12.22.2017 WAIT? I WANT IT NOW!

John 6:25-35 New International Version (NIV)

Jesus the Bread of Life

25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’[a]

32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

I, like most people, only care about now.  I tend to overlook what is going on around me and tend to be more worried about what isn’t done, hasn’t been done, or needs to be done.  I many times forget what I am blessed with and have been blessed with and become obsessed with what I need, or don’t have now.  I can relate to these people.  They are hungry now.  They need more miracles now. I need…

I want to be fixed now.  I want everything done now.  Why does this always happen to me?  Why can’t I be done?  Why am I always working and trying to get better?

God sees me/us as we are and loves me/us as I am.  Why do I think that I need to fix myself?  Why do I ask the wrong questions, or worry about the wrong things?

Wait well?  Are you kidding?  Wait and Jerry don’t go in the same sentence.  Why wait, I want it now.  That has always been my mentality.  I am and will continue to try to “fix” that.  But Jesus knows me and my OCDness.  I need God’s love and help to change this attitude.  I am trying to be more patient, more understanding, more loving-but I still have a ways to go.  I pray and thank God for being patient with me while I continue to grow.  I thank God daily for “loving me too much to leave me the way that I am.”

I used to worry about my business and the peaks and valleys.  I still do worry, but I am not as obsessed with it.  I know God promises to provide “my daily bread.”  I thank Him every day for providing my daily bread for these last 63 years.  I ask that He continue to provide my daily bread.  It is in His hands and He has always been faithful.  My job is to also be faithful, loving and believing that He will provide for me.  He after all declares “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”  That is His promise to me and each and every one of us.

Lord, please forgive me for my humanness.  Please forgive me and help me with my OCDness.  Please help me not to worry about the now and look forward to eternity with You.  Thank You for providing my daily bread and please continue to provide my daily bread.  I yearn for the eternal bread and water that only You can provide.  Please help me to remember that You are Lord and I am not. Amen.

jerry

Tuesday’s Blog

Welcome to the POG Blog!

Today YOU get to start the discussion on today’s scripture!  What is it saying to you today?  How does it relate to your life right now?  How does it relate to the message from Sunday?  Enjoy reading, meditating, and sharing your thoughts with others today!

Isaiah 61:1-3 New International Version (NIV)

“For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”

10 I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.

 

12-18-2017 The Spirit of the Lord God is Upon Me …Through Jesus!

 

 

Isaiah 61:1-3

 

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me

To bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God;

To comfort all who mourn;  to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, for the display of His splendor.

 

As I sat down to write the blog this afternoon (Sunday).  I listened again to my recording of Pastor Delton’s sermon this morning.  It was wonderful to hear him sing in his deep baritone voice, “Oh Come let us Adore Him, Christ, the Lord!”   The Spirit of the Lord was upon Pastor and anointed him to sing and continue to worship as an intro to his week 3 Advent sermon called, “Waiting Well”.  It really helped me to remember who I am excited to worship and adore and helps to take my mind off of the things that often get in the way of truly worshipping my Lord and Savior.

This passage from Isaiah is a great reminder of what God calls us each to do with our time here on earth. To what  Jesus brings to each of us.

The opening verse stands out to me, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon us, and has anointed us to go out and bring good news to the poor” and then continues in instructing us to ‘bind up the brokenhearted’ and proclaim liberty to the captives and open the prison for those who are bound.’”

Each of us who belong to Jesus, have what  we need; the Spirit of our Lord Jesus within us!  He is with us to help us to be free of the everyday struggles that can keep us from truly worshipping him.  He is also with us as we watch for opportunities to bring the good news of Jesus to those in our everyday neighborhoods; our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and people who we meet each day as we go about our daily business.

This morning at church, I enjoyed watching families bring in their gifts for the Gifts of Grace Christmas Tree.  Adults and Children were bringing their gifts to give to others and placed them by the tree.  It was exciting to see the outpouring of love from our Point of Grace Church family to our neighbors in our community!

