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 | Wednesday Weekly Blog |

God Loves You! 10/9/13

My grandson is walking!  Ashley (my daughter-in-law) posted a video on Facebook on Sunday evening.  I know I’ve watched it at least half a dozen times; it’s only about 6 seconds long and it’s only about 5 feet, but he’s walking.  A couple of weeks ago she posted a video of him standing up and grabbing onto his cart and pushing it across the room, that one is about 17 seconds (do you think I’m obsessed with my grandson?)  In both videos his mommy and daddy are there urging him on, yelling their support, clapping and reaffirming him.  If grandpa and grandma were there we’d be doing it too (and probably I’d find a way to take credit).  I wish I knew how to post those videos to this email and send them to you but I don’t know how to do that, I’m sure it would take a lot of memory, or bytes, or RAM, or something like that and besides, most of you wouldn’t want to see it anyway.  You’re more interested in your grandson or granddaughter; as well you should be.  (But if you want to see the videos, come by my office and I’ll be GLAD to show them to you!)

Now I know most of you think I just wanted to talk to you about my grandson, but that really isn’t the case here.  I am proud of my grandson and I love to talk about him, but as I was watching both of those videos this afternoon I thought about how much his mommy and daddy love that boy and that made me think about God and how much He loves us.  I’ve told you this before, but I believe if God had a refrigerator, He would have your picture on the front of it.  He LOVES you!

And as I thought about those things I thought about a couple of passages of scripture:  Isaiah 49 and Isaiah 66.  Look at these scriptures with me.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?  Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”  Isaiah 49:15-16

“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.”  Isaiah 66:13

The question in chapter 49 is a question where the answer is implied:  NO WAY!  But then God says, “I’m just like that.  Just as a mother is not going to forget that child, I’m not going to forget you.  But, in the incredible chance that she would forget; in the almost impossible thought that she might forget, why even if a mother actually did forget her baby, there is no way in the world that I’m going to forget you.”  That’s our God.  That’s how much He loves you and me.  And then He goes on and says, “Why look here, I have engraved your face on my hands I love you so much!”  Forget the refrigerator, He tattooed your face right on His hands!  (No emails please about how God hates tattoos . . . please.  I’m just trying to make a point here and who knows J . . .) 

My son and daughter-in-law love their son; there is NO DOUBT ABOUT IT!  They are going to do everything they can to show him that and to make sure that he KNOWS that he is loved.  Nothing is going to change that either. We love our son and daughter and daughter-in-law and grandson and we are going to do everything that we can to show them that and to make sure that they KNOW they are loved.  That’s what moms and dads do.  AND NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE THAT!

God loves you, there is NO DOUBT ABOUT IT!  He has done (and by the way, He is going to continue to do) everything that He can to show you that and to make sure that you KNOW that you are loved.  AND NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE THAT EITHER.  There isn’t ANYTHING you can do to make God stop loving you.  NOTHING – (That’s Greek for not one single, solitary thing at all, no way, no how).  

I believe that God smiles when He sees you in the morning when you wake up.  I believe that God looks at you while you are sleeping and smiles.  I believe that God cheered when you walked for the first time.  I think that you made His day on the day that He created you.  I think that there are times when God literally puts His arms around you and hugs you.  I really do believe that.  You might not recognize Him, but I believe that He does. 

Our children have made some mistakes in their lives.  There were times, when they were younger and at home, that they disobeyed us.  We disciplined them when they did and we did that because we love them.  We wanted to teach them what was right; what was acceptable; what would help them in life.  But not once, never one single time when they disobeyed, when they have made mistakes or done something that we don’t agree with, not once, not EVEN once have we ever stopped loving them or quit loving them nor will we quit loving them because of any of that.  I know that our children will discipline their children when they do wrong and they will do it for many if not all of the same reasons that we did.  But not one time, not EVEN once, will they ever stop loving that boy.

Are there times when we’ve messed up, when we’ve “gasp” SINNED and God has stopped loving us because of what we’ve done?  NEVER – NEVER – NEVER – NEVER – NEVER!  Has He not wanted us to do that?  Of course.  Has He disciplined us?  Absolutely!  Did He ever stop loving us?  NEVER!

Then in the 66th chapter, Isaiah tells us that God comforts us like a mother comforts her child.  There is just something about a mother’s comfort.  A dad can and does comfort, but let’s face it, when a small child gets hurt, just about all of the time the first thing they do is cry for mama!  That is the picture that God is giving us. 

