July 11, 2012
Enjoy the Blessing
24This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
It may seem unnecessary to remind some people to relax and enjoy the blessings of God, especially during the height of vacation season when many are doing that very thing. But for the rest of us who sometimes struggle to focus on the blessings instead of the challenges of life a reminder is timely any time.
Psalm 118 opens and closes with praise to God’s enduring love and is full of praises to Him for being our refuge and salvation. Through prophetic language the writer points forward to the Savior who will come as promised. Every day lived in faith that God is all of that is a blessed day, one in which we can rejoice.
Yet we do tend to focus often only on what is not right with the world, our disappointments in ourselves and in others, on the uncertain future and finances, and on such uncontrollable things as the weather. Surely these challenges call for diligence, prayer, and faith in God’s grace. And there are times when we must focus on the challenges that require our attention.
But it is also important for our soul and a delight to God that we sit back in awe of his mighty works and abundant blessings. As we say in our communion liturgy “it is truly, good, right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to… the king of all creation.” In offering up His greatest gift to us on the altar of the cross He has shown us that we can trust Him for all lesser, temporal blessings.
So take frequent vacations from the cares and concerns that often occupy our attention and rejoice in the day the Lord has made. It will make those burdens much lighter as our praise reminds us that He is always in charge.
Peace and Joy, Pastor Tom
June 27, 2012
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
Silence can be golden and it is not wise to divulge too much information. That we have the shorthand “TMI” in our lexicon indicates that over disclosure is common. But what can also be golden is a word “fitly spoken”. So much sadness, misunderstanding, uncertainty, and fear exist because words that need to be said are never uttered. You may wonder what someone thinks of you, if you were heard correctly or if you offended someone because you heard no words for good or bad. You may think the worst of a situation because no news was shared. How much healthier for you and your relationships when you can say the encouraging word, the word of clarity, or the word of feedback! Even if it results in too much information at least the listener knows you are engaged in the relationship.
I read a book some years ago that discounted the value of communication in marriage. The author’s point wasn’t that communication itself was bad, but only if it were hurtful and bitter. Words can destroy as well as edify. When we say every critical thing on our mind our communication undermines our relationships. So in choosing words, what you say and how you say it are as important as that you say it. When you find yourself in a difficult relationship examine what words you have spoken and how you have spoken them. Did they reveal a bitter, impatient, or critical heart? Were they helpful or judgmental?
Words matter. Why wait for someone else to break the silence when you can do that yourself? Why speak with anger or sarcasm or criticism, when honesty, gentleness, and encouragement take no less effort but have far better results. To paraphrase our Lord, “Speak to one another as you would like to be spoken to.” It was by His single word spoken on the cross that we are assured of God’s forgiving love and free to forgive and speak gently to each other. When Jesus said, “Tetelestai” (“It is finished!”) he proved that God’s words matter, and so do the words of his followers.
Pastor Tom Konz
June 20, 2012
“The Longest Day”
We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day;
night is coming, when no one can work. John 9:4
Jesus was about to heal a man born blind so that the glory of God made me manifest in his life. As the Light that had come into the world, Jesus said today’s verse as his mission for life: to do the work God had sent him to do while there was still time.
Notice that he did not say “I”, but “we”. He also calls his disciples the “light of the world” because we bear the light of his Spirit, through whom he has taught us by His Word all that we need to know to do what God has sent us to do. The night is coming for all of us, so let us be found doing the work of Him who sent us when it comes.
The “night” can be the closing of an opportunity, the death of a friend whom we had intended to tell about Jesus, the end of our life, or the Last Day. Anything that cuts off our ability to do God’s work is the night. Rather than wait on it in fear, let its pending arrival be an incentive to do good, pray earnestly, give generously, bring spiritual light to those who sit in darkness, to make a difference while you can.
Today, June 20th, is the longest day of this year. As we contemplate the length of time that the sun is in view, consider that even after all that time, it will set. Likewise, consider your life as a time that will set as well. Now it seems endless, so while it does, knowing that it really isn’t, join Jesus and all his followers in working the “works of him who sent (You) while it is day. Night is coming, coming when no one can work.”