Thursday, September 25, 2014

NOT Just Christmas Peace!

At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises:
'Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please Him.' Luke 2:13-14 MSG

What exactly is peace and what is the path to peace? We know that God is the Source of all true peace; Christ is the Good News of peace sent to us from God. On the night Jesus is born in Bethlehem, peace is the message of the angels. Peace is not just for Christmas!

Peace in the Hebrew [shalom] and Greek [eirene] teaches "absence of disturbance" and is the primary blessing of God's people. Scofield offers four references to peace: Peace with God, Peace from God, Peace of God, and Peace on earth. Deep inside, each us desires the assurance of peace. Only God can provide complete peace. Do you have peace? Are you seeking God for Real PEACE? Let the Peace of Christ be born in you today! ~ dho

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Call To Worship

LEADER: We've been in hiding for too long.

Men: Perhaps we should open the doors of our lives to welcome whatever comes.

LEADER: But suppose that destruction, fear, and death arrive at our door?

Women: Jesus always said to us, "Do not be afraid, I am with you."

ALL: LORD, help us believe.

LEADER: Why is it so difficult to believe?

Men: We have been disappointed so many times.

LEADER: Do we dare trust that this time will be different?

Women: Everything is different when we trust in Jesus Christ.

ALL: LORD, help us believe!

LEADER: What will we do if we actually see the risen Lord?

Men: Our fears will be banished, and we will live in the truth of Christ.

LEADER: What is the truth of Christ?

Women: Christ has overcome the bonds of death. He is risen and goes before us.

ALL: LORD, we believe; help our unbelief. Amen.

~Call to Worship, St. Luke UMC

This Call to Worship presents uniquely in that the responses come from men and women individually and then collectively in unity. Why do we distance ourselves from one another, from the community? Disappointment and fear, disease and financial crisis, death and failure create disconnect and doubt within the soul. We cry out, LORD, help us to believe! Trusting in Christ renews the soul and refurbishes the heart. Christ brings joy into the suffering, faith into the doubt, love into the fear, and healing into the loss. We cry out, LORD, help us to believe!

Spiritual struggle knows no boundaries, does not recognize gender, race or age. We ALL struggle! Christ is the Truth that conquers the world with all its rage and wickedness. Christ calls us into relationship with Him and others. Confidence in Christ allows us to fail and start again, weep and find laughter, doubt and believe again. Let my soul reply, I believe; help my unbelief! ~dho

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering "Personal 9-11's"

In honor of remembering America's September 11, 2001 and September as Childhood Cancer Awareness month, I celebrate the patriots of America who come in all shapes and sizes, without distinction of gender or race and the heroes of cancer, who, like patriots, stand in the gap, persevere through the valleys, struggle to survive. The unexpected, whether the attack comes from terrorism or a tumor, shocks and disrupts the rhythm of the moment. In our darkest moments there is life-giving hope. This hope is Christ.

God of Grace and God of Glory

previously published on "Caring Bridge for Thomas McGirr" on Sep 11, 2011 4:43pm
Today America pauses to remember 9-11 and the heroes of that day, the victims of terrorism, those who died and those who have survived. Today my pastor spoke of America's 9-11 in 2001 and also what he called our "personal 9-11's".
We affirmed our faith this morning in church with these words (shared in part): We believe in Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man . . . Because He lives we believe that in our darkest moments there is life-giving hope . . . in the midst of suffering there is grace for healing . . .Thanks be to God! Amen.
God of Grace and God of Glory . . . Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the living of these days! (from hymn: God of Grace and God of Glory)
In these times when we walk this unexpected valley with Thomas, there is no greater comfort than to be reminded that God goes before us, God stands with us, God is our rear guard. The closing hymn today reminds my soul to focus on The Anchor, our Hope ~ Jesus Christ!
As we step into this next week of treatment, Thomas's hair is starting to come out. On Tuesday, he will receive treatment #15 - marking half the treatments are done. He battles some nausea and fatigue, but God's strength is evidence in his will to keep moving forward, his joy in the simple moments, his remarkable smile. In the times to come, we continue to find Hope in Jesus. He gives a greater Grace!  
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness . . . On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand."
To God be the Glory ~ dho

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Breathing Room

 [God] is waiting to explode our smallness and put us in places of which we have only dreamed. . . Do not settle for smallness, . . . God is waiting to take you into places and open you up to opportunities that exist only in your wildest dreams. Dennis Kinlaw, This Day with the Master

Kinlaw goes on to point out that these opportunities do not come from our own making, rather "you must let [God] give you the opportunities and move you into new places."

Why is it that we  complain about the smallness of our lives, the smallness of the moments? When does our complacency allow us to be content with our smallness? How often do we go in search of new places and opportunities by ourselves? Do we seek God's will for our moments or charge ahead, desperate to create our own? 

These are questions that wrestle with my mind. The many possibilities can create conflict for me, and other times, the waiting stagnates my willingness. If these words are true, that God desires to put us in places of which we have only dreamed, dare I not wait with Him? Likewise, if we must let God provide the opportunities and move us to these new places, dare I not trust His leading?  I must trust Him absolutely! ~dho

God, the One and Only - I'll wait as long as He says.
Everything I need comes from Him,
He's solid rock under my feet,
breathing room for my soul.
. . . So trust Him absolutely.
Psalm 62:1-2,8 The Message