Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October 29th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Psalm 34:1-10, 22
Of David, when he feigned madness before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.
I will bless the Lord at all times;
   his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
   let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me,
   and let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
   and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him, and be radiant;
   so your faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,
   and was saved from every trouble.
The angel of the Lord encamps
   around those who fear him, and delivers them.
O taste and see that the Lord is good;
   happy are those who take refuge in him.
O fear the Lord, you his holy ones,
   for those who fear him have no want.
The young lions suffer want and hunger,
   but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
   none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

How often we think of God coming to us. God did come to us and is always with us. God came to you and to me in Jesus and for this we can all be thankful and give God all glory, honor and praise.

But I think of the reverse times as well. How many times have I sought God. I desire to be with God and in God's presence. All of the time for that matter. I want to be with God especially in my times of need and want. When I am sick or ill or poor or any other need... I want God! I want God like a child wants a parent to protect and rescue me.

And then there are those times that I'm happy. How I want God to see me and be with me and look at my happiness. How I want God to give me a high five and celebrate the blessing or joy that I feel at that moment. I seek God to be with God and laugh and run for joy in God's presence.

But there are also those dark times when I'm in the midst of sin when I don't seek God. When I hide from God. Those times have always lead me to a realization that God is always with me... even in the midst of my sin. I may as well confess my sin and return to God for teaching, understanding, correction and forgiveness. I need the presence of God always. Once again I always want to be with God in all circumstances.

You come to realize that the presence of God is needed in life. The presence of God is the source of life. The presence of God is life. The presence of God is salvation and true love.

As David in the passage above rejoices in his relationship with God and God's presence in his life; so too can we all rejoice and give thanks and praise to God for God's presence in our lives.

I always seek God and I have found that God has always sought me.

Thanks be to God!


Lord, be with me this day and give me the joy and the hope of your presence always with me. As I run to be in your presence, lead me through the tough times and be with me in the joyful times that we may always be together... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October 28th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Revelation 7:9-17
 After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying,
‘Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!’
And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, singing,
‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honour
and power and might
be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.’

 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, ‘Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?’ I said to him, ‘Sir, you are the one that knows.’ Then he said to me, ‘These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
For this reason they are before the throne of God,
   and worship him day and night within his temple,
   and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.
They will hunger no more, and thirst no more;
   the sun will not strike them,
   nor any scorching heat;
for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd,
   and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’

They came through! They came through and believed in Jesus! They came through and now know that salvation belongs to God in Jesus in the blood that God in Jesus shed upon that cross so many years ago from today. They have faith and believe in what God has done. They wash the robes in the blood of Christ in full trust for what Jesus has done upon the cross. They have seen and lay all of their hope, yes all of their lives upon the resurrection of Jesus. Yes... the they... are you and I and all who believe in the saving grace of Jesus.

And how do we react? We focus on Jesus. We look to the one seated on the throne of God and sing praise and shout glory and honor to Jesus our Savior and our God. We can do this now in the presence of all the host of heaven. We can do this now with those who have gone before us and those who have yet to come who will believe and trust in the salvation of God through Jesus. We can do this right now... here and now!

And Jesus will guide us to springs of the water of life. Yes, we too, can offer to one another this water from the well that never stops flowing. We too can have compassion on the poor, the homeless. the prisoners, the addicted, the ill, the dying, the very people that we live with in this world and offer the hope and joy and honor to give all praise and glory to Jesus; our God of salvation even in the midst of each of our great ordeals.

So, let us believe and have faith and trust in what God has done for us through Jesus. Let us put on those robes washed clean in the blood of the Lamb that have turned bright white and sing praises to God. Let us look to the center of the throne and worship Jesus. What more could we do? How else could we respond? What joy we have... even now!


