Mother’s Day

Mildred B. Vermont said, “Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs…the payment is pure love.”   Ask any mother today, and she will tell you. To hold a little one and feel love is one of the wonders of the world.

 

 

In 1 John 4:12, the Bible states “God’s abides in us and God’s love is perfected in us.” It is certainly perfected in mothers. A Mother’s love is such a mighty force.

 

 

“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” Tenneva Jordan.~ I LOVE THIS QUOTE!  I remember m mother always said she hated the chicken breast and only wanted the thigh.  Years later when ordering rom KFC she admitted the breast was her favorite but knew we kids liked white meat the best, so she relinquished her choice for a secondary one.

 

 

There was a scientist at the University of Wisconsin who created a mothering machine for little animals. It was made out of wire and covered with terry cloth. Out of the wire was a bottle of milk and there was a light bulb to keep the little one warm. But they found that the little ones were dying because little ones needed love.

 

 

Love is the one thing you cannot recreate with wire, terry cloth, and a light bulb. At some point in your life, someone held you in their arms, close to their heart. They had the look of love in their eyes and a truly open heart. This happened to every one of us; somebody somewhere along the line did this, and it was the greatest expression of love. You know how special it is, and you know how special it was in your life, whether this person was your natural mother, your adoptive mother, grandmother or relative.

 

 

You are here reading this on this day as testimony to that holding. You are able to love because of the love you received. You learned how to love. It was a silent thing, but it was profound and it changed your life, and continues daily. There were times when you made lots of noise, but you were responded to and you were cared for. You were loved.

 

 

The real religion, the only religion that counts (no matter what denominational name we call it) is love. We always have to ask ourselves as a test for religion (which is a system of life) is how loving is this? We should carry our religion of love, our God, into our homes, our lives, and our actions.

 

 

 

Whether we are female or male, we should allow that love to come forth from us, whether for something or someone very young, an adult, or someone that is very old that needs our love. We should always allow that wonderful aspect, the best aspect, of human love to come through us-the love, the magic, of motherhood. And this motherhood is God created.]

 

 

 

Twenty some years ago, a lady came to a minister. She was very, very distressed. She sat in the minister’s office and she said that through a series of events her nephew was coming to live with her. She said to the minister, “I’ve never had any children, and I’m a harsh woman — I admit that. I don’t have the kind of love that I would want to give to a child. I’m scared. How can I, being harsh, hard, and stern in life, give love to this young boy?”

 

 

The minister said to her, “You have God’s love inside of you. If you consent to that God love coming through you, it will come through. It is the love of God that will equip you to love this child. If you allow yourself the privilege of having this love come through, it will come through.”

 

 

She said, “Yes, yes. But I was never created to do that. You don’t understand my nature. You see the good too much, preacher.”

 

 

The minister said, “No. I know that God love can come through you-if you let it.”

 

 

That was many years ago. Today that woman has a grown nephew. She was changed by that experience, and so was he. She was a great aunt; she was a wonderful mothering influence. But she didn’t become something; she allowed something to become her. We, each one of us, already are loving children of God. We just have to allow the nature that our mother (or that individual who was the model of a mother) allowed some time ago, to come through us. Why not do it in honor of mother? What greater honor of a mother than to express today in our lives some of the love she taught us how to express?

 

 

There’s a great story I want to share with you about this same idea. It is a story of an Arabian horse. As a young horse, he was orphaned. This Arabian foal was adopted by a family of camels. Every day he looked around and all he saw were other camels, so he decided that he was going to be the best camel he could be because he didn’t know he was an Arabian horse.

 

 

Daily through the hot sands of the desert he would carry heavy loads. He would drink at every oasis because he was so parched and thirsty. And every day he would put his hooves down into the sand and move slowly because that was the way a good camel was supposed to be.

 

 

One day, when he was very, very old, he looked out across the desert. From his weary eyes he saw an Arabian horse running in the distance on a sand dune. He said to himself, “That is the most beautiful animal I have ever seen in my life!” The shiny mane was flowing back from his head and neck. He said, “If I could only be like that.” He thought to himself, “Once, years ago I had the desire to run, leap high in the air and go over the sand dunes . . .” but he quickly remembered his place as a camel. He died from old age never knowing what he really was.

 

 

The worst thing we can do in human life is to die not knowing what we are. Male or female, we are meant to love; we are meant to express God’s love. We are meant to cuddle little things, nurture, and cause great things to happen in individuals.

 

 

We are meant to celebrate life. According to Jesus Christ, the ultimate way to celebrate life is to love all, realizing we are one in the humanity with each other. Otherwise we’re doing a great disservice, to ourselves, but also to our mothers, because that is the way mom would want it to be.

 

 

Mom told us to play nice on the playground. She told us to treat other people well. We should never forget those lessons in our adult life.

 

 

Being Christian, we talk a lot about Jesus Christ. Perhaps we do not talk enough about His mother and the importance she played, not only in His ministry but in the formation of His life.

 

 

Every mother who has ever conceived a child has conceived miraculously. You know that. When you were in the hospital and held that little one you could not help but to believe in God, love and power that is greater than ourselves.

 

 

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.”  Sophia Loren

 

 

Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.

