Thursday, July 26, 2012

Winged Messengers

What do you think of when you hear the word "angel?" Many automatically think of a figure, human-like in appearance, dressed in white with wings attached to their backs. Perhaps you were a fan of the show "Touched By An Angel" and remember Monica and Tess the main angelic characters who always revealed themselves at the end of each episode to those they were sent to help. As they declared to the struggling person that, "God loves you" Monica and Tess would be surrounded by a "heavenly light"and people would be awe struck and amazed. There are many references to angel visitations in the Bible. (Luke chapters 1& 2; Genesis 16:7; 22:11; Numbers 22:23) just to name a few. And although we aren't given a detailed description of their appearance, the reaction of many who encounter these angelic beings is often one of fear. The angels are quite aware that human beings can become overwhelmed with an angelic manifestation and in many cases they often follow their appearance with the words of comfort, "Do not be afraid." (Luke 1:11-12) In the Greek the word for "angel" is defined as a messenger. I believe God can and does send His messengers in various forms. In one of my favorite devotionals, "Jesus Calling", a recent meditation stated, "As you listen to birds calling to one another, hear also my Love-call to you. I speak to you continually; through sights, sounds, thoughts, impressions, and scriptures. There is no limit to the variety of ways I can communicate with you. Your part is to be attentive to My messages, in whatever form they come." The Lord has often touched my heart through nature. One of my favorite creatures in nature is the dragonfly. Most recently I was needing a fresh touch from the Lord and God used these "winged messengers" to get my attention. One morning while finishing my exercise routine in our upstairs spare bedroom I saw a shimmering blue object headed toward the window. As it got closer it landed on the screen and it was a dragonfly. I walked over to the window and placed my finger on the screen to touch it and said, "Good morning, Lord!" In that same week I saw dragonflies where ever I traveled. Even when I stopped at the drive-up mailbox at the post office, a dragonfly almost flew into my open sun roof! The point is that God is alive and active in this world. If we are open and attentive, we may be surprised with an unusual messenger He sends our way. In Jeremiah 29:13, the Lord says through the prophet to the people of Israel, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Angels don't necessarily come to us in the ways artists have depicted them through the years but when we are sensitive to the movement of God in our world and in our lives we can receive a first hand experience of His ever abiding presence.
Peace Be with You!
Pastor Sheree

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Its The Little Things

I confess that I often envy some of my pastoral colleagues for their ministries. And who hasn't seen one or more of the television evangelist and wondered how they are receiving so many "blessings" and taking in large sums of money. Our egos desire to do "great things" for God and we often become frustrated at what we perceive as living a mediocre Christian life. We may even question if God really cares about our every day routines. Recently the Lord reminded me that there is no hierarchy of gifts or service in the kingdom of God. The passage that spoke to me was Matthew 25:31-46. You may recognize this familiar passage about the separation of the sheep from the goats when Christ returns. In the story, the Lord praises the sheep for the way they served the lowliest of God's people often unaware of their deeds. On the other hand the goats are chastised for not serving this same group of people. What stood out to me was the type of service the sheep rendered to God's people.  Jesus says, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." (Matthew 25:35-36) Notice Jesus commended them not for great and glorious acts or accumulation of wealth or even popularity but rather the sheep were commended for providing the most basic necessities of life. What some might consider unimportant or insignificant deeds. Satisfying hunger, thirst, and providing clothing and shelter are the basic needs of every human being. However the list goes on to include relationships such as looking after the sick and visiting the prisoner. And on a  relationship scale of 0-9, sick people and prisoners aren't at the top of most folks visitation list. Many would rather be rubbing shoulders with the "important people" the so-called "movers and shakers." Perhaps this is where the goats were investing their time and energy as Jesus reminded them that, "Whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for Me." (Matthew 25:45) In my last post I spoke of the young man who I visited in the hospital fighting for his life. The family did not know me but were very appreciative that I would come and anoint their son with oil and pray for him. These are the "little things" that are just as important to Christ as some event that gets the attention of large crowds. For the Lord said, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me." (Matthew 25:40) It doesn't get any more awesome that that! So, I encourage you the next time you feel that you are not really "serving" the Lord, remember Christ Himself was not born into greatness nor focused His attention on the most highly respected in the culture of His day. The Master hand picked you to serve Him. "For you did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit---fruit that will last." (John 15:16a) That "fruit" comes in many forms of service and each piece is sweet service to the King!
Peace In Christ,
Pastor Sheree