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You Know Me

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Psalm 139 Known by God
You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. – Psalm 139:1
Observation: The entire Psalm 139 is one of devotion. It calls the human heart to recognize that God is over all, and in all things. Everything within the extent of the universe: up to the heavens or down into the depths, is within the realm of the Lord. Our bodies have been made by Him. Even light and dark are subject to him. And perhaps the most mind-boggling of all is that even our thoughts are known to the Lord. Everything about us is known and apparent to God.
Application: Does the magnitude of God’s presence –  His glory, His righteousness , and His full awareness of me cause me great fear or great joy? Certainly when I realize that nothing I do escapes the Lord’s knowledge I could be filled with fear. But rather, when we read this Psalm, we can see the omnipresence of God as a comfort. The Lord of the universe is with us when we lie down when we wake up. He hems us in and protects us. He’s there in the good times and in the dark depths. In the good times, He’s filling us with hope and joy and love. And in the dark times, He is bringing His light. Even when he created us in our mother’s womb, He does so with the loving and gentle knitting of his hands. God is so involved in His creation and He’s intimately involved in my life and yours.   This is such a comforting reminder to me … that I can trust that even though God knows my every thought and my anxious ways, He is there right with me, leading me, guiding me, protecting me and drawing me closer to Him
Prayer: Lord God you know me. Forgive my worry, fear, anxiety and all my sin. Be with me in all things, and lead me in your ways, for the glory of your Holy Name, Amen!
Joy in Jesus,

Pastor Augie

note: This post follows a devotional method I encourage, and is from the Life Journal  reading plan for April 29th

Listening to the Shepherd’s Voice

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Jesus Good Shepherd

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” – John 10:27

In this well-loved chapter of Scripture, Jesus reminds us that He is the Good Shepherd.  What comfort!  What beautiful imagery that dovetails so nicely with the 23rd Psalm … “The Lord is my Shepherd…” How wonderful it is to consider this gentle aspect of our sovereign and almighty God. Not only is He the creator of the universe, but He is its loving caretaker!

Jesus also reminds us that there is an enemy (thief) that lurks around desiring to steal, kill and destroy the sheep.  Indeed the Good Shepherd protects His sheep from that enemy – even to the point of laying down His own life.  But He tells us something else – that the sheep do not “listen” to those strangers and thieves… Why? … Because they do not recognize the stranger’s voice! (John 10:5 & 10:8).

Oh, may you and I, and all people, desire to know only the Savior’s voice!  May we spend so much time listening to His voice in His Word, and speaking it to each other in the fellowship of His Body (the Church), that we easily can detect the voice of a stranger – deceiver – enemy and thief!

Green pastures and smooth waters to you …

with the Good Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ,

Pastor Augie

A Call for Integrity

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I was reading these verses from Deuteronomy chapter 25, and it occurred to me how this is a call for integrity.

Scripture: 13 Do not have two differing weights in your bag—one heavy, one light. 14 Do not have two differing measures in your house—one large, one small. (Deuteronomy 25:13-14)

Observation: what this is related to is a practice in earlier days of making a little extra money by weighing out grains or goods using a lighter weight on the balance. This means that instead of selling a pound of cheese for a certain sum of sum of money, you would be selling them .9 pounds and thus making a little more profit.

Application: The life of the believer is to be one without duplicity. Notice that it doesn’t say simply not to cheat or defraud anyone, but not even keep the means of doing so in your possession.   It’s like the alcoholic, who must not just avoid drinking, but must move remove any trace of alcohol from their house – – remove even the temptation.

So for the believer, there must not even be the hint of deception, regardless of whether you conduct the act or not.  If someone were to open your bags and find differing weights, they would know that you would consider cheating them. The point here is that you and I should not even consider deceiving others.

Prayer: dear Lord, help me to operate today at the highest level of integrity.

May the Lord Bless & Keep you,

Pastor Augie

Abide in Me

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John15-5

Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5, ESV)

We love to “go it alone.” But, as Dr. Phil often has said, “How’s that workin’ for ya?” As I age, and discover that I can’t go as fast as I used to go, I can’t accomplish as much as I used to, my recall isn’t as sharp as it used to be, etc., it is reminding me that one day I may need more and more help, to even accomplish things in life that I now consider mundane.