 

 

Jesus’ first miracle says so much about his mother. The wedding at Cana [John 2:1-8, 11].On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.” I’m sure she was invited by the family because she knew them. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding, but I’m sure they were invited because of Mary. “When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’

 

 

I don’t suggest you say to your mother, “Woman. . .”   But in Jesus’ day this was a very endearing term. It was saying, “Marvelous, marvelous lady.” But He was also saying what you’ve said to your mother many times: “Mom, I’m not ready yet. I can’t do this.”

 

 

You know what mom said to you. She said to you in various ways, “I believe in you. You, more than anybody else in the world, can take care of this problem. You’re my son/daughter and I believe in you and I know what you can accomplish with your life.” That’s what mom was saying to Jesus.

 

 

I’m sure there were many other things she said besides what is written down here. I’m sure He went on and on, for ten times, to his mother saying such things as, “Mom, there’s no way I can do this now.” Mary didn’t even listen to Him, just like your mother didn’t listen to you when you said “I can’t.”

 

 

“His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’” Keep in mind this was His first miracle.

 

 

You know how it was for you when you were producing your first miracle . . . like that first day of school or the first day on your new job when you felt so insecure. You just didn’t know if you had it in you to do what you had trained all these years to do. Yet this was the time. You had your mother calling and telling you, “I believe in you!”

 

 

“And they filled them up to the rim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.’” You know the rest of the story. They did and it was the finest wine they had ever tasted. It goes on to say,” and his disciples believed in him.” It doesn’t say that then Mary believed; she already knew, and believed. The disciples didn’t, but Mary did. Then at the end of the story it talks of how Jesus went with his mother to the next place they were going.

 

 

Jesus’ mother was so important to Him that the parting words on the Cross, almost the very last thing He said, was, “Woman, behold thy son, and behold thy mother.” He was looking out for his mother. He was getting someone to take care of his mother, whom He valued so highly. He was caring for her, even while He was in great pain.

 

 

Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men – from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls.”

 

 

There is a wonderful story of Abraham Lincoln when he was riding one day in a coach. There was a colonel from Kentucky with him. The colonel reached into his inside vest pocket and took out a container of whiskey. He said, “Here Mr. Lincoln, have a swig of whiskey.”

 

 

Mr. Lincoln said, “No sir; thank you. I never drink whiskey.”

 

 

They rode along a little while longer and the colonel reached into his other vest pocket and took out a big, long cigar and said, “Here Mr. Lincoln. Have a cigar.”

 

 

Mr. Lincoln said to the colonel, “No. I never smoke cigars.”

 

 

Then Mr. Lincoln said, “Let me tell you a story. When I was nine years of age, I was called to my mother’s bed. She held my hand and said, ‘Abe, the doctor tells me I’m very sick and I’m not going to get up from this bed. Dear boy, I want you to promise me something from my deathbed – that you will never smoke or drink.’” Abe Lincoln said to the colonel from Kentucky, “Now, would you wish at this time I break that promise?”

 

 

 

The colonel paused and said, “Oh no, dear kind sir. I would pay $1,000 if I had made that promise and kept it all these years. I would be a better man for it.”

 

 

Abraham Lincoln, when asked about his incredible strength, said, “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”

 

 

We’ve made many, many promises in our lifetime. Most of them have been to our mothers. And how many thoughts she had for us as she was raising us. How good it is to have a day to honor her and realize that she made us.

 

 

Whenever Alexander the Great was entertaining people in the palace, he
would always put on a special gown that was woven for him by his mother. Every time we go out in public, we put on a gown that was woven for us by our mothers-not only the skin we have, the eyes, teeth, and hair, but also the way we act.

 

 

Perhaps over years we have forgotten some of the things that mom has taught us, but this is a day to remember. This is a day to go back and remember the very best of mom when she was at her best. We become our best by recalling and reliving her best.

 

 

The VERY BEST she taught was LOVE, by her example.

 

 

A man was talking with a woman and asked, “What do you do?” She said, “I’m
just a mother.” This is what Theodore Roosevelt said about being “just a
mother.”

 

 

 

“When all is said, it is the mother, and the mother only, who is a better citizen than the soldier who fights for his country. The successful mother, the mother who does her part in rearing and training aright the boys and girls who are to be the generation of men and women of the next generation, is of better use to the country if only she would realize it. A more honorable as well as a more important position than any man, the mother is the one supreme asset of national life. She is more important, by far, than the successful statesman, businessman, artist, or scientist.”

 

 

 

I have one more story to share with you that will touch you. It is an old
Chinese story. Po Yu did wrong and he cried when his mother chastised him with a stick. “You never used to cry when I thrashed you,” said his mother. “Why do you cry today?”

 

 

He answered, “When I did wrong and you thrashed me, it always used to hurt. But this time mother’s strength is such that it did not hurt. That’s why I cry.”

 

 

Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

 

 

Let us pray. Dear God, one of the most incredible gifts you ever gave me as a human being is my physical mother. I thank You for that incredible gift. I thank You for all the times we’ve spent together and all the lessons she shared with me. Every day I will make my life an example of her love, and in my life I will make her love very much alive and her life not wasted. Her love is the life I live.. Lord, we know our mothers were not perfect, nor were or are we. We ask You to bless them whether they are with You in heaven or with us here on earth.

 

 

I thank you, dear mother, for your love, patience, and incredible kindness hour after hour. For the life I have today, I give credit to you.

 

 

 

 

In Jesus Christ’s name I pray and thank you for the love of my mother….. . . . Amen

God IS Good

(Take the time during the music selections to pray for God to bring understanding and wisdom and alignment with Him into your heart and soul)
GOD IS GOOD – ALL THE TIME!

