Create, Renew

Psalm 51:10-13 Create in me a clean heart, O God.                                              April 19, 2020

Create in me a clean heart o God, and renew a right spirit within me
Create in me a clean heart o God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence o God, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me,
Restore unto me the joy of They salvation and renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10-13
10 God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast[a] spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore the joy of Your salvation to me, and give me a willing spirit.[b]
13 Then I will teach the rebellious Your ways, and sinners will return to You.

“Create” – “bārā” the word used in Gen 1:1, to create from nothing. David longs for a brand new heart, a complete newness of heart – a longing that Jesus Christ fulfills.

Steadfast spirit. “Ruach” – the God breathed power of life! We are animated by our spirit and our spirit is the foundation of our emotions.

Jesus told Nicodemus he must be born again – birth as a new creation that is only through God, this is what David is longing for!

Steadfast: faithful. Undaunted. There are many times when I falter and want to quit. For some people faithfulness comes easy but it’s certainly not for everyone. Our desires, our weaknesses, get in the way of the deeper desire and longing to be faithful. Faithfulness is one of the fruits of the Spirit.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation! The joy of knowing that there’s a better life to come. The joy of knowing that death is simply the door to REAL life. The joy of knowing that God is in the details, He is still in control and His kingdom is real.

This is a very familiar passage, one we sing and know well. But, just as important, is verse 13, a too often overlooked verse which is the outcome, the result of God creating in me a new heart and a steadfast spirit.  13 Then I will teach the rebellious Your ways, and sinners will return to You.

What is the purpose of asking God to create a new heart and a steadfast spirit in me? To teach people God’s ways so they will know Him!

Create in me a clean heart; renew a steadfast spirit, Restore joy! Sustain a willing spirit, let me be bold to express Jesus, to share His life and reality. Teach sinfulness leading to relationship with Jesus!

Totally Unexpected!

Christ the Lord has risen today!!!

The astonishing miraculous happened.
The blinding miracle of Jesus resurrection happened without fanfare, without followers. Only the soldiers guarding the tomb witnessed the shining angel of God rolling away the stone so forcefully that it was like an earthquake. Then the angel sat on the stone. And the soldiers feinted.

Matthew 28:1-6
After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to view the tomb. Suddenly there was a violent earthquake, because an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and approached the tomb. He rolled back the stone and was sitting on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his robe was as white as snow. The guards were so shaken from fear of him that they became like dead men.

But the angel told the women, “Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here! For He has been resurrected, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.

Nothing was as they’d expected. God isn’t locked into doing the bidding of humans.
Throughout His time on earth Jesus was set on doing the will of his father, God.

John the Baptist declared when Jesus came to him to be baptized
“Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” John 1:29

Who really expected Jesus to Himself be the sacrificed Lamb? His followers couldn’t wrap their minds around the fact He said He would die. The concept was beyond their expectations.

Priests and rabbis were outraged by His unwillingness to bend to their expectations.

The people became outraged by His seeming refusal to take up the crown to become the King they expected Him to be.

What are your expectations of God? Of Jesus? God is God of the unexpected, of true life!

“Luke 27:1-5 “The next day, while it was still very early, the women took the spices and ointments they’d prepared, went to the tomb, and found the stone rolled away from the tomb. On entering, they discovered that the body of the Lord Jesus was gone?

“Why are you looking for the living among the dead?”

We still look in the wrong places expecting a different outcome.

Prayer: “Holy Spirit, quiet my mind from chatter, help me to focus on your words, the miraculous overarching story of the triumph of Jesus over Satan and death. Fill my thoughts with Your words, Your understanding of the scope and significance of Jesus rising to life after dying for my sins.”

Soak in the story of that unparalleled Sunday. Soak in the reality that Jesus’ had willingly allowed his body to be beaten, tortured, broken and destroyed in order that the price for our sinful rebellion and disobedience to God would be paid in full, once and for all.

Rejoice in the reality that Jesus burst forth alive and thriving from the tomb, restored completely and that someday we too will be restored completely beyond anything we can imagine.

Listen to your favorite Resurrection Sunday hymns and offer up your life, your thoughts, your being to God in repentance and rest, in quietness and trust.

Some hymn ideas:

In Christ Alone
He Lives!
Christ Arose
Christ the Lord has Risen Today

Take time today to be still, to soak in the presence of the Living Savior!

Psalm 118:14
The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.”

Thank you Jesus that You are my salvation!!!

The Rocks Cry Out

4.5.2020 Today is Palm Sunday, the day that we focus on Jesus riding into Jerusalem while the crowds shout out in excitement and joy expecting Jesus to overthrow the Roman empire and reign as King over Jerusalem and all of Israel.
Luke 19:29-40 “Then they brought the donkey colt to Jesus, and after throwing their robes on the donkey, they helped Jesus get on it  As He was going along, they were spreading their robes on the road  Now He came near the path down the Mount of Olives, and the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen:

The King who comes
in the name of the Lord
is the blessed One.
Peace in heaven
and glory in the highest heaven!