Later, I was thinking about how exciting it is for the families who will receive the gifts and the joy it also brings to those who gave the gifts.  The Lord helped me to see that when a person receives Christ into their heart for the first time, it is like opening a special gift that someone picked out just for them.   It is exciting for the new believer to receive, but it is also exciting for those who have been praying and waiting; for their loved one to open God’s gift of Jesus!   Like waiting for a special gift to be opened, when we know what it is!   We who have experienced the personal love of Jesus are excited to see others around us experience it for themselves.

As we have been learning in our Grow Groups study, “Joining Jesus on Mission”, by Greg Finke,  Jesus is on mission and we get to join him!  He is doing the work in peoples hearts and we get to be part of bringing them closer to Jesus in various ways as the Spirit of the Lord God leads us.  It’s exciting to be a part of their journey and especially the moment when Jesus becomes real to someone and a new soul enters the Kingdom of God!  When someone meets Christ for the first time that is Christmas for that person. All heaven rejoices with them!

Another part from todays verses, speaks to me, is verse 3.  Isaiah said, “to comfort all who mourn with ‘a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, garments of praise, oil of gladness, oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor’”. This is a wonderful vision, Isaiah describes for us!

As Disciples of Christ, we have the Spirit of the Lord upon us, and we are each anointed by the Lord.  Jesus calls us to join him, with love and gentleness; to walk with others who are searching and waiting for him and to encourage them and to, “Love and Lead (them) real people into the Meaningful Life Christ Intends”!  Now that is exciting!

With the anticipation of Christmas next week, I am excited about spending time with my family, but even more I’m excited to share with them, the joy of knowing Jesus as my Savior and Celebrating his Birth and his coming into the world.  Though he came long ago, it’s exciting to know that he is still nearby to bring us his peace, comfort, love and joy.  For those who are new in their faith this is their first Christmas!  Merry Christmas Everyone as you Join Jesus in sharing the Joy of Jesus with those around you.

 

My Dear Lord Jesus,

I love you and praise you!  As I think about how you came into the world as a little baby, so vulnerable and needing someone to love and care for your physical needs, and as you grew into a man and then showed the world how much God loves us and sent you to tell us and you showed us through giving your own life!

I stand in Awe of you Lord Jesus!  I adore you and thank you for loving me and leading me to love you in return and to also join you in helping others to know that you love them too.  Please be with all of us this week as we wait to celebrate your coming and each day as we wait for your returning!  Please help us to reach out to those around us, and to be available to listen and pray and share with others who need you and are ready to come into your Kingdom.  Amen.

 

PD

 

Saturday’s Blog

Welcome to the POG Blog!

Today is Saturday which means YOU get to start the discussion on today’s scripture!  What is it saying to you today?  How does it relate to your life right now?  How does it relate to the message from Sunday?  Enjoy reading, meditating, and sharing your thoughts with others today!

Psalm 62:1-8 New International Version (NIV)

For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David.

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

How long will you assault me?
Would all of you throw me down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
Surely they intend to topple me
from my lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

 

 

 

Hoping “in” or “for”!

Let this scripture soak into your soul!

Why do you complain, Jacob?    Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;    my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know?    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.  
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Take a look at the first phrase in verse 31, “but those who hope in the Lord “, it contains a little word that changes everything.  The word is “in”!  That’t right “in”!  We are instructed by Isaiah to first and foremost hope “in” the Lord.  I think my humanness wants to insert “for” or “that” …… the hope for a particular thing or outcome.  I hope for a good Christmas, I hope for peaceful conversation, I hope that I my health improves, I hope that the kids or grandkids turn out alright, or that we have enough money to pay for Christmas……………… etc. etc.

But that is not where the prophet leads our heart!  He says to hope “in” the Lord!

That means relationship with Him.  Trusting in Him for the outcome!  Surrendering to Him hoping in Him.

I will still hope for a good future but before that He is asking me to hope IN Him …. for a future He designs.

Tomorrow I will do a memorial service for a man about my age who tragically died in an accident.  They were part of our church years and years ago and the family reconnected with me to oversee the memorial service.  He had a wife and two daughters – 17 and 25!
So sad! So very sad!

