“The Summer of Our Lives”

Could the Summer weather mirror our spiritual health? Many throughout the nation are experiencing a drought. This sparked a connection in my mind between our spiritual condition and our weather. In a song my son-in-law Josh, wrote, one line appears, “All sunshine makes a desert, you know.” Every time I hear this, I am profoundly impacted by the truth of this line. When we have an activity, we pray it doesn’t rain. When we have a trip, we pray it won’t rain. Get the pattern?

Do you often pray that all “goes well,” that we have no “hardships”? If so, is it as if we are praying for desert to appear? Really? Maybe. Trials, challenges, difficulties are the rain storms in our lives. Thunder storms and hurricanes are greater in scope and degree. But if we do not have such times, then there will be no water for the seeds sown in our lives. (Can they grow without water?)

So in this summer of drought, let us not have a spiritual hiatus—a spiritual drought. 

Another song that has often blessed me is by Laura Story, “Blessings”: “‘Cause, what if blessings come through raindrops? What if your healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights is what it takes to know Your near? What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?” What if all these are the rain that ends our spiritual drought, encourages growth and brings a rainbow?

Let not this summer of your life continue in a drought. Welcome the rain.

Main Text— Habakkuk  3:17-18 (ESV)17 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the LORD, is my strength.

Additional Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

  Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.—James 1:2–4 (NIV84)

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?(Psalm 42:1–2 (NIV84)

Heavenly Father, Fill me with the Living Water, the Lord Jesus Christ. Forgive me for drinking from the water that can never quench my thirst for You. I welcome the rains that bring nourishment to my thirsty soul.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Pastor Mike

“The Source of Our Strength”

Date: 04-29-15

The Big Idea A sense of light airiness comes upon me, sometimes even in some rather dire situations, and an inner strength appears, so that somehow, in my spirit, I know He is working all things out for the Good.

My Thoughts: In five places found in most common English translations of the Bible, strength and joy are connected. None is as direct as our main text noted below. In Nehemiah’s declaration, he basically equates the LORD’s joy with our strength. Thus, when we are infused with the LORD’s joy, then we are strengthened to live His Life more fully….

The intriguing aspect of Joy is we cannot conjure it up or manufacture it. Nope! It is clearly the LORD’s joy and the Fruit of the Spirit…. So no matter how hard I try to be joy-filled, I cannot in and of myself….

I have found that when the Spirit fills me with joy and thanksgiving, a delight floods my being. A sense of light airiness comes upon me, sometimes even in some rather dire situations, and an inner strength appears, so that somehow, in my spirit, I know He is working all things out for the Good.

Other times, however, I need to wait on Him for this manifestation of Joy. Sadly, however, I have found as with  myself, many do not wait on the LORD for a renewal of joy—of strength. Instead they attempt to go around gleefully acting as if they are filled with His joy, when in fact they are not. It is, at best, manufactured glee. Ah, but if we wait on the LORD, He will renew our strength AND—remember—the Joy of the LORD is our strength!

Fellow lifestyle worshipers, have you discovered this connection of joy and strength as well? Have you learned that at times we need to wait on Him to renew our Joy (strength)? What are your thoughts on joy and strength being connect like this?

Main Text: — Nehemiah 8:10 — Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our LORD. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” [NIV84]

Additional Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

 But those who keep waiting for the LORD will renew their strength. Then they’ll soar on wings like eagles; they’ll run and not grow weary; they’ll walk and not grow tired. — Isaiah 40:31 (ISV)

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.  —Psalm 28:7 (NIV84)

Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! Begin the music, strike the tambourine, play the melodious harp and lyre. — Psalm 81:1-2 (NIV84)

 Heavenly Father, I wait on You to refresh my strength as You flood my very being with the Joy of the Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Pastor Mike

“Various Trials; One Joy”

Date: 9-9-14

Text: James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, [NIV84]

The Big Idea: Though there may be various trials of all sorts, there is only one perspective: Joy.

My Thoughts: 

Hebrews 12:7a exhorts us to: “Endure hardship as discipline.” Or as I have said in the past, “Be trained by the pain.” And James supports this exhortation by telling us that though there may be various trials of all sorts, there is only one perspective: Joy. Now to some this may seem perverted. We need not enjoy the pain, but we definitely enjoy the product: becoming more like Jesus.

Lifestyle worshipers, is an attitude or perspective check is in order? Ironically, just this past Sunday, I was chatting with someone about this perspective/attitude check. We have a banner over the entrance to our facility. “As you leave, you can ask yourself where you fit,” I exhorted my fellow follower: “The wounded whine; the broken serve,” the banner states with two passages underneath, one of which is John 13:14: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” Not sure if they did or not, but I am sure I did. How about you? Do you need to “consider it pure joy,” too? 

Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:2-3 (NIV84)

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

— Romans 8:18 (NIV84)

Keep on rejoicing in the Lord at all times. I will say it again: Keep on rejoicing!

 Philippians 4:4 (ISV)

Heavenly Father, by the shed blood of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and through His power, I confess I need an attitude adjustment and a perspective shift. I have been near-sighted and whiny, caring only about my personal comfort.  I ask You, Lord Jesus Christ, to bear the consequences of my actions. Remove the pain and shame I have caused Your Name. Be that part of my Life that has been disobedient to You. I release myself into Your hands. Be the fullness of Joy in my Life through Your Holy Spirit. In Your Name Amen.

Pastor Mike