Archive for April, 2014

Lenten Journey # 5 the fini

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Oh Lord, may the words from my mouth be from your inspiration to my heart. Amen

Well here we are, the final Wednesday of this year’s Lenten journey. How is everybody doing on this year’s task of learning to recite the 23rd Psalms from memory? I think we can all get the last verse in tonight so, using the King James Version, let us say the 23rd Psalms together.

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies : thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Six Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Good, we all made it to our goal! Now, I want you all to relax, close your eyes, and listen as I say the 23rd Psalms. As I am saying it, I want you to think about the places you find and see in your mind. Now, I realize that we all have full tummies, but no napping!

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies : thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Six Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

As we envision the places and the sights we see, can we imagine what David was trying to tell us? As we go from a safe place to a calming place to the feeling of relief to the Glory road all for God to the deep darkness of death and the presence of God by our side guiding and teaching us to his table amongst our foes to blessing us with some much we can’t contain it to where we need to talk about his goodness and mercy that we live with and spending eternity with God.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me. Here after we have just been anointed by God with so many blessing from Heaven we can’t hold them, what else can we expect to receive from God?

The goodness of our Heavenly Father, the Father or all that there is and shall be. For God has given us a world in which all that we may ever need is here. Isn’t it amazing how the Earth is just “right” for us to live! The goodness we receive from the good ole terra firma, the food and water and air, all the stuff we need to survive. The goodness of family and friends and ok the animals as well, the things that help us get through each day.

That the goodness we have in our lives is still from that over flowing cup we have, trying to hold all those blessings from Heaven. Blessings we get everyday. Blessings to remind us of who we are, children of God. Those children who have the love of their Heavenly Father who is exceedingly generous with his gifts. A Heavenly Father that is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Who shows just how merciful he can be to us.

Is not the mercy we receive from God is that what our Lenten journey is all about. To see that the mercy that follows us all the days of our lives comes from one place, and that place is Calvary!

Calvary, the place where Jesus Christ took upon his self the sins of the world. The mercy we see all the days of our lives is from this single act from God the Son. The mercy of our sins being forgiven. Forgiven each and every time we confess to those sins, the mercy from Heaven wipes the slate clean.

Yes, surely goodness and mercy shall follow us, the goodness of Jesus Christ holding out his hands to show us how much mercy he is willing to give to us. The goodness and mercy that sets us free to be able to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

So, as we make our way to the end of our Lenten journey, following Christ to the garden of Gethsemane and to Good Friday and the Cross, let us give thanks to God from being so generous to us, by remember the reason why we have the goodness and mercy that will allow us to dwell in the house of the Lord. Jesus Christ is the reason for all the goodness and mercy!

Praise be to God. Amen

 

Lenten Journey # 4

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Oh Lord, may the words from my lips be from your inspiration to my heart. Amen

Well here we are in week four of our Lenten journey and we have one more week before Holy week. Our journey this year has been made a challenge for us all to learn and memorize the 23rd Psalms. How is everybody doing with that? Well, let’s see; say with me what we’ve learned so far, using the King James version: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie in green pastures: he leadeth me besides still waters. He resorteth my soul, he leatheth me down the path of righteousness, for his name’s sake. Yea through I walk through the valley of shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Good, now we this week’s verse; 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies : thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

One has to wonder if David knew of the table the Lord prepares for us every time we celebrate Holy Communion?  For do we not confront our enemies here at the Lords table. Let me explain what I mean by this. Would we all agree that an enemy is someone or something keeping us from completing or reaching our goal and is not our goal in life to get to Heaven? So, would not our enemies be those items that keep us from Heaven!

Now we know that sin is that which keeps us separated from God, but each of us has our own sins that are our enemies. For some of us, money is our # 1 enemy, maybe, as in my case, too much food, could it be envy for some of us? How about wanting something we can’t have? We all have our own sins that we come to the Lord in prayer seeking and asking for forgiveness.

We’ve described something’s that are enemies, what about the somebody’s? The somebody’s who tell us that no one will know, the somebody’s that say here try this, the somebody’s who get us to go places we shouldn’t, the somebody’s who get us to do what we shouldn’t, and the somebody’s who laugh at us when we in trouble when we get caught. The somebody’s who make fun of us because we are Christians. The somebody’s who idea of religion doesn’t even come close what we believe. These are our enemies as well, for these somebody’s cause us to stray away for our goal. You know, Heaven.

That is when we find ourselves once more on our knees seeking and asking for forgiveness, why, because we know that we are in need of Christ, to wash away those sins, with his blood. The blood that is shed for the remission of all our sins. Not just my sins, and not just yours sins, but the sins of the whole world! That is the journey that Christ took for us all during Holy Week and that is the reason for our Lenten journeys, to remember what Christ has done for us. And what has Christ done for us, he has prepared His table for us. A place for us to remember the sacrifice Jesus did for us. That as we take the body of Christ, given for us, and drink from the Cup, the blood of Christ, shed for us, our sins our forgiven, our enemies have been defeated and we are walking closer to God.

