Giving God Control

GOOD MORNING,

I just wanted to send a letter to say “hello”. As the pastor here at Living Word I feel it is important to send out words to keep our minds on Jesus. If we listen to only the “News on TV” we will surely be in a state of unrest. When we are told the same harsh, depressing news over and over it can cause us to lose hope in God and His true ownership of this world. He has never given the “Deed to His Earth” to anyone. We say we own this world, but we must remember we are all just temporary. We have a lifetime lease on what we need for our daily bread but after that someone else will take charge.In this time of trial in our world we are living through huge changes.

So, what are we to do when we feel so scared and in so much doubt? Do we stomp our feet and say we want it back the old way; like a child with no experience, or do we learn to move forward and face the battle with a mature faith in God? Do we not only ask God for guidance but actually follow it. That may be the biggest set back in a true faith. We tell ourselves we are faithful to Jesus, we tell others we are truly faithful, He blesses us with many prayers answered and gives us rest, then we become like King Asa of ancient Judah. He too forgot it was by God’s grace he had been given so many blessings and a true peace.

A parishioner shared a devotional about the story of Asa, king of Judah in 2 Chronicles this morning. King Asa was truly a great example of someone in the world that had God’s blessing, when he followed God’s guidance. But like anyone who takes the control of their lives too tightly and pushes God out, he lost everything in a short time.

2 Chronicles 14 : 2-6

Asa King of Judah

Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones, and cut down the Asherah poles. He commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to obey his laws and commands. He removed the high places and incense altars in every town in Judah, and the kingdom was at peace under him. He built up the fortified cities of Judah since the land was at peace. No one was at war with him during those years, for the Lord gave him rest.

He was at rest, things were good. And THEN:

2 Chronicles 16 : 7-9

At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. Were not the Cushite’s and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the Lord, he delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”

King Asa lost his understanding of what true faith was. He decided he could do it on his own. He lost his commitment to the Lord and depended on the riches of the world to give him peace.

We are all in different stages of faith in this life. That is part of being human in nature, it is also a part of our sinful nature. The part that takes our eyes off Jesus and our Father in Heaven. The war against the Covid virus will be won if we keep our eyes and minds on our guidance from God.

Jesus’ final command:

Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV)36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”What does “love your neighbor” look like? Well it may be staying close to home while there is a chance you could spread this virus .It may look like a mask over your face; to possibly not spread your germs to someone else. It may look like something you never imagined before. I know it looks like the actions of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He never tried to take control from His Father, and He gave peace to everyone He met.

Take your minds off the world and trust in God every moment, watch how fast you will find peace and as the last line in 2 Chronicles 14 : 6 tells us:

“No one was at war with him during those years, for the Lord gave him rest

The Lord is the only one that can give you true rest. Love Him and then your neighbor. God is Good all the time and FOREVER.

In His Service

Pastor Scott

Storms or even tax day catch you off guard?

The date was April 15th, 1986. The day started like any other, I was working to help get the new Timpte trailer plant up and running in Wayne NE. There were 21 of us that had traveled to David City for 6 months; to train on how to build refrigerated  semi-trailers for Timpte Corp. at their new factory. Being the designated lead people in the new facility we were helping get the final details in place.

It was tax day like every year, one of my coworkers made the comment “I need to get my tax return to the post office for a date stamp. We have to go home right at the buzzer.” See, I had moved to Carroll Ne. about 12 miles west of Wayne, from there we car pooled to our new job. Well to our surprise, it had started to snow.  It snowed so hard there wasn’t enough room for all the flakes to come down together. I swear snow balls were forming as it fell. That was a bad storm.

It was April 15th, the farmers were planting corn, the new calves were on the ground; why was this white stuff falling. Well Sam says “I have to get my tax return in the mail, I am trying to get home. Come with me for the ride, we’ll make it.”

Me being young and tough, not scared of a little snow, I say sure. Well we got about a half mile past the edge of town, where the trees quit and we could see nothing. We are in a “Pontiac Sunbird”, for those of you who don’t know cars a “Sunbird” was just a little smaller than a red coaster wagon. It was front wheel drive, so it would crawl over a snow bank just enough to get high centered and not be able to drag the rear end through. Well after getting stuck  a couple of dozen times, we made it back to the factory building. To our relief a plan had been made, for those who were staying, safe and warm and dry, they were taking us to a house the owners of Timpte had rented just a few blocks away, they were furnishing pizza and refreshments and a warm place to sleep until this all blew over. Of course we went along with this better plan. The next morning the sun came up and it was a beautiful day. We went to work a little smelly, but happy we were there.

The point of this story; there are times in our lives when storms of different kinds will catch us off guard. The plans we have made, the duties we put off until the last moment will drive us to do things that cause us harm. Sam never got his tax form in the post office that night, he knew it should have been done long before that final day. He thought everything was going to be “Normal” and he would do what he always had done: “put it off till the last moment.” But life changed. I never heard if he got a penalty for being late, it was never talked about again. I think back of the risk he took and the risk I took following his lead. I could have lost my life because of his terrible decision to lead, and my worse decision to follow.

We will all have those moments in our lives. Jesus tells us to follow Him. To trust Him, not to follow the “Sam’s” in this world.   He tells us He is the Way the Truth and the Life. But we decide we are invincible and don’t need His advice. We follow the people around us that are trying to show the rest of the world they have a better idea, but too many are running to cover up the mistakes they have made before; not being part of a good plan.

It is hard to be in charge of your life sometimes, not to be led in a wrong direction. Jesus gave us the road map to life, it is called believing in Him and His words. It will bring us great joy in the end. As this Covid virus causes us to change the way we always did things, look forward to the day after. When the sun comes out and we are so glad we stayed put. God is with us, our world has been going out into the storm without a good plan for many years. If we make our way back to Him he will show us the right plan that will be good for all.

Stay Home, Stay safe, Weather the storm where you’re at. Trust in God for your peace. The road to “where we were” the road to “normal” isn’t safe right now. We need to stop and find a new plan. Just like me and Sam and our trip to the post office, we need to stop and wait till tomorrow.

Our church (that’s us) here at Living Word is a vibrant living thing, I appreciate the donations that have been coming in. I love the cards of hello’s and support. I know we will all get through this if we just wait until the storm passes. It is out of our hands right now. As if we were ever in control. God’s peace and God’s blessings to all of you from the One who holds you in His arms. Jesus Christ our Lord

Pastor Scott

PS: We will continue to record services and post them on-line. We will have communion next Sunday the 26th of April so have your elements ready.