Love and Obedience (John 14:15)

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http://bible.com/59/jhn.14.15.ESV

It has been a John 14 kind of day as this chapter has been stuck (in a good way) in my brain and heart.

I was out visiting this morning; bringing communion to a couple members at a nursing home and assisted living facility out of town. During the course of the communion service I read from John 14 (since it has been on my mind today) and verse 15 struck me so I tried to make some mental notes on the fly. When I got home, I immediately created the above image through my YouVersion Bible app on my tablet and reflected on this some more. A few thoughts about this verses came to mind:

~ Obedience is a joy because of the one you are obeying.
~ Obedience is trusting the person you are obeying.
~ Obedience is not something to avoid consequences.
~ Obedience comes naturally because of the one whom you love.
~ Obedience out of love is not demanded but freely given.
~ Obedience out of duty is not love.
~ Obedience out of love is not about you but rather the one whom you love.

This is really a beautiful verse in the midst of a beautiful chapter. The love of Jesus should lead you to freely and joyfully obey all that God has commanded. For the one you truly love, you want to please, not because of fear of punishment for disobeying, but because you don’t want to hurt the one whom you love.

Just throwing this out there for you to ponder and reflect on.
Go…

The Pastor -|—

It’s Coming

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The YouVersion Bible app now has an option to make these cool scripture images. So upon installing the update this verse came immediately to mind after a long and trying day. The only problem with this picture is that the image is not nearly glorious enough. The only appropriate picture would be too blinding to look at, but hopefully you get the point.

May God bless your night and whatever “sufferings” are plaguing you right now, give them to God and wait; your glory through faith in Jesus Christ is coming.

Good night.

The Pastor -|—

You can’t replace scripture

As I was browsing Twitter this morning, I came across an account I follow that had a picture of two theology books and a cup of coffee. The caption of their photo was this:

“Pretty much the perfect way to start the day.”

I get the coffee part and even a good dose of theological reading but immediately I noticed something missing.

Do you see it?

For me the perfect start to my day is prayer and then some Bible reading along with my cup of coffee and then later on, maybe some theological reading. So I responded to that Twitter account saying that the Bible was missing. The response I just received (as I am typing this post) was:

“There is so much Scripture in these books we could probably repiece the original manuscript together!”

Really? To which I responded:

“I get what you’re saying but these still can’t replace scripture itself.”

What I believe they are trying to say is that those books were excellent resources but they are only excellent resources because of what makes them excellent resources. So therefore, without the Bible, that picture is lacking.

Maybe I am being too picky but I just don’t want the Bible minimized and hopefully I didn’t come off as judgmental. Maybe it was an innocent mistake but if it was an oversight, does that say something? Am I over analyzing?

So now, as I get ready to hit “post” I received this response from that account:

“Definitely. I have my ESV on my phone…”

Praise be to God for that. Then let’s highlight, promote and put it out there:

The perfect start to your day?
~ Prayer
~ Scripture
~ (and of course) coffee 🙂

Rant done…have a great day.

The Pastor -|—

Bible reading

Are you looking for a New Year’s resolution? Call it a plan. Call it a goal. Whatever you call it consider reading your Bible. The link below is the one I use and I love it.

http://bible.com/r/O
M’Cheyne One Year Reading Plan

If a one year plan is too much right now, read through a book of the Bible and go from there. The YouVersion app I use has a lot of different plans.

Whatever you do, though, get into your Bible and read and listen. This is God’s story of salvation for you. And this will be the best book you read all year (and ever).

Happy New Year!

The Pastor -|—

Summer Top Ten List

Yesterday (May 7) was the last day of confirmation for the school year; and what a great year it has been.

The following is a top ten list of things I gave my students, at the end of class, to do over the summer. Not requirements but things to think about as they continue their faith journey; a journey that never ends.  And as I read through this I thought I would share this with you.  They are things that apply to all of us and ones that I will be posting in my office as a constant reminder for me.

So here you go (in no particular order)…
(10) Worship (God the Father, almighty, Creator of heaven and earth)
~ Worship is not a requirement but something that flows out of your faith. We don’t worship because we have to but because we get to.

(9) Read your Bible
~ Bible reading should also be a joy.
~ If you want help staying on course find a partner to read with and hold each other accountable. Talk about about what you read and explore together.

(8) Pray
~ You can’t have a vibrant, healthy relationship with someone if you don’t spend time together.
~ Know that I will continue to be praying for each of you by name.

(7) Make the most of opportunities to share your faith
~ I dare you to ask God to give you an opportunity to share your faith with someone. I have found that God is more than happy to give you opportunities. What you do with them is your choice, but remember, it could be a matter of life or death for that person.

(6) Memorize scripture
~ And not just your “required” memory work. I challenge you to memorize Bible verses as a way of life. You just might be surprised by how God will use those verses in your life to bring Him glory.

(5) Do random acts of kindness
~ Mess with people’s heads (in a good way) by showing the love of Christ.

(4) Deflect praise
~ When someone praises you for something, remember who gave you the ability to do the thing you are being praised for.  Instead of saying “thank you” say, “praise be to God”. I am willing to bet that you will catch their attention; and what a way to share your faith.

(3) Quiet time
~ Take time out of your busy schedule to just think about God, talk and listen to Him, journal and enjoy God’s company.
~ When you are day dreaming about God you are never wasting time ~ but be careful about this if you are supposed to be working 🙂

(2) Be brave
~ When your faith is challenged, stand strong. You have the God of all creation by your side. Even if everyone around you is against you and says your wrong; be brave. God is not wrong.

(1) Remember
~ Remember that God loves you beyond anything you can possibly comprehend.

Blessed be the journey 🙂

The pastor -|—

Achy heart

The pastor’s heart is feeling achy because of some pastoral care situations.  I can’t go into details because I value confidentiality but all I can say is this world is messed up in so many ways.

Disease
Brokenness in relationships
Sin
Hopelessness
Pain
Suffering

…they are all around, and I wish I could wave my magic wand and make it all go away (by the way I really don’t have a magic wand).  I wish I could take away the hurt in people’s hearts.  I wish I could heal broke relationships, take away cancer and put hope into sad hearts.  I wish I could relieve suffering.

[That’s not too much to hope for…it is?]

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
[Revelation 21:1-4]

Wow!

Honestly…when I started writing this I wasn’t thinking of Revelation 21, but I should have been.  I can’t take away the hurt that is all around me but Jesus has.  And because of his death and resurrection we have Revelation 21 to look forward to.  I guess instead of a magic wand I need this hope amplified in my heart.  Yes…that will do it.

Thanks for letting me vent for a while.

God…grant me strength. Amen.

edh -|—

Reading material

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Every bathroom needs reading material but you got to love it when a business puts a Bible in their’s.  You also should have seen the expression on my wife’s face when I walked out. “Did you just take a picture in there?!?”  I can about imagine what was running through her head 🙂

In any case…this picture is screaming for a caption.  What do you suggest?

edh -|—