DOING GOD ON THE SABBATH
“One Sabbath day he was walking through a field of ripe grain. As his disciples made a path, they pulled off heads of grain. The Pharisees told on them to Jesus:”Look, your disciples are breaking Sabbath rules!”
Jesus said,”Really? Haven’t you ever read what David did when he was hungry, along with those who were with him? How he entered the sanctuary and ate fresh bread off the altar, with the Chief Priest Abiathar right there watching—holy bread that no one but priests were allowed to eat—and handed it out to his companions?” Then Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made to serve us; we weren’t made to serve the Sabbath. The Son of Man is no lackey to the Sabbath. He’s in charge!”
Then he went back in the meeting place where he found a man with a crippled hand. The Pharisees had their eyes on Jesus to see if he would heal him, hoping to catch him in a Sabbath infraction He said to the man with the crippled hand, “Stand here where we can see you.”
Then he spoke to the people: “What kind of action suits the Sabbath best? Doing good or dong evil? Helping people or leaving them helpless?” No one said a word.
He looked them in the eye, one after another, angry now, and furious at their hard-nosed religion. He said to the man, “Hold out your hand,”He held it out—it was as good as new! The Pharisees got out as fast as they could, sputtering about how they would join forces with Herod’s followers and ruin him.”Mark 2:23-3:6 (Message)
Prayer: Almighty and ever-living God, throughout time you free the oppressed, heal the sick, and make whole all that you have made. Look with compassion on the world wounded by sin, and by your power restore us to wholeness of life, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen
THIS IS THE DAY
“I will bless you…and you will be a blessing.”Gen.12:2 (TEV)
This is the day the Lord has made. What a wonderful day it is going to be.
I thank you Lord for providing all that we have. Through your loving kindness you
Watch over us and keep us from danger and peril. Thank you for being our
shadow and conscious when we fall into sins temptations. You lift us up when
we are down and hear us when we call upon you. What a wonderful listener you
are. If only we could listen to you at all times. Our free will gets us into
trouble so many times. Why can’t we just put our whole trust in you? Why is it
so difficult to let go and trust God? Let’s practice trusting God whole heartedly today.
Don’t second guess Him, listen to Him, talk to Him, and follow His word. Be a
faithful follower of God’s son. “Jesus loves me this I know.”
PRAYER: I’m so thankful that one of the many lives you’ve touched is mine. O Lord, I pray I multiply back to you the blessing you are, many times over, in Jesus’ name. Amen
GETTING TO HEAVEN
“For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (TEV)
If someone asked you, “How do you get into heaven?” Would your answer be:
You have to believe in God.
Jesus gave His life for my salvation.
Be an honest person.
How I live my life, like being kind to people.
Is there any doubt I’m going to heaven.
I could care less.
Keep the Ten Commandments.
Can we and do we know? God’s word tells us that we do have a definite answer to the question. FOCUS ON JESUS CHRIST. Scripture says:
Ephesians 2:8-9—“For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift….”
Romans 5:1—“Now that we have been put right with God through faith. We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
John 3:16—“For God so loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.”
Whose opinion are you going to accept, man’s or God’s? It you’re unsure, acknowledge your sin before God and believe that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sin, accept his offer of forgiveness.
Prayer: Lord, we give you praise and thanksgiving for all you have done for us. Let us ever be mindful of your son’s death and resurrection. Because of his promises we one day will be welcomed home to be with you in Jesus’ name. Amen
WORDS TO EXPRESS JOY
“Sing praises to the Lord! Play music on the harps! Blow trumpets and horns, and shout for joy to the Lord, our king.” Psalms 98: 5-6 (TEV)
A group of us were talking about the differences in our worship services and about how some of us are so timid in expressing our feelings of joy and praise and others raise hands and shout for joy.
I thought of being at a worship service where a woman standing in front of me, midway through the hymn, “Joyful, joyful we adore thee”, raised her hands and closed her eyes and sang out with all her heart.
Watching her, I thought of how often we allow our inhibitions to stifle the joy that God offers us. Many of us grew up in churches or in families where spontaneous expressions of emotions were not the norm. As a result, it is hard not to stifle creative imaginations. However, are we not allowing God to express His joy through us?
