Saturday, July 16, 2022

"The Place God Is Calling You To"

 Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

 Frederick Buechner wrote, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

 I encourage to take reflect on these questions:

     1.    What is the one thing I do in life that brings me deep gladness?

Not necessarily happiness, but something like joy, something that makes you so glad you want to sing.

  1. What can I do with that something that brings me deep gladness to meet a deep hunger in the world?

Not save the world by yourself. Not change the world by yourself. Just fill some deep hunger with that one thing that gives you deep gladness.

 To be a disciple should not be a matter of hard, unrewarding work that makes you weary.

 It is a matter of service, yes, but when we figure out God’s call on our lives it is done in places where your gladness finds its ultimate purpose.

 That good work you do for Jesus is going to reap a harvest. Servants of God, be deeply glad!

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Praying Like a Mother

 1 Samuel 1:13,15 “Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. ’I am a woman who is deeply troubled….pouring out my soul to the LORD.’”

 Hannah desperately wanted a baby. She turned to the LORD in such fervent prayer that she appeared to her priest as a drunken woman.  Hannah didn’t care about her appearance; what she cared about was pouring out the troubles of her soul to the LORD.

What troubles your soul today? Is it something so dear to you that you are willing to start praying like a mother prays for her baby to be conceived?

If you are praying for some new opportunity, or healing, or for a child to find her way in life, start by earnestly praying in your heart.

 Hannah’s prayer was answered in the person of Samuel (‘Because I asked the LORD for him.’), and she prayed again:

 “My heart rejoices in the LORD…There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no Rock like our God.” (2:1,2)

 May God hear your heart’s petition and praise as you pray like a mother.

 Dedicated to our great niece Robbi Jean, b. 7.8.22

Saturday, July 2, 2022

"For Heroes Proved"

 “O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife,

Who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life!” America, the Beautiful (Katherine Lee Bates)

 Independence Day.  While we, as a nation, cannot agree on much (anything?) these days, perhaps on this holiday weekend we can agree that those who put their names to the Declaration of Independence are heroes. With the stoke of a pen they set in motion the creation of a government of, by and for the people.

 The signers understood that their mission was urgent, and that they would die…either together or separately for their beliefs. Heroic courage.

 These are they who more than self their country loved.

 Who are today’s heroes? Who rises up to risk their life and security for the sake of preserving freedom? 

 For this grand experiment in forming a more perfect union to continue heroes are still needed.

 But the hardest part of preserving democracy is persuading ‘we the people’ to follow heroes, not pretenders.

 On this 4th of July,  pray for God’s blessing on our nation: that we the people will be wise enough to know and follow the heroes proved in the struggle to keep America beautiful.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Knowing Your Own Strength

 Judges 16:20 “Samson, the Philistines are upon you! ”He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.

 Who are the “Philistines” in your life these days?

 Perhaps the news of the day has brought you to despair, and you feel like the ‘Philistines’ have won.

 Or perhaps the ‘Philistines’ in your life are health, finances, addictions, even old age’s creakiness. Perhaps you are beset by doubts, grief, shame, or guilt.

 The real lesson of Samson’s story is that he gave in to the wiles of the world, trusting in his own strength, which was too weak to defeat the enemy.

 Are you trusting in your own strength to overcome your enemies? Are you despairing of your future because you refuse to dwell with the Lord?

 We all have enemies which we need to defeat if we are to become the person God intends us to be.  Don’t rely on your own strength. Draw on the strength of the Lord through prayer, worship, community.

 Invite the Lord to be with you today, to provide you with the inner strength to defeat your ‘Philistines.’

Saturday, June 18, 2022

God? Test, Test (pt. 2)

Judges 6:17 Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.”

After the first sign God gave to Gideon, God sent Gideon to destroy the false gods Gideon’s neighbors worshiped. (See ‘God? Test, Test’ Pt. 1)

 Gideon’s second request for a sign is the famous fleece test. Gideon set up a test to see if God was really with him as he was going into battle against Israel’s enemies. (Judges 6:36-40)

 If God played along with Gideon’s test, there was every expectation that Gideon would lead an army into a battle in which he could very well lose his life. Before you ask God for a sign you had better be ready to go to work for God.

 You cannot say ‘no’ to God’s ‘go.’  If God has confirmed that God is with you in the battle into which God is sending you, then you need to gather up the courage to confront the enemy.

So, before you decide to do a little microphone check on whether God is really there, be prepared to say ‘yes’ if God answers,  ‘Here I am. You will go.’ 

Saturday, June 11, 2022

God? Test, Test (pt. 1)

 Judges 6:13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?”

 God’s people felt abandoned.  Their 401k’s were drying up. The streets weren’t safe.  Running away and hiding seemed like the only good option.

 Why had this happened? God’s people forgot their identity. They worshipped false gods. They expected all of God’s blessings, but they refused to live lives that showed their gratitude to God. You couldn’t tell God’s people from their neighbors.

 The people abandoned God.  But God is more faithful to his people than God’s people are to God. God appointed Gideon to lead God’s people in battle to restore peace and prosperity.

 The first step was to get rid of the false gods people were worshiping. If we expect the Lord to be with us, shouldn’t we be willing to demonstrate with our lives our own loyalty to God?

 The second step was defeating the enemies.

 Gideon wasn’t so sure that God was really the One giving orders.  He didn’t want to go out and engage the enemy unless it really was God who was speaking.

 How do you know if God is speaking to you?

 

 

Saturday, June 4, 2022

When Women Lead God's People

 Judges 5:7 Villagers in Israel would not fight;

    they held back until I, Deborah, arose,
    until I arose, a mother in Israel.

 On Pentecost Peter quotes the prophet Joel to make the point that the Spirit of God falls on both women and men. (Acts 2:18)

 The people of Israel knew this truth because of Israel’s “Mother Deborah”, their Judge who led God’s people in a victory over their enemies through her willingness to lead the men into battle.

 Is one reason for the Church’s current decline because so many refuse to see that women as well as men are called to lead God’s people? Many in the Church are intentionally deaf to the leadership voice of women, to their songs which brings wisdom and courage to the battle against the enemies and evil that surround us.

 My prayer on this Pentecost weekend is that the Spirit of God will open the eyes, ears, and minds of the worldwide Church to the truth of God’s Word: when women lead God’s people, offering up God’s prophetic words, God’s people are victorious.

 I thank God for all the “Deborahs” with whom it is my privilege to serve God’s people. Lead the way!