Do you ever talk to yourself? I do. I don’t mean that I speak out loud to myself expecting an answer. Sometimes I have an internal conversation where I bring up one side of an issue and then respond, sometimes by looking at the other side. Sometimes I pray out loud. Sometimes I pray internally also, talking to God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. Does having these discussions mean that I am unbalanced or dangerous in some way? I don’t think so. It was somewhat comforting to find this happening in Scripture with someone very close to God.
“1 Vindicate me, my God, and plead my cause against an unfaithful nation. Rescue me from those who are deceitful and wicked. 2 You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? 3 Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. 4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. 5 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” — Psalm 43, NIV
It is interesting to note the progression of David’s thoughts through these verses:
Verse 1: David believes he is in the right, and asks God to both save him from the wicked and change their minds.
Verse 2: David claims his faith in God, and asks God why He has left him alone and subject to the problems he faces.
Verse 3: David asks for God’s guidance and protection, so that he will be brought back to God’s presence.
Verse 4: David remembers who God is, and promises to sing His praises
Verse 5: David talks to himself. He asks himself why he is so depressed and bothered. He then tells himself to hope in God, the only solution to his problems.
I would hazard a guess that many of our own thought processes and prayers about ourselves and our own problems follow a similar pattern. We first tend to look at others as the cause of our difficulties, and wonder why God isn’t preventing them. Then we realize that we need God and His guidance. We remember our faith and source of our salvation. Then we come to the realization of our own ability to change our own attitude. We know the answer– God, if we will only accept it.
I think David shows us that our thought processes, including talking to ourselves, are both human and natural. We aren’t warped or delusional. We can find our way through problems and bad situations only by recognizing God and His position, and accepting His truth and guidance. God never leaves us alone.
I got caught in rain today. I did not mean to get caught in the rain today. And I really thought I could stay ahead of it, although I knew it was coming.
It was lunch time and the temperature was nice, so I took a walk. After about two miles the rain came and and it came hard and fast. I looked for cover under a tree so I could call someone (one of you) to please come pick me up. It was then that I heard a voice – “Hey! Do you need a ride?” I have met this man a few times on walks the last couple of years. I gladly accepted his offer.
He knew our church name and quickly mentioned the new sign. His day starts at about 5 each day. He takes a friend to dialysis. Afterward he comes home to take his walk and he uses his walk to pick up litter along Clague Road.
You do know that this was not a chance meeting, right? I got caught in the rain for a reason.
Today was a reminder that there is room at the table. We have that reminder on the main bulletin board (lower right hand corner) outside the sanctuary. It is a reminder that our dinner tables are where outreach can best happen. And use our dinner tables for outreach so that others will join us at the Lord’s table, celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
On Sunday, June 13 we will have our first fellowship lunch of the year. It will immediately follow the morning service and I believe the plan is to eat outside (weather permitting). There will be a sign up sheet this Sunday at the main bulletin board, the same board with the reminder that there is room at the table. Use these next couple of weeks to invite the unchurched (those who are not saved and those who do not have a church home) to join you and us that Sunday. It will be great if they joined us in the morning service, but if all they did was join us at lunch, that would be great, too. It is there at several tables that we can get to know one another and have conversations, conversations that can be used to share the good news of Jesus!
And on Sunday, June 20 we will gather at the Lord’s table to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This Sunday we will be in Luke 23:26-38. Be praying for our time together.
Oh, and a note about community groups. We have several meeting right now. One of those is winding up – our ladies Bible study. There will be one like it though starting back up in the Fall. Men, there is a community group that meets each Tuesday at 8:30 am (sometimes 8) for breakfast at the church. All we do is share our lives together and it is amazing the encouragement that happens. Let me know if you would like to be a part of this group. There is another community group that meets each Wednesday at the church at 9:30 am. There is laughter and talking and coffee and sometimes treats from Amish country. Usually there is a devotional and we always pray together. This group is for anyone. Again, let me know if you would like to be a part of this group.
And a new group is getting ready to begin. This community group will use time to learn the tools of Bible study by, get this, doing a Bible study. This is a group specifically for men. And so see Jacob Gregory if you would like to be a part of it. You can share with him what days and times (evening) work for you and we will coordinate from there. This is pretty exciting.
Lately I have noticed a return of the midges around my house. It is rare to go outside and not have them land on me somewhere, or to open the back door without one or two coming inside. Thankfully these midges don’t bite. It is just a bit annoying to find one in your hair after coming in from outside. I have also spent time walking in the Metroparks a bit, and have noticed that mosquitos are starting to reappear. Unfortunately they do bite. Later in the summer the proliferation of the midges and mosquitos will be much greater. Why do these annoying creatures exist?
Last Saturday I visited the Sandy Ridge Reservation of the Lorain County park system. It is basically a protected wetland nature preserve that is home to a variety of shore and water birds, including some uncommon ones like the Sandhill Crane and Trumpeter Swan. As you might have noticed I have attached a picture I took of another type of bird I saw in abundance– the tree swallow. It is nesting time, and I saw many of them claiming nest boxes for raising their young. I watched them doing a couple of things: 1) bringing nesting material to the boxes, and 2) darting about erratically close to the water. What are they doing when they are darting about erratically close to the water? Eating midges and mosquitos, as well as other flies.
In Matthew 6:25-26 Jesus spoke about priorities and anxiety:
“‘Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?'”
How does God feed the birds of the air? He created a world that provides a self-sustaining source of food for them. As much as we are annoyed by midges and mosquitos, swallows and many other birds depend on them for survival. When a brood of tree swallow young hatches there are normally 4 to 6 of them in the nest. In order to keep them fed it is estimated that their parents catch and feed the lot of them approximately 6,000 insects per day. That’s a lot of midges, mosquitos, and flies! Multiply that total by the number of swallow families, and bird families of all kinds, and it’s a good thing the midges and mosquitos are around (and I haven’t discussed the fish and other aquatic creatures that eat some of their larvae in the water before they hatch). God has everything in control by His design.
Pastor James shared Habakkuk 3:16-19 as our fighter verse(s) for this week. Habakkuk was especially distressed because he saw a vision of great calamity coming on God’s own people. Chapter 1 describes the suffering that Israel would experience at the hands of the Chaldeans. He questioned God about it, and God responded that Habakkuk should be patient. God’s plan in Habakkuk’s time was to teach a lesson to all nations– especially those who thought themselves to be strong and all powerful– that it was He who was in charge. By the time we reach the end of chapter 3 Habakkuk is ready to place all of his trust and joy in God. He realizes that God is the only way to victory despite anything else that happens, and how bleak the situation might seem at the moment.
We worry about our world and our personal situations. Sometimes things look generally out of control and depressing. I pray that we can remember the words of Habakkuk, and also the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:25-26. We are of great value to God. He sent His Son to die for us. He will not let us fail if we remain in His love.
And now for our fighter verse. It is a well-known passage. And in reading it do two things. First, read the verses before it, that is, read the first two chapters before it. Then read our fighter verse. After reading our fighter verse, read it again each day this week, through Friday. And here it is: Habbakkuk 3:16-19.
This Sunday we will be in Luke 23:13-25. Be praying for our time together!
Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and merciful.
Wonderful, Merciful Savior
Quiet Meditation — Psalm 111:9-10 He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name! The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!