The great debate in modern society is the existence of God. This debate goes back almost as far as does man. However, despite the best arguments against the existence of God, there are moments which happen in our world that only point in one direction - God. Try as they may to rid society of him, the Creator is neither leaving nor changing; so daily he goes about HIS business totally ignoring the folly of man. It really comes down to one of those “missing the forest for the trees” things. Many get so technical in their attempts to remove God that they miss the very acts of God, which are visible virtually everywhere you look. God is busy at work seeking the attention of man, and man is busy at work seeking to ignore God - what a paradox. For those who look for God, we see His work everywhere. In the little child who emerged without a scratch from the airplane crash that killed everyone else on board. As story after story is told, if you listen hard and with your eyes open you will always see God working reminding man that He is here, and that He loves him and wants to save him. There are no coincidences; these are actually God moments.
Father, I pray we all will open our eyes so that we will see You.
When Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” in the Sermon on the Mount, He called His followers to the high ground of peace. I call this high ground because peace is not always the preferred ground, but it is always the holy ground. The peace living in us is from God, and it, like the other manifestations of the Fruit of the Spirit, is regarded as another identifier of the people of God.
The challenge of peace is often our stubborn wills, egos and pride. To the world, the position of peace is seen as weak, however in the face of anger and hostility, peace is much stronger. Anyone can lose their cool and express their anger, but it takes great fortified spiritual strength to walk the way of peace in the presence of hostility.
One of the most beautiful demonstrations of this peace was the actions of Jesus, beginning in the garden, all the way to the cross. In every moment, he powerfully displayed a peace beyond all normal human understanding.
The apostle Paul further clarifies our walk, when he wrote these words (Romans 12:18), ”If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Understanding peace is not always possible within the other person, he says, “as far as it depends on you,” live at peace with everyone.
This week, seek peace. Speak peace. Establish peace. Allow peace to live in your heart and be in peace.
As a Christian, I have sat in my corner of the world in silence about as long as I possibly can. At a time in our society when many are seeking to determine “what matters,” and marching to many different drums, I feel they are still missing the mark - by a mile. I agree everyone needs to be respected in society, whether it is a person who performs a job or a person who is just attempting to live. No one is questioning the validity of these claims, but my question remains - is that REALLY what matters? I say absolutely not! Satan has blinded the mind of mankind in such a great way that instead of focusing on THE important thing that matters; man continues to ignore the BIG question that makes all the difference in the world (and beyond). To leave God out of the conversation of life, is the same as majoring in minors, sweating the small stuff, knowing it all is small stuff - call it what you will. And that is where we come in. God is depending on those who have given their lives to Jesus Christ to stand up and stand out and let all know, ETERNITY IS WHAT MATTERS. Our mission is great, our message is greater. God has spoken. Where one spends eternity is really what matters. We must let them know.
With so much happening in the world, it seems we are always surprised by the next thing. The next shooting, the next aggression of one country to another. The next low America finds a way to sink to. The next natural disaster that shows up on the horizon and leaves a path of destruction in its wake. As the world struggles to gasp for air as these moments occur, there is a voice reminding us these things will take place. That voice is found in Matthew 24:6-13:
“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
These words of Jesus, spoken over two thousand years ago, provide a stinging truth of our reality. These things must be. And so, the next time someone speaks to you of these catastrophic events, show them these words in the Bible, and tell them of the One who spoke them.
Today I suffer from a broken heart. As I sit at my keyboard reflecting on the evil of the world, I can only think what all of this must look like from the perspective of a Holy and Righteous God. He created mankind to love and worship Him, but instead the scene from Job replays in our world over and over again. Satan’s influence infects mankind, and now we watch as man curses God to his face through the senseless evil, which we constantly experience in our society. During the time in which our hearts went out to those in India dying by the thousands from Covid, Russia decides to attack the people of the Ukraine. As we watch the horror of these people being decimated by this giant; it reminds us of David fighting Goliath all over again. And just when our hearts were aching in pain as the Ukraine is being reduced to rubble, America experiences its 27th school shooting of 2022; which is more than all the other countries in the world combined. Twenty-seven times in 5 months, innocent children have died while just attending school. I think about the wake of parental tears associated with this violence and can’t imagine what has happened to the hearts and lives of these families. How do you go on after something like this? And as the world continues to unravel and evil runs rampant, I hear the words of those shouting “There is no God,” and ”Who needs God when we have ourselves?” We walk among a spiritual apocalypse and God is calling us to save those whom we can. If we ever wonder how great is our mission, all we need to do is to look around us at the world in which we live. Who needs God? We all do. Our mission is great. Our God is greater. Come Lord Jesus.
Ps. According to the Washington Post, 311,000 students have experienced gun violence in school since Columbine. What are we doing?
