Maybe we feel trapped by our circumstances, health, or finances. What contribution are we really making? Who will see us?
The rock group Queen used to sing a song called, Somebody to Love. That’s true, we all do want somebody to love, but many times we just want somebody to listen. This amazing thing! God tells us that He wants to listen. He says to call on Him and He will show us great and might things we do not know. He also says that He is near to those who call on Him. God wants to be your someone who listens.
Yes, the God of the universe who created the galaxies, set the stars and earth in orbit, and made the animals and humans. How is it that He should take an interest in us and have the time to listen?
We are smaller than a speck for One who has the whole universe as His view. Yet He wants a relationship with me and you. I wonder how He can keep all of these singular relationships up. There must be millions of voices calling out to Him simultaneously, how does He do it? Yet, He listens and He speaks to each. He speaks just what He knows I need or wants me to know and He speaks to millions of others, too. Amazing!
He speaks to us and He’s also there to listen to our pain, grief, sorrow, and joy just like any good friend would. He’s the One who has the resources, power, knowledge, wisdom, and might to accomplish far more than we could even imagine. To think, all this is available through just talking and listening to Him.
Today, or even right now, take a quiet moment and tell Him what’s happening in your life, what you are concerned about and what brings you joy. He cares and will listen.
Wisdom from a country preacher series
– Matt. 16:21-28
The cross is an eternal symbol of an unadjusted personality in an evil world.
Daniel wouldn’t adjust to an evil world. John the Baptist wouldn’t, Paul wouldn’t and Jesus wouldn’t.
An Indian Chief sent four young Braves up a mountain to test their strength, bring back something to prove how high they got. The first brought back a spruce branch, the second brought a twig from a pine, the third brought an alpine shrub. And the fourth came back exhausted, feet bruised and cut, carrying nothing. He said, “I saw the sea!”
Oh, how we need people to see the sea! To see that holy, uncompromising life full of grace and truth. When you know the truth, the truth will set you free, free from the evils we deplore, set free to be all God intends you to be.
But it involves the certainty of a cross, believing the Jesus is the Crist and has the words to eternal life.
What is the sea? What is it Jesus went to the cross for us to see? By getting acquainted with Jesus we get a new concept of God. John says, “God is love.”
Love gives itself for others. Jesus is saying in verses 24-26, “I love you, I must go to Jerusalem and die for you.”
Jesus was certain of the cross. But he knew by his death on the cross, not for his sins but ours, we could have the Holy Spirit to melt our hard hearts so that we could love one another as God loves us.
How long has it been since you said or heard, “I am sorry.” “I am wrong.” “You are right.” “I love you.” ” I forgive you.”
The certainty of the cross. There is a cross for everyone.
Wisdom from a country preacher series
– Matt. 16:21-28
I feel privilegd to be able to share one of Dad’s Lenten sermons this Easter. Part 1 today, watch for part 2 tomorrow.
Think about the cross this Good Friday
Just as soon as Peter and the disciples acknowledged who Jesus was he started telling them about his and their cross. The cross was a certainty.
In verse 22, Peter says, “Never, Lord!”
There was a great preacher who said, “I can bear much but there are four things I hate like poison: 1) tobacco smoke, 2) lice, 3) garlic, 4) the cross. Like Peter.
So many believe Christians should have things better, easier.
This scene probably occurred about six months before his crucifixion. Why did Jesus set his face to go to the cross? For the joy set before him he endured the cross, despised the shame, sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb. 12:2)
He could have compromised a little. Kept quiet, not been so outspoken, not stirred up the Jews. He could have gone to Syria. Did he believe in a divine rescue like Abraham and Isaac?
See verse 21, he knew his fate. Legend has it he picked up a beam in the carpenter shop one day and a shadow was cast of him on a cross. He seemed to know his fate. Right after the transfiguration, the Father began talking to him about his death. He told his disciples, “I, if I be lifted up will draw all men unto me.”
He wouldn’t let his friends talk him out of doing what he knew to be the will of God (vs. 22-23). he had to be about the Father’s business. He had a mission in life and so do we.
He never made personal comfort his ambition.
He never made security his ambition.
He never left relationships deter him.
A cross is certain when we follow Christ. Sometimes we fail to take up our cross. We fall in step with the world, alter our course to avoid being different. We may fail to change habits that ruin our witness.
You may say, “I don’t have a cross to carry.” Well, maybe everyone around you has a cross to carry because you always have to have your way.
The unbelieving world tries to squeeze us into its mold.
The cross is an eternal symbol of an unadjusted personality in an evil world.
Part 2 continued Saturday. Please share thoughts above, just under the title.
Not many Christians of my generation can forget the impact a talented, bold , young Jewish man made on us. That sounds like Jesus doesn’t it — well, it’s not. It’s Keith Green. Keith was an outspoken Jesus follower who challenged us to live completely for God. To give out hearts, souls and mind to Jesus. He challenged us to live radically for Jesus. Maybe a little like Francis Chan today, but there was just something about Keith’s message, the urgency in his voice and words that captivated and convicted.
Keith not only spoke with power but his music was hauntingly deep and yes, captivating and convicting. I had the privilege of hearing his wife, Melody, speak yesterday in Elizabethtown, PA. She told stories of her life and challenged us to show compassion and really see those around us everyday, everywhere we go. It brought back so many memories of my late teens and early twenties when the Jesus Movement was happening. Many were making serious commitments for the Lord and coming to know Him. It made me long for that kind of spiritual outpouring to happen again.