Lord, many have gone before me and suffered dearly in your name. Take my life and use it to bring glory to your name. In the midst of pain and suffering may I still look to that day when I will sing praise to you. For salvation belongs to you and you alone. I believe and turn to you, for and with, my life. I look for that water that never stops flowing that washes me in your love and salvation. Use me this day to sing your praises and bring glory to you with those you give to me... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Sunday, October 19, 2014

October 19th Reflection by Bill Lynch

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace.
 We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of people we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place where your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

Here is a testimony and an example of Word and action through the power of the Holy Spirit taking place in the church. That's how it should be. As we learn and hear and understand the Word of God and as we come to have faith and believe in what God has done for all creation in the saving acts of Jesus Christ; we put our faith into action out of the love that God has shown us and given to us in the saving acts of Jesus' coming, teaching, healing, ministry, suffering, death and resurrection.

This is a letter to the Thessalonians of thanks from Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, exhorting the church to live out the Word in the flesh through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. And the Thessalonian church does this even in the midst of persecution. The church living in the joy of salvation and the love of God. The people coming to repentance and changing their ways from worship of idols to worship of the true and living God.

When we as individuals and as churches cling to the Word of God and cling to the joy of the Holy Spirit active and alive within us; we can turn from our sinfulness through the saving power of Jesus and become imitators of Jesus. We can imitate with joy and love, the love the Jesus has shown to us even as Jesus was persecuted.

Likewise we can imitate the joy of the resurrection of Jesus knowing that God has saved us from our sin and raises us to a new life through the calling and the gifts freely given to us through the Holy Spirit.

Yes, God is alive and well within us and brings great joy into our lives when we are going through the tough times and when we are in those moments of celebration and laughter. God is always with us bringing us safely home to live in love with God and with one another.

What more could we ever want?


Lord, as I come to you and meet you and as you come to me each day, teach me how to imitate the love you have shown to me and to all people that I may love you and love those you give to in grateful joy and thanksgiving... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Friday, October 17, 2014

October 17th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Psalm 96:1-9 [10-13]
O sing to the Lord a new song;
   sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
   tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
   his marvellous works among all the peoples.
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
   he is to be revered above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
   but the Lord made the heavens.
Honour and majesty are before him;
   strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
   ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
   bring an offering, and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in holy splendour;
   tremble before him, all the earth.

[ Say among the nations, ‘The Lord is king!
   The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved.
   He will judge the peoples with equity.’
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
   let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
   let the field exult, and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
   before the Lord; for he is coming,
   for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,

   and the peoples with his truth.]


We sing a new song to God our Savior.
   For our God has come to us in each of our lives.
Come in a special and unique way to save each of us from sin.

We bless the Lord for all God's power and might.
   The Creator of all things is majestic and awesome in power and strength.
Our God is above all gods and due all honor, blessing, praise and glory.

We tell all those we meet of how God has saved us in our own lives.
   We tell the Gospel story of Jesus saving grace for all creation.
We tell with joy and excitement the blessing of eternal life through Jesus.

Glory to God the Father.
   Glory to God the Son.
Glory to God the Holy Spirit.


Lord, I sing a new song to you and you alone. A song of blessing, a song to tell all creation of the glory and honor and power and love you give to all that you have created... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October 16th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Exodus 33:12-23
 Moses said to the Lord, ‘See, you have said to me, “Bring up this people”; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, “I know you by name, and you have also found favour in my sight.” Now if I have found favour in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favour in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.’ He said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ And he said to him, ‘If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favour in your sight, I and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.’

 The Lord said to Moses, ‘I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favour in my sight, and I know you by name.’ Moses said, ‘Show me your glory, I pray.’ And he said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, “The Lord”; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But’, he said, ‘you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.’ And the Lord continued, ‘See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.’

Oh how we want to see God! We want to be assured of God's presence with us as we live our lives. We want God to be with us to lead us and guide us. The future seems so unsure. We can't predict what will happen in the next moment let alone know what will happen in the next week, month or year. Yet, we yearn to control each and every circumstance in our lives. We love to plan it out and get upset when the plans don't work out exactly as we had planned.

But that's life I think. There are always twists and turns. There is always something to battle for or against in life. Nothing goes exactly as we had planned.

