Not Dragged Off

Psalm 28:3 (ESV) ~ “Do not drag me off with the wicked, with the workers of evil, who speak peace with their neighbors while evil is in their hearts.

Have you ever felt this way following the realization that you have willingly submitted to temptation? Have you ever just dropped to you knees and pleaded with God to not drag you off with the wicked? There have been many times when I have come to realization that I have done something contrary to God’s Law/commands and wonder why God continues to put up with me. Sometimes I half expect a lightening bolt to strike me down or worse yet, that scary scene from the 1990 movie “Ghost” (Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze). Remember that – when the bad guy dies and then some dark figures come out of the shadows to drag their soul away? Please God, do not drag me off with the wicked.

The psalmist here is crying out to God, knowing that if his cries fall on deaf ears, he will be confined to the pit. But, Blessed be the Lord! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. (Psalm 28:6) Through faith in Jesus Christ, your cries for mercy do not fall on deaf ears. You are a sinner, that is true, and that is why you need a Savior – Jesus Christ. For those who do not willingly serve sin, call upon Jesus; knowing that he is your strength and shield, and trust in him for The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed. (Psalm 28:8) For those who belong to Jesus, you can have this hope for he died and rose FOR YOU that you would not be dragged away with the wicked.

Oh God, I praise you that through Jesus Christ, You have redeemed my life from the pit. I know I am a sinner. I know I have and will give in to temptation. I know I have and will disobey You. Oh God, may my heart be inclined to You, that I will not strive to satisfy the desires of my flesh but rather strive to know You more and more. Have mercy on me, oh God and give me strength, for You are my fortress and shield. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Face seeking

Psalm 27:7–8 (ESV) ~ “Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

I find myself doing a lot of face-seeking these days, but the seeking I’m doing is very specific. The congregation I serve is exploring the possibility of purchasing a property of our own. Currently we rent space in a county community center in a park. Do we purchase this property that is outside our original search area or do we stay put? So many questions. So much uncertainty.

So the “face” I am seeking is God’s. Not literally, of course, like Moses who was told that no one can see God face to face and live.
I am seeking God to listen and obey.
I am seeking God for peace and courage to go where He leads.
I am seeking God for reassurance and wisdom.
I am seeking God in order that I may lead this congregation rightly.
Many are seeking answers to questions – seeking to dot all the “i’s” and cross all the “t’s”. Many are seeking definitive proof and evidence that we will not fail if we move. Many are seeking financial assurances. And granted, we have to do our due diligence to explore this property, but at some point we just need to stop and trust God – to seek His face; listening and obeying.

Without the face of God, fear creeps in to cloud our vision. Satan prowls in order to devour. We need to seek the face of God that we may be faithful but also to be reminded of the FACT that God our Father, through Jesus Christ, is our hope and refuge – our defender and shield.

And so my prayer is for hearts to be tuned in to God, that face-seeking be the goal and faithfulness abound, no matter how the vote turns out on Sept 8. Whatever it is in YOUR life that you are facing, seek the face of God – always – and be at peace in Him.

Found In You

My thoughts drift towards You, oh God, as I seemly gaze into another world. To others I look distant, disconnected and lost, but I know I’m found in You.
Through Jesus I am found in You.
You capture my attention as I leave the world behind. The world is persistent, though, as it continues to beckon for me to return, but it’s You for whom I long.
Only You.
The world moves and shouts but I stare right through it –
not noticing,
not paying attention,
lost in my found-ness
The world wants me but I want You more.
The world says its beautiful but it can not compare in the slightest to You.
Some call this daydreaming but You are not a dream. You are my reality. Some call this wasting time, but no time is wasted with You.
Oh God, the world is loud, so please hold my gaze that I may get lost in being found in You.

Peace and Division

Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. [Luke 12:51 ESV]

Seems like a strange thing for Jesus to say. After all, isn’t he the Prince of Peace? Doesn’t he give peace that surpasses all understanding? When the disciples see him after his resurrection Jesus says, “Peace be with you“. So why would Jesus say something like this? Well, look carefully at what he says, Do you think that I have come to give peace ON EARTH? That’s the distinction. Here on earth, there will be division on account of the Gospel. Jesus didn’t come with the intent to divide people but rather knowing that the Gospel would do just that because people are sinners. In John 15, Jesus warned his disciples that if the world hates him they will hate them. And isn’t that the truth. Yet, many people are so afraid of division. Can’t we all just get along? I am all for getting along with people, but when it comes to the Gospel, we must stand firm. We must respect people. We must love people. We must listen to people. But when it comes to the Gospel, if division occurs, then so be it. It is better to be at odds with the world than with God. Amen? The Gospel will produce division. That we have seen, but don’t mistake what Jesus says. He IS still the Prince of Peace and he DOES give a peace that surpasses all understanding. Standing firm on God’s Word in Jesus name, you can have peace in the midst of division. May your witness then, bring peace to people who are at odds with the Gospel. Amen!

Fight

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
[Jude 1:3‭-‬4 ESV]

My Twitter handle is “Feisty Pastor”. I don’t know where that came from; whether from me or someone else, but I think it is pretty descriptive. I have been known to be a little feisty from time to time; especially when I see the faith being attacked, watered-down, twisted, or perverted as the author of Jude alluded. It especially bothers me when people from within the Church are perverting the Word of God. They do this because they have been seduced by the world to conform – violating Paul’s admonition in Romans 12. They have crept in unnoticed and have lead many people astray. As a Christian and pastor/feisty pastor, I will not stand idly by and watch the perversion happen. I will contend for the faith, because the Word of God is Life and to water it down saves no one. Christian, will you contend for the faith? Will you fight for that which is of utmost importance? How do we fight you may ask? By staying true to the Word of God in the face of opposition; serving as an example to the world. Stand firm then – to contend for the faith is a hill worth dying on. Jesus did — all for you.

Amen.

Light and Dark

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
1 John 2:9‭-‬11 ESV

A person who says they are a Christian and yet shows hatred towards someone is a person residing in darkness with nothing more than a burning wooden match. They see what is in their immediate vicinity but can’t see the whole picture. Eventually their match burns out and they have nothing left but darkness; walking and stumbling to their destruction. A person who truly follows Jesus; who has the Light of the Holy Spirit residing in them sees the bigger picture. Instead of shadows and outlines, they see their neighbor as a child of God. The one who truly walks with Jesus, the Light of the world, walks in the light where darkness has been scattered. Their destination is Life eternal.

Beware what your source of light is, the wooden match of worldly pride, selfishness and self-righteousness or the Light of Christ. One will be extinguished and the other is eternal.

Amen.

Winning Side

God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate him shall flee before him!
Psalms 68:1 ESV

When you are in Christ, you are on the winning side. God’s victory and reign is not a yet-to-be-decided type of thing. It has been determined and settled. God has triumphed over the world through the cross and the empty tomb. Jesus’ resurrection means sin, death and the power of Satan have been defeated. And thus, those who oppose God will go by the way of Satan and his minions. They will flee defeated and eventually be judged and condemned. Those who are in Christ are victorious by virtue of Jesus’ love and grace. So stand firm in Christ and rest in the fact that as Christ was raised so you shall be also. Nothing can oppose those take refuge in God our Father. Spread the Good News. Jesus lives. God reigns forever and ever. Amen.