Good morning everyone!
A little while ago, when Christian was leaving to live in Ann Arbor for the summer, Mitzi gave him a little present. It was a small pot of “Hens & Chicks”. You know, those fun little plants that have a main part (the hen) and small little plants (the chicks) that form on runners from the hen. These are so cool. Why such a gift for a young man who would have otherwise needed and asked for more of a monetary gift? So that as this little plant would grow, he would leave a little part of it where he had lived. Hopefully, he’ll then take it to Western Michigan when he returns to school this fall. And when he is finishing there, he’ll leave another little part there too, to leave his mark of love and beauty once again. Cool, huh?
Mother Theresa summed this up with this thought: “Spread love wherever you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” So when the next person after Christian will see those beautiful little plants, they will know that someone loved beauty and also loved the unknown person who would find them later, having left his mark on his little corner of the world.
The apostle Paul wrote about it this way: “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, recognized and read by everyone.” — 2 Corinthians 3:2 The New Testament writers were doing this so that those who would come after them would see and understand that God’s love and presence is to be shared for the now and the yet-to-come. Without knowing who would witness their words, these writers were simply trusting that God most certainly had someone in mind who would need to hear these words – would need to find their beauty and testament of God’s love – just as that next person will find Christian’s little plant and know that it was left there just for them! Go ahead; leave your mark of God’s beauty and love on your corner of the world. Remember, we will always leave our mark. Is it going to be one of hate or negativity or selfishness, or is it going to be one of love?
God's peace and love and beauty to you all,
What does it mean to humble ourselves before God’s mighty power?
Worry and anxiety, our response to perceived future threats, can rob us of our peace, joy, and confidence. Sometimes we can’t even pinpoint what it is that is making us worrisome or anxious, but the tension is there. We may feel apathetic or angry at the world and those around us. We may feel like we can’t win, like we’re just going to fail. We may want to pull the covers up over our head and stay in bed. We may push people away, convinced they don’t love us anyway. We may feel like nothing makes sense anymore; we tell ourselves, “What’s the point?”
Sometimes we have to say, “enough is enough! I don’t want to keep living this way!” It gets emotionally draining to keep treading water and fighting for air. When we get to this breaking point, we can finally bow our heads and cry out to God. We can humble ourselves before God and look these worries and fears in the face and say, “no more!” You see, humility isn’t just sitting back and being passive, but submitting to the One who can fight for us and make things make sense again; the One who is strong enough to carry all our worries and fears!
When we humble ourselves we receive God’s power and strength to break free from the weight of worry and anxiety.
Take a closer look at what might be making you worried or anxious. Is it money? Then you are placing your trust in money. Is it your job? Then you are placing your trust in your job. Is it your to-do list? Then you are placing your trust in yourself. Trusting in all these things will eventually fail us. But trusting in God will never fail us because He is our security, our identity, and our hope. He is the Rock that we can stand on as we shake our fist at the worries and anxieties of this world. The enemy wants to get us to place our trust in anything other than God. When you recognize worry and anxiety in your life, humble yourself, take a closer took at where your trust is, submit; tell God you want to trust Him instead! He will provide you with the strength and courage to recognize and fight the enemy’s lies and refocus your eyes on Him. He will lift you up in honor over the enemy! You are His child; He loves you and wants you to live free from worry and anxiety!
#dailytruth #fightback #anxiety #fear #worry #freshhope #battle #standupandfight #trust #therock #stclair #saintclair
Good afternoon all!
Yesterday was a bit schizophrenic, wasn’t it? It was snowing in the morning, and later in the afternoon it was actually on the warm side! Spring in Michigan, eh? Can’t wait to dig into the dirt!
Please let me share one of my deepest concerns for you all, and in fact, for the whole Christian church: Bible illiteracy. The ability to be literate in Scripture is absolutely ESSENTIAL. If anyone tries to tell you that it’s not is LYING. It becomes a doubtful claim that a Christian can be one without opening the Bible. Scripture tells us that our faith shows itself by the fruit it bears. One of those fruits is the activities of Bible study and prayer. Think about this statement: “I’m a Christian but…” For this discussion I want you to insert the words “I don’t read the Bible”. Try “I don’t pray regularly.” It’s pretty impossible to be an “I’m a Christian, but…” Christian.