What does the future hold for them?  It is hard to say.  What is important for them to focus on is “who” holds their future!     That is the difference between hoping “in” and hoping “for”!  Hoping in the Lord is truly having hope!

Let heed Isaiah’s call! Hope “in” the Lord!

delton

Thursday’s Blog

Welcome to the POG Blog!

Today YOU get to start the discussion on today’s scripture!  What is it saying to you today?  How does it relate to your life right now?  How does it relate to the message from Sunday?  Enjoy reading, meditating, and sharing your thoughts with others today!

Isaiah 40:18-26 New International Version (NIV)

18 With whom, then, will you compare God?
To what image will you liken him?
19 As for an idol, a metalworker casts it,
and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
and fashions silver chains for it.
20 A person too poor to present such an offering
selects wood that will not rot;
they look for a skilled worker
to set up an idol that will not topple.

21 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23 He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
24 No sooner are they planted,
no sooner are they sown,
no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

25 “To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.

 

12.13.2017 Learning from a Different Angle!

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

This happens to be one of my favorite passages and I have my older sister to thank for it. Post-college, she and I both ended up living at home with our parents again for a while and I remember she had written verses 3 and 4 of this passage on an index card and taped it to our bathroom mirror. She is the reason my own home has colored index cards with scripture scattered around next to many light switches for my own children to read. I saw this passage often and it took root in my heart from the repetition and the comfort I received from it. I knew that whatever I was facing, God would use it to help me comfort someone else at some point in my life.

I ran across an article on Facebook today through Kirk Cameron’s Facebook fan page (my junior high crush by the way). I was not going to click it but when I read the passage set for Wednesday, something drew me back to read it. The title of the article is “Coping with Loneliness During the Holidays” by Gini Wietecha. Near the end of the article, there are a few verses referenced…and 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 is one of them. Isn’t the Spirit of God just so fascinating and clever? Then the author quotes a section from the Nativity story. And I pictured Mary and saw her from an angle I’ve never considered.

Mary was simply a humble human. And a young girl. Not only is she delivering her first child, she was going through labor and childbirth away from the home she knew and without her mother. I am making an assumption that her mother was not there. Perhaps there were other family members of Joseph who were present since they needed to return to their hometown for the census, but we see no mention of them in Scripture. I wonder if Mary felt scared? And how did she receive comfort during this time of trouble? Childbirth is not a comfortable experience. It’s scary and overwhelming and unpredictable. But I believe we have evidence that Mary received comfort directly from her Father in Heaven during her labor and delivery in that little stable with the animals nearby.

Mary received a peace from God that passes all understanding. After the shepherds visit the stable and share what they’ve experienced and what the angels have proclaimed to them during their watch that night, the Gospel writer Luke says that “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). I have often wondered what things she pondered. What did she treasure up in her heart that was too awesome to put into words? So let’s remember what the angels declared. They said, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” The shepherds then ran and declared this message to Mary and Joseph. And don’t you recall what the angel Gabriel told Mary before she became pregnant? Gabriel appears to Mary and says, “Greetings! You are who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:28, italics mine). Mary must have drawn tremendous comfort and strength from the shepherd’s proclamation and remembered that Gabriel had declared her one of the favored ones, one on whom the peace of God would rest. And she would remember the promise that the Lord was with her. That was not a figurative statement. It was as literal as possible. The Lord himself was lying in a manger right next to her!

Mary could see a link between Gabriel’s greeting nearly a year prior and the host of angels’ greeting to the shepherds. This dawning would have given her incredible peace and security, so much that she could not even express it in words. She simply treasured it all in her heart. That kind of intimate encounter with God can be too lofty for words, too personal to even articulate upon experiencing it.

May we long for that kind of intimacy and encounter with God where we see his Words linking up and have eyes to see the threads of his Spirit woven into our life from all sorts of angles. Mary saw it. And at some point, she must have shared it because Luke wrote about it. If that kind of encounter can happen for Mary, it can happen for you too.

~Michelle