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Hillyard Weekly

August 1, 2018

How Do You Define Blessing?

As Christians we seek the blessing of our Lord. The only catch is that we don’t always bother to understand what His definition of “blessing” is. Blessing from God is His giving us what He knows to be good. We, of course, don’t see as He sees and so we don’t see His “good” quite often as being good at all. We see good as positive medical reports, winning lotteries and having perfect relationships with those we love. We are much like children when it comes to blessings. We want those “sweet” things in life, not those “vegetables” again. But God works through the brokenness of our lives, those unexpected turns of events to bless us. His blessing is bringing us to a place where we trust Him enough to desire to know Him. Growth in the Christian is when we stop seeing problems as problems but as opportunities God is using to bless us, bless us by bringing us closer to Him in a relationship deeper than anything we can have elsewhere. This deeper relationship, this “encounter” with God is based in His grace. One definition of grace is: “God’s grace is that free and sovereign good will in God by which He gives undeserved favor to humans expressed in the saving and keeping of those humans who are unworthy and Hell-deserving.” That is a lot of definition but His grace is a lot of grace. He saves and He keeps those who trust in Him which is the part of the blessing through all of life’s ups and downs. Whatever blessing is to you, Paul’s verse in 1 Corinthians 2:7-9 should make you eager to experience God’s true blessing. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."

Pastor Ron

 

August 8, 2018

One Follow Up “Don’t Worry” Thought

Psalm 37 gives us a list of behaviors that, if followed, will make the life of the believer so much more in-step with the masters. The first has to do with worry (Psalm 37:1), “Do not fret.” Fret comes from the Old English term “fretan,” meaning to devour, to eat, to gnaw into something. Now the Hebrew word that David used originally in this text is “charah,” which has a root idea of growing, warm, blazing up. Combining these two word pictures together the fretting or worrying Christian allows unwanted rodents to gnaw at their souls while Satan takes advantage of the weakened state of the believer’s and start spot fires of discontent, stress and breakdown in relationships. Reaching back in his life experiences David is saying (Psalm 37:25), “I have been young and now I am old. I’ve seen many things, suffered many burdens and learned many lessons based on that lifetime of learning. Be vigilant to rid your souls of the rodents and put out the fires. Do it, don’t fret about it, do it.” Some of the other behaviors listed in the Psalm: *Trust and delight in the Lord *Commit your way to the Lord *Be still and wait patiently for the Lord *Reframe from anger. Those are just a few of the golden nuggets from this Psalm. Don’t worry, turn to the Lord!

Pastor Ron

 

August 15, 2018

Worship

Living in a dark, fallen world like we do it should come as no surprise that Satan wishes to confuse, distort and short-circuit our worship of the one and only triune God. We are not always sure what worship is and what the benefit of it is to us as believers. Ron Allen and Gordon Borror define worship in their book and tells of its origins: Worship is an active response to God whereby we declare His worth. Worship is not passive, but is participative. Worship is not simply a mood; it is a response. Worship is not just a feeling; it is a declaration… The English word worship is wonderfully expressive of the act that it describes. This term comes from the Anglo-Saxon weorthscipe, which then was modified to worthship, and finally to worship. Worship means “to attribute worth” to something or someone. When we come to our worship services it seems all too often we are in tune with our immediate lives, the state of the church building, those around us, the music, the nursery and even the looks of the pastor. Most of these, especially the looks of the pastor, are nothing more than distractions if worship is to be the act of attributing praise and thanksgiving to the God Who is worthy. If we would approach worship in another manner, one in which we are secondary and He is primary, it would be a benefit to our relationship with our Father instead of a determent. We need God and if we approach worship with that in mind we would begin with solid footing. Being in tune with God’s messages to us through His Word and having our attention turned to Him, not what is going on around us, aids worship. Corporate worship is all the congregation on the same page (maybe not the same note) and all wishing to glorify and hold up our great and awesome God. And finally, approaching worship with honesty, humility and availability has within it the idea of needing to hear from God. We are the servant and He is the Master, “What would you have me do,” open, honest, laying before Him our lives which He already knows more intricately than we ourselves. Come to worship looking for the Lord in every aspect of the service and give Him the praise and adoration He deserves through your worship.

Pastor Ron

 

August 22, 2018

Prayer

The book of James is all about practical Christian behavior. What he writes he used in his own life and ministry. So when it comes to prayer it’s no surprise that he gives straightforward, simple truth, sometimes cutting, sometimes hard to take, but always truth aimed at our growing and maturing as Christians. There’s no mystery as to how to pray, only that we pray. Often and openly, fervently and pointed, our prayers need to reflect what we’re experiencing in our lives and development. In a message titled, “The Word that Conquers God,” Clarence Edward Macartney brings out the depth, serious nature and spiritual benefits of prayer. Here are some paragraphs worthy of our taking time to meditate on: “What is the word that unites far separated souls around one common mercy seat? What is the word that brings man’s storm-driven ship into the haven of safety and peace? What is the word that turns back the shadow of death on the face of life’s dial? What is the word that gives songs in the night and that lifts the load of guilt from the conscience-smitten heart? What is the word that puts a sword in our hand when when we face temptation? What is the word that gives us strength to bear our daily burdens? What is the word that makes us coworkers with God in the coming of His kingdom? What is the word that companions the soul in its hours of loneliness and that comforts it in the day of sorrow? What is the word that sets a map of forgiveness and reconciliation in the window for the prodigal and the wandered? What is the word that brings the eternal world to view? What is the word that makes the angels rejoice when they hear it on the lips of a contrite sinner?” That mighty, all-prevailing, God-conquering word is prayer. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16) How is your prayer life?

Pastor Ron