Meditation

09/07/2022

The Lord spoke to Moses in the Tent of Meeting in the Desert of Sinai on the first day of the second month of the second year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. He said: ‘Take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clan and families, listing every man by name, one by one. ” (Numbers 1:1-2 – God Tells Us He Is Author of Life)

God’s request for a count had several caring purposes: He wanted Israel to take careful stock of every child of God, for provision and protection. He wanted Israel to realize how many in number they were so they could see God fulfilled His promise of offspring and strength. He wanted the people to assess their strength in relationship to warring nations they must face. The detailed numbering of Israelites also organized them for labor and distribution in the Promised Land. The God of order reveals His care and administration of those to whom He is committed.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, You wanted us to come to understand the commitment You were making on our behalf, and that nothing could be taken out of Your protecting heart. Abba, You wanted us to know and that regardless of the size of the problem, the strength of of any army or people that could come against us, we too big for Your to protect us from. It didn’t matter what we had to face, could take us from Your protecting arms from anyone, any military battle, or any king was big enough to cause us to worry that You could not handle anyone or situation. He already knew the answer, and through the census, we too came to the same understanding. Today we continue to pray our troops serving in faraway lands and those in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

If God is in the co-pilot’s seat, change seats!”

KNOWING GOD:

He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-firsts of all he created.” (James 1:18– God Tells Us He Is Author of Life)

Beloved, God chose to give us life. He provided true spiritual life by the revelation of purpose and life in the gospel. He wants us to become the finest offering to to God, models of life as God intended.

I AM:

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according o what they had done as recorded in the books.” (Revelation 20:12 – God Tells Us He Is Author of Life)

God has revealed that physical death is not the end of life. All the dead shall be called before God to to give an account of their lives on earth. Death itself will be destroyed, but those not belonging to God’s people will suffer the horrors of death forever, which is known as the second death. God will reveal Himself to all people in the judgment. The dead will appear before God on His throne to give account of their actions. Deeds, recorded throughout their lives, will be revealed. All will be judged according to the records of their daily living, known always to God.

SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means, “Little Girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.” (Mark 5:41-42– God Tells Us He Is Author of Creation)

At a time of death, grief leads people to release their emotions in sobbing and tears. Grief is natural and should not be denied. At the same time, unbelief makes people ridicule the idea that death is not necessarily final. Faith leads people to believe the Lord of the living is also Lord of the dead and will intervene for His own sovereign purposes.

God is in charge of life and death. His Son Jesus has the power and the authority to reverse even death. By delivering people from death. Jesus revealed the nature and power of God in the restoration of life to the little girl. Jesus did not want testimony from demons. He kept secret His identify to avoid inciting political action and to let eyes of faith discern who He was. The messianic secret is a major emphasis of Mark’s Gospel. He also instructed to let no one know what had taken place.

Meditation

09/06/2022

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Genesis 1:1-2 – God Tells Us Who He Is As Author of Creation)

The Spirit of God participated in the creation of the world. He Hebrew word ‘ruach’ may refer to God’s Spirit, the spirit of a person, breath, or wind. Scholars are divided about whether the reference here is to the Spirit of God creating or to God’s breath blowing across the waters. The eternal Spirit of God was certainly present at the creation. The Spirit is everywhere associated with power and life, both of which are important in creation. This reference to the Spirit should not conceal the metaphor used here. God’s breath-like Spirit moved or hovered over he waters which covered the earth. God’s Spirit thus kept he chaotic forces in check. Only a few verses associate the Spirit with creation. He is more often associated with individual persons. Other references to the Spirit creating include Job 33:4; 34:14-15; Psalm 33:6; 104:30.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, whether it was God or His breath-like Spirit is meaningless, as He was there. Creation began, is still going, though one day it will stop at the end of time for this created body. We are all a work in progress, until the 7th trump, when Jesus returns in all His glory; then, judgment will begin. Help us all to be ready for this momentous event in Your Plan, Abba, as we seek to enter the kingdom of Heaven. Today we continue to pray our troops serving in faraway lands and those in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

When God measures mankind, He puts the tape around the heard, instead of the head.”

