Monthly Archives: June 2021
Time to stop running…
Thoughts to deepen our devotion to Jesus
The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Get up! Go to the great cityc of Nineveh and preach against ite because their evilf has come up before me.” 3 Jonah got up to flee to Tarshishh from the LORD’s presence. John 1:1-3 CSB
“Erasmus, Oecolampadius, Zwingli, and Karlstadt want to measure everything by their wisdom and so they become confused. I thank God that I know and believe that God knows more than I do. He can do what is above my ability to comprehend. From invisible things he can make visible, for everything that is now happening through the light of the gospel is making visible things out of invisible.
Oh, how many spiritual persons there are who do not become saints, because they will not do themselves the violence to break away from certain little attachments!
All the evil arises from the little love they have for Jesus Christ.
Anyone can do the possible; add a bit of courage and zeal and some may do the phenomenal; only Christians are obliged to do the impossible.
I never like reading Jonah.
We always talk about his running from preaching to “those” people, but the message wasn’t easy to preach either.
Luther talked about preaching the real law- preaching where the people you are talking to fail, where they sin, where their pride leads them to fall. In the passage above, Luther nails four contemporaries – guys that were all polar opposites from each other – but who all thought they knew more than the next guy, indeed, more than God. He went after them, and the people sitting before him, for their sin.
DeLigouri notes a similar thing – that there are people so addicted to certain sins that they won’t break away from them, because they love their sins more than they love God.
Neither the monk-turned-reformer or the priest held back much! They went after people – not to condemn them – but to save them!
I am going to be honest, the reason most of us don’t go after the specks in other’s eyes is that we know there is a log in our own. Or perhaps a redwood forest. To deal with others sin means we have to let Jesus deal with ours.
It is a hard thing to try and rescue people form sin, in fact it is impossible. We can’t do it, but Tozer says we need to, we are obliged to do the impossible. THe reason is simple – it is what Jesus did – for us. Whatever it took – calling us on our sin – and providing a way for it to be covered.
Whatever it takes to save them from sin, means that we have to be willing to identiy the sin – ours and theirs, and bring it to God so that, as promised, they can be cleansed of it. And in the process of their being cleansed, we find our sin dealt with as well, just as Jonah had his sin and rebellion dealt with, as God drew Jonah closer.
You and I, as believers, need that ministry that occurs while we minister to others.
So stop running, stop being afraid of God deling with the log… and as He does,,, look on with wonder as God heals those who you were sent among.
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 54: Table Talk, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 54 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 147.
Alphonsus de Liguori, The Holy Eucharist, ed. Eugene Grimm, The Complete Works of Saint Alphonsus de Liguori (New York; London; Dublin; Cincinnati; St. Louis: Benziger Brothers; R. Washbourne; M. H. Gill & Son, 1887), 333.
A. W. Tozer and Marilynne E. Foster, Tozer on the Holy Spirit: A 366-Day Devotional (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2007).
When Failure is Good!
Devotional Thought of the Day:
16 When that day comes,” says the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’ instead of ‘my master.’ Hosea 2:16 (NLT2)
If I miss God’s great salvation, has this life been worth the struggle? Personally, I think not!
The Prophet Aggeus says, that whoever labors for anything else than to please God, puts his reward in a sack full of holes, which, when he comes to open, he finds entirely empty: And he that hath earned wages, put them into a bag with holes.4 And hence it is that such persons, in the event of their not gaining the object for which they entered on some undertaking, are thrown into great trouble. This is a sign that they had not in view the glory of God alone. He that undertakes a thing solely for the glory of God, is not troubled at all, though his undertaking may fail of success; for, in truth, by working with a pure intention, he has already gained his object, which was to please Almighty God.
