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February 21, 2017
Unfathomable

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” Romans 11:33

Corrie Ten Boom relays an account that took place between her and her sister Betsy who lay dying at Ravensbrook during WWII; Betsy, in her weakened state, reached up to Corrie and whispered ”Corrie, we must tell people that no pit is so deep that he is not deeper still. They will believe us because we were here.” Betsy’s words proved to be prophetic because that is exactly what Corrie did shortly after WWII ended. So what was it that kept hope alive in this amazing saint?
 
I believe Corrie came to know the heart of God as she experienced the worst that humanity could throw at one of their own. No matter how deep her despair, how excruciating her pain, heartbreak, and anguish, she found that God understood. He was and is deeper than the deepest pit.
Some of you reading this have experienced some dark times that brought deep wounds. What enabled you to overcome them and not live under the weight of human cruelty and injustice? Was it that you found a high priest who could sympathize with your weaknesses, who suffered when he was tempted and is now able to help those who are being tempted? Jesus experienced the deepest of the deepest pits in regards to suffering and can meet you in an intimate way anywhere in the pit. Jesus is not a Velcro flannel figure with a blue sash around his chest. He is a man of sorrows well acquainted with grief and he has been there and he knows. Call upon him in your time of need. Ask Him to bring you a heavenly perspective on what you endured.

Pastor Doug
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February 14, 2017

The Best Valentine

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” 1John 4:9
 

As a child in grade school I grew to dread Valentines Day. To me it became a day to simply have your place in the pecking order confirmed by your classmates. And if that wasn’t enough, you foolishly held out hope that the girl you secretly admired would send some indicator that she liked you, too. I imagine that more children went home crushed than didn’t. The candy was good, but you knew that the conversation heart you received was not randomly tossed into the valentine envelope and some of those phrases came as a kick in the gut. The goal of being all inclusive in sending warm fuzzies to one another backfired because deep down we are not good and kind.
 
But God, who is good and kind and knows our hearts, was able to be all inclusive in his invitation to life through his Son. “Whosoever will” may come. Now we know that all will not, but that is not for us to determine. Our responsibility is to make sure all in our circle of influence and beyond are aware of the love God has extended to us through Jesus. Pray and watch, being ready to speak and act as the opportunity presents itself.
 
“…with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God.” Rev. 5:9-10
 
Pastor Doug
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February 1, 2017

Guard Your Heart

Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Guard it from what? Being hurt? I don’t think so. Love demands that we be vulnerable. We are to love God and love others made in the image of God.
 
I believe we are to guard our hearts from resentment and bitterness. It is impossible to live for Christ and not be wounded. So… what do you do with the wound? The wound came so that you could feel more closely that which God feels; to have a heart like his. The ache reminds us that we are not home yet. But if we don’t go to God with the ache then resentment and bitterness can grow in our heart and clog the flow of the life of the Son of God in you and me.
 
So guard your heart from a reaction of the flesh and respond in the Spirit with forgiveness, forbearance, patience, kindness, meekness and love. God will supply these if you just ask Him.

 
Pastor Doug
 
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January 18, 2017
How to Have a Good Year
 
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
 
I stopped having years about 15 years ago, and now I have days. For me May 17th or Nov. 5th, are no different from Jan. 1st. For what it is worth I will pass on my strategy for having a good year.
 
  1. Reduce your world–your year–to the day. “We too are crucified between two thieves; regret for yesterday and fear of tomorrow” (Helmet Theileke). A time-proven method for stealing today’s joy is in reliving yesterday and bringing tomorrow’s concerns into today. Practice living fully in the day by learning to lay at the feet of your Father your yesterdays and your tomorrows and the burdens they carry with them.
     
  2. “Seek first God’s kingdom” (Matt. 6:33). If I use the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) as my focal point to live in the kingdom of God and develop the disposition of Christ, I will find myself disconnecting from the kingdom of this age thus avoiding this world’s roller coaster of drama. One method that helps me is to limit my exposure to televised news and catch my news on trusted Internet sources.
     
  3. Abide in Christ. “If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). I see to it that I interact with Christ in some manner each day. This generally includes the spiritual disciplines in some form. Time in the Word, prayer, saying “No!” to self.
     