KNOWING GOD:

Then you will know that I, the Lord your God, dwell in Zion, my holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her. In that day the mountain will drip new wine, and the hills will flow with milk, all the ravines of Judah will run with water. A fountain will flow out of the Lord’s house and will water the valley of acacias.” (Joel 3:17-18– God Tells Us Who He Is As Author of Creation)

The created order will reveal the say of God’s salvation. When God redeems the people and the land, all creation will return to His original purposes. Nations like Israel, Egypt, and Edom are involved, but the day of the Lord will be no ordinary day and this list is not a completed list of nations, for on the day of Jesus’ return God will provide protection for His people but destruction for their enemies. Forgiveness will be given God’s People, but for those who are wicked and commit evil in the sight of the Lord, the outcome will be much different.

I AM:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be know about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—-his eternal power and divine nature—-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:18-20 – God Tells U Who He Is As Author of Creation)

The purposes of God are to be brought to their intended goal. These purposes are centered in Christ and come to fruition in association with Him. ‘All things’ is an all embracing phrase for the whole of creations, the times of human history, and the totality of redeemed humanity. All will be headed up in Christ, and therein final harmony and God’s eternally intended purpose will be realized.

SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. And have been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route” (Matthew 2:9, 12– God Tells Us Who He Is As Author of Creation)

A star became a sign to follow for several eastern star experts. God used their expertise and His creation to lead the foreigners to greet Jesus. He warned them in a dream to take another road home; thus, avoiding the capital and Herod.

Meditation

09/04/2022

Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.” (Psalm 40:5 – God Takes the Initiative Through History)

The writer extolled God’s creative power and spoke of himself as an agent of revelation who declared God’s work to all. God’s wonders are too many to express, yet the worship of God is the occasion for such celebration. In history God’s acts for His people have revealed Him in love and power.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, all throughout the centuries since You first created this earth and all that is in it and the universe that we live in, your planning and care that everything was done just so, we have seen the Master Artist creating the most innovative and function masterpiece that continues to evolve every single day. You have allowed us the ability to communicate with You, because of the depth of His love for His creation, and history records every moment of it all. Today we continue to pray our troops serving in faraway lands and those in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

God is more concerned with the depth of your character, than the depth of your bank account.”

KNOWING GOD:

Look at the nations and watch—-and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places no their own. They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor.” (Habakkuk 1:5-7 – God Takes the Initiative Through History)

God intended to use the irreverent and self-serving Babylonians to accomplish His justice. The prophet was bewildered but recorded the revelation God can use unrighteous people o correct human abuses. Habakkuk withheld judgment, waiting for God to explain and complete His work. Faithful followers interpret even when they do not fully understand what God is doing. God is active amid the confusion of human history.

I AM:

And he made known to us the mystery of his which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—-to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.” (Ephesians 1:9-10 – God Takes the Initiative Through History)”

The purposes of God are to be brought to their intended goal. These purposes are centered in Christ and come to fruition in association with Him. ‘All things’ is an all embracing phrase for the whole of creations, the times of human history, and the totality of redeemed humanity. All will be headed up in Christ, and therein final harmony and God’s eternally intended purpose will be realized.

SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Again he said, ‘What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.” (Mark 4:30-32– God Takes the Initiative Through History)”

All revelation, like the arrival of the kingdom of God on earth, appears small an insignificant at first but will grow because of its nature. Jesus was a small Babe, born in an unnoticed town. Thus began God’s revelation of His great rule over all the earth.

Meditation

Sermon for 13 Sunday After Pentecost, Proper 18 -09/04/2022

Jeremiah 18:1-11; Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17; Philemon 1:21; Luke 14:25-33

In our lesson from Judah, we read that a family is compared to a community and a community to a nation, and then Jeremiah is sent to the Potter’s House. He observes the pot being made as not so pretty, but it would be fashioned anyway into something less than what the potter intended. Jeremiah, like most of us did not like taking bad news or judgment to people; instead, he preferred to convey news that uplifts people, that God was going to do something wonderful for them. Yet, in these verses, we come to understand that God had been trying to “mold us” into something which would be representative of the peoples obedience and faithfulness to Him, but such was not the case. He even spoke of Israel as that in a Potters Hand, His hands, that was being prepared to be uprooted and destroyed, but if that nation were to repent of its evil, then God would relent and not inflict on it the disaster that He had planned. He then talked about a nation or kingdom was to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to o for it.

