Friday, January 20, 2017

For This Reason

Colossians 1:9-10 "For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understandings, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God..."

A second storm ended this afternoon as I drove home from the bank and waited to get some dinner. I listen to the news of the day and wondered about the storms to come... 

I know who I shelter under, who my foundation is truly built on, who promises JOY in the morning.

America inaugurated a new President today. I don't have to tell you that he is not well-liked by many, yet he became our choice in this democratic process. He is not a politician but a negotiator. He doesn't use political language that moves around the problem, but speaks and tweets unfiltered while sitting in the middle of a major traffic jam leading to the heart of the issues in this country. Many our prepared to block entrances and exits. I am on the overpass, asking God for the right direction. 

I pledge my allegiance to America, but I serve a King, the eternal King of Kings. As a citizen of His Kingdom, He asks us to pray for those in authority over us. 

And so I will continue to pray for our President. May God guide you, fill you with His knowledge, give you understanding, grace and compassion for all people, citizens of the U.S. or not. You, a billionaire businessman with all your assets can boast of a fruitful life, probably a whole lot of good works with your money, but now this country waits and hopes that the next 100 days will be unifying, not divisive, encouraging, not fearful, strong, not overbearing. 

The fruit the Lord talks about is the kind that quenches a thirst, that leaves seeds to plant hope for eternity, a harvest that feeds thousands spiritual food. Fruit that empowers  to change a generation to end the poverty of hopelessness and degradation. 

A President can do that, can inspire. 
Anyone who lays their hand, their eyes and heart on the pages of a Bible, Abraham Lincoln's or their grandmother's from another generation, can inspire. 

Lincoln's Bible 
Someone with a little orange New Testament given to them on a street corner, can inspire. 

If God so wills it in the pages of His Word and that Word is read and His servant is obedient, miracles can happen. And so we pray for this reason...

For this reason, President Trump; for this reason, my friend, 

For this reason, I read His Word so that I can be continually transformed and a fruit-bearing citizen of this earth, of this country, of my own holy-ground-moments as compared to eternity.  


I'm baking a cake right now. It's for a memorial service tomorrow for Rev. Harvey Boese, a servant of the Lord. Just a few months shy of 100 years of age, he faithfully attended my church with his wife and daughter and her husband for the last several years of his long life. I read his obituary in last Saturday's paper. Here is a part of it: 

Rev. Harvey Gilbert Boese, 99, a resident of Chino Hills for 18 years, died Jan. 6, 2017, at home

He was born April 9, 1917, in Bloomfield, Mont. He grew up on a farm near Avon, S.D., where he completed eighth grade. He attended a school for the speech-handicapped for one year. 
He graduated from St. Paul Bible Institute (now Crown College, Minn.) in 1941. He received his bachelor of arts and bachelor of divinity degrees from Los Angeles Baptist Theological Seminary in 1943. He attended Mission Training Institute (now Nyack College, N.Y.) in 1944 and later attended Fuller School of World Missions. He earned his GED in 1975 at age 58.
He married Grace Chadderdon on June 15, 1944.
He was a Christian & Missionary Alliance missionary to Thailand for 28 years. He was pastor of Baldwin Park Alliance Church for five years. He provided translation services and pastoral care for Asian refugees for 11 years.
He lived in Chino Hills since 1998, when he retired from pastoral ministries.
Someone prayed for Harvey Boese. He leaves a legacy that impacted the world for hope and the Truth. He never stopped attending church. He wanted and knew he needed the fellowship and the "knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understandings."

I know without a doubt, that the Lord is pleased with Rev. Harvey Boese. 

I know the Lord is pleased with me...because...because...
because I write? 
because I baked a cake?
because I told a woman she dropped her money in a puddle in the pouring rain (didn't notice it) today at the bank? 

None of the above. The Lord is pleased with us when we pray, when we take the time to humble ourselves, empty ourselves and give of ourselves to pray for others, even those who may or may not be someone we respect, or someone who has hurt us...or someone we fear. The Lord is pleased when our heart's desire is to be in His  will, not ours. It's never about our own goodness. It is because He is good. 

I am sure Harvey had a lot of stories of people who prayed for him, and I am sure at the service tomorrow, there will be stories from people who Harvey prayed for. 

