Archive | February 2014

The Telling of The Day

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Creation sings and tells of the day.

about God’s forgiveness
about God’s love
about God’s promises
about God’s protection
about God’s mercy
about God’s laughter and joy
The new day dawns with all of it’s glory singing praise to God… The heavens are telling the glory of God…

It tells of God’s hand in each and every moment of the day to come…

Take It To The Lord In Prayer

Forgiveness is not and emotion…it is an action. You can forgive even when the emotion is not there. You can forgive because we are called to forgive. As we choose to forgive the healing can begin. The healing may not begin at the very moment you forgive…it may even take years for the healing to begin. But…you have taken the first step by forgiving. Take it all to the Lord in prayer and He will give you peace and rest…

Traveling Light

Traveling light is so much easier than dragging a whole lot of baggage on a trip. It is the same with our faith journey. We need to lay aside the baggage of the world…emotional burdens…sin…unforgiveness…resentment…bitterness and anger. We need to lay aside the idols of the world that can weigh us down…power, greed, self-centeredness, envy. We need bring those things that burden us to the foot of Calvary’s Cross and lay them before the feet of the One who gives wholeness and peace. Then and only then will we be able to travel light trusting in our God and King for what we need for the journey.

“Hello My Name Is Ish/Bridegroom”

February 9, 2014

Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church

Sermon Series on “The Names of God”

Sermon 6 of series-

“The Sacred Names of God: Adonay”

Revelation 19:6-9

Hosea 2:16, 19-20

(All Scripture is from The Names of God Bible)

“Praying the Names of God: A Daily Guide”

By, Ann Spangler

 A reading from the book of Revelation chapter 19 verses 6-9. Listen for a word from God to you and me, the beloved of God…

Let us pray…

Loving and Gracious God, Lover of our soul, we thank you for loving us so much that You sent Your Son to die in our stead. We thank you that You have given us Your Spirit to guide us in the way we should live our lives. We pray that the same Spirit would work within us and that we would hear the Word You have for us this day. May we have softened hearts that would hear the voice of Your Spirit speaking to us. Speak Lord…we are listening for Your still, small voice within our hearts, Amen.

 

Well happy Valentine’s Day a little early. It is nice to have a day that we can honor those we love. Be it a husband or wife, a family member or friend. It is nice to have a day that we can express our love to that certain person.  I remember when I was in grammar school and we made our own valentine’s and would give them out to our class mates. There was always that certain boy that I would hope to get a valentine from. It is nice that we have this special day but I think it should be valentine’s day every day. We should show our love for each other each and every day of our lives.

 

But there is another who loves us no matter what. There is another who loves us through the good and bad times. There is another who is always there with a word of hope and tenderness. This One loves us more than we could be loved by anyone else. They love us with our faults…our shortcomings…our weaknesses…our flaws and imperfections. That person is our God.

 

We are continuing on our journey of learning the Sacred Names of God and praying in that same name. We have prayed to Elohim…the One true God…we have called out to El Chay, the Living God. And we have learned that Adonay …our Lord is a loving person who we love to serve. Today…being it almost Valentine’s Day…I would like to talk about Ish…the Bridegroom. Now the name Ish is the Hebrew word for “husband”. Yes…God wants to be our Husband…the Bridegroom in our lives. Now the name husband may be difficult for some people. We have seen how some earthly husbands…and wives…have acted. But God is a different kind of spouse and I pray that we will understand that a little better today…

 

Now God is the perfect Husband. He provides for us…protects us…as a matter of fact He refuses to divorce us no matter how we try to push Him away…no matter how unfaithful we may be towards Him. As a matter of fact, in the new Testament, Jesus is called the Bridegroom and the church is called His bride…we…you and I…the church…is called Jesus’ bride and He is our Bridegroom. What a wedding ceremony that must be?

 

From the Revelation Scripture from this morning we can see what type of wedding that will be. There is rejoicing in Heaven because of this marriage arrangement. He church…you and I…are in dazzling white because of the things God’s holy people…you and I…that has God’s approval. Just think about that for a moment. We are being made more and more dazzling white as we carry out our call from God in our lives. God…our Ish…our Husband…the Bridegroom, makes us whiter than snow as we fulfill our call in our lives…

 

I like the way that Ann spangle puts it in her book “Praying the names of God A Daily Guide”. She states that:

God’s passionate love for Israel is reflected in the Hebrew word Ish( EESH), meaning “husband.” When it is applied to God in the Hebrew Scriptures, it symbolizes the ideal relationship between God and Israel. God is the perfect husband— loving, forgiving, and faithful, providing for and protecting his people. This metaphor of monogamous marriage between God and his people is strengthened in the New Testament, which reveals Jesus as the loving, sacrificial bridegroom of the church. Our destiny, our greatest purpose as God’s people, is to become his bride. We are destined to become God’s bride. Can there be any higher purpose in our lives…?

 

When we think about marriage…the most mismatch is the one between God and humanity. Here we have the Creator of all and He wants to be married to His creation. God is all powerful and humanity is weakness…God is perfect and we as humanity…well…I am sure you get the picture. But from the Hosea Scripture from this morning we hear that God wants to be betrothed to humanity forever. This is his intent, his idea, his plan. Whether you are a man or a woman, married or single, makes no difference. Because you are a member of his people, God wants you to know him as your protector, as friend and provider, as the lover of your soul— as your husband.

 

In Hosea’s life, God had him marry someone who would be unfaithful to him. He married someone who would run away from him and go to other lovers. Now I know that sounds stranger but hear the rest of it… Ann Spangler claims that :

Hosea’s life became a lived-out prophecy— a picture of God’s own experience of faithless Israel. Hosea’s wife proved wayward just as Israel had. She provoked him, just as Israel had provoked God. But, incredibly, instead of abandoning the wife who had abandoned him, Hosea ran after her, pursued her, and brought her home again. And that’s the message! God running after his people, showing his love to us again and again, and calling us back to a faithful and fulfilling relationship. God pursues us to bring us back to Him…

 

There is so much idolatry in this day and age that takes our attention from our First Love. There are so many things that try to take our attention and woe us away from the One who loves us the most. We, as a society, have learned to love our “things” more than anyone or anything else. Whatever it is— even good things, even blessings— can seduce us so that we end up spending ourselves on them rather than on God.

 

We hear the marriage vows ““For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, ’til death us do part.”  These vows sound impressive, solid, unbreakable. Yet it is still only a temporary promise, one that dissolves the moment a spouse dies. In truth only God has the power to promise us undying love. Remember this the next time you are tempted to think he has abandoned you, the next time you are on the verge of believing he’s turned his back on you. Remember, too, the words of Paul in Romans 8: 39 who assures us that nothing in all creation (and nothing means nothing) “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

 

This is the type of love God offers…this is the type of spouse we receive when we accept the marriage proposal from God. Are you feeling as if no one truly loves you or understands you? Is there an empty spot in your heart that needs to be filled by a faithful lover? Do you feel as if marriage is for the birds because of past experience? Come and take hold of the hand of the One who loves you to the point of death. Come and be lavished with a love to wonderful to explain. Come and be wed to the One who will love you in and through the good times and bad…for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health…until the end of eternity. Come and accept the love offered by our Ish and bridegroom that is found at the foot of the cross of Calvary where the marriage certificate is signed in the blood of our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ. Come and be loved from here to eternity.

 

Let us pray…

Lord and the lover of our souls, call to us again and revive our love for you. Receive us graciously and we will praise your forever, our faithful God. Amen.