All of this is not an automatic part of a plan, but if God was going to build up a new town or kingdom, and then saw they were not being obedient to Him and was was doing evil in His sight, whatever the plan was, He would treat it as one who had been disobedient and practicing evil in h is sight. Also, if He was planning on destroying a place for evil or disobedient, then they sought forgiveness for their sinful ways and became obedient to God, He would bless them for their changing their ways to honor Him. The point being, not is set in stone, if we repent of our ways and seek forgiveness, it would not be withheld from them and they would be blessed for their decision to change their way of living.

Our Psalm this morning begins with praise and thanksgiving for answered prayer leading to prayers of thanks. Answered prayers not only helps the person but even more exalts God. Thanks leads us to invite the universe to join us in praise, to gain confidence of God’s help for the future, to catch a new vision of God’s purpose for us and to petition God with renewed energy, love, and faith. Wicked people opposed the prophet and became the psalmist’s enemies. The psalmist testified to personal innocence undeserving of the troubled situation. Thus Go as asked to curse the enemies. Prayer identifies us as God’s people fighting God’s enemies but trusting victory to God’s actions

Let me ask you all a question, have you ever asked someone to write for you a letter of recommendation for you? In Philemon we read where Paul is still in prison, but that he is sending him home, no longer as a slave but rather as a fellow worker in the ministry of Jesus Christ. If you have ever asked for someone to write you a letter of recommendation, then this is without a doubt the best recommendation ever received by anyone. He was given to Paul as a slave, to help him with his travels, and now is being referred to as a son by Paul. “Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me..” Paul was asking to send Onesimus home and to be welcomed by everyone as a fellow worker in Jesus’ ministry. Secondly, he asked for a room to be set aside for himself, as he was hoping to be released soon and felt they would do more than he even asked. This is an example of a prayer full of expectant faith and trust.

In Luke today, Jesus made the statement: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—-Yes, even his own life—-he cannot be my disciple.” And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

“Hate” here does not refer to emotional or mental dislike of the family members mentioned, nor of one’s own life. Instead, it indicates a total rejection of anything and anyone who would block our absolute commitment to Jesus as Lord. Jesus specifically and intentionally sought out devoted disciple’s to create a family of God. Loyalty to God’s family takes precedence over all other loyalties.

Discipleship is a full time job placed before all other priorities and responsibilities. Christ disciples are devoted, obedient followers of Chris. Nothing come before Christ in the life of a disciple. Discipleship is a commitment of our hearts and minds to serving Christ and His teachings in our daily lives now and unto eternity. To take the title of a servant of Christ is serious and heartfelt. Amen

Meditation

09/02/2022

Gideon said to God, ‘If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised—-look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.’ And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—-a bowlful of water. Then Gideon said to God, ‘Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me just one more test with the fleece. This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew. That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.” (Judges 6:36-40 – God Takes the Initiative Through Signs)

God uses signs in the material world to bolster His people’s faith (Exodus 4:1-9). Such signs joined to prayerful conversation with God reveal God’s power and presence with His people. For Gideon the signs also signified divine patience with a young believer facing an awesome task.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, You allowed Gideon to be a little playful with You, by asking first that the fleece was wet and the ground was dry, that You would save Your people. The next day he asked that only the fleece was wet and the ground dry. You responded to him as he asked; thus, his faith was strengthened in answer to both signs. Today we continue to pray our troops serving in faraway lands and those in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

There is no such thing as a self-made Christian. We are asked to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, on faith. This and only this makes us a Christian.”

KNOWING GOD:

While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink might drink from them, his wives and his concubines drank from them. As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone. Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote.” (Daniel 5:2-5 – God Takes the Initiative Through Signs)

God interrupted Belshazzar’s blasphemous party with a written message. God uses His own mysterious ways to communicated His will. God’s Spirit gave Daniel wisdom to read and interpret the writing. Such revelation came to overcome human pride and reveals God’s sovereignty.

I AM:

This is the inscription that was written: ‘Mene’ Mene’ ‘Tekel’ ‘Persin.’ This is what the words mean: ” (Daniel 5:25-28 – God Takes the Initiative Through Signs)” Mene – God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end; Tekel – You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting; Peres (Persin) Your kingdom is divided and given to the medes and Persians.