There’s to be no “but’s” in our claims to be followers of Christ. (For those of you who are married, how do you think it would have worked out if at your wedding vows, you said “In the name of God, I, (groom/bride's name), take you, (groom/bride's name), to be my (husband/wife), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow, but…”) Bet that would make the other spouse-to-be feel pretty confident as to the sincerity and longevity of that new life “together.”
I know, the popular thought is that “all I need is a relationship with God.” Yup, that’s true. How’s those other relationships where there’s no or minimal communication? Are they healthy? Are they vibrant? Are they even relationships at that point?
The takeaway from all of this? The One who loves you the most in all of the world and beyond wants a real relationship with you! Yes, He will always hear you when you call out His Name, but He absolutely wants to hear from you. Too busy? Sounds like you may have to cut back on Candy Crush and all of those other more important things? Too tired? Sounds like there’s too many other way-more-important activities going on. I had a boss once who said “Run ‘em out of excuses” when my suppliers would not be meeting their deadlines. Part of my job is to “run you out of excuses.
To that end, I’ve attached a simple sheet of various Scripture passages that you can download and snip the verse for the week and place it in some conspicuous place. Commuting? Tape it to your dash. Already at work? Thumbtack it to your cubicle wall. Phone in your hand constantly? Cut and paste a verse and make it your lock screen.
If you don’t currently read much of the Bible regularly, please try this exercise. It’s going to cover the rest of April and also May & June. Please give it an honorable effort! Please let me know how it’s going. Please let me know if there’s anything new in your faith walk at the end of June.
Praying for you all,
Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last. God is timeless and His power is limitless.
Our human perspectives are limited. We cannot understand the width and breadth of His time span, but we can witness His authority over time through His revelations of infinite power and wisdom.
God is the before, the now, and the forever after. He will never leave us. He is the only constant in our lives and beyond our earthly lives.
Praise God for His everlasting presence!
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:38-39 NLT
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones” (ESV). Because of belief in Jesus through faith in what his death and resurrection means for us, the Spirit of God comes to live inside you. This is one of the greatest blessings of salvation: You don’t have to go through someone else to get to God. He dwells in your heart and you can learn to hear His voice.
The best way to hear from God and know how He wants you to live is to pray to hear His voice and know what the Bible, His Word, says. God’s Word gives us wisdom. God's Spirit gives us direction and guidance. As we study the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to apply the truth of God's Word to our lives, our mind is renewed (see Romans 12:2), so we no longer just think the way the world thinks – we can think the way God thinks!
When you go beyond what you want, what you think, and what you feel, and do what the Word and the Spirit of God tell you to do, you are able to come to a place where the blessings of God – His righteousness, peace and joy – overflow in your life.
The cross is at the center of our journey as Christians. Jesus came to heal us from the consequences of sin, through forgiveness of our sins.
Jesus reminds us from the cross that forgiveness comes from the father's loving heart and we must extend this forgiveness to others. This brings healing to our body and spirit! When we extended freedom to others it sets our hearts free to receive new life from God.
#dailytruth #newlife #freedom #sin #forgiveness #life #spirit #cross #jesus #stclair #saintclair
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
What a heart wrenching question from the mouth of Jesus. Jesus has been sharing an unhindered relationship with his father since eternity and is now driven to say these words. While we might think he is tempted to doubt his father’s love, question his motives, or speak from a place of fear, he cries out using the words of scripture in Psalm 22:1, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?” From the depths of his earthly pain he quotes scripture.
Jesus here is identifying with the sufferings of this world and experiences what it means to be concealed from God’s love. He enters our struggle and feelings of abandonment and experiences what each one of us goes through when we abandon the love of God for other lesser loves, doubt our faith, or can’t see past the pain of our circumstances. He is expressing his humanness and taking on the wrath of the father as he dies for our sin. His heart is heavy with our sins and he cries out in grief over the full weight of them.
