Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. Psalm 19:2
In the storms my God shouts with a loud thunderclap
While on my windows He whispers with the gentle rain’s tap
In my mornings He speaks like the sweet robin’s song
And He calls me to action with the breaking of dawn
With each day my God gives another sermon begins
When I listen I remember He’s forgiven my sins
Then at noonday He pauses and calls me to rest
Because there’s work to be done before His sunsets
He spoke a word and there was day
He traced the valleys by His hand
By Moses’ staff He made a way
The winds were stilled by His command
By faith he walked over the sea
And simple mud made blind eyes see
Not a single thing was hard for Him
Till in prayer my savior asked
If His bitter cup could pass
No not one thing was hard for Him
Until the cross – the nails –
When he bought my life and laid His down
That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting That there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other Isaiah 45:6
In the moment of deepest worship when no words can express the glory of God’s presence we come to the truth at the sun’s rising that there is no one else besides Him!
Just 24 hours
That’s what we have today
Just 1,440 Minutes
To do and speak and pray
And never come again
Our time is quickly passing
But these memories remain
What words we choose to speak
Will forever echo on
What we decide to do
Will never be undone
But true prayer has a power
That is stronger than all these
And find in Father’s presence
A grace that cannot cease
And hope and faith and goodness
And a Helper always true
Just 24 hours is our day
But His Light shines all night through
Once again we are waking up with the morning news filled with a story of senseless violence. A hopeless and bitter sorrow comes like an unwelcome guest to our door and how we answer its knocking on will determine whether we become a part of the problem or part of the solution. The apostle Paul was an expert in violence. He had begun as a significant part of the problem. He actively led the charge in persecuting the early Christian church. Though he may not have cast a stone he was a member of the mob that stoned Steven. Later as Paul traveled towards Damascus to bring his violent anger to that place Jesus met him on the road and transformed his life. Paul went almost immediately from being the persecutor to being on the receiving end of that evil. He was regularly lied about, stoned, beaten and imprisoned but rather than becoming bitter and spiteful Paul had this to say.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
We are angry because in the immediate rush of emotions it feels as if the good and innocent are on the losing side. It appears as though hate and violence is so much stronger and more powerful. We need to shake ourselves in that instant and remember that at His very weakest hour on the cross Jesus overcame death hell and the grave. He forgave His murderers, saved the thief, provided for His mother’s care, gave opportunity to Nicodemus and Joseph to stand up for their faith and awakened faith in the heart of the stunned Centurion.
Good will always be stronger than evil no matter the false impression of temporary victory that hatred may give. The violent confess by their very hurtful acts their own spiritual weakness. Brief gains on the temporary battlefield of this life mean nothing in the true war for hearts and souls. There is no greater force in Heaven or earth than the love of God.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord Romans 8:38-39
When the darkest night and the strongest storms are over, the sun will still rise at God’s command to give us hope for a new day!
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can” attributed to John Wesley
We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 2 Peter 1:19
Having the Bible sitting on our shelf, or even dutifully reading it as a mere religious exercise is not what Peter had in mind when he said “Pay attention like you would to a light in a darkened room.” In that dark place there is no other source of light. The only things that we can see are what that light shines on.
Rick Warren once said, “God loves you and everyone else has a wonderful plan for your life!” We live in a world filled with hyped up advertising claims, political promises of utopia and even pulpit promotions that don’t truly match up with God’s word.Peter’s advice is to zero in on what God is saying, as though no one else was speaking. He tells us that it is our own choice, who to listen to. If your world seems so filled with the busy noises of life that you feel lost and confused, then this morning might be a good time to turn off everything else and focus on the word of God. God’s word has the power to amaze us when it shines on everything around us like the dawning of a new day in our hearts.
For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:11
As I was resting today I began to thank God for having planned for us a day of rest. Rest is coded into the very DNA of God’s creation. The Sabbath was unique because on that day when He was no longer busy with creation, God set aside an entire day just to spend time with Adam and Eve. God wasn’t at all worn out or tired from His work but instead He rested by choice.
Today is to be the first in a seven part series on why God has made the Sabbath unique. I am sometimes afraid that in our modern 24/7 world that we have forgotten how to rest. We worry. We Hurry. We push and we compete, and it is so easy to forget the value of Sabbath rest. God’s day is not meant simply as a ritual observance or a duty to be carried out with gritted teeth. God’s Sabbath is in fact His gift for us. Together let’s slow down and allow the wheels of life to cease turning just long enough for us to unwrap His gift and look into God’s humble and unhurried heart.