The translation of the four written words is a revelation of God’s purposes in the immediate history of Belshazzar and nations where him. God used Daniel to reveal God’s will to the king. The message involved word game to first confuse, then give meaning to this king.

SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

How can we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” (Hebrews 2:3-4– God Takes the Initiative Through Signs)”

Rejection of so many revelations leads to inevitable rejection of the way of salvation. God has revealed His fantastic love and saving plan though Christ. He has also manifested Himself in sighs, wondrous events, and miraculous activities. Now He expresses Himself in a present Spirit who provides special gifts in keeping with God’s will. He has used every means possible to convince people to trust Him and nothing else for salvation. What more do you need to believe, to trust, to accept Him?

Meditation

09/01/2022

Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:31 – God Takes the Initiative Through Oracles)

Certain ways of obtaining revelation are wrong. Seeking to consult the dead or spirits for revelation is wrong! Only the living God gives revelation. Among ways He revealed Himself are priests, prophets, prayer, sacred lot, dreams, angels, and His Spirit.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, throughout the ensuing battles between Israel and the Benjaminites., those of Israel continued to go before God and seek His counsel on whether they were to go into battle again with the Benjaminites. Finally because of their obedience and faith in God, God told the He would give the Benjaminites. into their hands on the next day, and that was what took place. Let us never forget to seek Your counsel and to honor You in every situation. Today we continue to pray our troops serving in faraway lands and those in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Start ‘Standing on the Promises’ instead of just sitting on the premises.”

KNOWING GOD:

Show us your unfailing love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation. I will listen to what God the Lord will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints—-but let them not return to folly.” (Psalm 85:7-8 – God Takes the Initiative Through Oracles)

God reveals Himself to those who truly wish to know who He is. The wise choose to hear, the foolish to ignore Him. From Psalm 42:8-11: “The true feeling of abandonment by the believer was also the moment of faith, as he confessed the closeness of God, the kinship between Creator and creature, and the assurance that God would save again. The psalmist testified to God’s presence even when he sensed His absence, for he knew God would appear to him and direct him.”

I AM:

The Israelites went up to Beth’el and inquired of God. They said, ‘Who of us shall go firs against the Benjamites” (Judges 20:18 – God Takes the Initiative Through Oracles)”

Holy places are associated with God’s revelation. Beth’el was significant because of Abraham and Jacob and their encounters there with God (Genesis 12:8; 13:3-4; 28:10-19; 35:1-15). God’s direction was probably gained by using the sacred stones, Urim and Thummim, which were used for casting lots.

SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Those who turn back from following the Lord and neither seek the Lord nor inquire of him. Be silent before the Sovereign Lord, for the day of the Lord is near. The Lord has prepared a sacrifice; he has consecrated those he has invited.” (Zephaniah 1:6-7– God Takes the Initiative Through Oracles)”

God’s people were open-minded, ready to find revelation anywhere and to worship all available gods to obtain it. Only God is living and true. He will not share His worship with anyone or anything else (See Exodus 20:1-6). Silent reverence is the best attitude as one looks to the day of final revelation.

Meditation

08/31/2022

On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, the month of Shebat in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo.” (Zechariah 1:7 – God Takes the Initiative Through Visions)

God’s call to Zechariah could be dated. Revelation was not a gradual awareness for him but a memorable experience. The word came through a series of visions. Visions are one form God uses to reveal His plans to people. (Note on Daniel 10:1-19: ‘Daniel’s vision experience was prefaced by abstaining from rich food and isolated himself on the river bank. While awake, he saw a human figure with superhuman characteristics. Daniel’s companions could not see the vision, but noted that were terrified by his state; he fell into a trance-like state—-pale, weak, and helpless, but finally he entered deep sleep. The hand touched Daniel with strength to understand the vision. Demonic forces resisted the angelic figure sent to interpret the vision to Daniel, but divine help prevailed. The vision dealt with future history of God’s people. The angelic presence let him speechless and breathless. He was given understanding to interpret events in the life of several nations. Visions were a common Old Testament from of revelation and usually involved reflection, trance-like awareness, awareness, and a mind open to God’s images.’).

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, Some in the Old Testament were given visions to interpret, probably prophets For this in today’s times, who have the gift of interpreting signs, we ask for wisdom to hear in interpretation and understanding of their content. Today we continue to pray our troops serving in faraway lands and those in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Sometimes we are so focused on adding up our troubles, we forget to count our blessings.”

