Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Communion Blessings

Are you happy about other people being blessed here? This is one big reason why we do not view or practice communion as a private moment. Of course, if you know and trust Jesus, you are personally blessed. That is great. Thank God for that blessing and seek to get as much of His blessing as you can.
         But can you really enter into the blessing of others? This is one place to see it. We know about a lot of sin, a lot of struggles, many bumps and bruises through the years among and with our brothers and sisters gathered here. 
         Are you looking at your brothers and sisters gathered here and thinking, “Oh, I am so glad things are good for you, now. I hope they get better and better.” I hope you are thinking that. And I hope they are thinking that about you and me. 
         God’s grace is revealed to us here in the love that He has given us towards one another. May that grace and peace continue to grow among us as we are thankful for His graciousness towards each of us personally and as we rejoice in His abundant blessing of each one gathered here with us.

Holy Peace

Dear Saints, it is a joy to be in the presence of God and His people. You must not forget that He is a Holy God. That might cause you to sit up and pay attention but it ought not to cause you to shrink from His presence. He is holy and He calls you to be holy. And as you are in Christ, you are made worthy to be in the presence of a holy God.
         You may protest, “But I don’t feel holy. I know my thoughts. I know what I have done.” 
 Stop, dear one. The accuser is defeated. 
Jesus says, “My peace I give unto you.” Do you hear Him? Jesus, says, “Peace, friends.” Do you hear Him? This is most certainly a holy place but it is also a tranquil place, a place of peace in the love of God. Enter into that peace.

Brother Cain

What kind of brother are you?
Do you envy your brother? Are you jealous of him? Do you think, “Why does he get all the breaks? Why did he get the better job? Since he is not a better Christian than I am, then why does God bless him so much?”
Maybe you think or have thought, “I’ll bet his blessings are really curses, anyway.” That thought runs the course of you hoping that he is being fattened up for the slaughter. 
Maybe you think, “Life just is not fair or I would be doing much better. I guess my lot is just the luck of the draw or what we spiritual people call Providence. It is clear that it is not fair because if it was fair, I would get the blessing and my brother’s situation would better represent his heart.” You may think this while not at all thinking that your comparatively poor situation does represent your heart. But even then, it is likely that God is still being extremely gracious and merciful to you.
Ever had any of these thoughts? Maybe? Just a little bit? Are any of these thoughts current in your thinking? If so, then they have to go. These are the thoughts of Cain. These are thoughts of Joseph’s brothers. These are the thoughts of Esau. These are the thoughts of Judas. These are the thoughts of the mother of James and John. Without sounding too far over the top, these are the thoughts of the devil. It is just these sorts of thoughts that lead one to all sorts of desperate actions, even to betrayal, denial and murder. So, do not downplay these thoughts, make excuses for them or allow them to circulate in your head any longer. Nail them to the cross and let them die the penalty of death.

New Beginnings

One of the glories of our faith in Christ is new beginnings.  Jesus commanded us to forgive seventy times seven because of the great depth of His forgiveness towards us. God is abundantly full of grace. Where sin abounds grace abounds much more. And we should not fear that this abundant grace would give rise to libertine deeds. If we are born of God then we will do the works of God.
         We still struggle in the flesh and there are often sins and the regret and guilt of current or even past sins. Sometimes there are huge consequences for our sins that stay with us even beyond receiving God’s forgiveness. But until we receive God’s forgiveness and the peace of that forgiveness we are stuck and cannot move forward.
         Today is a new beginning. We are in a new location and we are eager to know what God will do in our midst. What we have done before, for good or for ill, is past and the future is ahead of us, full of hope in the power and joy of the Lord.
         So, in your own personal lives, you need to look to the future in hope, trusting that God will use You to His glory in this life, in this place, among these people. The only way to do this, is to confess any sins, real sins of disobedience as well as the false sins, lies from the devil, about your ongoing guilt and shame for those sins you have already been forgiven for. That is all in the past, Jesus has paid it all. Receive the forgiveness of the Lord and look to the future in hope.