So what are you? When you walk do you go faster up hill or downhill? The climb is always the hardest but there are folk who are determined to get there with all their strength, and then, when they are over the top, they like to cruise. On the other hand there are folk who let the pedal out when they are on the downhill run. They zoom, but the up hill is a battle. They struggle to reach the top.
Life is a lot like up hill and down dale. How do you manage the race.
One thing is for sure. It sure is an amazing race … but unlike the tv series, it never ends. When one section is finished the next one is ready to go. It can be tiring. It can be frustrating It can be lonely But this morning let me remind you that you do not run this race alone. God is with you. God is in you. He is there for you Sometimes, in our tiredest moments we wonder where He is We look around us and all we see is difficulty. The writer of psalm 8 helps us here by suggesting instead of looking at ourselves and our condition, we look outward at all that God has made for us. Yes, its not perfect … but then, He did make it perfect It was us that changed it.
But the point still remains. He made it perfect for us Enjoy your day! Enjoy the ride!
It will be worth it when you and God do it together.
I don’t know if you have realised it yet but He is calling out your name. Yes, the gentle still small voice is calling out to you.
God does go to extraordinary lengths to capture our attention.
Remember, with Paul, the writer of many of the letters in the Bible, He used a lightning bolt. One must assume Paul was a little hard of hearing when God had to go to great effort to secure his attention. What about you? What does God need to get you to turn around?
Many of us, I suppose, think that God is not really interested in us, or, perhaps, He has many more important people that He needs to converse with. Why would God want to talk with me? Well, and here’s the thing. God loves you!
You are important to Him
So important, that He went to the Cross for you. That is He suffered and died for you. He was willing to do that for you so that you might be free. We take freedom for granted in Australia, but in other parts of the world, the kind of freedom God brings, is costly, very costly indeed.
JESUS did tell His followers that they should weigh up the cost before following Him. But to know God, to revel in the understanding that He loves you ….the supreme being of the Universe .. the creator of the Universe … loves you.
He knows your name He knows all about you He even knows all your faults, (all of them) and he still loves you. But wait …….. There’s more! Today we celebrate the coming of God’s Holy Spirit, to live inside people. Yes, a part of God can live in you, encouraging you, supporting you, leading you in ways and places you might never have gone if you were by yourself. But with God in you, you have the ability to touch lives and heal hurts and bring new life and hope. Christianity is not waiting for the pie in the sky when you die. Christianity is about bringing life and hope and purpose today. And this isn’t an age thing. It’s not just for the young, it is also for the older folk. It’s available to us all. Guess what? If you have read this piece this morning, then I have to say, thank you, for God has got your attention. Now it’s time to listen, and then, with the blessing He has given you, it is time for you to LIVE! God bless you Ron
A few years ago while looking for ideas for our next overseas trip I came across a most interesting photo of coloured stones And I was drawn to it. I found out that these stones appeared in waterways of the Glacier national Park in Montana USA. Last year I got to see them up close. And they were just as I had anticipated. Stones of all shapes and sizes and of all colours too.
Which lead me to think about the living stones of 1 Peter. It’s hard to get your head around the fact that God knows (really knows) the heart and mind of every human on the planet. He’s not like us. We can only know about 150 names of people and then, when the 151st person comes along, to remember that name, one of the 150 names has to drop off. But not God. He knows all of us, the rough stones, the long stones, the red stones, the yellow stones, the grey stones. He knows us all. And we are all precious to Him. And …. and here’s the thing: Are you able to imagine that not only does God know you intimately, He also has a plan dovetailed to your life? Most of us do not give that a thought. Life for us is at best an aimless wondering, always seeking for the best road ahead. While God, in His love for us, does not force us to follow His ways (oh how we wish that sometimes He might) He still invites us to journey with Him and discover what it is that he has planned for us. You know, no matter how old we are, it is still not too late to hop on His bandwagon and travel with Him. There is still time for us to discover new opportunities and blessings that we can have at His hand.
Do not put off today what you might regret later on.
Here’s a picture I took a few years back while in Eire. Have a good look, a really good look:
The stones make up a wall and the wall protects what is inside that wall. But did you notice? Not all the stones are the same. There are long ones, short ones, wide one, thin ones. But and here’s the thing: When these stones are put together they make a wall that is strong and sturdy. Peter calls us living stones. (1 Peter 2) He is of course referring to Christians and to the church. This organisation that God created. ……… Hang on! Wait a minute! God did not create an organisation. He created a movement, a very real presence of Himself in the world. Isn’t it funny that two centuries later it would look more like a corporation than a movement. I suppose humans could not help themselves. In an endeavour to provide a basis for this ever growing church, they made rules and regulations and lo and behold the church as we have it today. Most of it is hierarchal ~ that is the boss is at the top, but even in the ones like ours where it is more democratic, it still is not like what God envisaged. And to ad to that, the one who should be at the top, (God Himself) is often not. No wonder we have fallen into disrepute by the masses who see us as archaic, and out of date and flawed.
But there is still hope. All we have to do is keep our eyes on God and He leads us in wonder and excitement as He chooses to use us to bring life. We are living stones. When we join together and allow the Lord JESUS to be our strength and the Holy Spirit to be our counsellor, our advisor, our director, we do bring life in all its fullness to those who need it most ~ the ones whom JESUS loves.
Most of us are looking forward to getting back to normal ~ life as it was. But, have we stopped and considered what does God want? What is He looking for?
Does He want us to just return to life as it was prior to this pandemic? Is He happy if we do this or is He looking for a ‘new normal’. Is He satisfied with the way we relate to him? Is there another way?
Our readings this morning, especially from 1 Peter and James chapter 1 encourage us to see things differently. Rather than going back to what we had, should we not be going forward.
But, what might we not like about that prospect? In the next few weeks we will unpack this thought, but I encourage you now to begin to think about what life could be after the pandemic has passed. God didn’t cause this virus, but He did allow it. Why? What are His plans for you? Are you prepared and game enough to ask Him? Difficulties and pain and sickness draw us back to the One who has the power to change our circumstances. But at what cost to us might that happen? In the words of a Chinese Christian, ‘Persecution is the enemy’s second best tactic; his best is materialism….Christians have thrived under persecution, but have often struggled with prosperity.’ What are we prepared to give up in order that others might find JESUS for their lives? Lots of questions this morning, questions I hope will cause us to think about what being a Christians in Australia at this time should be like. Lord JESUS, help us to be the people You created us to be, in JESUS name we pray, Amen