The following are the signs which indicate whether we work solely for God in any spiritual undertaking. 1. If we are not disturbed at the failure of our plans, because when we see it is not God’s will, neither is it any longer our will. 2. If we rejoice at the good done by others, as heartily as if we ourselves had done it. 3. If we have no preference for one charge more than for another, but willingly accept that which obedience to Superiors enjoins us. 4. If after our actions we do not seek the thanks or approbation of others, nor are in any way affected if we be found fault with or scolded, being satisfied with having pleased God
I often joke with a certain friend of mine by humming or stating the words to “It’s a Small World.” For the rest of the day, despite the fact they state they hate the son, they will be humming it, without realizing it.
Some things are like that, they stick in your mind.
The passages above were actually from my devotions last Thursday. But the passage from Hosea stuck in my mind, and I kept coming back to it.
Josea’s wife Gomer had only had relationships that were, to be blunt, a business transaction. That was her background, and she struggled being in a relationship with Hosea, because she couldn’t get the fact that he loved her. She would run back to her own life several times. She struggled to realize she could be the object of love, rather than a slave of lust.
And so she missed the love that would bring her back, clean her up, isolate her, and work with her again.
She is the perfect example of Tozer’s warning about missing salvation, of being unable to appreciate it. Life become worthless…
deLigouri’s words also start to describe the one who misses God, who lives for things other than God. But then he moves on, and describes the person focused on God. How radical a change it is. Failure become not just acceptable, but something that might be worth praising God for, as we discover how it turns to blessing. Other’s success, even at our cost, become a cause for joy.
It all becomes like the two people in love, where all else is minimized, in order that they love each other.
This is our hope, this is our joy, this love of God that so cares for us, that we adore Him to exclusion of all else. THis is when we stop seeing ourselves as God’s slaves, and realize we are His beloved. This is the day Hosea dreamed of for Gomer, and that is the will of God for His people. The day when the relationship became real.
Lord Jesus, help us to move past the “Gomer” stage, help us to oreceive Your love, to share in Your glory, as we see revealed to us the love of the Father. AMEN!
A. W. Tozer and Marilynne E. Foster, Tozer on the Holy Spirit: A 366-Day Devotional (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2007).
Alphonsus de Liguori, The Holy Eucharist, ed. Eugene Grimm, The Complete Works of Saint Alphonsus de Liguori (New York; London; Dublin; Cincinnati; St. Louis: Benziger Brothers; R. Washbourne; M. H. Gill & Son, 1887), 325–326.
Struggling with Guilt and Shame? Time to stop!
Devotional Thought of the Day:
15 While he was saying these words to me, I turned my face toward the ground and was speechless.t 16 Suddenly one with human likenessu touched my lips. I opened my mouth and said to the one standing in front of me, “My lord, because of the vision, anguish overwhelms me and I am powerless. 7 How can someone like me, your servant, speak with someone like you, my lord? Now I have no strength, and there is no breath in me.”
18 Then the one with a human appearance touched me again and strengthened me.y 19 He said, “Don’t be afraid,z you who areG treasured by God.aa Peace to you; be very strong!” Daniel 10:14-19 CSB
To be angry at ourselves after the commission of a fault is a fault worse than the one committed, and will be the occasion of many other faults; it will make us leave off our devotions, prayers, and communions; or if we do practise them, they will be done very badly. St. Aloysius Gonzaga said that we cannot see in troubled waters, and that the devil fishes in them. A soul that is troubled knows little of God and of what it ought to do.
Too many of us dwell haunted by the past.
It could have been yesterday, or back when we were a teenager, but what happened cause us to be ashamed, to feel guilty about what happened. Sometimes we had no choice, sometimes we were victims, and sometimes, yes, we chose to do what we knew was wrong.
We bear incredible guilt and shame.
We deny it, we buty it, we hide it.
But coming into contact with that which is holy… well that shows us, just as it did Daniel, the man whose fiath sustained him in the lions den, and with emperors, and against those who hated him, because he listened to God.
And he still, encountering an Angel, wwas terrified, He knew he didn’t belong in the presence of God.
