Sunday, August 5, 2018

5 OUT OF 7

MUSINGS - August 04 2018

5 OUT OF 7

Ephesians 4:22-30
“You were taught to change the way you were living. The person you used to be will ruin you through desires that deceive you. However, you were taught to have a new attitude. You were also taught to become a new person created to be like God, truly righteous and holy. So then, get rid of lies. Speak the truth to each other, because we are all members of the same body. Be angry without sinning. Don't go to bed angry. Don't give the devil any opportunity to work. Thieves must quit stealing and, instead, they must work hard. They should do something good with their hands so that they'll have something to share with those in need. Don't say anything that would hurt another person. Instead, speak only what is good so that you can give help wherever it is needed. That way, what you say will help those who hear you. Don't give God's Holy Spirit any reason to be upset with you. He has put his seal on you for the day you will be set free from the world of sin.”

My Checklist

[x] Get rid of lies

[x] Speak the truth
[x] Don't go to bed angry
[x] Quit stealing
[x] Share with those in need
[ ] Speak only what is good
[ ] Don't upset the Spirit

5 out of 7 isn’t bad is it?

Yes, I’m afraid so!

Unfortunately, I have a sharp wit and a sharp tongue. I’m only teasing – most of the time. I don’t intend to hurt anyone. But sometimes I do.

My verse for today: Proverbs 15:4 A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue breaks the spirit.


MUSINGS - August 03 2018


Isaiah 55:10-11
"Rain and snow come down from the sky. They do not go back again until they water the earth. They make it sprout and grow so that it produces seed for farmers and food for people to eat. My word, which comes from my mouth, is like the rain and snow. It will not come back to me without results. It will accomplish whatever I want and achieve whatever I send it to do."

The Word goes forth from God.

John 1:14
The Word became human and lived among us. We saw his glory. It was the glory that the Father shares with his only Son, a glory full of kindness and truth.

The Word does the Father's will.

John 5:17
Jesus replied to them, "My Father is working right now, and so am I."

The Word is nearly completed.

John 17:4-5
On earth I have given you glory by finishing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, give me glory in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world existed.

The Word accomplished his task

John 19:30
After Jesus had taken the vinegar, he said, "It is finished!" Then he bowed his head and died.

The Greek word translated “it is finished” is tetelestai, an accounting term that means “paid in full.”

The Word returned to God.

Acts 1:7-9
Jesus told them, "You don't need to know about times or periods that the Father has determined by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes to you. Then you will be my witnesses to testify about me in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." After he had said this, he was taken to heaven. A cloud hid him so that they could no longer see him.

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MUSINGS - July 31 2018


John 11:1-6
Lazarus, who lived in Bethany, the village where Mary and her sister Martha lived, was sick. (Mary was the woman who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. Her brother Lazarus was the one who was sick.) So the sisters sent a messenger to tell Jesus, "Lord, your close friend is sick." When Jesus heard the message, he said, "His sickness won't result in death. Instead, this sickness will bring glory to God so that the Son of God will receive glory through it." Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus. Yet, when Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed I'll where he was for two more days.

John 11:11-15
After Jesus said this, he told his disciples, "Our friend Lazarus is sleeping, and I'm going to Bethany to wake him." His disciples said to him, "Lord, if he's sleeping, he'll get well."

Jesus meant that Lazarus was dead, but the disciples thought Jesus meant that Lazarus was only sleeping. Then Jesus told them plainly, "Lazarus has died, but I'm glad that I wasn't there so that you can grow in faith. Let's go to Lazarus."

John 11:17
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days.

John 11:32
When Mary arrived where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."

John 11:39-44
Jesus said, "Take the stone away." Martha, the dead man's sister, told Jesus, "Lord, there must already be a stench. He's been dead for four days." Jesus said to her, "Didn't I tell you that if you believe, you would see God's glory?" So the stone was moved away from the entrance of the tomb. Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you for hearing me. I've known that you always hear me. However, I've said this so that the crowd standing around me will believe that you sent me." After Jesus had said this, he shouted as loudly as he could, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out. Strips of cloth were wound around his feet and hands, and his face was wrapped with a handkerchief. Jesus told them, "Free Lazarus, and let him go."

There is so much going on in this story. And I encourage you to read it in its entirety other than the selected verses I've included.

His close friend is sick. Instead of immediately going to his aid, Jesus makes a pronouncement that this will bring glory to God. There is a plan in place and it isn't what Lazarus, Mary, Martha, their family or friends want. They want immediate healing. And they trust that Jesus is able to do that. The plan belongs to God for his glory.

I've been a believer for fifty some years now. And in those years I've prayed countless prayers with tears in my eyes, just as I'm sure Lazarus and his sisters were doing. I've believed in God's power, just as they did. And I was as disappointed when it seemed my prayers were unanswered, just as they were disappointed. And I've cried out in hurt, disappointment and bewilderment just as Mary did, "Lord, if only you had been here!"

However, just as the prophet Isaiah records "My thoughts are not your thoughts, and my ways are not your ways," declares the LORD. (55:8) I believe God has a plan and it makes no difference if I understand or I don't.