 

 

Psalm 73:1 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.

 

Many of us sing this song or listen to it while we repeat the word. And truer words were never spoken – GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME.

 
“My tongue will talk of Thy righteous help all the day long.” Psalms 71:24.

 
“Albert Einstein said, “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.”

 
We are a laboratory of faith, and our ideas can be proved within each individual living them. I ask you today to think about your faith, your ideas and how they have proven true in your life. Oh, it may have not happened in your idea of perfect timing but it did in God’s idea of perfect timing.

 
There are fundamentals of the belief system that can enhance/ support, encourage, or even change your daily life experience as taught by our Savior, Jesus Christ. One of the fundamentals is that God is absolute good, and everywhere present. Being absolute Good means He is Good ALL the time. Don Moen sings the song so wonderfully as youtube replays it above.

 

And this has been a theme of many of my messages.  My heart warms in the glow of His love just thinking how much He loves us and how Good He is – all the time.

 
Look at how this reflects on our lives. Jesus said, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.“ [John 4:24].  God is unlimited, perfect, and eternal. Because God is the epitome of Omnipresence, He is everywhere, present in both space and time. Therefore, wherever and whenever we are ANY place, God is with us.

 
The subject is God and how close God is. Through prayer we each have this accessibility to God. Many have thought wrongly about how far God is from us. But it is important for us, in this reading about our belief, to know that God is not far off. God is with us, surrounding us, within us. That is a powerful, powerful statement of oneness in faith. It is easy to dismiss God if we think God is not aware of us, our situations, and difficulties.

 
The starting place of spiritual attainment is the right understanding of the One we call the “Almighty.” The first human mind concept we have with God is usually God as force. But as we look at life, we realize that concept is not enough. We have to realize that God is more than just what we think of as force.

 
We do realize God is the basis of all things, working in loving Divine order. But as we look at life, we realize that this is not enough. The highest aspect we can hold of God is to hold the aspect Jesus Christ held-God is love.

 
God is also the essence and life in your life. To realize God is at hand and that you can manifest your prayers is powerful – that is to realize God is working through you as you. God is also supreme wisdom and intelligence of the universe. And we are God’s children, God’s expressers.

 

 

But how do you access this? How do you get to God? You don’t have to, because God is already with you. HE is not a computer that you can turn off and on. HE is always with you – Always! If God is with you at all times, you get to know Him through practice – by remembering, practicing that presence of God that is alive and vibrant with you (prayer, meditation, good works, etc.). That is the way you experience all of God, all of the time. We are here in this message, in our Bethel, in our chat rooms, in our homes and our work and private lives, to recall what we already know to be true and to praise Him Who made it all possible. We can rest in that truth. Let’s worship “in spirit and truth” – without ceasing. And let our voices talk of  Thy righteous help all the day long.” Praise be to Our Father!

 
We can never totally describe our Lord and how magnificent His work is in our lives. All we can do is say, “Thank You, Lord.”

 
Because no matter what shines down on us or befalls us, we know that –
God IS Good All The Time!

 

 

My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever. Psalm 145:21

 

 

Pray with me.
Lord, we praise you for your goodness and faithfulness in this past year. Help us to count our blessings and to be assured of your love. In the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

 

THE PRAYER CONNECTION, Part 2

 .”Let me … Find refuge under the shelter of your wings.” Psalm 61:4

 

 

 
There is spiritual power in stillness and peace of mind, through which you can find, and then express, the joy of the Lord.

 
In the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, there is a familiar passage that begins with the words “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” The writer goes on to specify a number of things saying that there is a time for this and a time for that. In verse seven of chapter 3, it says, “… a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.”

 
I guess this moment now – is my time to “speak”.

 
Whenever we are going to present something, it is always a good idea if we have something to  relate. Sometimes, we cannot outdo silence. Very often in life we are so conditioned to keep the noise going. We get so outer-oriented and so busy that we forget to take time for quiet; take time apart, as Jesus did in His ministry. This is mentioned in several places in the Gospel – where Jesus needs to move away from the crowds, and take a time apart.

 
This is not a new idea, but are we really practicing it in our lives? In other words, maybe, sometimes, we are talking too much when we need to be silent, and just spiritually listen for the voice of God.

 
This reminds me of the story of the tourist who came to a country town.

 
That evening, he went down to the General Store and found a number of men who were gathered around, sitting there in silence. This particular gentleman happened to be a person who liked to talk a lot, so he kept trying to strike up a conversation. Nobody would reply. These good old boys were just sitting around the General Store in silence. Nobody said a word. Finally, the tourist said, “Well, really, is there a law against speaking in this town?”

 
One of the men spoke up and said, “No, there’s no law against speaking, but we sort of have a general understanding around here that unless one is sure he can improve upon the silence, he does not speak out.”

 
The idea of improving upon silence is so important if we are considering that we have something to say.

 
Another story that tells us that if we do speak out, we had better know what we have to say and what we’re going to say, and that it is of importance at least to us and possibly, to other people.

 
There was a gentleman who was buying a horse. The seller of the horse told the man, “This was a very religious horse. There are a couple of key words this horse will tune in to. Any time you want the horse to stop, just say the word ‘Amen,’ because that’s what he stops on. Then, when you want the horse to go forward, say ‘Praise the Lord.’ You got it?”