Cleansed, he heard the incredible words… you are treasured by God.
de Ligouri knew what it meant to be haunted by guilt and shame. He didn’t come to his conclusions above through academic knowledge, but experience. HOw many times have I been angry at myself for my failures and sin? How many times have I thought I will never be holy enough? How many times will Stan use that guilt and shame to convince me that prayers are worthless, that I could never be welcome.
And I know that I am not alone.
We need to hear that God treasures us, much as Daniel’s Visitor said to Him. We have the advantge – we can look to the cross, we can receive Him in the Lord’s Supper, and have tangible evidence of how much God does treasure us…
knowing that, we can come, confess and find the treasure again – as God does as promised – and wipes away our sin. We need to hear God’s voice, declaring we are justified – by the cross of Christ.
then the guilt and shame are swept away, and we can begin again.
We are treasured by God…
Alphonsus de Liguori, The Holy Eucharist, ed. Eugene Grimm, The Complete Works of Saint Alphonsus de Liguori (New York; London; Dublin; Cincinnati; St. Louis: Benziger Brothers; R. Washbourne; M. H. Gill & Son, 1887), 322.
He is the Revealer of Mysteries…so why?
Some thoughts to encourage our devotion to Jesus
27 Daniel answered the king, “No wise man, medium, magician, or divinery is able to make known to the king the mystery he asked about. 28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has let King Nebuchadnezzar know what will happen in the last days. Your dream and the visions that came into your mind as you lay in bed were these: 29 Your Majesty, while you were in your bed, thoughts came to your mind about what will happen in the future. The revealer of mysteriesac has let you know what will happen. 30 As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but in order that the interpretation might be made known to the king, and that you may understand the thoughts of your mind. Daniel 2:27-30 CSB
I have asked you to keep on lifting your eyes up to Heaven as you go about your work, because hope encourages us to grasp the strong hand which God never ceases to reach out to us, to keep us from losing our supernatural point of view. Let us persevere even when our passions rear up and attack us, attempting to imprison us within the narrow confines of our selfishness; or when puerile vanity makes us think we are the center of the universe. I am convinced that unless I look upward, unless I have Jesus, I will never accomplish anything.
There is a tendency among us, whether age 2 or age 95, to ask why. The questions may differ, or may not, but it is as if we feel we have a right to know everything.
I wonder if what would come next is to render our opinion on what the answers are?
Or could our self-centerednesss and pride accept all that God reveals?
All of Daniels peers had been threatened that unless they not only interpreted the vision, but actuallyt discerned the vision, they would be put to death. They leaned on their wisdom, their tricks, and excused themselves saying it was beyond man’s ability, it required someone who had contact with the Divine, with the true God.
As Daviel enters, he praises the God who reveals mysteries, who reveals the Mystery.
It is the same concept that St. Josemaria spoke about, the necessity of God to reach out to us, to help us keep our mind on heavenly thoughts, (see Col. 3:1-4) He also explains that because of that hand of God, we can persevere, even when our desires are to control the situation, or when not understanding the situation is driving us crazy.
Our need is to look to Him, not for answers. Our need is to trust that when it is needed, God will provide those answers – as he did for Daniel, as He does for all those who walk with Him.
Including you and me…
Escrivá, Josemaría. Friends of God . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
In Order to see the Church Rebuild, will we dare do this?
devotional thought of the day:
“ ‘This is what the Lord GOD says: I will respond to the house of Israel and do this for them: I will multiply them in number like a flock. 38 So the ruined cities will be filled with a flock of people, just as Jerusalem is filled with a flock of sheep for sacrifice during its appointed festivals. Then they will know that I am the LORD.’ Ezek 36:37-38 CSB
m 28 They will know that I am the LORD their God when I regather them to their own land after having exiled them among the nations. I will leave none of them behind. 29 I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel.” This is the declaration of the Lord GOD. Ezek 39:27-29 CSB
“Give me your heart, my son,”12 he seems to whisper in our ears. Stop building castles in the air. Make up your mind to open your soul to God, for only in our Lord will you find a real basis for your hope and for doing good to others.
