Category: Sunday rest 2024

Sunday rest and reflection: providence

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings on this wonderful day of refreshing!  Every day is a day of refreshing in Jesus Christ, but Christians celebrate a day of worship and rest on the first day of the week because that is the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead!  This supernatural event declares Jesus to be the Son of God with power!  (Romans 1:4)  He stands uniquely above any other person because of this event and their are many eye-witnesses that testified to this truth!

I want to reflect today on the “providence” of God.  Providence is a word that seems to mean “chance” or “luck”.  But Christians do not believe in “luck”.  Our God is sovereign and has the power to bring about His purposes.  He alone knows all things.  He knows what will happen and how things will happen.  He also has the power to make things happen.  He is bound by His love and the covenant He made with man and by His own Word.  If He has said it, He will do it!  He has also decreed that He will hear the prayers of His people and act upon them in a way to bring about their forgiveness, deliverance, healing and prosperity in accordance with His own Word.

 In God’s economy, everything will work for good for those that love God and seek Him in prayer.  (Romans 8:26-28)  He gives us the Holy Spirit to help us to pray according to the will of God!  As we pray in the Spirit,  He can take that which was meant for evil and turn it to our good.  He can take evil men and turn the tables on them!  He can bring hidden things to light at just the right time to change the course of history!  Esther’s story with that of her Uncle Mordecai gives us glimpses into the miraculous providence of God released when His people pray!  Have a great day of rest and may the providence of our Lord fill you with joy and peace!  In His Love, Pastor John

Tags : ,

Sunday rest and reflection: prayer

Greetings in the Wonderful Name of Jesus Christ, our coming King and eternal Savior!  “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:24)   It is a choice to rejoice in the Lord each and every day!  Each day is a new day with new understanding of how great our God is!  As we begin another week, set aside time to reflect on God Himself.  Take time to commune with Him!  Take time to be with others of like-precious faith who gather to worship, study, and thank Him in community!  We especially need this as we see the day of the Lord approaching!  (Hebrews 10:25)

We have been reading this past week about Ezra and Nehemiah, two great men in the history of Israel who relied on God and lived lives of prayer and obedience.  Ezra offered praise and thanks to the Lord for granting him favor to rebuild the temple.  (Ezra 7:27-28)  Ezra prayed for traveling mercies for his party with all the gold and silver articles for the temple. (Ezra 8:21-23)  After God brought them safely to Jerusalem, they met with others and offered sacrifices and thanked the Lord.  Ezra heard about the unfaithfulness of those who had married outside of the faith and he again humbled himself to pray and fast and confess the sins of his countrymen.  (Ezra 9:5-15)  Others gathered with him and they sought the Lord.  God brought repentance and cleansing as they prayed together.

Nehemiah carried a burden for Jerusalem and it’s broken walls.  He began to pray to the Lord about his burden.  (Nehemiah 1:5-11)  God gave him opportunity to speak with the Persian king, Artaxerxes, and he prayed again.  (Nehemiah 2:4) God granted him favor and he was sent by this pagan king to rebuild the walls, along with materials and money as well as workers!  As he arrived, God gave him a vision to put the people to work by families, assigning them personal responsibility near their own homes.  Prayer was offered to combat discouragement and stop opposing forces. (Nehemiah 4:4-5)   Nehemiah armed the workers and encouraged them to work and fight for their own children, homes and families!  (Nehemiah 4:14)  He had a trumpeter near him at all times to sound a call to fight (or pray) when an attack might come.  (Nehemiah 4:20) 

Take time today to praise the Lord, thank Him for Who He is.  Do this for yourself and for your family!  Meet with God’s people and worship in community!  He is coming soon! In His Love, Pastor John

Tags : ,

Sunday rest and reflection: mercy!