There are going to be times when we need to be comforted, and God will comfort us.  Think about this:  who do you think taught those mama’s how to comfort?  God.  Who do you think is world champion comforter?  God!  Why, do you remember the word that Jesus used to describe “God living inside of us”?  That’s right, Comforter! 

I just wanted to tell you today that God loves you.  He’s your biggest supporter!  He is the One in your corner when no one else is there.  He isn’t going to forget you; YOUR FACE IS TATTOOED ON HIS HANDS!

I love you, just not nearly as much as He does!

Rick

Upcoming Activities

Today, Wednesday October 9 – Come on and join us tonight for dinner about 5 and then if you aren’t involved in the teen’s or children’s activities you can take part in the Hispanic Bible study or the prayer group, both of which meet at 6.  (I might even show you George’s “walking” videos . . . no, don’t worry, I won’t)

Thursday October 10 – Coordinated Home Healthcare is going to have an Open House on Thursday from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.  Our own Mary Nell Washburn is a part of this incredible organization and she would love to have you drop by to see their new “digs” and sit and chat (maybe they’ll even have a cookie).  They are located at 1218 Mecham Drive, Suite C, in Ruidoso; where Two Scoops used to be!

Sunday October 13 – We will be having our regular worship services at 8:45 and 10:30 a.m.  We’d love to see you here.

BUT THE REALLY GREAT EVENT ON SUNDAY IS THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF OUR HISPANIC WORSHIP SERVICE!  This takes place at 4:00 o’clock in the sanctuary.  This will be a tremendous celebration of what God has done and what He is doing!  Come and join us for an incredible time to celebrate together and then we’re going to have a piñata party and great food!

Monday October 14 – Church Board meeting 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday October 23 – We will be having our Annual Family Dinner for the families of our Wednesday night children and teens.  We will need servers, greeters, table hosts, cooks, set-up and clean-up crews and just plain old people to love these families.  We hope you’ll be a part of it!  There will be signup sheets on Sunday!

Sunday October 27 – We will be privileged to have Rudy Cervantes, Heavenly Trumpet Ministries here with us on that Sunday.  WE WILL BE HAVING ONE COMBINED WORSHIP SERVICE AT 9:30 A.M. ON THAT DAY AND WE WILL MEET IN THE GYM!  Immediately following the service our teens will be hosting their semi-annual brisket dinner with Shelly’s famous dinner rolls.  There will also be a silent auction.  This is our teens semi-annual fundraiser and we hope you’ll plan on staying and eating and getting yourself some bargains!



So What Will Draw Them to You? 10/2/13

I love October!  There is an incredible smell in the air; there is a crisp, fresh feeling each morning.  I love walking outside and feeling the cool, almost cold air in the mornings.  I LOVE the smell of burning leaves in October – we don’t get that much anymore . . . too bad.  It smells like Fall.  I love it when you have to turn on your heater in the morning and roll the windows down in the afternoon.  I love the full moon in October on a cool night.  I love to watch it rise in the east, especially when you can catch it just as it is appearing over the horizon.  Welcome to October!

I also love reading different versions of the Bible.  My favorite is probably the NIV because I am so familiar with it, but I love reading other versions, getting a little different spin on scripture.  I really love the Message, but it has been awhile since I’ve opened it and read it.  Well this morning Sue was doing her reading and she is reading in Isaiah.  She uses the Message for her reading and she came in and asked me if I had ever read Isaiah 53, the Suffering Servant chapter, a chapter about Messiah, from the Message.  I don’t think I had, but I did and WOW, it is amazing!  I would encourage you to get a copy of the Message if you can and read that chapter today.  I’m not going to spoil it for you so I hope you can do it.  I am though going to elaborate just a little.

Remember that Isaiah told us, in writing about Messiah, that He wouldn’t be this incredibly handsome, “anyone-would-be-drawn-to-him” guy.  In fact, Isaiah told us that not only wouldn’t we be drawn to Him, but we would probably overlook Him or worse yet, turn away from Him. 

Have you ever noticed that most of the pictures of Jesus picture him as this handsome, great looking “white man” whose smile would light up a room?  Please remember, Jesus was a Jew.  He wasn’t a Caucasian American, He probably didn’t have perfect teeth and body-builder muscles.  We don’t know what He looked like, but we get an idea from Isaiah.  I’m going to use the NIV so as not to spoil your reading from the Message.  Go ahead, go and read it from the Message – I think you’ll get a completely NEW idea of it.  By the way, when something is italicized  it is my emphasis.

