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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Excellent and Praise Worthy

Last week, I wrote about the first part of Philippians 4: 6-9.

 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

This week I want to tackle the last part that begins with ‘Finally brothers…’ We are given a list of items to focus on; noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.’ You’ll notice each word is something we consider to be positive. When we focus on these traits, it is hard to be anxious, fearful, or worried. They allow us to look at the world through God’s eyes and what He wants for us; peace in Him.

It doesn’t mean that life is always going to rosy and nothing bad will ever happen; because that’s not true. We live in a fallen world where very bad things do happen every day, every hour, every minute. It just means that when we are focused on God, He will lead us through each situation.
Peter is a good illustration of this. When the storm came up on the lake. Peter heard Jesus calling to him. Peter climbed out of the boat and began to walk towards Jesus and while he kept His eyes on Jesus, Peter was okay. But the moment he looked down and realized he was on the water, he began to sink.

The story illustrates what happens when we take our eyes off of Jesus. We will sink. Every time.

The final instruction begins with the word, “Whatever…”We must put into practice what we learn in this set of scriptures. Not just for one day, but for the rest of our lives. There will be times when we keep our eyes on Jesus, but other times when we’ll forget like Peter and begin to sink.

Did Jesus let Peter drown? No. He pulled him to safety. Jesus will always protect us and pull us to safety, if only we acknowledge Him and turn our eyes to Him.



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Whose Voice are You Listening to?




"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everthing, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,  will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:6-9.

This is one of my favorite set of verses. It is multi-faceted like a diamond. You look at it one way and see beautiful luster and then you look at it another way and are stunned by the beauty found in, and from, that angle. No matter which way you look at it, you find another dimension of beauty. I will share a bit of the beauty I see in these verses today and then add more thoughts next week.

Anxiousness is a cancer that eats away at our very core. We worry. We plan. We scheme to make sure everything is secure in our lives. We fret about the amount of money we make. We worry about our children and the decisions they make. We wring our hands in fretfulness about the world and all the chaos in it. Did you see any words that made you sqirm? Anxious, worry, scheme, fret.

These words conjure up pictures of constant uneasiness both physically and mentally. Have you ever watched a dog with a bone or towel? Our dog has an old towel and she will lay with it for a fairly long time and just chew on it. Her total focus is on that object. I envision a person walking back and forth wringing their hands together. Nothing can enter that person's mind except the issue causing the concern.

The second half of this first statement tells us to take everything to God. We must give Him our concerns. We mustn't hide from God what is bothering us. He desires for us to tell Him, but we must turn to Him, give Him our focus, knowing he understands and will care for us and the situation. And what will happen if we do that? The peace of God will envelop us and give us comfort and strength.

I saw the following on the web. I don't know who to attribute it to but it goes like this:

God's voice stills you.                    Satan's voice rushes you.
God's voice leads you.                   Satan's voice pushes you
God's voice reassures you.             Satan's voice frightens you.
God's voice enlightens you.           Satan's voice confuses you.
God's voice encourages you.         Satan's voice discourages you.
God's voice comforts you.             Satan's voice worries you.
God's voice calms you.                  Satan's voice obsses you.
God's voice convicts you.              Satan's voice condemns you.

Which voice do you listen to?


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Your Plans or God's Plan?



“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and hope—never forget that. At that time, you will call out for Me, and I will hear. You will pray, and I will listen. You will look for Me intently, and you will find Me.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13     The Voice      

 

I know a lot of people don’t think God cares about them, but in His Word, the Bible, there are many verses that contradict that assumption. Right here in Jeremiah is one example of God’s love and compassion for His people. His plans are for ‘peace and not for evil”. He tells us that! His plan was set in place in the Garden but Adam and Eve broke trust with Him. Sin entered the world. Nothing has ever been the same since. There has never been a time when there was peace in this world. Adam and Eve’s sin was just the beginning. One of their sons killed the other and hatred entered the world. Did God create that? NO! The one who deceived Eve and Adam brought pride and greed into the world as well. And throughout time it has continued.

But God had a plan. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, the sacrificial offering to provide a way for us to return to God was given. God gave each of us a future and hope. He tells us to never forget that. When we talk to Him, He listens. If we seek Him, we will find Him, and that, my friend, is best plan in the whole world!


