October 7

Well, the sermon was not recorded, but I can still give you a quick word.  Psalm 117 is the smallest chapter in the Bible but has some of the biggest words.  God’s steadfast (hesed) love and God’s faithfulness are two big words in Hebrew.  However the word translated “great” (in NIV) or “powerful” (NLT) or “towers over” (NET) is something even bigger.  It has the idea of something so big and powerful that it cannot be imagined.  And in my sermon I compared it to the waves that are formed off the shores of Nazarè, Portugal.  These waves which only the best can surf are sometimes over 100 feet tall.  And that picture of a massive, unstoppable, powerful wave is the kind of idea behind the words in Psalm 117.  So you can either ride that wave of God’s love and faithfulness, or you can be crushed by it. The choice is up to you.

September 30

I preached on Psalm 139 this week, but because of the Acorn Bank Breaking, I was only able to touch on two aspects of this incredible Psalm.  So I hope that if you listened to this week’s sermon, you will dig deeper and read the entire psalm.  And as I hinted on in the sermon, read it in two different modes.  First treat this psalm in a way that sees God’s all-knowing power and all-present person as a positive that inspires awe and wonder at God.  Then read it a second time.  But this time read it as someone who does not like the fact that God know every thing and is everywhere.  Maybe as someone who is under conviction and does not want God to know about things they want to keep hidden or for God to know about.  Then ask yourself an even tougher question . . .  one I did not have time to deal with.  How does verses 19-21 fit in to either one of those readings.  These verses are often skipped over by many preachers and commentaries because they do not seem to fit in.  What do you think?  As always feel free to comment on them on this website.

September 23

Another week has passed us by.  We have so much to be thankful for.  But this week’s thought based on Sunday’s service has to do with our past failures.  Do we try to forget them?  Or do we try to remember and learn from them?  But our learning from our mistakes should not be then end of them.  Do we remember, learn, and then tell the next generation of our failures?  Too often we are tempted not to share with others the mistakes we have made.  We may even believe that we should let the next generation fall into the same mistakes we did so they will learn from them.  And while that may need to be the case in certain circumstances, we should try to help our kids not to make those same mistakes.  That is what learning from history is all about.  Because as I quoted from some wise people in my sermon, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.

September 16

As I mentioned in my sermon Sunday, this week’s topic for this devotion is going to focus on the pain that sin sometimes brings.  David says in Psalm 32, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night you hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer . . . Many are the woes of the wicked.”  Sin can do a number on you.  And this is not just a Old Testament teaching.  As in the sermon, I quoted from James 5 about confessing your sins to each other. But if you read the whole context, James is talking about healing and some of the problems the readers needed healing from were caused by sin.  Starting in 5:13, James writes about praying for healing for those who are sick.  He mentions forgiven sins in vs 15, “If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.”  Then it goes to verse 16, “Therefore (in light of the previous verses about praying for healing and forgiveness), confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  He then ends his book a few verses later talking about how we should help those who have wandered into sins.  Sins can cause physical ailments.  The Bible does NOT equate that all physical ailments are caused by sin, but sins can cause ailments.  This is just one reason why we need to make sure that our sins are confessed and we have a right relationship with God.  Thankfully we all have the promise of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

September 9

The fact that we live in a world that is fallen, broken, and failing makes this psalm and the many like it so vital.  We need a God who will remain firm and strong when the world around us falls to pieces.  I love that there is so much confidence in these psalms.  It gives us a shelter when times are dark.  And the hymn by Martin Luther is so clear on this concept that it is one of my favorites.  “A Mighty Fortress is our God”

September 2

I am glad we have a God who keeps his promises.  That the wrong will fail and the right prevail (with peace on earth, good will toward men . . . as the old Christmas hymn goes).  That we do not have to fret, worry, fear, get angry with those in the world who wish us harm and seem to get away with it.  God will reward us with blessings beyond our imagination if we continue to remain faithful in following him through the tough times.  That is what “the land” means.  It is our promised inheritance that we can dwell in even now.  So as the old song goes, “Don’t be a doubting Thomas, rest fully in His promise. Why worry, worry, worry, worry, when you can pray”

August 26

This week’s sermon was about confidence.  I wanted to include a quote that I read this week from my desk calendar but it did not make the final cut.  Truthfully, I forgot about it until I relooked at my notes this morning.  It is a quote form Charles Stanley’s book A Touch of His Wisdom.  He says, “Jesus is faithful.  He begins and completes your personal walk of faith as you rely on him.  There is no temptation that he cannot overcome for you and with you.  There is no evil that he cannot deliver you from.  There is no obstacle that he cannot overcome on your behalf”  I am so glad that we serve a God in whom we can have confidence in no matter the circumstances in lift.  He will help us overcome whatever come our way.  Just trust Him and have the confidence he will bring you through.

August 19

The facts about the stars I shared last week and the sun this week are mind blowing.  The numbers are to big for us to imagine.  200 billion billion stars.  The sun equaling the size of a basketball and the earth (a 2mm dot) is 80 feet away proportionally!  Every time I have preached this sermon with these facts, I have to double check to make sure my math is right.  But they check out every time.  I have even found a website that does the math for you.  Check it our if you want. https://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/solar_system/.  On that site you can type in the size you want the sun compared with and it crunches the numbers and gives you the sizes and distances to other things in our universe.  But as fascinating and wonderful as these numbers are, I can think of something even more fascinating.  That the God of the Universe loves me and died for a sinner like I.  “The wonder of it all, the wonder of it all, just to think that God loves me” (George Beverly Shea)

August 11

This last week we saw just how big God is.  And in case you missed it, just go to the sermon link on this website to listen in.  But in summery, he is big enough to create the estimated 200 billion billion plus stars in the universe with the flick of his fingers and then knows the names of each of them.  And yet, he is also a God big enough to care for us and to exalt us.  With these two facts in mind, it is no wonder the psalmist exclaimed, “O LORD our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

August 5

Like many of you, I was troubled by the news stories about the shootings that have taken place in our country this last week.  But today as I was looking at the various news feeds,  I came across one penned by one of my favorite authors, Max Lacado.  You can find his entire story at https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/max-lucado-el-paso-dayton-and-more-how-are-we-to-respond-to-this-dark-season-of-bloodshed but I am going to copy some excerpts here.  “More bad news. Killings in El Paso. Shootings in Ohio. All this on the heels of a violent weekend last week. All of this violence adding up to too many mass shootings in just 216 days. Is our society coming unraveled? How are we to respond to this dark season of bloodshed?Anger is the choice of many. Anger at politicians. Anger at the NRA. Anger at God. We become bitter and sour toward this world; toward one another. Fear is another option. Lock the doors and close the windows. Avoid every shadow and dark alley.Yet, do we want to be a nation of fear and anger? But what can we do?. . .Let’s pause and invite God to tell us his name. Our greatest need is his presence. Yes, we want this storm to pass. Yes, we want the winds to still. But yes, yes, yes, we want to know, need to know, and must know that the great I AM is coming. . . .Don’t let the storm turn you inward. Let it turn you upward. Listen and see if you don’t hear him say: I AM with you in the storm.”