KNOWING GOD:

I saw the Lord standing by the altar, and he said: ‘strike the tops of the pillars so that the thresholds shake. Bring them down on the heads of all the people; those who are left I will kill with the sword. Not one will get away, none will escape. Though they dig down to the depths of the grave, from there my hand will take them. Though they climb up to the heavens, from there I will bring hem down. Though they hide themselves on the top of Carmel, there I will hunt them down and seize them. Though they hide from me at the bottom of the sea, there I will command the serpent to bit them. Though they are driven into exile by their enemies, I will command the sword to play them. I will fix my eyes upon them for evil and not for good.” (Amos 9:1-4 – God Takes the Initiative Through Visions)

God appeared in the Temple to reveal His ongoing presence with Israel and to begin again the conversation of reconciliation. Even Amos, the prophet farthest removed from professional prophecy, received a vision in the Temple, but the vision marked the Temple’s end..

I AM:

The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, ‘Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.’” (Acts 23:11– God Takes the Initiative Through Visions)

Circumstances do not limit God’s power to reveal Himself through visions. Under arrest, Paul gained God’s encouragement and direction. God is with us when we speak for Christ. He gives us courage to do His will. Wherever He leads us, He provides all we need to witness to His salvation.

SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” (Revelation 23:10– God Takes the Initiative Through Visions)”

The King of life took His messenger and showed the future of life in the full reign and control of God. John was allowed to witness a new creation, made perfect by God, designed and working as He intended life and community to be, redeemed from imperfection and sin, and subject to Him. God revealed to His prophet the quality of eternal life and its nature.

Meditation

08/30/2022

A faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior.” (Titus 1:2-3 – God Takes the Initiative Through Inspiration)

God never breaks a promise. His eternal purpose before creation was to provide eternal life for His people, who entered into the covenant with Him. He fulfilled this in Jesus Christ, a fulfillment revealed to the world in Paul’s preaching. Such preaching came at God’s command, not from human pride. Let me repeat, as it can be no clearer said than this. “Revelation comes in God’s way at God’s time for God’s purposes through God’s chosen proclaimers.”

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, we pray for all those who think they are doing enough just by attending worship services; yet they don’t attend Sunday School classes, and both equip us to proclaim the message of eternal life and salvation by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, but do not even tell their next door neighbor how they can have eternal life in the kingdom of Heaven. Tough their hearts and minds to understand that they must do more to share the Gospel message to others. Today we continue to pray our troops serving in faraway lands and those in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

The way you live your life and treat others may be all that some people will know of the Bible!”

KNOWING GOD:

Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles an prophets. They mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me, through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.” (Ephesians 3:2-9 – God Takes the Initiative Through Inspiration)

Here Paul claimed personal revelation from God concerning God’s eternal purpose of grace. Such revelation had not always been available. God made it known through the Spirit at the proper time. Christ accomplished what God intended all along—-incorporation of non-Israelite’s into such revelation. Apostles and other preachers also received it. Revelation came at God’s time to people God chose to accomplish God’s eternal purposes.

I AM:

What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—-or at the most three—-should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God. Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. Did the word of God originate with your? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anybody thinks he is a prophets? If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored. Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues, but everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” (1st Corinthians 14:26-40 – God Takes the Initiative Through Inspiration)

Inspiration seeks to strengthen the church, provide instruction for life and faith, encourage God’s people, and promote peace. God uses every means to make Himself known in order to accomplish these goals. Insight into God’s revealed teaching many come to any faithful believer at any moment. Worship is a setting God uses to teach His people. God’s revealed will should be shared with the church in orderly fashion. Anyone sharing God’s revealed insights should do so to help the church and not to gain personal power or prestige. Revelation begins with God not humans. He gives all gifts of revelation and ministry.

Corporate worship in the early church included several elements. Worship sought to interpret God’s will clearly to His people and to strengthen the church. God the Father is a purpose filled and orderly God working for good ends. His actions are not never random or erratic; rather His purposes are not ever-changing. When worship becomes chaotic and out of control, it no longer reflects the God of peace.