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Greetings on this day of worship and reflection!  God is to be praised for His mercy and long-suffering!  As I think back on the nearly 500 years of history in the Kings and Chronicles, God surely was patient with His people!  He suffered long with their stubbornness.  He waited patiently for them to respond to His prophets and Word.  He punished them, but still His mercy was extended to those who would listen and respond.  They endured wars, captivity, famines, internal bickering and strife while God kept continually offering them His amazing grace!  They only needed to turn to Him in repentance and call on His name and He would hear and answer!  How long our God bears with us!

As I think about the day we live in, God is still offering the amazing grace of forgiveness!  He is still suffering long and ready to extend His cleansing grace.  All who call out to Him are heard!  He still saves and delivers.  He forgives sin, rebellion and strife when His people repent!  He has sent His people out with a message of good news!  God’s wrath has been satisfied with the blood of His own Son!  Whoever believes can get in on it!  What an amazing display of mercy available to all who will come to Him!

After the trials and tests of this life are over, God promises us full life with Him forever!  This is extreme mercy!  We who were His enemies are now brought near and given a full inheritance!  The same God who foretold the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple, tells us of a new heavens and new earth where we will dwell in righteousness with Him forever!  Go and tell the Good News of God’s amazing mercy!  Have a great week in Jesus Christ!  Love in Him, Pastor John

Tags : , ,

Sunday rest and reflection

Greetings! Today is another day of rest and reflection and a time to catch up if you need to. Today, I am reflecting on what it means to seek God during our days here on earth.

Solomon built a temple for the Lord as a place where God’s people could come and seek the Lord.  At the dedication of the temple, Solomon’s prayer petitioned God to let His eyes be on the temple and asked that God’s ears would be attentive to the prayers of His people.  (2 Chronicles 6:20-21)  God answered Solomon by appearing to him and answering his petitions.  God promised that His Name would always be there and that His eyes and heart would also be there.  (2 Chronicles 7:15)  God warned Solomon not to forsake seeking Him and turn away to other gods. 

I believe that the first thing needed to seek God is faith.  Anyone who comes to God, must believe that He is.  Since God is Spirit, we can not see Him with our physical eyes.  So if we are seeking to contact God, we must approach Him as if He is really there and can hear and see us.  God actually appeared to Solomon after he had prayed and petitioned God.  As we approach God in faith, He reveals Himself to us.

We must also believe that God wants to reward us for seeking Him.  (Hebrews 11:6)  It wouldn’t do much good to seek out God if we did not feel that He would actually hear and understand what we needed.  Our God not only understands us, but has compassion on us and loves us.  He desires our highest good and wants to bless us.  We understand these truths by faith through believing God’s Word.  We must choose to believe because we hear the Word.  The Word of God has spiritual life and power in it to bring faith to the hearts of those who hear and believe, not just listen.

It was said of Rehoboam that he did evil in the sight of the Lord because he failed to seek the Lord.  (2nd Chronicles 12:14) Lord help us to seek You in all we do! In His love, Pastor John

Tags : , , , ,

Sunday rest: spreading God’s fame!

As we reflect back on this week’s reading, I am drawn to the psalm of thanks written by King David in 1st Chronicles 16:8-36.  This is quoted again in part in three other psalms in the Book of Psalms 96, 105, 106.  This psalm of thanks was composed when the Ark of the Covenant was brought back to Jerusalem after being away in captivity and then at the house of Obed-Edom.  This is the time that David took off his kingly robes and danced before the Lord with all his might.  (2nd Samuel 6:12-16)  He was overjoyed to have the presence and blessing of God in Jerusalem, the city of David.

The psalm has a joyful tone and is boastful of the Lord and his great miracles and mercies.  It exhorts singing, praying, rejoicing, remembering, giving, declaring, trembling, crying out, and thanksgiving  from all peoples! The desire of God to spread His fame to the nations of the earth is a recurring theme! (1st Chronicles 16:8,24,28,31,35) God wants the nations aware of His wonders, miracles, and judgments. He exhorts the nations to ascribe to the Lord the glory due His Name. 