 
The buyer said, “Yes, I understand that, and I’m willing to go with it.” So he bought the horse, remembering that it was a very religious horse.

 
One day, he took the horse out for a ride. While they were galloping along in this field, the horse began galloping a little too fast. The gentleman forgot the key word to stop the horse (which was ‘Amen’). He was hollering out just about every word you could imagine, but the horse just kept galloping. The gentleman looked up and noticed he was heading toward a steep cliff. The horse kept on going, and the gentleman began to panic. All of a sudden he remembered the key word that would stop the horse, and he cried out “Amen!” The horse stopped right on the edge of the cliff. The man looks down and sees the big drop, looks up to heaven and says, “Praise the Lord.”

 
This story keys into one thing, in particular. That is, if we have something to say, we hope it is the right thing to say, and that it will be helpful to ourselves and to other people.

 
The idea of silence is a very important idea because it brings with it peace of mind. And peace of mind is the one thing we all strive to achieve. Of all the blessings you will receive in prayer, there is one that stands out among all the others, and that is peace of mind. I do not think we can accomplish very much in life without peace of mind.

 
We do not have to look very far around the world to see that there are plenty of places in the world that are still in need of peace. But if we are going to have peace out there, we must first establish peace within ourselves. Then we can look outward to other places that need to find peace….. And you know as well as I do, how peace is needed throughout the world right now. It’s a scary world out there.

 
One of the greatest ways to learn to establish peace within ourselves is to practice the silence, to give ourselves those opportunities to have times of real quiet, prayer, and meditation, and to be in the silence where there is just ourselves and God. These periods of silence will lead to a greater degree of peace of mind, without which nothing of lasting value has ever been accomplished.

 
The Bible brings this idea out in many different ways. One particular section in the Bible is full of a lot of racket and noise, and that is the book of Revelation. The sixth chapter (please read to get the full effect) in the book of Revelation is where the seven seals are broken and opened. When the first six seals are opened, there are all kinds of noises that take place; things that the writer describes as the upset of the universe that he says must happen before God will reveal Himself to you, and wipe out all the evil, and establish the kingdom of God.

 
Remember, that does not literally have to happen. What can happen is that we can establish peace, right here and now, as we let God have God’s perfect way in and through us. There is always a hard way to learn spirituality and an easy way.

 
In the first four chapters, the four horsemen appear. Then, when the fifth is broken, you have a picture of the martyrs who are slain. They are under the altar crying out, “Oh, Lord, how long before you will avenge us.”   It is a very different concept of God than we often have. It depicts a vengeful God who is going to carry out retribution upon his people. This is the JUST writer’s point of view.

 
Then, when the sixth seal is broken, there are all kinds of cosmic disorders. There are earthquakes and upsets all over the place.

 
Finally, in the next chapter, there is a nice interlude, a time of quiet. Then, in chapter eight, the first verse, the seventh and final seal is broken.

 
Do you know what it says then? There is NO more noise and no more racket. It just says simply that there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Can you feel that? Then the noise starts again, according to the writer.

 
What a relief that must have been. What a relief it is, also, in our lives when we can stop the racket and the noise of the world from intruding on our consciousness and peace of mind, TO KNOW that because God is with us, we always have a direct access to inner peace, that we can turn to God. We can take comfort in that silence of spiritual thought that we name PRAYER.

 
Probably one of the greatest stories is in the New Testament – the idea of the stilling of the storm. Jesus was out on the waters on the Sea of Galilee with His disciples, and a storm comes up. Jesus is asleep in the boat. A little lesson here is to remember that God never sleeps. We may sleep, but God, with us NOW, never sleeps. Anyway, the way it is shown in the scripture is that Jesus is asleep in the boat and the disciples wake Him. They ask Him something like, “Don’t you care about us?” All Jesus does is speak the word, “Peace, be still, peace, be still,” and the waters are calmed.

 

 
You and I have that same power to still the storms in our lives. How? By simply speaking the word of peace in prayer, we can take command of our consciousness, and of our lives. We are in charge of our world. We have the God-given power. All power is found in the silence. The Bible says that we have been given dominion.

 

 

Genesis 1:26(NKJV) 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[a] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

 

 

In that power, we find whatever it is we need to accomplish in life, and we find the power to do it – all through prayer.

 
It is really in the quiet that things are accomplished. We know there is great power in the silence and the peace of mind that it brings. It was the same idea the poets address, in that you, could hear the silence. The sound of the silence can be almost deafening. But what a beautiful sound it is, because you feel the spiritual power it also brings.
Think of Psalm 23 which says, “The Lord is my shepherd . . . He leads me besides still waters; he restores my soul.”
So, whatever it takes to enter into a moment of silence, let’s do that.

 
Let’s take it. Let’s create a practice in the silence which provides certain steps to entering the time of silence which leads to that blessed peace of mind. This then becomes the foundation from which we can go forth and accomplish things in life.
Most of you here, reading this today, are probably working at a job in the world. That is wonderful. But there is a lot of worldly racket out there. Very often you come to church, to our Bethel to services or prayer group to experience a time of quiet and hopefully, to gain some insight into practical, helpful daily living, and what everybody really wants – to still the racket of the world, once again. It always serves that purpose, and gives a peace beyond (human) understanding.

