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 | Wednesday Weekly Blog |

Hanukkah 12/9/15

Good morning,

Last week at this time I was in the hospital in Lubbock with my dad preparing for his brain surgery.  I missed sending out this Wednesday email because of that.  Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit with my dad on his 88th birthday – he is doing wonderful; God has touched him and the doctors and nurses who have been taking care of him and at this point it looks like he will make a complete recovery.  WOW.  I am amazed and I am grateful.  I do not understand the ways of God, the ways of health and life, but I am grateful to God that in the middle of everything that is going on I can trust Him . . . regardless.

This past Sunday evening began the celebration of Hanukkah; an eight day celebration of God’s intervention.  Briefly, between 336-165 B.C., a number of events took place in Jerusalem that showed God’s hand on the nation and people of Israel.  Antiochus, a king who took over half of the kingdom of Alexander the Great after his death and whose territory included the area we know of as Israel, persecuted Israel.  He oppressively enforced the Greek culture on Israel.  He put to death those who worshiped God or studied Torah, he desecrated the Altar and Holy of Holies by sacrificing a pig there and sprinkling its blood there and on the Torah scrolls and ultimately he martyred 100,000 righteous Jews.

Finally the Jewish people had had enough and a revolt was led by a priest, Mattathias Maccabees, and after he died, his son Judah took command.  In 165 B.C. 10,000 Maccabees faced 60,000 enemy soldiers.  God gave them victory in two battles between Jerusalem and Hebron.

They reclaimed Jerusalem and the priests cleansed the Temple, built a new altar and furniture, and hung new curtains before the Holy of Holies.  They rededicated the Temple on Kislev 25, the same day when Antiochus had defiled it with a pig three years earlier.  They offered a sacrifice on a new stone altar and everyone fell facedown to worship.  Israel decided to celebrate the rededication for eight days because the nation had missed the eight-day celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles.  It was the birth of a new feast, the Feast of Dedication.  Rabbis explain that a one-day supply of olive oil miraculously burned for eight days in the menorah which provided enough time to press olives and refine new oil.

There is a lesson here for all of us and it is of the power of God.  The “majority” does not have the final say.  The biggest “stick” does not have the final say.  The person in “power” does not have the final say.  Man does not have the final say – God does.  The Feast of Dedication, Hanukkah, is a reminder to all of us that God will do whatever is necessary for His will to be accomplished.  We do not always know His specific will, but the truth of the matter is that most of the time we know what is not His will.  We can seek to justify anything that we do, but ultimately what we need to know and listen to is what God has said.

I want to seek to honor God, regardless of the circumstances of my life.  I want to see what God is doing and take my eyes off of what man is doing.  I trust God.  I know that He has the final answer and so I am going to do everything that I can to listen to Him, to live what He has called me to live and to lift up Christ.  If God can make a one-day supply of oil burn for 8 days, then that tells me that He is interested in every little thing that is going on in my life and in yours and that I can trust Him.

Happy Hanukkah!

Rick

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  Upcoming Activities

 

Today, Wednesday December 9 – We have our regular Wednesday evening activities beginning with dinner at 5.  We invite you to join us for a very special evening.

 

Sunday December 13 – We continue in the Advent Season and the celebration of Our Coming Savior.  This Sunday morning we are going to be looking at the Shepherds role in this entire drama.  There is a lot that God has to say to us during this Advent Season and we hope that you will come and be a part of it with us!

 

Thursday December 24 – We will have a very special Christmas Eve service at 6:00 p.m.  We would love to have you and your family join with us for this celebration!

 

Sunday December 27 – We will have one combined worship service on Sunday December 27 at 10:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary.  We are going to enjoy the fruit of the Joy of the Lord on that morning.  It will be a great time for the body of Christ at Angus to come together and worship together!

