Hagerstown Christian Church Hagerstown Christian Church

Th'ot for Thursday

June 21, 2018

 

 

I trust your week is going well, as you bask in this beautiful weather… warm temps & refreshing rain showers!

 

In case you don’t know, my family & I will be leaving for a week of vacation early - this Sunday a.m.  We are blessed to have some good preaching in the pulpit while we are gone.  this Sunday a.m., followed by our own Adrian Black the following Sunday, July 1st!

 

We will certainly miss you – our friends & church family, but as you know yourself… sometimes a chance to “get away” for rest, reflections & time with family is needed.  It’s in this tho’t that we focus this week in our “Tho’t for Thursay” as we refer to the examples of Elijah & Jesus. These examples… show how important rest & reflection are for us & our family, as well as our very soul & well-being!

 

In the story of Elijah… he had been used by God to overwhelm the prophets & followers of Baal, as well as all the Israelites who had forgotten the power of their God. The Israelites had “shrunk back” in the midst of their time, culture & rule of King Ahab & his evil wife Jezebel! But, in using Elijah… God had shown up in a great & mighty way!!  Wow, King Ahab & Jezebel were not happy. In fact, Jezebel put a death threat out to Elijah.  Imagine how scary that would be!! We as believers today – know how the story ends, but Elijah didn’t!    What happens next is where we will focus in this story.

 

Now what about the story of Jesus?  Well, think about it… Jesus “stole away” many times from the people & the busyness… & spent time alone with his Father – our heavenly Father God. With everything Jesus did for the world, for us, it’s sometimes easy to forget that he was fully man along with being fully God. But he experienced joy, friends, pain, physical & mental tiredness – everything we experience as humans. He knew he had to and did… find times of rest away from “people, ministry & issues” & took time away for life’s everyday stresses, going to his Father for rest, direction & power in these times. 

 

I sure hope you are finding ways to “escape” & find rest in your life. And I hope you are including your heavenly Father in these times as well. He’s your maker…. he knows you & wants to “breathe” new life & refreshment into you. I encourage you to find simple and even some inexpensive ways to “steal away” for rest!

 

And another tho’t roams thru my mind today:  Imagine how cool the “adventure” of getting away was for both Elijah & Jesus.  

 

Elijah…

• Had just left a powerful situation in which he called to God to glorify himself - & God showed up in an amazingly POWERFUL way!  The prophets of Baal, followers of Baal & the spiritually weak Israelites had no excuse for wondering if GOD was real & the ONE true GOD!

• Then, he’s struck with a threat from evil Jezebel… & GOD takes him to a location & time in which he rests, & then finds himself forced to rely on GOD’s strength, provision & care.

• Afterwards, he was able to continue on in the work of His God.

And…

 

• GOD MEETS ALL HIS NEEDS!

 

Jesus…

• As he ministered, taught, healed & fed the masses… he too needed to find rest & refreshing thru physical rest, down time with his disciples & in fellowship with his Father.

• After these times of rest & refreshment, he was able to complete the many tasks in which he came to do – most importantly his sacrifice for all mankind.

 

Ya’ see -- fear, doubt, confusion & reliance upon ourselves comes into play when we don’t get our rest physically, mentally… & especially spiritually! GOD is in the business of giving “true” rest, strength, provisions & care!

 

So church, I again encourage you to “get plugged & stay plugged in” to HIS power & provision!  “Rest in & stay rested in” HIS everlasting arms & love – you’ll be ready for the next BIG thing he’s readying you for!!

 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and y9ou will find rest for our souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

(Matthew 11:28-30)

 

Love you guys

, here we are… almost mid-way thru June already.  The days are getting warmer… & have definitely been soaking wet!  In fact, the other evening when I got home from a meeting & was heading to our front door, I noticed how dark the clouds were, as they were evidently bringing a storm our way.

 

These were deep, dark blue & black clouds that were seemingly rolling in to overtake our neighborhood! They also seemed to present a presence of evil or oppression as well.

 

As I’ve tho’t about that scene over & again… I regain an appreciation for the soaking rains & soppy-wet ground that would be left behind after the storm.  It makes me think again, about the “spiritual storms” that have “rolled into” & thru my life over the years.

 

Those deep blue & black… rolling clouds seem ever-looming & oppressive as I look at them face to face. And… they are!  They are, if I look at them thru the lenses of my power & this life. But, if I remember to view them in light of my GOD’s power & authority… & choose to remember I AM NOT OF THIS WORLD, but only in it for a time frame, I start allowing myself to focus on the rain & the soaking!

 

As these actual physical storms come upon us during this summer season, let the rains remind us that:

  • our GOD is in the business of cleansing, washing & wearing down what HE sees needs to be removed from our lives.
  • our God is in the business of refreshing & restoring us as the storm passes

 

And as we work around the soaked grass & ground trying to keep up with the mowing, let the soaking:

  • remind us of HIS abundant, soaking grace, mercy & love upon us thru & after the storms

 

I thank God for HIS many “representations” of HIS  eternal love, mercy & life only HE can give us!  HE truly is our Calm… in, thru & after the storms!

 

 

“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Psalm 103:1-5

 

Love you guys!

 

Pastor Brad