Paul rote with conscious authority from God. He expected the church to follow his teaching. No person has a monopoly on revelation. All claims to inspired truth must be tested against the written revelation God’s Spirit inspired. Paul accepted women prophets (11:5) but insisted they maintain order and not do anything in their cultural setting which might bring disgrace on the church.

The problems at Corinth called for local solutions to the particular difficulties in the church. At Corinth, eating and drinking took place in private, not at the church. At Corinth, women spoke at home, not while in church. Prostitution, associated with pagan religion at Corinth, and other difficulties probably necessitated Paul’s words. In other contexts, women prayed, prophesied, and advanced the kingdom of God in the New Testament (1 Cor. 11:5); Acts 16:14-15 18:26; Romans 15:5-7). The church should solve fellowship problems quickly to avoid hindering the cause of Christ.

SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praise God, saying: ‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in he sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.’” (Luke 2:26-32 – God Takes the Initiative Through Inspiration)”

God’s promise to Simeon was at long last fulfilled. God does not forget His people, nor does He forget His promises to them. His promises are not always fulfilled in quite the way that we expect, because of our partial understanding; but God always fulfills His promises, sometimes in ways much greater that we had expected.

God honors devout, righteous people. The Spirit revealed to a humble and devout man that he would see God’s Child before he died. The Spirit let Simeon to the right place to find Jesus. Simeon, recognizing Jesus, spontaneously burs out in a celebrative song. Simeon’s song is not directly attributed to the Spirit as was Zechariah’s but it was not less inspired. Salvation resides in the person of Jesus Christ. The fortunate ones who saw Him in the flesh saw God’s salvation. Beloved, we can see Him with the eyes of faith and invite others to join us. He stands as our only hope of eternal life. Every race, color, culture, and language group are welcomed by Christ and His witnesses. Christ has provided salvation. We announce its availability to all others around us.

Meditation

08/29/2022

When Jacob reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there; he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth with its top reaching to heaven and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the Lord and he said: ‘I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying’” (Genesis 28:11-13 – God Takes the Initiative Through Dreams)

Jacob arrived at a holy sanctuary where Abraham had originally set up an altar. At such places of worship, gods were supposed to protect those present, and divine revelations were received. Apparently Jacob did not recognize this as an ancient sanctuary. He saw it as the only available place to sleep. His experience proved it was a house of God (Hebrew – Beth’el). The following dream was stunning to Jacob. He was addressed by the God of his Father Isaac. In those ancient days gods were thought to have control only over specific territories. Once a pilgrim crossed a boundary, another god’s authority supposedly took over. God here was revealing something unique, that the God of his father had no boundaries of any kind. He could follow Jacob even into hiding, and He would make a covenant with him despite his treachery. God surprised him by being more powerful and more available than he exceeded his expectations. The dream was a picture without words showing access to God was available in that holy place. The angelic messengers reenforced the idea that God wanted to communicate with Jacob. God’s speech did not interpret the dream. It reaffirmed Jacob as recipient of the promises to Abraham and Isaac.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, the symbolism presented here of ladder with angels ascending and descending from heaven and to earth sends a clear and strong message of communicating to us and from us to You. It sets the stage with Jesus will one day teach us how to communicate with You anytime, anywhere, or wherever we are at any time of the day or night. Today we continue to pray our troops serving in faraway lands and those in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Be more concerned about what God thinks about you, than what people think about you.”

KNOWING GOD:

Arioch took Daniel to the king at once and said, ‘I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means.’ The king asked Daniel (also called Belshazzar), ‘Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?’ Daniel replied, ‘No wise man, enchanter magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dreams and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay on your bed are these.’” (Daniel 2:25-28 – God Takes the Initiative Through Dreams)

Magicians and diviners cannot interpret dreams correctly. Only the true God can give the revelation necessary to interpret dreams. Dreams were perceived by ancients to be an approach divine beings used to reveal themselves to humans. The kin’s dream revealed God’s coming action in history. God used a foreign king’s dream as the basis of Inspired Scripture.

I AM:

During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” (Acts 16:9-10 – God Takes the Initiative Through Dreams)

The Spirit can say no and in fact had prevented Paul from entering Asia or Bithynia. These phrases all indicate how closely the early church associated the Spirit with Christ. The Spirit was given to all who believed in Christ and only to those who believed in Christ. He always reminded them of Christ; He glorified Christ; He equipped the church to proclaim Christ. This association with Christ renders the Spirit knowable. He is not a vague, amorphous, pervasive Spirit in the world. He is the definite, recognizable, invasive Spirit who lives with the followers of Jesus of Nazareth. At times He tells us no so He can lead us to a greater ministry for Jesus. On this night, God visited Paul in a night vision, calling him to proclaim God’s purposes across the border. Revelation includes God’s calling and directing individual missionaries to spread His gospel.

SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

After the Magi had come to worship the newborn King of the Jews, and left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’” (Matthew 2:13 – God Takes the Initiative Through Dreams)”

Refugees afraid to return home represent one of our world’s great tragedies. Broken human relationships and oppression force families to become refugees. Failing to acknowledge the interrelatedness of God’s human creatures is the ultimate cause. The oppressed on earth can take some comfort knowing their Savior began life as a refugee.

God commanded again to Joseph through an angel in his troubled sleep, warning him of the danger the promised Child was in. God used dreams of angels to guide Joseph as he protected the Baby from jealous, fearful politicians.

Meditation

Sermon-12th Day After Pentecost-17th-Proper 17-08/28/2022

Jeremiah 2:4-13; Psalm 81:1, 10-16; Hebews 13:1-8, 15-16; Luke 14:1, 7-14

The lesson from Jeremiah is one of God questioning His people’s relationship with each other and also with Him. Israel’s relationship to God was like that of an unfaithful wife. God had remorse over Israel’s rejected love. Sin breaks God’s heart, but He gives His people the freedom to reject Him, but He retains freedom to discipline His chosen. People cannot exercise freedom to roam religiously and change gods at will while still claiming innocence before God. The unthinkable sin is to switch gods, losing confidence in God, who proved His claim to be to be the only God so often in history. The new gods certainly never demonstrated power to save, for for that matter, anything else.

In the lesson from Psalm 81, the first verse is a call to celebrate one of the annual feast, probably the Feast of the Tabernacles, while verses 5-16 are the Lord’s, probably spoken by the priest. God loved His people and yet they turned away from him. But my people would not listen to me; “Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their devices. If my people would but listen to me, If Israel would follow my ways, how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes?” “Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him, and their punishment would last forever.” But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.” “But only if you listen to Me…..”

The Lesson from Hebrews is really pretty simple. It states what Christian love is and is not. Christian love includes all people (and there are no exceptions). It leads to pure marriage; Christian love does not love money; Christian love imitates worthy leaders; Christian love centers on the unchanging Christ; Christian loves does not follow strange teachings; Christian love endures isolation and persecution; Christian love praises God and shares with others. Christian love obeys and prays for Christian leaders and Christian loves does the will of God. Christian love has no limits; it reaches out to everyone in need….strangers, brothers, sisters, prisoners, suffers. Christians should kept on loving one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.

In Luke, we see the story of a man with dropsy, Jesus asked the Pharisee and the experts in the Law, “Is is lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, be healed him and sent him away. Then, he asked them, “If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?” And they had nothing to say.

Being God’s faithful believers we minister in love to the poor, cripple, lame, and blind. At the resurrection of the righteous, they will be blessed and rewarded for their ministry of loving service to the least and the lowest. The self-righteous hypocrites will not participate in the Messiah’s banquet at the end of time. The many references to humility in Jesus’ teaching should give us pause to think about them more seriously. The mark of humility is to think of others more highly. Not a weak-kneed approach to life, rather it gives attention to the great work God is doing in others and the great care He extends to them. They are made in His image thus deserving of love, as we all are.

Jesus told the Pharisee host he should have a banquet for handicapped persons rather than for relatives and rich friends. Then he would receive God’s blessings. The handicapped should participate full in our programs and fellowship. God welcomes the handicapped with their special gifts into His kingdom.

Finally, as followers and fellow believers in our Lord Jesus Christ we find that being one of His disciples is not a social hour we share with our group; rather, it is using every occasion of life to minister to persons in need. Participation in God’s kingdom is our reward, not participation in earthly award ceremonies. Beloved, entering the kingdom is most certainly an honor, but the prize is continued ministry and fellowship with those who understand that it is our work on behalf of Christ that gets us into the kingdom. It is learning to use our various gifts in honor of our Lord and all that He taught us in His life on the earth. I hope and pray to see you all in the kingdom. Amen