God’s Masterpiece

IMG_20141028_214945Masterpiece:    “Something (as a work of art) that is a great achievement and often its creator’s greatest achievement <Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel are often considered to be his masterpieces”                   Miriam Webster

Everyday God paints another masterpiece and every day I am still amazed!

So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them Genesis 1:27

After every word of creation God looked at what was completed and saw that it was good…but He wasn’t done yet. He spoke light from darkness but He wasn’t satisfied. He created the oceans and the sky but had more to still do. He created then the dry land and filled it with forests and orchards but like in the infomercial we can almost hear an angel call out  “Wait there’s more!”. Next, God filled the sky with stars and placed the sun and moon exactly where he chose. God began the following day by filling the oceans with fish and the land with animals. When God had finished His creation of the entire universe He still wasn’t done. He had not yet created His masterpiece. Everything that had flowed from the mind of God came into existence by the power of His word. But in His last work God did something differently. This time God breathed Himself into His “greatest achievement” .

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7

Maybe today while we are blindly running along we should pause and look closely at one of God’s masterpieces and consider His motive behind that most familiar verse of all…

    For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life John 3:16

Hiding Place

There are some small ponds so well hidden they seem to be only known to God, the snapping turtles and frogs.What shields this small slice of land from human invasion is not so much its remoteness but its quiet unique location. Standing just 100 feet away you would ever know of its existence. No matter the dryness of the season its natural springs constantly fill again and again this tiny corner of the lower field.  Our quiet place where we rest in the presence of our Father needs to be the same. The press and constant noise of this world would crowd out and drain away our relationship with God if it could. We need to guard that quiet time and treasure the quiet Hiding place of His presenceIMG_4891e because only there will we discover endless springs of heavenly water. This pond is a reminder to me of God’s invitation for a moment…the heavenly Selah Pause and consider deeply the value of what has just been spoken to our hearts.

Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah. Psalm 32:7

The Invitation

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20

The stable was all the innkeeper had to extend to Mary and Joseph. Jesus accepted that as a place to come and the cow’s feeding trough became the place where he first laid His head. Throughout His life Jesus accepted every invitation that was given to Him. He sat at the table with Matthew and his unruly group of sinful friends. Jesus equally accepted the Pharisee Simon’s invitation for a personal dinner at which the woman came and washed the feet of Jesus with her tears. When Martha View from Doug's house_cropinvited Jesus to come with all of His disciples He came to all the hustle and bustle and sibling rivalry. Even after His terrible death on the cross Jesus body waited for the invitation to the grave of Joseph of Arimathea.

Today this same Jesus, who accepted every invitation has come and stood outside our doors and is knocking and waiting our invitation. Will we make Him welcome into the areas of our lives which have remained closed? He waits. His is an invitation like no other. The moment we open to Jesus Christ He comes to sit with us and sup at our table so we may also one day sit with Him in the courts of Heaven. There we will find the bread of Heaven and the fruit of the tree of life that grows by the river! What will you do with His invitation.?

The Most Important Part of Worship

All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of my God… Revelation 3:12

When we begin the worship portion of our service we often say that “Now let’s go to before the throne” or “I can feel the presence of the Lord right now…” We worship leaders often treat those moments of singing together in the sanctuary as worship, and the rest of life as of minor importance.  But according to the Bible God is far more interested in what we consider the mundane moment of our lives.

2014-10-19_20-51-12He sees us when we lie down and when we wake. God is so intimate with us that he knows the words we will say before they leave our mouth. He knew us when we were still in our mother’s womb. To God, there is no moment that is more holy than any other. In the time of the prophet Amos God became angry with His people at exactly the times when they imagined they were the closest to Him.

Amos 5:23-24 Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!

Yes it is beautiful for us to raise our hands together and sing. Yes, it is a wonderful time when we can come to the altar with all the church and lift up the name of Jesus. But God never dismisses our service to Him. He walks out the sanctuary door with us and into our homes. God hears the words we speak as we are driving to work and He notices how we treat our neighbors. So what we think of as first in importance in worship may be the very last in God’s eyes. That set of worship songs which we planned, practiced and prayed over, means far less to God at than the rest of our life.

The beauty of God’s heart is that when we begin to treat the “little things, the little moments and the little people” as special then God entirely changes our perspective of the “big moments” in front of the church. The most simple song becomes a tool in His hands to open hearts to His working. The most shaky rendition of our current favorite worship song will take on the power to transform our own hearts and the hearts of those who begin to hear from heaven the sounds of a mighty rushing wind!

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Ready for Winter?

Legend has it that the wider the lighter brown sections of the Woolley-Bear caterpillar the milder the coming Winter will be. According to my small friend we are going to have another whopper of a Winter! Are you prepared? KIMG0065

In Proverbs 31 we are given the picture of the woman who fears the Lord. She seems to be a cross between Wonder Woman and Zsa-Zsa Gabor. Not to detract from the thought that she is a great example for Godly women today, she can also be thought of as a picture of the church – The bride of Christ.In middle of that list of things like; taking care of the poor, being good stewards, working to provide for the family’s needs and being strong is a very interesting verse.

She is not afraid of snow for her household,
    for all her household are clothed in scarlet Proverbs 31:21

As a part of God’s bride (the church) we must also remember to prepare for Winter. Around here we might put away the porch furniture, cover the grill and bring in the potted Hibiscus. On the farm, the last of the apples need to be picked off and put in the cellar, the cow corn cut and put in the silo and the house furnace cleaned and checked. These are all steps to protect and prepare because the gentle days of Spring and Summer are over. The long assault of cold, ice and snow are at our doorstep and we do all we can think of to be ready.

As a church we need to also prepare because Jesus is returning and though the timing is secret the event is certain. There are still souls lying exposed and vulnerable out in the harvest fields. The things we are doing will soon be exposed to the light of God’s presence and we need to evaluate their worth. Most of all we need to remember the Cross. It is the Cross of Jesus alone that covers, protects, prepares and makes beautiful our souls before God. The cross clothes us in scarlet and because of the sacrifice of our Savior’s blood we are safe and need not ever be afraid!

 

Texan Invasion

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Welcome to Northeast PA (I guess?) Not so sure I am will get used to seeing our endless mountains being hammered by these big beasts from Texas. Yes the dairy farmers are making out well for the first time ever, but these look like alien spaceships invading our gentle hills.

But like it or not they have come with their own terrible beauty. We do want to be good neighbors and hope they will want to be the same for us.