Come, let's worship and bow down! Let's kneel before the Lord, our maker! He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, the sheep in his hands. If only you would listen to his voice right now!
"What a beautiful necklace you are wearing!" is not the thought one would have if they saw this image or the thought Jesus was trying to portray when He said: "It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin." Lk. 17:2)
Just a Thought: I have to tell you, I am dying. No, I didn't just find this out recently, I have known for some time.
Just like a deer that craves streams of water, my whole being craves you, God. My whole being thirsts for God, for the living God. Psalm 42:1-2a (Common English Bible)
There are so many things clamoring for our attention, demanding our time, thoughts and devotion. We can find ourselves pursuing many things at the same time. Not only do we fail to catch up on anything, we run ourselves ragged trying. If we are not careful, we can find we are soon better suited for the circus as a juggler than we are as Christians living balanced lives. How do we put a stop to the madness? How do we reel it all in, sort it all out, and focus our attention on one thing? Jesus answers those questions with ...
"I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. 35 This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other."
The Mount of the Beatitudes sits on the top of a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee. As we approach the park that now encloses the top of the hill, signs remind us to be silent because we are on holy ground. It was here on this very hill that Jesus sat down with his disciples and taught them about the Kingdom of God. Here in this place, as groups gather in various small clusters around the mount, one gets a feeling of what "Blessed" really means. The verses of Matthew 5 that capture the words of Jesus line the ...
Two words come to mind when we consider the parable of the prodigal son "Pride and Pride"
"Alongside Babylon's streams, there we sat down, crying because we remembered Zion."
Do you see them? No really they are everywhere! Come on surely you do see them.
I once went for a job interview and was offered the job based upon my passing the physical. It was as a result of the physical exam that I discovered I had a tumor in my bladder. Praise God! The short story is that I was blessed to be able to have the tumor surgically removed and have been bladder cancer free ever since.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don't rely on your own intelligence. Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (Common English Bible)
Just a Thought: Jockeys are typically small people. Interestingly enough typically so are those people who spend much of their time "jockeying" for position (regardless of their physical size).
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I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, and you are in fact dead. 2 Wake up and strengthen whatever you have left, teetering on the brink of death, for I've found that your works are far from complete in the eyes of my God.
The man was asked to kill his son. Read Genesis 22. The man was asked to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering to test whether he loved God or that boy more. And what's astounding is what verse 3 tells us. Abraham got up "early in the morning" to do it.
For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God.
"If only I..." Have you ever started a sentence like that? If only I had a little more money... If only I were a little more artistic... If only I had an opportunity like that... I can't think of any more paralyzing words. "If only" sets us up for failure.
"For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: It might have been." The poet John Greenleaf Whittier wrote that. While his poem spoke specifically of a lost opportunity in love, the truth of his verse extends far beyond that. We all understand the truth behind it: What a sad thing to see wasted talent, wasted resources, wasted opportunities.
Once you were far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don't drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.
"I'm talking to you like you are sensible people. Think about what I'm saying. Isn't the cup of blessing that we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Isn't the loaf of bread that we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one loaf of bread, we who are many are one body, because we all share the one loaf of bread."
Why? It's a classic question. Anyone who has raised children knows the power of the "why." They always want to know why, and we don't grow out of it. So last week, when we looked at Jesus saying, "Follow me," we looked at how his word gives us the power to do that. We never quite got around to asking that kindergarten question - Why?
"And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ."
If I knocked on your door and asked you if you would rather die than give up the teaching I'm ready to share with you, how would you respond? If I called you on the phone as you were eating dinner and told you to give up your home and your car and your relationships and follow me, how would that go over? I'm guessing not so well, right? I don't think I'd have too many followers.
My youngest granddaughter just lost her third tooth. She is grinning at everyone to show the gaps in her teeth. As a joke, I asked my daughter if she was going to buy a flipper to cover the gaps. She looked at me blankly. I guess she doesn't watch "Toddlers & Tiaras."
"Oh, I must find rest in God only, because my hope comes from him! Only God is my rock and my salvation- my stronghold!-I will not be shaken. My deliverance and glory depend on God. God is my strong rock. My refuge is in God. All you people: Trust in God at all times! Pour out your hearts before the Lord! God is our refuge!"
They say, "Politics makes strange bedfellows." We've probably all been surprised from time to time when we see two people or groups who would normally be at each other's throats suddenly work together because they've found a common enemy.
"Look! I'm standing at the door and knocking. If any hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to be with them, and will have dinner with them, and they will have dinner with me."
"The LORD's voice is over the waters; the glorious God thunders; the LORD is over the mighty waters. The LORD's voice is strong; the LORD's voice is majestic."