In His Praise — June 26, 2022

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” 

Matthew 18:19-20     

This last Sunday in June has been a different one for the congregation of East Point Cumberland Presbyterian Church. We’re a small congregation and since last Sunday quite a few of our church members have tested positive for Covid-19! As a wise safety precaution our elders decided to cancel services for this Sunday. 

Just hearing the words “you have  Covid” are disturbing, but when others around you begin to report the same thing, it becomes a little scary! Your mind could make you panic. Fear could fill your heart and paralyze your faith. But that’s only satan trying to rattle us. 

We all followed our orders to quarantine, medicate and rest. That has been strengthening to our physical bodies. We checked on each other by phone or text, that served to encourage and strengthen our spirits. Brother Phil shared the sermon today via Facebook from his home, that was nourishing to our souls. But most of all, we prayed! We prayed for each other, and we prayed with each other. God not only is hearing those prayers, He is answering them! 

One by one our health is being restored and we will again be able to join in worship together. But, thanks be to God for His mighty presence and His love that sustains us in such times of trouble. He is always with us to comfort, strengthen, and heal. Thank you Jesus, that you have overcome the world and that satan has no power over  your children!

What a mighty God we serve!

In His Praise — June 19, 2022

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.”

1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Happy Fathers Day! 

Dads are important people in our lives, and their influence is felt more than they probably know.  By example they show their children how to live and teach so many lessons without saying a word. 

Today’s world is a difficult place to live. There are strains and stresses on finances, relationships, morals, and even the family unit itself. It is easy to become discouraged. It is easy to stop trying. But children need fathers that do not give up, they need dads that are strong and faithful. The world needs men that are grounded in faith, who know their Heavenly Father and have a close walk with Him.

Whether you are a dad, stepdad, grandpa, uncle, brother or friend know that you impact the lives of the children in your world. It is not an easy job, but the good news is that your Father God is there to help you be the example He wants you to be. He is your Heavenly Father and He loves you. As you talk to Him in prayer, He will lead you, encourage you and bless you. 

Embrace with joy the task God has given you and let His love be your guide. Be strong and courageous in your faith. You and your children will surely be blessed.

In His Praise — June 12, 2022

“O Lord, our Lord, 

how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

You have set your glory above the heavens.

From the lips of children and infants 

you have ordained praise

 because of your enemies, 

to silence the foe and the avenger.

When I consider your heavens, 

the work of your fingers.

the moon and the stars,

which you have set in place, 

what is man that you are mindful of him,

the son of man that you care for him?

You have made him a little lower than the

 heavenly beings,

and crowned him with glory and honor.

You made him ruler over the works of your hands;

you put everything under his feet:

all the flocks and herds,

and the beast of the field, 

the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,

all that swim the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

Psalm 8

As we ponder the greatness of God, we too should be moved to worship and praise! We have no words to fully express our love, awe and wonder of such a great God. 

Let us join with the psalmist in saying “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

In His Praise — June 5, 2022

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.” 

John 14:1

These words of comfort were spoken by Jesus to His disciples as He was preparing them for His death. The disciples did not fully grasp all that was about happen. They loved Jesus and were faithful followers, but they may have been overwhelmed by all that Jesus was telling them. They were confused, afraid and some were even in denial. They did not understand why Jesus had to face such a cruel death. He had done nothing wrong!

As followers of Jesus in today’s world, we too can become confused and afraid. Daily we are faced with shortages of all kinds, high prices, violence and so many other trials. We wonder why these things are happening and where God is in the midst of all the turmoil. We might even ask why such bad things happen to  good people. It is easy to begin to doubt and even deny that God loves us. But in reality, God’s love is the only thing we can truly count on. We are reminded of this in Lamentations 3:22, Psalm 91:14-15, and 1 John 5:18.

The good news is that just as Jesus reassured His disciples, He reassures us too. In verses 15-28 of John 14, Jesus promises the Holy Spirit will come to comfort and guide the disciples, and us. He promises peace that is not of the world. His words are true, He is faithful and His love never fails.

What a blessing to be able to claim these words from Jesus, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Thank you, Lord! We have no need to fear or doubt! Our great Savior has everything under His control!

In His Praise — May 29, 2022

“… He is good; his love endures forever.”

 2 Chronicles 5:13 

These words were spoken by God’s people as the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the newly built temple of God. Chapters 5-7 in 2 Chronicles tell about this event. King Solomon lead the prayers, others played music and sang and everyone praised the Lord! When they worshipped and praised God, His glory  filled the temple!

 What an awesome day that must have been! How wonderful 

 to be part of such an experience!

We might call it a mountaintop moment, a once in a lifetime happening, something that would never happen today.  But the scriptures assure us that we too can know God’s presence. James 4:8 tells us  “Come near to God, and he will come near to you.” Again, Hebrews 10:19-22 tells us to draw near to God with a pure heart and Hebrews 4:16 says to “approach the throne of grace  with confidence”. Psalm 100:4 says to 

“enter into His courts with praise and thanksgiving”. 

We too can feel and know God’s presence in our lives as we praise and worship Him. The Lord loves to hear our praise and He desires to draw us near! 

So let your praises ring out and let the world know that “He is good; His love endures forever.”

In His Praise — May 22, 2022

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”

Deuteronomy 7:9

People are not always dependable. Sometimes we say we’ll do something, even make a promise to do it; but then things happen. Circumstances change, we forget, we don’t have time and so our words are forgotten and fall by the wayside.