1 Chronicles 16:35-36 ask the Lord to save them out of the nations!  “Say also: “Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather and deliver us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to Your holy Name and glory in Your praise. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting!” Then all God’s people said, “Amen!” and praised the Lord.”

What a great reflection on this seventh day of rest!  God has not changed!  He is desirous of all nations knowing Him and coming under His eternal rule!  We are to share His marvelous works and deeds with all nations and every person!  We are to worship, sing, remember, give, thank, seek, rejoice, cry out, declare, and praise this God who reigns from everlasting to everlasting!  Have a great day of rest and joy!  Jesus Christ is Lord!

Tags :

Sunday rest: God watches all!

Dear friends,

With wars and rumors of war very much alive in our world and on the news, we must remember that God is on His Throne and He watches over all mankind and rules without fear or fretting. He knows everything, the evil and the good. He is perfectly just and will punish the evil and protect and reward those righteous by faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

As we rest and reflect on the reading of the past week, I am again reminded that God has His eyes on His Word and He watches His people! Our Father is omniscient, which is a fancy way to say that He knows everything, past, present and future. Nothing is hidden from His sight or understanding. Everything that exists, is there because of His Word, which He faithfully watches over. He is sustaining our world by His Word. No Word of God has ever failed. Heaven and earth will pass away, but His Word will never pass away. Nothing is impossible with God when it comes to fulfilling His Word.

He also watches over the sons of man, looking for those whose hearts are fully committed to Him and who by faith trust His Word and act accordingly. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless towards Him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9) God promises ‘strong support’ for those trusting Him by faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please Him.

In 2nd Kings, we found leaders who ‘did right’ in the eyes of the Lord and those ‘who did evil’ in the eyes of the Lord. Both examples are written down as reminders for God’s people of all nations and cultures and times. Paul warned the church through Scripture, “Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.” (1 Corinthians 10:6) We all have the capacity to walk by faith through hearing and receiving God’s Word. We also have capacity to walk in disobedience and evil through following our flesh and the temptations of our enemy, Satan. Let’s keep our eyes on our Lord and His unfailing Word in our walk this week! Remember, God’s eyes are on you! In His Love, Pastor John

Tags : , , , , ,

Sunday rest and reflection–praise!

Greetings in Jesus’ Name!

Jesus is our heavenly Bridegroom! His Bride comes from every tribe, tongue and nation. From the rising of the sun to its going down, His Name will be praised! But in the New Jerusalem, a sun is not needed! As God’s glory filled the temple of Solomon’s day that he built, so God’s glory will fill His eternal city, the New Jerusalem. It will be a city of peace, joy, and everlasting blessing for those with their names written as citizens there. There will be joy unspeakable and full of glory!

As his father David was a warrior/king, Solomon was a king of peace among the nations!  He ruled Israel and through his wisdom made ties of peace with many other nations.  He took wives and concubines, 1000 in all, from many lands!  His splendor and wisdom were told of throughout the known world!  The wealth of nations were brought to him.  God’s favor rested on him to build a “house for God’s Name”. God’s glory filled that “House”! This foreshadowed the promised Messiah who came through Solomon.

Jesus Christ is Solomon’s greater son!  He is wisdom to us!  (1st Corinthians 1:30)  He is the Prince of Peace!  As King of kings, He will rule over the world from Jerusalem and all the nations will serve and worship Him!  The glory of His later ‘House’ will be greater than the former ‘house’!  Amen!  Have a great day of praise and worship to our great King!  In Adoration of Him, Pastor John

Tags : , , , ,

Sunday rest and reflection–Resurrection

Matthew 28:1-7 “Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus Who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that He has risen from the dead, and behold, He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him.”

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Mary and I wish each of you a blessed Resurrection day, as we celebrate the most powerful event in human history, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave! “He is risen” was the message of the angel to the first women visiting the tomb to anoint His body. That cry brings us to worship our King, Son of David, Son of God, Who alone defeated the “giant” of sin and death and the grave. He is alive and shows Himself to all who will humbly seek Him.

