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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.

 

Hello My Name Is…Adonay

February 2, 2014

Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church

Sermon Series on “The Names of God”

Sermon 5 of series-

“The Sacred Names of God: Adonay”

Daniel 9:9-19

(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 Daniel…chapter 9…verses 17-19…listen for the word of God for you and me the people of God…

17 “Our Elohim, listen to my prayer and request. For your own sake, Adonay, look favorably on your holy place, which is lying in ruins. 18 Open your ears and listen, my Elohim. Open your eyes and look at our ruins and at the city called by your name. We are not requesting this from you because we are righteous, but because you are very compassionate. 19 Listen to us, Adonay. Forgive us, Adonay. Pay attention, and act. Don’t delay! Do this for your sake, my Elohim, because your city and your people are called by your name.”

Let us pray…

Loving and Gracious God, you who gives Wisdom and understanding, we pray that your Spirit within us would be stirred as we hear what you would have us hear this morning. May we understand better how you would have us be and how you would have us serve you in our lives. Guide us in your ways. Speak to us in ways that we would hear your call on our lives. May the meditations of our hearts and the thought of our minds be pleasing to you our God…our Rock and our Redeemer…amen.

 

What comes to mind when you hear the word servant? Do you think of a servant being someone who does someone else’s bidding whether they want to or not? How about someone who is forced to serve by a person who lords it over them and takes advantage of them? There are so many thoughts that come to mind when you think about the word servant. Some are good but others may be not so good. We all end up serving in one way or another…how we approach it can mean a world of joy or a world of despair. How would you feel being called a servant?

 

We are on a journey this year learning the Sacred Names of God and praying in that same name. During this time I have been doing a study called “Praying the Names of God”. It has been a wonderful study and awesome to be able to share some of the insights that I have been given through the study with you each week. We have prayed to Elohim…the One true God…we have called out to El Chay, the Living God. But there is one name that may be kind of awkward to call out to…the Sacred Name Adonay which means Lord. You see…Adonay is a Hebrew word meaning “Lord,” a name that implies relationship: God is Lord, and we are his servants. Adon is a Hebrew word that means “lord” in the sense of an owner, master, or superior. It is frequently used as a term of respect and always refers to people Adonay (a-do-NAI) is the plural form of adon and always refers to God as Lord or Master

 

Now the word Servant is not a particularly popular word in our culture. It sounds demeaning, belittling, hardly something we should aspire to. Such an attitude can make it hard for us to understand our position as servants of the Lord. Perhaps that’s why we so often get things reversed, treating God as though he were some kind of celestial butler who should use his divine power to further our plans.

 

But…if we want to find the one key to everything good in life, we will need to approach the problem counter intuitively. Instead of operating by instinct, we will operate by faith. Instead of striving to do what we want when we want, we will strive to do what God wants when he wants. As we do, we will begin to understand that his lordship will not diminish or impoverish us but that it will bless us in surprising ways. Astonished by all the good he does in and through us, we will be able to echo the psalmist’s praise: “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”

 

In the first part of the Daniel scripture from this morning, we hear Daniel speaking of the goodness of God…how God is compassionate and forgiving. He talks about Adonay freeing the people from their captivity in Egypt and how with a mighty hand Adonay saved them. Daniel also talks about how the things that have happened to the people of Israel are because of their own doing. They were not faithful to God and turned their backs on Him. But Daniel remembered the loving God and accepted the fate that his people brought upon themselves.

 

The Second part of the reading shows how even though Daniel knew how wrong the people were and how they were being punished for their sins, he could call on the name of Adonay and be heard…that he could call on the Lord and be freed. And he didn’t ask for his own sake or even for the sake of the people of the Lord…but for the Lords sake…for the sake of His Name…

 

Even the prophet Nehemiah remembered how good Adonay was and is. You see…Nehemiah helped rebuild Jerusalem more than a hundred years after it had been destroyed by the Babylonians. He began by reminding a demoralized people, not of who they were, but of who God is—“ the Lord, who is great and awesome.” Having thus rallied them, he succeeded in rebuilding Jerusalem’s defensive walls in only fifty-two days, despite significant resistance from outside enemies. Thousands of years later, we still face forces intent on destroying us— enemies that eat away at faith, that corrode relationships, that destroy families. Some of us are bone weary from the struggle, about to give up on the spouse who seems so distant, the child who has wandered away from God, the job we can’t seem to succeed at, or the prayer that has gone so long unanswered. If that describes your spiritual state, let the words of Nehemiah sink into those places of your heart where disappointment lodges: “Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome.” Now is not the time to give up or give in. Remember whose servant you are. Fight in his strength for your children, your marriage, your church. Do whatever it takes for however long it takes, knowing the Lord is with you.

 

Knowing that the Lord we serve is also the Lord who loves us, we need not fear that he will take advantage of us or that he will ask us to do something we cannot possibly do. Realizing who the Lord is will enable us to stop worrying about who we are or what we lack so that we can abandon our lives to him, confident we can do whatever he asks through the grace he supplies.

 

If we want to find the one key to everything good in life, we need to approach the problem from a different angle. Instead of operating by instinct, we need to operate by faith. Instead of striving to do what we want when we want, we need to strive to do what God wants when he wants. As we do, we will begin to understand that his lordship will not diminish or impoverish us but that it will bless us in surprising ways. Astonished by all the good he does in and through us, we will be able to echo the psalmist’s praise: “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”

 

Are there places in your life that are stopping you from serving Adonay our loving and compassionate Lord? Are you fearful of serving because of what the word “servant” means to you? Are you ready to serve the One who always has your best interest at heart unlike those you may serve in this earthly realm? It may be hard but I would challenge you to trust in the One Lord who won’t “lord it over you” like so many do in the world we live. I challenge you to serve the One who has an excellent plan for your life. Pray to Adonay, tell him you want to surrender every aspect of your life to him. Pray for the grace to become the kind of servant who is quick to do God’s will. Remember, too, that the Lord is the only one who can empower you to fulfill his purpose for your life. In fact, it is in knowing him as your Lord that you will discover a true sense of purpose.

 

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. (Psalm 54: 4) One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. (Psalm 62: 11– 12) But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86: 15)

 Let us pray… Lord, forgive us for the times that we have only paid lip service to your lordship in my life. We have prayed one thing and done another. Help us as of this moment to experience the joy of serving you, living with the knowledge that you are our Adonay, our Lord and God. Amen.

WE BLAME OTHERS FOR OUR FOLLY

1 Kings 18:16b-18 God’s Word Bible
 
Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When he saw Elijah, Ahab said, “Is that you, you troublemaker of Israel?”
18 Elijah answered, “I haven’t troubled Israel. You and your father’s family have done it by disobeying the Lord’s commands and following the various Baal gods.
 
Like king Ahab of Elijah’s day, we tend to blame others for our mistakes. We tend to not look at our own actions as the reason for our trouble. We as a nation seem to think that we are the “good guys” and never do wrong.
 
But…we as a nation have forgotten “In God We Trust.” We have made for ourselves a “golden calf” out of greed, corruption and oppression. We wonder why our youth are the way they are. We have taken God out of schools and have wondered why our future looks dim. 
 
God hasn’t moved out of the neighborhood of the U.S. …we have moved to the secular street called “folly.” When we realize this fact and move back to the street called God? When we turn ourselves back to the giver of all that is good and away from the giver of destruction? When will we learn to stop following “Baal” and find the road marked with love and compassion? The road that leads to the heart of God.