Category: Sunday Sermons

Are You Worn Out?

Sunday Sermon 7.31.21

Our life goes through seasons and who of us has not experienced a season of just being spent, used up, exhausted, maybe even feeling unusable.

Luckily these times are temporary, even through we don’t see it at the time. But as we grow older, this feeling of being worn out is not so temporary.

We become worn down by the daily grind, increased responsibilities, multiplying demands, unforeseeable events, changing expectations, or any number of pressing issues on us.

Often we wind up shutting down and shutting out people. Or perhaps even retreating to complete isolation. Our vision and hope for the future is shaded by this cloud of dark uncertainty.

Energy levels are low, strength wanning, and motivation to do anything is lacking. In our mind we wrestle with, “Is this it, am I done? I don’t think I have anything left.”

Whether young or old, this feeling of being worn out and the thoughts that accompany it are very real.

It was a hot day as he sat under the oaks, outside of his home when he saw 3 men approaching him. He ran out to meet them and pleaded with them to stay with him and share a meal. They agreed to stay and as the meal was prepared, the following discussion ensued:

“Where is your wife, Sarah?” He answered, “Over there, in the tent.” Then one spoke up and said, “I will return about this time next year, when your wife Sarah shall certainly have a son.” Sarah overheard it, for she was at the tent door. Now both Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing.

Sarah laughed to herself with disbelief, saying, “A woman of my age- … after I’m worn out?”

Genesis 18:9-12

Sarah’s laugh and disbelief revealed the truth of her circumstance. She was indeed worn out, fatigued. Other renderings say she was withered, dried up, decaying, even failing. Sarah thought her fruitful days were behind her, and God had no further plan for her or pleasure in her.

I believe for years Sarah had wrestled within herself about her fruitfulness. Her thoughts, desires, and hopes all colliding with the reality of her barren body. And now, this promise of life springing from her, “at her age”, was more than she could handle.

She laughed! Out loud. In that moment it all burst forth. Her pain, questions, hopes, disappointments, and shame. After years, the promise of fruitfulness was now at her doorstep.

God was NOT done with her.

She may be worn out, but God was not. God’s response to her was,

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?

Genesis 18:14

So, a 90 year old, worn out, used up laughing woman, with the help of her 100 year old husband, gave birth about the same time the next year to a baby boy, who they named, “laughter” aka, Isaac.

Nothing is too hard for God.

My friend, we are living in days of fruitfulness. We are living in days of fulfilled promises. We are living in days of God doing the impossible for those who believe him.

No matter how worn out you may feel. God is not done with you! Let me say it again, God is not done with you.

You have fruitful days ahead. Days of birthing new ideas, and endeavors. The time of producing new life is upon you.

Sarah said, “After I am worn out????”

God said, absolutely! Nothing is too hard for me!

May you arise to walk in new hope and strength today, knowing that your fruitful days are still ahead of you.

Whether or not you are worn out!

Go with God,

Debbie

No Greater Joy

Sunday Sermon 7.25.21

What is it that brings you your greatest joy?

A favorite hobby, a memorable location, a special loved one?

Over fifty years ago I started teaching. At first it was in Sunday School classes of primary children, and through those early years I realized just how much I loved teaching. I mean really LOVED teaching.

At age 16 when I was considering a “life verse” 3 John 4 captured by heart and determination:

“ I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

I wasn’t a mother of course, but in my heart was such a compelling drive to do whatever I could to teach the truth to my classes, my “kids/children”.

Through the years, no matter the class, the age, or setting, I knew in my heart of hearts I was to teach the truth, and I also knew that there was no greater joy than to see the light bulb go on over those students’ heads, or see that facial expression change from just listening to “Wow! I actually understand that, now!”

3 John 4 has been a life verse for me since those days.

But today, it takes on a whole “new” enhanced meaning.

Many parents would say that their greatest joy is their children. I would join them.

As our son turns 30 today, and we have joined with family & friends to celebrate him, I am so proud to say he is my greatest joy, AND he walks in the truth! Proud mama here, for sure.

