Worship the Creator

“Thus says the LORD, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 66:1‭-‬2a NASB

Who are we to question the Creator? Who is man, to build fancy buildings and claim that they are GOD’S house? How do we become so arrogant as to believe that something we put together is sufficient for Him?

I have been blessed to be able to travel some in Europe, and see some of the stunning, soaring architectural features of many cathedrals. I’ve been in the backwoods of middle America, and in the Southwestern states, and witnessed majestic churches and humble adobe ones. The awe that I felt was the same for all. Stepping into a building that is dedicated to the LORD brings a sense of worship to me. I have felt His Presence.

BUT.

I have felt the majesty of my God even more profoundly out in His Creation. Have you ever stood on the edge of a mountain at sunrise, or sunset? Have you witnessed the unspeakable grandeur of the Grand Canyon? Have you stood in a creek at daybreak, witness to His creatures waking to a new dawn? Have you been in a field, listening to His breath as it brushes across your skin? Watching clouds as they appear to boil up on the horizon, or been caught out in a summer rain shower? It amazes me that anyone can see these things, and still refuse to acknowledge our Almighty God!

For all of history, man has been trying to impress God with buildings. I’m not against church buildings. They serve a necessary purpose for the gathering together of fellow believers. It’s when we try to out-majesty the Majesty of our God that we often begin to go astray. Are we trying to impress God, or people? I’m not against pretty churches. I attend a pretty (in my opinion) church. I have enjoyed visiting God’s church buildings across the U.S. and Europe. I’m just afraid that we get too caught up, sometimes, in “going” to church. Especially now, in this weird time of social distancing and not being able to join together in our usual manner, we have the opportunity to observe God in His Creation and worship with Him there.

If you are able, take your online worship outside. Use our Savior’s beautiful creation to enhance your time. I think He will be pleased with us. Even my humble backyard is a part of His glorious world.

Fearful?

“Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You. I said to the LORD, “You are my LORD; I have no good besides You.” The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied; I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood, Nor will I take their names upon my lips. The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot. I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalms 16:1‭-‬2‭, ‬4‭-‬5‭, ‬8 NASB

Are you worried about your health and safety because of this virus called COVID19? Are you fearful that the world as we know it is ending?

I will say this. Yes, the world as we have known it is over. We can’t go back. I’m not convinced we should want to. My fears aren’t because of a biological “bug”. I’m much more concerned about the actions of people, and especially of those who are “in charge.” Government, whether it’s your local town or those in Washington, doesn’t easily let go once they have taken over something. Is it necessary for the powers that be to pass resolutions to order people to stay at home except for going out for essentials? Apparently so….. but for the criminals, and those people who consider themselves above the law, will it make a difference? Probably not, and those are the very people who are creating issues for the rest of us. Politicians have turned it into a political issue. I’m talking about both sides of the aisle.

“The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied; I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood, Nor will I take their names upon my lips.” We are so busy bartering for all of our everyday gods that we have forgotten the GOD Who is in control.

I will continue to protect my family and my home to the best of my ability, but I will not fear or be intimidated by the enemy’s actions.

“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Psalms 118:6 ESV

Dead Calm – Response to the Coronavirus

Please note, the outline is from our pastor. The notes are my reaction and my interpretation of what Dr. Hitchcock says. You should watch it for yourself, too.

FAITH BIBLE CHURCH
March 15, 2020
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Mark 4:35-41 Dead Calm by Senior Pastor Dr. Mark Hitchcock
Join us Sunday mornings at 9:30 AM or 11:00 AM.
Wednesday Nights at 6:30 PM
Live stream or watch archived video of our services every Sunday at FaithBibleOk.com/media.
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Mark 4:35-41 NASB
35 On that day, when evening came, He *said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd, they *took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. 37 And there *arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. 38 Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they *woke Him and *said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39 And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” [“Be quiet; be muzzled” as He would speak to and command a demon.] And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. 40 And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”
https://bible.com/bible/100/mrk.4.35-41.NASB

Introduction

I. The Calm Before the Storm (35-36)

II. The Calm During the Storm (37-38)

III. The Calm After the Storm (39-40)

IV. The Storm After the Calm (41)

CONCLUSION

FAITH BIBLE CHURCH – Edmond, OK
Believe. Grow. Connect. Serve.
http://www.FaithBibleOk.com

Notes:

How do we deal with the storms of life? In particular, how do we navigate through this particular storm? In this story, we see that Jesus is the Lord of disasters.

