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Nov 01

Wounded No More

“Wounded No More”

 “…in the midst of the throne…stood a lamb, as though it had been slain…”  (Rev. 5:6)

 People are hurting. Our fast-paced, depersonalizing culture is smothering us with technology, and alienating us from each other and ourselves. We’re living separated lives; having casual relationships (some slightly shorter-lived than others) and becoming increasingly isolated from family, each other and God! When we’re hurting, where do we turn? Few may not be able to afford the “45 minute hour” in the counselor’s office; others may not want to share the hurt for fear it may “get out” and embarrass or humiliate us. Perhaps we don’t want to address it because it’s too painful to reopen a wound.

 

The Bible tells us that Jesus is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” (Heb. 4:15); that He came to “heal the brokenhearted and bind up our wounds.” (Mat. 4:18); and that He is the same, “yesterday, today and forever.” (Heb. 13:8).  Jesus Christ is the Healer. In fact, there is a wonderful verse that IDENTIFIES us with Him in 1 John 3:2. It says, “Beloved, NOW are we the sons (and daughters) of God; but it doesn’t yet appear what we shall be like; for we KNOW that when He appears, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM, for we shall see Him as he really is.”

 

John had a vision of Jesus seated on the Throne above all thrones, far above all rule, powers, principalities and governments. He saw Him. How did He look?  Like a scarred Lamb; as if he HAD BEEN wounded.” Beloved, do you realize that all believers are IN Christ, and He is in them.? In fact, Paul says that Christ IN US is the hope of glory! His scars are the IDENTIFYING marks of His Messiahship! He told Thomas to feel the scars in His hands, side and feet, as proof that it was really Him!

 

Dear believer, do you realize that there is One who knows where it hurts? He has come to heal it; to restore that area of your life and enable you to live a new life. When He heals, he does so completely and thoroughly. Though a scar may remain, it doesn’t mean you must be wounded anymore! Our Savior is reigning at this moment; scarred, but not wounded anymore. In Him, you and I can live victoriously in Him – scarred, but wounded no more as well!

 

Pour out your heart to Him today. Let Him in to that hurting place in your heart. Believe Him to heal and restore that wound. Receive your healing by faith! He will not disappoint you. Then, live your life for His Glory! Let the “scars” you exhibit be the identifying marks of a victorious and triumphant life – just like His standing, reigning, scarred – as if you were wounded…

 

 May the Lord continually bless you and your family.

 Love in Christ, Pastor Damian

 

 

 

 

Sep 04

True Greatness

 

“True Greatness”

 

…but whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant. (Matt. 20:26b)

 

       We live in such a competitive culture. Our entertainment is filled with sports, reality shows, “Biggest Losers”, best Chefs, Survivors, and on and on… It’s part of our nature to be competitive. Where does that come from? I believe it comes from our natural desire to be first. That desire compels us to be competitive. And, it’s often expressed in our tendency to be comparative.

 

We’re constantly measuring ourselves against others, or others against ourselves. Because “I” want to be first, I scan the environment around me to compare how everyone else is doing. If they’re not doing so well, I feel pretty good about myself. If they’re all doing better, I either push harder to be better, or I give up and find another group to compare myself with.  The Bible describes this as “self-ish-ness; we’re self-centered. We constantly get fooled seeing the “grass” that always looks greener on the other side of the street and we’re often dissatisfied with how it’s going with us. Why? Perhaps it’s the way we were raised; or the way we’re raising our children.

 

The mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus to ask if He could do her a favor. After all, it’s “Who you know”, isn’t it? She wanted her two sons to be seated on Jesus’ left and right hand in His Kingdom. Surely her two sons would have it made if only they could achieve that high position of honor and power. Now, she wasn’t a bad mother and they weren’t bad sons. However, they misunderstood how things work in God’s Kingdom (both in Heaven and on Earth).

