Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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Pandemic Perspective – Part 113 Worth – Known By God – Part 1

Psalm 139:1-6

1 O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. 2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. 3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. 4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. 5 You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!

We live in a day of proliferating knowledge, where what we know is doubling every 18 months. But regardless of how much we know what is still the most important aspect of knowledge is for us to be known. Deep down we all want not only to be noticed but to be known. We want to know that we matter and in Psalm 139 we discover that there is one who not only knows about us but wants us and desires for us to get to know Him because He cares for us. David, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote this Psalm for the director of music. It was written to be used in worship, to exalt the majesty of God, the all-knowing, ever present, all powerful God. The first word in this Psalm is the Hebrew word Yahweh, the great “I AM.” He is the great covenant keeping God of Israel, the One who keeps His Word. It’s here in Psalm 139 that David teaches us more than just great doctrines about God, He shows us how these truths about God relate to our lives today. Knowing God better is the solution to most of our problems, because it provides us with solutions and helps us to know how to handle them. Knowing God better will make us more loving which will enabling us to get along with others more. It also solves a lot of our marital trials and tensions as well as other inter-personal problems. Knowing God can fill us with joy. Knowing God better relieves our worries and provides lasting peace. Knowing God better can free us from fear. Knowing God better doesn’t just benefit our lives it blesses us and is well worth the time it takes. In verses 1-6 David reveals a powerful aspect of our Creator’s character, His omniscience. He knows everything, including knowing you and knowing me. The truth of God’s omniscience is seen in many different scriptures in the bible, here are just a few: 

1 Samuel 2:3: “…the Lord is a God who knows…”

1 John 3:20: “God…knows everything.”

Psalm 147:5: “Great is our Lord…His understanding has no limit.”

Proverbs 15:3: “The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.

Not only does He know about us but He knows us completely and thoroughly, He knows us intimately. There is a story told about a mother who was asked by a census taker how many children she had. Her and her husband had a large family, so she started to go through all her children, “Oh, let’s see now, there’s Billy, and there’s Harry, and there’s Martha, and there’s…” To which the census taker got a little impatient and annoyed with her, and said, “Never mind their names, just give me the number!” To which the mother replied, “They don’t have numbers, they all have names!” You may be a number to the world but you are not a number to God, you are a name, a person that He cares deeply about. The first thing that David reveals about our omniscience, all knowing God is that:

  • He knows us completely (1-6)

Verse 1 says: “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.” You is emphatic in the original Hebrew and the word “search” literally means “to dig.” It was a word that was often used in the search for precious metals or valuable gems. Picture for a moment someone panning for gold in a stream; they would sift through their pan very thoroughly so as to be careful not to miss any gold. The word search doesn’t just mean to look but to pay attention. Another way to look at this word is to picture an archeological dig where archeologists are trying to find fossils that will give them a picture of the past. Whenever someone on the dig site believes that they may have come across something of value, the archeologists in charge of the dig is notified and everyone focuses their efforts on removing the dirt so they can discover what lies beneath. This is not something that is rushed, they pay attention and very carefully and gently scrutinizing everything that they do. They brush the dust off very carefully, and catalog everything accurately. They do this with the entire area, leaving no stone unturned. You see that is the picture of how God searches us and how God thoroughly knows us. God cares about every aspect of our lives, He knows us completely, inside out. God doesn’t just look on our outward appearance but on the heart, the real us. He knows what makes our hearts beat with passion as well as what makes them beat with fear. He knows our dreams as well as our dreads. He knows us through and through, fully and completely. I want you to think about being loved, specifically a time in your life when you felt truly loved by someone else. What was it that made you feel loved? You see while the circumstances of our love moments may differ from each other, there are at least two common threads woven into the fabric of each one. First we were known and second we were accepted. Not only did they know us at a level deeper than the norm, but they knew things about us that most other people didn’t. Yet despite really knowing us, even the ugly parts of our hearts they accept and want us. You see for love to be complete, we need to be both known and accepted. Because to be accepted without being known is shallow, while being known and not accepted is painful. We have a God who searches us, who knows us as if He had taken us apart bit by bit, atom by atom. Yet despite knowing us intimately He doesn’t reject us, He wants us. Many of us work hard to fit in and be wanted, even being willing to conform to the culture and go against who we really are. Yet here we find a Creator who loves us where we are, we don’t have to perform to be acceptance. So what are you basing your worth on, what the world says or what the Word says?   

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Pandemic Perspective – Part 112 The Proof of Love Part 2

John 13:33-35

33 Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer….34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.

Jesus Not only gave us a new and necessary command when He said “Love each other” but He revealed Love’s:

  • Source 

He didn’t just say “Love each other” He also said “just as I have loved you.” Jesus is the source of our love and it is on the basis of His love for us that we are enabled and empowered to love one another. If we want to minister in love we must first be mastered by Love.  All too often we fail in our efforts to love others because we have strayed from the foundation of love. We try to love others in our own strength with our own love and so we fail. The truth is that before we can overcome in love we must be overcome by Love. We must know the Father’s love and be convinced of His love for us. Do you see yourselves as accepted and loved by God just the way you are? Have you accepted His love and allow it to wash over you’re your life in such a way that you are completely baptized by His love operating under the principle of “As I have loved you?” When we acknowledge and surrender to Christ as our source of love then we will be able to carry out His command of love. Is it time for you to take a swim in the source of love before you sink?

  • Measure 

Jesus reveals the measure and the extent to which this love is to be manifest, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” The way we are to love one another is to the same degree that Christ loved us and to what extent did Jesus demonstrate His love? As the evening meal was being served, Jesus silently rose from the table and assumed the role of a servant. Jesus poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, demonstrating His love through acts of servant hood. Yet His ultimate display of love was as a sacrifice for our sins on the cross. The measure to which we are to love each other is in the same measure to which Jesus has loved us. We must love in service and sacrifice, “As I have loved you.” Serving others in love is practical not sentimental, we are not called to talk out love but to walk out love. Love is action in motion where we lose ourselves in the service of others. That requires stepping out of our comfort zones and becoming vulnerable. The sacrifice of love means that it’s going to cost us something to love others, time, money, comfort, reputation, hurt. Yes love hurts because when we love we open ourselves up to rejection, misunderstanding, even abuse and our love is often not appreciated or reciprocated. That is why our love must be His love and we cannot love others without first offering ourselves to the one we love. The cross reveals an unmistakable portrait of His love, unconditional, limitless, and sacrificial. But the greatest sacrifice of love is the sacrifice to self, a love that the world and the flesh cannot comprehend. Our western culture with its postmodern mentality stands in opposition to and has perverted the message of self-sacrificing love. Today we are obsessed with self, our message is gratify your own desires, follow your own heart. Yet the message of the cross is serve and sacrifice, love as I have loved you. Which message are you listening to and what love is influencing your life, self or the Savior?

  • Results

Jesus concludes by reminding us of the result of His love lived through us “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples”. The result of Christians loving one another is that the Church becomes the greatest witness to the world, without ever saying a word. The reality is that the world is watching and we are on trial. People are looking to see if Christianity is for real and the evidence they are weighing in the balances is our lives, our conduct more that our words. Do your actions portray to the world how deeply you truly love? What in your life would cause them to say, “See how they love one another!?” “See how ready they are willing to die for one another!” We are called to not only receive His love but to respond and reflect His love with those that God places in our lives. Who will you share His love with today?