The Son of God came to dwell among us and reveal the heart of His Father–love for us through His earthly ministry and compassion for our fallen nature. This love caused the Father to give His Son, Jesus Christ, the mission of taking the sins of all people and paying the penalty for our sins through sacrificial death on the cross. Jesus, Alone, did for us what we could not do for ourselves. It is not our good works, our family, our knowledge or position, our church membership, or even our confession of faith that saves us. We are saved by His finished work of paying for our sins on the cross and by His grace extended to us through His intercession and drawing us to repentance and faith.

May God’s amazing grace fill your life today with obedience, faithfulness, and worship with His family as we all gather to declare “He is risen indeed!” Amen! Pastor John and Mary

Tags : , , ,

Sunday rest and reflection–Palm Sunday

Greetings in the Wonderful Name of the Lord!  Heaven and earth rejoice in His Glory!  His Spirit hovers over the earth and the hearts of His own to impart life and grace.  He rules in truth and justice!  He shows mercy to those who call on Him and punishes the wicked.  He jealously guards over his own Bride, the Church. He arms them with His own Sword, the Word of God. They sing and dance in adoration!  

Yet as God’s people gather today to worship, study and fellowship, many huddle in fear because of some taunting giant in their lives!  The army of Israel was paralyzed for forty days by Goliath, the Philistine giant.  He taunted them daily to send out a man!  The biggest man they had was their king, Saul. The whole army was paralyzed by sight and the resulting intimidation. They saw Goliath as huge and considered their own strength as small. Then David came on the scene with perfect vision!

Faith enabled David the have courage to step up and fight the giant.  Goliath’s size, strength, and armament was not the main consideration.  His nine foot-six frame would come crashing down in David’s way of looking at this problem.  The fifteen pound spear-head would be useless against the Name of his God!  David had tackled the lion and the bear, what could this uncircumcised Philistine do?   In the Name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, David ran towards the giant and launched a smooth stone. Victory!

If you are facing a giant who is mocking you and your God today, why not handle the giant like David did!  He knelt at the brook–humbly seeking God’s favor and direction.  But instead of selecting stones, we look in faith at Jesus Christ, our humble King,. He defeated the ‘giant’ of death and hell through love and obedience !  Jesus purchased the ‘Gift of His Father’ to give us overcoming power to stand in His victory against all our ‘giants’.  Go in the power of the Holy Spirit and topple your giant!  May God bless you today with joy and peace in believing!  Rejoice this Palm Sunday in Your humble King! In His Love, Pastor John

Tags : ,

Sunday rest and reflection

“In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” Judges 21:25

Reading through the book of Judges, I am impressed with how much it describes our contemporary culture and the world view of secular humanism.  When people have no king or supreme authority in their lives, they become the authority themselves.  This was the original lie of the serpent: “You can be as God.” The result is catastrophic!  Society becomes full of sin, immorality, and rebellion.  Our enemies enslave us and blind us with lies. God, our Father, longs to intervene. Passionate prayer is required!

In the time of Judges, the ministry of the priesthood was also corrupt.  Ministers were often hirelings.  (John 10:11-13)  Many have positions and go through the motions, but do not really care for the people.  They tickle ears and tell their people what they want to hear.  (2nd Timothy 4:3-4)  Some love money and use God’s people to line their own pockets.  We must be discerning of the same idolatry and religious scams in our world today!

God’s remedy for the people caught in religion has always been the same.  He listens for His people to cry out to Him in prayer!  When they do, He begins to act.  (Psalm 50:14-15)  He raises up a person who will walk with Him by faith and preach the Word of God.   When these people preach the uncompromising Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit, then healing, restoration, and deliverance takes place.  (see Judges 4:1-11 for an example)  How God longs to be our King and lead us into the abundant life!  Call out to Him in passionate prayer. Allow Him to touch your heart today!  God bless you and your family!  Pastor John

Tags : , ,