When I walk the Prayer Path or Labyrinth, I look at all the flowering trees and foliage bursting forth and am awe struck by God’s beauty. Then I think of what joy might be ours if we only would allow ourselves to blossom anywhere as fully as the trees for God’s glory.
“Clap your hands for joy, all people,
Praise God with loud song.”
Prayer: Dear lord, help us to find the words to express our joy and praise for your creation no matter where we are. Help us loose our inhibitions when it comes to praising and thanking you, in Jesus’ name. Amen
When a foreigner who lives in a distant land hears of your name and of the great things you have done for your people and come to worship you and to pray at this Temple, listen to his prayer. In heaven, where you live, hear him and do what he asks you to do, so that all the peoples of the world may know you and obey you…. 1 Kings 8:41-43a. (TEV)
I sat at the computer very frustrated with myself. I had tried to get into a membership I hadn’t used in several months. It said, “Access ID and password?” I couldn’t for the life of me recall what it was. Unless I knew them, only the correct response would let me in.
We all want to be members of a group. Yet often we are excluded because we don’t measure up to the group’s expectation. We don’t have the right password, the talent, the right friends, the money, the proper background or the education to be a member of the group.
This is not the case in God’s family. We are all welcomed. God includes us not excludes us because of our sex, our race, our thoughts or our sinful ways. God hears all our prayers no matter what.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for including us as members of your group, having a loving heart and a listening ear at all times. Help us to access you 24/7. Prayer is our password. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen
DO YOU HAVE THE TIME?
“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to teach them that they should always pray and never become discouraged.” Luke 18:1 (TEV)
The demands of life as we see them are sometimes overwhelming. Depending upon our circumstance we have the weight of a career and job upon us. We have a family to provide for monetarily, emotionally, and spiritually. We also have to work out times for meals, to run children here and yonder. We have elderly parents to care for. We struggle to exercise and keep our bodies healthy. We have people asking us to do this and that for causes, events, sports, entertainment, and church. Sometimes we just want to do things in the world such as movies, parties, and relaxation.
As if that is not enough, then we have this nudging inside of us that keeps saying "Who do you say that I am? What about me?" Who is that voice? It is the voice of the Holy Spirit reminding us of our Lord, reminding us that God loved us so much that He came to earth. Jesus was born in a smelly stable with the dirty animals. He traveled on a donkey. He lived as a homeless person in His later years traveling place to place to teach us. He endured beatings, plotting to be killed, and criticism. There were times when His family even called Him mad and tried to silence Him. He carried our cross and was spat upon for us, He was nailed to the cross that He carried so that we can be forgiven and made right with the Father God. He did this for each of us. For You! Worship Him?
Maybe I have 45 minutes once a week or month. Prayer during the week? Studying His word? Doing His service? Can't He see all of the demands I have? I don't believe I have the time.
Could it be that prayer is actually life's greatest time saver? As our
prayers are answered, it saves us much time spent trying to repair the
damage from making wrong decisions. Waiting on God's time provides us with
something much better. Waiting upon God's time keeps us from missing God's
very best and keeps us from a tremendous amount of wasted time. Perhaps if
we stayed in prayer and in His word and waited for His time, that time saved
would be able to be put to His service.
Prayer: It says in Luke 18 that "Men always ought to pray and not lose heart". As
you pray, may your timing be God's timing, your heart a God heart, and may
you know His peace and joy throughout your days. Amen
HELP IS ON THE WAY
“God is our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble….Come and see what the Lord has done. See what amazing things he has done on earth. Psalm 46: 1&8 (TEV)
After praying together, our Bible Study group felt overwhelmed by the number of hurting people for whom we had just prayed. We prayed for the terminally ill, the misguided young adults, the frustrated parents, the disillusioned middle-agers and the elderly who are threatened with illness, relocations and loneliness.
As we discussed these burdens, we kept asking ourselves what comfort and encouragement could be offered-- Psalm 46!
We all will face trials and tribulations as long as we are a part of this world. God has promised to be our refuge and our strength in times of trouble. He shelters, surrounds and protects. Picture yourself enfolded in his protected arms. What wonderful hope and comfort.
God in his faithfulness has answered us by being our strength, an ever present help in trouble.
Prayer: Precious Lord, when our burdens of life seem too heavy do bear, let us find our strength and refuge in You through your dear Son, Jesus Christ. Amen