I don’t know why God chose to take such an influential voice for Him home so early, why Keith had to die when he was only 28. But he left a lot of music behind, music that still stirs the soul and heart when I listen – and even when my Millennial children listen.
Here’s a couple of Keith’s songs I’ve been captivated and challenged by this week. I thought they might stir your heart, too.
And because it’s Easter- I must include The Easter Song:
Do you have a story of how Keith or his songs impacted your life? Please share by clicking ‘Leave a reply’ at the top of this post, just under the title.
In his book, Prayer, Tim Keller says we cannot pray until we understand the One we are praying to. In fact, he says all prayer is responding to God. God is the initiator. If we find ourselves wanting to pray, God is drawing us, It follows that we have some knowledge of God to even have the desire to pray. That one we are praying to is the God of the Bible, who speaks His Word, and reveals who he is through His Word.
So, to understand and know God better we would want to spend a lot of time reading, studying and thinking about His Word. Sometimes our reading can be a little boring, even exhausting, we put off coming to the Word because it doesn’t seem to fit us or come alive.
I got to thinking today that maybe it’s really a heart thing with us. Our daughter is dating a guy that she sees almost daily. Every night she heads to her room early, where I often hear her on the phone with her guy, chatting away. They want to talk, they make time to talk — they give up TV shows and activities to spend time talking.
Maybe that’s a picture of how we would be approaching the Word of God, if our heart was really devoted to Him, if we were in close relationship. These thoughts today are making me take a deeper look and admit that there must be something keeping me from wholeheartedly saying, ‘I want to meet (talk) with God tonight.’
Do you find yourself skipping out on reading the Bible, getting to know Him better, and so end up with a boring prayer life?
Wisdom from a Country Preacher series
(Because of the high interest in my dad’s sermon notes, I decided the first Faith Friday post should be from his messages.)
Today we are talking about a troubled heart. I’m not talking about our heart that beats 70 times per minute, not the one you can have a leaking valve in or weak muscle. We’ve got surgeries and pills for that, in fact, we have medicines today for most everything — headache, pain, colds. There’s no pill for the troubled heart. The heart that is troubled is really our mind and emotions, our thoughts.
Notice John 14:1. Jesus tells his disciples, Let not your heart be troubled. Hmmm, Let not. So there is something we can do when troubles come and our minds run off with us. Verse 2, Believe in God.
The news, magazines, and talk shows try to tell us nowadays that our trouble comes from where we are raised, our parents, our affluence. Blame someone else. Jesus says we are responsible for our troubled heart. He says, don’t be troubled, believe in God.
What God? The God that created this universe, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in Him we see God.
Jesus says in verse 2 to also believe Him. Believe in God, believe also in me. Follow him. Jesus taught us to believe in God as He did as He let them nail Him to the cross. Verses23-27 says, 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. 25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
When we believe in Him, He gives peace — even in troubles, even when we have a troubled heart. There’s no feeling as that of loneliness, being alone, unloved, forsaken. It’s the heart of an unbeliever. Jesus lives in us as Christians. We are never alone. He is our best friend. He says, I will come to you and be with you always.
We don’t have to endure troubles alone. Jesus is closer than a friend. He is there to assure us, comfort us, give us guidance, strength and hope.
Let not your heart be troubled — Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.
Thanks for stopping by to see what Fridays have to offer. After announcing Tuesdays would be all about tea, I am pretty sure you may have guessed that Fridays will be all about faith. After all, it is the name of the blog.
Yep, my goal will be to every Friday bring something that will help you look to God, see a little more of Him, and know Him more as your Abba. Speaking of father, one of the posts I’ll offer on Faith Fridays is something I hold very dear. I’ll be dusting off some pretty special notes – hand written sermons of my dad’s – to share thoughts from them.
Dad was a country preacher in Western PA, pastoring small churches but delivering powerful messages (written by an unbiased daughter – do those two words even go together?). I’ve had those notes neatly packed away for years, promising that someday I’d figure a way to share them. And here we are, it’s coming to be.
Dad’s notes won’t be the only postings, there’ll be insights from my own study of the Word, book reviews, community care ideas and a few guest posts here and there.
Come on by on Fridays to get a fresh dose of faith. If you don’t want to miss any posts, be sure to sign up to receive an email each time there’s a post or ‘like’ on Facebook.
One more thing, God certainly does consider dates. It just happens to be thirteen years to the day that Dad went home to see Abba.
Blogging is work! I have a new found respect for bloggers who daily or even weekly consistently post. It takes dedication, inspiration and time to provide fresh content that has value and informs.
The secret, it seems, is a passion for the topic, a plan and a schedule. Imagine that, a schedule!
I’m wading in again, sticking my toes in the water. It took some pondering, but I realized that my passions are already in my blog title- tea and faith.
And I’ve made a plan! Tuesdays will bring you all kinds of content about my favorite comfort drink, tea. A beverage that my mom gave me a love for years ago. We’ll talk about tea rooms, tea stories, tea history, and of course recipes.
And faith? Well, you’ll need to check in again on Friday to find out how faith will show in the blog.
It feels great to have a plan and a schedule! Not only that, but I’m counting on it to keep me on track to post wht will benefit you.
Here’s to Tea Tuesdays and stay tuned for Friday!