Friday, March 29, 2013

Resurrection Song

As we approach Easter, let us celebrate the victory the Lord has won for us. HE IS RISEN!
Have a Blessed Easter!
Pastor Sheree

Resurrection Song
Journey with me to Calvary’s tree, 
To see One who died for you.
Journey with me to Calvary’s tree,
And know what He said is true.
He came as a gift when the world was adrift,
In need of some hope and some light.
He promised that He was the light of the world and could scatter the darkness of night.
He was set apart to heal broken hearts and demonstrate God’s perfect will,
But some would not come and said, “God’s will is not done. This is a man we must kill.”
And so that last week in Jerusalem’s streets, the people would hail Him as king,
But on that dark night when His followers took flight, echoes of “Crucify!” did ring.
They raised Him up high, some laughed, others cried, was He just misunderstood?
How can it be that the ones who believed, now see their Lord nailed to some wood.
But in the end He would triumph again, and the grave would not keep Him at bay,
Victorious He rose, His enemies to expose, and usher in a brighter day.
Life is now ours for Jesus has conquered the powers of death and the grave,
His precious blood that was shed on the cross, now has the power to save.
Journey with me to Calvary’s tree and see that He hangs there no more,
Bow down and worship the Risen King, the One whom the Father adores!

(Rev. Sheree A Harrington, March 28, 2013)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cloudy Days

One of my new favorite devotionals is entitled, "Streams In The Desert." As I was reading last week during my time with the Lord, I was drawn to the daily verse which read, "The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness, where God was." (Exodus 20:21) italics mine. I never thought much about this verse. The majority of the time I am focused on what proceeds the verse which is the Ten Commandments. At the time this verse in Exodus 20 captured my attention, I happened to be sitting by my window observing the grey clouds in the sky. What stood out to me in this verse is that God is found in the "thick darkness." We don't often link God and darkness in the same sentence. John declares, "This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5) Although there is no darkness in God Himself, we sometimes have a hard time seeing Him. The meditation that day from "Streams In The Desert" encouraged  the believer to,"Forge ahead in the darkness without flinching, knowing that under the shelter of the cloud, God is waiting for you. Additionally a poem followed the meditation the theme of which emphasized that God sometimes comes in the clouds. I share with you that poem, "Have you a cloud? Something that is dark and full of dread; A messenger of tempest overhead? A something that is darkening the sky; A something growing darker by and by; A something that you're fearful will burst at last; A cloud that does a deep, long shadow cast? God's coming in that cloud. 
Have you a cloud? It is Jehovah's triumph care in this; He's riding to you, o'er the wide abyss. It is the robe in which He wraps His form; For He does dress Him with the flashing storm. It is the veil in which He hides the light, of His face fair, too dazzling for your sight. God's coming in that cloud.
Have you a cloud? A trial that is terrible to thee? A dark temptation threatening to see? A loss of some dear one long your own? A mist, a veiling, bringing the unknown?
A mystery that insubstantial seems: A cloud between you and the sun's bright beams? God's coming in that cloud.
Have you a cloud? A sickness--weak old age---distress and death? These clouds will scatter at your last faint breath. Fear not the clouds that hover o'er your boat, Making the harbor's entrance woeful to float; The cloud of death, though misty, chill and cold,
Will yet grow radiant with a fringe of gold. GOD's coming in that cloud." The last line of this poem is an encouragement because it reinforces what Jesus told His disciples about His return, They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory." (Matthew 24:30b) The book of Revelation adds, "Look He is coming with the clouds, and every eye shall see Him, and even those who pierced Him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him. So shall it be! Amen. (Revelation 1:7)
We have a tendency to long for cloudless skies. This is what we call a "picture perfect day." When clouds approach we become disappointed and at times anxious especially when those clouds are dark, signaling possible stormy weather. But Moses was not afraid to approach the darkness because he knew God was there. So, the next time the clouds roll in and you're stumbling around in the darkness don't be afraid because, "GOD's coming in that cloud!"
Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Sheree

Saturday, March 2, 2013

One Bite

Before I begin, I have to offer a disclaimer. I am the owner of a MAC computer. So, this posting is not a MAC bashing endeavor but rather an interesting observation. I was sitting quietly last week without focusing on anything in particular when I began thinking about the Fall and Adam and Eve. The whole sordid story is told in Genesis 3. The interesting thing is that whenever the story of Adam and Eve is retold outside of the Biblical text, the fruit that they ate is always depicted as an apple. The Genesis 3 account does not tell us what kind of fruit Adam and Eve actually ate. We are told, "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband , who was with her, and he ate it." (Genesis 3:6) There is no mention of whether the fruit had a tough skin or soft skin, whether it had to be peeled or one could bite into it. Somewhere in history, the assumption was made that the fruit was an apple. The temptation Satan held out to Eve was that God was "holding out" on her. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:5) As a result of their disobedience, Adam and Eve did gain an increased awareness of themselves and their choices. What does this have to do with MAC computers, you may ask? The insight that came to me is the irony of the symbol used for MACs, the apple, and the parallels with the Genesis story. God certainly has allowed humanity to develop the advances in technology that we take advantage of today. However, because of our fallen state, technology has become a "god" to many. The symbolic apple that represents MacIntosh products has a piece missing as if someone took a bite out of it. Once the apple has been bitten, the awareness of what the technology can do and how far it can go has become an endless pursuit. People worship the "god of technology" going to great lengths to obtain all it has to offer. Please excuse my taking liberties with the Scriptures but one could almost re-write Genesis 3:6, "When the people saw the "fruit" (symbolic apple, technological toys) was good for "food"(to feed the mind) and pleasing to the eye (all the visual colors and effects) and also desirable for gaining wisdom (for good and evil) they took and "ate" and also gave to their family, friends, and others." The result of Adam and Eve's sin follows all humanity and our worship of the "god of technology" has spread throughout the world. How many times have we seen the long lines in front of stores that sell apple products waiting for the newest version of phone or tablet to hit the market? Cell phone, computer, and tablet manufacturers develop their technology to be disposable and lose their value months after purchase to make way for the next new upgrade. Mental Health experts are seeing a new addiction to technological devices and have conducted studies in which people experienced actual withdrawal symptoms when they could not be "connected." Identity theft and hacking into personal and business accounts has become a popular pastime. All because of one bite. For those of you like me who grew up before all these technological advances, I sometimes wonder were we that bad off before the existence of these devices? Were Adam and Eve really that bad off before they took that bite of fruit? I have certainly come to appreciate the ease of being able to connect with others via e-mail or call for help from my cell phone if my car breaks down. But I need to remind myself that my happiness is not found in the "god of technology" but rather in the God of the universe. The One who created heaven and earth and gave His Son that I may not fall in love with what is temporary but with that which is eternal. Jesus cautioned, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21) So I encourage you to take "one bite" but "Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him." (Psalm 34:8)
Pastor Sheree