Some of the Pharisees from the crowd told Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”

He answered, “I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out!”

Will your praises and adoration for Jesus overflow from you?

Today’s message on YouTube
The Rocks Cry Out

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Praise Him all creatures here below,

Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts,

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost!

May your love and security in your redemption through the blood of Jesus be more contagious than any virus!

Love in Jesus,
Pastor Wanda

Rest and Focus

Dear Friends,                                                                                                             March 29, 2020
Good morning, this third Sunday of the temporary new normal.

Perhaps God is trying to get our attention by saying to the world, SLOW DOWN, REST, Listen to Me, Look at Me! Turn your eyes to Jesus.

God created us for work and rest. He placed Adam and Eve as overseers of the animals and the land in the Garden of Eden and He commanded them to rest every 7th day, just as He rested the 7th day after creating the previous six. God was, and continues to be serious about our need to rest every seven days! Over and over throughout His Word people are admonished and commanded to rest.

God is so serious about our setting the 7th day aside that it’s the 4th Commandment:

Ex 20:8 – 10 “Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God. 9 You have six days to labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Shabbat for Adonai your God. On it, you are not to do any kind of work — not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your livestock, and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates to your property. Complete Jewish Study Bible

The commandment to observe the Sabbath rest has 2 purposes:
1) Remember the Creator
2) Set the day aside to rest in Him

We’re not very good at resting, are we? The world is full of demands and distractions. We people are full of selfish desires as well as obligations that seem to take priority over our relationship with our Creator.

Be calm.
This is a time to cherish
Lean into the enforced stay at home regulations|
To fix your eyes on Jesus.

John 8:1 – 11 tells the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery.
Jesus had entered the temple early that morning where the people crowded around Him. He was teaching the crowds when suddenly the religious leaders pushed their way through the crowd, dragging a woman. In the middles of all the people they demanded that Jesus answer what the lawful course of action should be. Of course they knew but they wanted to trap Him so they could have grounds of accusing and condemning Jesus.
Instead of directly answering the question, Jesus calmly wrote on the ground.

When they kept questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “The one of you who is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then he bent down and wrote in the dust again. On hearing this, they began to leave, one by one, the older ones first, until he was left alone, with the woman still there. 10 Standing up, Yeshua said to her, “Where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 She said, “No one, sir.” Yeshua said, “Neither do I condemn you. Now go, and don’t sin any more.”

The thing is – the two of them were still standing in the middle of the crowd of people vs 10. He was left alone, and the woman, where she had been, in the midst.
For the two of them it’s as though no one else is there. The woman who’d been cowering in fear of her life has no eyes for anyone but Jesus. Their focus is so intent on each other, everything else becomes peripheral.

This week focus on Jesus, the judge and savior of our souls, so intently that all fear and anxiety melts away. Have eyes only for Him.

O soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

John 17:33 These things I have spoken unto you that in Me you might have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Scotts Mills Friends YouTube website

Bible Project “What is the Sabbath?”


Still worshiping!

Dear Friends, 
Do you wonder if God is saying to the world, “Be still and know that I am God; exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.”?  Psalm 46:10

Of all people, Christians should have no fear of death which is the step into reality of true life with God!
2 Corinthians 5:1 – 2, 8 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

While as believers in Jesus Christ we are not afraid of death it is our responsibility to choose life. It is not our right to put others at harm, even unintentionally.

We take precautions not from fear for ourselves but from the desire to keep our loved ones and friends healthy.

God wants us to live in ways that take into account the community’s health. There are many references in the Old Testament for cleanliness and minimizing exposure to communicable diseases. God knows how rampantly infections and disease will spread through a community of people who don’t take precaution. He set up firm guidelines to keep people from contaminating each other. Yes, we’re in a completely different era far removed from wandering the desert without benefit of medical knowledge and intervention but infections are spread in the same way as they were then.

If you have underlying health problems or live / work with someone who does and can’t risk being exposed please know that God doesn’t need us to be in a church building to worship Him. Some people’s best worship experiences come from being alone with God: Listening to Him, reading His Word – the Textbook for living an abundant life in Jesus.

God can use this time to give His people a renewed zeal for Him, a fresh vision, an eagerness to see where His will leads us!

This is just a season, one in which God wants us to grow in new ways:

More compassionate
More reflective
More aware of Him, of others
More in tuned with Him

Less need to be on the go, to be doing busyness of life, needing entertainment to amuse us.

Let’s use this time well to dig deep into the fullness of God, to restore rest and health and wellbeing.
Thankful for His abundant goodness, joy and everlasting love!

Rejoice in the day and may the peace of God fill you! I encourage you all to read the Gospel of John.
If that seems too overwhelming, read chapters 6 – 8.

Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Wanda Jenkins, Pastor