Mid Week Devotion 7/01/2020
Good morning, afternoon or evening, depending on when you are watching this midweek version of our online church presentations. I want to extend a greeting to those of who are joining in today, however you found us, welcome! My name is Pastor Mel, I trust you find this space comforting, refreshing and safe as we continue to journey through life in quarantine.
PRAYER REQUESTS/UPDATES I am happy to announce that in-person worship services will continue this Sunday, July 5 at 8:15 and 10:45 a.m. Both services will be outside in the pavilion. Don’t forget your lawn chair. We will have a Holy Communion service. If you want to come and remain in your vehicle, the church has purchased an FM transmitter so you can listen to the service on your car radio.
The For Heaven’s Sake Circle is collecting items to be auctioned to help pay off the Pavilion. Drop off of items can be done July 15 or 16 from 9-11 or 4-6 at the fairgrounds Merchant building on the north side. Items can be picked up if members call the church office. The auction will be online through Jess Spradlin’s site with all proceeds going to the pavilion.
Barbara Wooldridge & Pat Baptist would like to share with you that it has been a joy to work with the Doorbell Dinner volunteers this past week. Your efforts were an important community contribution. Thank you so much!
I want to remind you that even though we are back to in-person worship services we still need your help in sharing the online mid-week devotions and Sunday services. We reached a lot of people for Christ and this is a simple and easy way for us to continue sharing. So even though you may be here in person, many are not.
I have one new prayer update for you: Rhoda Walker is seeking prayers for her son, Andy. He has been in a lot of pain and a recent CT scan showed a new active Crohn’s spot on his small intestine. Family is contemplating treatment options.
PRAYER Merciful God, fill our hearts with the grace of your Holy Spirit. Teach us to love others as you love us. May we be your children, O’ God, and help us make your sun to shine on our communities. Bless us today wherever we are worshipping you today. Amen.
Now, Lord, be with us as we pray the words which you have given to us; Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on Earth As it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, For ever. Amen.
SCRIPTURE – Psalm 4
1 Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer. 2 How long will you people turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods[b]?[c] 3 Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. 4 Tremble and[d] do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. 5 Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the Lord. 6 Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?” Let the light of your face shine on us. 7 Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound. 8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.
I have entitled this devotion, Love Delusions.
DEVOTION: “Love Delusions”
As I sat in the Pavilion early Sunday morning praying and reading some scripture, I came across Psalm 4. I usually read a few Psalms before worship to help get my spirit ready. As I read through the words God gave to David, I felt bad that I was reading words written thousands of years ago, but are still fresh today. Especially verse 2. “How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?”
“How long?” After I prayed for my own shortcomings in seeking false gods and falling for delusional loves, I knew at that moment that I was not alone in my struggles with loving delusions. I sensed other sojourners might be with me. We know in our hearts they are delusions, yet we still go after them. Maybe not like when we were younger, but they haunt us even to this day.
God originally gave us the law so we would know how to judge right and wrong for ourselves, but law seems to get stuck somewhere between our minds and our hearts. Our logical minds know exactly what the words, “Thou Shalt Not,” mean, but then our hearts turn those words around because of some delusion. I am not talking about a mental disorder that distracts us form the truth, I am referring to plain old sin. Sin is a disorder of the soul.
The law drew a line between sin and righteous to help guide us to good choices and a sin free soul. Unfortunately we live in a world filled with delusions, which are contradictions to God’s law and love. The real delusion, is that Jesus is not present when we seek false gods. Most sinners do not want God to be present when a poor choice is made. We are hoping that God is looking in on someone else when the sin occurs. Mature knowledge tells us that God is always present, when we are good and when we are bad.
So does God love me when I am good and hate me when I am bad? That doesn’t sound like God, because God said nothing can separate us from that great love. So what is going on? Is the cross of Christ delusional? Well to some, but not to the Christian. It may be mysterious, but it is real and not some delusional dream. God walks with us wherever our feet or hands or eyes go.
Since the cross is real, so too is God real, in every moment of our lives. It would be good to start thinking about God as being with us at all times. True, it is a paradox that God loves us even when we are at our worst, but this may be the catalyst to help see God in a whole new light. The cross is the only cure for the sin-sick soul. The one who supports the glory of the delusions wants to keep us in this limbo. This paradox of hating our sin, hating ourselves, maybe even hating God; yet all the time loving God and seeking that love for ourselves can drive us almost crazy.
The cross is not intended to remind us that God slaps our hands as we sneak a cookie from the cookie jar. It is a reminder that all the cookie jars are false gods and provide no love, no grace and no forgiveness. They are fleeting moments of self indulgence that if left unchecked can become a huge stumbling block to our new thinking of God and grace.
The cross was never intended to be a stumbling block, but more of a starting gate that sets us free from our sinful ways and allows us a new beginning. The law is perfect at judging the guilty, but God’s grace is more than the law could ever be. The cross is not so much about punishing, but about setting us free, it is about restoration, it is about recreating life with a new sense of direction and purpose. The law could never be explained in this way. God needed to bring not only the law to life, but you and I as well.
God has a cure for us. The events of the past few months have been heavy. Maybe too heavy for some, maybe we have sought refuge from false gods or other delusions of love to help us momentarily. So if you have been feeling sick recently, listen to the words of a hymn that African American slaves sang as the world laid heavy burdens on them.
There is a balm in Gilead
To make the wounded whole
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the sin-sick soul.
We all need healing to some degree. This week, don’t turn to false gods and love the same old delusions, turn to the true healer and soother of your soul, Jesus. The cross may have held Jesus, but the results of that cross was an amazing moment of Godly grace that was intended to show us what a healed soul can feel like. Take that feeling with you into this week knowing that whoever you go, God is with you. May God’s peace be with you until we meet again, stay safe and God bless.