 

I often come into our Bethel  and put my hand up to the screen,  and just participate in the silence  and the beauty  of our beautiful  spiritual  home .  I invite everybody reading this  to come in  and feel  the astounding  spiritual presence  there .

 

http://thespiritualfamily.chatango.com/?flash

 
This practice in the silence is a little technique to help us become quiet and to attain that peace of mind, from which we can then go forth and really do wonderful things in life.

 
1) The first step is relaxation. Once you have achieved that state of relaxation, then comes—
2) The concentration.     You begin to concentrate on a certain idea, a Divine idea. You do not worry about something or stew about some problem you have, but maybe just concentrate on the words “solution” or “answer;” whatever it might be, without effort or strain. Concentrate on a particular idea. You will know what that idea is because it will be revealed to you, through you, at exactly the right moment and in the right way.

 

After the concentration comes—
3) A time of meditation. We just let the free flow of thought take place; we are one with the presence and power of God.

 

After meditation—
4) Realization. The answer comes; an idea is born in our consciousness which is the solution we have been seeking.    I have found that sometimes the realization, or the answer, just does not come right at that moment. It may be after I have left that time of silence and gone out into the world; but at the right time and in the right way, there is the answer. It comes exactly at the right time and in the right way.

 

The fifth step in this whole process of the practice in the silence—
5) Simply an act of gratitude or thanksgiving.   We give thanks to God for the process which we have just entered and participated in, and for the answer we know is forthcoming, (if it has not already come at the time of silence). Thanksgiving is not just a wonderful way to end any activity, but to begin the activity as well. So maybe before we begin the practice in the silence, we should begin with a note of thanksgiving, because you know, in God, the answer is already there. All we have to do is let it unfold in our lives at the right time and in the right way.

 
Sometimes, people get the idea that when we enter a time of quiet or stillness that it is a “cop-out” from the world; that we are trying to avoid responsibility.   We can become still and quiet BEFORE we do anything. The moment of stillness is not really idleness, but a real period of intensified focused activity. There is always time in the creative process for you and me to become still, and that is the time when God takes over and brings an increase in our future efforts, in both Divine inspiration and strength.

 
The first chapter of Genesis is the creation story. [Author Emmett Fox says that the six days of creation, before the Sabbath, are not the days that God works, spiritually, but are the days we work, when we put forth our effort and do our part. Then, we always come to the Sabbath, which is a time of rest for ourselves. It is the time when we have to let go and let God.

 
In everything we do, we come to that point where we have completed our efforts, and we have to let go and let God. Then we rest. The seventh day is our Sabbath. It is the day God goes to work and brings to completion all of our efforts.

 

Let’s focus on these steps and the glory of our Lord as He joins us in quiet prayer and meditation and brings His will and His love directly to us.

Our Shepherd

Our inner nature is being renewed every day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16

 

NO MATTER WHAT OUTER APPEARANCES LOOK LIKE, GOD IS WITH YOU.

 

Every newspaper should have this headline when reporting on difficult times. Regardless of what is happening or what crisis we are going through, God is with us.

 

“God is a God of miracles.
God is a God of better-than-expected outcomes.
God is a God of the higher working of the law of life. “

 

Miracles happen every day as we turn to God, our higher power. And that is the source where we need to focus. We need to make that spiritual connection and stay connected with the Truth of God.

 

We all have that ability to be connected with God, and that gives us the capacity of great possibilities to give great help not only to ourselves but also in the lives of others.

 

A woman who had recently faced great difficulty in her personal life was asked this question, “How do you hold on? What do you do?”

 

The woman said, “Every day, I read the 23rd Psalm. It gives me great power.”

 

To go beyond this material, outer physical world of crisis and turmoil, the only place to find those answers is the Bible. If you want information that is all good news, not bad news, turn to scripture. God will give you comfort when it seems there is none to be found anywhere. You will have something that is beyond the worldly chaos, and we have lots of that right now. You’ll have something that will give you courage because it is eternal Truth. It is not generic. It is for you personally, your own personal life, in a very specific way.

 

The author Ernest Wilson wrote a lesson on the 23rd Psalm many decades ago. I
want to share it with you in the hope that not only will it help you as you read this but later on when you may have to face difficult situations and circumstances. Keep this with you for reflection and quiet harmony…. The psalm and description as described here is so wonderful that I am going to present his presentation of this, I can say it no better.

 

The 23rd Psalm

 

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 Thou art with me;
Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
Thou anointest 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.”

 

To all who are weary and confused and oppressed,
To all who are beset by obscure and hidden dangers,
To all who are sick and sore and weary unto death,
To all who are lonely and bereaved and forsaken,
To all who are in desperate financial need,
To all who have lost their way and cannot find it,
To all who have come to the end of the road—

 

Here is a message for you. It comes to you with supreme simplicity, but it has
in it a steady, unwavering strength and power. It speaks from the lips of a plain
shepherd of many years ago, but it has in it the authority of God Almighty for
your life. You have spoken it many times for the sheer beauty of its flowing
speech; you shall speak it again and again for the assurance and courage and
guidance that are in it for you.

 

It is the immortal 23rd Psalm.”

 

“You are discouraged and disheartened, you say? You are pressed from
every side by demands greater than your strength? You are called on to make
decisions for which you have not the needed wisdom? You have sought vainly among
all the persons you know, for one clear voice that will set you right, that will
tell you what to do?

