A Sip Of Faith

Force of Forgiveness
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14) NIV
Today did not turn out like I had wished…..I think all of us have had those days, haven’t we?… Starting the new day with goals and aspirations….. only for something or someone to happen and completely change your day! It’s sad to me…it even hurts my heart even….when good people do bad things…to other good people. And they have been deceived….blinded by power, or assumption of authority…even that they are in the right. And I think of all the stories in the Bible where Jesus was persecuted…..by those who thought they were right….good people doing bad things…to good people.
So what do we do? How do we respond? When we do things in the name of Jesus…only to be reviled, critiqued and judged? Jesus says in Matthew…. Blessed are you when others persecute you falsely on my account…… It would be easy for us to retaliate….to use force in justifying and defending ourselves….but if we are to be Christlike…is that an option for us?
Although more difficult….I choose to use the Force of Forgiveness…. To be the example….instead of the victim… and clothe myself as Paul tells us in our scripture. To forgive…..and not just as I might forgive….but as Jesus forgave me. That means to totally forgive…and with that forgiveness….do so in love. This week…instead of us using the force of judgment and critique….instead let us put on the robes of love….and use the force of forgiveness in order to bring unity to all.
Pastor Dave

A Sip of Faith

Passing the Tests!
12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:12-13) NIV
This past week has been quite the test for me. I return from vacation, and immediately get sick. So sick that I have to see a doctor and convalesce at home. Miserable Indeed! I don’t have time to be sick, right? I’ve got too much to do for the kingdom!
In this scripture…..temptation in Greek is ‘test or tested’. So I was overtaken by a worldly test…. So what do I do? Do I just keep going….until I can’t bear it anymore? That would just make other people sick I’m sure. Or do I hand it over to God…..and with Him….endure through it? My way out….is to endure through the sickness, so I could overcome it….by seeing the doctor, taking medicine, and convalescing in isolation.
In order to pass this test…..I not only had to turn it over to God….but I also had to trust others. How many times do we go through tests and struggles….and we keep it to ourselves? God provides a way for us to bear it and endure, and many times, it is with the help and aid of others. Think about it…..in your past struggles and temptations…the ones you tried to endure by yourself….. how would it have turned out if you had reached out to others?
I give thanks today for the others God has brought to my aid. And I thank Him for allowing me to trust in them and lean on them. And by doing this….I am getting better… probably a lot quicker than if I had just tried to keep going on my own. This week…if you are being tested….. first hand it over to God…and then trust in others to help and support you. Because all that matters in the next life….is Passing the Tests of this Life!
Pastor Dave

A Sip Fo Faith

Renewed Friendships
14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. (Hebrews 12:14-15) NIV
This week I’m having my coffee at a different place….Oklahoma! The sun is shining, but it is cold, cold, cold. This past Sunday, I went to church with my brother. And as God would have it….I was invited to give the sermon message for their evening service. What a joy to share the word with the faith community of Greenbrier Baptist Church in Strang, Oklahoma.
As I read this scripture, immediately I thought about our relationships…..both new and old. Yesterday I made new friends and new relationships……and while I have been here….I’ve been able to visit with family and renew relationships with them as well. I must say….it has been good for my soul!
From the scripture…..when we deal with new and old relationships and friendships, some may be great….and some may be difficult. But if we live in peace…peace that comes from providing unconditional love and grace, forgiveness and mercy…. Then we are responsible for working on those friendships so that no falls short of God’s grace and there is no bitterness. I cannot tell you the peace of heart and mind I have had…mending friendships that were strained or broken.
This week, I invite you to reach out….and to renew your friendships, and even take time to make new friendships….for you will experience a new peace within you.
Pastor Dave

A Sip of Faith

New Year – New Bones
The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign LORD, you alone know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. (Ezekiel 37:1-5) NIV
As we embark on a New Year….. I have to ask myself…..what will be new? How will I change or what will I change? So that I can be happy and prosperous. I think that is what all of us want isn’t it? As I look forward to the New Year, I also look back on what God has done this past year. And if I am to be honest….. it didn’t turn out as I had hoped or expected. How about you?
For our new church, there has been a lot of obstacles this past year….. the age of our congregation…the lack of volunteers…. The constant struggle with finances…. Constant repairs for aging buildings…. And the lack of visitors or new members…. It seems as if we are just dying. And this fear and doubt becomes a yoke for a lot of us… that becomes too heavy to carry. And people ask about our future…. where is our hope? When will new life and change occur?
In this new year of “Re-Launching” our church and our ministries out into the community…..letting them know who we are….. I share with you the hope we have from Ezekiel… God asks will these bones live?…. that’s how I see our current church….. dry bones…. And we ask God…. Will they live? I can imagine God’s reply….. where is your faith? For if you are with me, doing my work, will you not prosper?
So Ezekiel does as God commands….just as we need to do what God commands…. And tell the dry bones to LIVE! Believe with your soul…. these dry bones will live! Tell the dry bones to get busy doing the Lord’s work; get busy offering and inviting others into our body; get busy connecting and building relationships with the community; get busy bringing those who thirst to the altar that gives everlasting life.
It’s a New Year….and my hope is for New Bones! Dry Bones that come to life….bones that become God’s army….bones that go forth and change our community and our world. This week….take time and with God’s authority….tell the dry bones to come alive!
Pastor Dave

A Sip of Faith

Give LIKE Jesus
7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” (2 Corinthians 9:7-9) NIV
What I wouldn’t give for some warmer weather today! Although I grew up in Wyoming, I despise the cold. It reminds me of when our family had to choose between food, rent, or heat. I spent a lot of my childhood cold and freezing. I remember a bakery that was on the way to school, and when it was cold, we would rush to the bakery, go inside, and bask in the warmth and smells. Then at the last minute, we would run to school away from the cold.
The bakery owners would at times give us a fresh baked piece of bread or pastry for free. They were definitely givers to the community and the world. And also to two young boys who would stop for shelter from the cold. I wonder how many in our community are cold during this winter season? How many are in need of a precious gift of warmth from giving…giving without asking for anything in return? In giving, I think of Jesus….who said give to Caesar what is Caesars, and to God what is Gods. Jesus was about giving of His time….in giving of His friendship… of giving of His service….and lastly….in giving of His life and blood.
Why? So that as a people who received, we then are to give like Jesus gave to us. In giving, God blesses us abundantly, so that we have what we need, and so that we have righteousness. Giving should not be seasonal….it should be constant…. consistent…. given freely…..so I invite us this week….scatter your giving and your gifts to the poor and those in need. And when you give, Give like Jesus!
Pastor Dave
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