Friends, I need to correct something from yesterday’s post. I used the phrase “His will is ever directed to His children’s good” and said it was from the Apostles Creed. It is actually from a faith statement called A Modern Affirmation used by several churches over the last 100 years. I’m sorry for misquoting, I don’t know what I was thinking! I want to blame my pain meds or autocorrect, but it’s on me. Forgive me, please!
Our scripture this morning is Psalms 119:1-5.
Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart— they do no wrong but follow his ways. You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!
Obedience to God’s word is the primary topic of this passage. The psalmist uses several different terms to draw our attention to God’s guidance for us – law, statutes, ways, precepts, decrees – all indicating direction from our Heavenly Father. We are taught that following His word leads to His blessing.
Another essential teaching is that the children of God must “seek Him with all their heart”. While God is always there and reaching out to us, we must go to Him in repentance and accept the forgiveness He offers. God wants to be connected with us forever!
To close this section, the psalmist lifts a plea: “Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!” We know that we fail the Lord through our selfish choices and need His help to stay on the path He has shown us. Admitting our failure to follow is the first step toward being made right with Him.
Loving Lord, we ask Your forgiveness for our sin and want to be part of what You are doing in the world. Bless us to go in Your name to share the Good News everywhere. Amen.
Our scripture this morning is James 1:16-18.
 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  By his own choice, he gave us birth by the word of truth so that we would be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
James reminds us not to be deceived by Satan’s lies. Good things only come from God! We read that He is “the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
God is constant, unchanging, and as we recite in the Apostles Creed, “His will is ever directed to His children’s good.” God wants us to succeed and be part of His kingdom work. Satan wants only chaos and failure.
We are created in the image of our Heavenly Father and He “gave us birth by the word of truth.” We have a blessing waiting, all we need to do is accept it. Through our obedience to Him we are called to bless the world “as a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” God sends us to share His love with everyone.
Loving Lord, we are so grateful to be called Your children. Help us to think, speak and act with Your love always. Amen.
Our scripture this morning is 2 Corinthians 9:6-8.
The point is this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. Each person should do as he has decided in his heart — not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.
By sharing what we have, others needs are met, kingdom work is accomplished and God is praised. We give out of generosity, sincerity and joy. Our good work is only possible through God’s gifts to us.
We share out of love for God and others, not a sense of duty. Psalm 112:9 tells us “He distributes freely to the poor; his righteousness endures forever. His horn will be exalted in honor.” When we pass on what we have been given, we are blessed again.
God doesn’t judge the amount of our gift but rather that it is given in love for Him and His children. Paul tells us “God loves a cheerful giver”, one who shares “not reluctantly or out of compulsion.” We all have gifts to share in various ways, it is essential that we do so with glad and thankful hearts.
Gracious God, thank You for all the blessings You send us. Help us to recognize the needs in our world and use our gifts to serve You and one another. Amen.
Our scripture this morning is 1 Peter 4:7-10.
 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.  Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
Peter tells us “the end of all things is near”, a reminder that no one but the Father knows the time of Christ’s return (Acts 1:7). That is why we must always be ready for His coming. The saying goes “we’re not the planning committee, we’re the welcoming committee.”
As part of our welcoming duties we are called to love one another. The best way to be ready for Jesus to come for us is to share His love freely and abundantly. Peter writes “offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” By caring for each other we offer God’s love to the world.
Each of us is gifted by the Lord with skills and knowledge that help to build up His people and bring them together as part of His kingdom. We read “each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others”, a reminder that our gifts are intended to make the world a better place. God wants us to spread the Gospel, that all may know His love.
Gracious God, we are sorry for the times we have failed to love each other as Jesus taught us. Forgive us and send us to let everyone know of Your mercy and love. Amen.
Our scripture this morning is Numbers 6:24-26.
 The Lord bless you and keep you;  the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;  the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
When I was younger I thought this blessing was a follow-on to the Lord’s Prayer. At the end of our worship service we said the Lord’s Prayer as a congregation and then the pastor gave this benediction. I learned later that it comes from the Old Testament, showing that God’s love for us and His desire to be in relationship with us has existed since the beginning.
