When Hardship Comes

images

 

“As your days, so shall your strength be.”  Dueternomy 33:25

-
_
A man once laughingly observed to a friend, “God has extremely high regard for my capacity to endure hardship; for hardship is pretty much all I know!”

-
As we stand on the threshold of a new and untried day, we do not know what this day will bring. Will it bring good? Will it bring unwelcome misfortune and hardship? Perhaps it will bring both. It’s probably best to not dwell too much on these questions as we make preparation to enter the day. Instead, God invites us to dwell on His promises.

-
He has promised to give strength for every need. He has promised that no burden is too great for us to bear because we have Him. He has promised to those who belong to Him that He will work all things for our good.
With these promises going before us we may enter the day with gratitude, anticipating the opportunities it brings; the chance to provide daily bread, be with friends, share the love of family, enjoy our interests and serve others where we may.

-
When hardships come it may be more difficult to see our Lord at work in them. Faith may falter. When this happens we are invited to return to our baptism and kneel at the foot of the Cross, under the steadfast love of the Redeemer who gave Himself for us. There we are reminded that no trial, suffering, discouragement or hardship fall outside the vast perimeter of God’s grace.
Therefore, we may step across the threshold of each day in the sure and certain knowledge that we are held in the baptismal promises of God; and that the story that will be written, even this day, will be the story of God’s faithfulness to us – in all things.

-
-
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 -                

                 – Pastor Mark

-

_________________________________________________

-

Thank you, Pastor Mark.

-

Photo by motherrr.com

 

 

 

 

-

 

 

Christian Growth

joeyplanting

 -

Here’s another gem from Gerhard Forde:

-

“Christian growth is forgetting about yourself.”     
  (…and your Christian growth)

                        – Gerhard Forde

-
* The parenthetical statement is my addition.

 

______________________________________________________

-

Personally, I don’t think there is anything more tedious and boring than talking to, or hanging out with someone who is engaged in working on their “Christian growth”.

I’d rather gouge out my eyes with a claw hammer.

 

_______________________

 

photo by joeyplanting

 

 

 

 

 

-

 

 

-

How do you know that Jesus is Lord?

mhsd.org

 

-

Lay preacher, Brian Seaman, delivers the sermon for Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014:

-

Listen to > How do you know?

-

Thank you, Brian Seaman.

-

____________________________________________________

 

 Thanks to mhsd.org, for the photo.

 

 

 

 

-

On the need to be “re-Baptized”

 

680c60_ac35485037d3d3d58110c6a5906e6277

Also titled, “Faith“:

-

-

Or  … > faith (downloadable mp3)

This one (below) on becoming more “religious and spiritual” is a good one, also:

 

http://1minutedailyword.com/2014/08/24/on-becoming-more-spiritual/

-

__________________________________________________________________________

-

Thank you, Pastor Mark.

-

God’s Grace Trumps God’s Law

00-popping-the-bubble

Sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s true.

We are inveterate ‘doers’. The law is written upon our hearts. We want to justify ourselves if it kills us.

Ignorance of, or inability to distinguish God’s law from God’s gospel is a plague in the church.

“Well, it says right here in 2nd Macedonians 11 that we really ought to be doing good works to please God.”

So, then… why aren’t you?

Why are we so consumed with what the Bible has to say about good works and then utterly ignore them unless it is to tell our neighbor to do them?

Have you noticed that?  The do’s and don’ts of the law are never really taken seriously by the one who speaks of them. But the accusing finger is wagged in every direction but back at the self.

There is law language all over that Book. And there is gospel language all over that Book.

Should we, as Christians, ignore the law and ignore the needs of our neighbors?

Of course not! We ought jump in with both feet! We ought do all we can!

But not to aqcuire anything at all for ourselves. We already have all that is needful…in Christ. We have put on Christ in our baptisms! (Gal.3:27)

How can doing good works make you any better of a Christian than that?  It can’t!

But if you mix up doing good works for the neighbor and doing good works to gain some elevated status in God’s eyes, then you may be a modern day Pharisee, and you may be in the process of cutting yourself off from God’s grace.

“We’ll then, how am I to know that I’m really a Christian?”

Remember 4/4 … Romans 4:4&5 , that is. “Now to one who works, his wages are not reckoned as a gift but his due. And to one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.”

Grace trumps Law… and it trumps it every time.

By the way, you are now free (because of Christ) to go out and do all the good works you want, without having to fear messing up in any way.

Your friends, family, neighbors, homeless people, old folks in nursing homes, young people in cancer wards…they could all benefit from your desire to do good works.

-

So…have at it, friend!

-

- Steve Martin

-

_______________________________________________________________

-

Are you a godly worker? Or are you an ungodly truster?

Sometimes it is a hard thing to admit. But when he was hanging there on that cross and asked the Father to “forgive them, for they know not what they do”, he was speaking about you and me, also. Not just those there in front of him.

 ___________________________

Repost.

Thanks to 02varvara.wordpress.com, for the photo. 

-

-

“Spiritual…but not religious”

original

-

On airplanes, I dread the conversation with the person who finds out I am a minister and wants to use the flight time to explain to me that he is “spiritual but not religious.” Such a person will always share this as if it is some kind of daring insight, unique to him, bold in its rebellion against the religious status quo.

Next thing you know, he’s telling me that he finds God in the sunsets. These people always find God in the sunsets. And in walks on the beach. Sometimes I think these people never leave the beach or the mountains, what with all the communing with God they do on hilltops, hiking trails and . . . did I mention the beach at sunset yet?

Like people who go to church don’t see God in the sunset! Like we are these monastic little hermits who never leave the church building. How lucky we are to have these geniuses inform us that God is in nature. As if we don’t hear that in the psalms, the creation stories and throughout our deep tradition.

Being privately spiritual but not religious just doesn’t interest me. There is nothing challenging about having deep thoughts all by oneself. What is interesting is doing this work in community, where other people might call you on stuff, or heaven forbid, disagree with you. Where life with God gets rich and provocative is when you dig deeply into a tradition that you did not invent all for yourself.

Thank you for sharing, spiritual but not religious sunset person. You are now comfortably in the norm for self-centered American culture, right smack in the bland majority of people who find ancient religions dull but find themselves uniquely fascinating. Can I switch seats now and sit next to someone who has been shaped by a mighty cloud of witnesses instead? Can I spend my time talking to someone brave enough to encounter God in a real human community? Because when this flight gets choppy, that’s who I want by my side, holding my hand, saying a prayer and simply putting up with me, just like we try to do in church.

           

                       by Pastor Lillian Daniel, First Congregational Church. Glen Ellyn, IL.

___________________________________________________________________________________

-

Thank you, Pastor Daniel.

-

And thanks to Digital Photography.com , for the photo.

-

Hat tip to Howard Nowlan and Pastor Mark.

 

 

 

-

 

-

Happy Easter!

!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 71 other followers