As we come out of COVID, I find the church offered a myriad of solutions to address the fact that prior to COVID, the church in America was already shrinking. We want to blame people not coming back on COVID, but if we are honest, many had left before that, in fact they have been leaving for decades.
It is not because the church isn’t relevant enough, or faithful enough to traditions. It isn’t because we haven’t found the right book or the right coach/consultant/father-confessor/seminar or podcast.
It is much simpler than that.
We aren’t looking to God to full our ruined cities and churches. We aren’t looking for Him to fulfill His promises.
SImply put, we don’t know that He is the Lord, that He is our God!
And so we don’t look to Him to fill our churches, to bring healing and reconciliation to our communities,.
We build our castles, both physically and mentally, when we need to open our soul to God. St Josemaria is correct, it is there, open to God, led by the Spirit, that we not only find life, we find a reason for living. Walking with Him, we find the most incredible blessings. As the Spirit changes us, the masks are lifted, and we can see what God is doing.
And that is revive the church, by reviving the people who find themselves in His presence.
Abba Father, let Your Spirit fall on Your church! Draw our eyes to Your Son Jesus, that our hearts and souls are open to the Spirit’s presence, and help us to see Your work, reviving and restoring Your Church. Amen!
Escrivá, Josemaría. Friends of God . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional Thought of the days:
7 “As for you, son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel.a When you hear a word from my mouth, give them a warning from me. 8 If I say to the wicked, ‘Wicked one, you will surely die,’b but you do not speak out to warn him about his way, that wicked person will die for his iniquity, yet I will hold you responsible for his blood. 9 But if you warn a wicked person to turn from his way and he doesn’t turn from it, he will die for his iniquity, but you will have rescued yourself. Ezekiel 33:7-9 CSB
When the Church does not come out of herself to evangelize she becomes self-referential and then gets sick.
There are two images of the Church: the Church that evangelizes and comes out of herself, and the worldly Church that lives within herself, of herself, for herself, falling into a sterile, theological narcissistic limbo.
This should shed light on the possible changes and reforms which must be done for the salvation of souls.
The church talks about mission a lot. It writes books, it hires consultants, it attends conferences of defending the faith, and how to be a missionary for Jesus. Some of the Church revamps and changes what it does, while other parts of the Church spend time and resources doubling down on how it is faithful. (But faithful to what?)
So much time is spent on this that we never get out of the church. We don’t seek out the lost, we expect that we’ve built our ministries, hired our staff, developed our programs and therefore people will come.
and then we wonder why they aren’t coming……
The warning that God our Father gave Ezekiel needs to be heard again. It is the responsibility of the church to be out there, working with the broken, those who have been entrapped by evil. It is our responsibility to do so, not to earn our salvation, but because we have been saved. We have this relationship where we hear God speak a message of wanring, but a warning issued in love. After all, God will tell Ezekiel, “As I live—this is the declaration of the Lord GOD—I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked person should turn from his way and live!” Ezekiel 33:11 CSB
It is a scary thought that we will be held responsible.
But that should not be as scary as to think people could live their lives with no hope for their brokenness, that they could die, enslaved to sin.
These are people we are called to love…. even though they may seen unlovable. Being unlovable is the damage that sin does, damage easily healed by the Spirit as they are drawn to Jesus.
It should be further noted, that we are responsible for them knowing the option to being broken and shattered by sin. Their conversion and transformation is up to the Holy Spirit.
All we have to do is share the news…
God loves them
God wants to care for them, cleansing them sin, healing them from unrighteousness,….
even as He has done this for us.
So let’s stop talking about it, stop studying it, stop preparing for it, and planning change…. and let’s get out and love people.