For this reason, because God ordains it, I pray: God Bless you President Trump, God Bless America. God DID bless you Rev. Harvey Boese. God, bless his family, his dear wife Grace and his children and grandchildren. Give them the comfort and the legacy of faith to carry on. May You continue to use the seeds of the fruit planted for Your Harvest. I ask you Lord, for those souls who say they belong to You, to be obedient to Your Word and not their own agenda, to have words of love, especially for those who refuse, do not or cannot see You in the diluting of Your Truth in our country. Thank you Lord for Your Kingdom which will rule eternally and for the privilege to be a part of Your plan. Amen. 

Let us pray for this country, against division, hatred and violence--for unity and understanding, to work together, despite our own bias and opinions, for the greater Good. For so many reasons Lord, we pray, but if only for one reason Lord, that we might bring You glory and be privileged to partner with You to make Your truth known. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

One-On-One Time

Luke 5:3-4 And He got into one of the boats which was Simon’s, (Peter) and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the multitudes from the boat. And when He had finished speaking He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let your nets down for a catch.”

Have you shared a “boat ride” with the Lord?  Has he stepped into your very personal space and asked you to sit beside Him? Or have you chosen to stay on the shore, with the crowd where you find safety, obscurity, listen from afar with no commitments, learn enough lyrics from the songs to be convincing to some, maybe to yourself?  

All of us are a part of some crowd, followers, interested onlookers. At some point though, when does it become…when do you allow the Lord to have that one-on-one time with you, when do you schedule that appointment and begin the dialogue, the one about removing you from the crowd, and finding where your true purpose and gift can be and should be applied? You've kind of always wanted to know...don't you? -- Your story must...needs to make sense. 

Staying on the shore, lost in the crowd: it’s like reading everybody’s Facebook posts, but remaining anonymous. You took information in, but never gave back. 

The crowd pressed in and Jesus saw Peter.  He saw the whole picture of what was to be with this disciple, both the good and the bad times. Did he think past to the time of betrayal and then linger on whether to pursue him based on what He knew?

No, Jesus wanted to give Peter a plan, a greater purpose, offer up the Hope of reconciliation. He knew Peter’s spontaneous will, his fears, his self-centered nature. Don’t we all have that in our core—or something similar? Yep, we do.  But Jesus, being God, focused on the good, because God is good. He saw Himself manifested, glorified in Peter. Peter felt His love, was inspired already by His teaching…and now he wanted more and Jesus offered it in one-on-one time with Him. 

Jesus climbed into the boat and continued his preaching from there to the crowd on the beach. But he called out to Simon Peter to join him. Peter received teaching away from the beach, from the crowd, one-on-one, in a boat rocking back and forth in the waves, the waves and tides of life decisions and choices. Then Jesus told Peter to go deeper… and in Peter’s obedience, he was blessed and he grew in his belief.  

When Jesus went to the Cross, He got into your boat. He calls each and everyone to come, sit beside Him and listen. Where are you? Did you jump out only to find yourself dog paddling, even drowning? Are you still standing on the beach building castles that soon will be washed away?

The Lord has been calling out to you, yes, you in the crowd of this world, surrounded by your bantering burdens, your definitive doubts, the undulating unbelief, and the angry acid always rising.  I pray you are not lost in the crowd but fine tune your ears and soul with prayer to hear His voice calling out to you. The crowd hears, but does not listen.

I know you hear His voice, because you so recognize it;  it is the grace...that love. 

Climb in, pull anchor, trust Him and go deeper. You’ll find beauty in the journey and nets full of courage, strength, wisdom, and growing faith.  Step out for the first time, or again and refresh yourself in His Word.

I’ll say it again, Trust Him. He wants to give you a gift of discovery of yourself, who you can be in Him. Deeper is not somewhere over your head. Deeper is where you will grow, surrounded by buoys of encouragement in His Word, in fellowship and a net full of purpose in each new dawn.

Lord, going deeper takes courage. When you call us to salvation, we are forgiven, entering again into a loving relationship with the Father and receiving the Holy Spirit. Lord, in Your Word, you call us to continue to seek You and Your will. You give us gifts in which to help and encourage one another. Going deeper Lord is like pursing a Master’s degree, a Ph.D., obtaining the wisdom so we can serve others well, bear fruit, and shine Your Light. You Lord, paid all the tuition with your blood shed on the cross. In that, my knees hit the sand on the beach in humble thanksgiving. Now Lord, grant strength to conquer fears and step into the boat when you call us to one-on- one time with You.  A deeper faith immerses us in Your grace and that is a perfect place to be. Amen.