There is a legacy to be passed on and parents, we cannot afford to drop the baton. Not for our sake, but for the sake of our children, we must speak the truth, live the truth and teach the truth. We are only stewards of those precious lives and are responsible for what we have imparted to them.

Whether or not we are parents, our responsibility to what we teach remains. Are we teaching the truth to our students and are we living it before them?

In these days, those teaching opportunities are growing exponentially. Let’s be ready and do everything in our power to assure that our children are walking in the truth.

Oh, and, Happy Birthday, Karrington.

Go with God,

Debbie

What’s the Worst that Could Happen?

Sunday Sermon 7.17.21

Everyday, in every decision that we make, we unconsciously weigh the consequences of our decisions. Even sometimes consiously. In the smallest of ways, ie: I’m gonna hit the snooze for another 9 minutes, or on a grander scale, ie: what if I make that move, take that job or or forfeit that option, somewhere in our mind is the question, “What’s the worst that could happen?”

On a parrallel note, what is the worst thing that could happen to you? Lose your child, lose your spouse, lose your health, a limb, your home? Consider it. In the big scheme of life what would be the worst thing that could happen to you?

In our nation, with the tends of the day, policies of our government, allowances for and acceptance of behaviors, ideas, and intentions – what is the worst that could happen to our nation?

In each of these settings, personal and national, what is the worst possible end game, the worst that could happen?

We teach our children that while you can choose your action or behavior, you cannot choose the consequences of that action. Consequences are automatically set in motion as principles of the universe designed to corolate with divine order and purpose. So, in that divine order of the universe, what is the worst thing that could happen?

Let me answer by sharing a story –

In the garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve were in dialogue with God about their disobedience, the worst thing wasn’t the guilt and shame they felt. It wasn’t their dishonesty in trying to hide it from God. It wasn’t even their punishment as pronounced by God on their childbearing and working the land. No! In all of those God’s love and covering for them was ever present, just as a Dad loves his children.

The worst, possible end game and consequnce for them was,

” …He (God) drove them out of the garden.”

Genesis 3:24

In the case of their murderous son Cain, what was the worst thing?

“God banished Cain from the land…and Cain said, “Now I must hide from your presence…””

Genesis 4:11,13

The worst thing that could happen to Adam, Eve and Cain, did happen – they were removed from the garden of His perfect relationship, presence of the Lord. They were sent away from His presence. Cain in his response even cried out, “My punishment is more than I can bear!” Geneses 4:11

Fastforward to the days of the Kings of Israel and Judah. In the book of 2 Kings we have a startling picture of God’s chosen people and their condition and attitude towards God, their God, Jehovah – the Great I AM.

“The Israelites had sinned against the Lord…they worshipped other gods and followed the practices of other nations… They secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right…they did wicked things…they worshipped idols…they would not listen and were stiffnecked…they rejected his decrees and the covenant he made with them…They imitated the nations around them…They forsook the commands of the Lord, they bowed bown to the starry hosts and worshipped Baal… They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire… They practiced divination and sought omens and sold themselves to do evil.”

2 Kings 17:7-17

This picture of a people so calloused against God is astonishing! Could they be any worse? We might even say, they deserve the worst possible outcome, consequence or punishment. What is the worst that could happen?

“So the Lord was very angry with Israel and REMOVED THEM FROM HIS PRESENCE.”

2 Kings 17:18

“…He THRUST THEM FROM HIS PRESENCE.”

2 Kings 17:20

“The Lord REMOVED THEM FROM HIS PRESENCE.”

2 Kings 17:23

In God’s view the worst thing that could happen was removing his children from His presence. Having to separate Himself from His children. Removing His presence, covering, protection, and blessing from His children is the worst thing that can happen.

The blessing of His presence brings peace, joy, protection. His presence brings a respect for Him, a desire to seek Him and please Him. His presence creates a hunger in us for more of Him, more of His presence.

To be removed from His presence is a direct consequence of sin and disobedience. All sin brings death – physical, mental and spiritual. It is our iniquities (inner perversions) that separate us from God. Isaiah 59:2 That unconfessed sin leads to the time when His presence will be removed from you, and your covering, joy and peace will be gone.