 

 

 



Praise the Lord 11/25/15

 

Good morning,

 

1 Hallelujah! Praise God in his holy house of worship, praise him under the open skies;

2 Praise him for his acts of power, praise him for his magnificent greatness;

3 Praise with a blast on the trumpet, praise by strumming soft strings;

4 Praise him with castanets and dance, praise him with banjo and flute;

5 Praise him with cymbals and a big bass drum, praise him with fiddles and mandolin.

6 Let every living, breathing creature praise God! Hallelujah!

Psalm 150 The Message

 

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Rick

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  Upcoming Activities

 

Today, Wednesday November 25 – No Wednesday evening activities at Angus Church tonight.

 

Thursday November 26 – HAPPY THANKSGIVING

 

Sunday November 29– We are having ONE combined worship service this Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. in the gym.  We invite you to come and enjoy the fellowship, worship and praise of the Body of Christ!  Breakfast will be ready at 8:45 and our adult Sunday school class will meet immediately following the service!  This Sunday morning we begin the Advent Season with the emphasis Our Coming Savior!  We hope you will join us for a very special day!

 

 

 



Do Not Be Afraid 11/18/15

Good morning,

I have spent some time over the last days reflecting on the horrific bombings and shootings in Paris last Friday.  What I have to say to you this morning is not political, it is not militant and probably there will be people who read this email who wish that I would have talked about something else.  I don’t ask you to agree and I most certainly don’t think that I’ve got the final voice in this matter, I’m just trying to look at this like God looks at it.  I believe that everything that happens in life compels me to see it through the lens of Christ in my life.

This comes out of the devotional from yesterday, Tuesday November 17, from My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers.  The scripture is Genesis 22:16-18 where God says to Abraham, “‘I swear by myself,’ declares the LORD, ‘that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you . . . and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.’”

Now you might have guessed that the story is when God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac and Abraham prepared to do so without any hesitation at all!  Now look at what Chambers writes in reference to this story and specifically to the verses that I’ve written for you above.

Abraham, at this point, has reached where he is in touch with the very nature of God. He now understands the reality of God.
My goal is God Himself…  At any cost, dear Lord, by any road.
“At any cost…by any road” means submitting to God’s way of bringing us to the goal.
There is no possibility of questioning God when He speaks, if He speaks to His own nature in me. Prompt obedience is the only result. When Jesus says, “Come,” I simply come; when He says, “Let go,” I let go; when He says, “Trust God in this matter,” I trust. This work of obedience is the evidence that the nature of God is in me.

There is plenty to be scared of in our world today.  Terrorism has become a real possibility in our lives and not some foreign concept that takes place in another part of the world.  What happened in Paris on Friday has happened here in Oklahoma City not too long ago; in New York City; at Fort Hood, and who knows where it’ll happen next.  Are we immune, are we safe from something like this . . . I think you already know the answer to that.  Could it happen here, in the mountains of southern NM in a small mountain tourist community?  Again, I think you already know the answer to that.  So what should our response be?

First, OUR RESPONSE SHOULD NOT BE FEAR!

God spoke to Abraham and told him that he needed to sacrifice his son . . . and Abraham made the preparations, gathered up his son and the supplies, and headed to the mountain to sacrifice his son.  There is NO indication at all that he was afraid; there is NO indication at all that he hesitated; there is NO indication at all that he did anything except obey.  He simply did what God directed him to do.  We don’t know what he was thinking EXCEPT that he was going to obey God.  We can spend from now until eternity speculating about what he “might have” been thinking, but the truth is all we have is the story of God’s command and Abraham’s obedience.  I believe that the reason is that Abraham heard God speaking to God’s own nature within him.  I think that Abraham trusted God and that trust and obedience was the evidence that God’s nature lived in him.  I don’t think Abraham was afraid.

My life cannot be controlled by the “what if’s” of life.  “What if there is a terrorist attack where I am and I’m killed?”  Or worse, in my thinking at least, “What if there is a terrorist attack where my wife or children or grandchildren are and they are killed?”