Isaiah wrote, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”  Remember, he is describing the physical looks of Messiah.  He goes on, “He was despised and rejected by mankind . . . Like one from whom people hide their faces . . .

Now here is where I’m going to this morning.  We have made Jesus out to be this handsome guy that everyone is drawn to.  We fanaticize that He is someone that people would want to be with, be drawn to, like to be around, but if we’re honest we mostly do it because of His looks.  Hold on with me here; I know some of you aren’t with me, that you’ve jumped ahead, but just hold on.

Have you ever read the story of “Beauty and the Beast”?  What about the “Hunchback of Notre Dame”?  I’m not talking about the Disney version, where Beast is this handsome wolf-like creature, or the Hunchback is this likeable little fella that you just want to hug; I’m talking about the original stories.  Beast was this hideous creature that no one wanted to even look at and the genius of the story is that Beauty saw what was inside of him.  The Hunchback was deformed physically, someone who was hidden away because no one wanted to look at him.  Who wants to run up and sit in Beast’s lap?  No one!  Who wants the Hunchback to wrap his arms around them and hold them close?  No one!

Look at those words about Messiah again . . . “ . . . nothing in his appearance that we should desire him . . . like one from whom people hide their faces . . .”  That is the Bible’s description of Jesus!  YET, in reality we know that little children were drawn to Him . . . women of ill repute forgot everything and everyone around them when He was near them . . . people wanted to be around Him.  HOW?  WHY?  That is the beauty, that is the secret, that is the miracle of this story.  We are NOT drawn to Him because He is Hollywood handsome or MMA ripped, it is love, God’s agape love that draws us to Him.  When that kind of love is displayed, appearance doesn’t matter.  When we see that kind of love in action, we can’t help ourselves.  When love like that is what consumes Him, nothing else matters!

I have a friend who commented on a video this past week that we both saw.  The video is about a couple that is celebrating their 50th Anniversary.  The thing is, the wife is dealing with advanced Alzheimer’s.  In the video the husband describes the fact that he has to do everything for his wife; he does all the cooking and cleaning, he has to bathe her, do her hair, dress her, everything.  As we watch the video you can see the joy that he expresses and the love that he feels for his wife.  He says that it is a privilege to be able to do this for her because he loves her.  It is obvious that she can’t return that love anymore, but that doesn’t stop him.

My friend commented on the video, “It’s hard to believe that there’s any love still like this out there.”  My friend has been alone now for over 3 years, having experienced their second divorce.  I don’t know much about the second marriage but the first ended horribly, very messy.  My friend is a Christian and I know that they know that God’s love is like this; they’ve just given up on mankind.  It saddens me; it hurts me; I wanted to cry when I read my friends comment.  Really.

This is the kind of love that God has given to us, but here is the kicker . . . He has given it to us SO THAT WE CAN GIVE IT TO OTHERS.  You see, to that man in the video, love isn’t about what his wife can do for him, it is about love.  She can’t respond to him anymore.  She can’t tell him that she loves him anymore.  They can’t take trips to see their grandchildren and share the wonder and amazement of playing with, holding, being with their family because she doesn’t remember.  He won’t ever have his wife back again, but he loves her nonetheless and nothing is going to change that or stop him from doing what love compels him to do.

God loves us like that, but He does it SO THAT WE CAN LOVE OTHERS LIKE THAT.  And when we do, it doesn’t matter what we look like; it doesn’t matter what kind of money we make; it doesn’t matter what political persuasion we have; it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter . . . people are drawn to that just like they were drawn to the One “. . . from whom people hide their faces.” 

I dare you to love like that.  I dare you to forget that people have different political leanings than you do and love them like that.  I dare you to forget that people are sinners and love them like that.  I dare you to forget that people will hurt you, despise you, spit in your face, take your money, your house, you job, your retirement, you LIFE, and love them like that.  I DARE YOU!

Go on, read Isaiah 53 in the Message – I’ll bet it’ll make your day!  By the way, if you just can’t get a copy of Isaiah 53 in the Message, let me know and I’ll copy it for you and email it to you.  It’s wonderful!

I love you! 

Upcoming Activities

Today, Wednesday October 2 – We will have our regular Wednesday evening activities tonight, beginning with dinner about 5.  Come and join us.  Teens and children will have their regular activities plus we have our Hispanic Bible Study at 6 and our Prayer Group meets in the Sanctuary at 6.  We’d love to have you come and pray with us – I might even show that video I just described to you.