In Sampson’s life, he didn’t even realize when God’s presence left him. He continued doing what he always had done, expecting God’s blessing, totally unaware God’s presence had left him on his own. Judges 16:20

When God lifts His presence from an individual or nation, then we have hit rock bottom. We have discovered the worst that can happen. That is why Kind David prayed, “Cast me not away from your presence and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.” Psalm 51:11

To live a life apart from His presence is not living at all. Apart from His presence we are dead, dry, religious, wanderers without peace, purpose or protection. It is the bleakest of lives, constantly shadowded by fears, worries and threats without hope for anything better – ever!

In His presence there is fullness of joy, but so much more. It costs, yes, but it doesn’t even compare, in the slightest, to the worst that could happen.

I am concerned for you, for our nation, for the presence of the Lord upon us. I don’t wanna loose His presence, because that is the worst thing that could ever happen.

Go with God,

Debbie

Don’t Forget

Sunday Sermon 7.10.21

It is always so exciting when a wonderful event happens in the family. Be it a new birth, graduation, new job, or wedding, we are thrilled for the joy and challenge that it brings.

Can you recall a promotion you received? Remember it’s excitement, awe, and the uncertainty too that accompanied it?

Do you remember when you made your commitment to Jesus? What feelings, emotions and thoughts did you deal with?

Events are set in time but emotions and feelings change, don’t they?

We have this story of Elisha receiving a huge job promotion.

Here he was a farmer, and a wealthy one at that, out plowing the field with a yoke of oxen, accompanied by 11 other yoke also plowing. Out of the blue, a man walks up to him, who happened to be the reigning number 1 prophet in the land, and this man approches Elisha, takes off his outer coat (of goat hair, representing his prophetic status), and places it on Elisha’s shoulders. He then turns and walks off. No words were spoken. Just a coat drop and off he went.

Elisha immediately realizing what had just happened, (he was being chosen to become Elijah’s replacement), left the oxen and took off running after Elijah. When he reached him, he said, “Please, let me first go and kiss my mother and father good-bye, then I’ll follow you.”

Elisha’s odd reply to him was,

” Go ahead, but, mind you, don’t forget what I have just done to you.”

1 Kings 19:20

It seems that permission was granted for good-byes, but with a sharp challenge, DON’T FORGET this moment. In the midst of the hugs, kisses, tears, stories, celebration, sadness of loss, and excitement of new ventures, DON’T FORGET this moment and what I have done to you. DON’T FORGET to focus on the future, DON’T FORGET to focus on your call, DON’T FORGET to come back to this release and empowerment. DON’T FORGET the meaning of that hairy coat on your shoulders.

All too often, when we choose to go back, we do loose focus. We forget. We get entangled in the mire of what was and is rather than the hope and purpose of what will be. That is probably why Jesus told us,

” No man, having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the kingdom.”

Luke 9:62

” Anyone who loves Father and Mother more than me is not worthy of me.”

Matthew 10:37

And yet, Elijah told Elisha, “Go ahead”. “But don’t forget…”

Amazing contrasts here.

How did this new, heir apparent respond? Now THIS is remarkable!

“Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.”

1 Kings 19:21

Talk about a serious, all in commitment!!

Elisha totally destroyed everything from his past way of life to which he could return. He left no plan B, if this “prophet in training” thing didn’t work out. He was fully committemt to the future and what God was calling him to. He would not look back, or love his family more. His farmer life was over, his past vocation now in the rear-view as he walked, NOT FORGETTING the hairy coat on his shoulders and what it represented. He allowed his past to become a blazing inferno.

He now was the right hand man to the number 1 prophet in the land and was being trained to step in to even greater works and miracles than Elijah had done.

He was not about to forget that experience in the field, that calling to a new vocation. He was not about to forget its weight, severity, hope, and inspiration. He would not forget, get sidetracked or loose focus.

He was called to something bigger and better.

My friend, so are you. You are called to something bigger and better. What is it? Don’t forget your calling. Don’t get distracted.

You have been given a promotion from God, don’t forget it. Let go of any plan B’s you may still be clinging to. Burn ’em up, slaughter ’em.

There are greater miracles for you, more power for you, many more adventures for you as you walk as His servant and right-hand person.