 

Jesus shares two important points with her. First, He tells her that there is a cost associated with our position in the Kingdom. This is what He meant when He asked, “Are you able to drink from the cup I am about to drink…” (v22)? Oh yes, there is a price to pay to be in the “highest” position in God’s Kingdom. Secondly, He said that those positions were reserved for the ones the Father has prepared them. He further explained that the Kingdom basically didn’t work that way. The Kingdom of God doesn’t work in the same way things work in the “world.” Hard work, striving for political influence; hobnobbing with the right crowd; being seen with the right people in the right place, at the right time; and on and on… This may be how things work in the corporate jungle, but not the Kingdom. Yet, there are those who try to operate within the Kingdom the way they do in the world. This attitude and behavior have a corruptive impact on the Kingdom and the Community of Faith.

 

No, to be great in the Kingdom requires that we become the servant of others – THE SERVANT OF EVERYONE ELSE. Servants are often overlooked, under-recognized, over-worked and under-appreciated. In the world, that’s enough to quit. But, in the Kingdom, that makes for PROMOTION! To where will you be promoted? The position that God the Father has already designated for you.  He already has it reserved for you. Will that be at the top or at the bottom? Here’s a secret, aim for the bottom!

 

I wonder if Zebedee’s sons were still interested in becoming the greatest. No, they just concentrated on SERVING. They left the ‘greatness’ to the Father. So, will you serve if there’s nothing in it for you now? Will you labor though there is no recognition; no plaque with your name on it? Will you give even if there will never be a pew with your family’s name on it? These questions test all of us.

 

Beloved, let’s serve the Lord and be the “unprofitable” servants we are. At the end of the day we will say, “Lord, we have only done that which was our duty to do.” Eternity’s morning will tell who the ‘greatest’ among us were while we were serving at the bottom here on earth. There is no competition in the Kingdom, just servants. The Great One is the Lord, Jesus Christ – and that’s all that really matters.

 

May the Lord bless you in your service to Him.

            Pastor Damian

 

Aug 02

“God is Moving”

 “God Is Moving”

Be still and know that I am God

Psalm 46:10a

psalm4610
This beautiful Psalm begins with a declaration that God is OUR Refuge and Strength, ALWAYS READY to help in times of trouble. Well, as we look at the world around us, these times definitely can be categorized as times of trouble. Issues surrounding our borders; the world and national economies are strained; the Middle East is at war and thousands of Christians are being persecuted around the world. How are things in your life?

     When we come into times of trouble, usually our first reaction is to try to fix it. We think, worry, devise plans and do whatever we can to avoid the problem or fix it as quickly as possible. We try to come up with OUR best plan and execute it in the hopes that the troubles will be resolved. This psalm provides an excellent process for us to engage in during times like this.

Let’s focus on the fact that, regardless of the seas roaring and mountains trembling, the Lord of Heaven’s armies is with us! He cannot be chased away by any troubles. He is never worried or overwhelmed. This is stated twice for confirmation from the Lord! One KEY to allowing God to intervene and MOVE on our behalf is to BE STILL…and KNOW…that I am God! But what does this mean?

“Be Still” means to cause to fall; let go. An important word here is “cause”. This means that you have to DELIBERATELY act let go of something. In other words, to get your hands off of what you are unable to change and let God deal with it His way in His time frame! In addition, the psalm says that “there is a river running through God’s City that brings it JOY…! Now this river is nothing other than the Holy Spirit flowing through the church (The New Jerusalem). He flows through us; troubles don’t stop God’s Spirit from flowing. And, He brings JOY! Joy in the midst of troubles. This is the telltale way to confirm that we’ve deliberately taken our hands off our situation and are trusting God with everything. We have JOY! This is a joy that is NOT dependent upon circumstances, but on the Spirit of God flowing through His Church! Here is the promise of the closing scene; God says, “I will be honored by every nation; I will be honored throughout the world.” This means that God will use all the chaos to bring about His will and plans. He will be honored.

Beloved, this psalm ends with a joyful and hopeful tone. God will be honored. This means He is moving and will keep moving until He is honored. Just let go of trying to fix things yourself. God is moving. He will not fail us! No matter what you’re going through; what you’re feeling or experiencing, GOD WILL BE HONORED IN ALL THINGS! Have faith in God. He has never caused those who put their trust in Him to be put to shame or confusion! Give everything into God’s loving and all-knowing hands; and get into the “River” and let the Spirit bring His JOY to you that “your joy may be FULL.”

May the Lord bless you all abundantly!

Pastor Damian