Sunday Sermon – Psalm 23

Today we had a guest speaker, who preached on Psalm 23. He talked about the brokenness of our world, and times of pain and suffering.
Psalm 23 reminds us that we have one who walks with us; who loves and cares for us.
One who leads us to “quiet waters”.
One who guides us and comforts us.
psalm23It’s dark out there.
But we are not without light.

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How Often We Forget…

A passage that was read in today’s sermon.

Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

I think I need this truth engraved onto my heart! O me of little faith.

When you wake up in the morning, what are the first concerns on your mind? What to wear? What to eat? Money? That meeting? Job? Interview? Dreams? Facebook updates?
Do you wake up and concern yourself with how to live kingdom first?

“Keep Watch…”

Wow, what a good sermon today! We went through Matthew 24:45-25:30. As a lead  into the sermon, the pastor read V.42 : ” Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”
But in this case, to keep watch does not mean inactivity or idleness; it does not mean dropping all we do, to keep our eyes on the sky for the coming of our Lord and Saviour.
In this passage, Jesus tells a few stories. The first one is about a servant whose Master goes away and puts him in charge. If the Master were to return and find this servant doing well, the servant would then be put in charge of all the Master’s possessions. But should the servant behave wickedly, and beat his fellow servants and eat and drink with drunkards, the Master will return on a day he does not expect, and “assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (V.51)
The second is the story of ten women, who took their lamps and went out to meet the lamp3bridegroom. Five were foolish and five were wise. The foolish did not bring oil with them while the wise had. It had come the time for the women to meet the bridegroom, but the foolish five were still without oil, so they asked the wise women, but they could not spare any otherwise they would all have no oil. So the five continued their quest for oil and arrived late to the banquet. “Sir! Sir! Open the door for us!” they said.
But he replied, “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.” (25:11-12)
coinsThe third story was the Parable of the Talents. A Man going on a journey, called upon his servants, and gave one 5 talents of money, another 3, and the last, 1, according to their ability. The first two servants used their talents and doubled what they had started out with. The last buried his one talent in the ground.
The man then returns, and upon learning of this, replies to each of the two servants “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (V. 21 & 23)
When he hears of what the last servant did with his one talent, he calls for the talent to be given to the servant who has ten talents, and says ” For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” ( V. 29)

The passage, in a rather large nutshell. So, what themes were taken away from this?
~ Selfless Dependability – What God has entrusted to me, share with others.
~ Prudent Equipping –  There are consequences to not being prepared.
~ Risky Disbursement – Playing it safe or risking it all?

We are encouraged and invited to Watch: To Actively pursue God and receive from him whatever necessary to serve and celebrate.
The pastor tied up the Sermon with this quote, which has stuck out most in my mind since this morning;
“What is the final message of Jesus in telling this story? It is: Step out! Risk! Live dangerously! Take constant chances with your life and goods for his name’s sake. Don’t try to bottle up your life so as to hang on to it at all costs. If you do that you will surely lose it. But surrender yourself to his cause, again and again. That is the way to find life. That is the way to watch for his coming. Having risked yourself to become a Christian, now risk yourself again and again as opportunities arise. Live dangerously! Or that also could be written, love dangerously! To live for Christ is to love men with his love. And that is always a risk.” – Ray Stedman
What a challenge! How often I live selfishly; how often I seek security, and put my faith in things other than Christ. How often I hang on to life, like it is all I have.
If I truly believe, and am truly grateful for all he has done, shouldn’t everything I do or say, proclaim it?
Step Out!
Risk!
Live Dangerously!
Surrender yourself to his cause, again and again.

How..?

Something to think about.

Mud and Guilt

It’s a rather vague memory, but it’s there. At a relative’s farm; it was early spring. Mucky, muddy, slushy season. And what kid can resist an adventurous trek through an enticing mud garden?
Rubber boots? Yup. One can almost see the ‘Just Do It’ logo hovering over our heads, as we cautiously at first, then gleefully stomp through the muck.
Ok, so I’m embellishing a little. Truth is, the image in my mind is of my young self – maybe 8?- standing on the grass at the edge of this mud pit, and turning around to find my younger brother a few feet away, his boots half-swallowed by mud. He was stuck real good.
So I did as any good sister would do, and reached out to him, encouraging him to take my hand.
He tried. He reached…
And reached…
And, well…
I’m pretty sure my Aunt put him in the shower with all his clothes still on. Poor lad.
Isn’t that how bad decisions go about sometimes?
We cautiously consider our options, tip toe-ing around the mud pit.
Perhaps it is not a good idea…
Then again… what makes it so bad? Perhaps there isn’t any real harm in it at all… And, just this once…
Funny thing is, we tend to be a moment too late in the realization that, yes, it wasn’t a very wise idea at all.
Not that children would be giving much thought to the choice that led to their muddied selves. Perhaps in this aspect, my analogy is lacking. I mean, kids and mud – it’s just bound to happen, right?
But can we approach everything with this attitude?
“Everyone’s doing it these days…”
“It’s just a phase…”
“Just curious…”
“Just this once…”

Perhaps it is just me, but the moment I realize I am trying to justify something to someone – or more often, myself – the Guilty light flickers on.

The more recent sermons at the church I attend, have put a lot of focus on kingdom-first living. And it’s a challenge. How does one go about that? How do we incorporate our faith into our lives? Or is it, how do we incorporate life into our faith? And in this aspect, my guilt is not so much a matter of what I’m doing, but rather, what I am not.
So, what now?
The question that is never completely satisfied…
But I feel the need to write that God is Always Listening.