Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Finding His Presence in Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Friends

Click her to take a second look at Pastor John's sermon Stirred Not Shaken and Bro.Larry's Sunday School Class Many of you know my brother Paul is the new General Manager of Denny's which just reopened Sunday night. Here is an interview with Paul....click the video on the right of the page.
My Dad (Bro. Howard) made a statement today in study that is still ringing in my ear. We were talking about praising God in all circumstances avoiding a critical spirit. Dad said, "Complaining is the opposite of thanksgiving" That can be reversed to say, "Thanksgiving is the opposite of complaining."

This year we have all experienced both good and bad things in our life. The chioce we must all make is whether or not we will practice a life of being thankful to God and others even when it is not easy. Israel complained over and over in the wilderness. Looking at the situation we can sympatize with them....wondering how they would have food and water for themselves and their children. So they complained to Moses forgetting the tangible grace and favor of God's miracles in thier midest. We don't have to be thankful for the bad things...we can instead be thankful for God's love towards us and His ability to bring good. Next time you are tempted to complain turn it in to praise.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

God's Presence: Staying the Course in Hard Times

Sunday Sermon: You Just Gotta Say it: What Does God want You to Speak over a Situation? and Sunday School with Bro. Larry

There are many things that effect the anointing and presence of God in our lives. Last week we talked about "coming close" by developing a habit of taking time with the Lord. There is a lot more to say on that subject and we'll continue to explore it in coming weeks. My sister- in -law and I were talking this week about the anointing and presence of God in the midst of hard times. That conversation got me thinking about how staying the course increases the presence of God in a persons life.

The Presence of God in hard times.
Believers do not escape hard times...we go through them with the help of our Savior. Attitude is important to our outcome. God desires good for His children and He is not the author of confusion or things that bring pain. Yet in this fallen world we do see and experience painful events. We have two choices when faced with a trial. We can blame God and run turncoat....or we can seek His wisdom through the pain and allow Him to lead us through to safety. Some would say that loving God is a crutch to the weak hearted....the Bibles description would be that such a person reveals strength of character and faithfulness.

Stay the course
Sometime ago my husband and I attended our niece Sarah's wedding. I'll never forget the time of invited prayer at the end. There was and older pastors wife who was praying near me. We were never introduced and I don't even know her name...but her spirit spoke volumes to me. Stay the course...things happen...both happy and sad...but remember God is by your side and He will never leave you or forsake you. It sounds trite I know. Yet if you find yourself near such a person...someone who has stayed the course through good times and bad...through trials that seem insurmountable....you feel something different in their presence. A power, a strength that you can't explain. What is it?

Hard times can take us to the throne room.
Hard times or trials drive us to the throne room for wisdom and direction. They chip away at wrong attitudes and reveal the master's handiwork upon our life. It reminds me of the potters wheel story in the Bible. The clay being hard in the master's hand and its need to be softened, the spinning and shaping of the clay upon the wheel, the painted design, and the firing and final touches. In the throne room we find the comfort of His right hand upon our life. The place of refuge is found in the "cleft of the rock" or the secret place where we meet the Lord…the place where we are protected from the storms that the enemy desires to use to destroy us...the place where we are protected by His faithful hand.

Hard times can bring our focus to a walk of Dependence upon God .
It is in the hard times that we remember that we cannot do "it" on our own. I don't know about you, but I'll freely admit that I've gone through seasons where my attitude was, "I've got this all figured out". Thing is although the Lord wants us to use the gifting He has placed within us... His plan is that in these seasons of life we come to the point where we say like Moses...."I don't want to make a step without your presence Lord".

His Presence
Yes, we "Come Close" through time spent with Jesus. Make time this week to soak in His presence (you don't have to copy anyone else’s method)....also take time to ponder what it means to stay the course in hard times...times of decision, times of wonderment, times of pain, times of economic trial, times of national uncertainty, and times of unsettledness of any sort. Staying the course because you love and trust Him brings His presence powerfully in your life.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The presence of God in a Christ Followers life

Pastor John's sermon entitled "Faith Requires Follow Through" really made me think about true faith in God. Here is a link to both the sermon and Sunday School with Bro. Larry.

Lately I've been thinking about the presence of God in the life of Christ followers. The Word is filled with the concept of God's people coming into close relationship with Him. Here are a few basic ideas about devloping a relationship with the Lord.

Come Close
Long distant relationships can be fun and exciting but they can also end in failure if care isn't taken to fuel the flames. You may be thinking I'm simply talking about relationships that span miles and have to be supported by telephone calls and facebook encounters....but in truth some couples or families who live with or near each other can be like ships in the night passing each other once in awhile with no meaningful contact if they are not careful. In the Word it says, 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8, New King James Version) I know it might seem like "works" to some....yet the truth is if we are going to have a relationship that is meaningful we are going to have to invest time and energy into it. We don't have to copy cat someone elses way spending time with God...we can work that out ourselves with Him. My husband did something special on one of our dates this fall....he took me to a State park where we could watch and listen as the waves come toward the shore. He knows that I love that sort of thing. Our everyday life doesn't allow for walks on the beach ,listening to the sounds of waves and watching the beauty of the water scene...the effort of my husband made to find something that we enjoy doing together if only for a few hours is priceless. Simple things can be very meaningful. As you draw near to God...you'll learn His Character ...enjoy what He enjoys, and begin to scratch the surface of the concept that He enjoys spending time with you and desires to bring meaning to your everyday exisitence.

Setting aside time with God is well worth the effort...when you draw near to Him...He comes to you as well. What are some tangible ways you can make room for relationship building this week? Perhaps you'll be encouraged to reach out to others that you've not had relationship with recently as well.