Righteous Expecation

pbf150720.gifcomic from Perry Bible Fellowship by Nicholas Gurewitch via www.gocomics.com

Growing up in the Midwest, you would hear rumblings about a potential snow day.  It would start with a classmate at recess, then maybe confirmation from your teacher, and finally, your parents would spill the beans that yes there is a possibility.

Going to bed, knowing there is a possibility, was almost like Christmas Eve anticipation.  Trying to force yourself to sleep. Then jumping out of bed, running to the window to see if there was some white gold on the gold. If there were snow, the radio and television would be turned on to the look at the closures announcement.  Our school district started with “W,” and I grew up in a large city, it could take awhile to see our the districts name.

Then finally, “Washington Local Schools – Closed”!!!

We would jump up for joy, thinking more video game time and getting to watch Price is Right. But not so fast, sometimes Mom had plans, whether it was going shopping, heading to grandma’s house, or being attended by another adult.

All that expectation ruined by the possibility of something good.  There are only a few things worse than expecting something, then having those expectations and dreams broken by a different reality.

But the Bible speaks of the promise of having the right expectations.

Proverbs 10:28 say’s “The hope of the righteous is gladness, but the expectation of the wicked comes to nothing.” (LEB)

The great hope of the righteous is the afterlife, and placing your expectations of this great promise brings gladness.  How can this be?  The most straightforward answer is that having an afterlife focus, should make you live a life about others and not about you.  And when your life a selfless life, then you will have a sense of gladness and purpose.

The other opposite is true as well, as a pastor, I’ve gone through enough counseling sessions dealing heartache and brokenness.  And the primary culprit of this pain is selfishness.

“I want…”

“I desire…”

Selfless brings gladness while selfishness brings pain. And that is why we must fight the urge to be all about “me,” and more about the “we.”

You can’t expect your day to end up the way you wanted it to, but you can hope in God’s promise of everlasting life.

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Family Chat: God Is Our Provider

Items Needed: Gross water, spring water, donut holes, large donuts

In today’s story, we find the Israelites are finally free from slavery. And at first, they were excited. So excited they sang a song celebrating their freedom. That is like Disney level of excitement. But it didn’t take long for them to start grumbling.

They were thirsty! Can you give me your best grumbling…

So Moses showed them water that was a little disgusting. The Bible say’s it was bitter. Have you had something bitter… (Give them a cup of water that is a little gross)

So what do you think Moses did? Well just as any normal person would do, he threw in a piece of wood. Seriously he threw in a piece of wood, and the water became fit to drink. Who knew, wood could do that?! Thankfully they ended up in a beautiful place with spring water (Give them a clean cup of water)

And things were good, but what do you think happened next?

Read verse Exodus 16:3

The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt!There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” (NIV)

Doesn’t that sound like teenager complaining about being grounded

Now they are hungry. Give me again your best grumbling…

So God provided the food bread from heaven, which tasted like wafers with honey. How awesome would that be! (Give them donut holes)

So God has provided drinks and food, but do you think that made them happy? No, they wanted meat. One more time give me your best grumbling

Now I don’t have meat, but I do have something a little bigger (Give them bigger donuts)

God showed His people over and over again that He knew what they needed and what they wanted. Still, the Israelites continued to question God’s provision. Thankfully our God is patient; we learn more about His patience much later in God’s Big Story. Even when they saw ten plagues, the crossing the red sea, making the water drinkable, bread and quail coming out of the sky, and we learn in Chapter 15 God providing water out of a rock. All of this shows God Provides.

Worship Response

Supplies: Bird Seed, Pencil, Glue Stick, Large Stripe of Paper

God Provides for you and me, as a worship response, I want you to write your name on the stripe of paper. When you are done, then you are going to trace your name with the glue stick. After that is done, we are going to give you some bird seeds, to scatter over your paper.

When you are doing that, be a reminder how God provided for His people, and know that He provides for you today.

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Spiritual Parents Need To Be Spiritually Healthy

Sounds obvious…..

But is it true in your life?

Take a few moments and consider how much time you put in your spiritual life?

Is just once a week on Sunday?  Is it daily, if so how much time?

What do you do?  Do you journal? Do you say prayers? Do you read Christian books?  Do you read your Bible?

If the Christian leader in your home (aka you) isn’t spiritually healthy, then how can the home be spiritually healthy?

A Christian parent needs to be faithfully seeking God themselves, not only for their spiritual pilgrimage but also to be a living testimony for their spouse and children.  If I say, my favorite football team is Ohio State, and I watch every other team but them, would you think I am a real fan?  Same goes with our faith, if I say “I believe the Bible to be true and Jesus is important in my life,” but never pick up the book or say a prayer, would you say I am genuine about my faith?

We don’t need to spiritual gurus.  We don’t need to perfect examples.  We need to show our families that God is the priority in our lives.

Here are some way’s to make sure God is your priority

Turn loose time  into God time.  We all have some loose time during our day.  Take one of those times to read a verse or two.  Take one of those times to say a quick prayer for your spouse and children.

Plan time in your day, your week and your year for God.  If you are not careful with your time, it will fill up fast.  Make sure not to overload your time with things that are not spiritually essential.  Maybe plan time off during the week or even plan a sabbatical sometime during the year.

Share your spiritual moments.  When a verse strikes your interest, share your thoughts with your family.  It doesn’t have to be a well thought-out idea, tell your family a verse you are thinking about, and maybe they might have insight that will help you! When you have an answered prayer, let your children know. If God is working in you, make sure your family knows it.

Something Extra

Make a spiritual journal for each of your children.  Every night when they go to bed or prepare for bedtime, write a God-moment and say a prayer for them.

 

Joy Of Serving Others

Joy Of Serving Others

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. — Lk 15:1-7

We learn from an early age the joy of getting, and hopefully over years they will learn other joys in life, especially the joy of serving. 

Think back over your own life, do you remember everything you received?  If you are like me, you probably find things long forgotten every time you clean the basement.  But I bet you can remember the good times when you served someone.  Maybe it was volunteering at a local mission or going on short-term mission trip a long time ago.  But you can still remember the smiles from that experience.

Jesus’ joy came from finding the lost and the need, and helping them out.  This source of joy should not be absent from us in our life.  If you are joyless today, find a place to serve soon.  We are created in the image of God, and part of that image is the joy of serving others.

Take Heart!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Think about the power that we have to encourage each other, to influence one’s life, to make life easier for others to live by simply say these two words, “Take Heart!”

Are you struggling? Take Heart!

Do you need peace? Take Heart!

How can these two simple words change our mood, life, and attitude?

Because, Jesus has overcome the world. Jesus has overcome death through the resurrection, and if we are believers in Him, we also can overcome spiritual death.

These two words can be given any believer as an encouragement because a kind word cheers other people up.

Next time your Christian friend is struggling, tell them to “Take Heart, for Christ has overcome this world!”

Are You Radiating Joy

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. (Matthew 9:10 – 15)

Have you thought of how Jesus relaxed? Many pictures of Jesus show him in terms of a somber, melancholy tone. But look at the scripture above. We see Jesus sitting down in the midst of dinner, having a joyful time with friends and sinners. How do we know that He has a joyful time? Because when the religion bullies come to question Jesus, he uses a parable of a wedding day. Last time I checked, weddings are not supposed to sad, but rather a celebration.

Christian living is supposed to be a joyful experience, especially in the midst of those who do not believe Christ to be the savior. One of the elements of Holy Spirit, which is in all Christians is joy.

So the question for you, “Is your life, a radiation of joy, a component of your testimony to your faith in Jesus Christ?”