Don’t forget.

Go with God.

Debbie

Contender or Pretender

Sunday sermon 6.26.21

I remember times in my life when I decidedly committed myself to being a true contender. Bear with me as I list some:

  • Young softball pitcher
  • 16 year old female table tennis champion
  • Award winning French Horn student
  • Champion drum major
  • Honors college student
  • Ace volleyball server
  • SUP 10Ker

In each of these stages, my focus, energy, effort, thoughts and time was (mostly) willingly given to improving, becoming stronger, better, more accurate and fluid in what I was contending for.

Training, discipline, and a long term goal, pushed aside laziness, discouragement and cheap talk. I was purposed to contend and be the best I could in an effort to win the prize.

If you’re looking to be a contender, your daily decisions are what put you on the road to that prize, not your words.

Contenders and pretenders look alike on the surface, but it is their actions that set them apart.

Pretenders take the path of least resistance, while contenders take disciplined training and overcome. There’s no achieving that championship belt by sitting quietly and watching others in the ring.

Pretenders allow laziness to take over and then the comfort zone anchors them in.

Here’s why it matters, whether you are a contender or pretender…

“… I felt the need to challenge you to vigorously defend and contend for the beliefs that we cherish.”

Jude 3

Judah, was Jesus’ half brother and it is he that is speaking here. He was writing to the early believers because he wanted to challenge them to contend for the things that Jesus had taught them. Fight for them, for their truth, for their preeminence, for their validity. He was calling them to be contenders for the faith not pretenders.

No words of the Bible could be any truer today. Judah is calling to us, to remind us to contend for the beliefs we cherish, not become lazy and allow them to slip from our minds, lives, and national awareness.

Contend, with the same discipline as an athlete for Christian beliefs that are under attack. Focus on them, exercise with them, spur with others- as an athlete and true contender for the faith, not just some lazy “Christian”.

Here is a quick list I made of Christian messages that are under attack:

  • God as creator
  • All are created equal and in God’s image
  • God loves all mankind
  • The Bible is his word and divinely inspired
  • The inerrancy of the bible
  • There is truth and there is absolute truth
  • There is life after death lived in heaven or hell for everyone
  • Right and wrong
  • Power and freedom come from God not government
  • Marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman
  • The church is God’s institution designed to execute God’s will on earth
  • Life begins at conception

We are told to contend for these beliefs! Judah tells us to vigorously defend these!

What are we doing Christians?

We cannot allow the influences of this society to sweep away these beliefs that we cherish!

Who’s winning? Are you contending for the faith?

Think too about the values and beliefs brought to this nation by our founding fathers. We must not let them slip or be retaught guised in lies. This is serious.

I can’t help it, what are we doing?

Are you a contender or a pretender?

Go with God,

Debbie

Everything You Could Ever Need

Sunday Sermon 6.19.21

What if you were promised everything you could ever need would be given to you?

Add to that the promise of always being productive and useful.

But wait, that’s not all, top it off with you will never fall away.

I was struck this week with these three superlatives.

And my thoughts went something like, “ I am being promised everything I could ever need, in a useful and productive life, that will last forever… what kind of fool would say no to this offer?” Fully realizing there were countless numbers doing just that and I too have refused the offer or at least parts of it at times.

Here’s the context.

Peter, the walker on water, cutting off the ear, denier, disciple wrote these promises in his second letter, and first chapter.

There, in verse 3 he says,

“Everything we could ever need in life and godliness has been given to us.”

2 Pet. 1:3

Wait, whaaat? I already have everything I could ever need???

Peter says yes!

How is that so?

Pete tells us that when we come to know Jesus, in Him, we find and have everything we will ever need for life and godliness.

Why do we fight so hard against living a spiritual life? Why do we think we know better and God’s way isn’t enough? Why do we think living for Jesus is hard and boring and not for us?

Getting to know Jesus, spending time with Him, talking to Him, listening to Him, reading His word IS everything we could ever need. In HIM, knowing Him, is where we find all we need. In Him is where we find all we need for our life and living godly.

