Anger Control

It is so comforting to know You are with me, Father. To awaken in the middle of the night and have that calm assurance when my mind is drawn to You. Even now, as yesterday’s time was consumed in preparation for Sunday’s worship, You gently woke me at this early hour so we could have ample time to be together. Thank You, Father, for Your love for me is undeniable.

Matthew 12:22-30 (<<click the green)

Lord, You were quick to expose the holes in the Pharisees’ accusation of Your power coming from Satan – “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined…” Their allegation didn’t hold water but they wanted to get a reaction. They were stirring up discord by sowing doubt.

As my mind is processing this interaction, it is causing me to look at how I react to accusations in my life. You were justifiably angry, as verse 34 clearly shows, but You weren’t consumed by that anger. You were in control of Your reaction the entire time and You addressed the affront head on.

Me? How do I respond to accusations? Um…most of the time I struggle with control and being consumed is where I fall. I am more apt to lash out. Being angry is one thing but lashing out without thinking is where my fault tends to lie. It may not be evident to those around me but those closest to me feel the heat more often than they should, I’m ashamed to admit.

Lord, I confess my weakness. I would pray for Your assistance in addressing my failing. I may be genetically disposed to anger (if that’s even a possibility} but I can surely fight against it, asking Your Holy Spirit to give me correction and guidance. Many times if I would just stop…and think, my anger would be shut down or at least toned down so that I would respond in a way that would reflect Your influence upon my life. May it be so, Lord. Amen.

Apr 13th, 2018, Fri, 4:43 am

Fulfilled!

I know it is a little unusual to sit down with You for this purpose twice in one day, Father, but my week has been a little out of sorts. So here I am again – and it surely won’t hurt me. Thank You for being with me and teaching me once again.

Matthew 12:15-21 (<<click the green)

Lord, I love the fact that there are so many Old Testament prophecies that You fulfilled at Your coming! And many of them are so precise that there would be no way that some charlatan could just study up on several of them and try to “act them out” so as to convince anybody! You are the real deal! And that gives us such hope for the future as well – for there are many prophecies yet to come to fruition and they most assuredly will! Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!

Matthew here pulls from Isaiah 42:1-4. Reading it slowly, one can see the many points of fulfillment who You are, Lord.

“Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen.
He is my Beloved, who pleases me.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
 He will not fight or shout
or raise his voice in public.
 He will not crush the weakest reed
or put out a flickering candle.
Finally he will cause justice to be victorious.
 And his name will be the hope
of all the world.”

The ones that speak to me this morning speak of Your humble nature – the Creator of all the universe – all powerful in His very nature – chose not to fight or shout or raise his voice in public. Faster than we could even say nanosecond, You could have thought everything into a non-existent state. But Your heart was a heart of love. And Your mission was to save, not destroy.

I also take great comfort in knowing that You will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. I cannot begin to count the number of times that in my weakness I felt like my light was flickering – ready to go out with the slightest breeze. But You chose to stand by me, to sustain me, to encourage me! Thank You, Lord, for all You do for me!

And finally, though the world rebuffs the thought of You being anything of noteworthy nature, You are our only true source of justice and hope. I cling to that! Nothing in this world is 100% trustworthy. Humanity fails humanity time and time again. But You? You never fail! Praise Your most Holy Name!

Apr 11th, 2018, Wed, 7:57 pm

I Want It MY Way!

I am so grateful for the peace of Your presence, Father. I am unworthy on so many fronts but because You intervened where I could not, I have been made worthy by accepting Your gift of grace. I humbly come before You this morning to sit at Your feet. Teach me, I pray. Amen.

Matthew 12:9-14 (<<click the green)

Before I slept last night, I read through today’s passage. When I read of Your interaction with religious leaders of Your day – the Pharisees in this case – it is easy for me to point fingers and roll my eyes at their petty shallowness. On many levels they seem like children who have ruled the playground, bullying those about them to play by the rules they have come up with. And now someone who knows the rules –actual someone who wrote the rules – has shown up and their shenanigans are over. And, as the children they are, they are none too happy and begin plotting how to rule the playground once more…even if that means eliminating the competition.