There is a beauty in this failure to know each detail in our life now and in the future. We realize that we need God in our lives. We need God to lead and guide us down the unknown paths of life. We look for God and are joyful even if we only see the back of God. In fact... if I see the back of God... I rest assured that I am going in the direction that God would have me go.

This passage seems to assure Moses that God will go wherever Moses is lead by God to go. It assures Moses that God is with him as Moses follows God's direction.

Our God is a God of presence. God came to this earth in Jesus to be present with us and God's creation. God saved us graciously through Jesus. God remains on this earth and with each of us as we believe in God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Yes... God is present in what God has created, in flesh and in spirit. God is present in ways seen and unseen. God is always with us.

God knows what God has created and knows each of us by name. God knows all of the details that we could never fathom. Therefore... we look to God for favor and mercy and love and direction.


Lord, show me your glory... show me your way... lead me and guide me... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 15th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Isaiah 45:1-7
Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,
   whose right hand I have grasped
to subdue nations before him
   and strip kings of their robes,
to open doors before him—
   and the gates shall not be closed:
I will go before you
   and level the mountains,
I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
   and cut through the bars of iron,
I will give you the treasures of darkness
   and riches hidden in secret places,
so that you may know that it is I, the Lord,
   the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
For the sake of my servant Jacob,
   and Israel my chosen,
I call you by your name,
   I surname you, though you do not know me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
   besides me there is no god.
   I arm you, though you do not know me,
so that they may know, from the rising of the sun
   and from the west, that there is no one besides me;
   I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I form light and create darkness,
   I make weal and create woe;
   I the Lord do all these things.

The Israelites are now coming out of Babylonian rule and God has decided to empower Cyrus to set the Chosen People free. They will be free to once again call upon the name of God from their home in Jerusalem.

This is an example of the power of God. God calling and using a ruler and an earthly kingdom to save God's people, even though that ruler and that kingdom don't even know God. Will the ruler and some in the kingdom come to know God by God's action in their lives? Perhaps... I don't know.

It is assuring to know that God cares for those he has chosen and even those who have yet come to believe to call them and to gather them into his loving care. This is the love of God. The God that created all that exists and gives all things life. A God of grace and love and action. A God for all the people.

Yes... it's true of our God...

"I am the Lord, and there is no other;
   besides me there is no god.
   I arm you, though you do not know me,
so that they may know, from the rising of the sun
   and from the west, that there is no one besides me;
   I am the Lord, and there is no other."


One and only God; you come into my life and call me and direct my way. You are the only God of all things. I worship and adore you and sing praise to you... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Matthew 22:1-14
Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, “Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.” But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, maltreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, “The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.” Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

 ‘But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?” And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’

What? All of these people invited don't even have the time to come because of something else? What? They even disrespected and killed the messengers! What? So the king sends in the army and destroys the city! What!

So the king finds the guests to attend the wedding banquet. And then... and then... just because one of them doesn't have a wedding robe on, he is tossed out into the darkness. What?

How many people have been invited to and exposed to the grace of God through the coming of God to this world in Jesus? How many people have seen the action and results of the joy of the Holy Spirit on this earth? How many messages have been sent out by God and through so many of God's disciples about the grace of God in the coming, the life, the ministry, the suffering, the death and the resurrection of Jesus? How many people have been invited to this day? How many people know of the invitation to believe. Even faith is given and hope is supplied by God. All we have is from God and God even comes to us to save us and provide for us eternal life if only we believe in God and give all of our trust in what God has done for us in Christ Jesus, to God. Sounds like an invitation to a wedding banquet to me!

What we don't know and don't see in this parable is that it was customary for the wedding party host to provide the wedding robe for the guests. Well, just as God has done everything for us... even save us... this guest without a robe could have put on the robe provided! The guest should have been overwhelmed with joy to even be at this feast! At one time this guest wasn't even invited to the feast until so many had turned down the king. So why not wear the robe?

