Monday Morning Meditation 1/13/20

As we begin the journey that is 2020, I am taking some liberty with the vision idea and that in this New Year we use all of our senses to experience God’s presence.  Today we listen for God.

Did you know that normal hearing ranges from 0 to 20 dB in all frequencies?  I didn’t but recently someone told me this.  Another person told me there is a specific frequency that heals (certain sounds at this frequency can calm the body and allow the healing process to happen).

As I thought about those two statements, I thought about our senses and God.  Too often we cannot hear God’s voice because we are focused on the wrong decibels or frequencies.

I know every sound in my house.  Every single one.  I can tell if something is wrong by listening.  I can hear the refrigerator making its strange whine, or the water as it flows through the pipes.  I know if it is a normal sound or a problem.  This was quite helpful one night when a pipe was leaking and I caught it before total calamity in the basement.

And this type of attention to sound is important – we should be aware of our surroundings and hear all sorts of things.  But the most important is to focus on God’s voice, which in my opinion, is not the same decibel or frequency that we normally listen for.

1 Kings 19:11-13
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Notice how God’s voice was not in any of the loud noises, rather the still gentle whisper.  It takes special effort to listen to the whispers – especially when the loud is so prevalent in society.  Yet we can listen for God’s voice – we just need to relax, focus and tune out all the other noises we hear.  Then we can hear God.
As you journey through this New Year, stop and listen for God’s voice.

Peace

Pastor Bill

 

 

Monday Morning Meditation 1/6/20

Experience God with 20/20 Vision
As we begin the journey that is 2020, I am taking some liberty with the vision idea and that in this New Year we use all of our senses to experience God’s presence.
vision chart.jpg
And, of course, we first begin with sight.  Genesis 2:9 says “And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”  All around us is the beauty of nature.  Can you see God in nature?  Can you see the beauty of creation as a visual reminder of God’s presence in the world?

Yet we sometimes forget we, too, are a part of nature.  We were also created by the beautiful artist known as God and therefore we can see God in each other.  One of the themes I always teach is the “Imago Dei”, the Image of God.  For we were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), therefore we should recognize the image of God in all we meet.  Even if they are different, they, too, are created in God’s image.

When we look hard enough, when we open our eyes with 20/20 vision, we can see God’s acts through others, those “random acts of kindness”, those instances when we see Godly actions, those times when we see God in a smile, or twinkling eyes of children. 

This year use your 20/20 vision.  Look for the beauty of the earth, look for the Image of God in others, and be the Image of God by letting your light shine before others (Mt. 5:16).

Grace and peace,

Pastor Bill

Monday Morning Meditation 12/30/19

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Rev. 21:1-6

 

We stand upon the transition from one year to another.  We are also entering a new decade!  The New Year is a natural time to consider changes in our lives.

As we begin a New Year (and Decade), we should continue to look for God’s new heaven and new earth – to wait with anticipation and hope for one day all will be restored – all will be made new.

And in the meantime, we wait with anticipation and hope for God’s intervention every day, for God is with us – that is His promise.

As you begin the New Year, consider your relationship with God.  Are you experiencing Jesus as Emmanuel?  Seek Him daily, offer your life to him daily, and realize that God’s dwelling place is truly among the people.

May God bless you abundantly in the New Year!

Peace,

Pastor Bill

 

Monday Morning Meditation 12/23/19

Matthew 1:23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”

For many this Christmas will be hard.  Some have lost spouses, or parents, or other loved ones.  Some are dealing with loved ones on hospice.  Some are facing questions about their health.  For all of you, I have good news.  God is with you.

For many this Christmas will be difficult.  Some are underemployed, or underpaid and struggle with their finances.  Some are seeking a job, while others struggle with their occupational calling.  For all of you, I have good news.  God is with you.

For many this Christmas will be difficult.  Some are in abusive relationships.  Some find relationships hard to develop.  Some are lonely.  For all of you, I have good news.  God is with you.

And I could go on.

