Sunday Sermon 9.4.21
The fact that you are reading this right now is super exciting, because God has something to say to you. Yes, YOU, and YES he does.
He is calling to your heart, speaking to your spirit and inviting you to come closer to Him. Step closer, lean in towards Him with total confidence and peace that He will not reject you. You will receive total acceptance from Him.
This is the verse for you to consider –
” Move your heart closer and closer to God, and He will come even closer to you.”James 4:8 TPT
“Come near to God and He will come near to you.”James 4:8 NIV
Reverberating through my spirit is His deep longing for you and me to come closer to Him. Closer than we have ever been. Lean in to Him and not away from Him. Bring our heart closer and closer to His heart. There is a strong yearning that He has to be close to you, to share with you, hear from you and love on you. There is no shame, judgment or anger – He just wants to be your Heavenly Father, in a perfectly loving relationship.
Whatever thoughts or emotions you have that war against His invitation to be close to you are simply lies!
There is no act of comssion or omission that His love for you cannot forgive and remove. There is no need for shame, guilt, or humiliation before Him, He despised it and conquered it on the cross of Calvary for me and you.
He will not reject or expose you if you come near to Him.
We all carry our sin and shame and yet He conquered it and removed that barrier when the veil of the temple was torn at His death. He destroyed that shameful separation forever.
At first, we come near to Him asking Him to forgive us of our sins, for Jesus paid the price for our sin on the cross. When we do, He, the Father, forgives us and washes us clean of our sin. In Him now, we are a new creature. The old is gone. We have taken the first step in coming near, bringing our heart before Him and He has come near to us. This is the greatest experience that any human can experience on earth!
But that is not the end of coming near to Him. Not at all.
From there, we each must learn to not just come near to Him, but stay near to Him. Remember, we move closer and closer to Him.
John, the disciple is called “The Beloved”. Why? It is said, because he loved Jesus the most – he laid his head on Jesus’ chest. (at the Last Supper) John, truly leaned in to Jesus. John couldn’t really get much closer to Jesus. He was actually touching the Savior, leaning into His chest. Hearing His heart. Feeling His breath.
I hope this isn’t odd to you or misinterpreted. But John is showing us what it truly means to “Come near to me”.
David, in the Psalms, says this –
“There is a secret place reserved for the lovers of God, where they sit near Him and receive the revelation-secrets of His promises.”Psalm 25:14
I wanna sit in that secret place with Jesus, where He and I talk and share, where I feel His heart and experience the power of His breath. Gosh, could it be that He would reveal to me “revelation-secrets”??? David experienced this, this place, this intimacy with Jesus. This close place.
David’s son, Solomon, says this,
“… every tender lover finds friendship with God and will hear His intimate secrets.”Proverbs 3:32 TPT
Friend, God is tenderly and relentlessly calling you to “Come Near” to Him.
Wherever you find your relationship with God today, He is calling you closer. He is calling you to “Come closer and closer”, closer than you have ever been. Lean in to Him. Come near to Him.
We have an open invitation. In my view, we would be foolish to refuse it.
Go with God,
Have you looked up into the dark, night sky lately, and viewed the vastness of space with it’s sprinkling of twinkling stars and bright objects?
Our nearest star- Proxima Centauri, whose light we see at night, that very light left the star 4 years and 3 months ago! It is so far away, we are actually looking at what shined 4 plus years ago.
Even the light from our sun, the solar in our system, takes 8 minutes to reach us. And that sun is so big it comprises 99% of our systems mass! Geesh! Think of that. Earth, the other 8 planets, the space and mass of other stars only equal 1% of The Solar System’s mass. Incredible!
The twinkling of the lights that we see are amazing, the reality of what lies beyond our galaxy is unbelievable, and the sheer enormity of the “observable” or “known” universe is mind boggling!
And yet, humans on this “Pale Blue Dot” think that they are supreme. It’s actually laughable.
The size of the universe, between Earth and the edge of the universe is estimated to be 46 billion light years, and in diameter 93 billion light years.
You live on Earth, Earth belongs to the Solar System, which is a part of the Interstellar Neighborhood and that belongs to the Milky Way Galaxy. That part we understand well.
Our galaxy is one of about 200 billion galaxies and belongs to the Local Galactic Group of galaxies. Then that group belongs to the Virgo Supercluster, which belongs to the Local Super cluster as the final piece of the Observable Universe.