Peter calls this, “the rich experience of knowing Him.” This is the foundation for everything; our needs, hopes, questions, desires… the experience of knowing Him is vast, deep, precious, enlightening, puzzling, amazing, fearful and beautiful all at the same time. All we need is found in Him.

What kind of fool would say no to this offer?

Peter goes on to say,

“If you possess these qualities they will keep you from being inactive and unproductive”

2 Pet. 1:8

What qualities? Are they something unrealistic, hard to do, out of reach?

These are the qualities he lists: faith, goodness, understanding, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mercy and love.

Are they unrealistic? Are they impossible and out of our reach to display and practice in your life?

The promise is if we possess these qualities, they will keep us from being inactive and unproductive.

They are not unrealistic qualities if we are enjoying the experience of knowing Him. If we are in touch with Him, His Word and voice, these qualities should be abounding in our life. If we are out of step with Him, chances are pretty good these qualities will be lacking and so too our productiveness.

Check it, though. If we possess these qualities, we will not be inactive or unproductive. Wow.

What kind of fool would say no to this offer?

The final trifecta promise is you will never fall away. Never! Think of that. Never stumble. This of course is speaking spiritually. Stumbling spiritually is falling down, tripping up.

What’s the prerequisite for this NEVER stumble promise?

“If you do these things you will never stumble.”

2 Pet. 1:10

What things? So, what things, exactly do I need to do?

The things listed above-

  1. Knowing Him
  2. Possess those 8 qualities

If we are in relationship knowing Him and those 8 qualities are springing from our life, we will never stumble. We will be secure.

Isn’t that so true? Haven’t you found that when you are NOT in relationship with Him and some or all of these 8 qualities are absent from your life, you trip up all over the place?

Why do we fight so hard against living a spiritual life? In it we have all we need, we are active and productive and we won’t trip up!??

In our relationship with Jesus, we have everything we could ever need.

What kind of fool would say no to this offer?

Go with God.

Debbie

Honor

Sunday Sermon 6.12.21

I am stirred with the idea of honor. Perhaps it’s because we see so little of it today or maybe because I just had a wonderful reminder of it’s value.

The Oxford dictionary defines it as,

“High respect, great esteem”

It is said that, “ It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles.”

In these days, it’s difficult to find those who honor men much less titles. I would venture to say that never has there been a culture with less honor and respect than our current one. Whether it be for titles or men.

When I reread George Washington’s Rules of Civility that he wrote at the ripe old age of 14, I again am reminded of how different our culture is from the 18th Century. Look at two of his 110 rules of civility.

Letting others go first and not speaking loudly was good manners and honoring them
Humming & singing to yourself around others and tapping with your fingers and feet around others was impolite and displayed dishonor to those around you

His other “rules of civility” are very specific and all aimed at honoring and respecting others and curtailing personal behaviors in deference to others.

Oh my, how our world has changed!

When we choose to show honor, we are giving to that one the fixed price that they have earned by reason of their rank or their state or office. We are choosing to defer attention and recognition from ourselves, and rather offer humble respect to them.

This may be by our actions, like listening to and obeying someone else’s wishes; or with our words, like calling them by Ms. Debbie, or Officer.

Oh, how our actions and our words are so often lacking the honor that belongs there.

There are people in our lives who have earned our honor. They don’t ask for it, (usually), they may not even admit they deserve it, but we owe it to them.

Have we trained our kids to show honor to them? Have we modeled how to express and display honor to those who by reason of their position have earned it, even if their personal behavior is less than we find acceptable?

Do we “give honor to whom honor is due” ? Romans 13:7

Scripture is clear about this.

Just this week I tripped over this statement –

“ … try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor for one another.”

Romans 12:10

Imaging that? A competition honoring people???!!!

“I honored 5 people so far today”, another responded, “ Way to go, I’m at 15 and Jim said he’s over 30!”.

Can you imagine the eventual impact? George Washington would be so proud, not to mention Jesus!

We are actually given the directive to “outdo” each other.

I say, let’s go for it! Are you in?