  4. Keep growing. “Jesus grew in wisdom, in stature, in favor with God and in favor with man” (Luke 2:52). Each day should include developing one or more of these areas of growth: our mind, our body, our relationship with God, and our relationship with others.
     
  5. Forgive and ask forgiveness. We live in a fallen world and it is impossible to not sin or be sinned against. If someone sins against you, forgive them. Lay their offense against you before the Lord and release it to Him. He saw it and will take it in hand. If someone is offended by something you did, don’t justify it, just go to them and ask forgiveness. Trust may have been damaged and take time to be restored but unforgiveness is a heavy burden to carry and it will undermine all 4 of the strategies for having a good year.
 
Pastor Doug
 
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January 10, 2017
Front-End Alignment
 
“Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.”
  – Matthew 6:33
 
I was a front-end mechanic for 15 years. Cars that were pulling to the right, pulling to the left or wearing out tires too quickly could be adjusted in order to remedy the problem. But a true alignment hinged on the calibration of the machine I was using. If my machine wasn’t calibrated from time to time, my cars would go out misaligned.
 
The New Year offers a logical time to re-calibrate your life focus to keep you from pulling too far right or even to the left or to wear you out prematurely. What are some of the keys to this re-calibration?
 
  1. Think big picture. Remember your place in God’s kingdom and that your citizenship is in heaven. Have you forgotten that you are here temporarily on assignment? Ps. 90:12; Eph. 2:10.
  2. Make your life an offering. Romans 12:1 reminds us to continually “offer up our bodies as a living sacrifice…” We are to do this in light of the mercy God has shown to us.
  3. Reclaim a few of the disciplines. Romans 12:1 calls our sacrifice “holy and acceptable.” Have you grown flabby spiritually, physically, relationally? I sure have. I recommend that you adopt the perspective with which Jonathan Edwards opened his book Resolutions, “I am unable to do anything without God’s help.” In other words, leave him out of the equation and five years from now we still have the same resolutions if we have any at all.
 
So get alone with the Lord and begin a list of ‘re-calibrations’ in order to “seek first God’s kingdom” above everything else. Then lay the list before the Lord and ask for His help in ordering your world according to His kingdom in each area you have listed.
 
Pastor Doug
 
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January 3, 2017
How to Have a Good Year
 
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
 
I stopped having years about 15 years ago, and now I have days. For me May 17th or November 5th, are no different from January 1st. For what it is worth I will pass on my strategy for having a good year.
  1.  Reduce your world–your year–to the day. “We too are crucified between two thieves; regret for yesterday and fear of tomorrow” (Helmet Theileke). A time-proven method for stealing today’s joy is in reliving yesterday and bringing tomorrow’s concerns into today. Practice living fully in the day by learning to lay at the feet of your Father your yesterdays and your tomorrows and the burdens they carry with them. 
  2. “Seek first God’s kingdom” (Matt. 6:33). If I use the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) as my focal point to live in the kingdom of God and develop the disposition of Christ, I will find myself disconnecting from the kingdom of this age thus avoiding this world’s roller coaster of drama. One method that helps me is to limit my exposure to televised news and catch my news on trusted Internet sources.
  3. Abide in Christ. “If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). I see to it that I interact with Christ in some manner each day. This generally includes the spiritual disciplines in some form. Time in the Word, prayer, saying “No!” to self.
  4. Keep growing. “Jesus grew in wisdom, in stature, in favor with God and in favor with man” (Luke 2:52). Each day should include developing one or more of these areas of growth: our mind, our body, our relationship with God, and our relationship with others. 
  5. Forgive and ask forgiveness. We live in a fallen world and it is impossible to not sin or be sinned against. If someone sins against you, forgive them. Lay their offense against you before the Lord and release it to Him. He saw it and will take it in hand. If someone is offended by something you did, don’t justify it, just go to them and ask forgiveness. Trust may have been damaged and take time to be restored but unforgiveness is a heavy burden to carry and it will undermine all 4 of the strategies for having a good year.
 
Pastor Doug
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