Pope Francis, A Year with Pope Francis: Daily Reflections from His Writings, ed. Alberto Rossa (New York; Mahwah, NJ; Toronto, ON: Paulist Press; Novalis, 2013), 197.
The Value of a Hug
Devotional Thoughts for our Day:
11 No, the LORD’s delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love. Psalm 147:11 (NLT2)
On the day of the Innocents12 [Martin Luther said], “If God were to withhold our necessities from us for a year, what a cry there would be throughout the world! But now that he lavishes them upon us we’re all ungrateful, and there is no one who gives thanks.”
COVID has shown us, very clearly, what we’ve taken for granted. Simple things that were part of our lives, that we have had to not engage in, or at least we were supposed to to avoid.
Among those things are hugs (and strong firm handshakes for those who are afraid of hugs)
There is something about them that go far beyond the physical contact. It can bring comfort, peace, the assurance that we are not alone. It can be the hug given to those who grieve, the hug given joy in celebration of a victory, the hiug given to someone you haven’t seen for a while. Even the holding the hand of someone who has been broken by life….as you silently pray for them.
We’ve lost this necessity for a year, and its loss is visible.
Yet as social distancing becomes less a thing, as people return to churches, as life begins anew, hugs and handshakes and contact will come back into play.
But will we continue to appreciate them?
During this last year, God has been faithful, and we’ve been able to put our trust in Him. He has sustained us trhough things we could not have imagined. He has been our hope thourgh this all, for everything else was stripped away, or simply was a shadow of what it was in the past.
And so we trust in Him….in His unfailing love.
And as we receive His body to eat, His blood to drink, in awe consider the closeness and contact He desires with you!..
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 54: Table Talk, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 54 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 131.
Renewing the Spirit: A Sermon and Service Based on 2 Cor. 4:13-15:1
Renewed in Spirit
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
† I.H.S. †
May the grace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ cause you life to begin again, regularly!
@@ St. Paul wrote, “But we continue to preach..”
We continue to speak about God he says, and that is all well and good! But to understand that comment in all of its power, we need to understand why the “but” was there. And to do that, I need to go back a few verses.
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. 11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 2 Corinthians 4:8-11 (NLT2)
Pretty exhausting week St. Paul and his crew had. Not quite as bad as dealing with COVID, but still pretty bad, don’t you think?
The question is how do you keep talking about Jesus, when in the midst of all of that turmoil? Perplexed, stalked, knocked down, suffering, living under constant danger, dying, enduring masks and not being able to give or receive hugs.
And yet, Paul is able to keep on talking about Jesus… and since the word there is to talk – and not proclaim, it is something we can do as well….
- The Psalmist’s real words (Law)
@@ The first step is to understand what Paul and the Psalmist meant when talking about faith in God. Paul wrote, 13 But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.”
That sounds pretty good – he just pushed through, or maybe muddled through, depending on how exhausted he was. He just kept speaking, or so it seems.
That works well into our upbringing. Most of us were just trained to keep on working until the work was done. Didn’t matter how tired, how many times the computer deleted our files, or what was going on – we were to get the work done! And get it done right!
If we check the Psalmists words though, it clarifies things. What the psalmist wrote was,
“ I believed in You, so I said, ‘I am deeply troubled, LORD.’” Psalm 116:10
Notice the difference? The Psalmist that Paul agrees with is not our there on his own strength, he is leaning on God. He, like Jesus in the garden, is going to the Father in prayer, and sharing the aches and pains, the anxieties, and the doubts.
To try and do it all on our own is sin, and act of pride. It is telling God, even if unintentionally, that we don’t want to walk with Him, that we want to do it on our own.
And then, rather than finding a second wind, a renewed Spirit, we burn out.
But St. Paul and the Psalmist cry out to God, using God’s personal name, sharing the brokenness and burden.
And that changes everything, for as we depend on God, our hearts and souls are renewed, even if our bodies are failing.
- Why We don’t Give up
In the midst of the brokenness, St Paul writes something that is truly amazing,
14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.