Now as we go back to our seats, after taking Holy Communion, we humbly enjoy those blessings from God. That anointing our heads with oil feeling. Those blessing from Heaven that resoreth our souls. Those blessing that God gives in abundance, that our cup overflows. That God’s love for us is so great, that there is nothing we have that can hold it. An overflowing love that we are commissioned to gladly share with others. That love of our Heavenly Father, who wants us close to him, the Heavenly Father who is our shepherd, the Heavenly Father who leads us down the “right path”, the Heavenly Father who walks besides us as we go towards the valley of death, The Heavenly Father who calms our fears, the Heavenly Father who guides us to a safe place to rest, the Heavenly Father who shows us just how great he is, as we walk through his world, those cool waters, the Heavenly Father who restores our souls, and the Heavenly Father who gives us the tools and the strength to cultivate our Faith to know that he is our Lord.

So, as we continue toward the end of our Lenten journey, let us be joyful in praising our Lord and shepherd because we have receive so many blessings from Heaven that our cup is over flowing.

Praise be to God. Amen.

Lenten Journey # 3

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Oh Lord, may the words from my mouth be from your inspiration to my heart. Amen

As we work further into our Lenten journey this year, how is everybody doing with the task of learning the 23rd Psalms? Well? So, let’s see. Let us recite together what we have learned so far, using the King James version; 1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Now as we enter into the half way point of our Lenten journey, here’s the 4th verse; 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

As we have learned so far from David’s Psalms; our Lord and Savior is our shepherd, he gives us safe place to rest, calming scenery, restoration, and the right path to follow, all for his sake. We now enter into the most challenging area of our lives, walking through the dark areas of our lives and those tools used to keep us going towards our final destination.

But, before we enter into the “valley”, I want to explore thy rod and thy staff and why we feel comforted by them. Now, we’ve all heard the expression; spare the rod and spoil the child, I don’t think this is where David was going. As we all know, God gave Adam, man, dominion over the animals of the world. Now with David being a shepherd himself, before doing some work with a slingshot and some stones, knows what he needs to do in order to keep the sheep he is tending in staying, going, or doing what he wants them to do or be. He’s using a shepherd hook, or his rod and staff. A tool to help him keep the animals controlled.

My question would be, can we name some of God’s rods and staffs; i.e. “tools” that comfort us? Tools that keep us “on that right path”. What about what God gave Moses? The Ten Commandments! Those are some pretty good rods and staffs! What about the Sacraments; Baptism, Conformation, Holy Communion, Confession and Absolution, and the Church? Are not these rods and staffs God uses to keep us comforted? How about those in and around our lives who are there giving us a helping hand in our journey in this world. But, most importantly, what about our Faith? The Faith that was started when God the Holy Spirit entered in. That Faith that has grown in us by the use of God’s rods and staffs. That Faith which keeps us always looking up towards Heaven and giving thanks and praise for such a loving and caring Father, who sent his own Son to become that spotless lamb, who in just a couple more weeks will become the ultimate sacrifice for sin. Who’s blood will wash away the sins of the world. When Jesus Christ will stretch out his arms and show’s us just how much he loves us. That with Christ’s death on the Cross, that is Jesus walking in the valley of death. Who on the third day, defeats deaths grip and triumphantly rises from the grave.

Which brings us to our walking through that dark valley and why we are not afraid. We are not afraid of this valley, not only because Jesus in walking with us, but because we have already been through the valley before. We not physically, but yes, we’ve been to the valley of death. We all have been there at our Baptism! For as the Sacrament of Baptism was been done to us, our sinful self was in that valley and who do we see there with us? Jesus Christ! And with a smiling face says follow me, for I now claim you as mine, my brother or sister. Let us arise child of God and be not afraid, afraid of death sting. For I have paid the price and you are free. And as the words of “you are now marked with the Cross of Christ forever”, we now have become heirs to the Kingdom of God and as heirs, the fulfillment of the promise made at our Baptism.

So, as we walk through this life, fear not for Christ is with you. When we feel the hurt and pain of those we care about being called home, remember what Christ has done for us and know that as they are walking through the valley of death, it is Jesus Christ himself leading us safely to the promised land.

As we continue our Lenten journey, take comfort in knowing that Jesus Christ has made his journey to the cross for our sake, for the full payment of our sins. That as we are all getting older and God could call us home at anytime. Be not afraid of your walk through the valley of death, for our Faith tells us that we will arrive safely through that valley and that we will see our Lord and Savior face to face. And to see Jesus still smiling as he was on our Baptismal day and saying welcome home!

Praise be to God. Amen

 

Lenten Journey Homely # 2

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Oh Lord, may the words from my lips be from your inspiration to my heart. Amen.

Well here we are in week number two of our Lenten journey. Our yearly journey to remember what will take place for us and for our salvation in just a few more weeks, that we all need to reflect on what Christ’s journey was all about, to pave the way for us to become children of God.

As we continue with Pastor Tim’s request, to be able to say the 23rd Psalms, by heart at the end of our Lenten journey, we need to look back at what we have already done. So, together, let us say the first two verse of this Psalms; the King James version. The LORD is my shepherd ; I shall not want .  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

Now for the 3rd verse;  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Now you’ve all had Pastor Tim’s break down of the first two verses, let me try to continue with what I feel what David is trying to tell us in this 3rd verse.