In days gone by, we honored:

  • Hard work
  • Those older than ourselves
  • Those in the military
  • Police, sherif and the like
  • Office holders
  • Mothers and fathers
  • Teachers
  • Those in authority

Let’s be reminded of these things deserving of our honor in the Bible:

  • God 1 Tim. 1:17
  • Father and Mother Ex. 20:22
  • Marriage Heb. 13:4
  • Rulers, leaders Rom. 13
  • Everyone 1 Pet. 2:17

That should keep us busy, right? Is there really anyone exempt of deserving our honor?

In closing, I’d like to honor my husband, still overflowing from his 75th birthday celebration we had last night.

Living 75 years is worth not only celebrating but honoring. And that is the conversation he and I had prior to planning his party. He didn’t really want a party and I sorta insisted that I, along with his friends wanted to honor him.

Honoring those who deserve honor is within all of our power and sometimes we have to insist.

Let’s outdo one another in showing honor and let’s start at home.

Den and our dear friend Lorine
More dear friends- Becca, me, Den and Paul
Precious church family

Go with God.

Debbie

What’s the Smallest Thing You Can Think of?

Sunday sermon 6.5.21

Think for a moment, what is the smallest thing that you can think of?

An ant, bacteria, atom?

What’s the largest thing? Go ahead, think it through.

Our sun, our galaxy, something else?

Now, please, think about you, all of you, (que up John Legend singing “All of Me”) your insides, your brain, mind, emotions. Your curves and all your edges…. 🙂

For fact seeking readers, the smallest thing that we (the smart scientist people “we”) know of are Quarks.

Quarks, the building blocks of matter are a billionth of a billionth of a centimeter in diameter. But if you zoom in a billion times more, where units run out of names and keep going 100 million times smaller still – you finally hit bottom. This is where you will find The Planck length; approximately 1.6 x 10 to the negative 35 meters. THIS is the smallest possible length in the universe. The Planck length.

Our brains can’t comprehend these sizes, we overload with the enormity of the smallness.

On the other side- the largest known object in the universe is Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall. This is a galactic filament, which is a vast cluster of galaxies bound together by gravity. This guy is a mere 10 billion light years across! Talk about Hercules??!!

Again, our brains explode even trying to comprehend 1 light year, right? But 10 billion of them? Owwie.

Now on to you, my dear. Your physical body with its 11 finely tuned organ systems, 724 trillion cells, 86-100 billion neurons, and about 1 gallon of blood works mostly perfectly almost every day. Consider too your soul, spirit, mind- those intangible parts of you that make you who you are every bit as much as your physical packaging, probably even more.

From the smallest part of you to the largest part of you; from the Planck length to Hercules… Great Wall, where did it all come from?

Ephesians 1.18-19 says, “That the eyes of your understanding may be enlightened to know the immeasurable greatness of God’s power.”

We could say it this way- that our eyes would be open to fully understand God’s OMNIPOTENCE.

Omnipotence- all powerful. That describes the creator of the universe.

Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

Genesis 1:27, “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; make and female he created them.”

Omnipotence. All powerful.

God saw to every detail of the Planck length, Hercules… and YOU, created it and called it forth at creation. He is omnipotent. Nothing to small for his attention nothing too big.

And yet, He is so much more.

He is Omnibeneveleant, which means he is all loving. 1 John 4:8, “God IS love”.

Psalm 86:15, “You, God are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” God’s love never runs out on us and He keeps no record of our failings. His love for us is eternal and unrestrained.

He is Omniscient, too! That means he is all knowing. He knows everything, about everything and everyone, including me and you. There’s nothing he has yet to learn or uncover or discover. He already knows about it all, from the smallest to the largest. He knows inside you, inside me, inside the galaxy, inside the known and unknown universe . He knows it all.

And to top it all off, he is Omnipresent. God is literally everywhere. He is all present all the time! He is the great I AM. Not I was, or I will be, but I am. I am present, I am now. I am everywhere, present.

Psalm 139 asks where can we run from His presence or where can we hide. If we go up to Hercules in that galaxy cluster, he’s there. If we go down, into that smallest quark and even into the Planck length, he is there, too.

But my friend, as wonderful and grandiose each of this qualities of our God is, hear this…

“ When our hearts make us feel guilty and remind us of our failures, we know that GOD IS MUCH GREATER and more merciful than our conscience and he knows everything there is to know about us.”

