Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Comfort During Crisis

How are you feeling? What thoughts are running through your head this week and each day? Most of us have a mixture of emotions and thoughts that we are trying to process. The staggering amount of data can overwhelm us and the variety of topics is challenging: microbiology, public health and public policy, micro- and macroeconomics, sociology, psychology, and cultural anthropology. And then...we have to actually live our lives! Teleworking or dealings with kids shifted to online learning formats, grocery shopping, exercise, and maintaining relationships - how we do do it all?

The guiding principles for how we navigate our thoughts, our choices, and our emotions are found in our worldview. The core beliefs about life, identity, society, and God form the bedrock upon which our lives come crashing down and they form the forecast for what we believe will come when today ends and a new day comes. So take a deep breath and take a moment to think on the level of your worldview. Some people talk about meditating and mindfulness, trying to think about how all the pieces fit together and pay attention to things you're missing. Business leaders talk about taking a balcony, birds-eye, or 30,000-foot view. It's also called meta-cognition, thinking about our thinking (thought process, that is, and judging the validity of our thoughts). You could also call it asking God to show you the Big Picture, His view on things, and taking every thought captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

So what do you believe?

As Christians, we believe God created life, and He did so with purpose. We were the end of His creative process, the only ones created in His image, and originally created very good. Mankind turned away from God and threw our relationship into disharmony through that rebellion, thus suffering the consequences of an estranged relationship with our Creator and Sustainer. But God, in His mercy, sustained us even through the consequences. He sustains us still, through things like disease, warfare, and even death. Into this desperate darkness, God Himself came, in the form of a man, and lived among us. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14 ESV). He spoke words of comfort many, He cried with a few, He spoke words of healing to some, and He spoke words of hope to all, and He gave His life to reconcile us by taking the ultimate consequence of our broken relationship with God. The cross says God knows us and loves us. And then Jesus reassured His followers that He would be with us until His work is finished.
     And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)

We believe that God is with us. And we believe that God is working out His plan (Romans 8:28). And we believe that God will finish it (Philippians 1:6). And we believe that God's plan is good, perfect, and pleasing (Romans 12:2). So we believe that we can follow Him through difficulty (Psalm 23), and that He will help us even when we are overwhelmed in our hearts and minds (Proverbs 3:5-6).

We believe that God is still good to us (Deuteronomy 8, Luke 11:13). Let us let our knowledge of God help us to deal with our crisis of today.

God, our Heavenly Father, we thank You for showing us who You are and who we are. As we wrestle with our current crisis, help us to bring our worries and fears to You, that you can help us with open eyes, open ears, open minds, and open hearts be strengthened by the truth of Your presence and love for us, that we with open hearts and open hands can help those around us as well to find comfort and peace in You. Thank You for sending Jesus, and for being with us in Your Spirit still. In Jesus' name, Amen.

If you haven't yet heard the sermon from this past Sunday, here's the link to our virtual Sunday Worship Service video: https://youtu.be/0DKXmaLwSW8.

Advent 2020, Tuesday, Dec. 1 - Mt. 3

We're going to use a quick format for reading, reflecting upon, and responding to God's Word. PRAY  and thank God for one way aspect...