Content?

RobOver the past couple of months we have experienced the likes of things that point toward doom, if you allow them.  Pandemics, financial crashes, job losses, injustice, riots -  they can all be overwhelming can’t they?  Are we at a point in time when the world seems out of control?  We know, though, who is in control and even that can leave us wondering, “WHY?”.

Our health is something we can control only to a certain extent. Viruses like Covid 19 come around rarely and when we are unprepared, people become sick and some die.  I believe that my sickness in January was this virus, although I can’t confirm that, because of my symptoms and because Denise got a lesser version of it 2 weeks later.  I recovered and I quarantined myself from others except Denise.  We try hard to stay healthy.  We exercise, we eat as healthy as possible, we take our vitamins, we try to get plenty of rest, and we drink a lot of water, but still we can and do get sick.

Our finances are something that most believe we have pretty good control of too.  But things like pandemics can cause problems to even the financial markets.  With businesses closed per guidelines and people unemployed because of those closures, we get a domino effect that everyone has felt to some degree or another.  We can plan and save and try to invest and protect, but even with all of that sometimes we lose jobs, lose money and lose hope for our future.

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Character

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.  Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.  We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment.  For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.  When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.”  Romans 5:1-6

For the class of 2020 this has been a time that no one else I know of can relate to.  No one will understand the things you have had to go through, but I think those situations will build character.  It may be hard for you to understand now, but you are enduring and experiencing something that will hopefully help you appreciate things that you may have once taken for granted.  The reality in all this is that life has no guarantees other than the God who created us loves us and has plans for each of us.  We have seen the abundance of His love and the guarantee for our future in the sacrifice of His Son, our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.  No matter what we go through, nothing will separate us from God’s love shown to us in Christ Jesus.  So whether we’re sick or well, rich or poor, happy or sad, none of that affects our security in Christ.  We have been freed from slavery to sin and death, from eternal separation from our loving Father God, and no pandemic nor anything else can change that.

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Peace

As we are in times that are uncertain and foreign, I am reminded that we are blessed even in the midst of this time.  Staying focused on and in tune with God during this time can be difficult if we allow the fear and anxiety to overwhelm us.

Jesus stepped into the world He created and lived with us, the ones He handcrafted, to show us a new way of life.  Could this time be for us a way to refocus?  I mean could we actually use this pandemic as an opportunity to spend more time with God and our families?  Could we start to see the clutter of stuff and start to clean out not just our closets and attics and garages and junk drawers, but to also unclutter our minds to understand in the midst of even difficult pandemics that God is with us?  Joy is mentioned 91 times in the New Testament, peace 89 times, and love 260.  That's more than enough reminders in God’s Word that we have the love, joy and peace of Christ to overwhelm the hate, despair and chaos that is trying to distract us.

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He Is Risen Indeed!

Here's Rob's Sonrise Service message for tomorrow morning. It may be a little early, but this is no ordinary year!

 

In Remembrance

It's Maundy Thursday, a time when we celebrate our deliverance and remember our "Deliverer."

 

Finding Beauty in the Storm

Bradford PearAs I was looking out on the downpours we had yesterday from our church's narthex God gave me a great image.  Can you see the beauty of the tree through the rain?  He took me back to the garden and reminded me that we can choose to seek Him or choose to see our circumstances.  We can choose.  That’s a gift God grants us.  So as we go through life, even this Covid-19 focused life, choose to see the peace, power and love He has given us.  May we seek Him and love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and then love and care for those around us!  May we know the peace of Christ Jesus now and forever, Amen!

In Christ’s Love,

Rob   Romans 12

Have the Attitude of Christ

“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ?  Any comfort from his love?  Any fellowship together in the Spirit?  Are your hearts tender and compassionate?  Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.  Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others.  Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.  Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.  You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.  Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.  Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.  When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.  Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  Philippians 2:1-11

As we approach Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent, this scripture from Paul’s letter to the Philippians helps focus our attention.  He was encouraging a group of people that had suffered persecution for their belief in Jesus.  Paul was also reminding them that the ultimate sacrifice was made by Jesus and their current situations paled in comparison to the future glory they would receive, not to leave out the promise that they were not alone but were connected to God through Jesus and had the presence and power of the Holy Spirit with them.

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