Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘scripture’

Quote

The Gospel Acco…


The Gospel According to You

The Gospel According to You

 

There’s a sweet old story translated for man,
     But writ in the long, long ago –
The Gospel according to Mark, Luke and John –
     Of Christ and His mission below.

Men read and admire the gospel of Christ,
     With its love so unfailing and true;
But what do they say, and what do they think
     Of the gospel according to you?

‘Tis a wonderful story, that gospel of love,
     As it shines in the Christ-life divine;
And oh that its truth might be told again
     In the story of your life and mine.

Unselfishness mirrors in every scene;
     Love blossoms on every sod;
And back from its vision the heart comes to tell
     The wonderful goodness of God.

You’re writing each day a letter to me;
     Take care that the writing is true;
‘Tis the only gospel that some men will read –
     The gospel according to you.

 

No poet was given credit for authoring this beautiful poem. It was on a clipping in the same page in the “Dictionary of the Holy Bible” where “Be Still, And Know” was found –  An 1859 edition that had belonged to my husband’s maternal grandfather. On the back of this clipping was an article dated June 4, 1926. Another treasure, indeed!

May your life and mine be a credit and a beacon that shines bright the love of the Gospel. Let our God be praised!

Amen?

Ask and You Will Receive


Sermon notes – July 28, 2013

Yes, Pastor Jean Johnson got my attention with the first sentence here:

Do you whore yourself out?
Do you worship false and tempting gods?
In Hosea, the people turned their backs.
God named them “Not My People” and “No Mercy.”

(This part of the message was based on the scripture, Hosea 1:2-10)

God scattered His people, punishing Israel
For turning their back on Him.
In our baptism, we return to God.
He renews His covenant with us.

(Next we had beautiful music by Andrew Scruggs on his cello
      – Amazing Grace –
while we reflected on the message and prepared for the next
scripture – Col. 1:1-14)

We wrestle with questions and struggle to find
Assurance in God’s Word.
We sometimes create God in our own image.
But God created us in His image; He is our Father.

God is a better parent than we’d ever hope to be.
He gives us the Holy Spirit.
All we need to do is ASK.
Ask in Faith and God will allow us to see and use His gifts.

(Andrew played “Blessed Assurance” on his cello
while we thought about the message – and reflected on
the Good News that spread all over the world with great success.)

God gives us life, love, friendship, companionship.
God gives us the Holy Spirit – His presence to guide us.
God gives us faith, light, hope, inspiration, transformation.
Take courage and comfort in God’s steadfast compassion.

(Luke 11:1-13, which includes the passage
“Ask and you will receive,
Search and you will find,
Knock and the door will be opened for you”
was read by Liturgist Judy Bleu.
Andrew’s cello sang “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”
We marveled at God’s grace, assurance,
and faithfulness. And all God’s people said,
“Amen!”)

God is good.

All the time!

Amen!

 

End of Your Rope?


Rope_knot : rope fastened in knots

Do you need encouragement? Read John 5:1-18. It’s about a man who seemed to be “at the end of his rope.” He had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. For “a very long time,” he had been lying by a pool near Sheep Gate in Jerusalem. The pool was surrounded by “a great number of disabled people,” waiting for the water to be stirred. Scripture teaches that healing would come only to the first person who entered the pool after the water was stirred. When Jesus saw the man, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

For most of us, that question comes across as rather strange. “Well, duh! Why else would I be lying here?” would have been a rather disrespectful answer, don’t you think? A simple, “Yes,” would have sufficed. But the man replied, “Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Some people might read that as whining. They might interpret the man as one who lacked creativity or tenacity or sufficient faith or courage. I have even heard pastors and Biblical teachers speculate that he might have made his paralysis a way of life, and was content to just be there, maybe begging for a living or thriving on the sympathy of others. But, I think this man was at the end of his rope, and Jesus saw his tenacity, appreciated his struggle, and His heart went out to the man. He did not chastise him for complaining that he had no help. He simply said, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

The story tells me, when I am at the end of my rope, it’s OK to complain to Jesus. It’s OK to cry to Him when there is no one to help you.

Imagine your rope is stiff jute, hanging only halfway down from the ceiling. You’ve tied a secure knot and you’re hanging on, but you’re tired of the struggle. Your grip are getting weak. By faith, you DO want to be made well. You rely on Jesus. He changes the rope to a bungee cord and it stretches to the floor where you can get your feet on the ground again. Pick up your mat (or your rope) and walk.