 

You have longed to find some wise seer, like the fabled masters of old, at whose
feet you might sit, in childlike trust and faith, saying, “Only tell me what I
should do, Master, and I will do it.” You are weary past belief in trying to make
hard decisions, to choose between the thousand insistent voices that cry, “Lo,
here” and “Lo, there?” Come with me.

 

Together we shall go on a little journey, you and I, a little journey of thought.
It takes us far away from the crowded streets of cities, far away from any place
where competition and financial pressure barter and trade. We leave the jangling
noises of the streets behind. We shake from our shoulders the heavy weight of
cares. We let go of the pressing sense of hurry and urgency that has obsessed us.

 

We find ourselves on a pleasant country hillside, reclining under a rugged, old
twisted tree for whose shade we are grateful, because the sun is hot today. We
can see little heat waves rising from the sparsely covered earth. Before and below
us is a smiling valley. A flock of sheep is grazing there calmly in the sun. They
are munching the green grass – greener there in the valley – in peace and security.

 

The shepherd has taken precautions against every danger that threatens them. He
has led them in ways of pleasantness through the paths of peace. Conscious of
their safety, he reclines now on the hillside a little way below us, amusing
himself with the birdcalls that he picks out upon a flute that he has fashioned
from a willow branch. About him is an air of lazy ease, but do not be deceived
by it. Let the slightest danger threaten his charges and he will be up in a flash,
ready to defend, with his life if need be, the lives of his charges.

 

 

He is only a simple shepherd boy, but he is a veritable god to the sheep, and
though he is simple in much that would seem important to us, he is wise in all
things pertaining to them. He has a way to meet their every need, to protect
them from every danger, to lead them into plenty, to thwart their enemies, and
to bring them, at the close of the day, safe and secure into the fold. They,
lowly dumb creatures that they are, nevertheless are wise enough to trust him,
and they know his voice among many, and respond to it without hesitation.

 

How like unto a shepherd is God toward us! Through the varied adventurings and
journeyings and needs of our daily life, God watches over us, with brooding,
tender care. For every danger that threatens us, God provides protection. God
leads us, and guides us, and guards us. The simple sheep owe their very
existence to the care of a shepherd boy. Though he is dull, he cares for them
and they put unquestioning faith and trust in him. My hope is that we are as
wise as those sheep, wise enough to put our trust in our Shepherd, God, who with
infinite love and wisdom, holds our life securely in God’s hand. Let us follow
the shepherd’s day, and sing with understanding the simple song of faith inspired
by his talks.

 

The Lord is my shepherd,” the song begins. For you, the harassed, discouraged
one, this opening sentence of the shepherd’s song holds a precious message. The
Lord is YOUR shepherd. Place your trust in God. God will lead you into your good.
God will protect you and guide you. Nothing disastrous can befall you. God is
mightier than any adverse circumstance or condition that confronts you. God will
not desert you or forsake you or even forget you. Take care that you do not desert
or forsake or forget God! Keep your trust in God. Even though you cannot see how
God can possibly help you, be faithful to your trust. God’s wisdom is greater than
yours. God sees farther than you do. God knows ways that are hidden from your
sight. When every way seems closed, when dangers threaten, when want looms on the
horizon like some fierce wolf to slay you, remember the one who is the Good
Shepherd. “I am the good shepherd,” God assures us, “and I know mine own, and mine
own know me. “Fear not, only believe.” With faith and confidence, we join in the
song: “The Lord is my shepherd.”

 

Do you fear lack? Does it rear its ugly head, like a specter, in your life?
Follow the shepherd as he leads his sheep into places of plenty. Say with the
shepherd, “I shall not want.” In the Orient the hillsides become parched and dry.
The grass, none too plentiful, withers in the hot sun. Many hungry sheep have
roamed the same pastures. They have nibbled close down to the roots the little
grass there is. The wise shepherd knows where in times of drought the grass is
still fresh and green.

 

He urges his charges on, past the hilltops to plains and valleys of peace.

 

Because of his wisdom they do not lack. As familiar ground, now parched and
barren, is left behind, they hesitate; but the shepherd goes ahead of them, and
they follow, even though the way is strange to them. Surely it will be only a
little way, but the way stretches into a long way. The sheep become hot and tired
and hungry and thirsty. Still they follow, because they trust their good shepherd.
At last they come to green pastures, where they may find food and rest.

 

Our Lord is a Lord of bounty, not of lack. It is God’s good pleasure to share that
bounty with us. “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to
give you the kingdom.” But we must trust God, and follow God. God’s way may lead
us away from familiar paths that have become barren to us. The way ahead may seem
even more desolate than that behind us. It is strange to us. We feel completely
lost. We have no assurance of what lies in any direction.

 

Except for the Good Shepherd, we should be lost indeed. With God we are secure.
Let us keep close to God indeed. “If ye abide in Me, and My Words abide in you,
ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you,” God promises, and God
fulfills God’s promise. God brings us not only plenty, but rest from anxiety that
enables us to enjoy in peace the blessings God provides. “He maketh me to lie down
in green pastures.”

 

In times of drought, when the hills are dry and only the tranquil hidden valleys
are still green, all but the largest of the streams have dried up. The quiet
little streams and the pools from which the sheep like best to drink are gone.
Sheep are afraid of the rushing waters of the big streams, and well they may be,
for they are easily caught in the rushing waters, the heavy wool on their backs
quickly becomes saturated with water and weighs them down.