 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Every Day should be a Day of Rejoicing


"The last few days have been awesomely beautiful here in the SW corner of Washington (the state). The sunrises, spring birds out and about singing their hearts out.  Walking our dog, I marvel at the sights and sounds. Then in the late afternoon, as I return from my job, I walk the park with our dog and visit with my neighbors and their dogs. Later, when all is settling in for the night, I walk again one last time; listening to the frog chorus in the fields around us and marvel at the brilliant stars in the sky. Polaris, Orion and so many others. I feel blessed."

I wrote this on my Facebook status a few nights ago. I did feel blessed. But then I got to thinking, I should feel blessed every day. God gives us every day and we are blessed because of that, but many days we don’t feel like it’s that way. I know it’s hard when we’re going through a rough patch, when the weather is lousy, or we lose a job, or a friend, or the car broke down, or any number of reasons. But the following two verses speaks to me about how I should view each day and life in general.


This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.      ~Psalm 118:24 NIV

So who can separate us? What can come between us and the love of God’s Anointed? Can troubles, hardships, persecution, hunger, poverty, danger, or even death? The answer is, absolutely nothing. But no matter what comes, we will always taste victory through Him who loved us.

~ Romans 8:35, 37



Isn't that comforting to know? Do you believe this? What makes you feel blessed?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Waiting to be Completed

“Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing.” 
~James 1:2-3.  The Voice

These words are hard to read and even harder to embrace. None of us desire to have hardships in our lives. But, as we well know, hardships do come our way.
I’ve noticed several of my younger friends express their pain and upsetness over situations in their lives. They just want to be happy and have everything go their way. All the time.
‘If I just had a perfect husband, a perfect family, a perfect home, all the money I needed, the education and job of my dreams,’ the list goes on and on. And somehow we think somebody else got all that but we were gypped. I used to think that way. However, as I’ve grown older and, hopefully, wiser, I’ve learned that none of us have perfect lives with everything we could ever want and/ or achieve. We live in a fallen world. Nothing and nobody is perfect. We ALL will have troubles.
However, this verse gives us sound advice: ‘if we embrace our tests and hardship’, notice the word ‘if’? What will happen? ‘Our faith will blossom under pressure and we will develop patience.” What awaits us at the end of the line? Maturity, completeness and we will want for nothing.
Now that is worth waiting for!


Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Church Under Construction: Renovating for the Future



The title of this article sounds like we are refurbishing our building (which we are) but our pastor is taking us through a 12 week series of messages concerning who we are as a people. What do we believe and why? How will this help us move forward in the coming days and years?

This church was established as a Restoration Movement church. What does this mean? Who were the men who started the Restoration Movement in the 1800's? Why was there a need to 'simplify church'? These and many other things will be explained and shared.


Last week we learned that Jesus has completed the task of securing the ground for building a life of peace and joy based on our faith and hope.

This coming week we will 'find a secure place' with the theme of: I now know what I need to build my dream life.

Starting February 1st a new Sunday school class will begin which will go deeper into who the men who wanted to 'restore' protestant churches and how the movement began and continues to this day.
"Not the only Christians, but Christians only," is a major theme of this movement.

We meet at 9:30 AM for Sunday school and worship at 10:45 AM every Sunday morning. We hope you'll come and join us. You are welcome to join us anytime!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Stepping into the Future.

Another year is slipping by. I pause to wonder if it was a good or bad year. Maybe it was just a so-so year. The news would tell us it’s been a horrific year with so much unrest in the world and terrible storms which destroyed homes and lives. But then there have been the stories of heroic deeds and inspirational stories of individuals going beyond the normal and expected. Giving of their time, their money and their gifts to make somebody’s life a little bit brighter.

There’s been the simple joys of watching a beautiful sunrise or sunset. Enjoying the outdoors in all four seasons. Spending time with loved ones around a dinner table or campfire. Maybe watching a life come into the world or move into adulthood.

Whatever our lot in life in 2014, it is coming to an end. A new year is just around the corner. There will be good days and some not-so-good days. There will be rain, wind, sleet and snow but the sun will come out again. We will be touched by lives and hopefully we’ll touch a few as well. There will be celebrations, and perhaps some goodbyes as friends or loved ones leave us physically or eternally. We will learn new things and teach others what we’ve learned.


May we go hand-in-hand with our Lord, treasuring where we’ve been, and step purposely into the New Year.