1 John 3:20

Dear one, when our conscience accuses us, and holds us to task; when our memory is only of our failure and shortcomings, God knows already AND HE IS GREATER and more merciful than our conscience. He loves, He is compassionate, He is gracious, He abounds in love for you.

He is with you and nothing you do will drive him away.

His power is more than you need in every situation of your life and heart, and he stands within your reach whenever you call out for him.

How could this omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibeneveleant, omniscient God take notice of me, care to assist me, love me, empower me? He manages the smallest measurements of the Planck and beyond the Hercules Borealis, yet he loves me!

Incomprehensible, unbelievable, head shaking awe… never forget who he is and how he cares for the smallest thing that you can think of.

Go with God.

Debbie

How Well Does God Like You?

Sunday sermon 5.30.21

What a weird question to ask right? He doesn’t play favorites, and like someone over another, does He? I thought He shows no favoritism and wasn’t a respecter of persons.

What the heck??

Did it get you thinking, I hope so?

Look how this Psalm begins-

“How well God must like you- “

Psalm 1:1 The Message

THAT got me thinking too!

My first thought, “Does He like me?”, followed quickly by “WAIT! he doesn’t play favorites. But does He like me?”

This whole psalm and its opening statement reminds me so much of my relationship with my son, and really any parent with their child.

As parents, we love our children, no doubt, unconditionally, in every circumstance, right? We love them period and nothing will change that unquestionable, locked in fact.

There are times, however, when we are busting our buttons PROUD of them. Something they did, said, acted on, became, earned, or decided lit us up a with smile ear to ear, head shaking, teary eyes joy, peace, pride and satisfaction. Deeply sighing, “Yes, that’s my son!” We don’t love them more, we are just so darn proud of them!

I remember as my son was growing up and going out with friends or to activities, my parting words to him were always, “Be wise.” In those two words I was asking him to think things through and make good decisions in everything he was going to do.

I knew the importance of every little decision he was going to make that night, and I wanted him to be wise and think ahead, consider the consequences and be a wise young man, not a foolish young man.

It was his decisions that made me proud then and to this day. I don’t love him more or less for his decisions, but goodness, how proud I am of him when he stands strong with wise decisions. Proud Momma, for sure!

Psalm 1 is that kind of moment. That moment when God says, “Be wise” to us, his kid, and then reveals his pride in us when we make good decisions and are wise.

Let’s look at the entire text of Psalm 1-

“ How well God must like you- you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon, you don’t slink along Dead-End Road, you don’t go to Smart Mouth College.

Instead you thrill to God’s Word… you are a tree planted that bears fruit every month…never dropping a leaf, always in blossom.”

Psalm 1:1 The Message paraphrase

Other translations put it differently but what remains common is that here we see three things to NOT do (to be wise and receive God’s “pride”), and three things To Do ( to be wise and receive God’s “pride”).

Three things God is proud of us for NOT doing:

  1. Not hanging out at Sin Saloon- other translations say not walking with sinners or in step with sinners. When we decide to not walk in step with or agree with the ungodly influences in this world- GOD IS PROUD.
  2. Don’t slink along Dead-End Road- others say: share the sinners way or stand in the way that sinners take. GOD IS PROUD of you when you choose to keep out of the way of dead end conversations and life styles.
  3. Don’t go to Smart Mouth College- other ways of saying it are- sit in the company of mockers. Spending our time sitting and chiming in with what mockers & scorners are chirping about does NOT MAKE GOD PROUD.

He doesn’t love us any more or less, we are His kids and He always, unconditionally loves us. But when we make these three wise choices He is busting His buttons proud of us!

Furthermore, there are three choices that we can make by what we DO that also make Him proud of us.

Instead we:

  1. Thrill to God’s Word. We take time and pleasure reading His Word- the Bible. We think about it, we savior it, we seek to understand it and love it. This makes God Very PROUD of us.
  2. Are planted, standing firm, like a tree in His ways and His Word. Nothing blowing us over or uprooting us, we are strongly planted and nourished by God, just like a tree. We even produce healthy fruit every month for others to enjoy.
  3. Are always in blossom, never wilting, dry or barren. We are healthy spiritually and produce evidence that nourishes others.