Start with Mark 3:20 where Jesus came “home” to Capernaum. By verse 35, He has spent a long day teaching. We see in verses 35-36 that Jesus is in control and can be trusted in the storms of life. In Matthew’s account, he calls it a “mega-storm.” It’s noteworthy that these seasoned fishermen are panic stricken by this storm. They were in the boat because Jesus told them to get in it, yet they still neglected to trust Him. Jesus is sleeping and doesn’t wake up for noise and chaos of the storm, but He hears the voices of His disciples. He doesn’t freak out or get hysterical. He simply speaks and the wind stops. Stops. Completely calm; from mega-storm to mega-calm in the time it took Jesus to speak two words. I love this quote: “A storm with the LORD is better than calm without Him.”

” …..being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid . What will man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5‭-‬6 NASB

Jesus is the only unsinkable Boat of Life. Are you in it with Him, or are you trying to keep your boat afloat on your own?

Is God Slow?

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NASB

“Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.” 2 Timothy 2:25 NLT

“…… and My people who are called by My Name humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NASB

“Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’ ” Jeremiah 29:7 NASB

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NASB

I know God loves me. He takes on my troubles and my worries. He cares for me. He will never – HAS never – left me alone. He doesn’t lie or cheat on me. He is the perfect husband. He should be enough for me. He IS enough for me. Why, then, do I have such a yearning to have a flesh and blood man in my life?

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 NASB

I am a daughter of The KING. My feelings that I have failed at things doesn’t affect how much He LOVES me. My thoughts that I am inadequate don’t even phase Him. In His eyes, I am His beautiful daughter. When I am upset, He is there to comfort me. Always. Even when I do my best to run away from Him, He’s right there. And the MOST important thing? He isn’t there to judge me like the world does, He’s just THERE for me.

I would like to have that flesh and blood man in my life, but I don’t. I may not have him in this life. I have Someone, though, and He is enough.

Remembering Dr. King

Today we celebrate the life of a good man, a great man, Dr. Martin Luther King. It troubles me deeply that many will use this day to promote racism, because that is precisely what Dr. King was against. Many others will use it to push THEIR agenda of privilege – we live in a world of agendas, it seems. The color of your skin (red or yellow, black or white, we are ALL equal in God’s eyes) does not give you the right to have and do things that are unjust to others, and it shouldn’t give an economic edge or bias. There was a show on PBS a few years ago that was set during the Civil War, and a Union Doctor chastised a Union nurse about not tending to the Confederate soldiers who were in their hospital. He told her that among the wounded, there was no Blue or Gray – all blood is the same color. Red. To me, that speaks volumes, and it is a message I have preached for many years. God created ONE race, the HUMAN race. He saw fit to create a rainbow of colors, from the palest albino to the darkest black; we all bleed the same and we all – ALL – share same DNA and we all share the same ancestry in Adam and Eve.

Instead of celebrating or emphasizing our differences, wouldn’t it be awesome if we would emphasize our sameness?

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
Genesis 1:1, 26-28 NIV

That verse is worth repeating, over and over again! “GOD created {ALL} human beings in His OWN Image.”

Especially today, let’s celebrate life and our likeness to Jesus, and let go of the differences. Let’s stop demanding special treatment for different colors – or for having a different take on life. Oh, how I wish I were as eloquent as Dr. King! He preached equal treatment, not special treatment. He preached equality, humility, and love. Something all of us would do well to emulate. Like Dr. King, I, too, I have a dream.

Motivated Work

Why do we work? What is our motivation?

