A Strand of the Tapestry

Thank You, Father, for this beautiful Sabbath day. Thank You for Your Word this morning. May Your word to each of those in attendance at both services be implanted in their hearts and may the fruit it yields bring glory to You and Your kingdom. Amen.

Matthew 1:1-17 (<<click the green)

Lord, this list at the beginning of Matthew’s Gospel can be a bit overwhelming. I remember as a child, the King James Version, instead of saying “was the father of” used the word “begat”. I learned what it meant but, that’s a lot of “begats”!

It’s easy to just skim through the list. Some names are familiar – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Ruth, David, Solomon. Some, as my study Bible* states, were a little “shady” – Tamer and Rahab. Others were your typical “Joe Shmoes” – regular guys like Hezron, Ram, and Nahshon. There were some evil characters as well – like Manasseh and Abijah. (Go to www.biblegateway.com and type in any of their names to find out more about them – several interesting stories!)

And this is not just any list – it is Your genealogy, Lord – Your family tree. All kinds of people contributed to who You would become. Just as we have bits of genetic material from all of our ancestors, so did You. The good, the bad…even the “shady”, all of them are a part of who You are.

AND today, You do the same with us. As followers, we are all a part of Your body – the body of believers. No matter who we are, no matter what we’ve done, when we willingly follow You, we each have a part to play in bringing Your will to fruition in this world. You are eager for us all to have a hand in seeing Your kingdom come to completion.

Thank You, Lord, for using me – for using all of us! We are all a strand in the beautiful tapestry of Your plan. May we all dedicate ourselves to eagerly do our share! Amen!

Sept 10th, Sun, 7:56 pm

Baggage

What a privilege to sit with You this morning, Father. That You would want to take time to be with me, the fact that You love me enough to do so is almost beyond comprehension. Thank You…

Hebrews 12:1 (<<click here)

  “… strip off every weight that slows us down…”

Baggage…we all have this tendency to want to lug it around – at least spiritually. But why do we do that? It’s sure not something we enjoy in life! When I travel, and it’s time to move my suitcase, I sure don’t want to carry it or drag it any further than I have to. It’s heavy. It’s bulky. It’s cumbersome. It just slows me down and keeps me from experiencing my travels.

So why do I do it spiritually? Sometimes they’re not very big but I feel more comfortable having them with me – little security blankets. For example, it’s very easy for me to over analyze. Should I say this, do that, will they laugh with me or think I’m weird. Will it show I care or drive others away? Not a lot of weight but it sure slows me down.

“Unmentionables” can be a problem, too. They’re not something we want others to see but quite often they’re there. We get tangled up in them and they can cause us to fall. Addictions trip us up for sure – drugs, alcohol, porn, gambling.

“Collectibles” aren’t something we would normally take on a trip but spiritually we can make a habit of it. We can’t seem to let go of the guilt of our past – things we’ve done, things we’ve said, Lord, if we’ve asked You to forgive us then they are no longer of concern to You. Help us to cast them aside.

Lord, help us to drop the baggage. We don’t need any of it for You provide all we need.

May 25th, Wed, 5:56 am

Grow Down

Father, forgive me for yielding to distraction…this is my time with You and Facebook should have no part in it. My phone is down and my attention is on You. Please help me hear and listen to what You have to say to me today.

Ephesians 3:14-21 (<<click the green)

Lord, help me to be “empowered…with inner strength through Your Spirit.” I know You have been doing a new work in me, accomplishing things that I could never do on my own (Praise Your Holy name! All the glory to You!) and I pray that I will cling to You. May my inner strength continue to be powered from Your “glorious, unlimited resources.”

This wonderful passage admonishes me to let my roots “grow down into Your love and keep me strong.”  Without You, I am surely weak and helpless! In my own strength, I fail. Only in You am I victorious. Thank you, Lord…

I am incomplete without Your love. Help me so that my overwhelming desire will be to “have the power to understand how WIDE, how LONG, how HIGH, and how DEEP Your love is”! May I “experience the love of Christ” – overwhelm me with Your love. May it gush and splash over on to all I meet!