The promise of the resurrection from death is so powerful, that it reinvigorates the physically, mentally and spiritually broken disciple. This is why he can keep speaking about God, because of this incredible, awesome promise!
I can share from my own story, this week I was pretty tired twice. The first time I was revived by the pictures than Amanda, our banker, put up on Facebook the pictures of her daughter’s baptism right here, 5 years ago. ( I did needle her a little about bringing her back more often) Another day, I received an email from Colleen – about the miraculous healing that her friend’s wife has had, a lady we’ve been praying for.
That means far more to a tired pastor, or elder or deacon than giving us a million dollars, right Bob?
This is the power of seeing God at work in and through us, the work of the holy Spirit. That is how our life is re-invigorated, our spirits renewed, as we see the work of the Spirit, drawing people closer and closer to Jesus.
- Everything else is less
That is why Paul can say,
17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
No masks or social distancing in heaven, no getting crushed, or driven to despair, never abandoned by God, just simply the life of Christ seen in our Bodies as the effect of our dying with Him, and rising with Him.
Nothing else compares…. For we are with Him. And being with Him, aware of our presence, crying out to Him when wea re struggling, we find a peace that passes all understanding, for we are His. AMEN!
When Trusting God is Challenging…
Devotional thought for this day:
31 For the Lord will not reject us forever. 32 Even if he causes suffering, he will show compassion according to the abundance of his faithful love. 33 For he does not enjoy bringing affliction or suffering on mankind. Lamentations 3:31-33 (CSBBible)
O most lovely and most loving Heart of Jesus, miserable is the heart which does not love Thee! O God, for the love of men Thou didst die on the cross, helpless and forsaken, and how then can men live so forgetful of Thee?
This is not the only time where the Scriptures declare God can cause suffering.
Jeremiah is clear, God doesn;t like afflicting or causing us to suffering, Yet trusting Him when it happens is certainly a challenge. Especially when the lesson is not for those who are suffering, but for those who are simply witnessing the suffering.
It is one thing if we deserve the suffering, or the person suffering does. We deserve enough of it, we need to be disciplined, in a way that only God can. That is, God disciplines us with great love, and with the specific aim of causing growth and restoration, to draw us back into the realization that He is present in our lives.
But what about when the lesson is for someone else, when our suffering serves as an example for those who are not suffering? The story of Job, the suffering of Paul, the embracing suffering of Eric Liddell and so many martyrs, people whose lives were cut short or damaged. How do we justify their suffering?
Or how are we able to trust in God, when it is our turn to suffer?
The only way I know, it to look to the heart of Jesus. We must allow the Holy Spirit to drive our intimacy with God so deep that we are sure of His love and care! We need to know this even as Jesus knew that the feeling of the Father’s abandonment would lead to the greatest of praise! (Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22) Intinacy with God causes us not to trust Him in the moment of suffering, but to rejoice in it!
This is why I love the altar, the place where peace is so clear, as the Lord’s Supper is being given, a momnet in time where we realize that Christ suffered for us, and that sharing in His sufferings is sharing with Him.
This doesn’t make the suffering easier…the pains still are there, the exhaustion, the mental anguish, and yet in its midst, there is peace.
For He is there… and seeing Him with us, we find ourselves in peace…..
And I will take that peace, that peace beyond all understanding, over things going “perfectly”.
Alphonsus de Liguori, The Holy Eucharist, ed. Eugene Grimm, The Complete Works of Saint Alphonsus de Liguori (New York; London; Dublin; Cincinnati; St. Louis: Benziger Brothers; R. Washbourne; M. H. Gill & Son, 1887), 301.
He is Qualified! (for what?): A sermon on Psalm 29
He is Qualified… (for what?)
† In Jesus Name†
May the grace and mercy of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ strengthen you and cause you to dwell in His peace!
- We have an applicant!
As we look at Psalm 29 this morning, I want us to consider it as we would a job application.