Sounds like a warning to me. God's grace is so amazing, just the knowledge that I and you have been given an invitation to the feast is wonderful enough. This invitation and our attendance to the feast of grace in itself is more than enough to cause anyone to dance and celebrate with eternal joy in the presence of the King... God... the Savior... the Holy Spirit in awesome joy!

So, consider the invitation before you. Will you come to the feast of God our King through the grace and love God has for all people? Will you wear the robe of grace that God freely provides and dance? Why NOT!!!

If not... consider the alternative... Come to the feast and dance in joy wearing the wedding robe of grace!


Lord, you gave it all to invite all creation and all people to the feast of all time. May I or anyone else not turn down this invitation to the source of your love. As your messengers may we boldly go and invite those on the streets and in the alleys to see and witness the feast of your grace and love... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Thursday, October 09, 2014

October 9th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Philippians 4:1-9
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.
 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

It's hard to stand firm in this world sometimes. Especially when you are standing up for what is honorable, just, pure, pleasing and commendable. Sin overtakes the world and ourselves and we fall to the temptation to separate from one another and from Jesus. And when we separate, especially from God we will fall.

We fall into the trap of the world. We fall into hatred for another person or group. We fall into greed and take advantage of one another. We fall into the sin and evil of murder and physical harm to one another. We fall into sin.

In this passage, Paul urges all Christians but especially here directed towards the Philippians, that they not fall but stand strong with one another. In the unity of being in concert with those who love Jesus, we rejoice in what we have in common and celebrate our differences as gifts from God. No, we don't always agree on everything, but on those issues we can talk in a different way to one another. Rather than argue, we listen and try to understand in love and then move forward in action to unify under Jesus Christ.

In this we gain the peace of God. This is the peace that... "surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Let's work towards keeping our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Let's live in the joy of our unity rather than the angst of our differences.


Lord, may I keep you and you alone as the main thing in my life. I look to you and your way and your teaching. Keep my mind and heart and soul with Christ Jesus that I may live in unity under Jesus with all you give to me... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

October 8th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Psalm 23
A Psalm of David.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
   He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
   he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
   for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
   I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
   your rod and your staff—
   they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
   in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
   my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
   all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
   my whole life long.

Lord, you lead and guide me all life long.
   You make me take time to rest in you.
You fill my life with the everlasting baptismal waters.
   You take care of me all my days.
Yes, Lord, you lead me in your will and your way.

Even when I sin or am ill or in trouble,
   I can depend on you being right by my side.
You are always there closer than I can imagine.
   Filling my life with comfort and grace.
Yes, Lord, you are always with me.

When I'm persecuted by enemies.
   You invite those enemies to sit, eat and see your grace.
You show everyone the cup of overflowing wine through your blood.
   You are the Savior of all the people both for me and those who hate me.
Yes, Lord, you invite me into your graces each and every day.


Lord, when I  think of your presence I am overwhelmed by your grace. You have not only come to save me from myself but you come to save even those I can't stand. Be with all people, that we may follow in your will and your way and comfort in the gracious act of love only you could give through Jesus Christ... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

October 7th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Exodus 32:1-14
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron and said to him, ‘Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ Aaron said to them, ‘Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.’ So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron. He took the gold from them, formed it in a mould, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’ When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, ‘Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord.’ They rose early the next day, and offered burnt-offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel.

 The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshipped it and sacrificed to it, and said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” ’ The Lord said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are. Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation.’

 But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, ‘O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, “It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth”? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, “I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it for ever.” ’ And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.

When I read this passage the word "repent" comes to mind. The word "repent" comes to mind in a dual fashion of sorts. To repent is to change. And change is what happen in this passage all over the place.

The Israelites can't seem to have enough patience to realize that God is still with them. God is with them and near to them physically and spiritually. God is with them physically in the presence of Moses on the mountain. God is with them spiritually in the love that God has for God's very own people. But the Israelites can't seem to sense this and take it upon themselves to replace God with something that they can touch and feel and see physically but can't relate to in any spiritual manner that is not just some hyped up emotion that only they can control.

