6th Sunday after Pentecost
Don’t Be Afraid. Just Believe.
Text: Mark 5:21-24, 35-43
Have you been there before? Have you been there with Jairus? On your knees. Begging. Pleading. “Please Jesus. Please. Help.” You know there is absolutely nothing you can do and it is completely out of your control. You know there is one and only one who can help. So you beg and earnestly plead with tears flowing and humility showing. “Please Jesus. Please. Help.”
When that is you, side by side with Jairus in impassioned prayer, do you actually think Jesus will help? Do you really think he is listening? Do you really think he will do anything about it? Do you really think he can solve the problem or fix your trouble or heal the disease? Do you really think he can take away the cancer or save from death’s door? Do you really think he even cares? Do you believe these things?
Or do you pray because it’s your last ditch effort? Nothing else is working so this is your last chance, your last try. Maybe, just maybe, it will work and Jesus will help you. Read the rest of this entry
3rd Sunday of Advent
When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going . . .
Text: Job 1:6-22
Gone. All of it. All of it was gone. People who experience tragedy sometimes say that going through it is surreal, almost like living in a dream. Job was stuck in a nightmare that he could not wake up from.
A messenger ran to Job. It wasn’t good news. The Sabeans from Arabia had attacked and stolen all his oxen and donkeys and killed all the servants watching them. That might not seem too awful to us, but Job had 1,000 oxen and 500 donkeys. That was a lot of wealth and livelihood taken, and it would have been a lot of servants killed.
While the shock of losing money and friends was still settling in, a second messenger ran to Job. It wasn’t good news. Fire had fallen from skies and burned up all his sheep and the servants watching them. That might not seem too awful to us, but Job had 7,000 sheep. That was a lot of wealth and livelihood taken, and it would have been a lot of servants killed.
How could this be? On the same day? What would he do now? All these animals were so important to working and providing food and clothing! All these servants were so important to making his life go! Well at least his camels . . . Read the rest of this entry
22nd Sunday after Pentecost
Text: 1 John 5:13-15
Wow! That was awesome. Were you paying attention? Did you follow closely with the words? It’s worth looking at again. Hymn 443:
Rejoice, my heart, be glad and sing; a cheerful trust maintain,
For God, the source of everything, your treasure shall remain.
Why spend the day in blank despair, in restless thought the night?
On your Creator cast your care; He makes your burdens light.
Did not his love and truth and power guard every childhood day?
And did he not in threatening hour turn dreaded ills away?
He always will with patience chide; His rod falls gently down,
And all your sins he casts aside in ocean depths to drown.
His wisdom never plans in vain nor falters nor mistakes;
All that his counsels did ordain a happy ending makes.
Upon your lips, then, lay your hand, and trust his guiding love;
Then like a rock your peace shall stand here and in heaven above.
Absolutely incredible! How does one do that? How do you get to the point where your heart rejoices and is glad and sings and maintains a cheerful trust? On your Creator cast your care; he makes your burdens light. If only it was that easy! If only I could trust that his wisdom never plans in vain nor falters nor mistakes and all that his counsels did ordain a happy ending makes. How do I get to the point that I can trust his guiding love and have peace like a rock here and in heaven above?
Beautiful words! They are more incredible when you know the context of who wrote them. I’ve shared the story of Paul Gerhardt once or twice before. This pastor in the mid 1600s went for many years without a job. Not many churches were interested in the truth of God’s Word that he was preaching. He was chased out of several towns. He was very poor at times. His wife died and four of his five children died. Yet Pastor Paul Gerhardt could smile through the tears and still write Rejoice, my heart, be glad and sing; a cheerful trust maintain, for God, the source of everything, your treasure shall remain.
How inspiring! But oh, how difficult! Trust like that is the last thing my heart wants to do. I want something solid to stand on. I want something I can see and believe. I want results. I don’t want sickness. I don’t want big doctor bills and a host of tests. I don’t want stress. I don’t want heartache. I don’t want tragedy. I don’t want death. I . . . I . . . I . . . Read the rest of this entry