Our question for the day? Is the person being presented to us a good fit for the position we need to be filled in our church? Are they needed in our lives?
This may seem an odd or different way to look at this scripture. Still, I think in the end, it will prove an important point, that God is qualified., incredibly qualified to be a productive part of Concordia’s team.
- The References ( What do people say about him?)
When I look at a job application, I want to know what people say about the applicant. Is he or she worth interviewing? I may even call their references and former employers before interviewing them. Even in a church, this is true. Do they stand out, does the employer or reference have to think about what they are going to say, or immediately praise them.
Or what if they have to think about it for a moment…. Trying to remember who this is?
Well, King David had no problem serving as a reference for God. In verse 1 & 2, he says,
Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings! Honor the Lord for his glory and strength! 2 Honor the Lord for the glory of his name! Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness!
David isn’t just trying to get the people of Israel to praise God. He is trying to get all of creation to do so!
I don’t think you could get better references, as the angels praise him for his power, ability, and ability to lead. Those are the concept behind glory and strength, splendor.
So, God, the Lord God Almighty, has a solid reputation with those who
- Look at these qualifications!
But David doesn’t leave it at the references,
He will then spend a significant amount of time talking about the qualifications and abilities God has, just by the sound of his voice.
First, David explains it in theoretical terms,
3 The voice of the LORD echoes above the sea. The God of glory thunders. The LORD thunders over the mighty sea. 4 The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic. Psalm 29:3-4 (NLT2)
This talks about sheer power! God’s voice so powerful it can divide the sea, as it did in Moses’ day, and again as Joshua crosses the Jericho River in flood stage! God’s power, simply the power of His voice, creates, Divides, and destroys – as He wills, as He desires!
I don’t think we truly understand the connection between power and ability – but if we are looking for someone to be here, working alongside us, knowing God’s power refers to His ability to work, is something we need to understand.
God has all the ability; we see that as the power of His voice is further described.
5 The voice of the LORD splits the mighty cedars; the LORD shatters the cedars of Lebanon. 6 He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf; he makes Mount Hermon leap like a young wild ox. 7 The voice of the LORD strikes with bolts of lightning. 8 The voice of the LORD makes the barren wilderness quake; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. 9 The voice of the LORD twists mighty oaks and strips the forests bare!” Psalm 29:5-9 (NLT2)
If we weren’t sure of God’s ability and power before, this should do it!
You want a few tables moved around? It shouldn’t be a problem for the God who can make Mount Baldy and Mount San Jacinto play hopscotch. … Hmm, do they still play hopscotch in schools today?
This is actually all child’s play for God, but it gets us thinking about how powerful He is…!
Qualified to do what, though?
As we’ve been considering God’s qualifications to be part of the team at Concordia, there is one thing we haven’t considered yet. His role.
I mean, we’d probably let him have any role He wants, right?
But a good manager helps someone find their perfect role in an organization, if at all possible!
But Psalm 29 includes a description of the job that God wants.
11 The LORD gives his people strength. The LORD blesses them with peace. Psalm 29:11 (NLT2)
There is it… there is what God wants to do to the people of our community through this church.
The Hebrew is exciting in both these words; the strength He wants to give them is His strength! It is the word for protection, protecting them from everything that would assault and stress them out.
It is like God taking us in His hand and protecting them as He deals with our enemies.
He’s taking on the sin that has so easily attached itself to us and freeing us from it.
The second term Is to bless us with peace, to bless us with serenity—something we so desperately need during this broken, messed up world and in the corner of it.
All this work happens because Jesus was lifted up, as it says in the gospel. “so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.
That is what happened at the cross! That is where His voice was heard, as He pleaded with the Father to forgive us… for we don’t really know what we have done.
That is where our salvation took place. That is where God’s voice was heard; that is where He took us in His hands and gave us peace….
That is where He proved what He is doing here in and through Concordia in this community.
He is qualified to be our God….AMEN!