In Love

Holy and awesome God,
In love You created the world and all that exists.
In sadness You watched this world plunge into darkness through sin.
In compassion You sent the prophets to warn Your people.
In patience You waited.
In grace you sent Your one and only son to this world.
In mercy Jesus suffered and died for me.
In power Jesus rose from the grave for me.
In love You give me salvation through faith in Jesus.

Holy and awesome God,
I am humbled and blown away
when I reflect on this story.
I am grateful and thankful
when I reflect on what You did for me.

Oh God,
You are indeed holy and awesome.
May You receive all
worship,
honor,
glory,
and praise;
for in love You have given me hope;
in love You have given me peace.
Oh God,
I am so in love with You.
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

In preparation to worship ~ Agape Love

Loving God,
Your love is what gives life
breath,
meaning and
hope.
Your love came to this world in Jesus Christ.

Through faith in Jesus,
Your love saves sinners from eternal condemnation.
And Your love is what binds together Your Church in
mission and
ministry
in this world.

And so we gather as Your beloved children
to praise Your holy name
for Your awesome Agape love.
May love show forth in our worship
and
may love lead us to serve our neighbors.
Receive our praise and feed us with Your Word.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Love and Obedience (John 14:15)

image

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 -|—

Morning devotions ~ Be nice and love…EVERYONE

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. [Luke 6:35-36]

Wow, that’s a tough one. Love my enemies? Do good to them and lend to them? Expect nothing in return? This seems to be asking a lot. And why should I do all of this since my enemies have very little interest in loving me or doing good to me or even lending to me?

In a culture of, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”, we are not used to returning good for evil. If someone hurts you then you withhold love and goodness as a form of punishment. But more than that, we often withhold love and goodness as a way to protect ourselves from further injury and pain. We have a tendency to distance ourselves from our enemies

But this is not the way of the Gospel.

Instead, Jesus says love your enemies. What better way to proclaim the Gospel than to show love to those who are not expecting it or to those the world is not expecting you to show love to. This is the whole “heaping burning coals on their head” (Romans 12:20-21) thing; that we should not be overcome by evil but over come evil with good. A tall order. A difficult task. An awesome command.

Lord have mercy and help me.

But consider something else: Who are we to call people evil when we ourselves are evil? That’s right, God shows love and goodness and mercy to you and me; filthy sinners; evil; enemies of God. God sent Jesus to die for us because we are evil and sinful. God did not withhold his love from us even though in the economics of this world he had every right to do so. This, my friends, is what makes God’s love through Jesus Christ so amazing…

It’s undeserved.

Therefore, what better way to show God’s love than to love those we consider enemies, because who knows, we might win a new friend. Better yet, we might win a new brother/sister in Christ.

As God loves you through Jesus Christ, love one another…EVERYONE, to the praise and glory of God our Father.

Have a glorious and blessed day 🙂

The Pastor -|—

New Year’s blessing

May the Lord bless and keep you as you leave 2014 and enter 2015.

May you leave 2014 with hope as you confess your shortcomings; remembering that the past is the past.

May you see 2015 as a fresh start; a reminder of the forgiveness you have through faith in Jesus.

May you see 2015 as a gift; reminding you of God’s amazing grace.

May you see 2015 with new eyes, reminding you of the New Life you have through Jesus.

May you know the strength that only comes from God.

May you know peace that only comes from the hope of the resurrection.

May you know the amazing love of God in this new year and may that love shine though your life as a witness to others.

All glory to God our Father through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Happy New Year and Amen.

The Pastor -|—

New Covenant

“The time is coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.  [Jeremiah 31:31-32]

Loving God…

despite the fact that we have broken the old covenant over and over again you have made a new covenant with us.

Despite the fact that you KNOW we will continue breaking the old covenant over and over again, you have made a new covenant with us.

Despite the fact that you KNOW we will stray and go after other gods, over and over again, you have made a new covenant with us.

Despite the fact that we are unworthy, you have made a new covenant with us.

What wretched people we are…

…but…

what an AWESOME God YOU are!

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” [Jeremiah 31:34]

I just can’t get over it.
I just can’t understand why.
I just can’t fathom your reasoning.

Through faith in Jesus you forgive us…and…remember those sins no more.  Wow…that is AWESOME!

Loving God…

stir in our hearts faith to receive this promise and live for you.
Stir in our hearts faith to run to you.
Stir in our hearts faith to remain with you.

Thank you, God, for this New Covenant and for Jesus Christ who died and rose that we may live.  Thank you, God, for showing patience and love and grace and mercy.  

Thank you God…may you be praised always and forever. 

Amen 🙂

edh -|—