Archive for March, 2014 // All the posts in this month
By Andrew Froemming
“All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on himself the sins of us all,” Isaiah 53:6.
What happens when, like this passage from Isaiah says, you go spiritually missing in action? When you follow your own path? This week let’s take a few minutes to explore the nature of God’s unfathomable love for us.
Throughout the Bible we see that if we trust anyone other than God in the same way we would trust God, we are going to be let down and hurt. However when we put our trust in God He is the only one that will not let us down, leave us or hurt us. When we trust God things may not go the way we would have liked or planned but that does not mean that God has left us. In fact God says in Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or terrified because of them [your adversary], for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”
So what will Jesus do when you go missing in action? To find the answer to that question let’s look at a story Jesus told in Luke 15:
“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
This story illustrates so beautify the tender and caring heart of God. Many people have an idea of a god that is waiting for them to do something wrong so that he can strike them down and put them in hell. In contrast with a vengeful god, Jesus shared with us the true heart of God: that while we are still lost, wandering without God, He seeks us out. When He finds us, God picks us up and caries us home on His shoulders.
God loves me deeper than anything I have ever experienced. Jesus loves me so much that He was pierced through for my transgressions, He was crushed for my iniquities; the chastening for my well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging I was healed (Isaiah 53:5). Friends, it doesn’t matter who you are, what you have done, or where you’re at. Jesus is out calling your name, looking for you. When you answer Him, He will pick you up and carry you home and have a party because you are home. This next week let’s be intentional about sharing the love that God has bestowed on us.
Rockne Dahl speaks on Romans 5:1–11. Third Sabbath of Lent, March 22, 2014.
Elder Bill Salvador speaks on John 13:1–17 and Christ’s act of footwashing. March 15, 2014. Second Sabbath of Lent (Year A).
By Rockne Dahl, Interim Pastor
“Claim the Word,” Rockne Dahl
“No weapon formed against you will prevail.” Isaiah 54:17.
Every day, it seems, there is something new to contend with. You get plagued with gnats of misfortune all day long. Read your email and jumping into your face is some really annoying news. Turn your key and the car won’t start. The neighbor gets her jumper cables but the engine refuses to budge—must be the alternator is out. And your roommate has splattered up the bathroom mirror again! How many times have you told that person? If you are like me, when everything that can go wrong does go wrong your mood won’t be mellow. My spiritual move is to claim the promise of Isaiah 54:17, “No weapon formed against me will prevail!” I predict that when you claim the Word of Isaiah 54:17 your mood will change towards the upside because you will enter a God reality. No problem, big or small, will prevail over you if you receive, or claim, the Word.
What do I mean by “claim the Word”? Jesus told us to “Ask, believe and receive.” I usually ask for the same things every day: “Lord, please bless my plans, my grandchildren, bless all the sick people I know, and help me get my exercise in because I need to be fit.” Of course I believe that God will bless—that is, send good things to me and the people I pray for. But “receiving those blessings” is where the bafflement usually comes in because so often I ask and seem to receive not. Claiming the Word means that I believe that I have received the hoped for blessing whether or not I actually see it, whether or not I can empirically say, “I have received it.” And this is the most significant part of receiving the Word—I must act as if I have received the promised blessing and act on it.
Jesus told the paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda, “Rise, take up Thy bed and walk.” The man was not healed until he started to get up in response to Jesus command. He believed first. Then, he claimed the Word by acting in response to the Word and he was made whole. Ten lepers came to Jesus for healing. He told them all to go and show themselves to the priests. As they went, says the scripture, they were healed. By starting towards their hometown priests, even though they did not feel healed, they were healed in the very act of beginning a journey of faith.
If we truly believe that “no weapon formed against us will prevail,” then appearances to the contrary, we can claim a God reality. A God reality is knowing that God’s will shall prevail and nothing any enemy or weapon can do will defeat His purpose. Our hopes may be realized or not. But God’s purpose will stand.
Last year I was invited by a wonderful church friend to anoint her mother who was at the very door of death due to the enemy’s attacking her with a weapon called “stroke”. A huge crowd of family and friends crowded the hospital hallways. Her mother lay quiet and still, non-responsive. Three pastors were present. We prayed and anointed. We believed. We claimed God’s Word on her behalf. And she did pass. But the enemy’s weapon did not prevail because we entered into a God reality where the only thing that matters is that God’s will might be done. Yes, she took a blow from the enemy’s weapon but that weapon shall not prevail because she will rise again. That is the reality that we claimed for her and for ourselves.
By Andrew Froemming
I hope that the title of this journal caught your attention. This week I want to play with the concept of “God’s nature of fairness.” Now before you get concerned that I am sacrilegious take a moment to hear me out. I believe that the Bible shows that God is both Fair and Unfair. Let’s take a few minutes to dig into Scripture and reflect on the nature of God.
The Bible has lots to say about God’s fairness and justice. Romans 6:20–21 says, “For when you were slaves of sin, you lived without regard for righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.” The Bible is very clear that God allows us the freedom to choose who we will serve and what we will believe. He is also very clear that our sinful life earns us an inheritance of death.
In Genesis we find the story of Eve and the serpent. The serpent told Eve if she ate the fruit of the tree that God said not to go near her eyes would open and she would be like God knowing good and evil. Prior to eating the fruit we were programmed to have free choice with our default nature drawing us to a relationship with God. We are told that God personally meet with Adam and Eve each day. After eating the fruit the couple became aware that they were no longer clothed with God and were reprogramed to be gods themselves with the awareness of right and wrong.
The Bible talks about the unfair part of God in Genesis 2:17, “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” A fair God would have said, “Okay, you knew the rules—ZAP!” He could have killed Adam and Eve or anyone who sinned. But God is not fair in that after we sin he offers us a gift. “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
I have learned that God loves me and that love causes Him to be on my side. He does not want me to accept the wages that I earned. Instead he wants to give me a new dress clothes and bring me into the wedding party that is heaven—but he can’t make me accept his gift. Friends, the odds are ever in your favor with God! All you have to do is accept the free gift and trade in your wages of sin for a free ticket to eternal life. This next week let’s take time to thank Jesus for the odds ever being in our favor and let’s spend time getting to know him more.
Jody Washburn speaks on John 1:1–18. March 8, 2014. First Sabbath of Lent (Year A).