Search

First Pres Joliet

A Daily Devotional from our faith community @ firstpresjoliet.org

Month

August 2016

My Hiding Place

Psalm 32

“You are my hiding place.  You always fill my heart with songs of deliverance. Whenever I feel afraid I will trust in you. I will trust in you. Let the weak say, “I am strong in the strength of the Lord.”  I will trust in you.”

Words of a praise song I used to sing years ago at a former chirch, taken right from the verses of Psalm 32.

There’s alot to fear in the world today, beginning with the political climate, biolence, and economic uncertainties.  We could all add to the list from what we struggle with personally; the things that cause us to worry and fear the future.

David gives us a model to follow when become overwhelmed and want to hide from the world, our friends, family, and responsibilities. Go to the Lord and allow Him to wrap us in His love and grace, providing a safe – haven filled with safety, love and peace.

What’s the secret to getting this place? Simply going to God in prayer, allowing him to guide our lives as we put our trust in him. That’s it. And then the things we worry about can be laid aside and given over to the One who wants us to trust him and who desires to be our protector.

Anna

RE: False Prophets

Psalm 32      Jeremiah 23:30-40      1 John 4:1-6
To those who would like to avoid the political, I will simply refer you to what Aristotle penned centuries ago…

“Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead a common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society is either a beast or a god.”                   – Aristotle, “Politics”

In this Jeremiah chapter 23, YHWH places the responsibility for their deeds on the people themselves (Jer. 23:16-17) rather than their leaders. People are to discern who the true and false prophets are. To this Jeremiah adds his own commentary (Jer. 23:18-20) that once YHWH decides to move, no prophet or people is capable of stopping Him.

For our passage, prophets speaking on behalf of the “oracle of the Lord” are rebuked as the “burden of the Lord” and are to be rejected as previously mentioned. Deciding what is true is not always a simple matter (Jn. 18:36-38), it depends on your point of view.

God’s Hall of Fame

With our current sermon series “What Feeds Your Life,” we have hear all about the greatness of John Wooden, both as a coach and as a Christian. It brought me back to a book written by him that I bought years ago filled with small bits of his wisdom that he gained over the course of nearly a century or life. I came across this poem (only a portion of which is in his book) that grabbed my attention and makes for a good blog post, with the Olympics in full swing and the recent enshrinement of the newest Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees. By the way, if you missed the HOF ceremony, you need to get online and listen to the speeches. All were great, with emphasis on the speeches of Kevin Greene, Tony Dungy, and (yes I am about to say it) Brett Favre.

This poem rings true because our time here on Earth is short, and when we have breathed our last, it is only a matter of time before our memory here fades. So we can’t spend our lives worrying too much about our own personal fame and fortune. What we need to do is live by what Jesus spoke in Matthew 6:19-20.

God’s Hall of Fame

Your name may not appear down here,
In this world’s hall of fame,
In fact you may be so unknown,
That no one knows your name!

The Oscars here may pass you by
And neon lights of blue,
But if you love and serve the Lord,
Then I have news for you.

This hall of fame is only good
As long as time shall be,
But keep in mind, God’s Hall of fame,
Is for eternity!

To have your name inscribed up there
Is greater yet by far,
Than all the Halls of Fame down here
And every man-made star.

This crowd on earth may soon forget
The heroes of the past,
They cheer like mad until you fall,
And that’s how long you last.

But God, He never does forget,
And in His Hall of Fame
By just believing in his Son,
Inscribed you’ll find your name.

I tell you, friend, I wouldn’t trade
My name however small,
That written there beyond the stars
In that celestial hall,

For any famous name on earth
Or glory that they share;
I’d rather be unknown here,
And have my name up there.

References

Wooden: A lifetime of observations and reflections on and off the court

https://mylordandmyblog.wordpress.com/2010/06/09/poem-by-coach-wooden/

 

Possibilities…

bigstock-An-image-of-a-nice-clock-with-21031388

Have you ever stopped to think about what you are really capable of doing?  Have you ever stopped to think about what the church is capable of doing?

Romans 12:1-8

This passage is awesome…it contains possibility and hope.  There is a little catch though…there is a potential stumbling block that we need to be very aware of:  “…Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment…”

Read it again…then look at how this particular verse is intended…how the entire passage today, I think is intended…”For by the grace given me I say to every one of you…”  By God’s grace…

Each day is a new blessing by the Creator of the universe.  There are amazing possibilities…using the gifts God has given to each of us…to be the body of Christ – the Church.  The challenge is to use the gifts given to help the body function rather than seeing the self gain that is so easily possible.  What are you capable of doing by God’s grace and mercy to build up the body of Christ…the Church?  Ponder for a moment the possibilities of the Church by God’s grace and mercy to make this world a better place and to provide hope to those who struggle each day.  Today is a new blessing…86,400 seconds granted by the grace of God!  Don’t abuse or waste a moment of this day!!

Something colorful

rUkpuoQ.jpg

I LOVE COLOR! I love colorful things, I love orange even if I choose to wear black, I love bright in your face powerful, unashamed colors. I like to think of God as an artist, an artist that threw away the color palette and just had fun with some of the creation. Without color, without those crazy elements life would be pretty boring, bland if I can say so. And because those colors and out of normal elements our lives are enriched, we are better people because of it, we learn something new and our lives change for the better.

And when it comes to people, is good to remember that God is an artist painting a different story on different canvases, different people all called to use their lives to paint this word for the creator in a way that will encourage people, that will bring joy and pleasure to the creator himself.

