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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Blessing the Nations

When God called Abraham in Genesis 12:3 he told him: “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” God didn’t save you to keep that blessing for yourself, he wants you to share it. There is no treasure greater than a relationship with the Living God! By sharing this treasure you lose nothing and those who receive the gift gain everything. We are called to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. What part is God calling you to play in his mission?

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What is Your Good News?

What brings a smile to your face when you read the newspaper? (I’m not talking about the comics!) I enjoy stories about exciting emerging technology, long-awaited justice, undeserved kindness, truth coming to light, and beauty. These are generally seen as “good news” to me. You might get excited by different stories. In the Gospel today, Jesus brings good news to the region of Galilee. Even though he spoke of this news 2,000 years ago, the news is just as good and exciting as the day he first spoke of it.

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The Heavens Declare

Did you see the “Christmas Star” a few days before Christmas? Some have speculated that a similar astronomical event may have been what the wise men saw after the birth of Jesus. Is this possible? Probably not. I like to think that God caused whatever it was as a supernatural event to announce the birth of his Son! “The Messiah is here!” was literally written in the sky!

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Our Eternal Home

One of the most important ways that our Good Shepherd watches over us is by bringing us home. First of all he brings us into the fellowship of the Church where we can be a part of his flock. When we die, he brings those who have trusted in him to an eternal home, the Father’s house.

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Trusting Our Shepherd

We talked about the abundant life that Jesus offers us last week. Part of this abundance is the ability to live without anxiety when we trust in him. We can always trust Jesus to be our guide, our protector, our provider, and our salvation.

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