. I was astounded when the lay teacher told me that Jesus lived within my heart. I asked, “Really? He lives within my heart…my heart?” and tapped my chest. She said “Yes, your heart, right here” and pointed at my chest. I was so surprised and shocked and overjoyed! What an idea!
He lives within my heart! He is present. God with us- He’s right here, right now.
This means that He can speak to us and guide us all the time. He is here for a reason. He is not here to be quiet. He is here to guide, comfort, and give wisdom and power. He will speak to us on a daily basis, too, if you would just listen and believe. As a woman leading ministry, a middle school teacher and a mom of teenaged sons I find it invaluable to listen to the voice of God in regards to daily decisions. His presence makes my burdens light, and my work and ministry are successful only because of His leadership in my life. He guides and comforts. I just couldn’t do life without His presence in my life. I speak to Him and look for His guidance, and He answers through the still small voice in my heart.
As we celebrate this Christmas season, let’s remember the reason we are celebrating: because He is in our lives. He has redeemed us to bring us back to Him. Why would He then leave us? No, He is here. He is now. He is truly God with Us.
Joy to the world. The Lord has come! Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room.
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 🙂