But as the adage goes when I point at someone else, more fingers are pointing at me than at them. How many time am I less than cooperative. How often do I get ticked because things don’t go my way? I want this and instead get that and am quick to make my displeasure known.

Lord, sometimes we find ourselves in places or circumstances in which we are unhappy or unsatisfied. And we grumble and fuss and complain. But how many times have You lead us to those places? How often are we where we find ourselves because You have a reason for us to be there? How many times have we thwarted Your will of reaching out and touching the lives of others because we have been too consumed by our own selfish desires and wishes?

Lord, give me Your eyes to see. May Your heart burn within my chest. May Your love consume me. Make me Your own. Use me as You will. Amen.

Apr 11th, 2018, Wed, 5:15 am

Spotlight on You

Father, I am always grateful for a new day, a new week. Lamentations 3:22-23 proclaims, “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” Thank You, Father, for Your love, mercy, and faithfulness!

Matthew 12:6 (<<click the green)

I addressed the fuller portion of this passage yesterday, Lord, but a note from my study Bible* jumped out at me and has given me reason to pause and think.

“If we become more concerned with the means of worship than with the one we worship, we will miss God even as we think we are worshiping him.”

Do we get so caught up in the trappings of worship that we miss You?

For me, music factors greatly into worship. Music has been a great part of my life for as long as I can remember. It helps that a come from a musically inclined family but early on, when You called me into ministry, Lord, I felt lead to go into music ministry and pursued that degree in college. My first pastoral position was as minister of music and still today, as You have lead me to become the pastor of two churches, music is a big part of what I feel is a necessary component in worshipping You.

But again I must ask, do we get so caught up in the trappings of worship that we miss You? Each week I strive to follow Your direction as I put together the many different elements of my congregation’s corporate time with You. Over and over again, even with my diligence, I am amazed as I witness Your hand at work when the hymn I selected turns out to be just the right hymn to tie everything together after the message You have given me has been delivered.

Lord Jesus, I would pray that You would always keep my heart set on You. I want everything to be the best it can be but I would pray that the “perfection” of it all would never override the importance of the spotlight shining on You…and You alone.

As John the Baptist stated in regards to You, “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” John 3:30

Amen, Lord, may that be the case.

*Life Application Study Bible New Living Translation

Apr 9th, 2018, Mon, 6:32 am

Love Is the Key

Thank You, Father, for Your guidance and hedge of protection throughout this day. Through worship and fellowship with family, it always brings great peace and security knowing You are there. As I come before You now may I be attentive to Your word. Amen.

Matthew 12:1-8 (<<click the green)

Lord Jesus, as I read of Your disciples “breaking off some heads of grain and eating them” on the Sabbath – the day set aside for rest and worship, when no work was to be done (Exodus 20:8-11) – I am not surprised by the accusations brought against them by the Jewish religious leaders of Your day.

First of all, that definition of “work” was contrived by man, not commanded by You. Secondly, they were sticklers for abiding by the Law. We are to obey the law but where they erred was by sticking to the letter of the law, to literally the nth degree. “Rule upon rule, rule upon rule, here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28:9-13) is the law they abided – and fell – by.

But, Lord, You are a love stickler, not a legalistic law stickler. A quote from my sermon this morning, originally penned by Rev. Wes Humble, comes to mind, “When we are walking in obedience to God and loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength we will naturally love our neighbors as ourselves.” When we love You, Lord, with all that we are, the rest of the law will fall into place.

You also quote Hosea 6:6 in this passage which says,

“I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.”

My heart’s desire Lord, Jesus is to, first of all, love You with the entirety of my being – heart, soul, mind, and strength – and then to love others as myself. Abiding by your will is of utmost importance. In John 14:15 You put it very plainly, “If you love me, keep my commands.” So that is what we must do but love is the key to interpretation. May I live out my life in such a way as to please You and not just to be a stickler for abiding by the Law. Amen.

Apr 8th, 2018, Sun, 8:16 pm

Doing it right for once.