Monday, March 18, 2019

Have you thanked Him?
Have you praised Him?
Have you made it your priority to agree and cooperate with Him today?
Have you taken that deep breath and listened for what He has for you today?
1 Timothy 2:1 (The Message)
The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.

Well, it was another Sunday in Bowersville Ohio.  If you missed the previous OFH regarding this little town in the Buckeye state, it is home to Bowersville Church of Christ, the first church my folks attended when they were a little younger than my son Ian.  It is also the church they served in during those early years.

In recent weeks, this little, but robust congregation has been down a worship leader.  She just had a baby.  Might want to pause here just a second and ask you to pray for the baby, she is struggling a bit with several “feeding” challenges.

My dad has been filling in from time to time leading music and was slated to cover for her the last couple of weeks.  But a pesky illness has kept him befuddled and “grounded”.  He is another one that would covet your prayers.  As a result, I dusted off the vocal chords and joined my mom for another wonderful morning.

Filling in for their Pastor who was spending some time with Mickey and Minnie this week, was on of the church’s elders, a doctor and long-time member.  And he shared from a very familiar passage, but one I found most resonate for today’s OFH.
Matthew 5:13-16 New King James Version (NKJV)
Believers Are Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Like I said, pretty familiar stuff.  But as he mined into the analogies of salt and light, he pulled something out that I hadn’t really caught before.

Jesus said, WE ARE salt and light.  Not we CAN BE salt and light or that we SHOULD BE or COULD BE salt and light.  No, WE ARE salt and light.  As Christians we have been ASSIGNED these two jobs.

We ARE SALT therefore we are to “flavor” the culture around us, influence it, enhance it, slow its decay.  We ARE LIGHT so we are be illuminators; bringing the light of CHRIST into the dark places that we navigate. 
Again, these “assignments” are not optional. 
They are expectations.  
And if we don’t embrace them, we run the risk of being “good for nothing.”

YIKES!

Remember the gospel is often CAUGHT rather than taught.  And as we embrace our S & L assignment those around us will hopefully be able to EXPERIENCE our “good works” and thus glorify the Father and bring more to a relationship with Him.

I know that this is elementary today, but I want you to cling to this nugget.  When we CHOSE JESUS, He EXPECTS us to engage our culture, influencing it, flavoring it, and illuminating it. 

Stott said it this way, “We should not ask, ‘What is wrong with the world?’ for that diagnosis has already been given. Rather we should ask, “What has happened to salt and light?”

That is us!



HAVE A BLESSED DAY!
Love all of you
OPPORTUNITIES for HOPE

Pastor GDelaney

Thursday, March 14, 2019

NO SHOULDING

Have you thanked Him?

Have you praised Him?

Have you made it your priority to agree and cooperate with Him today?

Have you taken that deep breath and listened for what He has for you today?

1 Timothy 2:1 (The Message)

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.



Today, Don’t “should on” yourself…”



Like that?

I do.



The idea of “moving forward” from a “redeemed past” of moving on, "living in the windshield", as I like to say it demands that we don’t “should on” ourselves.



I “should have” done this.

I “should have” NOT done that.

Other versions are:

"If only I hadn’t"…

"What if I would have decided differently?"



Don’t ever do that; don’t “should” on yourself.



Each new day of your life is a gift from God that He wants you to live fully.



And if the pain you’ve suffered in your past is still impacting your life now, you can’t fully embrace the new life God offers you. Instead you will be stuck in a frustrating shame-laden loop that leaves you feeling hopeless. 

Too much “shoulding” …



Therefore, let’s simply move those shoulds to coulds…



You “could” instead…

…ask God to break the hold that your past has over you and show you what useful lessons you can learn from it so you can begin moving forward. God is much more powerful than your history, and when you trust Him, God will start to transform your pain into healing and wisdom in your life. (James 1:12)



You “could” decide to…

…leave shame behind and silence the voice of shame in your life so it won’t block the healing that God wants to give you. Listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice telling you that God loves you completely and unconditionally, regardless of what has happened in your past. Even though God knows the worst about you, He chose to redeem you anyway. (Romans 5:8)



You then could…

…choose to trust God’s promise that He loves and accepts you unconditionally. Rather than trying to reach God through your own efforts, trust in His grace. (Ephesians 2:8)



Remember my dear friends…

God sees past your past sin when He looks at you; He focuses on the fact that you’re one of His beloved children. (1 John 1:3)



So…

No “shoulding on” yourself today.

Embrace some “coulds” …



I mean you “could” simply begin today by…

forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead – Philippians 3:13 (ESV)



Right?



Have A BLESSED DAY!

Love all of you

OPPORTUNITIES for HOPE

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

GREAT LOVE

Have you thanked Him?

Have you praised Him?

Have you made it your priority to agree and cooperate with Him today?

Have you taken that deep breath and listened for what He has for you today?

1 Timothy 2:1 (The Message)

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.



You folks who have been OFH for a while know that I sleep with the TV on.  It is a by-product of my addictive past.  And last night before drifting off, Beth and I were watching Hillsong TV. So, it was still on this morning.



And early this morning like a lot of mornings, they run some highlights from one of their past conferences to fill the wee hour’s programming.



So today a little between 4:30 and 5am, the speaker was talking about the LOVE of GOD; reminding the audience of the truth that is rooted in 1 John 4:8, that GOD IS LOVE.



She said it with relief.

For she went on the share that there were days and will be days when she has been less than loveable.

Poor choices.

Angry moments.

Selfish decisions.

Mean-spirited thoughts.

You know, those times when we truly wonder, CAN GOD STILL love us?



I have had my share of those moments for sure.

Stumbling out of “not so lovely” places or entertaining “not so lovely” thoughts.



But what she said next was so reassuring.

That BECAUSE of HIS LOVE, we can hit the RESET button every day, even every hour and GOD’S LOVE is right there like it always is to refresh and renew us. (Lamentations 3:22-23)



Paul said it this way,

The corruption that was in us from birth was expressed through the deeds and desires of our self-life. We lived by whatever natural cravings and thoughts our minds dictated, living as rebellious children subject to God’s wrath like everyone else.  But God still loved us with such great love. Ephesians 2:2-3 (TPT)



I know much like yesterday’s OFH this isn’t overly revelatory. 



But perhaps you have been FEELING a little unlovable of late. If so, remember, GOD LOVES YOU with GREAT LOVE.  It is His persona and His purpose.

Trust Him. Return to Him. Let Him love you!

Because…

Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not. - C.S. Lewis





HAVE A BLESSED DAY!

Love all of you

OPPORTUNITIES for HOPE