But it is also a reminder to me of just how limited I am, and where my real sense of purpose and strength is found – in Christ. The things that I can accomplish purely out of the flesh, are really “nothing” at all. Rather, now, I am striving more and more each day to accomplish things that are works that the Lord desires – for His Kingdom and for His glory. But I am also striving to accomplish things that can only be done by His power at work in me – through that “connection.” So that it is evident to me that it is not I who accomplish it, but Christ working in me. Therefore, I am actually setting my sights higher – on bolder things – God sized dreams!

Finally, this verse reminds me of how important it is to remain connected to Christ through the Sacrament of Communion. Jesus also says, earlier in John’s Gospel, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” (John 6:56). You wonder whether you need to go to church or not? This is one great reason to … to fulfill Christ’s call to ABIDE in Him. He tells us that this happens when we gather around the table to share the meal of Communion that Christ instituted for His Bride, the Church.

We are blessed to abide in Christ together,

Pastor Augie.

God is in Control!

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“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” (Jeremiah 29:11)

There are times when life just seems confusing, directionless, even pointless. It’s at these times that we need to know that God is in control and He’s constantly working all the pieces of our lives into a larger plan and tapestry that is ultimately good. This really goes against the sense of rugged individualism that pervades our culture: “if it’s up to be, it’s up to ME!” … and “look out for NUMBER ONE.” The problem with these views is that when you are what it’s all about, then ultimately, you are all you have – and that’s a lonely place to be. This verse reminds me that I’m a part of something larger. … and that I belong to someone stronger. Thanks be to God that He is in control and He is working out His plan in my life… and yours!

Perhaps My Favorite Bible Verse!

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“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”  – 1 John 5:11-13

Here’s why …

Not only does this verse make clear that eternal life is a real thing … and that it comes only through Jesus, the Son of God … but it makes it abundantly clear that it is a gracious gift of God given to us freely through faith. The words “that you may KNOW that you have eternal life” remove all doubt that our salvation might be contingent on how well we did in life. “That you may KNOW” means that the person who believes in Jesus as Savior need not respond “I *hope* so” when asked, “will you be in heaven when you die?” … but must respond “I *KNOW* so” – since that is what Scripture clearly teaches – in this verse and many others! My prayer today is that anyone reading this post relinquishes any trust that they have misplaced in themselves or in false gods, and places that trust in the Name of the only One who saves – Jesus the Christ, the Son of God.

Amen!

The Return of Jesus Christ

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“So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”  –  Matthew 24:44

One of the highlights of this study on the book of Revelation for me will remain last Sunday’s Children’s Message at the 8:30 service, when I asked the children the question, “What can you do to get ready for Jesus to come back to earth?”  I expected the kids to say things like “pray.” “go to church.” “read the Bible.” “be good.” … or to just be confused and not know what to do to be ready.  That’s when little Maggie (who just turned 5!) raised her hand. After hemming and hawing a bit, she cautiously offered this response, “we could have a party?”

And I immediately thought, “what a great response!” So often we are encouraged to look for that day when Jesus returns with either fear or at least delay.  One time when I was a child, a preacher asked the congregation, “who wants Jesus to return?” And everybody’s hand went up! … Then he asked, “who wants Him to return tomorrow?” … and almost nobody raised their hand.  Why?  If we know that Jesus is going to come to bring us home with Him.  If we realize that once Jesus returns there will be no more sadness, evil, pain or brokenness.  If we realize that when Jesus returns we will spend forever content in the new heavens and new earth.  And if we realize that we are made ready for the coming judgment, not by how good we have been, but because God declares us righteous through our baptisms and our faith in Christ’s completed work on the cross … then why would we want to delay that reply?  Why wouldn’t we do just what Maggie suggested, and throw a party?

I hope and pray that in your heart, you are looking forward to Jesus return with the joy and anticipation you would look forward to a party.  And I hope and pray that when Jesus returns, He will feel received by us as the guest of honor at a party just for Him!  May it be so, for the sake of Christ!

Ready for Christ’s return with you,

Pastor Augie

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