Rise

Rise and shine like the sun;
For the Son shines in you.
Rise and face this new day;
Knowing you don’t face it alone.
Rise and be bold;
For the Lord your is Rock.
Rise and be confident;
For the Lord is your refuge.
Rise and praise Him;
For God almighty has redeemed you.
Rise and worship Him;
For He is worthy.
Rise and be forgiven;
For Jesus has died for you.
Rise and rise again;
For Jesus lives and so shall you, forever.
Rise and shine;
For this is indeed a glorious day.

The Pastor-|—

From Where?

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord , who made heaven and earth.” [Psalms 121:1-2]

Oh sinner;
weak,
and foolish,
and pride-filled;
from where does your help come?
Does it come from your self-determination?
Does it come from your wisdom?
Does it come from your advanced degree(s)?
Does it come from your many acts of service?
Does it come from your many friends?

From where does your help come?
Be honest, oh sinner;
from where does it come?
If it comes not from the Lord Jesus,
then you have no real and true help.

As for me;
a weak and foolish and pride-filled person?
My help comes from…

The Lord!

It is HE who made the heaven and the earth.
It is HE who knows my very frame.
It is HE who has every hair of my head numbered.
It is HE who knew me before I was born,
and knows me now.
It is HE from whom I have forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
It is the Lord.
My help comes from Him.

The Lord!

So I ask again, oh sinner;
weak,
and foolish,
and pride-filled;
from where does your help come?

The Pastor -|—

Away with Bad News

He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.
[Psalm 112:7]

Oh Christian, why be afraid of bad news. Why fret when things don’t go YOUR way? Why become downcast when YOUR agenda doesn’t work out? Yet, that is what happens when many face bad news. We see many who are of the world thrown into such a tizzy when something happens that they don’t like. The worldly become angry and despondent and fall into despair and hopelessness. The worldly claim injustice and fight back when they don’t get their way. The worldly don’t trust the Lord but rather their own feelings and agendas.

May that never be with the Christian.

When we respond as though God doesn’t know what he is doing, we are drawn into a great many sins. When we fail to trust the sovereignty of God, we place ourselves upon a throne of paper. Trust in the Lord, oh Christian, even when things don’t go YOUR way. Worship the Lord even when YOUR agendas come to nothing. Praise the Lord even when YOUR ways fail. The Lord sits on the throne and rules rightly. Jesus died and rose for the forgiveness of your sins so that the bad news would not be your end but rather ended.

Oh Christian, bad news is of this world, but the Good News is from the Lord, and you are the Lord’s. Don’t let the bad news of this world define you but rather take great joy in the Good News. When things don’t go YOUR way, turn to the Lord and trust in Him. He knows what He is doing.

The Pastor -|—

Soaking In

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
[Romans 3:23-24]

Did you notice that above verse? Please don’t tell me you skipped it just to get to the “good stuff”. Read the verse. Now, read it again and this time include yourself in the word “all“. Now, read the verse again, keeping yourself in the word “all” and now, soak in the words “are justified by his grace as a gift“. Are you feeling silly for skipping that verse the first time?

My point is that YOU are a sinner, but through the grace of God in Jesus Christ, you are justified; made right in God’s eyes, as a GIFT.

GIFT!

GRACE!

No strings attached
No fine print
No bait and switch

Through faith in Jesus (which is a gift) you are justified by his grace.

Wow, I mean, WOW!

Soak that in.

A sinner saved by God.

Justified.

Wow!

The Pastor -|—

Jesus Lives, AMEN

Death is the great equalizer,
for no one is immune,
and death is the great divider,
for some are not attuned.
For Jesus conquered this enemy
and shattered its mighty power,
therefore some will be on his right,
and others will be left to cower.

Death still runs wild,
threatening to devour.
Death still strikes blows,
trying to exert it’s power.
But Jesus lives and reigns,
thus I will live too.
So take your best shot, Death,
for you will be left the fool.

So when Death comes a knocking,
to claim another life,
just shrug him off with a smirk,
knowing that he is not right.
For my Lord has won the victory,
thus I will live again.
Death can have its moment now,
but Jesus lives, AMEN!

The Pastor -|—

I Will Not Live in Fear but in the Fear of the Lord

Living in fear is never the answer unless, of course, we are talking about the “fear of the Lord”. In that case we aren’t really living in fear, per se, but rather in reverence and awe of our amazing God through Jesus Christ. It isn’t a fear that sends us running away. It isn’t a fear that causes us to cower and shake. It isn’t a fear to cause us to look over our shoulders. The fear of the Lord sends us running INTO the mighty arms of our Lord. We worship him. We revere Him. We stand in awe of Him.

Satan would have us do the opposite. So many people are fearful, today, as we process the horrific events in Sutherland Spring, Texas. People are wondering how to protect themselves, now, as we enter and worship in a sanctuary; a place that, by definition, is a place of refuge and safety. Do we need armed guards? Do we install metal detectors? Do we have bag searches at the visitor’s center? Do we lock the church doors after worship starts? Fear, fear, fear.

But I refuse to live in that kind of fear. I refuse to let Satan steer my eyes away from the One we ought to fear; God almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. No, I am not going to bury my head in the sand and pretend everything will be alright; that this will never happen to us, but I am not going to be held captive by Satan; by evil. I am going to enter my sanctuary each and every week with reverence and awe, and worship our awesome God through Jesus Christ. I will be aware of my surroundings but not at the expense of my God. Besides, if I die while worshiping, well, so be it. There are definitely worse ways to go and worse places.

Through Jesus Christ we are THE Church. We are his bride. Jesus died for us. Jesus redeemed us with his very blood. My friends, what is there to fear, then, outside of God almighty? So I am NOT going to live in fear, only in the fear of the Lord.

So with that said, there is only one thing left to do: Tell Satan to take his fear and go to hell.

The (feisty) Pastor -|—

Facing Jesus

I was struck by a convicting thought during our congregational text study this morning. The Gospel text for Sunday is Matthew 14:22-33; Jesus walking on the water. As we were discussing this I began to think about facing fears. Peter was afraid in that boat as the wind and waves were causing havoc out there on that sea. To top things off, a “ghost” was heading straight towards them. Upon seeing it was Jesus, Peter asks to be near Jesus and thus it happened. Instead of facing his fears, Peter was facing Jesus and eventually, face to face with him out there on that stormy sea. It wasn’t until Peter looked at the wind; his fear, that he began to sink.

As we continued to discuss this text the issue of North Korea came up. All the talk about them attacking Guam and potentially the main land of the United States. It’s kind of scary when you dwell on that but why am I dwelling on it. I began to reflect on the fact that I normally close my day by watching the news and then going to bed. On many nights, the final images and words in my brain are the crap going on in the world. How dumb is that. It seems like a no-brainer. Face my fears or face Jesus. The answer is pretty simple.

[Click]

Off went the T.V.

Now if you will excuse me, I’m climbing out of the boat…

The Pastor -|—