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From the monthly archives: March 2011

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'March 2011'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Kingdom of God  is populated with people who are learning to rely on the One who Knows and Sees Everything: past, present and future, and who wants what is best for His children. This is what the LORD says, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. Isaiah 48: 17  I was waiting at a red light when I noticed the words on the large van in front of me: CAUTION it said in bold letters on the back window. Nothing surprising there. But the three words that followed, clarifying the warning, caused me to do a double-take: Blind man driving. How could that be? Small text below the windows explained the warning: Custom blinds and window treatments installed. The van belonged to a window blind installer with an obvious sense of humor. I chuckled at the clever double meaning, then realized with a start that all human beings go through life drivi ...

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Kingdom of  God over comes adversity and grows when its citizens keep their focus on God and choose to act with grace and gratitude rather than self-centeredness or a critical spirit.  Re-Read Acts 1: 15 - 26 Yesterday, we focused on Matthias and Justus and how they rose to the occasion and assumed leadership roles in a time of crisis. There is another, better known, leader demonstrating leadership during this time of crisis: Peter. Even though Peter’s leadership role looks minor in this passage, he also rose to the occasion. How many people are willing to be the one that points out that life and work must go on after the death of a beloved community member? Yes, Jesus had appeared to the disciples; however, he had again been taken away from the community in His Ascension.   How many times have we felt that a leader who wants us to proceed during a time of mourning is being inconsiderate of our feelings? Perhaps we have felt ...

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Kingdom of God needs faithful disciples who will serve where they are and step up when God calls them to lead. Read Acts 1: 15-26 When thinking of the great “Call Stories” of the Bible, I doubt the call of Matthias comes to mind for many of us.  This story takes place during a time of great crisis. Jesus had ascended into heaven; however, the disciples had not yet felt the power of the Holy Spirit. The group needed another to be in a position of leadership to replace the one who betrayed Jesus and the entire community. Justus and Matthias were  two among them who were long time members who had distinguished themselves. We know nothing else about them except that Matthias was the one selected to take Judas’ place in ministry and apostleship. They were capable of being leaders, but were not chosen to lead until a time of crisis. We hear nothing about either of them following this selection, but it is safe to assume Matthias ser ...

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Monday, March 28, 2011

The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of peace and justice. Read Matthew 25: 34-36, 40 On the Martin Luther King holiday this year, my wife, Connie, and I attended a service at Greater Shiloh Church in Easton, PA commemorating the life, ministry, and civil rights leadership of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As we worshipped there, I felt chills in my spine and a few tears as I witnessed the passion for life, the deep faith in God, and the unfailing hope for the Kingdom vision that African-Americans have, in spite of the fact that many black children, women, and men are still experiencing varying degrees of racial tension and discrimination right here in the Lehigh Valley. Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, TN on April 4, 1968. Now, 43 years after his death, how close are we to the Kingdom vision about which he preached in such an anointed way? There has been progress, but there is obviously still work to do. Dr. King concluded a ser ...

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Kingdom of God has standards of right and wrong as well as a Perfect Judge: God.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged ... Matthew 7: 2 Last November, I was empanelled on a jury for a criminal trial in Lehigh County. I really wasn’t comfortable in the role of judging another human being. After all the evidence was presented, the judge gave his instructions. We were to judge the facts of the case, not the defendant. In this case, the facts were clear - the defendant possessed heroin and intended to deliver it. We found him guilty of these charges. Once our jury passed the guilty verdict, we were excused. The sentence would be determined by the Common Pleas judge on the case. Most jurors said they did not care what sentence the judge would pass on the felon we had just convicted. I didn’t care either. The defense attorney, certainly, portrayed his client in a sympathetic light. He needed money to feed his famil ...

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Kingdom of God is not merely about attending church or being a good person. Living in God’s Kingdom involves a committment to put God first in our lives.   Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you allelu. alleluia Matthew 6: 33 I grew up in a traditional United Methodist family. Every Sunday was pretty much the same – Sunday School at 9:45, church at 11:00, Sunday dinner at my grandmother’s and back to church for evening services (oh yes, my brothers and I did  find time on Sunday afternoon to get in trouble). I can’t really pinpoint a specific moment when I had a sudden “born-again” experience. I’ve just always considered myself a Christian. When I entered adulthood and had a family, I continued dutifully attending church and trying to be a “good person,” but in all honesty, Bible study and “seeking the kingdom of God” were not real high on my priority lis ...

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Friday, March 25, 2011

The Kingdom of God is filled with people who have experienced new beginnings in Christ Jesus. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6: 33 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5: 17 We had an antique rocker that was shabby and worn until we placed it into the hands of a skilled craftsman. He stripped and refinished it as only a master builder could. Now with its shiny new appeal it brightens the corner it hugs. Yes, it was costly, but well worth the effort. A life in Christ is costly as well. It requires us to place our shabby stained lives in the hands of the master carpenter, Jesus, and allow him to smooth and polish our rough edges until we, like my rocker, have a bright new appearance. In our rebirth we invite Christ to reign in our heart, soul, and mind. He in turn opens ...

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Kingdom of God touches others when Christians give of their time, talents, and resources with the sacrificial love of Christ. Read Ephesians 6: 7-8a The Kingdom of God – a place where God is sovereign and God’s will is done. How wonderful life would be if God’s will was always done, but God gives us free will to make choices - some are choices that God would have us make and others are choices that we make on our own. I saw the Kingdom of God at work every Tuesday morning for many years at the Pastor Goist Bible Study. Behind those twinkling eyes, there was a deep love of the Lord, and it was infectious and touched all our lives. Pastor Goist studied and read tirelessly to teach us God’s will; his constant “keeping in touch” to help others went on for a hundred years. I see ordinary people at Asbury doing extra-ordinary things. Our Sunday School class for children on the spectrum touches my life. These teachers, every Sunday, work t ...

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Kingdom of God is a place where God meets us. No detail is too small or too large for God’s attention. Read 1 Samuel 3: 1-10 At a recent Thursday evening discipleship class we were assigned the topic of “Hearing God”. The next evening He gave me a lesson in learning to hear and heed his voice.  I accompanied my wife, Lois, to one of her downtown concert rehearsals, figuring I’d use my laptop computer to do some studying while she practiced. She expected rehearsal to last until 10 p.m. or later. The plan was that I would study either in the auditorium or in one of the first floor rooms.  While scoping out available rooms I encountered two persons who were looking for a jazz concert that was taking place on the third floor. I decided to see what it was about. I found there were tickets available and the concert was to end at 9:30, well before Lois’ practice was to end. So I bought a  ticket and went in.  ...

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Kingdom of God has enemies, but none can overpower it. Ultimately, God’s will is done. 12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. Philippians 1: 12-14 In the summer of 2003, I went on a ten-day mission trip to the Ukraine. The Ukraine is an Eastern European country that was under the control of the Soviet Union for seventy years before gaining its independence in 1991. During Soviet occupation, Christian church gatherings were prohibited. One night before an evening church service, I was talking with a local pastor through an interpreter. He was telling me how oppressive the Soviet ...

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