December 5, 2017

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

2 Peter 1:12-21

Peter shares timeless truths and reminds the readers and hearers of this letter of some fundamental truths concerning Christ.  He acknowledges in verse fourteen what we all should bear in mind which is, life is temporary.  He speaks of putting off of the body, or his death.  Knowing this life is temporary he intends to finish well.  Making every effort to share these things so when he is gone they may remember.

He goes on to say they did not follow cleaver schemes of man, but eternal truths of God.  They knew it was from God, because they were eyewitnesses of Christ’s majesty.  Peter and others saw, Jesus’ transfiguration, his resurrection, and going back to the Father.

The prophetic word has been confirmed in the eyewitness.  It is a light in the darkness, and Advent celebrates the light coming into the darkness.  The morning star will rise in your hearts.  Prophecies don’t come from man, but men spoke from God through the Holy Spirit.

It is good to remember our time may be limited, but our message is timeless.  Will we make every effort to share the truth of the eye witnesses?  Sharing our faith is good news of great joy and it is for all the people.  Will you share him with others this Advent Season?

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December 4, 2017

Monday, December 4, 2017

2 Peter 1:1-11

Advent is a season of promise.  The promises of ages past are coming to the fulfillment in Christ’s birth.  These are wonderful and significant promises not just of Jesus’ time but for all time.  Advent is about that time in human history but also about promises that God has made, through Jesus and will come-to-pass until Jesus’ comes again.  It is in fact through these great promises that we have become partakers of the divine nature of God.

The divine nature is about transformation (becoming more like Christ) and not transaction (receiving salvation only without transformation).  Salvation begins the process or journey.  The scripture for today describes this journey.

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.  For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  2 Peter 1:5-8

Salvation is the beginning of the transformational journey toward maturity in Christ.  This journey will change our lives and those we are around each day.  Let’s continue the journey together.

Wounded Healer-December 2017

The Wounded Healer

The holidays are upon us and for many they are not always a cheerful time. The holidays can be a painful reminder of a tough year, loved ones who are not there, or relationships that are broken and seem beyond repair.

Many have scars. Scars start as wounds. When our body is wounded it heals from the inside out eventually completing the healing process when the skin comes together, and what remains is a scar.

For those who have been wounded mentally, emotionally, or spiritually healing happens the same way, from the inside out. Some of these wounds are deep, some are not allowed to heal because they continue to be messed with.

How do we heal from these not visible wounds? From the inside out…”But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

By the wounds of Christ, we are healed! He was wounded for us, to take away our wounds and iniquities that we might heal and be made whole from the inside out. For those who have found this healing and now carry the mental, emotional, and spiritual scars, allow those scars to be balm on the wounds of others. You offer hope to those still seeking or in the process of healing. “…Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27

As the holidays approach enjoy the time if you can. Be observant to those who may be suffering. Be graceful with others who are still in the process of being grace filled. If your wounds are now scars may those scars serve as beacons of hope for those still in the process. All wounds heal from the inside out. Allow the wounded healer to bring healing and peace to your life. May Christ in us be the hope of glory.

The words of St. Francis’ Prayer say it well:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

Where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master,

Grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console;

To be understood as to understand;

To be loved as to love.

This I believe is good news for those in the process. The four weeks of Advent each have a focus Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace. These weeks are a journey were the light grows in the dark places and the healing can begin. Start with hope that you are on a journey, trust the love of the wounded healer, begin to find joy in life, and accept the peace that can rest in your heart as your wounds become scars.

God loves you!

A Thankful People-November 2017

A Thankful People
Colossians 1:3-14

Be thankful for the larger body of Christ and the work that they are doing for His Kingdom. Be thankful when we hear about their faith. Be thankful not jealous. Jealousy may be putting us at odds where God is blessing and in so doing we may be against the same kingdom we claim to love and serve also.

Paul speaks of faith, hope, and love that stored up in heaven which they have already heard about as believers, and which also God expects us to share. Remember that this gospel is already bearing fruit all over the world and you are a part of it so pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ around the world and down the street.

