The Endowment of the Creator

As we celebrate our nation’s independence this weekend, let us also celebrate our dependence on God, the giver of all good things, and let us recommit ourselves to living as righteous people under God, serving those around us and helping others and our nation to flourish.

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Overflowing Generosity

The Psalm today says, “Hallelujah! Happy are they who fear the Lord and have great delight in his commandments!Their descendants will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches will be in their house, and their righteousness will last forever. Light shines in the darkness for the upright; the righteous are merciful and full of compassion.” Our Psalm today encourages us to fear the Lord in a way of respect and realize that God will provide for our needs. The righteous trust that God has a good plan and will provide for them. The righteous look to the ways of the Lord and find it a good and trustworthy place to be. The righteous pass down their faith and generosity so that the generations of people will continue to be a light to those around. The righteous are to be merciful to those around them so that the love of Jesus might be seen in our actions and our lives and that we the Church would be known for our compassion. The righteous are to have compassion for others and not harden off their hearts to the needs of others.

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Panic and Peace

Panic is often our response in the event of a threat. Remember the toilet paper shortage of 2020 or the gas shortage a few weeks ago. Everyone feels the need to stand up for him or herself, to guard against danger, to make sure that they are not the one left with the empty roll of toilet paper. It is certainly good to be prepared, especially now that we are in hurricane season, but panic and anxiety can get exhausting. This is why it is so comforting to know that Jesus is Lord of our circumstances as well as the one who is able to bring peace to our anxious hearts.

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The Tallest Tree

Virgin forests once covered 78% of Florida’s land. By 1937 only 21% was forested. Today, through reforestation efforts, the number has risen to 47%. But these new, younger trees are not nearly as big as the old growth trees were. One such tree, the Senator, was estimated to be 3,500 years old in 1993. Before a hurricane removed its top in 1925 the tree stood 165 feet tall. It was the 5th oldest tree in the world and the largest tree east of the Mississippi. Its trunk was 17.5 ft in diameter. The tree was destroyed by a fire lit by a 26 y/o drug addict on January 16, 2012. Today the charred remains of the tree are only 20-25 ft tall. In the readings for today, a number of nations are compared with tall trees that rise to prominence. Ultimately, all of these trees meet their end, but the Kingdom of God will stand for ever.

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Rejoice all the earth!

Amen, and I say let our spirits Rejoice! For We are wonderfully and uniquely made in the image of our loving God; and therefore I am assured that we have within us, the raw capacity to love, serve, protect, and care for one another; but we, in our corrupted nature, often struggle to move in the way of love, or fully discern, the way of truth and that of a pure heart, from those competing voices, of our flesh and our self-interest and the world. So, when we consider the precepts of God, that call for us to love one another, how would we say we are doing?

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Locked Doors

To say that “no one locks their doors here” is a badge of honor for many communities. It is an expression of confidence in the safety of the neighborhood. I once lived in such a community. When my parents first moved there, there was not even a lock on the door! Today I always lock our doors before going to bed. I bet you do too. I don’t think there is anything wrong with locking the door to your house but is worthwhile to consider whether you are locking danger out or locking yourself in.
For Jesus’ disciples, it was a little of both.

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Let Us Go to the House of the Lord

In the years before the exile to Babylon, The Lord gave warning after warning to the people of Israel, but they wouldn’t listen. They continued to worship false gods and participate in abominable practices. Lest we look down on the Israelites in judgment, however, let us point a finger at ourselves. Just like the sins of Israel caused them to be cut off from the land that was promised to them and the temple where God had promised to dwell among them, so also our sins have caused us to be cut off from God. But the Lord also promised hope through the prophet Jeremiah.

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Perfect Law, Broken Heart

Psalm 19:7 says that “The Law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.” What more needs to be said? Just, obey the Ten Commandments and life will be better! And yet, even the author of Psalm 19 admits to not keeping these commandments (v. 12). Knowing the right thing to do is not the same thing as doing it! The commandments are an opportunity to examine yourself.

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Rose-Colored Glasses

Sometimes we see our lives through rose-colored glasses. We see all of the ways that we consider ourselves to be “good Christian people” when the reality is that we could all use a little (or a lot!) of work. Today is a day to admit our wrong-doings and the impurities of our hearts.

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Stuck in Fear

Today we meet Elijah, sitting in a cave, exhausted and fearing for his life. Elijah feels alone, he feels like a failure, he feels exhausted, and he is scared for his life. Elijah was paralyzed by fear to the point where he could no longer move forward. He was stuck. I think we all get to that place sometimes. Things seem to be falling apart all around us and we are scared to move forward and scared to turn around and go back. Where do we turn? What do we do?

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