And “through Your mighty power at work within me accomplish infinitely more than I might ask or [even] think”!

April 27th, 2015, Mon, 6:30 am

Assurance, Come What May

It is early enough that it is still dark outside, Father, but I am glad that we are here together. I need You today, to hear Your voice, to feel Your touch, to have the calm assurance that You are with me all the way. Amen.

Last night was one of those nights! I’m sure I dream more regularly than I recall but last night’s is still fresh in my mind. My dreams are always wacky and this one was no different.

As many of my dreams do, this dream involved church. I was not preaching but was leading the music. First of all, the speaker wasn’t there but there were other people on the platform and I had no idea who they were. There was a mess on the platform that for some reason I had contributed to but there was no time for questions on any front – the service was beginning. I walked to the pulpit for the first hymn and could I find it in the hymnal? Nope! It was #40 and no matter how many pages I flipped through I couldn’t get out of the sixties! I thought the PowerPoint would help if the words would just pop up but instead, a cartoon of babies in the nursery began singing – and playing instruments! – and it wasn’t even the hymn we were to be singing!

Oh, the nightmares of pastors! We’ve all had days like that and it is much more frustrating in reality! We can’t just wake up and it’s over.

As my opening prayer alluded to, we need You, Lord. No matter what the day may hold, when we keep our hearts and minds on You, we can tackle anything. The calming assurance of Your presence can calm the wildest sea. We can’t anticipate everything that we will come across throughout our day, but we can know that whatever comes, You will always be by our side. Thank You, Lord, for Your active presence in my life. Thank You for being our assurance come what may. We would be lost without You.

Sept 5th, Tues, 6:25 am

Hymns!

Father, I am grateful for having You with us today as we and family had a little outing. Thank You for good fellowship and Your protection and blessings to and from. Amen.

I make no apologies that I am a hymn guy. There is a lot of beautiful music out there, enhancing a plethora of worship services. Different things speak to different folk but hymns speak most clearly to me.

Growing up we sang hymns – and I am not a stick in the mud, they are just so full of solid theology and give voice to things that I think and feel in a form of testimony that I can think of no better way to communicate.

My father pastored several churches while I was growing up, lots of good people in West Virginia, North Carolina, and Ohio. One of my favorites was in Parsons, WV, I graduated from high school there. A favorite part of that church for me was the choir – and oh, could they sing! I don’t think many of them read music but the harmonies that rang from the choir loft were heavenly! I think a lot of it was the fact that they weren’t just singing words and notes. They were singing from the depths of their hearts. I truly believe each person was singing their song!

At this point in my life, I can’t remember who sang what song. It could have been the choir, or the congregation or Mom and Dad singing a duet but one of my many favorite hymns is My Wonderful Lord by Haldor Lillenas. Here is a very nice rendition as sung by the Collingsworth Family.

I have found a deep peace
that I never had known
And a joy this world could not afford
Since I yielded control of my body and soul
To my wonderful, wonderful Lord.

My wonderful Lord, my wonderful Lord
By angels and seraphs in Heaven adored
I bow at Thy shrine
My Savior divine
My wonderful, wonderful Lord

All the talents I have I have laid at Thy Feet
Thy approval shall be my reward.
Be my store great or small
I surrender it all
To my wonderful, wonderful Lord.

Thou art fairer to me than the fairest of earth
Thou omnipotent, life-giving Word
O Thou Ancient of Days,
Thou art worthy all praise,
My wonderful, wonderful Lord.

My wonderful Lord, my wonderful Lord
By angels and seraphs in Heaven adored!
I bow at Thy shrine
my Savior divine
My wonderful, wonderful Lord.

Sept 4th, Mon, 8:45 pm

Doing it right for once.