Jesus Must Not Like You Very Much!

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV

As some of you know who follow this blog, I served most of my ministry as a lay pastor (as in didn’t get paid). But far from being a problem, the lay pastor situation gave me opportunity to serve as an associate at a small Brazilian church for 14 years, and a volunteer chaplain at a large nursing home. Some days, it was like the Clark Kent/Superman scenario, where I rushed home to shower and change clothes, then hurried out to hold the Wednesday afternoon services at Allied Skilled Nursing. I loved serving both at church and nursing home, but it was at my secular job, that God taught me the best lessons. So, let’s rewind 30 years to a day when I was mowing lawns. My home state Connecticut could be named after a Native American word meaning, “Land full of rocks!” Practically every lawn we mowed had at least one large granite boulder to mow around. One very nice property in particular, was blessed with an abundance of enough stones to build one of our famous New England stone walls. My friend Noel, who just started working with us, was not familiar with our properties and so he accidently grazed over one unseen stony protrusion after another. Finally, He stopped, said a few choice words and stated, “You guys have the worst lawns I have ever seen!”

“Come on Noel.” I said trying to keep a calm tone. “These are the ones Jesus gave us.”

“Well then, Jesus must not like you very much!” Noel retorted, then restarted his machine and began mowing the back half of the property.

Now, I know Noel’s opinion isn’t proper theologically, but I have often felt a lot like him! Some days it feels like other folks have nice easy lawns to mow. They don’t have rocks to mow around or hidden outcroppings lurking just beneath the tops of the long grass. Sure, I know that Jesus Loves Me Because the Bible Tells Me So, but there are some days I wonder how much He likes me! The answer I have discovered after whacking a number of rocks in my 71 years, is that God allows rocks to mow around because He does care. He loves us so much that He has given us the chance to go back time and again to difficult people, hard places and sticky situations until we remember where the rocks are. Then we can give Him thanks, in every situation as we learn to mow around them!

Photo by Bryce Carithers on Pexels.com

What’s On the Menu?

We have friends on the Keto diet, others on a gluten free menu and a few going the sugar free path. Our get-togethers can be tricky if you’re the one trying to figure out what to serve so everyone will be happy. Though I am not a big fan (or even a little one!) of fancy diet plans I respect my friends even though I tease them sometimes. Now, diets are something we can be picky about but today’s verse tells us that we should be as choosy about what words come out of our mouths as what foods we put in them.

I don’t know what you are facing this morning or what fears stand in your path. This passage from Psalm 34 has been one of my go-to scriptures when I have felt overwhelmed by my own problems. I have found that after clinging to God’s words in the darkest situations that they become more precious and real the next time I face them. Have a blessed Sunday. No matter what is on your menu remember that you can still choose to bless the Lord. His daily bread is on your table and He sends it fresh out of Heaven’s oven every morning for you!

Peace Comes in the Morning

As Christians, we have God’s promise that He will watch over us, but last night, instead of sleeping, I gave God most of the night off! Instead of praying and trusting Him, I stayed up for hours worrying about one of our grandchildren. The peace that Jesus had promised me seemed far away and I didn’t know why. Then after tossing and turning till the early morning hours, Jesus reminded me that true peace is only in Him. He has not promised me a peace that is like a personal possession. His peace only becomes real in my life as I choose Him to be my life. The million-dollar question is; how does that work? Now the answer is almost as amazing as the promise. It is by faith and that faith is both a gift and a miracle. God gives us this faith so that we can choose to put our lives in the hands of Jesus Christ. There in His hands, our lives are hidden in Him no matter what life throws our way and in Him is a peace that comes and carries us through till morning!

When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Colossians 3:4 ESV