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Shepherd's Corner

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The Wisdom to Celebrate

Friday, December 13, 2019

“All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.” Proverbs 15:15

Our Christian life is a cause for celebration, but sometimes we don’t feel much like celebrating. If fact, when the weight of the world seems to bear down upon our shoulders, a celebration may be the last thing on our minds . . . but it shouldn’t be. As God’s children, we are all blessed beyond measure on good days and bad. This day is a non-renewable resource - once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. We should give thanks for this day while using it for the glory of God!

 Let us ponder these thoughts; What will be your attitude today? Will you be fearful, angry, bored, or worried? Will you be cynical, bitter or pessimistic? If so, God wants to have a little talk with you.

 God created us in His own image, (Gen.1:26) and He wants us to experience joy and abundance. However, God will not force His joy upon us; we must claim it for ourselves. Today, and every day thereafter, let us celebrate the life that God has given us. Think optimistically about yourself and your future. Give thanks to the One who gives us everything, and trust in your heart that He wants to give us so much more.

 Let us pray for an attitude that pleases our Lord. In every circumstance, we will strive to celebrate the life He has given us, and we will praise God for His priceless gifts. Amen!

 

We Were Made to Worship

Sunday, December 01, 2019

The first song I remember my mother and grandmother singing to me was, “Jesus Loves Me.”  As a three-year-old I sat on my grandmother’s lap in a lawn chair and I remember asking her to sing it over and over again.  I have heard our teachers sing, “Jesus Love the Little Children” and I myself still sing this song to my granddaughter. When we have her for the weekend she asks, “We going to church papa?”  We have a great influence on people by our actions in worship.  We sing these songs to our children and grandchildren today.  We hummed these songs to infants when they are sick, hungry or just crying. Why? Because we were made to worship.

To worship God is to walk through the shadows into a familiar welcoming place, where the fire never dies, and the light is soft and glowing. To worship God is to know we are truly home, acting on a desire deep in our souls. Long before we rationally understand the truth of Christ, we want to praise someone or something for bringing love, joy, and hope into the world.  We are made to be worshipers -- worshipers of God from the heart. Thinking worshipers. Working worshipers.

Teach us to worship, Lord. Not just to be emotionally ecstatic or to just feel good, but heart-based worship of You, my spirit with Your Spirit.  “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)  “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” (Psalm 95:6-7).  “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence by all those around Him.” (Psalm 89:7) The text

stresses the need for reverence on the part of those who would draw nigh to God and the Bible commands this throughout.  “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  Worship literally means to kiss toward; the act of homage or adoration paid to God.  The concept of reverence raises certain questions which need to be answered for us to more fully understand its significance.  Read Psalm 89:7 again.  “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence by all those around Him.”   God is to be exalted above all else.  The natural question then is this:  Have you personally placed Him above everything? Have you worshipped Him reverently?  This is something we must ponder with ourselves and family.   

 

His Enduring Mercy

Friday, November 08, 2019

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. (Psa. 136:1)

You know, mercy always precedes grace, but they always go hand in hand. Before God gives us what we do not deserve (grace), He first withholds from us the judgement we have coming (mercy). Our God is, by nature, merciful: He does not treat us as we rightfully deserve. Rather, in loving grace, Our Father pours out His forgiveness over us. For such mercy and grace, we can never praise Him enough.

Imagine if God’s mercy were to somehow expire. What if one day He’d had enough of forgiving our sins - those sins that we can’t seem to master or turn away from? What if He were to reach a point where He decided to mete out exactly what we deserve as punishment for our sins, our faithlessness, and our self-centered ways? This is something to really ponder.

Of course, that turn of events would violate His own gospel: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)  If God’s mercy were to expire, we would perish.

“Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven! For His mercy endures forever. (Psa. 136:26) God is the only doctor will never send you a bill.

Let us thank God for loving us unconditionally! Amen.

 

A Fresh Beginning

Friday, October 11, 2019

“Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth . . .

I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” Isa. 43:19

 Our life is a journey with God. It may be hard sometimes, but I am assured it would be all worth it. Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.

The only impossible journey is the one you never begin. Prov. 3:5-6, Jer. 17:7

 We will have to go though many trails and different obstacles. James 1:2-4

 God uses events in our lives to shape us, to teach us, to grow us - some of the key events are those sparked by sin in our lives or someone else’s life. On our journey we continually avoid Satan, confess our sins, and forsake them. Paul advise us to “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.” Eph. 6:11  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am you God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.” Isa 41:10

 A New Beginning is always exciting, refreshing, and makes us thankful. New beginnings often happen at weddings, a new baby’s birth, graduations, retirement, and so on. When these new beginnings include times like a new birth in Christ, a restored soul, land for a new building, leadership in place, the first minister, and restoring fellowship with other brethren we have so much to be thankful for. No words can express how blessed we are!

Seizing Our Opportunities

Friday, September 06, 2019

Etymology of Opportunity:

Nested into Colossians 4 is a verse that doesn’t get much publicity, but I think of it as a great definition of spiritual maturity. If each of us obeyed this verse, it would revolutionize our lives.

This scripture doesn’t specify how many or how few opportunities. It does not quantify how small or how large the opportunity. We simply need to make the most of every opportunity.

Seeing and seizing opportunities is an underappreciated dimension of spiritual maturity. Seeing and seizing those opportunities is at the heart of what it means to follow Christ and to be filled.

But here is the catch: The old aphorism is wrong. Opportunity doesn’t knock. The Egyptian giant that Benaiah battled didn’t knock on the door; he knocked down the door. (1 Chronicles 11:23)

In fact, Benaiah is one of those cool background characters that’s only mentioned a few times in the Bible, but whenever he shows up, he’s doing something incredible.

Most of us want our opportunities gift wrapped, but opportunities typically present themselves at the most inopportune times and in the most inopportune places. Opportunities often come disguised as a big, hairy, audacious problems, but we as Christians see things different.

The word “crisis” is made up of two characters:

One means danger and the other means opportunities.

Problems are opportunities in disguise. Let us always seek opportunities in the Lords church.

Amen!

 

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