How God Blesses His People

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.   Psalm 29:11 Strength and peace. Today’s scripture tells us these are the blessings bestowed upon us by God when we seek Him with all our hearts, and follow Him and His ways. No One Could Convince Him For 9 years, I have been working weekly with a man, I’ll call him George for anonymity, at a local soup kitchen. Each week he has made a point of telling me, convincingly, with a booming voice, “God hates me!” Despite the fact that my best efforts to convince him otherwise have fallen on deaf ears, he has had no peace, but his mantra has been unchanging, “God hates me! If He cared about me, He would not have let me have 3 back surgeries, live at an emergency homeless shelter, and all the other awful things that have happened to me in my life. I’m a good person. But my life has been really hard, and no one can convince me that God loves me. What has He ever done for me?” Then one day recently, something changed… The Awakening One day, as George came into the soup kitchen, he seemed different than he had over the 9 years I had known him. “I have something to tell you,” he said. “I had a bad car accident last week and my vintage Mustang was totaled. Here’s the picture of my wrecked car. I’m Ok. Walked away without a scratch. But there’s more. When I went to get a new car, I was really upset because I knew I...

No Condemnation in Jesus Christ

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1   This scripture tells us there is no commendation in Jesus Christ. So what does that mean? When you believe and trust in Jesus, you are free from judgement toward others. Discernment vs Worldly Judgement Tempting as it may be, we do not have the right to judge others, as that is Jesus’ job. There is a big difference between recognizing and addressing sin, and condemning someone through judging. At times we need to paradoxically trust our discernment, but also  refrain from judging others. We are called to pray for them, and ask God for discernment, and wisdom in every situation. When our prayerful discernment leads us in Divine  judgement, based on prayer and scripture reading, we are to lovingly encourage others along to return to the narrow path. Ironically, we are called to both strive to be at peace with everyone, and also, to avoid worldly judgement. Sometimes that means speaking truth in Love—even when it is not easy. At times such truth may not be well received, but it still important all the same. As the need arises, we need to try to gently encourage each other in Love to stay on, or return to, God’s uniquely planned journey. Can’t Earn Heaven When you have the Holy Spirit of Jesus within you, you naturally want to do as much good as you possibly can, to serve God. For who can possibly condemn one who is...

Faith: The Timeless Power Source

Faith in God is the timeless power source that changes lives. Those who have it recognize its power, and consider it their greatest treasure. Self-proclaimed Atheists and Agnostics, however, often cynically discount faith and prayer as useless and illogical. Yet, what is it about the gift of faith that makes it compelling, relevant and central in the lives of so many people in the US and around the world? There must be a reason… Unmerited Favor Faith in God is something that comes from God, through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is a gift freely given and received through grace—unmerited favor, by a God who knows our every thought and move. People who have faith in God are, in a sense, plugged in to God, the timeless power source for all peace, joy, and unconditional Love. They trust Him. Like a tree planted by a stream has deep roots, so it goes with people of faith as they place their trust in God. Their foundations cannot be shaken or destroyed. Conversely, life without God is like having no power source, no oasis or water source to replenish and flourish.   God’s Unmatched Generosity Truly, the drudgery of this world can be dull and overwhelming—even underwhelming. Without God, when tragedy hits, there seems to be nowhere to turn, and little comfort can be found. We depend on our own devices to ‘get us through’ trials and tragedies. One cannot purchase faith or wish it into existence. That is, it cannot be bought by putting large donations in the offering basket. God’s grace and faith are not things that...