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Showing posts from June, 2019

Looking to Jesus and Not Ourselves

In my many readings I ran across this short, but compelling, devotion by Spurgeon.  He reminds us that our relationship to God is not by anything that we can do, but is solely because of what Jesus has done for us.  In a day when there is so much confusion about what it means to be a believer, a follower, a disciple of Jesus, this can help us clarify both the beginning and the ending.  Spurgeon reminds us to focus on one thing:   Looking to Jesus. Hebrews 12:2 It is always the Holy Spirit's work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus. But Satan's work is just the opposite; he is constantly trying to make us look at ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, "Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you do not have the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold on Jesus." All these are thoughts about self, and we will never find comfort or assurance by look

Delight in God Our Shepherd

Psalm 23 served as the place of teaching this last Sunday.  While most of us know the Psalm so well we forget that it's not a funeral Psalm (as it is used in funerals so often), but rather a Psalm of Confession - David's confession of God as His Shepherd...over the whole of his life..through the good times, the bad times, the ugly times...God has faithfully directed his ways through all of the Valleys of life. I ended it with summarizing the last verse as "the hound dogs of heaven".  "Surely, goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever". I ran across this some time ago, and it sums the Psalm up beautifully:   The Lord is my Shepherd = That’s relationship. I shall not want = That’s supply. He makes me to lie down in green pastures = That’s rest. He leads me beside still waters = That’s refreshment. He restores my soul = That’s healing. He leads me in the paths of righteousness

The Gift of Peace Within

I was sawing wood yesterday and thinking about lots of things.  Recently I asked the Elders to release me from full-time and allow me to work part-time and hire my son to be an assistant to me in order for the church's teaching needs, and pastoral needs to still be met.  The other choice was to retire, step away from ministry altogether and let the church get on with the task of finding another Pastor.  As I cut wood I found myself thinking about all sorts of things in relation to this.  Most people were happy that I chose to stay on and not retire, but there were a few who did not.  I care about people...and yet most of the thoughts I had yesterday were negative.  Did I do the right thing?  Should I have done more?  Emotions surface - sadness, self-pity, regret, guilt - to name a few.   There is a word that I was introduced to years ago in reading Henri Nouwen.  It is the word Nepsis.   Nepsis means to be "alert, attentive, watchful, especially in relation to our spirit and

Work as Duty and Sacred

One of the hardest things I ever did was travel to Zambia, the town of Chingola and there along with 25 other European/Americans and a dozen or so Zambians, built an orphanage.  It was work without the supervision of safety under OSHA.  We used a lot of means that were not safe at all in climbing, use of tools, and equipment.  Scaffolding made out of leftover wood pieces cobbled together and used to work high.  I remember the afternoon where it all came tumbling one was hurt.  It was an adventure in working manually.  We made our own bricks out of muck, cement, and water.  They were made in the shape of bricks like we buy in the States, but laid out in the sun for a day so that they would harden into bricks to build walls with. We worked was a duty, a job to be done.  No one complained, everyone was exhausted at the end of the day.  We slept in grass-covered huts built especially for our team.  They poured small cement pads before we arrived and we