GOD PROVIDES | 6/27/2017

Families and Friends of Christ Our Redeemer,

Some people deal with more challenges every day than most of us will face in an entire lifetime.  Such a person was the author Robert Louis Stevenson.  Even though he was bedridden much of his life with tuberculosis, Stevenson seemed to maintain a cheerful outlook on things. 

A person who is constantly happy in adversity can be a pretty frustrating person for other – more normal – people to be around.  That was the case for Mrs. Stevenson, who one day heard her husband’s rib-shattering cough.  Rather testily she said to him, “And I suppose you still believe it’s a wonderful day?”  Stevenson, turning to a window ablaze with sunlight, said, “I do!  I will never let a row of medicine bottles block my view!”

As many of us think upon our lives, it’s amazing just how often we have done exactly that.  We get a cold and turn grouchy.  Something good happens to someone else and we get jealous.  Given a few minutes together, we could come up with quite a list of medicine bottles which blocks the sunshine, couldn’t we?

But this is not the way God wants His adopted children to live.  In John 

14:27, Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you.  My peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

  With those words, Jesus shows He is ready to flick aside the medicine bottles of frustration, fear, and a sense of foreboding.

With His perfect life and by His sacrificial suffering and death, all who believe in Jesus as Savior are forgiven.  Of course, Jesus wouldn’t force you to look past the medicine bottles to the joy and peace He wishes to give you.  But I wonder, why would anyone look at those medicine bottles when, just beyond, the Lord has provided wonderful things?

 

From one who looks for the Lord to provide what I need,

Pastor Steve



HE HOLDS THE FUTURE

Families and Friends of Christ Our Redeemer,

A broker at a large investment company received a letter with a self-addressed, stamped envelope.  In part, the letter made this request.  “In the enclosed envelope, kindly send me information about what business conditions will be like six months from now.”

After a good laugh, the broker wrote back.  “Dear Sir, for the price of a stamp you want to know something that many people want to know.  I can tell you my company would gladly guarantee me a job for the next century and give me an unlimited supply of cash if I could accurately give an answer to your question.  The truth is, I don’t know.  Lest I come off as a dim bulb, I am willing to say nobody else knows either.”  The broker was right.

No man or woman knows what the future will be like.  We don’t know the future of our country, our community, the stock market, or even the next ten minutes of our lives.  No one knows, except God.  Jeremiah 29:11 shares these comforting words. 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.” 

Knowing what is before us, He supplies the answers for both the present and the future.  Most important, He says, “Trust Me!”  God reminds us to “rely on Him.”  Those who do so find out that nothing now or in the future can ever separate us from the love that we receive from Him through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

 

From one who looks to Jesus for my future,

Pastor Steve



BARE NECESSITIES |6/13/17

Families and Friends of Christ Our Redeemer,

Twenty-three-year-old Brianna Karp was a victim of the recession.  When she lost her job several years ago, Brianna started to divest herself of life’s extras – the things she really didn’t need.  She got rid of furniture, a piano, books, and many other things.  A year after joining the ranks of the unemployed, she found herself living without electricity, regular showers, home-cooked meals, and some basic conveniences. 

But there was one necessity Karp refused to give up – her laptop computer.  Using the wireless network available at a local coffee shop, she surfed the Web looking for jobs.  She stayed in touch with friends.  She even began a blog on how it felt to live life without so much stuff.  I suppose it makes sense, but her choice of a computer on her list of bare necessities seemed to be a reminder of Will Rogers’ remark.  “America is the only country where people drive to the poor house in their car.”  Her story made me ask, “What are my bare necessities?  In my life, what would I give up?  What would I need to hold on to?”  The answer to that question, I imagine, is different for most of us.  What is precious for one person may be junk to someone else. 

Perhaps the words of Paul in Philippians 4:11 give us a clue into what should be on everyone’s list. 

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”  Think about it.  If a person can be content in every circumstance, he probably has his affairs in order.  What does Paul have that enables him to make such a statement?  Verse thirteen of the same chapter gives us the answer.  He writes, I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”

Jesus is the answer.  He is the one Person needful.  He is the One who can get us through rough times.  He is the One who gives us an abundant life in this world, and a blessed life through eternity.  Most of all, Jesus is necessary because He is the One who saves our souls from sin, death, and Satan.  Jesus is the bare necessity for us all.

 

From one who sees how Jesus is so necessary in my life,

Pastor Steve



JUST A LITTLE BIT | 6/6/17

Families and Friends of Christ Our Redeemer,

If you have children or grandchildren, you know the cartoon character Shrek has been a pretty popular guy.  For those who may not remember, Shrek, a cartoon ogre, has starred in four full-length and very successful cartoon movies.  At one time, he was so popular that McDonald’s decided to woo the younger set by giving away sixteen ounce glasses.  Children, along with their parents, were encouraged to collect these glasses which carried one of the four leading characters from the films.  Apparently, the campaign was a success.  McDonald’s gave out over twelve million of those cartoon character glasses.

But then McDonald’s told people to stop using those glasses.  Why?  The painted designs on the glasses contained the toxic metal cadmium.  The glasses look good.  But after time, the cadmium may find itself in the hands of a child.  If that child puts his hands into his mouth, a known toxic chemical would then be in his body.

Adam and Eve would have understood.  Genesis 3:6 tells us,

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took the fruit and ate it.  She also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he also ate it.”

  Because of this, death entered their world, and ours.

Temptation often seems good to look at.  It wouldn’t be much of a temptation if it wasn’t.  Every day, we, just like Adam and Eve, fall into temptation and sin.

This is why we need the Savior.  In Jesus Christ, we find the One who resisted every temptation, every time.  Even more importantly, He resisted those temptations for us.  We no longer need to be afraid of the devil’s temptation.  We do our best to avoid them.  But we do not need to fear them.  Because of Jesus, forgiveness and eternal life is ours.  We are forgiven, healed, and saved.

 

From one who looks to Jesus when temptation comes calling,

Pastor Steve

 



THE GOOD DAYS AHEAD

Families and Friends of Christ Our Redeemer,

Have you ever run into a person who is always talking about the “good ole’ days”?  You know the kind of person I am talking about.  When such an individual looks back on their life, the stuff furthest back seems to be the hardest and the best. 

An old plumber seemed to think that way.  He was chewing out his young helper, who always seemed to be tired and headed to – or coming back from – a coffee break.  Maybe that’s an exaggeration.  But he certainly worked at a relaxed pace.  The master plumber said, “You think you work hard?  When I was an apprentice, we had to work hard.  We used to lay the first two lengths of pipe, then the boss would turn on the water.  We’d have to lay pipe to stay ahead of the flow.”  I’m not about to say that the old plumber was stretching the truth.  Nor am I about to say whether things were better or worse years ago.  I will say that each year I grow older, things seem to go faster.  Life seems to be flying by at a speed I find hard to grasp now and then.  Maybe ten years from now, 2017 will be the good ole’ days.
Whatever happens in the future I know I can be at peace.  That’s what happens when the crucified and risen Jesus is by your side.  Psalm 23:6 reminds us,

“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Because Jesus is with you, forgiving your sins of the past and giving direction to your future, every day is a good ole’ day.  From start to finish, may the Lord watch over you.  From beginning to end, may today be a good ole’ day.

 

From one who sees the good in what the Lord brings me,

Pastor Steve