It looks like this.
Twinkle, twinkle lil Star?? There is nothing little about the star(s). Nothing. Including measuring distances. Even a new measurement needs to be used- a light year.
The Eye of God Nebula, The Eagle, The Great Nothing, Bootes Void and Standard Candles are all identifiable objects in our “observable universe” and millions of light years away. Their size is incomprehensible, their brightness mind blowing.
Yet, in this vast unknown of immeasurable and silent space sits our planet, with you upon it.
And in it, you and I have been charged to “let your light shine”. The creator of all light, who spoke light to our pale blue dot, passed that light on to us and told us to shine in the darkness.
So I remind you- twinkle, twinkle YOU little star.
Thank you Jackson Browne for that great song utilizing the famous phrase, “running on empty”. Today, Imma use it. Here’s the song if you wanna listen to it – 1977 baby!!
What do these things have in common?
- taking a vacation
- catching up with a friend
- touching base with a family member
When I was tending to some banking recently, I saw a connection between each of these four activities I had just participated in.
Do you see it?
At the bank I was making a deposit.
The vacation was an overdue necessity to retain sanity.
Close friends were chatting about what’s been happening in their lives.
Family love and connection was desperately required, poured out and yearned for.
In each case, a deposit was required to avoid running on empty, or perhaps to refill where the warning light was already illuminated.
Triple A keeps records of how many people run out of gas and receive their assistance. In 2006, 116,000 motorists ran out of gas.
I wish I could tell you how many people run out of gas emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually, or how many are running on empty right now. I bet it would be many of you.
There are signs when your car is nearing empty. That light illuminates on your dashboard and signals you have 30-50 more miles to go before you will be on empty. After that, there will be no more going until you refill.
And if you do completely run out of gas, because your car is fuel injected, meaning the pump is inside the tank, that pump will be running dry which is harmful to the pump and engine and can cause costly damage.
When you do refuel, it then takes time for the gas to pump through the pump and carburetor, crank the engine and then it will finally start up again. Hopefully, without any damage.
Let me stick with this car scenario for one more point.
There are common symptoms of running out of gas – running on empty. They are:
- indicator light on dash lights up
- car won’t start
- car stalls out regularly
Me thinks people may very well have similar symptoms when they are running on empty.
Like in the cases above.
It had been years since a vacation had been planned, taken or enjoyed. There were warning lights being ignored, fatigue was making starting more difficult and stalling out more regular.
After several busy and stressful weeks these friends finally were getting caught up. Only to find the fuel tank nearly empty and running on fumes. The conversation was helpful to refill the tanks, but fuel levels were dangerously low. There were many warning lights flashing, damage was imminent and much more refilling was needed.
2020 had taken it’s toll on these family members; the separation, isolation, loneliness, stresses, numerous disappointments were emptying the tanks. Phone conversations for temporary refueling were helpful, but what was needed was face to face, extended time being together, and that was coming up this week!!!! Tons of warning lights, stalling and just not being able to get motivated were signaling it could not come fast enough. They were running on empty.
The bank account was in need of a deposit as well, before it too became too dangerously close to empty. Luckily, a hefty deposit saved the day and things kept running.
I am concerned about you, about people today. Are there warning lights trying to tell us we are about to run out of gas? Are we in need of a deposit? Emotional deposit? Physical deposit? Spiritual deposit?
I urge you to stop and take notice. Do not go one step further without evaluating your fuel levels. Are you low on emotional fortitude? Physical energy? Spiritual drive?
Have you been finding it difficult to get going, or start things? Is your motivation nill and interest low?
How are you doing with completing tasks? Do you finish, make it through to the end or stall out somewhere before?
These are signs that you are running on empty, that you need a deposit of some sort.
For me, I recognize the signals in my life when I am running on empty; irritable, antsy, unhappy, hard to please, selfish, tired… Anyone else?
And for me, usually what is needed most is I need to get outside and spend time alone out there just being. Unplug, disconnect and refuel. Get my personal tank resupplied.
Jackson Browne had it right when he said, “Looking into their eyes I see them too… running on empty…” “Running on empty, running blind.”
Get refueled, refilled, make those deposits, receive those deposits and heed the warning signs. Keep yourself from running on empty.
Cheers to you.