Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Submission to God in Suffering

Suffering is not a welcomed guest nor is it easy to "count it all joy" when we meet trials of various kinds. In Scripture, the book of James has much to say on the topic and I found great peace in the strong hands of my God, as I meditated on the following thoughts this morning.

James reminds us in 5:11, "Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful."

In her devotional thoughts on this passage, Iva May comments, "We think that a compassionate and merciful God removes suffering. No, He converts suffering into something redemptive." May continues by quoting Joni Eareckson Tada: "Suffering is when God uses what He hates in order to accomplish what He loves."

I can only imagine that God the Father looked upon the slaughter of His Beloved Son and despised it. Yet, it was the will of God to crush Him, and for His glory and our joy, it was and continues to be the greatest and most beautiful redemptive work on behalf of sinful man! For all who turn their eyes and hearts in faith to the cross of Jesus Christ can be cleansed from the depravity of sin and preserved from the wrath of holy God.

Submission to God in the midst of adversity is key. It is often easy to submit to the circumstances or to the suffering itself, which leads to bondage and bitterness. But when we submit to God (James 4:7), we can rest assured that He will turn our pain into something redemptive!

"Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good." (1 Peter 4:19).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"I Was Hungry" Food Pantry

We have the extreme privilege of serving our community through the "I Was Hungry" Food Pantry, next Monday and Tuesday, November 15 (4-6 p.m.) and November 16 (11 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 4-6 p.m.). Many of you have already given generously by providing a food box or a monetary donation and for that we say "thank you" yet, there are other ways that men, women, boys, and girls, of all ages, can serve.

Please prayerfully consider how you would like to help us:

1. by being a greeter and extending a warm welcome to each person God sends our way;
2. by serving at registration;
3. by sharing the Gospel with those who do not know Jesus;
4. by discerning prayer needs and praying with the individual about that need;
5. by keeping the tables and floors clean and free of trash;
6. by carrying their box of groceries to the vehicle;
7. by follow-up contacts and visitation;
8. by committing to pray for each of them daily and seeking the Lord as to how He would have us to help them long term.

It will be a great time of fellowship as the Body serves together in unity and offers food for the moment and the Bread of Life for eternity!

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'" (Matthew 25:34-36)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Normal Christian Life!

Paul David Tripp, in his book, Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, has termed the following words, penned by Martin Luther, as the description of the normal Christian life:

This life, therefore, is not righteousness but growth in righteousness,
not health but healing,
not being but becoming,
not rest but exercise.
We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it;
the process is not yet finished but it is going on;
this is not the end but it is the road.
All does not yet gleam in glory but all is being purified.

There is no such thing as instantaneous perfection! Boy, that frees me up! But may we be diligently and intentionally learning how to think and act like Jesus Christ in every situation!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Gospel and the Election

How should a follower of Jesus Christ view today's election? Follow this link to see!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Disturb us, O Lord!

Recently, Shepherd Press posted on their blog, the following prayer of English navigator and seaman, Sir Francis Drake (circa 1542-1598), who penned the prayer in 1577, while on his voyage around the world.

"Disturb us, O Lord, when we are too pleased with ourselves, when our dreams come true because we dream too little; when we have arrived in safety because we have sailed too close to the shore. Disturb us, O Lord, when with the abundance of the things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the water of life; when having fallen in love with time, we have ceased to dream of eternity, and in our efforts to build the new earth, have allowed our vision of the new heaven to grow dim. Stir us, O Lord to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas where storms shall show thy mastery and, when losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. In the name of Him who pushed back the horizons of our hopes and invited the brave to follow, even the name of Christ Jesus, our Lord."