Gracious Living

Gracious Living

Thanksgiving has become time to celebrate family, food, football, parades, and shopping for the best deals.  For others it is a time of tradition.  It is also seen by some as the beginning of the Christmas Season.  It may be one of the busiest and stressful times of the year for some.  Perhaps in all our business we do not take or make the time to think about how we are blessed by God.  We say that we are counting our blessings and so we should because we are richly blessed.  Beyond just enumerating our blessings perhaps we should show our thankfulness for them by living graciously.

In Mark 9:35, Jesus told the Twelve, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and servant of all.”

We have been blessed and therefore we should take the time to bless others.  The greatest blessings are one’s that cannot be summed up on an adding machine but rather are the ones that we receive in service to others.  It is in serving others that we continue to become more like our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  In serving others we find a blessing far greater than the things we can accumulate because we are drawing close to the heart of God and are doing what we were created to do.

Understanding that we have blessings reveals that there is one who is blessing.  It is God that is blessing us and not of anything that we have done or it would be earned.  During this season of Thanksgiving it is not as important to count the blessings you have but to be a blessing to others and receive a great blessing through serving others.  As we consider how we have been blessed we shouldn’t linger to long but rather begin to live graciously because of our blessing.  Grace is about receiving what we do not deserve and the response to this act of God is to live graciously with those in our lives.

It is my prayer that as we honor our traditions, celebrate with family, prepare for Advent, and yes appreciate our blessings that we remember the giver of those blessings.  Our God has exercised grace in giving us far better than we deserve, and allows us to be a channel of blessings as we serve others.  In serving others we demonstrate to God our recognition of blessings, and our thankful response is gracious living.  Since we are blessed may we live graciously that others may experience His grace?

Series: Obstacles and Opportunities: Crossing Jordan-Oct. 28, 2012

Series:  Obstacles and Opportunities:  Crossing Jordan-October 28, 2012

Scripture:  Joshua 3

In examining our lives we must consider if we will see certain events and challenges as obstacles to our faith or as opportunities to trust God more through these circumstances.  It may be tempting at times to have pity on ourselves and wonder why we have such difficultly in our lives or we can choose to see that God is at work in those situations.  It may be that God wants us to experience only what He can do and so it will require faith and a moving away from ourselves to trust Him more.  The journey of faith for God’s people in biblical times as well as in our day is how do we choose to see what’s in front of us and how can we trust God more fully through this experience?

In part one of this series we are dealing with multiple problems.  Moses died and the people who remain really only know of the wilderness of 40 years and now they have a new leader Joshua and God tells them to move to take over the Promised Land.  The questions may arise as to His leadership, if God really wants them to go to the Promise Land, what about the people already living there, and how do we get the whole camp and the Ark of the Covenant across the Jordan River during flood stage?  There were many obstacles in their way, some physical and others spiritual.

We find that the people of God are given in this scripture some practical advice that would always be good for the people of God at any time.  Joshua tells the people the ark of the covenant of the Lord pass by the get up from your place and follow after it.  So when we see the presence of God at work and moving follow.  Stay back a distance so when God does move you can see and follow because it is not a way that you have been before.  Trust where God is taking us and look for where that might be and be ready to follow.

Joshua then asks the people to consecrate themselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders about you.  Do we today look with expectation for the Lord to do wonders among us, or are we only dreaming as big as we can accomplish?  The wonders may be happening but we may not be paying attention.

God called out a new leader to move the people of God and performed a miraculous wonder as a sign confirming that God was with them.  The sign was the parting of the Jordan River during the flood season just as God had done parting the Red Sea for Moses a couple of generations before.  The land that they are supposed to be going is occupied by several people groups and God tells them He will help them to overcome.

There are so many obstacles that could prevent Israel from doing what God would have them to do, but they chose the opportunity to exercise their faith.  The message for us is watch when the Lord leads, follow where He goes, prepare ourselves to respond, follow good leadership, and trust His promises will provide opportunities where others see obstacles.

Revival-Oct. 24, 2012

Revival-October 24, 2012

This week our Wednesday Wrap-up is truly a wrap up to a wonderful week of God a work through our youth community wide youth revival Saturday night through Homecoming and four nights of revival.  Dr. Bert Browning was are speaker for each of these.  We were challenged to look back as well as look ahead recognize God’s voice in calling, in crisis, and in mission for God.