Monday, April 25, 2016

He Walks With Us...

Our current sermon series is on grief and loss. 

In the 23rd Psalm, David talks about "the valley of the shadow of death"....

I believe that grief and loss, (the "valleys" in our lives), don't have to be related to death, although they certainly are at times. 
There are times when our valleys might just be a bad day, a sad moment or a hard season.

Up until this point in the Psalm....David speaks ABOUT God......
"He Leads....He restores"

The sheep is describing The Shepherd.
and yet, when the sheep is in trouble.....and finds himself or herself in a "valley"
He changes from speaking about God- TO God 

Because the sheep knows, He is WITH him.

"I will fear no evil....for YOU are WITH me."

He is speaking directly TO The Shepherd.....

The Shepherd is no longer just someone he describes,
 this Shepherd is someone he knows.......

We too, know alot about The Shepherd, Jesus....
where He was born.....who He ran around with.....some of His teachings....the account of His crucifixion and resurrection. We know His earthly father was a carpenter named Joseph, and His mom was named Mary....We know He turned water in to good wine...
We know He cared for least of these....walked on water and loved children.

However, do we know The Shepherd described above, is yours?
Do we realize He is with us and not just others?

Do you realize God Himself, is with YOU.

Buckner Fanning asked in a sermon on the 23rd Psalm, "Is God a He or a You?"

A Christian will never walk through the valley of death, it will always be a shadow...
and will only be a shadow.
wherever you are right at this moment, look around you. 
Wherever you see a shadow....
look behind it.....there is a light.

There is never a shadow without a light. There is no substance to a shadow.
God tells us we are going to go THROUGH matter how deep or dark, or shallow and just inconvenient.

He declares, "I am The Light of The world" - John 8:12

and because of that promise, You and I never have to walk alone, never, ever.

God, Thank You for walking with us.....

In His Dust, 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Honest Thomas...

Thomas listened as his friends and fellow disciples told the story...
The Other Disciples: We have seen the Lord!
Thomas: Until I see His hands, feel the wounds of the nails, and put my hand to His side, I won’t believe what you are saying.
Eight days later, they gathered again behind locked doors; and Jesus reappeared. This time Thomas was with them.
Jesus: May each one of you be at peace.
He drew close to Thomas.
Jesus: Reach out and touch Me. See the punctures in My hands; reach out your hand, and put it to My side; leave behind your faithlessness, and believe.
Thomas: You are the one True God and Lord of my life.
Jesus: Thomas, you have faith because you have seen Me. Blessed are all those who      never see Me and yet they still believe.

Basically, Thomas tells Jesus- This is where I am.
(Which shows us what kind of a relationship they had...which was honest & real.)
Jesus responds in you's really Me. Look, touch.
It was exactly what Thomas needed. His response was complete belief and absolute commitment. "My Master! My God!"

Thomas' questions didn't at all seem to faze Jesus. Which makes me so happy. Because that means His Response to my doubts and well as your's....should get the same response. 

So the next time you find yourself thinking negatively about Thomas, 
Remember the first time you heard about Jesus coming back from the dead.

Sure, as children we don't question it so much....but as adults, don't we all have  "Thomas moments?" 
We can rest assured, that in response to each and every one of those moments, both big and small....we are met by a loving God...who will sit down right next to us and give us exactly what we need. Exactly when and how we need it.
We follow A God that shows up...right where we are ....looks right at us....and says, "Come on, look and touch.” 
God, Thank you for meeting us right where we are...and responding in a way that gets us exactly where we need to be.
In His Dust,