That was today’s message for me. Hang on until by God’s grace, you CAN walk again – or you can compensate – you can rely on other attributes that multiply in you – and make life do-able again. Then – healed by faith, count your blessings, and go out to tell your story! Radiate God’s Hope so that others can keep on keepin’ on when they come to the end of their ropes.

Here are today’s sermon notes (message from Rev. Jean Johnson, adapted – interpreted – and rendered in poetic form through my filters):

How to Get Well

Are you at the end of your rope?
Do you really want to be healed?
What are you doing to create a knot
And hang on where the knot is sealed?

What Super Glue sealed the knot tight?
Your fingers grasp at the end of straws
Looking for what solutions dangle there –
Within reach of your grasping claws.

Are you responsible for catching the clues?
Is healing a matter of finding and grasping?
If we whine and passively hang without doing,
Is this the key to healing that’s lasting?

No, firmly clasping that knot you’ve made
Requires faith and strength and tenacity.
Ultimately, healing comes from God’s grace.
Our gratitude gives that rope elasticity!

That’s the Good News! Bounce on down!
Untie the knot and let go of the rope.
By God’s grace – His goodness alone –
Walk, healed by Faith, to radiate God’s Hope!

Do you need encouragement? Read John 5:1-18. Hang in there!

Learning to Live in Contentment


It’s a New Day

Are you facing trouble? Aren’t we all? We live in a troubled world! Whether the pain is physical or emotional,  it is real. Pain is a part of life, just as loss is an inevitable part of life. How can we live with trouble and still live in contentment? Each morning we wake up to a sunrise. It’s a new day! The sun may be hidden behind clouds of gray, but it is there – and the clouds will eventually move on so that we can enjoy the sunshine. Meantime, what do we do?

Image

You may have read my recent blog, “Stuck on Stupid.” The picture above is the red barn where our friends walked to try and find help. As they walked the two or more miles down the dirt road to look for help, a storm brewed. The thunder rolled, the lightening flashed, and no one was home at the red barn ranch except a terribly frightened dog. My husband had driven up a one-lane dirt road and got his pick-up stuck in the mud while backing up to make room for an approaching gravel truck to pass. The good news is that we eventually got out with the help of a tow-truck and rescued our friends before they got drenched. The bad news is, we should not have been going up that road to begin with. There was a sign that said, “Road Crew at Work.” That should have been our first clue!

Sometimes our troubles come because we failed to notice or heed the warning signs along the way, and we drove right into the pain – caused by our own … (no, it’s not always stupidity – but sometimes – well, I won’t go there!).

Other times, our pain has nothing to do with our own making. I spoke today to a friend, John, who is recovering from a horrible virus that attacked his muscles. John was a talented handyman. He is having to learn to use his muscles all over again.  “I can’t even drive a nail,” he complained. How can I encourage John to live in contentment?

Another friend is in the process of helping her elderly Aunt Edith move from her home of 30+ years into a retirement apartment across the state to be closer to family. Aunt Edith was a world traveler who had a home filled with precious souvenirs from her many adventures. With no children of her own, this dear widow has no one to whom she feels she can pass along those treasures, so she has sold most of them – and is moving away from 30 years of friends and memories. The sense of loss is enormous. How can I encourage Aunt Edith to live in contentment?

One of the inspirational writers from Guideposts magazine, Sharon Hinch, approached this subject in a book of daily encouragements for your soul, Mornings with Jesus, 2012.  She wrote, “During times of significant losses, as I’ve laid down things that were precious to me, I’ve found comfort in remembering that Jesus understands loss. He set aside the glories of heaven to come to earth… ”

Hinch used one of my favorite scriptures to make her point, Philippians 4:12-13  “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content. In any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”

In her Guideposts devotional, Hinch went on to explain, “Contentment sounds like such a deceptively mellow, easygoing word. But some days it takes fierce, stubborn courage to walk in it. For any of us facing painful loss… I pray for God to breathe the courage of gratitude into our hearts and keep nudging our focus back to Him.”

The key to encouraging John and Aunt Edith to live in contentment with their losses is to encourage them to live with gratitude for what they have. Live with hope for the promise of the sun behind the clouds to peek through, and with a focus on the One who understands our pain of loss – and who holds the promise for our futures in the palm of His gracious hand. It is a new day. Praise God!

Now – as far as the key to helping the ones who drive into harm’s way – on their own accord…

Heaven help us all!

Amen?

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