Sunday October 6 – We will come together as the Body of Christ and Worship Him!  We invite you to join with us at the 8:45 service in the gym or at 10:30 in the Sanctuary, or at 4:00 in the Sanctuary for the Hispanic Service.  We’re going to have a GREAT time and we’re going to Worship the One whose love draws people to Him.

Sunday October 13 – Our Hispanic congregation will be celebrating their one-year anniversary on Sunday October 13 at 4:00 p.m.  Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend and join with us as we celebrate this milestone.  There will be a lot of special activities with a Piñata for the children, great food and refreshments, fellowship and fun as we celebrate what God is doing!

Wednesday October 23 – We will be having our special Family Night for the families of our Wednesday night teens and children.  Please note the date change.

Sunday October 27 – Rudy Cervantes, Heavenly Trumpet Ministries, will be with us on this special day.  We will have one combined service on that day at 9:30 a.m. in the gym.  Rudy will be playing and sharing his ministry that day and you won’t want to miss it.  Rudy is an incredible musician and his testimony is amazing..  This will be a very special day.

Following the ministry of Rudy Cervantes and Heavenly Trumpet Ministries, the teens will be serving their legendary Brisket Dinner.  This is the teens Fall fundraiser and the dinner is on a donation basis.  There will also be a silent auction of many items that have been donated to help fund the teen ministry for the year.  There will be some incredible items that you won’t want to miss out on besides the wonderful dinner and Shelly’s INCREDIBLE dinner rolls! 



Obedience and Trusting God – 9/25/18

I shared with you last week that I have been reading in Genesis in my devotion time and this morning I read the story of God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac.  There are some amazing things in this story that challenge me and I pray will challenge you as well.

First, Abraham’s obedience.  Remember that Abraham is 100 years old and Sarah was 90 years old, when Isaac, the son who was promised by God to Abraham and Sarah, was born.  Both of them were well pass the age of childbearing and yet God’s miraculous intervention is obvious.  God had promised them that He would deliver on His promise and He did.  There is no other heir, God had already told him in no uncertain terms, that Ishmael was not going to be the son through whom the promise of God would be fulfilled; his nephew would not be the one through whom the promise was fulfilled; Isaac was God’s promised heir, there was no “Plan B.”  So, in Genesis 22:1 it simply says, “Some time later God tested Abraham.”  (There is a lot there for us as well, but we’ll save that for another day, another email, perhaps another sermon.)  Anyway God told Abraham to “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah.  Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”  There is no explanation; there is nothing there that suggests that God gives a reason or tells Abraham that this is a test, He simply says to do it.  And the very next verse says, “Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey.”  He didn’t argue with God; he didn’t ask anyone else’s opinion; he didn’t hesitate; he didn’t ask for God to confirm or deny what he had heard; he simply got up the next morning to go and do what God had asked him to do.

Obedience – it is a non-negotiable quality when we follow God.  We don’t like it.  Come on, be honest, we think we deserve an answer; we believe we deserve an explanation from God when we don’t understand.  If we’ll really be honest, we think we have the right to demand that God tell us why!  I don’t think I’m being too harsh; I don’t think I’m assuming too much with that statement.  You know what, when God says do something, I think we should just do it.  I think that is what this story says to us.  Abraham simply obeyed.  (A little more on this in a moment)

Here is another thing that amazes me.  I’ve seen pictures, illustrations of this story in Bibles, in Sunday school lessons, in Bible studies that show Abraham and a young boy, Isaac, climbing a mountain, or standing in front of a stone altar, or carrying a bundle of wood for the sacrifice, or even of Abraham standing over a young Isaac, the boy bound on the stone and Abraham with the knife poised to take the boy’s life.  The problem with all of those pictures, illustrations, is that Isaac is always pictured as a young boy.  I don’t ever remember seeing one that isn’t that way and I don’t believe it is factual.  I don’t believe that Isaac was a young boy, I believe, at best, he was a young man either in his late teens or even older than that.  The reason I believe that is so important is that Abraham would have been 115-118 years of age or older and Isaac a young man with much, much more strength than his father.  Talk about OBEDIENCE – Isaac could have simply physically overcome his father and not allowed him to put him on the altar.  But Genesis tells us that when they got to the place for the sacrifice that “Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.  He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood” (22:9).