Yes, the Israelites need to "repent." They need to change. They need to think about God and realize God's presence in a different way, for God IS closer than they could ever imagine both physically and spiritually in God's love for God's people.

Yet, I also see the word "repent" in God's actions too. For God changed also. God witnessed what the Israelites had done in the making of the idol. The Israelites made an idol out of what God had given them in the first place. God had supplied the gold after all. And the Israelites mistakenly thought that if all the precious gold was gathered together into one place and the calf was formed, then this must be their god. This action infuriated God to the point that God was ready consume the Israelites and start all over again with Moses alone. But Moses speaks to God and pleads for God to change God's mind. Moses seeks for God to "repent." And God does "repent." God changes and gives the people another chance.

Yes, this passage makes me think of the word "repent." How I need to repent each day of my sin. How I need God's repentance and change each day through God's gracious act of forgiveness. Yes, I repent and turn to God and ask God to repent and turn God's face towards me in the love and compassion and understanding that only God can show and has shown to all the world through Jesus our Savior.

A passage about repentance and grace and love and understanding. That's what I see in this passage and I give God all the glory and honor and praise for having "repented" and changed to love me even when I'm at my worst.


Lord, hear my plea and my words of repentance. As I change and face you this day; forgive my sin that I may live in your grace and bring honor and glory to you alone. Send me forth this day through the power of your forgiving grace that I may forgive and love those you give to me... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen 

Monday, October 06, 2014

October 6th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Isaiah 25:1-9
O Lord, you are my God;
   I will exalt you, I will praise your name;
for you have done wonderful things,
   plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
For you have made the city a heap,
   the fortified city a ruin;
the palace of aliens is a city no more,
   it will never be rebuilt.
Therefore strong peoples will glorify you;
   cities of ruthless nations will fear you.
For you have been a refuge to the poor,
   a refuge to the needy in their distress,
   a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat.
When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rainstorm,
   the noise of aliens like heat in a dry place,
you subdued the heat with the shade of clouds;
   the song of the ruthless was stilled.

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
   a feast of rich food, a feast of well-matured wines,
   of rich food filled with marrow, of well-matured wines strained clear.
And he will destroy on this mountain
   the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
   the sheet that is spread over all nations;
he will swallow up death for ever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
   and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
   for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
   Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
   This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
   let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

"Hang in there!" Sometimes when you hear this said as you are going through some life trial it seems so cheap. But this passage brings this expression to mind. Don't abandon your trust and faith and hope in God... "Hang in there!"

These are the times when you really notice God in your life. You at first believe that maybe God has left you all alone. But a simple prayer by yourself or even through someone else, reveals that God is with you even in the trials of life. You begin to realize the presence of Jesus and the suffering and pain he endured. You begin to think of all of the people that Jesus had compassion on and healed. You begin to think of what really matters in your relationship with God and with the situation you are in and the "big" things become the "big" things and the small things grow smaller and smaller. Yes, you realize that God is with you in this thing you are going through... and yes... you learn to "Hang in there!"

You see another day with God on your side. You see the protection and what God has provided in your life. You can look back and look forward to God's hand in your life all along the way giving you the strength to... "Hang in there!"

Finally you begin to rejoice in the Lord. Now you have hope...

"Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
   and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
   for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
   Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
   This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
   let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation."

"Hang in there!"


Lord, when the going gets rough; slow me down, stop me when needed so that I can see you in the midst of it all and know the hope I have in you... no matter what... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Sunday, October 05, 2014

October 5th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Matthew 21:33-46
 ‘Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watch-tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, “They will respect my son.” But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.” So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ They said to him, ‘He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.’

 Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:
“The stone that the builders rejected
   has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
   and it is amazing in our eyes”?
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.’

 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.

This parable reminds me of the expression about getting a new lease on life or just a lease on life. In a sense it's true. We are given a lease on life. I didn't do anything to be given life. God gave me life and he gave you life too. Surely the life we have been given, that took some trouble on God's part to create and bring into existence, has been given to us for a purpose.

