Future with Hope Jeremiah 29:11-13

“For surely I know the plans I have for     you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm.”

Jeremiah 29:11

 

Life can be interesting to say the least! There are times when the sun never stops shining and the gentle breeze cools our brow. Then there are times of new beginnings which are both exciting but uncertain. No matter where your journey of life is leading you and no matter if there are detours along the way, our Lord promises to “neither leave you or forsake you.” That is the hope you are offered through faith, that no matter where life seems to be leading, the Lord says, “do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name and you are mine…because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you.” (Isaiah 43:1,4) There is hope because you are so loved and so honored that God will never let you go, never. In Christ there is always hope. Here is the proof; Christ died on the cross for everybody and many thought that was the end of life. But then on the third day he rose and is alive absolutely proving God’s love for us now and forever! You have a future with hope because you are blessed with the “now” of Christ, proof that no matter what God is with you. Some see God as a condemning God and a God full of anger. Yet our God, the one who promised to be with us, “even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20), loves us too much not to want the best for us. With the eyes of faith, you can see the love of God played out in miracles that surround you every moment of your life. Sometimes miracles are tough to see but it is by faith, “the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things unseen” (Hebrews 11:1) that your future is bright and full of the love that created the universe. Look to the future with hope, because you live in the present with Christ. God is good all the time!

 

Pastor Tom



Holy Convocation

“Six days shall work be done; but the seventh day is a Sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation…”

Leviticus 23:3

 

So a day off is just not a day off, it is a “holy convocation,” a sacred time “called” by God for the purpose of rest. Sabbath time is an assembling of people for the specific purpose of remembering God and the blessings we have received. Time away can be individual but what makes Sabbath holy is the presence of God and the people of God together as one body focusing on their eternal relationship with God. When Jesus said to Peter, “you are Peter, the rock, and upon this rock I will build my church,” he was not talking about a building rather he was talking about the gathering of God’s people to refocus and recommit to God. God says, “you shall do no work: it is a Sabbath to the Lord throughout your settlements.” (Lev. 23:3). God offered you a gift of time away and maybe celebrating the holy convocation of Sabbath is a gift right back to God; God wants you to celebrate your life and your celebration of life must give incredible joy to our Lord. God’s intent for you is to celebrate the gift we call life, but how can you truly celebrate the gift if you are constantly “at work?” A relationship will never survive if time is not taken just to celebrate the relationship. So it is with our relationship with God; if we do not take time apart to celebrate our relationship with God then just as with our human relationships, it will grow weaker. God knows it is hard for us to take a rest, check out the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:4-17. Commandment number four, “remember the Sabbath,” requires the longest definition because it is so hard for us to justify the time, let alone take the time. Check out your calendar; does it allow you time to strengthen your relationship with God? Does your schedule include a healthy time away to recharge and reconnect through worship? When our relationship with God is strong, all other relationships are strengthened as well. So celebrate the “Holy Convocation” of Sabbath and know the joy that God, through our Risen Savior Jesus Christ, offers to you. Thank you Jesus for the privilege of taking time with you.
 
Pastor Tom


All By God’s Grace

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God.”

Ephesians 2:8

 

The amazing thing about grace is that it is not earned, bought, or created; grace is the most precious of all gifts because it has been bought and paid for by God. In a world that just can’t seem to stop being judgmental; in a culture creating its own negative environment by not taking the time to understand how others feel, God calls us to live in this thing called grace which is simply sharing the love of God through Jesus Christ with all people. Yes, all means all, no matter political persuasion, race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, religion; all does mean all. Imagine a world that loved as Christ loves us. Imagine a world that joy destroys judgment and hatred. Imagine a place where you are listened to no matter your opinion. When we are “dead through our trespasses,” we walk with a tremendous burden; anytime we cast judgment on others we are judged accordingly and “dead.” St. Paul writes, “…you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another, you condemn yourself.” (Romans 2:1). Yet Jesus did not come “into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:17) This precious gift called grace, bought on the cross, makes us “alive together with Christ.” (Ephesians 2:5) Salvation is, in part, being saved from ourselves, being released from our bondage to sin, and our tendency not to offer grace when it is most needed to be offered. Read more…