A WORD for the Week
When the ocean is calm, we let our toddlers play along the shore. They sit in the sand and let the gentle waves wash over their little feet and legs. We watch them and smile as they learn to love the ocean. Children and adults tease the waves by running towards them and away before the waves can catch them. Few would argue that the sound of the gentle waves isn’t calming. It can even lull us into peaceful sleep.
When the ocean is calm it is only hiding its power. The ocean is still the most powerful natural force on earth. A tsunami can appear and wipe out a city in seconds--yet it is the very same ocean.
God tells us to love Him and fear Him. You might love the ocean but you also fear it. You respect the power it holds. While playing in the sand along the shore, you may have tried to build a moat around your sand castle to keep the waves out. You found it didn’t work. The ocean is strong and the waves never stop coming. God is strong and is always with you. He is strong enough to destroy but strong enough to heal, too. God is always with you wanting to help, wanting your love.
Now is always the best time to get to know the God who made the ocean. He is found in the Bible. There are 66 books in the Bible. A good place to start is Matthew. Matthew quotes the Old Testament often and will help bring the whole Bible together for you. Next up, in my opinion, is John. John quotes Jesus’ teaching more than his miracles. You will read the very words of Jesus and learn to know why He came to live a perfect life, die and rise from the dead. Jesus is that God who commands love and fear. Go to the Bible and learn to love God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit above all things. Learn to fear and respect His power to love and to help you. God isn’t going anywhere. Just like the ocean.
334. That’s no cliché by Karen Spiegelberg
What do you think of when someone says, “That’s so cliché”? According to Oxford Dictionary, a cliché is: A phrase that is overused and shows no original thought.
Would you ever think that a Bible passage could fit the category of cliché? What about John 3:16, Philippians 4:13, or Romans 8:28, three of the top passages that are quick to be recited or used? Of course not, you think! And yet, recently I heard an author that I respect refer to those passages as cliché. (Insert sad face emoji here.) Sigh. They might be used often but no part of God’s Word can be classified as overused or not showing original thought.
Every bit of the Word, the Bible, is equally valuable no matter how often it may or may not be applied. There are plenty of examples to prove it. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) Did you catch that? All Scripture, not some. Let’s go to Romans 15:4: “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” Everything that was written. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus himself tells us, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Every word from the mouth of God.
And so, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” (1 Colossians 3:16). Another well-used passage but, that’s no cliché!
333. Quarantined by Karen Maio
Quarantined...stay at home order...social distancing...face masks...Covid-19 pandemic...these are crazy times!
During this time, when I am tempted to complain, I remind myself of all of God’s blessings. He is with us throughout this difficult time. He has kept everyone I know and love safe and healthy. Even if we were to get sick, we know that would be part of his loving plan for us. He continues to meet our needs for food and clothing and even toilet paper. Greater than our physical needs are our spiritual needs - forgiveness of sins and the sure hope of heaven - which have all been met through Jesus’s death on the cross. His encouraging and faith-strengthening words are readily available in our bibles, and we have ample time on our hands to read them! The wonders of technology even bring our pastor and the Word into our living room every Sunday morning.
But, I have to tell you, I will be SO glad when I can go back to church! I long to hear the words of the Gospel, in person—to taste again the precious
body and blood of our Savior, and to see my brothers and sisters in Christ once again. I imagine you may feel the same way, so say it with me: “I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’” Psalm 122:1
May we never again take meeting for worship for granted or give in to a sinful urge to not go to church. Rather, let us joyfully sing (hopefully in the near future):
To Your temple I draw near; Lord, I love to worship here.
Here are sacrament and Word; Here believers meet their Lord.
(Christian Worship, Hymn 226)