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A Sure Thing



John 10:9-10 (NLT)
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.  They will come in and go out, and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Pastor Karen gave an excellent message Sunday about Jesus the gate.  It followed closely behind an excellent question by one of our confirmation students:  How can we be sure Christianity is the way to heaven?  What about other religions?

We don’t like to exclude anyone.  We don’t like it when Jesus says the path to heaven is narrow and hard.  We ignore when Jesus says the only way to the Father is through Him.  We want all good people to get to heaven.  Our God is a big God and perhaps He has a plan for everyone, but that’s not a sure thing.  

However, we know for sure that we can live eternally in God’s presence by believing and following Jesus.  Jesus is the way.  Better yet, this scripture says Jesus came to give fullness of life right now in this life when we serve Him and live according to His teaching.  Why mess with a sure thing?

What about other religions?  I can’t know.  I’m not the judge.  What I do know is that my life is filled with peace, joy, love and confident hope because of my relationship with Jesus and I pray that you will experience this fullness too.

Second Guessing

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your
own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths
straight.
Two days ago, I shared how God
answered my request for a fresh God-incidence I could use for my confirmation
retreat devotion.  Since then I’ve been
wondering if it’s the right story to share with my ninth graders.  It doesn’t seem as compelling as the chain of
coincidences that led to this blog.
Then I catch myself.  Why am I questioning God?  Why am I second guessing His clear answer to
prayer?   How could I ask for a God-incidence and then
ignore His reply?  I frequently encourage
others to trust God.  Why am I resisting?  Do I proudly think my idea is better?  How silly!
I received two ‘messages’ confirming
God’s hand in this, including this quote from Philip Yancey posted on Facebook
this morning.  There’s a reason God wants
me to use this illustration.  It will reach
one of these kids in a unique way.  I
know it.  I will trust.
“I have learned that faith means trusting
in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” – Philip Yancey

Explaining Hope

1 Peter 3:15 (NLT)
You must worship Christ as Lord of your life.  And if someone asks about your Christian
hope, always be ready to explain it.
How do you explain your Christian
hope?  It’s a hard thing to put into
words, isn’t it?
It’s like my hope for spring in the
middle of this long, dark, bitterly cold winter.  As I trudge down a white, icy driveway and
feel the wind sting my cheeks, I know spring will come.  I may have be patient and endure more cold
days, but eventually trees will leaf out and flowers will bloom.  It’s a sure thing.  Without a doubt, spring will come.
So it is with my hope in
Christ.  God is good and loving.  He has a plan to redeem this broken
world.  Even though our choices often
stray from that master plan, God is always able to work things out for
good.  This is a promise from God.  I may not see the plan come to fruition
during my lifetime and I may not understand the way God works it out, but I am
certain that God is in control.  Good
will win.  Spring will come.

Double Dipping

Psalm 91:1-4 (NLT)
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find
rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  This
I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my
God and I trust Him.  He will rescue you
from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.  He will cover you with His feathers.  He will shelter you with His wings.  His faithful promises are your armor and
protection.
God has done it again.  With our confirmation retreat this
Friday/Saturday, I’ve been asking Him to give me some fresh God-incidences to
share.  The purpose of my retreat devotion
is to demonstrate how God is actively at work in our lives when we open our
eyes to see it.  I have past examples to
share (like how this blog came to be), but I’ve been asking for a fresh example.
Yesterday, a friend asked me to pray
for her – to seek a message from God on her behalf – which I did.  When I checked my email this morning, as I do
every day, the first one was a Scripture from Biblegateway.com about allowing
the Holy Spirit to fill you with peace, patience, joy, kindness, and
self-control.  I zipped off an email to
my friend saying ‘Trust HIM and be at peace.’ 
While I was writing, a weekly email arrived to my inbox
which examines the meaning of a Greek or Hebrew word in Scripture.  This week’s word is ‘hasah’ which means
TRUSTING GOD.  At this point, my God
antennae go up.  This is not simply me counseling
my friend.
God continued to speak to me through
5 consecutive emails including specific details and encouragement for her
personal circumstances.  The third email
was From Survival to Revival.  The fourth referred to an author we both love
and her book called You’re Going to be OK.  The very next gave details about my friend’s
specific situation with the reassurance that God will never leave you.  Five messages in a row without interruption.  I’d say that was God.
I double dipped.  God answered my two prayers in one
experience.  By the way, we’ve got a pretty
high tech God who uses email to communicate. 
What method is God using to work in your life?

