Tomorrow

Consider the lilies of the field

They grow – yet they do not plough or till

God has prepared the place for them

And He does too for us – knowing our wheres and whens

Worrying about tomorrow is a fool’s errand

For it is yet hidden from us around the bend

So trust in the guidance from your heart

And let anxious anticipation from your mind depart


Padre

The flowers and the birds of Matthew 6:25-34 have been purposely conflated but Jesus’ meaning remains the same. Tomorrow is in the Lord’s hands.

Not Swept Away

Pixabay

We seem beset – in these days

By torrents and floods trying to wash us away

Prices rising, social strife,

Domestic issues for both man and wife

There is fighting far away

New conflicts arise most every day

And yet here we are

We make our stand

The flow does not move us

And never can

For in the Lord we stand firm

And He will never from us turn


Padre

Inspired by: “If the Lord had not been on our side” – Psalm 124

Path Ahead

The path before us uncertain

It is hidden by time’s curtain

Wars and their rumour fall on our ears

And we pray and do our best to hold back tears

What the future holds no person knows

As grand plans collapse and guilt is exposed

But I must trust that all is in hand

By the grace of our Creator,

Who the world does command

It will all work together for the good

For those that trust Him as we should


Padre

Tumbling Walls

Wall, Brick, Fragment, Broken Wall

Some placed faith in things made by hand

As Joshua and the Israel’s children entered the land

Behind walls made of stone

They thought, “surely I’m safe at home”

But God, not idols or masonry deep

Would the victory win and keep

And with a mighty stomp and shout

Jericho fell without a doubt


Padre

Not Alone

Story of Gideon Images, Mighty Man of Valor

Jerub-Baal, Midian to defeat

Was told his army he must decrease

He sent away all who in heart did faint

But the numbers were still to large

He was to show even more restraint

And so he cut his forces to the core

A mere three hundred – not one more

And with this tiny band

It was God’s victory that was at hand

We too may face opposition strong

But if you feel alone – you are so wrong

For if the Lord is with you

And takes up the fight

You shall prevail through His might


Reflections on Judges 7

Padre

Waiting On God

American Bald Eagle, Bird, Predator, Wildlife, Symbol
Pixabay

Pastor Vince called on us to remember to wait on God this week. He drew his messages from Isaiah 40: 27f:

Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

The passage notes a real human weakness: Dispair. We get into hard times and we begin to immediately think we are all alone or abandoned by God. We therefore try to come up with solutions ourselves, often with tragic consequesnces. The passage reminds us, however, that “the Lord is everlasting,” . . . and that He doesn’t tire or weary in His care for us.

It goes on to tell us that “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” We don’t need to act in impetuous ways, as He is our sustainer. We need to pause, and wait on God!

No matter how dire the situation may seem, He is there for us. Better still, we can handle it as He is in control. First Corinthians 10: 13 reads – “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” God is faithful, and He will not let things go beyond what we can handle, especially when we seek the strength in Him.

In fact, returning to the Isaiah passage we “will soar on wings like eagles; . . . will run and not grow weary, [and] walk and not be faint.” By waiting on God to move in us, we will be revived – note the running and walking reference, but Brother Vince noted as well the part on soaring. We despite what our perils may be, or who might be our advisary will have a eagle or God’s-eye view. He is above all evil, He masters even Satan himself, He looks down on all and had a true perspective. We too, and note this, will soar. Eagles when they soar don’t flap. They glide as they are lifted up! We too will be lifted. God will raise us abover the situations, and we with our eagle-eyed view will be able to see the dangers and have a true prespective that they are mere dots below the power of God. We just need to wait on God, and leave it in His hands.


Padre

When Waves Assail

Storm, Stormy, Waves, Ocean, Pacific, Mist, Misty
Pixabay

Come with me and we will sail away

Into spaces unknown

Though squalls and waves assail

With each other we shall not face it alone

Life raises challenges and trials each day

As the world we traverse and roam

But I have your back

And you have mine

As if it were your own


Padre

Shared on dVerse

Provision

For many months Elijah survived on water from the brook. – Slide 9
Free Bible Images

Sometimes it’s hard to see what to expect

When we look at our life ahead

Elijah from a brook did drink

And by ravens he was fed

This is no gospel of prosperity

That great wealth will your way slide

But rather that your needs are known

And God is on your side

As long as we have life and breath

Opportunities He will bring

For those who diligently trust in Him

And praises to Him sing


Padre

1 Kings 17

Captive Joy: Philippians and Life’s Lockdowns

Padlock, Door, Lock, Key Hole, Macro

Pixabay

I have been in lockdown since the 16th of March.  In that time, I have really only been out of the house on four or five occasions and those were short walks around the block.   Many of us are feeling the burden of the limiting of our everyday freedoms.  It’s frustrating.  It’s easy to grumble.

If we are honest, how does our limited exercise of freedom compare to that of Paul?  What does the Holy Spirit and God’s word tell us?

If you think a couple of months of quarantine is bad, think about being a prisoner for the Gospel.  Paul spent four or five years in custody.

It is his attitude in this confinement that is an example to us.

Philippians 1, Paul notes his love and thanksgiving for his brothers and sisters in Philippi and then verses 7 – 14 says:

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.  God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Although physically isolated from them he is still in harmony with them as they shared the grace of Christ.  We may not physically be together today but we are linked and united in that grace.

Paul then continues in verse 12:

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.  As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.

Members of the Emperor’s household guard were coming to the Lord as a direct result of Paul’s captivity.   It may not seem it now, but you may well be making a bigger difference in this time of restrictions than you are aware.  It may be through your examples of faith and perseverance, or it may be through such links and forums as these online worship sessions which bring us together and link us to some who have never worshipped with us before.  We are only the sowers, but God will reap the harvest.

 

In Ephesians 3:14-21 Paul tells the church not to be disheartened by his tribulation.  He instead explains his wish for the saints:

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,  that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

 

Paul’s desire was for the church was for it to know that no matter what the outward appearance of things may seem, God is bigger than it.

 

So in a practical application, we can see in Philippians 2:14 and 15:

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky   . . .

 

We need to examine where we are today.  Not only in this Covid crisis, but in all life’s other lockdowns, as well.   Job losses, bereavements, strained relationships, and the like are all lockdowns emotionally, but they don’t need to be spiritually.

 

What can we do?  Well look at the opportunities.  In this long isolation I have had more time for the word.  Have you?  More time to pray.  I have really focused on many of you, and for families around the world who have suffered loss in these times.  More time to encourage.  The internet is wonderful when applied to godly purposes.  I really have been blessed myself in being able to send little words of hope and encouragement to others.

 

In the end, in life’s lockdowns, it’s a time for joy.

 

Padre

 

If you have noted that the format of this isn’t exactly the same as my usual posts, it is because this in a manuscript of a sermon.