Morning Reflection – Psalm 24:1-2

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.27.4″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,
The world and those who dwell therein.

For He has founded it upon the waters
and established it upon the rivers.

Psalm 24:1-2 (ESV)

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That which God FOUNDS, He also ESTABLISHES.  He is not in the business of ignoring His creation or abandoning things He has begun.

God is a finisher, a strengthener, One who sets things in motion and enables them to withstand the test of time.  Things like the earth.  Things like the Church.  Things like your life.

If you have a new life in Christ, God has founded that life on good promises, and He will establish it for good results in the end.

So, be at peace, follower of Jesus.  God’s got you.
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Some things are not for us to know

And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.”   (Revelation 10:4)

We could speculate as to what the seven thunders said, but it would be fruitless, because some things are not for us to know.

We could theorize as to why God would reveal so much to us through John yet hold this knowledge back, but it would be pointless, because some things are not for us to know.

We could worry about what we missed and wish we had more answers, but such worry is really worthless, because some things are not for us to know.

What we can do—what we must do—is cultivate the heart and art of humble trust in our heavenly Father.  When we train our hearts to rest in the reality that in Christ, God loves us deeply and will look out for us eternally, we position ourselves for peace.

Why is this so important?  Because life is so complex, and our capacity to understand is so limited.  Yet, when we learn to let go of our constant demand for complete explanations, we will be able to truly rest in the goodness of God and the reality of this truth.

Some things are not for us to know.

–Pastor Phillip

More than Mary

As [Jesus] was saying these things, a woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “The womb that bore you and the one who nursed you are blessed!”  He said, “Even more, those who hear the word of God and keep it are blessed.”  (Luke 11:27-28)

Some traditions venerate Mary, the mother of Jesus.  They speak of the favor she had with God, the righteousness she had before God, and the blessing she received from God.

Yet, Jesus says that if you follow Him faithfully, hearing His words and obeying His commands, something incredible can be said of you.

You are more blessed than Mary.

–Pastor Phillip

Preconception and Revelation (Luke 9:43b-45)

While everyone was amazed at all the things He was doing, He told His disciples, “Let these words sink in: The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men.”  But they did not understand this statement; it was concealed from them so that they could not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask Him about it.  (Luke 9:43b-45)

Jesus makes it clear that He wants the disciples to understand what He is saying, but the plain truth is too far outside their expectations to sink in.

Sometimes God may have something to say, but we are too focused on our own ideas to see and hear it.

All too often, only by removing our preconception can we receive God’s revelation.

–Pastor Phillip

Waking up to Jesus (Luke 9:32)

Peter and those with him were in a deep sleep, and when they became fully aware, they saw His glory and the two men who were standing with Him.  (Luke 9:32)

Jesus’ glory was on full display, but His disciples almost missed it.  They were “weighed down with sleep,” and almost missed a chance to see Jesus for who He really is.

What causes you to feel “weighed down?”

What makes you want to keep your eyes closed, to sleep and retreat instead of standing and engaging?

Maybe your greatest encounter with Jesus is just around the corner, if you’d just be willing to do the work of waking up…

–Pastor Phillip

Nightmares [An Encouraging Word]

It was 4am when my son’s little hand rapped loudly on our bedroom door.

The “shave-and-a-haircut, two bits” pattern I taught him echoed through the caverns of my subconscious mind, dragging me up from a deep, clear sleep into the  groggy fog of a much-too-early morning.

“Come in” I moaned, loud enough for him to hear through the white wood, but hopefully soft enough to not wake my still-sleeping wife.  Lucky her.

“Daddy,” he said with the adorable pleading tone of a seven year old boy, “I had nightmares.  Can I sleep in your bed?”

Now, for some people this request might be a no-brainer, but for us it’s a problem.  You see, my son is not a stationary sleeper.  Like a fish out of water or a presidential candidate, he flips and flops and shifts positions all over the place; not exactly the kind of bedmate that is conducive to quality R.E.M.