Each of us have probably dealt with results of a someone not following through with a promise or commitment. We may have even been the person that didn’t follow through. Whatever the situation, it just shows that we as human beings cannot always be relied upon to do all that we say we will.

But the good news is this:

 We have a God that never changes His mind, never forgets, and never runs out of time for us. We are reassured of this with these words from Deuteronomy. 

When God said that He loved the world so much that He gave Jesus to atone for all sin and that we only have believe on Him to receive eternal life (paraphrased 3:16) He meant it for all people. When He said we only need to confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead to be saved (paraphrased Romans 10:9)  He meant it for all people. When Jesus offered up a prayer for believers in John 17:20 – 21, it was for all believers, everywhere, even us.  And praise God,  when He said that there is a “great high priest” that hears our prayers and understands our weaknesses and helps us in our times of need,(Hebrews 4:-16), it was for all believers, all through time.

God is faithful to His promises, He is loving to His children and His word is good forever!

Thanks be to God!

In His Praise — May 15, 2022

“…God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”

1 John 4:16b

Back in 1965 singer, Jackie DeShannon, recorded a song called “What the World Needs Now is Love.” It came at a time in America when there was much unrest. Racial tensions were high, the Vietnam War was going on, attitudes were changing and sometimes people disagreed in ways that were violent and hurtful. This song was a hit for DeShannon and hopefully it caused some people to rethink their behavior and respond in more kind and loving ways.

Hurtful actions and unkind attitudes are not new to us today either. We hear of family disputes, violence in our streets and disagreements that escalate out of control everyday. Yes, we do need more love. But instead of looking to a song for answers, perhaps we should look to God’s word. 1 Peter 4:16 tells us, “Above all, love each other deeply, because loves covers over a multitude of sins.” Also in Proverbs 10:12, we read, “Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers all wrongs.”

When we can look at our fellowman with God’s love in our hearts, then we see things differently.  We see another individual lost without the love of God. We see someone that also is dealing with hurt and pain, someone that may be struggling to get through another day. But, praise be to God,  we change that bad situation when we respond in love. Instead of strife and disagreement, we can have forgiveness and harmony. Instead of hurtful words being spoken, we can speak help and healing. 

Yes, the world does need more love — the love that only God can give. A love that is joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled (paraphrased Galatian 5:22).

In His Praise — May 8, 2022

“But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”

Luke 2:51-52

Happy Mother’s Day! Today many will spend a little extra time trying to make Mom feel appreciated and special. Millions of dollars will be spent on cards, flowers, dinners, and other gifts. Whether it’s  Mother, Grandmother, Aunt, Sister or friend, a loving “mother” is very special. To have a Christian mother is very special and a true blessing. 

As we focus on our mothers, let’s think  about Jesus’ mother, Mary. Although young, by today’s standards, when she gave birth, Mary was a very devout believer in God. Although she didn’t understand all that was happening to her, she accepted her role as the mother of the Messiah with faith and put her trust in God. As Jesus grew up Mary probably spent many times pondering His actions and His words, but she never gave up her faith in God. Mary was faithful to her God and faithful to the task He had given her — birthing, nurturing and caring for the the Savior of the world!

None of us will ever have such a grand assignment as Mary,  but we are given the privilege and responsibility of rearing and influencing the children that God brings into our lives. We like Mary, should remain steadfast in our faith and trust wholeheartedly in the Lord. We do not what plans the Lord has for the children He has entrusted to us.

In His Praise — May 1, 2022

“He lifted me out of  the slimy pit, out of mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth,”

Psalm 40:2-3

This is May 1, the beginning of a new month and it is Sunday, the beginning of a new week. Each day that we wake up we begin a new day. 

 Our God is the master of new beginnings. He gave Saul (later Paul) a new beginning on the road to Damascus. He called Moses to a new beginning at the burning bush. He gave the blind man a new beginning when He restored his sight and the woman at the well a new beginning when He asked for a drink.

Jesus/God lifted each one from the life they were living and placed them on a solid foundation.  As they each responded to the loving interaction of the Lord, He gave them new directions, new attitudes, and new desires — a new life to serve Him!

God is still in the business of giving new beginnings. He still lifts from the pit and slime of sin and places feet on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ.  With God’s help addictions can be broken; with God’s help the scars of abuse or bad choices can be healed; with God’s help sin-filled lifestyles can be changed to joyous living!

What a wonderful Savior! He loves us so much that He is willing to reach down into our dirt and lift us up and make us clean and holy to serve Him.

Thank you, Father!

In His Praise — April 24, 2022

“But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself.” 

Psalm 49:15

What a wonderful promise are these words from book of Psalms! The verses before and after verse 15 talk about how worthless it is to place trust in worldly treasures. We are reminded that all humans will face death sooner or later and nothing  that we have accumulated on this side of eternity will mean anything when this life ends. Wealth, status, popularity, or talent cannot get us to heaven or assure us eternity with God. 

Treasures here on earth may bring us happiness for a while, but they won’t last forever.

Only God can provide us eternal life and eternal happiness, peace and love. Only through the salvation given by Jesus’ death and resurrection can we know with assurance that we have a permanent home in heaven. 

We cannot trust the world to secure our future, but if we place our trust in God, we can know without a doubt that He will redeem us from the grave and take us to be with Him!

Thanks be to God!