There are wrong, or distorted, views of why we work: When the only reason we work is to make money, we need more and more to be content. This is disillusioning and leads to dissatisfaction. Working for our own greed, or FIRE = financial independence [to] retire early; purely selfish and self indulgent, only working so that we can quit working and live a life of leasure. Then there is working for self significance, importance, to accumulate power, and identity. None of these is a fulfilling way of life and will leave us empty; never satisfied. Recall in Genesis 11 when the people built the Tower of Babble to make a name for themselves, independent from God? It was a singularly unfulfilled and unfulfilling task that only served to create chaos.

The right reasons: remembering that our primary calling is to God, and our secondary calling is to someone or something beneath Him. We can be unemployed, and we can change our secondary calling, but we can never be uncalled. ALL legitimate work is to Glorify God and is pleasing to Him. These include support (1 Tim 5:8; Proverbs 12:11): making money to provide for self and family, to meet needs, and to bless others. Working for satisfaction and enjoyment: Do you feel God’s pleasure in what you are doing? A poll showed that 70% of Americans are completely dissatisfied at work. What does that say about our culture! (Ecc 2:24; 3:22 NLT; 5:18-19) To serve other people, and to share what we acquire: “God doesn’t need our good works, but our neighbor does” – Martin Luther (Mark 12:31; Eph 4:28)

“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
1 Timothy 5:8 NASB

“He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, But he who pursues worthless things lacks sense.” Proverbs 12:11 NASB

“Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward.” Ecclesiastes 5:18 NASB

“There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God.” Ecclesiastes 2:24 NASB

“So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work. That is our lot in life. And no one can bring us back to see what happens after we die.” Ecclesiastes 3:22 NLT

“Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God.” Ecclesiastes 5:18‭-‬19 NLT

“The second is this, ‘ you shall love your neighbor as yourself .’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31 NASB

“If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need.” Ephesians 4:28 NLT

Let It Rain

Let it rain, rain down on me….

Crowder, with Mandisa, released a song by this name just a few months ago. It reminds me that God is in control. The same God Who made the sunshine made the rain, and through it all, He is with me. He doesn’t leave us stranded to deal with the rain by ourselves. When it’s “raining”; when everything seems to be against me, I need to remember these words:

“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” – Psalms 139:14-‬17 NASB (Read all 24 verses of Psalms 139!)

I am important to God, the LORD of the Universe! He created me; He knew me before I was! In His eyes, I am special. It doesn’t matter what the world thinks, or how they might judge me. I am a child of the Most High King, the One Who rules over every other king and ruler; a Princess in the Kingdom of God.

In other posts, I have been very open about wanting a relationship here on earth, and also about how my choices have been very flawed. I still want that loving, caring relationship, but it’s not in my power to find it or secure it. It is solely in my LORD’s Hands, and He has given me – and other single women and men – guidance through His Scriptures. (If we pay attention to them….)

Is the person you are interested in a Christian? We can’t just depend on hearing the words, but we need to look for the fruits. Does that person attend church? That’s really important. For years, I fought attending, saying that “organized religion” was just something man-made and I could be – I was – spiritual without it. We may be “spiritual” without that association, but we also aren’t growing in our relationship with the LORD. We need to be associating with other Christians. Does he* honor his family? Does he treat you with respect? How is his language? What is his attitude when he doesn’t get his way? (* This is a 2-way street, people. I may be using the pronoun “he”, but it applies to both sexes equally!)

You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” – Matthew 7:16‭-‬20 NASB

Not everyone on earth gets to have a spouse, or someone to love them in that way. I have had the experience and blessing of having a husband who loved me, but he is gone, with our LORD. It has been years, and I want that again, but God seems to have other plans …… and I have to be okay with that. Will I struggle with that desire? Oh yes, without a doubt! I have to continue to search for GOD’s Will; for my LORD’s desires for my life, and accept His way over mine. My prayer today is for every person who is struggling in this area. There is no shame in struggling! Watch out for the red flags, because the Holy Spirit is the One Who is waving them. Study the scriptures, and lean into the Saviour’s arms when that loneliness strikes. He will hold us and never let us go.