I knew, too, that not only did I need to sleep, but more importantly, my wife would be waking up early for a long day at work, so she needed as much rest as she could get.

The answer was clear.

“No, son, you can’t sleep in our bed tonight… but I’d be happy to come stay with you in yours.”

After a quick trip to the bathroom, we padded our way quietly back through the dim blue landscape of the night-lighted apartment, grateful that all the Legos had been picked up before bed and weren’t waiting for us like foot-stabbing landmines.  He climbed up to his wooden bunk bed, and I slowly and carefully made my way after him, up the creaky ladder and under the “Star Wars” sheet and comforter.

I knew that for him, being in his room alone would have been difficult, because for this moment it was associated with his nightmares instead of a good night’s rest.  So, nestling close to my son, I settled in for a sleepless hour that I knew would be well worth the sacrifice.

My little boy needed me in his season of fear, and it was my joy to be by his side.

Did you know that’s how your heavenly Father feels about you?

Speaking to the worries and anxieties of the people of His day, Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the Kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)  Sometimes we think of the “Kingdom of God” as only a future destination, but Jesus taught that it’s also a present experience of God’s presence and power on earth.

What does that mean for you?

It means that wherever you’re afraid today, God wants to speak words of courage to you, because He’s with you.
It means that wherever you’re in turmoil today, God wants to speak words of calm to you, because He’s with you.
It means that wherever you’re anxious today, God wants to speak words of peace to you, because He’s with you.

“Don’t be afraid, little child,” He wants to say to you.  “It’s my joy to be by your side.”

Will you listen?

–Pastor Phillip

God turns your lack into a heavenly abundance

Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which He has promised to those who love Him?  (James 2:5)

When you look at what you lack, it’s easy to lose heart.  When you focus on where you fall short, it’s easy to get discouraged.  When you dwell on what you don’t have, it’s easy to miss what you do have.

You have the treasure of the Kingdom!

If you’re in Christ, your level of worldly success is no match for the heavenly blessings God has for you.  What you lack in the physical, God wants to provide in the spiritual in much greater amounts!

Yes, God provides for physical needs and loves to do it, but in the in-between seasons when you feel you don’t have what you wish, take heart in this glorious truth.

God turns your lack into a heavenly abundance.

–Pastor Phillip

God has a generous wisdom for you

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  (James 1:5)

We live in a complicated world.  So many decisions, so many problems, so many responsibilities come to fill our minds, and it can sometimes be so hard to make sense of it all.

That’s why we need wisdom.

Here’s good news, then.  God wants to give you the wisdom you need!  He wants to give you the clarity you desire! The only question is, will you trust Him enough to regularly ask?

Don’t let complexity trouble you.  Instead, be refreshed as you act on this glorious truth.

God has a generous wisdom for you.

–Pastor Phillip

Jesus doesn’t change on you

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  (Hebrews 13:8)

So often in life, we start a journey of relationship with someone, only to see them change in ways we never expected.

Other times, we put our faith in people to be faithful to us, only to have them change their minds down the line.

Here’s good news, though.  Jesus isn’t like that!

When you trust Jesus, you can have confidence because He is perfectly trustworthy.  When you put your faith in Him, you can rest easy because He is perfectly faithful.

When Jesus says He loves you, He means it, and that is never going to change!  So, let this truth give you greater stability as you trust and follow Him.

Jesus doesn’t change on you.

–Pastor Phillip

God has prepared a homeland for you

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city.  (Hebrews 11:16)

For every Christian, there are those times when we see the world as it is and realize that this is not our home.  We see our lives as they are and realize this is not our final form.

No, if you’re in Christ, God is making all things new, and much better things await you in eternity!

This is not to say you shouldn’t work for good here and now.  Indeed you should do your best to bring blessing to all those around you, in Jesus’ name.

However, when you come face-to-face with the inevitable imperfection and persecution of a fallen world, you don’t have to be discouraged.  Instead, you can take heart in this truth.

God has prepared a homeland for you.

–Pastor Phillip

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