This was the title of our Pastor’s sermon last Sunday. His closing remark was, “Let’s pray that we might be surprised by God once again. Amen.
I almost always close my morning devotion time with an added prayer that God will send me a pleasant surprise that day. Upon occasion the prayer is answered.
Recently, I wanted to give a friend a book I remembered reading a long time ago, “Become a Better You” by Joel Osteen, Pastor and author. My friend has enjoyed watching Joel’s TV ministry, and I knew the book would make her feel better about some problems she is facing at this time.
In the retirement residence where I live we often get book donations for our library. It is my pleasure to help arrange the books on shelves at these times.
Before I could get out to buy “Become a Better You” for my friend, it came my way via donation. You can imagine my surprise to find this book in my hands without having to take a step out of the building, or a penny out of my pocket.
Pastor Duncan’s sermon last Sunday reminded me of how much I love being surprised by God.
Should we still be looking out only for number one? Maybe the time has come to give a little thought to our fellow humans, whether they be family, friends, presidents, or the grocery store clerk.
What does it take to look out for others? A simple phone call to see if there is a need to be addressed; a well timed visit, following all health protocols of course; and a heartfelt prayer here and there when all else fails…or even when it doesn’t.
Scripture speaks to this growing concern in our world today. Perhaps we should take its advice to be sure that we are looking out for each other.
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4
Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.1 Corinthians 10:24
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32
Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
People all over the world die every day. But when it hits close to home death becomes different; personal, sadder, even poignant.
It happened to me this week. Two of my very close friends died within three days. One was a friend of fifty years and the other’s friendship entwined my life for sixty years.
I will miss these ladies and their enduring friendship very much to say the least. But I take comfort in the fact that they are now truly home. Yes, I do believe in life after death.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25,26
I also take comfort in knowing that my loss is God’s gain. And that’s the upside of grief.
Every day is a new day if we get to live it. Being thankful for each new day is one of the best ways to show God our appreciation for it. I like to start my day with this lovely little prayer: “God, grant me the grace to live this day in your strength.” This way, no matter what the day holds, I feel empowered to meet it without further thought. Here are some messages from scripture on the subject.
This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
A new day will dawn on us from above because our God is loving and merciful. Luke 1:78
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22,23
Have you ever wondered how you got mired in a certain way of thinking without giving it any thought?
It came to me one morning back in the eighties, when a scripture I had read or heard somewhere popped into my mind. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind….” (Romans 12:2). I actually stopped what I was doing at the time and thought about what that might mean. And so I tried it. It meant monitoring the daily words that inhabited my mind, and choosing only the ones that could enhance my life rather than degrade it.
This is not a one-time exercise. It is an ongoing challenge, sorting thoughts, changing the words to speak, goofing up, and going back to the drawing board.
For instance, have you ever said to yourself, “I’m going to give so-and-so a piece of mind!” Well, you can bet your bottom dollar that that piece of your mind is not going to be a good piece.
In Isaiah 55:8 God said: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts…” Too bad, eh?
The question crops up periodically about the gender of God. We can see by Genesis 1:26 and 27 that God created man in his own image. He also created woman, presumably also in his image; (if not, why not?)
Genesis 1:26…And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them….(27) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
We are told repeatedly in scripture that God is in us, Jesus is in us, Spirit is in us. In John 14:20 we read: In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.
It is written that Jesus was born of Mary, a female and of the Spirit, supposedly male and therefore would encompass both.
We know we are born of a man and a woman, our mother and father, and therefore have both female and male in our makeup.
If we have both female and male in us and are born in God’s image, does that answer the question of God’s gender??
Some people don’t like this word ‘humility’ as it may conjure up a sign of weakness, not realizing that humility in itself is a strength.
Here’s one definition I gleaned from the Internet: Humility is the quality of being humble and means putting the needs of another person before your own, and thinking of others before yourself. It also means not drawing attention to yourself, and it can mean acknowledging that you are not always right.
Here is the Bible’s take on humility:
Philippians 2: 3-11 : Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Luke 14: 11 : For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
1 Peter 5:6 : Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you…
James 4:10: Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the humble, for they shall inherit the earth.
We are responsible for our lives but there comes a time when we are overwhelmed by the responsibility that has been thrust upon us. We fear we are not doing enough in a given situation or we fear we are not doing the right thing. But God has an answer to our fears:
With faith, let us recognize God’s responsibility to handle what we can’t. Happy Sunday.