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Great Expectations 2019

Friday, December 28, 2018

Like it or not, we live up to expectations.  When little is expected of us there is a tendency to live up to those expectations.  When there are no expectations set for us we tend live up to it (or down to it).  So, it can be good and bad.  However, when the expectations are high we often live up to them. 

 People will often times expel lot of energy, go to great heights, and distances to meet great expectations.  They will sacrifice, and serve beyond limits to accomplish the expectation set before them.  Wars have been won, lands obtained, countries established, businesses built, and games won all because of great expectations.

 God has great expectations for us at Westpark!  Understanding that He expects more of us will help us to understand and achieve what He desires.  

 I can’t help but think about people in scripture who lived up to the great expectations God set for them.  David, Moses, Joshua, Paul, Peter, and so many others who accomplished great things because of what was expected of them.  As a result of meeting their Godly expectations others were blessed, encouraged, built up, set free, established, and saved.  

 God has so much in store for us at Westpark!  Are you up for meeting Great Expectations?  Please make it a priority to be with us on Sunday, January 6, 2019 as we share together about Great Expectations.  Please invite family and friends to be with us as we share our vision and get excited about God’s Great Expectations! 

 

Judged and Restored

Friday, December 14, 2018

When there is a change in the weather, two things can happen: you get sleepy or you can become very restless. In my case this rainy Friday morning, I was up early, drinking a cup of coffee and mediating on God’s word in the book of Ezekiel.

 The prophet Ezekiel confronted the people of Israel and he confronts us with the reality of sin’s devastating power. He also offers words of hope about the restoration God will bring to those who experience His judgement. After all, God does not hold a grudge or punish unfairly. God is just and will deal with sin, but He also provides the opportunity for every person to repent and find life. Once we have repented of our sin, He will act as our Advocate and Protector.

 We read about this in Ezekiel 34:22. God will hold us accountable for our sin, but He will also bless and protect. Just as a shepherd evaluates his sheep and judges which to breed, sell, or butcher; the Lord will determine those who are His and which sheep needs care, judgment, or blessing.

Sometimes we forget and think of ourselves as more noble than mere sheep. But that’s exactly what we are. We are vulnerable and easily led astray. Thankfully we have a Good Shepherd who knows how to safely guides us.

“I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. (Ezekiel 34:22)

 

Our Lord's Delight

Friday, December 07, 2018

We all know to one degree or another what it is like to be forsaken and alone. You may be in such a place right now but, even if you’re not, hear the good news that the prophet Isaiah has for us.

“You shall no more be termed forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed desolate … for the Lord delights in you.” (Isa. 62:4)

Almighty God Takes Pleasure in Us: Our holy, infinitely loving, all-powerful God takes pleasure in us, one of His less than holy, inconsistently loving, and weak creatures. Despite the quantum differences between us and our heavenly Father, He delights in us.

God Enjoys His Fellowship with Us. God communes with the angels and saints already in heaven yet finds joy in relating to us!

God Delights in the Glory We Bring Him: We bring God glory when we share His love, worship Him, repent, serve … and the lists goes on.

Although God needs nothing, He is pleased to receive our obedience, worship, and praise. In what ways is God receiving our obedience? His Spirit will show us.  What worship and praise can we offer Him this day, this minute even?

Let us spend time with the One who delights in us; our God and Father.  Amen!

 

A Thankful Heart

Friday, November 30, 2018

Giving thanks to the Lord in everything can be a tricky thing if we don’t understand God’s power, purposes, and heart.  Why should we give thanks for pain, trials or persecution? 

1Thessalonians 5:16-18 presents almost a bird’s eye view of how to move through our whole lives,

always (deep down) rejoicing, praying and giving thanks in all things (or “circumstances,” in some translations).  It’s an attitude that should color our entire existence; not just pop up occasionally when we’re feeling especially spiritual.  This passage says “in everything,” not “for everything.” God isn’t saying we should thank Him that others sin, that someone died, or that we’re suffering.  We give thanks that He is with us through it all.

God is always working everything together for our good (if we’re in Christ), eventually working everything together for His glory. We give thanks because He is with us in our circumstances.  We give thanks because we can see beyond the short term pain to the long term victories. We give thanks because, no matter what’s right in front of us, He’s in control, and His covenant love to His people never ends. (Psalm 107:1)

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1Thess 5:16-18

Without God and His promises we have no reason to be thankful in anything or for anything. Because God is with us, working on our behalf, we have reason for thanks.

Let us ask God to help us to look beyond what is temporary in our circumstances so we that we can see the eternal and give Him thanks for how He works all things to our good. Help us to have a grateful heart O Lord. Amen!

 

The Great Joy of Growing Stronger

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.   James 1:2-3

Everyone wants to experience “pure joy,” but not many of us would think of a trial or test of faith as an opportunity to experience it. Let us consider what James could be thinking.

My first thought is that James is looking at the big picture for Christians. James sees the whole of life stretched before him and even into eternity where God will reward those who remained faithful. Everyone on earth will face difficulties but, as faithful children of God and trusting Him through today’s trials will prepare us to remain faithful in future challenges. You see, James didn’t see faith as something that you have or don’t have. Faith must be developed and grown over time. We can say that we “have” faith, but our faith becomes stronger the more we use it. When we see trials and difficulties as opportunities we draw near to God, grow our faith, and will find great joy in the most unlikely places.

More than anything, James is eager for us to see that our relationship with Christ is more valuable than our comfort. If our difficulties help us remain close to Christ, then we can trust that even setbacks will help our faith leap forward.  Great blessings come when we take God at His Word.  Amen!

 

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