The Morgan Church Devotional

a pastor's thoughts about...uhm...stuff

Location: Morgan, VT., United States

follower of Jesus. husband & father. friend. pastor.

Friday, April 20, 2007

In Times Like These, What You Believe Matters

there are always sermons that stand out...sometimes bc of delivery...sometimes bc of content...many times bc of what we are going thru when we hear them.

in my freshman year of college, the college president preached a sermon where this line resounded. he related it was spoken to him by his dad while his dad was on his deathbed, and he (the son) took great comfort in hearing those words from his dying father.

somewhat miraculously (or, at least, surprisingly) the father ended up living for some 10 more years.

it stilll matters, in times like these, what you believe.

whether it's in living, or in matters, always!, what you believe.

in my senior year (i think) the (college) president preached that sermon again...this time his dad was dying...he was noticably sadder (of course)...but, he still was full of faith as he said "in times like these, what you believe matters".

it is true.

spring is (finally!) starting to spring here in northern vermont. the grass is still brown, but hey, at least we can see the grass! the air is warming...the trees are starting bud (which means the sap run is finished for the year)...

yet, our hearts are heavy. how could they not be? it's a heavy time...there are wars abroad and wars at home and there are even wars in our homes...

there is a bob marley song "so much trouble in the world"...and a ub40 song called "the earth dies screaming" that i think about in times like these.

but then, i remember what i believe. bc what i believe matters.

i believe, that yes there is trouble, and that trouble may come close to my life...

but God is for, who can really be against me?

i believe i will face trouble in this life...and the battles will rage...

but God's power will allow me to be triumphant.

i believe that even tho hell and it's minions will line up against me...even tho i may have moments when i'm ready to quit...even tho i may fail in my own power...

that thing...nothing...nothing can ever separate me from God's love expressed thru Christ Jesus my Lord.

i believe that even when i fall into sin...even when i jump into sin...

when i turn to Jesus, He will forgive me. there is no condemnation for me bc of what He has done for me.

i believe that even when the horrible happens...the terrible...the unimaginable...

i believe God is able to take those things and work them to my good.

may God help those who have experienced that this week (and every week).

so, as i sum it up, i echo St. Paul' s words in the book of phillipians:

you will do well to spend your time thinking about good things...about godly things...when you find your self thinkging about bad things (or bad things are presented to you)...think about them in a godly a grace full way...

bc grace is able to make even ugly things beautiful.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Song to Mourn

"A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning.
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more."

there are sadnesses both great and small in life and words, no matter how we try, are of little use in trying to relieve people's pain.

should it be different?

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any troube with the comfort we ourselves have recieved from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Well Stocked Shelves

do you know the guy who has every tool for every job you might possibly encounter? i wonder where he keeps them all...but, he has them. usually they are nice and neat and put away...he knows right where they are, too.

"Hey, *jim",


"you got a thinga majig?"

"oh yeah...sure. hold on a sec, let me think of where it is"

*2 seconds later*

"here you go!"

i'm glad for guys like that. they not only know what a thinga majig is, they have one handy. it's good to have a friend or two like that...

in today's scripture verse (2 Peter 1:3), it tells us that God, with His well stocked and organized shelves, has every thing we need (whenever we need it), to live a godly life. He's never going to be out...and He's never going to run out...

spend some time browsing thru the might not get every thing you want, but, you never know, you just might find what you need.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

He is Risen!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

You Can't have Easter w/out Having Good Friday First

Jesus, Lover of my soul let me to Thy bosom fly
i'm so weak and i'm so cold
and the lambs & the rest so speedily die

alibis roll off my tongue i'm looking for ruins to hide among
got a soul piled high to excess
with the wondefully useless and frivilous

praise due Your Name evades my lips
there's no helping hand with my fingertips
used to be someone, now i'm not worth a
have a bout a truckload of things trying to forget

since back in the garden on the first page
something about the cradle and the grave
the promises broken, more promises made
oh, and the image i've so defaced

played out on the pages of history
dripping in blood that flows from the tree
where the Father and Son part company
come back together for you and me

i don't know why You did it,
what was Your motivation?
crucifixion not a cool sensation

You had something to say, and You started to speak
the Cross is the place for Your coronation speach...

from "drunk on the tears"
by bill mallonee


Friday, April 06, 2007

The Day We Call "Good"

so it is...but it just wasn't very good for Jesus.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Bottom Line

they asked Jesus about the bottom line.

"Teacher, what is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?"

His reply:

"to love God with everything you have...and to love your neighbor as yourself"

love God. love people.

one "clog" (a complaint log [clog] as opposed to a Weblog--[blog] ) i read here and there often expresses his being flumoxed by this phrase...i understand.

what does it mean to love God?
what does it mean to love people?

as i see it, to love God means to honor Him as God--because that is who He is. to honor God as God means to put Him first in all things. even b4 your own choose His way over your way, even when His way is difficult. to love God means to come to Him with a repentent attitude when we trust in His reconciliation thru Christ with a commitment to try to not do it again...

loving people is love people is to want God's very best for them. of course, God's very best is a growing relationship with Him thru, when we love people, we are attempting to help them grow in their relationship with begin one, to continue in one, to restart one...but reconciliation should always be our goal for them. so, at times, it does mean to lovingly lead them to see certain behaviors are wrong...but, our goal should be reconciliation (and our methods should reflect that goal).

but as you can see, the more description we give, the more questions about details we have. this is why fellowship/sermons/bible studies are important. you can't sum up the great commandment in one blog post, or one sermon, or one bible study or one snippet on a church sign or a sound bite on the news or a web page...

so, what's the bottom line for the spiritual life?

love God, love people.

how do you do that?'ll just have to come out to church to find out.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Let Me Be as Glass

David begins a wonderful prayer-song with this thought--God, you know me; everything about me. my thoughts, my true intentions, my doubts, my fears, my pride, my desire to be loved and accepted...everything. not a single thing is hidden from God's sight...

and then david prays for deliverence... "don't let me follow evil ways, but lead me in your way".

God's way is very different from our way...sometimes our way isn't necessarily evil, just slightly misguided...a little off...not much, just a tiny bit. now, a tiny bit is just a tiny bit in the immediate don't even notice it. it is almost nothing...

but (picture an angle) the further away you get from vertex (i had to look it up) the greater the distance between the "ways". this is why humility is one of the most important virtues for the christian. we are apt to go our own way...God help us.

"prone to wander, Lord i feel it; prone to leave the God i love.
here's my heart, O take and seal it; seal it for Thy courts above."

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Doctor? I Don't Need No Stinkin' Doctor...

there's this guy...he's been feeling sick lately. he's tired and sore and just all around crappy feeling. his head hurts, his back hurts, his legs hurt, this toe nails hurt and so does his hair (well, what he has left of it)...

he's over weight, he smokes, he drinks a bit too much beer, coffee fact, sometimes he puts beer in his coffee...he puts butter on everything, especially on his double fried donuts with cream cheese and glaze...he sits around mostly, except when he takes his motorized cart over to the bathroom.

any way, i spoke to him the other day...he complained for a good half hour about all of his ailments...i asked him if he went to the doctor...with out even thinking, he said;

doctor? i don't need no stinkin' doctor...

kinda like that in the spirit-life sometimes, eh?


"just like a deaf man dancin' or blind man shootin' pool...heaven help the fool"

from "heaven help the fool" by bob weir and john barlow

sorry no posts...nothing has been wrong...just the opposite, in fact. we've been rejoicing in what God is doing in our hearts and in the life of our church family...

blessings to you and yours...

talk to you again soon.