He restoreth my soul, to me, this finishes the 2nd verse. We’ve just been led besides still waters and are resting in a safe place, green pastures. While thinking about safe and calming place that we can go to, don’t we feel relief from all those things that are giving us grief? Do any of you ever feel that,  Ahhh moment, a God moment, and we feel better. When we feel that a heavy load has been lifted from our backs, when we just want to say Ahhhh. Isn’t that God restoring our souls? But, do we take that time to thank God for the Ahhhh? Do we thank God for leading us besides still waters? Do we thank God for those green pastures, that safe place to rest. Think about that the next time you have an Ahhh moment and the feeling of your soul being restored.

Now, with a refreshed soul, let us continue, he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. As we travel through this life, we are always on a journey, following a path. Sometime these paths lead us to places where we feel comfortable and other times, to places we would rather not be. But, which place is God leading us? To a comfortable place or somewhere “we” would rather not be? To me, I’d say both, for do we not say in the Lord’s Prayer; lead not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. So, if we find ourselves in a place we would rather not be, isn’t God trying to tell us or showing us something we really need to see? I mean to show us, for if we didn’t see or hear what is happening to those around us, how would we realize what God is doing for us everyday. What good would come of us all, if we were always someplace that we felt comfortable in. Where and how would our Faith be stretched, stretched to it’s limits, if it wasn’t “put to the test”? How will we be able to understand what will happen in just a couple of weeks, if our Faith wasn’t tested. What good would Jesus suffering and dying on the Cross be if we were always in a comfortable place?

This is how we can know that God is leading us down the path of righteousness. We can understand this verse better when we run into obstacles we find on our journey with Christ, obstacles of our Faith. Obstacles like; a baptismal fount placed in the center of the isles, to reminds us of that promise made at our Baptism; obstacles like confession and absolution to remind us that we are sinners and fall short of the Glory of God; obstacles like Holy Communion, to remind us of Jesus being the new covenant; obstacles like the Cross, to remind us that the price of sin is death; obstacles like Lent and our Lenten journeys, to help us understand who paid that price; and obstacles that test our Faith, to reminds us that we are children of God.

And that is how we can say; for his name’s sake. For as we travel down the paths of our lives, we pray that we are following the path that will lead us home. A home that’s outta this world. A home where we will find our Lord, being that good shepherd, a green pasture, still waters, and a restored soul that will sing praises to God with the Heavenly host.

So, as we continue our Lenten journey, let us be reminded as we are lead down this “right” path, that God has our lives. For he is ours and we are his.

Praise be to God. Amen

Lenten Journey 2014

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Here is the 1st of 5 reflections for this year’s Lenten Journey. Enjoy

Oh Lord, may the words from my lips be from your inspiration to my heart, Amen.

Welcome to our first week of our Lenten journey for this year. As you heard from Pastor Tim on Ash Wednesday, this year’s journey to the Cross will be to dig deep into one of King David’s Psalms, the 23rd Psalms.

The question was asked if there was anybody in either congregation who could say this Psalms by memory, well I have to admit that I couldn’t, not getting the words correctly anyway. So, here we go. Everybody should be able to get the first verse as we say it together, The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. Now for the second verse; 2 He maketh me to lie down in greenpastures: he leadeth me beside the stillwaters.

Now as we dive into this verse, a couple of words jump out, green pastures, still waters, lie down, and leadeth besides. Where do you think King David is going with these words. Pastor Tim explained the 1st verse really good, I’ll see if I can continue with this one.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. What better way to say that the Lord will always have a safe place for us to rest, in the comfort of our shepherd. That Jesus will always be there to guide us, even when we think there is nowhere we can go to find shelter form our troubles in this world, Jesus will always be there, with open arms, to comfort us. All we need is to ask for his help and guidance. It is ourselves who have the hard time of understanding this. When we seem to be all alone with no one to turn to or no place to go, all we need to do is ask, and one will always be surprised at who or what shows up to give you comfort. That comfort of laying down in green pastures.

He leadeth me beside still waters, what better way to say that our Lord will take us to a calming place. How many times have we been in need of relief from a stressful day, when all of a sudden something occurs that we instantly feel better. You’ve just been leadeth by those still waters. We experience this leading more than we think. I need for you to think how many times that you have felt calmness in your day. How many times that you’ve had your breath take away by yet another one of God’s wonders? This is when we feel God’s presents and this is when we are resting beside those still waters.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, he leadeth me besides still waters. What a caring Father in Heaven we have! One that will guide us, give us a place to find safety, and gives us moments that calms our fears.

As we progress in our Lenten journey to the Cross and learn the 23rd Psalms, lets us not forget what Jesus Christ has done for us at the end of this journey. That the reading of this Psalms at ones funeral gives our love ones comfort in knowing where we will be. Resting with our shepherd, with the Lord Jesus Christ in a green pasture by still waters.

Amen.