As the recipient of God’s blessing, Israel was to bless the nations (Genesis 12:3). God’s chosen people were special, but their blessing brought responsibility: they were called to share His word and His love to everyone. This was a difficult task in that place and time but people of faith have stood together against adversity to spread the word of God ever since.
Our task is the same today, to share the Good News everywhere. God continues to watch over His children, His promise is eternal. May the Lord bless us and keep us always!
Heavenly Father, we are thankful for all Your many gifts, none more important than Christ’s sacrifice for us. Send us in Your name that all the world may know Your love. Amen.
Our scripture this morning is Colossians 3:15-17.
 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Paul tells the Colossians (and us) that we are to be thankful, “since as members of one body you were called to peace.” We can find the peace of Christ through study, meditation, and application of God’s word in our lives. Jesus showed us the way to be part of the kingdom work God has for us.
Our task is to love one another as Jesus taught us and share the Gospel that all might be saved through Him. We give God our thanks and our service, going where we are sent to do His will. He has things for all of us to accomplish.
We read that “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” God sent us His son that we might follow Him and be saved. We are to “teach and admonish one another with all wisdom”, making sure the Good News goes out to everyone.
Loving Lord, we ask forgiveness for our selfish behavior and pray that through Christ’s sacrifice we can be restored to the relationship You intend for us. Bless us to be Your servants, sharing Your love with all the world. Amen.
Happy Thanksgiving! As we celebrate, let us remember why we mark this day as special: God’s blessings to us. Our scripture this morning is Psalm 107:1-6.
 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!  Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble  and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.  Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in;  hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them.  Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
“His steadfast love endures forever.” This is God’s promise, that He will always be available and accessible to us. All we have to do is go to Him in prayer. While He already knows everything we need, prayer makes us part of the process.
This psalm tells us that God gathers His people “from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.” No one is excluded from His love, no matter where they are. God is always ready to welcome back His children.
The last verse in this passage reminds us to call on God when we are in trouble. However, we also need to raise our voices in prayer and thanks in good times for all He has done for us. Through it all, God is present with us, now and forever.
Loving Lord, we are thankful for all Your many blessings. We ask forgiveness for our failings and strength to share the Good News everywhere. Amen.
Our scripture this morning is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
 Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Paul wants us to understand that joy comes from being part of God’s family. It isn’t found in our possessions or actions, but as a result of our relationship with Him. He is the source of our being.
God wants us to have a constant connection to Him. Paul writes “pray without ceasing”, that our very lives may be a prayer. By doing His will we honor Him, and by living in His love we demonstrate His goodness.
Because of this, we must “give thanks in all circumstances”. Without God, we are nothing; in Him we have everything we need. By His mercy we have been saved from sin and death, and through His love we are called to share His blessings with the world.
Heavenly Father, we rejoice that we are Your children, made in Your image. Thank You for Your constant presence in our lives. May we be the bearers of the Gospel to all the world. Amen.
 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
This psalm of David recounts a wealth of blessings in just a few verses. The opening is enough in itself – “the Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Those who place their trust in God can live in the confidence of His promise.
We read that God wants to lead us to “green pastures” and “still waters”, a peaceful existence with Him. However, because we have allowed sin to enter the world, we see evil face to face and dark times and places will confront us. We are not promised an easy life, but that a life in God will be better than anything we could do by ourselves.
Jesus tells us that He is our Good Shepherd (John 14) and that He will do what is necessary to save us if we follow Him. His love goes with us always through the presence of the Holy Spirit, and God’s promise to us is eternal. We are all invited to “dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Loving Lord, we are ashamed of the times we have followed our own ways instead of the paths of righteousness where You lead us. Forgive us and bless us to carry the joy of salvation everywhere. Amen.
Our scripture this morning is Galatians 5:24-26.
 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.
Paul writes to the Galatians with teaching about how our lives have been changed by Christ’s example and His sacrifice. We read that “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Now we have confidence that Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to be His presence with us.
It is important to remember that it is He who changed us, not ourselves. The only thing we can do to be saved is accept Him as Lord and Savior. Then, “if we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit”, taking our direction from God and not our own desires.
Paul warns us to “not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.” This is the way of the world, not the way of the Lord. Through His love and using the gifts He has given, we can help make the world a better place.
Heavenly Father, we are weak but You are strong. Bless us to go in Your name, sharing Your love and mercy everywhere. Amen.