Another amazing thing – When Abraham is stopped from sacrificing his son, the angel says to him, “Do not do anything to him.  Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son” (22:12).  This flows out of Abraham’s obedience, but the fact is, he didn’t withhold anything from God.  Now in theory that is what we say; that we aren’t going to withhold anything from God.  That is all well and good, but most of us haven’t been asked anything near the magnitude of what Abraham was asked.  What if God asked for your child?  What if God asked for your spouse?  What if God asked for your health?  What if God asked for your time?  What if God asked for your tithe?  What if God asked for your . . . well, you fill in the blank.  Isaac was the pinnacle of everything that Abraham was living for because Isaac was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham.  He didn’t hesitate, he physically, figuratively, literally gave God everything

In 22:14 the writer tells us that Abraham named the place “The LORD will Provide.”  Remember, when the angel stopped Abraham, (and I believe the “angel” was the pre-incarnate Christ; He is called “the angel of the LORD”), that Abraham “looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns” (22:13).  Did God “zap” the ram there at that moment?  Did that ram get caught there 15 minutes before Abraham and Isaac got there and they just didn’t see it?  Did the ram walk up at that moment and get caught in the thicket?  I don’t know, but what I do know is that God provided the ram.  (That DIDN’T just happen.)  So, he took it and offered it instead of his son, as a sacrifice to God.  AND IN FACT, earlier when Isaac had asked him where the sacrifice was, Abraham had told him, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering” (22:8).  Never was there any question at all in Abraham’s mind that God would provide.

Now here is “more on this in a moment” that I mentioned earlier.  In Hebrews 11, the “Faith Hall of Fame” in the Bible, the writer in verse 19 writes concerning this event that, “Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.”  I can’t prove this but I think that scripture at the very least points to this; I believe that Abraham fully intended to take Isaac’s life and that after he did that, that God would bring Isaac back to life.  To me, that makes this obedience all the more incredible.  Abraham had never seen God bring someone back to life; he had never seen someone “raised from the dead;” and yet He trusted God so completely that he knew that God had said that it was through Isaac the promise would be fulfilled and that since God had asked him to sacrifice his son that when he did that, God would bring him back to life.

The LORD will Provide!  Do you believe that?  I read an amazing commentary this morning from Breakpoint on Hope.  I would urge you to go online to www.breakpoint.org and click on the box in the upper right that says “Breakpoint Daily September 26” and read “Hope, Our Only Offer.”  It is wonderful.

The LORD will Provide – I hope you will meditate on that and come to your own conclusion that He will IN YOUR LIFE.  I don’t know what you’re going through but I believe the LORD will Provide for you today.  Will you be obedient? 

I love you,

Rick

Upcoming Activities

 

Today, Wednesday September 25 – We have dinner tonight here at the church, FREE OF CHARGE, at 5:00.  Come out and join us.  Our children and teens will have their regular activities and the Hispanic Bible study will meet at 6:00.  I have an amazing video that I’m going to show in the sanctuary at 6:00 during our regular prayer time.  I watched this video on Monday and it is truly amazing.  I want to urge you to come and join us.  The video is entitled “Syria in Bible Prophecy” and the speaker is Amir Tsarfati, a Jewish Bible Prophecy teacher.  The video is almost an hour long and we’ll start it promptly at 6:00.

Friday, Saturday, September 27-28 – Feed My Starving Children will be sponsoring the packaging of food for starving children at the Ruidoso Convention Center.  There are still time slots available on Saturday.  Please go to the website www.FMSC.org/mobilepack/events to sign up or to donate.  REMEMBER that through this organization you can provide a meal for a starving child for ONLY 22 CENTS!

Sunday September 29 – Pastor Marco will be preaching in both morning worship services as well as the Hispanic Service in the afternoon!  Come out and show your support for Pastors Marco and Betty Sanchez!

Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m. we will join with other Christians around Lincoln County to share in the Lord’s Supper.  Gateway Church of Christ is hosting this service and we are invited to come together as the Body of Christ and share in the Lord’s Supper.

For those not going to the Communion Service, Sierra Blanca Christian Academy will be having the Annual Gospel Sing at the Flying J Ranch at 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday October 9 – We will be hosting the families of our Wednesday night children and teens for dinner and a time of loving them!  We will need volunteers to host tables, to serve, to cook and clean up.  PLEASE PLAN ON BEING A PART OF THIS WONDERFUL EVENING!

Sunday October 13 – Our Hispanic Congregation will be celebrating their 1st Anniversary.  We will have a great time of celebration for what God is doing and all are invited to attend!  More details will follow!