It seems like only a few weeks ago where the groundhog saw his shadow, and we were in for six more weeks of winter. The nice weather does not seem to reflect that prediction. In fact, it seems that spring is trying to present itself a little earlier than planned. I am all for that, as I am never a big fan of winter and what it brings. Goodbye snow, cold temperatures, blizzards, and the rest. Hello sunshine, warmer weather, and the ability to be outside for longer periods of time.
Along with the weather, our world also seems to have a spring in its step. Vaccinations are more available now and people are receiving them at a rapid pace. While the coronavirus is still around, we seem to have turned the corner and see brighter days ahead. Restaurants and other places of business, as well as whole states, are reopening once again to the rest of the world. I don't know if we would ever be able to return to what is considered "normal" in life, but I think we are nearing that destination.
This happens every year and has since the dawn of time, when God created the heavens and the earth. Seasons come and go, the animals hibernate for the winter months and then come out in the spring. This happened in 20202 and will happen again in 2022. So, what makes this year seem all the more special, all the more vibrant, all the more like a definitive turning of the page to a new chapter in the life that we are living?
Perhaps it is because we have gone through so much in this past year. We also did not go through it alone, but the world has collectively gone through a pandemic and all that it entailed. I am thankful that we serve a God that is always in control. And in his created order he has allowed us to go from season to season, from winter to spring. Admittedly, there were times that we couldn't' see light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, but it was there. God was always in charge no matter what the world tried to tell us, no matter how the virus roamed and affected the world. God was above it all, and he continues to be in control.
So, in this spring season of 2021, we not only move forward with a spring in our step into the future, but with an added sense of gratitude, awareness, and respect of the God that we serve. Once again, he has proven himself to be the God of all: all time, all space, and all things. This reminder propels us forward into the future. We go forward with a God who is in control of all things and continues to watch over his people in all things. I agree with Paul when he describes the depth of God's love in Romans 11:33, "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!" It is the love and trust in God that carries us forward.
The Wheeled Worshipper
After the Lenten and Easter season, we are going to be entering into a six-week series entitled, "The God Who is Able."
In this series, we are going to break from our normal chapter and verse format to a wide variety of text written by Paul describing the many ways that God is able to work with and for us, his people. As we come into this series, the main question that we are going to be asked is, "Do we believe that our God is able?"
We ask this question because often when we come to the troubles of life, or limitations of our heart, mind, and strength, we often think if we are unable, then so is the Lord. But as we have been reminded of in our PM series in Joshua, God is able to use many things to reveal his glory in our weaknesses because he is ABLE.
Some of the ways that we are going to be looking at the ways God is able will be from:
- Hebrews 7:25 - where we will focus on our God who is able to Save.
- 2 Timothy 1:23 - where we will focus on our God who is able to Keep.
- 2 Corinthians 9:8 - where we will focus on our God who is able to make Grace Abound
- Hebrews 2:18 - where we will focus on the God who is able to help us in Temptation
- Ephesians 3:20 - where we will focus on the God who is able to Grow us Spiritually
- Philippians 3:21 - we will finish our series remembering again the resurrection of our Lord, as the Confidence that our own bodies will be raised
As we walk through each of these passages, my prayer is that our confidence is the Lord will increase, our hope in the Lord will be more vivid, and the strength of the Lord will be that which gives us the endurance to say in the midst of all things, "Our God is Able."
We are getting ever so closer to Lent and the celebration of Easter. To focus on these moments many people begin to post pictures on social media and elsewhere of crosses, pictures of empty graves, Bible verses, etc. One of the more popular commemorations of Easter is the use of the phrase "It's Friday, but Sunday's coming". This is of course in reference to Good Friday when Jesus died on the cross. Many people think that this is the end of the story, but as Christians we know the full story. On Easter Sunday, Jesus arose from the dead to complete the work that he had been called to do on earth.
This phrase has been used in a variety of ways to celebrate Christ's rising from the dead. There are numerous songs, sermons, and other ways that this moment is highlighted. It is an especially joyous thing to share with others, both fellow Christians and those who may not know the full story. It is a reminder of the power of God and that death has no hold on him and his work. What a great reminder for us all during this Easter season!
