Thoughts Along the Way September 10, 2021

Thoughts Along the Way

Pastor Tom Joyce

September 10, 2021

 

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.”

Psalm 100:1-2

 

There are thousands of Christian songs that are sung in houses of worship, concerts, and at home on a daily basis; we are called to “make a joyful noise to the Lord!” A joyful noise is made to God with every thanksgiving, every confession, every prayer, every witness, and every cup of water offered to one in need. Singing and/or listening to songs of faith is fun and enlightening yet the music that gives God the most glory is sung when we live out our faith in Jesus our Lord in all that we do. Your “joyful noise” could well be singing songs of faith or it could be sharing what Jesus has placed upon your soul to celebrate in your life today. Have you ever found yourself marveling at a sunset or sunrise? How about the star-studded sky? Or have you listened to the singing of birds, or the rustle of leaves as the wind blusters through the midst of trees? Celebrating the spectacular creation that surrounds you is making a “joyful noise.” Have you ever found yourself just thanking Jesus, for no particular reason than that you know Jesus is with you? Once again, a “joyful noise.” When your world is rocked by loss, a “joyful noise” is feeling the presence of Jesus with every step through the valley of uncertainty. Whether coming to the Lord’s house for worship, joining worship online, or even falling to your knees with the realization that the Creator of the Universe cares and loves you, even and especially you, come into his presence with your soul singing, with your heart beating the rhythm of faith, and your spirit engaged with the Holy Spirit of God; it will make a difference, a profound difference in your daily journey through this life. Take time to truly consider the gifts you have received from God through our Lord Jesus Christ and give God all the glory as you celebrate the “Lord with gladness and come into his presence with singing.” Come to think about it, you are always in the presence of the Lord, so it is truly good to now and always to “make a joyful noise to the Lord.”



Thoughts Along the Way September 6, 2021

Thoughts Along the Way

Pastor Tom Joyce

September 6, 2021

 

“But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers, who deceive themselves.”

James 1:22

 

Faith is a verb, an action word that describes how the Word of God comes alive in those who believe. With all due respect to Grammar 101 that would say faith is a noun, faith in the Christian sense is a non-event if not an action. We can sit and think about Jesus, we can call a group together and study the Scriptures, but then what do we do with what we have learned? The Bible is a living, breathing testimony of God’s action in our lives and the lives of others; those in the Bible never stopped moving, never stopped witnessing, never stopped “doing” for the Lord; in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King early Christians were “too God intoxicated to be astronomically intimidated.” In other words, they used the power of the universe offered to them to transform society. That same power is available and waiting for us to use today, especially today. You have the gift of the power of God to put into action and witness the joy, hope, peace, and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. At your baptism, you professed “Jesus Christ as your Savior, [you] put your whole trust in his grace and [promised] to serve him as your Lord, in union with the church which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations, and races.” In other words, you promised God to make your faith “action,” to be “doers of the word.” Faith is not only action; it is a choice. It is a choice to turn back to God and start over again, to live by the Word and celebrate all that you have received and to share the same with the world around you. Joshua (Joshua 24:15) gathered all the tribes of Israel, explained all that God had done for them, then went on to say “if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve…. but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Faith is a choice also an incredible blessing and the most precious gift you could ever give to another. To be “doers of the word” is to serve God through loving God, neighbor, family, and friends and offer them the power of God through Jesus Christ. You have been blessed today because you are loved and equipped by God with the privilege of serving others. You are a blessing as you have been blessed if you not only hear the Word of God but to act on them, to the glory of God.



Prayer for our World

A Prayer from Pastor Tom:
 
Lord God, our Creator and Redeemer through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, today we pray for peace and an end to the hatred and senseless loss of life in our nation, world, and especially this day in Afghanistan. Today, we mourn the loss of life of civilians and the death of many of our heroic soldiers. We pray for their families and pray for those who mourn with us this day. We pray for our nation and for the leadership of our nation. We pray for a day when there will be no more loss of life at the hands of those whose hearts are hardened to the sacredness of life. Help us, dear Lord, to witness your grace and peace and with boldness proclaim what is right, being your light in the midst of the darkness that enfolds us. Build a hedge of protection around those who are putting their lives on the line to keep people safe and strive for peace in our time. Jesus, if ever we need you, it is now.
 

Amen