You might ask yourself, why I am talking about this today? The answer is simple, I want to encourage you to love your life. The crazy, complicated, exciting life that you have, with all your up and downs with all the happy and not so happy colorful people present in your life.  Love your life, because God finds pleasure in you. And even better one day in heaven people from all types of walk, backgrounds will come along you and worship the creator.

Revelation 7:9-10

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Be blessed,
Bo M.

Give Thanks

images

Psalm 136:1-12 (NIV)

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

Give thanks to God, today, as you go through your day.  Give thanks for the new life, the salvation, that God provides you in Christ Jesus.  We see God’s greatest salvation event of the Old Testament in Psalm 136 mentioned, the Exodus from Egypt, liberation from slavery to freedom as God’s beloved people; for God’s “love endures forever.”

In the New Testament we give thanks for God’s saving love come to us in and through the Lord Jesus Christ.  After asking the church in Ephesus to pray for everyone, Paul writes, “3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people…” (I Timothy 2:3-6 (NIV).

Give thanks this day for the saving love of God to you in Christ Jesus.

Let’s not stop there though.  Let’s also give thanks for others, the people and relationships, God has placed in our life.  Give thanks for your friends in Jesus who are Christ-Followers. Pray for those who do not yet know the Lord.  Pray that they will come to follow Jesus.

Pray to “Invite Your One” to church on September 11th. Who will you invite?  Let the Lord lead you as you discern who to invite and how you will invite that one.

This day give thanks to God for new life, for the people in your network of relationships, for the interactions of the day.  Give thanks as the moments of this day unfold and see what God is doing and will do.

images-1

Praying

christians-in-pakistan-prayers

Ephesians 3.20

James 4.2-3

Galations 5.22

When in church or some such Christian gathering it is customary to open and close  the meeting in prayer. We as believers often say grace before we eat. And we teach our children to say prayers at bedtime. When some catastrophic accident occurs and is posted on social media the responses from many is “prayers for all involved.”  I guess from that template one could say we are a praying people.  When the need arrises we also pray for healing when ill or injured, for jobs when unemployed, and safety when taking long trips. Is that about it?

In the book of James 4.2-3  we are told, ” You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask with wrong motives.” Often this passage is misused to promote prosperity theology, but the context here is people are desiring what others have and quarreling with each other and fighting amongst themselves concerning what John describes in I John 2.16 as, ” lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life,”  it is not of  God or the spiritual realm but is worldly.  So our asking of God seems here to be limited to spiritual, righteous qualities of the heart.  Are we so tied up in the physical realm that it over rides our spirit, our heart, our soul, our relationship with YHWH ?  Matthew 6.33 says, ” seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness: and all these things will be added unto you.”

Having worked with the 30 or so churches in these past few weeks on the crusade wasn’t all roses and spiritual highs, but sometimes troubling, getting to see behind the scenes of some theologies that people have either developed on their own or been taught. To invoke the presence of the Holy Spirit and yet display none of the fruit of the Spirit, as described in Gal. 5.22,  seems a little off base to me. People get turned around in this world today, mixed up as to what is truly important, which is our relationship to God the Father through Jesus Christ, and not how much stuff we have.

Ephesians 3.20, ” Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,…”  I wonder if sometimes we don’t have even a clue as to what to ask God for, so therefore we don’t pray.  We don’t have because we don’t know what to ask for.  Does it depend on how closely we are walking with God that would then open our minds as to our requests?   Should we ask for  blessings for ourselves so that we could then give to others?  Do we dare ask for physical things or only spiritual qualities like love or patience?

Don’t be afraid to pray, God loves you first and foremost, as He does the rest of the world, He gives good gifts to His children, but we need to ask.  He is not as much concerned with the physical as the spiritual,  so let’s address our souls first and then He will supply the rest.  I believe we, as a world, are headed at breakneck speed into the end times and need more than ever to be prepared spiritually, walking close to our creator and our savior.

Karl

TREASURES IN HEAVEN

We as a people spend much of our time gathering “things”; house, cars, clothes, electronic equipment, on and on. We forget the most important aspect of our lives is to gather treasures for in heaven. How do we go about to do this? We read scripture most important, listen to God centered sermons, listen to other believers as to how they go about gathering treasures, and open our mind to His guidance.
We read in Psalm 33:20-22:”We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”
Finally from Matthew 6:19-24 we read “Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, but store up treasures in heaven. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Lord, help us to store the most important treasures in our life.

Todd

The Eyes of the Lord

Psalm 33:12-22

Verses 16 and 18: No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strenth…But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love…

Lately I’ve made several threats to leave social media until after the election in November.  I’m so tired of the mudslinging between candidates,  parties, liberals and conservatives, and people who claim to be “friends.”  Even worse are those who post things like “Jesus was a Socialist” or “America was never a “Christian” national , so Christians should stop their whining and stay put of it.”  Insert long, heavy, loud sigh here.

So today’s Psalm from the lectionary brings me perspective,  hope, and comfort.  If the Lord has his eyes on those who fear and put their hope in Him and his unfailing love, then the outcome of the election,  while significant for our country, will far less so for me personally.  My hope is on the Lord.  Period.  The Psalmist puts it all into perspective: God is not for or against nations.   He is for those who love, honor and obey him.

The mudslinging will continue, and “friends” will un-friend eachother,  but God, our help, our strength,  will look after his people where they are in the world.

Amen!

Anna

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