The gospel though does not bear fruit just through hearing alone, but also through understanding God’s grace in all its truth. We will not bear fruit through hearing alone but in understanding, accepting, and living into God’s grace. Until we understand who we are and our condition before God we do not truly understand grace. We give thanks when we understand our place and the greatness of His grace. It is this place of grace and thankfulness that we also learn to give thanks and pray for our brothers and sisters all over the world that are sharing the gospel and bearing fruit.

In learning to give thanks, we do not discover who we are but rather who God is. In giving thanks, we are able to see the blessing of others as God’s acts of grace upon their lives. Paul says, from the day they heard about the church at Colossae that they have not stopped praying for them asking God to continue to bless through knowing God’s will, spiritual wisdom, and understanding.

Why would we pray this for our brothers and sisters? So that they live a life worthy of the Lord and pleasing to Him. What is it that is pleasing to the Lord? Bearing fruit in every good work, growing in knowledge of God, and being strengthened with all power. The reason that He desires these things for us is that tough times will come and when they do we will have endurance because we have learned to trust His grace, in spite of our circumstances. We will be able to live with patience, which is not the same as tolerating something, someone, or some circumstance, but is seeing with a larger view, that one day does not make a lifetime. The current circumstances are not the final word.

Trust God and thank Him for the blessings of His presence, His grace, and the promise of Kingdom. His grace has rescued us from darkness to the Kingdom of light to share in the Kingdom of His Son. That is more than enough to give thanks not just on Thanksgiving Day, but each day. Live a life of grace because God has been gracious.

Pastor Appreciation-October 2017

Pastor Appreciation

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  Proverbs 16:24

In the past few weeks I found myself in the hospital.  There were moments of strength and weakness during those few weeks.  Though there were many things that I couldn’t control I did have a choice.  I chose to try to be the best patient that I could be to help with my recovery and to encourage those around me.  Was I good at it?  Most days I believe that I did my best.  What did I need to do?  Listen to the things the doctors and nurses told me I needed to do.  I tried to take care of what I could and only call when I had a true need.  I tried to remember each doctor and nurse by name and thank them when they came in to talk to me or help me.  An attitude of gratitude will go a long way to helping us to see things differently.

We are now rounding the corner on October.  In 1994 Focus on the Family proposed and began a Pastor Appreciation month in October.  It has been a blessing to me throughout the years.  I would like to take a moment to do something a little different.  I want to be a Pastor that expresses appreciation to his congregation.  August was a sick as I can remember being, but it was also a blessed time.  I have been able to see God working through others to minister to me.  I am so thankful to so many of you my church family and friends.  There were so many I could not remember each, but would like to thank you for the visits, calls, cards, letters, gifts, and reaching out to and helping my wife and kids deal with what is also very difficult time for them.

I am so very appreciative of the gifts or your time, presence, and prayers.  I once told someone, “we have to let people help to take care of us sometimes too.”  I know you appreciate me and my family by your love, care, and thoughtfulness during this time of my illness.  During this Pastor Appreciation Month let your Pastor express his appreciation to you, and acknowledge that I know I am appreciated each day.  Thank you for your love and faithfulness.

December 3, 2017

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Luke 21:9-19

We begin our Advent journey by remembering this is a season of anticipation.  Each year when we celebrate Advent we also acknowledge there is a second advent or coming of Christ and we still wait for his return.

The news today was much like it was in Jesus’ day.  There are political powers, news stories with all sorts of spin, religious groups, and individuals clamoring after fame and fortune.  They will do anything even at others to get what they want.

We are told when we hear of such sensationalized news, we should not be terrified.  We are told in advanced so when these things happen we can know that God is in control.

There will be many who will not want to deal with difficulties or struggle.  There may also be some who will see difficulties of life as a sign that God is either not pleased with them or worse has failed them.  Verse thirteen, mentions that during these times of difficulties, we have an opportunity to bear witness to the greatness of God and His provision for us.

What can we do or say when these difficulties come?  Trust God, “for he will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.”

Don’t be worried about the news of the day, or the persecutions of those around trust God and his wisdom.  Take the struggles as an opportunity to bear witness about God’s glory.