Saturday, November 26, 2016

Open Door

Yesterday morning as I sat in prayer and journaled, I poured my heart out with these words, "Dearest Lord, my Savior, we gave thanks yesterday for all your goodness and faithfulness. (It was Thanksgiving Day.) You are awesome. Glory to you, O Lord. My heart rejoices, my heart rejoices. I love this quiet time alone with you early in the morning. I give you my heart. Make it yours, I pray. Speak to it and lead me in your way and truth so I may have life and bring life to others. You alone are holy and you alone are worthy."

Then I could hear a melody within the silence of my mind with those words, "You alone are holy, You alone are worthy, You alone are good, Almighty God. (That's the refrain). And then the verse, "The heavens are covering all creation, Your graces are reigning from above, With voices we surrender to your mercy, We pray for hearts open to your love."

 As I continued to listen, I heard him whisper in a still small voice, "Heaven and earth are open and rejoice this day."

So I went to my computer and googled this, "Heaven and earth are open" to see what more I could find and understand what he might mean by those words. Isaiah 45: 8 popped up on the screen and was particularly striking, "Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, And righteousness spring up with it. I, the Lord, have created it." There were those scriptural words, "Let the earth open up..."

I felt strongly that the Lord was saying righteousness is indeed being poured down from above and springing up and salvation is indeed bearing fruit. We may not see this with our physical eyes, but with eyes of faith, we can believe that what the Lord has spoken is true. And I do believe! "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

Then I was led to an article * about "open door" and want to share with you these three P nuggets:

Open Door of Power
We are invited to pass through the door. The door stays open. This door did not shut and will not shut. The door Himself is Jesus. He is the open door.

Open Door of Promise
God always keeps his people and his covenants with his people close to his heart. God keeps his word and does everything He has promised to do.

Open Door of Praise
"Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty. You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, honor and power." Revelation 4:8, 19:1
"I will enter his gates with thanksgiving; And his courts with praise." Psalm 100:4

So, today, remember these three words: power, promise and praise and believe that through Jesus we enter through the open door and will receive our promised inheritance: eternal life, and will praise him with great rejoicing now and forever and ever.

*Sermon by Mike Hullah

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Three P Words

Our new Bishop, David Konderla, was invited to speak at a women's retreat last Saturday. He quoted our retreat scripture theme from 2 Thessalonians 3: 5, "May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ", then spoke about three P words--prayer, providence and prudence.

"Prayer is essential;" it "grounds us. We must be listening" to the Lord, he said."We do not work out of our own power. We do not have faith..." out of our own doing either. "Everything," he reminded us, "is a gift. Everything returns to Him." Bishop David encouraged us to "trust that the Lord is doing this" and that "Jesus changes our lives if we stay out of his way." He exhorted us to "do everything without worry and anxiety."

"The key to prayer," he instructed "is practical and human. Go to bed, get seven hours of sleep..." get up earlier and have time for prayer. We can "be a more transparent instrument when prayer is done well, especially in the morning."

Providence. "God is in our life in large and small ways all the time. Not just the good things. Bad things happen to good people. Things are just something that happens in our lives." He continued to encourage us, "See God more often. Live with ambiguity. Seek meaning in everything."

Being practical again, Bishop David said, "Catch early signs and symptoms of not praying." For example, "If someone cuts us off in traffic," ask yourself, "where are we going in such a big hurry?"

Insight again: go to bed earlier and pray.

"God is around us all the time," he said. "Our awareness dims in and out from time to time." So we need to "pull Him to mind when He dims."

Prudence is the "mother of the virtues." It "helps us know which virtue to apply. We practicing virtues when "we're praying and attentive and sensitive to God's presence around us, in good and bad things, big and small." We need to live our lives in virtues" which means "stable habits," like being patient.

Three powerful P words: Prayer, Providence and Prudence.