This parable seems to lead us to the conclusion that our purpose is to produce fruit for God. But what is the fruit I am to produce? What is the fruit you have been chosen to produce? How do we discover this and how do we go about producing the proper fruit?

I guess I got a little ahead of myself in those questions. First, as the parable suggests, I must be able to think about my life differently. My life is not my own. I don't own my own life. God is the owner. God just gave me the lease on life. God, as the owner of my life, expects me to take care of my life and to nourish my life and God expects my life to bring back something of honor and glory to my owner, God, with my life. So, first, I must get the notion out of my head that my life is my own. It's not my life... it's the life God gave to me to live. Therefore, I live for God and not for myself. This I must understand first and foremost.

If I don't get that the life I live is for God, then I may and probably will become selfish with my life and try to eliminate God from my life so that I can claim my life as my own. And it is here that God sent his own Son in Jesus. God sent Jesus to us because we couldn't see how to give our own life to God.

God has done all that God could ever do for us. God even gave the life of Jesus in our stead so that we could live out our "lease" on life in honor of God and produce the fruit God chooses for us to produce.

This giving of life by God is a done deal. God not only gave us life to live, God gave the life of Jesus for us to live also. God gave us a "lease" on life and then God gave us a New "lease" on life through the life of Jesus. All that we may be free from the power of sin, death and the devil and may produce the fruit that God chooses for each and all of us to produce for God in God's Kingdom.

Once we are free to live are lives for God and not worry about owning our lives for ourselves we will produce fruit. We will grow in the grace of God and before you know it... we will produce fruit! We really don't need to worry too much about the fruit. When we give our lives to God; God graciously cares for us and feeds us and prunes us and we produce the fruit God has chosen for us to produce. We actually get the joy of living for God and the joy of seeing the fruit that God has chosen for us to produce.

Through the giving up of our own desire to "own" our lives and through the New "lease" on life that God has graciously given to us through the life of Jesus, we get the joy of witnessing the fruit of our lives. Perhaps our fruit will be compassion for the homeless. Perhaps the fruit will be riches to give to the poor. Perhaps the fruit will be the hands of a surgeon. Perhaps the fruit will be the ear to listen. Perhaps the fruit will be the voice of a choir. Who knows what the fruit we will produce? But, I'll bet that the fruit each and all of us produce will be in the likeness of and a result of the Love that God has given to each and to all of us through the love that God gave us in Jesus life.

Just a hunch on my part... but I'll bet I'm on the right track. Thanks be to God!

Music- Lost & Found

Lord, I give my life to you. I don't own it... you do. As I live my life for and in you; lead me to love those you give to me each day. Produce in me the fruit that you desire that I may please you... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Saturday, October 04, 2014

October 4th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Philippians 3:4b-14
...even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh.

If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.

 Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

It's not about me or what I have done or what I will do now or in the future. It's about what Christ has done. It's about the life, ministry, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus that brings me the faith and the hope that I need to continue on in this life and in this place. It's about the power of Jesus' resurrection that gives me the faith that I need to live on in the here and now.

So, I focus on the cross. I focus on Christ. I focus on the God that came to me to save me from myself and my sinfulness. I focus forward towards the heavenly call that God has called me to and has called all who come to believe in Jesus. God provides the faith and we believe and live our lives looking forward towards what God calls each one of us to do in the here and now.

The heavens are always there for us since Jesus died to save us. You and I are given the goal that Jesus has already achieved for us. We are free to live and enjoy our lives in the here and now. Yes enjoy... even in the midst of illness... even in the midst of suffering... even in the midst of pain... we are free to enjoy our lives. And enjoy we will, knowing that heaven is before us and Jesus return is soon and certain. We live in this joy of walking this earth with those God gives to us as we are given to them to comfort, love and serve.

Life is a joy to live and we are called to live in this joy and freedom that Jesus gave us out of his love for all people and for all creation.


Lord, lead me and guide me this day as I serve, love and live with those you give to me as you lived, loved and served all of us. Teach us to focus on you and your call in our lives... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen