Recently I heard of the saying, the House of Love, representing our heavenly home awaiting us. Many of you have heard me say that I believe that it is a reality to feel the presence of heaven, House of Love, here on earth. The peace many seek is within the presence of God here. This house of love is in His voice, His Word and His Son. Recently when my daughter was told she has cancer and she would need surgery and radiation I desperately needed to hear the voice that told Zechariah, do not be afraid, have no fear. Or the voice that told Mary, Do not be afraid for you will bear a son and you will name him Jesus. The voice the women heard when they saw the stone was rolled away, Do not be afraid, do not be afraid..."Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deut. 31
Through God's voice I was quickly comforted. This house of love was not simply a place of the afterlife, beyond this world, it is the place Jesus offered me in that moment through my faith. In the midst of the shock I was reminded that my Savior was also there. He was and is speaking the words, do not be afraid for I am with you. In that moment and since, I have been reminded this "house of Love" is God. I am sheltered in His abundant love and grace. However, it goes further. This house of love is also manifested in God's people here at EOCC. Through your faith I gain strength and I hear the words, do not be afraid being spoken. This same voice carries my daughter, my family and everyone who puts their trust in God. In the midst of anxiousness, worry and yes fear, we have a house of love to retreat into today. A house built upon the promises of our Savior and the Father. With God all things all possible. I hope to see you all later this morning. It's only rain!!!! Thank you Lord...
Almighty God, your voice is calming. Your Word is the peace we often seek. Hearing the prophets of old, the Psalmists reminding us to remember what you have done and the love Jesus brought. All of this Lord is built upon love. It is a house that you have blessed us with to find security, hope and guidance in this puzzling world. Father, I thank you for this gift. I thank you for the strength I witness in my families. Lord may all honor and glory be yours. I pray for people who are struggling with life, I pray for the sadness people must cope with. I pray for forgiveness of my sins. Lord, you are an awesome God and I humbly ask these prayers in Your Son's mighty name. Amen.
I, like many who will read this devotion read the Palms often in our personal devotions. I am not sure how may times over the years I have read Psalm 46 but the other day I read it a little differently. I am not surprised as it is the "living Word of God."
Verse 4 declares there is a river that gladdens God's city but there is no river that flows through the earthly city of Jerusalem. which leads me to believe "God's city" wasn't one limited to an earthly location but more of a poetic image of our God caring for all of God's people. This river the Psalmist spoke of looked back to creation, in the garden, (Gen: 2:10) and forward to our ultimate victory in God, ( Rev: 22:1-3) The Palmist is telling us that God's river of life, steadfast river of love is flowing through God into our hearts. It is not an earthly river but one of divine nature that even if the world is falling apart the Kingdom will not.
As I sit and close my eyes for a moment I can picture Psalm 23 better. I can feel a peace deeper and I know my God is with me. What helps you let God's steadfast river of love pour strength and comfort into your heart? I would love to hear from you.
My God, may all honor and glory be yours. May my heart be made pure through the forgiveness Your Son has blessed us with. Lord Jesus, you know firsthand about the joys and sorrows that are part of the deal of being human. Teach me how to look to you as my light and strength even at the most frightening and worrisome times. Lord, bless my families and look upon us with mercy and grace. Father I ask for special prayers of healing to my youngest, your child Kortnee. I asking for comfort to those in need and safe travel for those who will be on the roads later. Lord I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Last Wednesday at Vespers I posed the question as to where our home is? It is in this thought process that I also ask; to whom do we belong? Myself, the World or God? Of the three I would say that in the course of everyday life I belong more to the world or myself than to God. I say this because the ebb and flow of people in my life often translates into my anxiousness,anger and depression. A little pat on the back, or praise lifts me up quickly or an accomplishment/success gets me excited. In truth it takes little to lift us up or thrust us downward. Almost like a small boat on the water at the mercy of the waves. The amount of energy spent on keeping some kind of balance, pleasing or appeasing others, and preventing ourselves from being tipped over shows that much of our life is simply a struggle to survive and remain upright. It is not a Holy struggle but a struggle, a mistaken struggle I would say, that it is the world that defines us.
As long as we belong to this world, to ourselves we will remain captive. But when we live belonging to God, who loves us unconditionally, we can actually live as He calls us to. In our Baptism, Jesus calls us to move from belonging to the world to belonging to God. Makes me wonder, do we truly believe we are God's family and He is our Father or do we belong to the world?
Almighty God, I know that I belong to you and life would be so much better if I could live in that knowledge completely. Please forgive me Lord for my weakness and my sins. Help me grow. Father, protect all those working tonight keeping the roads clear, may they return to their families and homes safely. Father, I pray this and all things in and through Your Son Jesus' name, Amen.
Romans 8:14-18, 31-32
14 All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons and daughters. 15 You didn’t receive a spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but you received a Spirit that shows you are adopted as his children. With this Spirit, we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The same Spirit agrees with our spirit, that we are God’s children. 17 But if we are children, we are also heirs. We are God’s heirs and fellow heirs with Christ, if we really suffer with him so that we can also be glorified with him.
18 I believe that the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that is going to be revealed to us.
31 So what are we going to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He didn’t spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. Won’t he also freely give us all things with him?
Anyone reading the Epistles, the letters,would notice Paul preached Jesus. No matter the situation,location or danger Paul preached the good news of Jesus. Even when he faced Hebrew religious leaders who vigorously opposed him or Roman officials who would imprison and ultimately execute him, he spoke and taught Jesus is the way. No matter how powerful the force against him, Paul, refused to let fear govern his life or determine what he would do. This was more than just stubbornness or resolve. It was a conviction he felt within and his letter to Christians in Rome he states this conviction clearly: “If God is for us, who is against us?”
As we journey together in 2020 may we be convicted to preach, to live not in fear but in triumph. May we be God's hands and feet, his compassion and love to this world. Even to those who may oppose us. Hope to see you this morning as we study John 1:1-14
Almighty God as I journey with you may I do so without trepidation of voicing my faith in you. I thank you Lord for the gift of community I enjoy here at EOCC. I thank you for my family and friends that surround me with positive energy and forgiveness. Lord, I pray for Elaine and all who find themselves on our prayer list. I pray for the hungry and homeless, the tired and hungry. Father, I ask you to forgive me of my sins as I seek a closer relationship with you. I ask this and pray all things in the name of Jesus. Amen
Meet the pastor
Rev. Pastor Carl Schreiber has been serving East Orrington Congregational Church (EOCC) since March 12, 2006