Isn’t it odd to think of all the generations before us – how they have looked forward to the end of this present age and thought how glorious to be alive in that time – and wished for themselves so great an honor as to live for Christ in the final hours. And isn’t it even odder still when you realize: that was us they were wishing they could be – and this is the time they were looking forward to.
People, we have the best position in the house for viewing the final act of Jesus Christ’s redemptive work on the earth! And what good fortune we have to more than just spectate this spectacular time, but to actually be active participants in it. Able to do and show the will and character of Christ to this world that’s ending right before our eyes.
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:20)
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore, encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
And while they are exciting times to think about – they can be very difficult (and scary) to live through. There are so many forces pulling us in so many directions – it makes it hard to know what is the right way for us to go. I take great comfort in knowing that God knows me. He knows my strengths and weaknesses, and He’s already made a perfect Way for me to follow after Him. A Way that can work – even for a fool like me.
And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; [and] even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. (Isaiah 35:8)
So I try to be courageous. Block out the competing forces, concentrate on the voice of God, and live out the calling to be loving in all circumstances. It’s simple enough, especially when you understand that love flows out of God and then through us. It’s nothing I can manufacture – I can only aspire to be a willing conduit. Simple – yes. Worth it – yes. Easy – no. And that’s why we need to come together. I need your support and encouragement to keep me going on the Way. I can’t do it without you – you are the Body of Christ. And you can’t do it without me – because I am the Body of Christ also. We need each other to rise to the Call of these glorious but tumultuous times.
And remembering that those who came before us and longed to be in our shoes are the same that are now cheering us on from Heaven, let us consider the difficulties of our present hard times nothing but an opportunity to show off the great power and love of Jesus Christ. A power that is awake in our lives – forming and shaping us and reaching out through us to bring light and love to the lost creatures dying for hope and truth all around us.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)
Now is a great time to pray. You are in my heart. Steve
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” Matthew 12:38
In our day to day lives as Christians we look for the signs around us that reaffirm God’s blessings in our lives. Part of getting ready for the new changes in our Sunday worship is updating our signs around the church. It always brightens my day that we get to put out our own signs to share the blessings of the lord with others. We have great things happening in the church this Sunday and I hope you are all as excited as I am. Look for new signs as the days and weeks unfold!
Isn’t it funny how the mythology of our human love involves a roly-poly, flying, diapered baby wielding a deadly weapon!?! This whimsical creature and icon of Valentine’s Day sees two people and shoots them with his bow and arrow…apparently a skilled act of violence makes people instantly fall in love. Really!
So, I guess it makes sense that our cultural view of Valentine’s Day can be viewed similarly, childlike, immature and even harmful to at least our self-esteem especially if we choose to believe it’s only for romantic couples. I have heard so many uncoupled people call February 14th “National Singles Awareness Day” or “Black Friday” and it sure doesn’t help by wrapping us up in expectations; everywhere it’s cards, chocolates, flowers, romantic dinners that make us feel left out if we are not receiving.
Now, I’m not knocking romance or love, I believe in love. What I’m knocking is a “single”-mindedness when it comes to the holiday. In fact, the rather mysterious origins of Valentine’s Day and its said protagonist, St. Valentine is more of the heroic kind of love than the “kissy” kind. As the story goes, St. Valentine was jailed for continuing to secretly marry young lovers, defying Roman rules in the third century that insisted single men made better soldiers. For this he was sentenced to death and later named for the holiday celebrating lovers. But his act of love was his act of service to the soldiers.
So, let’s channel the true power of this very important day, the day of love. There is nothing more important all year! Let’s surround ourselves with love, love with a romantic partner, love for family, friends, being of service to others, and love for living life to the fullest. Love is kindness and love is an adventure….
Love is not only something you feel, it is something you do. (David Wilkerson)
You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly. (Sam Keen)
Love does not dominate, it cultivates. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
Lost love is still love. It takes a different form, that’s all. You can’t see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken another heightens. Memory, memory becomes your partner. You nurture it, you hold it, you dance with it. (Mitch Albom)
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4)