Tuesday, May 31, 2011
LOVE ONE ANOTHER
9:54 am est
In the Gospel of John, Jesus shares much of his spirit with
his disciples. In John 14:15 He says to them "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." From this
verse Pastor Gail looked back to the Last Supper, when Jesus said to them, "I give you a new commandment, that
you love one another, even as I have loved you", the only explicit commandment in John's gospel. "Love
on another, even as I have loved..." What did Jesus' love look like? Weren't people commanded to
love from the beginning? Can love be commanded at all? In thinking about this commandment and the desire to love,
even as Jesus loved, I try to imagine what it was like in Jesus' time and what love was like in Jesus' time.
And of course, Jesus said to his disciples, "Greater love has no man, than that he lay down his life for his friends."
Would I lay down my life for my friends? This verse also reminds me of our Memorial Day just past and
the many who have laid down their lives for their countrys. And there are other ways in which people lay down their
lives for the sake of others. In doing so, and keeping focused on God's love for all His creation, it is possible
to learn to love in the act of obeying the command. We all know that there are people whom we just cannot love easily;
putting ourselves aside and looking for what God sees can show us the way to love, even when we think we cannot love.
"Love one another, even as I have loved..." I hope to learn to obey this commandment with Jesus'
help and loving strength. May the blessings and love of God rest with all who read these pages. Live in the peace
of Christ. Love as Jesus loved. Amen.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Living stones, trusting stones
I am enjoying Gail's sermons very much. On Sunday she spoke
on passages from the Gospel of John and 1 Peter. In John, Jesus speaks to his disciples about going to prepare
a place for them and in 1 Peter believers are likened to living stones that make up the foundation and structure of God's
church in the world. I especially found connection with the explication of the word, "believe", another possible translation being,
"trust". Jesus said to his disciples, "Believe in God, believe also in me." rendered the
other way, "Trust in God, trust also in me." Some may have noticed from a previous post that I tend to
have issues with trust. Trust, faith, belief, are they the same thing or aspects of the same thing? It is
interesting how some words work better than others for grasping an idea. I look forward to Gail's sermons and
hearing the scriptures opened in new ways. And to learning to trust and love all that God gives me.
May peace and love rest with all. Amen.
10:31 am est
Thursday, May 19, 2011
About the blogs
I would like to apologize for not identifying the author of the blogs
you read here. Currently, they are solely written by me, Mary Jo Green, Administrative Assistant and member at Ogden
Baptist. Pastor Gail will eventually have opportunity to write some blogs. Our site work needs continual
improvement which tends to come along slowly. There will be a whole new look and design as time goes on.
Meanwhile, I try to keep things updated and offer my take on the Sunday messages in these blogs. Thank you to all for
your interest in these pages. Again, apologies for any confusion. May the peace of Christ be with you. Amen.
11:17 am est
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
On Sunday we learned our likeness to sheep and also the job of
the shepherd. It is the shepherd's job to be a leader for the sheep as well as their guardian.
Sunday's texts were the 23rd Psalm, "The Lord
is my shepherd", and John 10: 1-10, "Jesus, The Good Shepherd". For Jesus to be our shepherd, we must
tune our ear to the sound of his voice. And listening must be accompanied by following. The world roars in our
ears, buy this product and your life will be better, go to the concert, the game, the play, or restaurant and have a good
time, or go to this destination and get away from it all. And the self-help gurus, and the newspapers and
magazines that tell us how we ought to live and what is best for us. There is merit there, yet we need to bring all
of this advice to God who knows what is truly best for us. So many other voices would call us away from the voice
of Jesus. Take time to listen, read the Bible and attend church and discipline yourself to a life of prayer for
understanding Jesus' guidance as well as understanding the inner workings of your own heart. Jesus calls
us to follow him. Are your desires in tune with God? Do you have an understanding of God's ways? We want
to grow together and learn to follow and say "Thy will be done". Learning to trust has been a personal challenge
for me. My mind knows God is in control, yet my spirit gets confused and I try to control so many things that
I can never fully understand. God, please guide me and guard me through this life and in all my turmoil and confusion.
With thanks for Jesus and the peace of following one who knows the way. Amen.
9:35 am est
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
And He walks with me...
On the Sunday following Jesus' death, two disciples, feeling
downhearted and discouraged, took a walk. They headed out of Jerusalem taking the road to Emmaus, commiserating with
each other. Hope had deserted them after the crucifixion of their Lord and guide. But this was the Sunday
of the empty tomb. As the two were walking a third man joined them. The man was Jesus but they were prevented
from recognizing him. As they walked along together they shared the story of what had just taken place in Jerusalem
and Jesus opened the scriptures to them explaining why things had happend as they had. On reaching their destinantion
they invited Jesus to have a meal with them and when Jesus took the bread and broke it, their eyes were opened and they knew
Jesus was alive. In our own times of discouragement and bewilderment about events it can be so hard to recognize
that Jesus is alive and walking along with us all the time. Shifting moods, unmet needs or desires, illness, regrets,
and any number of life events can blind us to Jesus presence beside us. Intellectually we may know that He is there,
but our spirits become weighed down when things aren't as we think they should be. Let it be well with your soul;
things are as God made them and Jesus is with us to open God's ways to us. In your daily walk, remember, Jesus is
there. May the peace of Christ be with you always. Amen.
8:37 am est
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
The season of Easter continues with a shade of doubt. Thomas,
one of the twelve, was absent when Jesus appeared to the others in a closed room. He couldn't believe that they
had seen Jesus alive. He wouldn't believe until he had seen for himself and touched Jesus' wounds. What
will it take for some to believe that Jesus is alive among us every day? How can believers keep hold of this gift themselves?
Doubt so often creeps in and we just can't believe that God's love is present with us at all times. Why do I
have this illness that has taken so much from me? Why are there so many awful wars and all manner of violence in
the world? Where is my own love for those who are differnt from myself or who rub me the wrong way?
To remember God and his gift of love to all living things takes conscious effort and attention to prayer. Jesus said
to come and follow him. He is here to lead, are we willing to follow?
9:16 am est