Jesus is the head. We, his disciples, are the body.
Colossians 1:18 says, “And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
“And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” Ephesians 1:22-23.
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:15
When Jesus cries out to the Father, he is praying as the head and as the body. Jesus’ cry unites him with all our suffering and unites us with the Father.
As Christians, our suffering is not private. Jesus identifies with us.
“So He had to be made like His brothers in every way, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, in order to make atonement for the sins of the people. Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:17-18
Our suffering is also not private because we are a community of believers. Ideally, we ought to suffer with those who are suffering.
Today, let us remember that our suffering is not an isolated experience, but we have Jesus who suffers with us. Let us also remember those who are suffering so that we may walk beside them and offer our help and assistance. In our pain, we can be tempted to think we are isolated, and that no one cares what we are going through. We might feel Jesus isn’t doing enough to alleviate our suffering. Sometimes he seems to allow us to go deeper in our despair. A heart that is not open and vulnerable cannot receive true healing. Sometimes he brings us to that place where we realize God is all we have, so that we can recognize that God is all we need at that moment.
In Scripture, it is clear every person stands in need of redemption. Why? Because every person has sinned.
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23. The following verse then reveals we are "justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Romans 3:24. Hebrews 9:15 says that Jesus "is the mediator of a new covenant . . . since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant."
When we are redeemed, we become different people.
When God redeemed Israel from slavery in Egypt, He made them a new nation and gave them a new land. Likewise, the Christian has a new identity in Christ. No longer is the Christian a captive to sin and death. Instead, he has become a citizen of God's kingdom. Christians now live in anticipation of our eternal home with our heavenly Father.
When we are redeemed, God can redeem our suffering.
Redeem. That one word changes everything. It speaks of purpose. It speaks of the promise that our suffering is not in vain. It comforts us when pain envelops us, and darkness is our closest friend. God does not delight in our suffering, but weeps with us as he did in John 11. But his tears are not all that he gives us. He gives us hope and assurance that suffering is not in vain. Just as Jesus cried with Mary before he raised Lazarus (John 11:32–35), the Lord cries with us, knowing he will redeem our suffering.
Suffering It is not meant to be an individual experience but a cooperative experience of redemption with Jesus and with others. Let Jesus’ involvement in human suffering and his cry of abandonment remind you of this today, on this Good Friday.
“But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” Isaiah 53:5 NLT
During the Easter season, we are even more aware of what Jesus went through on earth so that we could be made new children of God, blameless and holy in His sight. That God would send His Son to suffer and die for our sins is unlike any other world religion. Three days later He would rise to forgive, redeem, and sustain us with his strength and love. Our God is an awesome God, and He loves us beyond measure. The price He paid for us means we are free. Continue to walk in that freedom. Jesus said, “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” (John 8:36) Remember that as you continue through your week.
In John 17, Jesus prays for His disciples — that they wouldn’t be taken out of this world, but rather, would be strengthened to be used for God’s glory.
Because we are believers and disciples of Christ today, His prayer also applies to you and me! That means you have been sent into this world with strength and power.
When trials come, there’s no reason to have a pity party about them, saying, “Poor me; I’m under attack.” Jesus has already overcome the world, so in Him we are overcomers. He gives us everything we need pertaining to “life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3). It’s already ours. We have to wake up and actually use it, but we don’t have to strive to attain it.
We already have everything we need to walk in the victory won for us in Christ. The Holy Spirit that lives within you is inviting you to “live and move and have our being” in Him (Acts 17:28). He is the One who overcomes. In Him so do we.
#dailytruth #freshhope #hope #overcomer #victory #relyongod #holyspiritpower #health #stclair #saintclair
FISHERS COMMUNITY CHURCH
Pastor Joseph Doenges
WORSHIP SUNDAY 10:00 AM
301 N. 6th Street
St. Clair, MI 48079
a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization