“You have to fight for your right to …”

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By Bill Naron

Sitting in my plush green chair in the sanctuary this Sunday, I made a connection between something that my wife and I had been talking about and what Brian was speaking from the front. It was Jesus’s kingship! I was really intrigued as a video popped up on the screen and the speaker on the video was talking about the vastness of the universe and how the farther and farther out you go, the smaller and smaller everything looks. So, I got to thinking about Jesus and the Father. I began to think about creation and like we read in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God ….” Jesus is the Word, and He was there at the beginning; the Bible says that all things were created through Him and all things are held together in Him.

I love the story of creation; it is my favorite part of the whole Bible. But then, who does not love the beginning, when everything is awesome and perfect? When God created everything, day after day new things were spoken into existence. On the sixth day, God created man. The Bible says that He formed man from the dust and then something happened that had not happened up to this point: God breathed life into him through his nostrils. It is amazing — God creates this being that has a mind and an ability to think and process, and this being is created in God’s likeness and image! Then this creation is given all other creation to enjoy, and he gets to be in constant communion with God, walking and talking with Him in the garden. But then, because of sin, this relationship is severed; but God is not done — He sends the Word that was with Him. He sends Jesus, the visible image of the invisible God.

See, we were talking about Jesus’s kingship and how it affects our decision-making and how we should examine everything we do through this filter, and this is where my mind went: I began to think about how amazing it is that God breathed life into man at the very beginning. We were different from the rest of creation, we were given the ability to choose to either do the right thing or do the wrong thing. The situation of Adam and Eve in the garden and them having the choice to follow God or to follow their own selfishness and be their own god is the same choice that we are presented with daily. We are put in situations and surrounded by a culture that says, “Do whatever makes you feel good, do whatever makes you happy, be the driver of your life.”

No doubt, there are probably ideas that pop into our minds that we know we should not entertain because they are not beneficial to our health or they are things that we know to be wrong. Do we ever take the time to analyze and think about how the things that we watch or the music we listen to or even the books that we read may influence us and draw us away from our priorities? There are so many things in this world that appear to be good and harmless but are really just little pebbles that cause us to trip and stumble into something bigger. Therefore, I think it is so important that we examine everything we allow in our lives and in our homes through the filter of Christ, because Jesus is King and everything we do should be an example of Him to the world. So many things in the world are beckoning for our attention and trying to consume our time and efforts. This is where my wife and I have found ourselves in contemplation lately, especially when it comes to investing in our kids. We have six small children and an awesome field of discipleship with them. So, it is important for us to analyze how we can maximize our ability to speak life to our kids and how we can be that example of Jesus to our kids when we are around them inside and outside of the house.

Jesus has shown me that in some ways there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. For example, if television, or music, or “fill in the blank,” is taking time away from our priorities, which should be God and our families, that is too much of a good thing. See, we are not the makers of our own destinies or the masters of our fate. We are creations of the God who spoke the universe into existence and breathed life into man, who gave himself up to reconcile His broken and fallen creation to Himself. We are cared for by Him more than the birds of the air or the flowers of the field. Everything we have in our lives we have because He has given it to us, and that is what should give us the desire to live in a way that reflects Him. I encourage you all to take some time and look at what may be consuming your time, what might be hindering you from reflecting Jesus to the world. Grace be with all of you, my dear church family. Amen.

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Spare Some Change?

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By Jeff Foerster

Change. Nothing stays the same. Has your opinion ever changed? If so, how firmly to your current position do you hold? Have you ever learned something? If you have, you must admit some ignorance prior to that time. Your hairline and waistline may change. Your choice of clothing (hopefully) changes over time. Your fingernails grow, and there is nothing you can do to stop them (ask Nebuchadnezzar about this — Daniel 4:33).

With this constant personal change, the desire may build for something dependable outside of yourself to lean upon. Do not look for consistency and hope in the greatness of America. Our monetary system is smoke, clouding mirrors. Our nation’s position of leadership in the world is quickly disintegrating. Our cultural priorities have become infantile and delusional. There is more strength in dry rot.

If constancy, if hope, is not to be found within ourselves, in treasure, national might, nor human appetites of any kind, where do we look? To what or whom do we run? The Christian readily knows this answer, but do you consider, O Christian, to what lengths God has gone to demonstrate this to you? Do you see how God has spoken to all generations by the perpetual word of His creation?

“The heavens declare the glory of God,” the Scriptures tell us (Psalm 19). “Pretty!” you say, and move on with the day. But do you know what this means?

The Sun rises in the east and sets in the west each and every day like clockwork. Seasons take their place, in order, each and every year without fail. Seeds send forth shoots and trees blossom and bear fruit. Gravity continues day in and day out. Water falls from the sky, pooling upon the earth. Then, nearly imperceptibly, it vanishes into thin air, only to return again and again. Oceans roar the coming of the tides, only to shrink back a few hours later what was so forcefully pronounced, readying themselves for the next surge.

Though the human world is bent on change, even glorifying it for its own sake, God has provided stability in the chaos, a strong tower in the whirlwind. Though there be more, one great message I take from the constancy of creation echoes in the whisper of God’s own voice to us:

“… since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made …” (Romans 1:20).

Nature demonstrates His nature, consistent and reliable, upon which we can depend. The very earth upon which we live, move, and breathe testifies at all times. Jesus is the Author and Perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:2) and we fear not because the Sun rises each day, water falls from the sky and is taken up again, and the ground brings forth fruit in season, reminding us that the Maker of all things is true to His word. Hills speak, “God is our Rock,” and mountains proclaim, “Yahweh is our Firm Foundation.” Oceans roar, “Jesus is our Strong Tower!” The wind cries “Faithful and True!” and the heavens declare the glory of our great God!

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God’s Creation

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By Jim DeAngelo

Sandra and I enjoyed a mini getaway for three days. We had a beautiful drive from home to Packwood along the foothills of Mount Rainier. The day was sunny, warm, and clear. We discussed how awesome God’s creation is.

In Colossians 1:15-16, Paul talks about Christ being the firstborn over all creation. “For by Him all things were created: Things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.”

I find God’s creation profound and will always wonder how people can dismiss the Creator and still see the wonders that surround us. As I take time to meditate on these wonders, I am awed by the magnificence of Christ. It is good to think on these things daily and be overcome by all we see.

This realization encourages me to actively participate in sharing my experiences and learnings with others. It encourages me to share the gospel, the profound blessings from knowing the Creator, not just the creation, as well as the greatness of Christ to any and all who will listen. Matthew 28:19 — “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

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