It’s been a while since we last talked about grace, although grace is something we need on a daily basis. Either we are extending it to others, or in need of receiving it; the fact of the matter is we can hardly make it through a day without the need of grace.
Personally, I see grace from a standpoint of perspective. Giving grace doesn’t communicate that I am better than someone else; what it says to me is that my memory is functioning as it should. The grace that I give is inspired by the grace I receive daily from God. I imagine sometimes we don’t give much thought to that, but we should. As we fully consider the holiness of the God as He extends grace to sinful humanity, it should produce a humbleness in us, because we know we don’t deserve it. It’s grace that allows us all to be human towards one another. In fact, when we refuse to give grace when needed, we are placing ourselves in a position that is greater than God. And at the same time, it forges our hearts into being incredible hypocrites. Allow me to explain. When I refuse to extend grace to my fellow humans, while asking and accepting grace from a holy and righteous God, that simple act denotes that I have a stubborn proud heart that will ultimately be responsible for my demise.
What makes grace difficult from a human standpoint is that it is always required by the undeserving. Giving a person what they deserve is justice, but grace goes beyond because it gives them what they don’t deserve. It’s when we do this that we emulate the heart of Jesus, which brings glory to our Heavenly Father. So, the next time you find yourself in a position where you need to be a grace giver, think about the grace given to you daily by God and cheerfully allow grace to flow from your heart. The world would be such a better place if we all would just give a little more grace
Today is a special day devoted to paying homage to the person who stands in the middle of most families and holds everything together - Mom. I’m reminded of Proverbs 31:
“Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar. She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.
She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night. Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.
She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes. She makes her own bedspreads.
She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns. Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders. She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants. She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.”
Mom, today is your day.
Today begins what we are calling “The Summer of Salvation. From now until fall, we are concentrating all our efforts on reaching out to those who know not the Lord. Our success will not be measured by the number of baptisms, but by the number of people we engage to tell them about the love and sacrifice of Jesus for them. We have invested four months of Wednesday nights in preparation for the task at hand and are asking all to participate; as well as to give yourself in prayer for the success of this endeavor. Remember, this isn’t about us. It’s about expanding the kingdom of God. As we engage ourselves in our mission, I want us to understand it is God who opens hearts of those who will hear. It is God who is in control. We are simply tasked with telling the story, so don’t get overly concerned about getting them to the water (that’s God’s part), just pray for God to give you someone to talk to (as often as possible). And as these opportunities present themselves, take advantage of being used by the Holy Spirit to touch a life that needs Jesus. As a congregation, we will be involving ourselves in various activities which will work in conjunction with our summer focus. Therefore, all in all, it should be an exciting summer as many in the city of Port Huron learn for the first time about the saving love of God that was demonstrated through the cross of Jesus for them. Praise God for what He is about to do and thank Him for allowing us to be a part of this eternal work.
“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that He raised Christ from the dead.”
Can you imagine what was going through Paul’s mind as he penned these words? No doubt (just as today), many were questioning the resurrection of the dead, and of Jesus in particular.
Today, as the children of God, we celebrate the empty tomb. Our faith is built and sustained on Jesus raising from the dead. As hard as this thought is to conceive in our mind, it gives us hope. Hope that one day, we too will be resurrected to live eternally with God. Every part of God’s redemptive plan has been far outside of the scope of our human thinking and reality. The Bible says His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8) and He has proven it in every step of His redemptive plan.
It’s 2022 and things are not much different than when Paul wrote these important words. The sad reality is that even after almost two thousand years, and much evidence, the world still refuses to accept Jesus and an empty tomb. However, we cannot allow this rejection to keep us from sharing the gospel with the lost. God is calling us and counting on us, to tell the story of the resurrected one, who can save anybody. Be prepared, the Summer of Salvation is just around the corner.
As we inch ever so closely to the single event that changed the history of mankind, I am moved to share some thoughts about the cross and the empty tomb. These two facts are the epicenter of our Christian faith. Without these two, as Paul said, our faith would be futile and as a result, we would still be lost in our sins. This was a major fact in Paul’s argument back then, and it is the message the world needs to
hear today. As we enter the Summer of Salvation next month, it is important that we tell the story to all those who will listen. Mankind is drifting further and further into a spiritual abyss. They have no direction, no hope, nothing, as they are being carried away by the evil one of this world. They are spiritually bankrupt and are totally unaware of their situation.
As Jesus arrives in the city of Jerusalem this week, riding on the foal of a donkey, let us set our sight on this great crescendo, which demonstrates the love of God for his creation (Romans 5:8). This is a time where the power of the cross grips our hearts one more time, as our Lord, our Savior, our King, suffers and dies to free us from a well-deserved death sentence. Stay tuned and watch as the greatest plan ever executed, unfolds before your very eyes.