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A Family of God’s People

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritu-al blessing in the heavenly places.-(Ephesians 1:3)-How often do we hear this expression: ONLY IN OUR FAMILY?There are words and expressions and things that we do and looks that are only understood within the family because they grow out of the family’s common experience and memories. This letter is to the members of the family of God or the Body of Christ. It is a sharing of the deep gladness that ONLY the family understands.It reflects the joy in its deepest sense with which we look on home when home has proved itself through years of love, fellowship, and security. Home for us people of God is WHERE GOD IS. We sing in our heart “Happy the Home When God is There,” The United Methodist Hymnal #445.The United Methodist Hymnal Number 445 Text: Henry Ware, Jr., 1794-1843 Music: John B. Dykes, 1823-1876 Tune: ST. AGNES, Meter: CMHappy the home when God is there, and love fills every breast; when one their wish, and one their prayer, and one their heavenly rest. 2. Happy the home where Jesus’ name is sweet to every ear; where children early speak his fame, and parents hold him dear. 3. Happy the home where prayer is heard, and praise is wont to rise; where parents love the sacred Word and all its wisdom prize. 4. Lord, let us in our homes agree this blessed peace to gain; unite our hearts in love to thee, and love to all will reign.(You can also listen to this Hymn on YouTube: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+video+of+the+Hymn+Hapy+the+home+when+God+is+there&view=detail&mid=2EDB4B43766F06C8B2102EDB4B43766F06C8B210&FORM=VIRE)God is our Father. Christ has brought us to Him.Sheer goodness God gives to us. All else called “good” will tarnish. The “good living” which advertisements glow (we see and hear them every day) about is based on “much having” (accumulation of things we do not need). Materially based “good living” is like bubbles that blows away with our breath. It is false front that falls in the first storm.Yet there is a goodness or a blessedness that breathes the very breath of life. It is the goodness or blessedness of God that God Himself shares with us when we, through Christ, are drawn from our places to His place.Thanksgiving Day is coming and with what we are going through, this year might be different. But, with God as the center of our thanksgiving celebration, I firmly believe that this will be one if not the best thanksgiving celebrations that we will have. Remember, “There are words and expressions and things that we do and looks that are only understood within...

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…God Is the Ruler Yet

It stands to reason that if God is as great as we have claimed and believed, we cannot fully understand Him and all His ways. “Human beings are only a part-a small part, in a vast universe!” How can we know everything that our God knows? How can we see all that God sees? How can we experience that God has? How can we comprehend that vast plan God is working out? Last August 10 at about 12:03 pm, Gladbrook Community and a big part of Iowa, was hit a big storm. Our faith was put to the edge, shaken to what we witnessed after this big, big storm. As of now, there are still communities that have not yet fully recovered from this big storm. It is difficult to comprehend how horrific events like this big storm, Derecho, in Iowa are. I must admit I have difficulty comprehending especially when I came to know that many cornfields are affected and expected not to yield the desired harvest. Many of our farmers are hoping to have good harvest, to the extent of praying for it. However, my faith and the Scripture urge me to leave a good deal to God and to stop worrying about what is too great for me. Psalm 31 says,Song of Quiet TrustA Song of Ascents. Of David.1 O LORD, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. 2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.[a]3 O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time on and forevermore. Maxie D. Dunham in his book, Irresistible Invitation, succinctly put: “What we need to know is that God owns the darkness as well as the light, and that God is present in the night as well as in the day….No aspect of human experience is without God’s presence….God brings deliverance from darkness; sometimes God reveals himself most vividly in the darkness. We may not understand it or be able to explain it, but we know full well that God is in the midst of everything.” When we believe that God is in the midst of everything, we are led away from that desire to know everything and we are challenged to open our eyes with compassion, to see the need and to respond with joy. In this “INTERESTING TIMES,” the Christian Faith will remain to be constant and strong. Wewill continue to affirm and proclaim that the world is “OUR FATHER’S WORLD…” and we...

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Faithfulness In Christ

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:-Ephesians 1:1- Beginning this month, I will be writing a meditation article for our Monthly Newsletter on the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians. On this August issue, I want us to meditate on verse 1. The letter was directed to the early Church. The letter is about the church because it is about God’s purpose. We read it, and we find it speaking to us and about us who are in the church. Gladbrook United Methodist Church Family, we are God’s people-HIS HOLY PEOPLE OR CONSECRATED PEOPLE. Remember, holiness does not mean sanctimoni-ousness. “We do not make to show or even to claim that we are morally superior to other people.” Holiness is not about that! Holiness is the quality of sinners who have come together with love for one another because they have responded to God’s love for them. Jesus makes it clear how and why we belong to God. It is Jesus who has made God real to us and ONLY Jesus. Jesus wore no halo. Jesus wore the clothes of a Galilean villager. Jesus mingled with people, and God became real to them because of that. Jesus shared with them the meaning of God, His nature and character. The Church is God’s people mingling with the world as Jesus mingled, that God may become real to the world-that God will become visible to the world. The Church shares with the world the meaning of God and His mission and purpose and vision. Paul knew what it was to be sent by the will of God as Christ’s messenger among people. Let us bear in mind that the will of God is God’s total purpose of love for humankind in history and beyond it. You heard it from me many times, “To be God’s people, to be the authentic Body of Christ here in Gladbrook Community and beyond, is to let God fulfill His purpose and mission the through us.“ Let us pray: Our Father, let us find the fellowship to which you have called us, the fellowship of those who are sacred and holy to you and faithful in Christ Jesus. As Jesus was sent to make you near to us and all the people of the world, so set us in the world, especially here in Gladbrook Community to make you visible and near to all people here in Gladbrook. In Jesus mighty Name. Amen!Pastor...

