Thursday, April 20, 2017

where are you?

The following was posted on Facebook by a church member:

As I looked around the congregation at church last night, I wondered why it was so much smaller than it was Sunday morning.  Of course, I know some people aren't able to come back & some may have to work, but I'm sure there are others who could be there, but just don't choose to come back.  This is discouraging to a pastor who is teaching or preaching God's Word.  Here is a poem that I wrote about this very thing:

WHERE ARE YOU?

When I look around the congregation
And I don’t see your face
I wonder what is wrong,
Why aren’t you sitting in your place?

Then as the choir comes in to sing
I look and you’re not there,
It makes me wonder what is wrong
Could it be that you just don’t care?

Why aren’t you here to worship God?
Do you not have the time to spare?
I saw you in church Sunday morning,
But Sunday night you weren’t there.

In our church congregations today,
There are just too many empty pews.
Is it because others see that worship
Doesn’t matter that much to you?

Written by:  R Westmoreland  
Date: January 4, 2010

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

kittens & cats


"Any household with at least one feline member has no need for an alarm clock."
Louise A. Belcher
"One small cat changes coming home to an empty house to coming home."
Pam Brown
"People who love cats have some of the biggest hearts around." 
Susan Easterly
"What greater gift than the love of a cat?"  Charles Dickens
"When your cat rubs the side of its face along your leg, it's affectionately marking you with its scent, identifying you as its private property, saying, in effect, 'You belong to me'." 
Susan McDonough, D.M.V.
"I cannot deny that a cat lover and his cat have a master/slave relationship. The cat is the master." 
Arthur R. Kassin

Sunday, April 16, 2017

He is Risen


He isn't here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying.
Matthew 28:6 NLT
 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Monday, April 10, 2017

unlovable yet loved



“Grace is being loved when you are unlovable.”

Grace is God reaching downward to a people who are constantly pushing back against Him, who are in rebellion against Him.  Scripture tells us that all people sin and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23) and that we deserve death (Rom. 6:23).  But in His lovingkindness and mercy, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us and take upon himself the punishment that we deserve.  Romans 4:24-25 says that righteousness “will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”


Paul writes in Romans 5:8, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The grace of God did not come at a time when we had everything together, all of our ducks lined up in a row.  No, grace comes to us when we are broken and can offer nothing in return.  “Grace is most needed and best understood in the midst of sin, suffering, and brokenness."

We come to God with nothing in our hands to offer but our brokenness and sin, and He gladly takes it and gives to us new life as His child.

“Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you, the beloved. It has everything and only to do with the lover.”  
 
 learninginthegripofgrace.com

Friday, April 7, 2017

more about grace

Grace. It’s a word that I read about and hear a lot. It’s in the Bible, sermons, poems, hymns, quotes, devotions, songs, and study material. But exactly what is it?  I guess the simplest definition I’ve seen is unmerited favor.  

Well, what is unmerited?   Since merit means earning or deserving something, then unmerited means not earning or deserving something.    
 
Then, there’s favor.  Favor is being given something good, like kindness or a helping hand.

So, when you receive grace, you’re given something better than what you deserve.

God gives us grace thru Jesus.  When He was on the cross, Jesus took all the punishment that we deserve and placed it on Himself. On that cross, Jesus gave us a relationship with God, something we can’t earn nor deserve. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

mercy, not merit


Grace. God’s Grace.  It seems grace is most needed and best understood in the middle of pain, sin, suffering, and brokenness. Part of the world today is all about  gaining and earning and power and worthiness and deserving. Deserve what? Absolutely nothing. Nothing at all... Yet, God...

When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we recognize we need His grace and love and are accepting of what He offers because we were in a helpless condition before.  But, we can’t continue to live in a helpless state, totally dependent on God’s grace to cover our lives.

The remaining paragraphs were found in part and in whole on several different websites:

A shorthand for what grace is - “mercy, not merit.” which is all about getting what you deserve. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve, and not getting what you do deserve. Christianity teaches that what we deserve is death with no hope of resurrection.

While everyone desperately needs it, grace is not about us. Grace is fundamentally a word about God: His un-coerced initiative and pervasive, extravagant demonstrations of care and favor. Michael Horton writes, “In grace, God gives nothing less than Himself. Grace, then, is not a third thing or substance mediating between God and sinners, but is Jesus Christ in redeeming action.”

Christians live every day by the grace of God. We receive forgiveness according to the riches of God’s grace, and grace drives our sanctification. Spiritual growth doesn’t happen overnight; we “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” Grace transforms our desires, motivations, and behavior.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Sunday songs



GRACE GREATER THAN OUR SIN

Words: Julia H. Johnston, in Hymns Tried and True (Chi­ca­go, Il­li­nois: The Bi­ble In­sti­tute Col­port­age As­so­ci­a­tion, 1911), num­ber 2.

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Refrain

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?