As I think about this phrase, I am struck by the fact that this phrase can be used not just as we celebrate the Easter holiday. Instead, this phrase can be used in many times in many places, especially the "Sunday's coming" part. Think back on your life, perhaps just this week. You may be having a not so good week. Your work is slow, your creative thoughts don't seem to be as readily available as they usually are. You may be working through a tough relationship where you and someone else doesn't see eye to eye. You may have a myriad of other circumstances that just don't seem perfect in your life right now. What can you do? You can choose to look forward because "Sunday's Coming."
Just because it will be Sunday doesn't mean all your problems go away, it doesn't many your relationship improve or your creative ideas once again resurface. What it does mean however is that you have the opportunity to come before the face of God in worship. It is an opportunity to hear from him, praise him, and reset yourself before his face, where he ultimately wants you to be. It is a period of readjustment, a repositioning so that among all the other things in your life, God is at the center. It may not be complete overnight change, but it is a start to refocus yourself on God and lean on him for all things.
The anticipation of this day can be the start of the opportunity to refocus on God. Once you have been re-centered and have been given new opportunities for grace and strength from your heavenly father, your world can change. Your outlook can be different, knowing that whatever happens in your life, God is in control. "Sunday's coming." May that not only serve as a reminder fo whom we serve, but may the phrase serve as heavenly motivation for us to refocus once again on God and prepare ourselves for the gifts of grace, His Word, and his leading that will again be offered to us on Sunday.
The Wheeled Worshiper
For our annual Prayer Day on March 10, we are going to be walking through Psalm 95 which is a psalm that calls us to use a wide variety of postures in our prayer life depending on what we are brining before the throne of grace. There are five postures of prayer that we are to utilize as God's people which include the following: sitting with head bowed, kneeling, lying prostrate, standing, and praying with hands raised.
In each posture, a person is actively seeking the Lord for a particular reason. Think of sitting with our head bowed, which is the way we pray most of the time. This is a position of request, but also of active listening where we speak, or we listen for another to speak for us in a corporate or family time of prayer that symbolizes both unity of presence and of heart before the Lord and one another.
The second posture of prayer that is often used is that of kneeling. In this posture, we are physically lowering ourselves in the presence of God. Often this posture is used privately by people at night before they get into bed for a time of giving thanks in humility and in devotion for the day that God has given. This posture is also used in public prayers when people are ordained into an office of the church. In some traditions, kneeling prayer is used in weddings. Also, a pastor, elder, or leader may kneel to bring the confessions of the people before the Lord in public prayer.
The third posture of prayer is that of laying down prostrate before the Lord. This is generally the position of prayer for confession privately and in some public events. This posture of prayer shows the weight of sin that brings a person down to the dust of the earth. All major characters of scriptures of humanity are recorded to have prayed in this way, especially David. From this posture, the person is seeking God's grace alone to raise us in heart and in body from sin to the fullness of grace with him.
The fourth posture of prayer is standing with head bowed. This is a posture that Samuel would have taken on when he said, "Here, I am Lord." This is a posture of respect to the Lord that is often used in public prayer.
The final posture of prayer is to stand and raise one's hands to the Lord in prayer. This posture of prayer is generally used for giving thanks to God for his provision and his victories for the day or for life.
As you look over this list, most of us will find ourselves in one posture as our favorite. But as you look at the list, I would encourage you to use one or two other postures in this season on Lent as we prepare for Easter. For this season is one where we are longing for the Lord to make all things new in our world, in our nation, in our denomination, and in our life.
The leadership of the church would particularly ask that you join us in prayer for our denomination as again Synod has been canceled for another year due to COVID-19 issues. Pray for our denomination using each of these postures of prayer in this season that we, as covenant people united to the Lord, would confess and cast sin and its promotion from our church. Second, that the Holy Spirit would continue to bring revival through His Spoken Word. Third, that faithful leaders would be brought to lead the denomination for the cause of Christ alone and the growth of His Kingdom.