 

Even the wise, strong shepherd may be unable to help them when they are caught
in the turbulent current. This the shepherd knows even better than they. If quiet
waters are still to be found, the shepherd leads them there; if not, he diverts
some of the water from one of the noisy, rushing streams, so that it forms a
quiet pool where the sheep may drink in safety.

 

How grateful they are for the cool water! How fortunate to have a shepherd who is
so wise and so loving! How fortunate are we to have a Shepherd whose guiding care
brings in peace to lives that are harassed and troubled by the confusion and
dangers of rushing streams of human thought. Our Shepherd makes it possible for
us to rest in the peace of plenty, to cleanse our world-begrimed thoughts, and
quench our thirst for things, in the still waters of peace. Surely we too can say,
“He leadeth me beside the still waters.”

 

Are you weary and confused? Do you seem to have been left behind in the swift
onward rush of things and events? Look again to the shepherd. Sometimes the march
over the hillsides is a long one. The sheep are hot and dusty and weary. They are
hungry and thirsty. Some of them, the weaker ones, lag behind. The wise shepherd
calls a halt while they rest. And if some poor sheep is especially weak and wobbly,
he takes it in his arms and carries it awhile, as the others resume the onward
march. His clear voice rings with encouragement, and the patient sheep respond to
his call.

 

Soon they come to green pastures and still waters. Truly he restores not only the
soul, but also the body of his charges. So does the Master bid us pause in the
onward rush of things, to renew our strength and faith, to make a fresh start.
We feel the steadying influence of God’s presence. God’s words ring softly upon
our inner ears, “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” And we whisper, “He
restoreth my soul.”

 

All day long the shepherd goes before his flock, choosing a way for them to go.
He picks a path where rocks are fewest, lest they dash their feet against a stone.
He prods in the grass with his staff to force out any snake that may be frightened
into biting the ankles of the sheep as they pass, and to disclose, hidden gopher
holes that may cause the sheep to stumble and fall. He leads them by the best way
that he can find, for his name’s sake as a good shepherd.

 

It might seem to the sheep that another way would be better or quicker, for they
are impatient to reach a place of food and rest, but he knows better than they.
He is their guardian, and must guard them from themselves as well as from outside
dangers. How much more so does the Good Shepherd guard and guide us! “He leadeth  me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”

 

The shadow of death is ever upon the sheep, death from tooth and claw, skulking
in the distance, waiting to rush and kill, death from cruel fang darting from
the grass, death from hole and pit open to trap slender feet and legs, death
from rushing water reaching with greedy fingers to catch and carry downstream
the luckless animal whose thirst overbalances his judgment, winged death soaring
overhead to swirl upon the young and helpless, the old and weak. With the sturdy
shepherd at hand, all this is changed. The timid sheep, so easily panicked
without their guardian, are calmed and guided by his reassuring presence. Yes,
even though they walk through the valleys of the shadow of death, they fear no
evil, for he is with them. His rod and his staff are ever ready to protect them.
They are comforted.

 

Wise is the human who has an equal faith, who knows that even death itself is
only a shadow, and that beyond the shadow and all around it is light, the light
of eternal life. Conscious of an abiding presence, whose nature is life that is
the light of humans, then the human says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.” In our
Shepherd’s hands, to defend and protect us, is a rod of power and a staff of
support. “Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

 

The hillsides and valleys and tablelands are the table of the sheep, spread
with food and drink for them. The tables of their masters are not unlike
their own, for in nomadic countries, humans commonly spread a skin upon the
ground before the door of their tent, and, placing on it their simple foods,
they squat upon the ground around it and eat. Often both their own and their
master’s meal is in the presence of enemies, wild animals who, emboldened by
hunger, may attack, and sometimes are thieves who live from the spoil of other
men’s labor. The shepherd prepares a table before the sheep, truly in the
presence of their enemies.

 

Humans often feel today that they are surrounded by persons and circumstances and
events that are adverse to their best interests. It sometimes seems to them as if
all life is a kind of conspiracy against them, separating them from all they want
to possess or achieve; in the “fell clutch of circumstance” they do not always
clearly know the Shepherd’s guidance, or hear God’s gentle voice amid the din of
other voices. Good, then, it is to know and to affirm, “Thou preparest a table
before me in the presence of mine enemies.” My trust is in Thee.

 

We come now to the closing lines of the shepherd’s immortal song and to the
closing scenes in the shepherd’s day. From dawn until sunset he has trudged the
hills and valleys with them, going before them, making their way safe and plain
and easy, finding them food, guarding them against dangers both imaginary and
real, bringing them safely home again.

 

Now, as the sheep return to the fold, comes the most beautiful scene of all. The
shepherd stands guard at the entrance to the fold. He has a dipper of olive oil,
and another, brimful of cool water, by his side. He examines the sheep as they
enter. If he finds a bruise or cut, he cleanses it and binds it up with a healing
ointment. His quick eye and gentle hands seek out the weariest animals, a ewe
heavy with young, or a lamb that is still none too steady on its wobbly legs. He
refills his cup of water, and lets the tired animal drink its fill. He anoints
the hot, dusty head, bramble-torn as well, perhaps, with the healing olive oil,
and sends the poor beast on to its night of rest. Not until the last of his
charges is safely cared for, and the door of the fold closed and barred, does he
retire to his own refreshment. Surely, with such a good shepherd, goodness and
mercy shall follow them all the days of their lives!