You see, God gets super proud of you when you choose these things. Three to do and three to not do.

The choice is always ours. Walk with those people and do that, sit there and participate in that, go that way….

Actually spend time reading the Bible, think about it, mull it over, stand firmly on those principles of the Word, yield to the growing process of that Word in and through us with evidence being produced from us .

Make God proud of your wise choices.

Making these six wise choices will not necessarily cause God to like you more, cuz He already loves you like crazy. But making these six wise choices will cause Him to smile on you with even more joy and favor and “pride”.

Look at these six again- what choices can you make that will make God even more proud of you, today?

Go with God.

Debbie

Does Anyone Even Notice What I’m Doing?

Sunday Sermon 5.22.21

When was the last time you thought that? Whenever it was, I’m here to tell you, you are in good company.

It was a thriving metropolis, with a large busy harbor, deep shoreline, and successful trade with the nations around it. It’s population was growing quickly with many kinds of immigrants.

It had been established as the capital city with all major thoroughfares passing closely by it. Having flourished for centuries, things were changing now.

The Governors were taking the wealth of the people, siphoning it off into their own pet programs. Rising within the culture was strong opposition to God and growing hostilities toward believers.

Laws were enacted to keep them from speaking and riots broke out more than once decrying “injustices”.

Secular values, seductive images, sexual pleasures, and material wealth were exalted over a holy life of Christian values.

A believer was even dragged out of his house and charged with “causing trouble all over the world”. Opposition was fierce because they were defying Caesar’s decrees.

This is the precise description of Thessaloniki, 51 AD

History does repeat itself, doesn’t it?

Believers were having to find their way through an immoral culture and I’m sure were asking, “Does anyone even notice what I’m doing?” (Besides the bad mouthed “Karen’s”)

Well, someone did notice.

In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians (yes, they lived in Thessaloniki, in 51 AD), he says this,

“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

1 Thessalonians 1:3

Paul and Silas noticed what they were living through and contending with. Things got so hot in the city when they were there that a riot broke out by a mob of bad characters who rushed into Jason’s house (whoever he is) and dragged him and others before the city officials. (Acts 17)

He was a believer. So were the others who were charged and released, and all of it because Paul and Silas believed and preached the good news.

Paul noticed all the suffering and accusations, the harassment, opposition and wrong decrees. Paul noticed the secular filth bombarding the believers. Paul was fully aware of what the Governors were doing and how society was changing.

And so he commended the Thessalonians, validated them and encouraged them. Look at his words again- there are 3 things that he remembers and recognizes in them. Their:

  1. Work produced by faith
  2. Labor prompted by love
  3. Endurance inspired by hope

Notice closely.

He recognized their work. That is all the things that they were doing. Job, home, family, social circles, all of it. And notice too, he validated the faith that it took to do everything they were doing.

It is possible to work, and do things without faith. They were commended for working through it all with faith!

He remembers their labor. Labor is different from work, it involves pain. Think of the labor and delivery of a baby. It’s work for sure, but the labor is the painful part.

Notice too, Paul points out that their painful labor was prompted by love. Again, like a couple, who prompted by love, choose to have a child and the painful labor that accompanies it.

Paul remembers and notices their painful times but also that love is the driving forces in their life.

Lastly, Paul encourages them by mentioning their endurance. Realizing that they have stood through all kinds of opposition, ungodliness, secular ideas, sexual perversions and societal changes, and they have done so because of their hope in something bigger and better and more lasting!

Paul remembered them. Paul noticed them and because he did, his words written for their encouragement in 51 AD, stand as words of encouragement for us in 2021 AD

Paul would remind you, that not only does he notice what you are doing, so does our Heavenly Father, His beloved Son, Jesus and the always present Comforter- the Holy Spirit.

He would remind you that your work, your labor and your endurance has not been lost in the realm of the Spirit.

He would remind you that your faith, hope and love will stand for all eternity, just as he did when he wrote:

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love….”

1 Corinthians 13:13

So again, I repeat, you are in good company if you have ever wondered if what you’re doing is even noticed.

It is.

Go with God,

Debbie