I am not going to walk around scared of a “what if” in my life IF God’s own nature lives inside of me.  The reason has nothing at all to do with me; it has everything to do with who is in control and if God is in control then I’m going to trust Him and I’m going to obey Him.

If I remember correctly, (and I haven’t taken the time to check this out today but I seem to remember reading this) there are 365 verses in the Bible that tell me in one form or another, “Do not be afraid.”  That is one verse for every day of the year.  Again, this doesn’t have anything to do with me; it has everything to do with the Spirit of God living in me.  I’m not going to rely on “Rick” I HAVE to rely on His Spirit.  (For more on this concept you could check out the sermon from last Sunday, November 15, 2015, at www.anguschurch.org.)

(Now here’s the part of this where some of you are not going to agree with me – just thought I’d warn you.)

We’re hearing ALL OVER THE NEWS about this refugee issue.  At last count there almost two dozen governors of states that have already told the Administration that they will NOT accept any refugees from Syria in their state.  Again, I don’t have the answer that that problem here, but our answer is still the same:  YOU AND I DO NOT NEED TO BE AFRAID.  And if we find ourselves with refugees coming into our area or into our state, I think we need to go back to the Word of God and see what it has to say and what I find over and over and over is that God says we are to treat those who are “refugees” in our land like we would treat our neighbors.  We are to love them as God loves them.  After all, that is the heart of God; that is the character of God; that is the nature of God.  HE LOVES EVERYONE and there isn’t ANYONE that is left out of that!

I can hear (because I have heard) the arguments about the dangers; about the stupidity; about the senselessness; about the ridiculousness of doing this at this time – but my answer is still the same:  YOU AND I DO NOT NEED TO BE AFRAID.  GOD IS IN CONTROL!  Do I think we need to be wise?  Of course I do.  Do I think we should needlessly put ourselves in harm’s way?  Of course not!  HOWEVER, we DO NOT NEED TO BE AFRAID!

So regardless of what happens, please, do not be afraid.

Second, OUR RESPONSE SHOULD BE TO TRUST GOD AND BE OBEDIENT!

Read some more of what Chambers’ writes:

It is through the discipline of obedience that I get to the place where Abraham was and I see who God is. God will never be real to me until I come face to face with Him in Jesus Christ. Then I will know and can boldly proclaim, “In all the world, my God, there is none but Thee, there is none but Thee.”
The promises of God are of no value to us until, through obedience, we come to understand the nature of God. We may read some things in the Bible every day for a year and they may mean nothing to us. Then, because we have been obedient to God in some small detail, we suddenly see what God means and His nature is instantly opened up to us. “All the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen…” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Our “Yes” must be born of obedience; when by obedience we ratify a promise of God by saying, “Amen,” or, “So be it.” That promise becomes ours.

I do not have the answer to what is going to happen.  I don’t know what kinds of issues, problems, crises or situations we are going to have to face.

BUT, I will NOT be afraid and I WILL trust God and be obedient.

I love you . . . really, I do.

Rick

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  Upcoming Activities

 

Today, Wednesday November 18 – We have our regular Wednesday evening activities.  Why not join us for dinner at 5:00 and then at 6:00 all who are not involved with teens or children are going to meet in the Sanctuary and share our needs, read His Word and then pray together. I hope to see you here!

 

Sunday November 22 – We are continuing our study through the book of 1 John on Sunday mornings, and finding out what God has to say to us about discipleship and community.  I hope you will join us as we come together to worship and learn.

 

Wednesday November 25 – We will NOT be having any Wednesday night activities next week because of the celebration of Thanksgiving Day.  We urge you to spend time with your family and your friends and most of all, take the time to be thankful!

 

Sunday November 29 – On Sunday the 29th we will have one combined worship service at 9:00 a.m. in the gym.  This will be a wonderful time to come together as the Body of Christ and love one another!  Breakfast will be served and what an amazing time to fellowship and share together.  The adult Sunday school class that meets each Sunday will meet immediately following the service.