Don’t CHOOSE to sin


When lip service to some mysterious deity permits bestiality on Wednesday and absolution on Sunday, cash me out.                                                  Frank Sinatra

Get_out_of_jail_free

 It has always puzzled me that some people think it is fine to do wrong because they can be absolved of it. This is wrong thinking. The things we confess to God and ask for forgiveness should be slip ups. Choosing to commit sinful acts because we can be forgiven is not how God expects us to behave. His forgiveness does not give us permission to choose to sin.

Prayer: God of grace, remind us we must choose the right path. We cannot choose wrong because of his forgiveness. It is a gift of grace when we stumble not a get out of jail free card. Help us to remember this. AMEN

God expects

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.       Galileo Galilei

god expects

For a long time religion and science were at odds. At some times they still are. Some people find the theory of evolution and God’s creating everything to be in conflict. There is the fear that we will uncover some fact that makes God irrelevant. But I think God gave us not only our brains but also our curiosity about the world around us. I don’t think he is concerned about what we will discover.

Prayer: Amazing God, help us to use our minds and our curiosity to bring about your kingdom on earth. Amen

 

Cross to crown

No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.
William Penn

crown

Remember the old hymn that says “if you cannot bear the cross then you cannot wear the crown.” The Christian life is not easy. Sometimes it seems that way to us since we are at the end of an age when to be a Christian was the easy path. Everyone else (who mattered was Christian. Anyone who wanted to get with the in crowd went to church. You were accepted if you were Christian. Not so any more. The number of Christians is declining and we don’t have to go to church to be socially acceptable. It may even be becoming a detriment. What will you do then?

Prayer: Lord Jesus we have been complacent for too long. Help us to see that being Christian requires sacrifice. The cross is for us not the crown. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch out for envy

A Psalm of David. 

Psalm 37:1-7

envyFret not yourself because of the wicked,
    be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass,
    and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    so you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your vindication as the light,
    and your right as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
    fret not yourself over him who prospers in his way,
    over the man who carries out evil devices!

We read part of this Psalm in church this morning. I was struck by verses 1 and 7. Too often we are envious of those who seem so much better off than us. It is so easy to wish that we could be rich or famous. Maybe someone else’s life seems easier. God reminds us to not sink to envy. It just makes us unhappy. We must no “fret” about those who seem to do well. For one thing we are not traveling in their shoes. Their life may not be as perfect as it seems. Peace and happiness have nothing to do with what we have. It is more about how we live.

Hymn: “You have come down to the lakeshore”: Jesus is calling us

Today I want to share another hymn that is special to me. The words speak to me when I sing it. Truly God is calling each of us to follow. He wants us abandon our selfish ways and follow him. He want us abandon the things that are holding us back. Come, he says, I am waiting.

This is a favorite version as it uses the Spanish (and English) and is played in that style. It doesn’t have all the verses but is beautiful.

Lyrics:
You have come down to the lakeshore
Seeking neither the wise nor the wealthy,
But only asking for me to follow.

Sweet Lord, you have looked into my eyes,
Kindly smiling, you’ve called out my name.
On the sand I’ve abandoned my small boat;
Now with you, I will seek other seas.

You know full well what I have, Lord;
Neither treasure nor weapons for conquest,
Just these my fishnets and will for working.

Sweet Lord, you have looked into my eyes,
Kindly smiling, you’ve called out my name.
On the sand I’ve abandoned my small boat;
Now with you, I will seek other seas.

You need my hands, my exhaustion,
Working love for the rest of the weary,
A love that’s willing to go on loving.

Sweet Lord, you have looked into my eyes,
Kindly smiling, you’ve called out my name.
On the sand I’ve abandoned my small boat;
Now with you, I will seek other seas.

You who have fished other waters;
You, the longing of souls that are yearning;
O loving Friend, you have come to call me.

Sweet Lord, you have looked into my eyes,
Kindly smiling, you’ve called out my name.
On the sand I’ve abandoned my small boat;
Now with you, I will seek other seas.

God chooses

 Genesis 1:1-2  In the beginning God created  the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. 

in-the-beginning-god

I have always love this image. The idea of God choosing to create a world is…I can’t find a word wonderful enough. The Spirit of moving. Notice that in this version Spirit is capitalized. The Spirit is a facet of God. God is not one thing but many things. A God way beyond our understanding. Know that this is God. Infinite and unknowable until He chooses to become a man.

Our viewing point

gods eye view

It is not our responsibility to protect God. God can take care of Himself/Herself. Too often someone will want to defend their view of God. They want everyone else to understand what God wants. The trouble is it is what God wants according to them. Let us not fall into the trap of defending God. I truly believe God is fine. Just trust that, if blessed, you will hear God tell you the plans for you. He/She will not be interested in updating you about others. We each have our own perspective….our viewing point is not God’s.

How can I keep from singing

I have always been move by music. The words of this hymn have always meant a lot to me and the music is fun to sing.

My life flows on in endless song;

Above earth’s lamentation,
I hear the sweetdagger, tho’ far-off hymn

That hails a new creation;
Thro’ all the tumult and the strife

I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—

How can I keep from singing?
What tho’ my joys and comforts die?

The Lord my Saviour liveth;
What tho’ the darkness gather round?

Songs in the night he giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm

While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,

How can I keep from singing?
I lift my eyes; the cloud grows thin;

I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smooths,

Since first I learned to love it,
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,

A fountain ever springing;
All things are mine since I am his—

How can I keep from singing?

from Wikepedia

 

 

Saved by grace through faith

saved-by-grace-through-faithEphesians 2:7-10 —definition of grace

that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God— not because of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

We can’t earn our way with God. We have been granted grace through the sacrifice of Christ. None of us can say we are better than another. We are the same…god’s creation.

We were created to do good works. Not to win any awards or make ourselves noticed but to follow God’s plan for us.

Grace is a gift.  Accept it.