We are about to celebrate the birth of Jesus and that makes all the difference.  Jesus is Emmanuel “God is with us” and he promises to remain with us (Mt. 28:8).

As we transition from the anticipation of Advent into the realization of the Incarnation at Christmas, cling to God’s promise.  God is with you.  God loves you.  nativity

And may you find the Hope, Peace, Joy and Love of Jesus Christ this Christmas.

Pastor Bill

Monday Morning Meditation 12-16-19

I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.  Psalm 40:1-3

 It’s nine days until Christmas.  Many are scurrying about trying to get the preparations finished, and some are just starting.  It is a joyous festive time of year.  Or it is supposed to be.

Yesterday a sizable group from the church went caroling.  Unfortunately, due to a family situation, I was unable to attend, which is sad because I love to go caroling.  I was also involved in one of those “church conversations” that tend to leave pastors pretty flat after a really energetic worship service.   When I left the building, I was hardly in the Christmas spirit.

This time of year can be painful for many people.  For some, it is the first Christmas without a loved one.  For others it is a reminder of all we have lost over the years.  Many feel the financial burden of being underpaid, or seeking new employment only to be rejected.  Often health issues flare up in the season. People with food limitations cannot fully participate in the bounty of Christmas foods.  People with mobility issues cannot walk the live nativity, or the Christmas light displays and the list goes on.

Many may be in that “desolate pit” the Psalmist speaks of.

But the Psalmist never remains there. Even the Psalms of lament are filled with good news. Listen to what he says in verse 5: “You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you. Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be counted.”

The good news of Christmas is this.  God is with us.  In our pain, in our grief, in our sickness, in our lament, in all of our condition, God is with us.  If you are in the desolate pit this morning, take some time to meditate upon Psalm 40, seek out a song of praise, and allow God to heal you.

Peace,

Pastor Bill

Monday Morning Meditation 12/9/19

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.  Ps. 130:5-6

We are in the season of Advent, a time of preparation, a time of waiting.  But people really do not like to wait.  What happens in a store with long lines?  People get grumpy (like me), people get impatient (like me), people look around to see if they are opening another line, or if a different line is shorter.

What about waiting for a return call, especially when waiting for medical news, or to hear from someone traveling in horrid weather?  We are anxious, we are nervous, we just do not want to wait.

But God knows that waiting is actually good for us.  God has us wait often.  The prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures spoke about the anointed one, the Messiah to come.  And they waited, never to see Him in their lifetimes.

When Jesus came and did not claim political power, even John the Baptist wondered if He was the one – John was waiting impatiently as he sat in prison.

psalm-130-5

We all have to wait for things.  Sometimes it is minor, such as waiting in that supermarket line, sometimes it is huge, like waiting by the bedside as a loved one returns to God.  But in all of this waiting, One remains with us.  The Psalmist said “in his word I hope” and that is huge.  For God’s word reminds us constantly and consistently that God will be with us.  His promise is to be with us “unto the end of the age.”  The Holy Spirit dwells within us.  The Son is called Emmanuel, “God with us” for a reason.

Today you may be waiting for something.  Hope in God’s word, for there you will find the promise.

Peace,

Pastor Bill

Monday Morning Meditation 12-2-19

A voice of one calling: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Isaiah 40:3

The Prophet Isaiah proclaimed these words in the 8th century B.C.  John the Baptist echoed them at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.  They are ancient words that continue to have great meaning and significance to our lives as followers of Christ.

We have begun the season of Advent, the four weeks before Christmas.  Advent is a time of preparation, a time to prepare to receive again the Christ Child, and to prepare for His return.

But as I said in worship yesterday, preparation is not about stockpiling food and water for the “end times” rather we are to prepare ourselves to both expect God and say “yes” to God at all times.

Look again at Isaiah’s words:  “Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”  Don’t just expect God to crash your party, rather make it easy – give God a straight access to your all.

As you travel through this Advent season, be prepared for God.  Expect God.  Say “yes” to God.

Peace (Hope, Joy and Love)

Bill