Peace and Confidence

Romans 15:13 (NLT)
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you
completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him.  Then you will overflow with confident hope
through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I love two phrases in this scripture:  complete joy and peace & overflow with
confident hope.  Don’t you want
that?  Wouldn’t it be great to have
complete inner peace – a feeling of being settled, calm, right with God?  Joyful too! 
Your soul would be so right that you’d overflow with confidence that God
is working out His plan for the world. 
Confidence.  Joy.  Peace.
How?
Read the verse again…..  I’ll wait.
God will fill you with joy and peace
and confidence because He is the source and you trust in Him.  Trust
in Him
.  God is good.  He loves you dearly, personally.  He wants the best for you (which might look
different than you think).  Lean in and
trust Him even when you don’t understand, even when it’s hard.  God works all things for good in His time.

How Do They Feel?

Colossians 3:12 (NLT)
Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must
clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and
patience.
And from Maya Angelou – “I’ve learned that people will
forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never
forget how you made them feel.”
I can’t believe it’s been a whole
month since I last blogged!  I’ve been
caught up in a whirlwind of travel, gymnastics meets, cooking for crowds and
then catching up.  I feel like I can
breathe again.
In early March, my sister and I
commemorated my mother’s birthday by serving others.  Today my brother sent me this Maya Angelou
quote because it reminded him of Mom.  Betty
spread the Gospel without using words.
Think about it.  How do you make people feel?
Do you look into their eyes and say
their name?  Are you hurried or are you
present in conversation?  Do you listen
more than talk?  Do you truly hear their
concerns and remember to ask about them the next time you meet?  Do you show up to laugh and to cry?  Do you overlook offenses?
Do you spread the Gospel in the way
you make people feel?

Movie Location Changed

Important change in location!

I’m leading a group to LEGACY PLACE in DEDHAM for the Son of God movie Tuesday, March 11th at 7:15pm.  I previously advertised Bellingham, but they changed their showtime to 8pm which is too late for me.

No advance notice necessary.  Just come and bring a friend.  I will stay in the lobby until 7:10 to greet you.

Son of God study and movie – Starts March 11th

The Son of God movie is in theaters and I will be leading a study based on the 
movie starting Tuesday, March 11th at the United Church of Christ in Medfield. 
The study is written and hosted on video by Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback 
Church and author of The Purpose Driven Life.

We will see the movie as a group in Bellingham at 7pm on the 11th followed by 6 
discussion meetings Tuesdays March 25th, April 8th, 15th, and 29th and May 13th 
and 27th from 6:45 to 8:30. Topics include Jesus' baptism, temptation, 
suffering, death, resurrection and teachings, all with regard to their 
application in your life.

Clips from the movie will be shown at each meeting, so seeing the movie on the 
big screen is not necessary.  Each discussion topic is self contained as well, 
so come to as many meetings as you can.  There is no homework but study guides 
are optional for $8.

Please contact Cathy Chung at [email protected] if you would like to see the 
movie and/or join the discussion.  A sign up sheet is also in the church lobby.  
Advance theater tickets are $9.50 payable to Cathy at the door.

Kick off Lent with this meaningful movie and then decide whether to join the 
discussion.  All are welcome so spread the word.  I hope you'll join us.

Cathy

Interlaced

Proverbs 17:9 (NLT) – Love
prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.
Forgiveness
and love are interlaced.  Is one of your
relationships waning due to unforgiveness?

Who Needs Your Love?

God doesn’t wait for us to get all cleaned up before He loves us.  Christ died in order to make us clean.

If we love like Jesus, we must love others unconditionally – before they deserve it.

Who needs your love?

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Each post is a brief scriptural thought that will grow as you let it take root in your thoughts.  If you have time, dig into one area of interest and plant a whole garden.
Each post is a brief scriptural thought that will grow as you let it take root in your thoughts. If you have time, dig into one area of interest and plant a whole garden.

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