When I pray, "Your will be done," I am saying in affect that I submit my will to His. And though it is sometimes a hard pill to swallow, it is my belief that His plan is superior to mine. And so, after I've laid out my "perfect plan" for His approval, I still say, "Not my will, but Yours, Lord."

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All content (except quotations) © 2018 Thomas E. Williams

God of All Nations

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

A Day in the Life of Jesus

Read John 5:1-6:21

Sermon:. A Day in the Life of Jesus

I imagine Jesus at the end of the day we have just read about, talking to his Father.

          Oy! Abba, Father, such a day I've had. I arrived in Jerusalem for the Pesach that was soon approaching. The traffic! Camels, donkeys, oxcarts, and people everywhere! However, like every good Jewish man, I followed the traditional teaching of the Torah to make the pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem for Passover.

        Not wanting to attract attention, I enter by the Sheep Gate. Such misery I saw at the pool of Bethesda. The discarded of humanity are there, the blind, the lame, and paralyzed were everywhere around the pool.

         They crowded, pushed and shoved to be the first to enter the pool when ripples spread over the surface of the water. They trusted in the waters to heal them, if only they could be first. All strained to see the pool or listened for the sound of the disturbed water.

         All but one man. One man looked straight into my eyes and I saw in his heart how for 38 years he has placed his faith in the rumor of miraculous healing in this water.

        I asked him simply, “Do you want to be healed?” He didn't understand what I was offering him and replied that no one would help him.

         Gently but firmly I said, "Get up, pick up your cot, and walk."

        Immediately, he stood. The emotions flooded crossed his face; surprise, relief, joy, thankfulness, and more. He gathered his meger bedding and was almost skipping on those long unused legs.

        I thought nothing more about it until later when he pointed me out to the religious leaders.

         When they saw him healthy, walking, and carrying his bedding, instead of sharing his joy and praising You, Father, they were angry that he was working on the Sabbath. And angrier still with me for healing him on the Sabbath. The poor man had suffered already 38 years and they would have had him suffer another day when I could heal him immediately. How lacking in compassion are these hard hearted leaders.

         They have so twisted Your words, the law of Moses, and the prophet's teachings that the gift we gave them, of a day of rest, has become a burden of rules and regulations instead of the joy it was meant to bring. How have things gotten so out of hand?

    What? Oh, right, that’s what I’m here to correct. You know how hard headed and hard hearted these people are but I’m making headway. I’ve lit a spark and we both know how it will be fanned and eventually spread to every corner of the world.

          Anyway, I once again explained in detail to the religious leaders that God is working now and I, as His Son must also be working. I showed them the scriptures that testify about me. Father, how can they claim to follow Moses but fail to follow who Moses himself followed. They are already being judged by the very scriptures they profess to know.

       Though secretly there are those among them who know and believe in me, still the majority plot ways to murder me. You and i know that the day will come soon enough, but there is yet more to be done. By the way, if there is any way that you could change the plan, I'd be for it. This human body is so frail and I'm not looking forward to the beatings and pain of execution. But as always, Your will be done.

         I left the city with my faithful friends and crossed the sea so that I might have more time to instruct them in the work that lay before them. Dad, they are still so slow to understand the depth and breadth of our plan for them.

          We retired to a hillside to be alone but, alas, word spread that the healer, the miracle worker, had come to their shore. Father, when will they understand that all of these signs are to get their attention so that they will listen to the good news I bring to them?

         Abba, you know I could not deny these poor lost sheep. It is not in our nature to ignore them. So I spoke until evening was approaching. I understood that though I was feeding their minds and spirits on your word, God, they hungered physically also. Evening was coming and the people had been there for hours. Having compassion for them, I  asked, "Where can we buy bread for these people to eat?" Philip answered first that we had no money to purchase bread. Andrew had a partial solution, a boy's lunch of bread and fish, but said it would never feed so many.

          How sad it makes me that even those closest to me still do not understand. Dad, there is so little time left. I asked them what they could do. And was answered with what they could not do. Really?!

       Once more I would have to demonstrate the power we are giving them. With your blessing on the food, I fed the multitude from the gift of that simple lunch. They were filled and yet there was excess. Did they understand that, all that is given to God, can be multiplied without limits?

         Some understood but most wanted to make me an Earthly king. Father, you know that is not why you sent me nor why I came. So I slipped away into the mountains to be alone.

         As darkness began to settle in, my friends loaded into boats and began to row toward Capernaum, which was to be our next stop. They were about half way across the sea when the wind came up and the sea became choppy. I knew that they would be afraid, so I walked across the sea to the boat. It took a moment for them to realize I wasn't a ghost. But finally they let me in the boat. Sometimes I just shake my head in wonderment about these guys, Dad.

        Oh, You think I should have just appeared in the middle of the boat and said, “Don’t be afraid”? I know you like to do that when you send angels to them. But trust me on this, they would have shrieked like little children if I had just suddenly appeared in their midst. But, just for grins and giggles, I may just do that later, after my death and resurrection. We'll see then if their faith has grown enough to not be afraid.

      By the way, they were still so amazed about a simple thing like walking on water that they didn't even notice that we were suddenly all the rest of the way across the lake! There are none so blind as those who do not see.

What a day, Father. In all things Your will will be done. Goodnight and Amen.

         How do you talk with God at your days end your day?