 

The sun has set. The flock is safely in its fold. Its low murmurings have hushed
to quiet. Twilight deepens into night, velvet-soft, and darkest blue. A light
twinkles in the window of the herdsman’s home, beckoning him a welcome. Overhead
the steadfast stars appear.”  EW and CIC

 

That is such a beautiful piece; and for each of us, that peaceful faith and irrepressible courage the shepherd holds and the trust of the sheep toward their shepherd is that strength that keeps us moving forward on our journey. And during the evening and starry night, we can rest knowing our shepherd is standing by us.
The Lord is OUR shepherd, and His presence allows us to find that peace that passes all understanding. That sweet simplicity of the shepherd’s song to the challenge and activity of our own busy days, the closing words of the singer of Israel echo in our hearts, “Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

 

May the Lord, our Shepherd, bless you!

That same day two of them were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was. Luke 24:12-14 (The Message)

We have posted here over eighty messages. I pray that any you have read bring you that peace we all search for and pray for. This week we will do something a little different. We are going to put you to work. You will have to take a journey – a journey with Jesus. Let’s take a walk with Jesus.

Thursday evening in our Prayer Group Meeting, we asked the questions, “If you could walk with Jesus for 15 minutes, what would you say to HIM??

Let’s take a walk. First of all, think about WHERE you would like to go. You can walk anywhere, but the goal is walking and talking with Jesus. This required some deep thinking and was thought provoking.

So here today, I want to share just what was said Thursday evening by each person in the group. I am going to print them here almost as they appeared in our meeting. I will remove some duplication; but other than that, these quotes stand as they were expressed.

When we get to the end, it is your opportunity, then, to pick one or two, meditate on them, and then you take a walk with Jesus and have a conversation with Him. Have a real conversation. You speak and then He will speak to you. Knock, and the door shall be opened to you ….

These are quotes so Here we go    – – –

**I have been thinking about this since earlier, and my mind absolutely draws a blank. I believe I would be speechless and just want to gaze into his eyes – but then…
**First I would thank him for the sacrifice he made for me, and I would thank Him for all He has done for me.
**I would first apologize for being sooo stubborn and cause Him to deal with me
**Jesus, explain the Trinity to me so a first grader could understand it.

 
**Thank You, my Lord, for choosing me to be Your beloved Bride.

 

 

**Thank him for the loving mom and dad and relatives that were given to me.

 

**Thank Him for being here on the earth.

 

**I definitely would thank Him for never giving up on me no matter what.

 

**Why do bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people?

 

**Ask Him what heaven will be like and how I will recognize my family.

**I just can’t imagine being in his presence….oh my. Much higher than being with the Queen Elizabeth.

**maybe i would have to apologize for mankind and ask if we failed again.

**Thank You that You love me totally, completely. And You are such a BIG GOD that You can love everyone of us that way, without the idea of being unfaithful or untrue. There is so much of You to go around to all of us that we can all feel like we have You all to ourselves.

Peter went off on a mission to visit all the churches. In the course of his travels he arrived in Lydda and met with the believers there. He came across a man—his name was Aeneas—who had been in bed eight years paralyzed. Peter said, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed!” And he did it—jumped right out of bed. Everybody who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him walking around and woke up to the fact that God was alive and active among them. Acts 9:31-33 (The Message)

I think He would be easy to talk to – like the best of friends, like a father. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

**Lord, Why are we so stubborn and stupid?

**Your heart is so filled with love. When The Father looks at me, He sees JESUS, not my sins, shortcomings and failures

**Why in the world did you give us free will? Look what we have done.

**i would say how sorry i am that we have ruined so many things

**I would ask him how i could help protect his children from all this evil which is surfacing

**Are all the bad things happening so that we will wake up and straighten up as a society?

**if it’s time i am ready and my heart i open with his light and love in my heart.

After Jesus returned, he walked along Lake Galilee and then climbed a mountain and took his place, ready to receive visitors. They came, tons of them, bringing along the paraplegic, the blind, the maimed, the mute——– and threw them down at Jesus’ feet to see what he would do with them. He healed them. When the people saw the mutes speaking, the maimed healthy, the paraplegics walking around, the blind looking around, they were astonished and let everyone know that God was blazingly alive among them. Matthew 15:28-30 (The Message)

**I believe He is showing us that the end times are near and we need to be ready and spreading His word.

The whole creation is groaning and calling out for You Lord.

**In the movie, “The Bible” Jesus said to Peter, “We will change the world”

**Yesss, I would have to tell Jesus how I trust Him in all things.

**When I was little, I saw God as a very, very big man, and I would sit on His lap and He would hold me close. I still see that.

The next day John was back at his post with two disciples, who were watching. He looked up, saw Jesus walking nearby, and said, “Here He is, God’s Passover Lamb.” John 1:34-36 (The Message)

After we finished, we prayed for God to send us all on a fifteen minute journey and –

Now, it is your turn to study these quotes, meditate on them, and you spend fifteen minutes walking with Jesus as He discusses them with you. Step out of your comfort zone for a few minutes and have an enlightened experience with Jesus.

Pray with me:  Lord, Jesus, what a wonderful experience it is to be able to walk and talk with You.  Be with each of us as we focus on spending more time doing just this – having actual conversations with You as we would with a loving father and brother.  Stay with us on our journey to You, sweet Lord.  Amen