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Adonai Rapha (God Our Healer)

Adonai Rapha(God Our Healer) 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,stand up and walk.”-Acts 3:6- After crossing the Red Sea, the people were without fresh water for three days and then they came to a spring. “Wonderful!” the people thought, but their elation soon turned to sorrow. They discovered the water wasn’t fit to drink so they gave the spring the name MARAH, meaning “bitter: in Hebrew. Then Moses prayed, and God told him to cast a piece of wood into the water. “He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet” reads Exodus 15:25. Then God spoke. He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the disease I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who healsyou” (Exodus 15:26). Did you notice that phrase, “I am the LORD who heals you?” It says literally, I AM ADONAI RAPHA, meaning “God the One Who Heals you.” When he was with us Jesus healed the sick, the brokenhearted, the spiritual wrecks. He just spoke the word and it happened. “Yes,” you say, “but pastor He was God.” The disciples also believed that God answered prayer and healed the sick. Peter and John encountered a cripple at the templegate called Beautiful. Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” (Acts 3:6). One of the first New testament books written says, “The prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up” (James 5:15). Our God is still ADONAI RAPHA to those who look to Him. Brothers and sisters in Christ, I would like to invite you to pray for those who are sick amongst us. Just like Peter, we pray “Silver and gold we do not have but wat we have we give to those who are not well. IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH, BE HEALED….Amen. Pastor...

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Courage

8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…. -2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (New Revised Standard Version) – The New International Version of the Bible renders the phrase afflicted in every way in a different way. . It uses the phrase hard pressed on every side. This is how the NIV Translation reads: 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. When it comes to courage, you cannot chart it. You cannot measure its specific densi-ty. When it is displayed, a person is courageous, and when it is missing, a person is called a coward. Take note of that: COURAGEOUS OR COWARD. There is no middle ground. In the spiritual realm, courage is ACTION. Look at Abraham, who left Ur of the Chaldees with only the promise that God would lead him. Courage is what Elijah had when he stormed into the presence of the king and said, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, who I serve, there will be neither dew or rain in the next few years except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1). Courage is what Daniel had when he went into his home, threw back the windows, and prayed three times a day, even though the king had passed a law forbidding prayer. Courage is what Jonah had when he walked into Nineveh, a city of perhaps half a million or more people, and announced that God would destroy the city in 40 days. Followers of Jesus today must find courage to speak their convictions, to stand for what is right, to abide by principles, rather than expediency. Individual believers of Jesus who are courageous often pay a price for their courage. Real courage does not consider the cost. It considers only the rightness of the action that must be taken. Where do we get courage? Paul said, “If God is for us, who can be against us” (Romans 8:31). Paul like any disciple of Christ or any man for that matter, who stands courageously for his faith and faithfulness, was troubled, yet he could say, 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;…. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). Paul could, and so you can, as you thank God and take courage. Pastor...

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“I NEVER CROSS IT TILL I REACH….”

“I NEVER CROSS IT TILL I REACH….” Matthew 6:25-34 Dr. E Stanley Jones, profoundly said: “Worry is the interest we pay on tomorrow’s troubles.” But I believe there is more to what E. Stanley Jones said. Worry begins as a trickle, then erodes our energy and productivity, draining us of all creative abilities and possibilities. In some cases, part of the solution is revamping our lifestyle, but in other situation like raising 3 or 4 or even 5 kids without a husband or a wife-you cannot quit or walk. You’ve got to will to move on. Jesus proclaims, “Therefore I tell you, DO NOT WORRY!” And in verse 34, Jesus finishes his admonition about worrying with this strong proclamation: 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Most of our worries cluster around our two major fears: What could happen and What has happened. When we focus and fix our eyes on these two major fears rather than trusting on the possibilities of what God can do, we lose sight of our own God given creative abilities and possibilities. No wonder Jesus said: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry….” In the days when he was a circuit-riding lawyer, Abraham Lincoln, accompanied by several colleagues, crossed several rivers swollen by spring rains. Ahead, though, was the big one-the Fox River, and it worried them. “If we are having trouble getting across these, how are we going to get across that one?” they reasoned. That evening they stopped at the log cabin of a settler. The man had crossed the dangerous Fox River many times. Learning this, Lincoln’s group probed the man about the river. “I know all about the Fox River,” he told them, adding, I have crossed it often and understand it well. But I have one fixed rule with regard to the Fox River: I never cross it till I reach it.” I NEVER CROSS IT TILL I REACH IT…. Jesus never said, “Fear what could happen and what has happened.” But Jesus said, “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. “I NEVER CROSS IT TILL I REACH….” In this time of uncertainty, people are worrying about what they cannot change. How about we take this to heart: “Therefore I tell you, DO NOT WORRY….” 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. When you are where God wants you to be and you know that He is your Shepherd who...

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