Walk in the Rain

Walk in the rain that turned to storm

Some avoided this morning’s norm

No one out; the metropolis quiet

because of pounding rain, but we desire it.
Why out in the rain and not at home?

Did we not get the memo, stay out of the storm?

We knew the report, but we wanted to worship

So off in the rain we went to the church house.
Why walk in the rain when you could drive?

We couldn’t drive in our situation at this time.

Maybe a taxi, but it didn’t come to mind, 

so off in the rain our hearts sublime.
The destination worth it, the puddles unavoidable

Around each one we tried but wet was our stride

The pastor made comment of the weather amid,

“…also, a wonderful, dry room to worship in.”
How grateful he was and so were we

If work had called, we’d on time be.

So why miss assembly and worship a tree

Yes, a storm is on us, but we are free.
With lungs to breathe air, and eyes to see,

ears to hear tapping of wet moisture on me

It seemed such joy to be able to worship

A little rain, or a lot was not to disturb us.
Never should keep us from gathering or deter

So go to church, and be on time as it were.

A privilege that not all in the world can embrace

Be a Jesus freak, run and stay in the race.
The worshiping assembly is a joy of the Kingdom.

Make it a habit but not an agenda.

Don’t be one of those with no good reason

Go to church, worship Jesus, and live life in season.

©Valerie Rumfelt

2022

24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25

God’s Love Is Not Blind

freestocks-org-552875-unsplashAnd I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God. But as for those who long for vile images and detestable idols, I will repay them fully for their sins. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”

Ezekiel 11:19-21

As Valentines Day approaches, may I recommend a sharp focus on Jesus! He meets all our expectations. He never fails. The world groans. It is predictable. If you follow Jesus, then you are in a relationship with the only One who gives hope and provides us perfect love. Remember, this world is not our home when we know Jesus. We don’t have to follow the world’s customs.  Valentines Day can be a time for followers of Jesus to tighten our grip and be all the more devoted to the One who saved our soul and who lives in our hearts!7a4be2db-ecc1-4f6a-a9a7-b5cc097922a9

Because of Him we have a new heart. We have His unconditional and intentional love. He loves us with an everlasting love and He sees us. Here’s four ways God shows us His love and we can know His love is not blind.

God’s love is NOT blind – Lost people act like lost people and He sees. He is not turning a blind eye. Lost people do wander in darkness and produce much wickedness and evil. It is up to us, His children, to live exemplary lives, to live set apart, to pray for hearts of the lost to to be transformed through the power of the Gospel. And we His children are commanded to witness, to share the gospel on a regular basis.

God’s love is NOT blind – Even believers can produce surprising amounts of wickedness and evil which He sees. Although we are His children, we still give in to our sin nature for a moment or even a season. When we do, His discipline, designed to chase us back will come. (Proverbs 3:12). As for consequences, those soon become self-evident. Grace is wonderful, but it is to be cherished and keep us humble. God’s love is not blind to our confessions and desire to turn back to Him and follow His ways. (1 John 1:9)

God’s love is NOT blind – He sees the good things His children do out of love for Him and He brings brings a harvest(Galatians 6:9). This is particularly encouraging if you’re in a thankless and under appreciated environment. God’s love is not blind, and it is thrilling when we sense His approval of who we are becoming as we obey Him.

God’s love is NOT blind – For His children, we are given grace and mercy in all of life’s seasons whether we are devoted or not. God’s love is not blind. It can’t be overstated how kind God is to His own. But just as God is love, we should be motivated by love to desire to obey Him and this should give us good testimonies and ensure a pure heart before Him.

As believers, we are to walk humbly before our God. God is all-knowing. We can rest in His love and know His love is not blind. For His devoted ones observing this world, this is a comfort to us.  God sees all and He has a justice system that is not based on human emotion. God does not change.  He will punish the wicked. He will uphold the righteous.  img_1444

Here are a few action tips for believers living in this dark world:

  • We can sharpen our spiritual disciplines in prayer, Bible reading, witnessing, sharing with those in need, fasting, memorizing and meditating on scripture, taking care of our bodies, praising Him, holding our tongues, committing to kingdom work through the local church.
  • We can remember that God is light and in Him there is no darkness, at all. Make times to focus on Jesus.
  • We can take a break from the news.
  • We can examine our own lives and ask God to show us any ways that don’t please Him.
  • We can humble ourselves and ask God to fill our hearts with His love for this world.
  • We can pray that the hearts of people won’t be hardened especially those who are in places of authority.
  • We can remember God loves the righteous and the unrighteous. We can remember that we used to be enemies of God.
  • We can strive to live in such a way that the Lord takes pleasure in us and provides His protection to us.

img_1584With all that is going on so rapidly in our world and in our country, it is comforting to know that God’s love is not blind. It is also important for His children to look for where God is working. Ask His Holy Spirit to show you and then thank Him for these good things. We must pray for those in authority over us and live our lives in a way that pleases Him. We are God’s way of reaching the world. When He looks at His kids, we want Him to see us actively involved in His work. After all, God’s love is NOT blind.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 5:43-48

©Valerie Rumfelt

When God Has You in a Place

Do you remember a time when you thought you needed something and it didn’t come? Maybe it was a report from the doctor, a friend to show up, for a situation to end, for a situation to begin, or a hug. But it didn’t come. What did you do? Did you cry? Did you pray? Did you question God? Did you harden your heart? Did you praise God? Did you give thanks to God? Did you complain to others or to God? What did you do?

Sometimes God has you in a place. Sometimes that place has no door for exit and no window for hope. What do you do? What can you do?

There’s a sense of powerlessness. Whatever you desire is not in your control to fix or attain. You can’t push things along. You can’t escape.

God has you in a place and you are forced to do things His way. You are forced to beg him for His intervention. You are forced to seek His perspective. You are forced to praise Him. You are forced to give Him thanks. 

Not too long after you begin to be honest with God and you quit carrying the desire, burden, need, hope, or longing, then you realize there is a burden bearer. There is a caregiver for your soul. There is a tear wiper and a compassionate ear. Even though He may seem silent, He is not inattentive. He is present.

When was the last time you poured out your heart to God? When was the last time you gave up being strong? When was the last time you went to your knees in surrender?

For the follower of Christ, this is where Christianity is proved. These are the places where no human can fulfill. You may know that God doesn’t even want you to share this with another human. It’s just you talking to Him. You didn’t think He was enough. You thought you needed a friend. A human. He is teaching you that HE is enough. He is your best friend. He is the one who can fix, fulfill, and fan into flame whatever the plan is. No matter how long you have to wait. Even if you don’t see Him do anything. Even if what you thought you needed never happens.

I could tell you what the Bible says about how valuable giving thanks is, being content, how He gives perseverance, how He gives strength to the weary, and so on. If you are a follower of Christ, you are familiar with all these promises. It’s your choice to cling to them.

What you may not be familiar with is waiting the way He wants you to wait. We will do most anything other than wait well. It seems so counterintuitive. But that is where the presence of God is. It’s that still, silent place, sometimes full of peace, sometimes uncomfortable.

Let’s not rush the process and ruin His plans with our own plan. He is a God of love who longs to give His children good things. Wait.

Waiting silently is the hardest thing of all.

Elisabeth Elliot

The Best Sermon I’ve Heard About Work

This blog is about winning ways to follow Jesus. Work is indeed a biblical way to follow Jesus. We watched a sermon online yesterday from Tokyo Baptist Church. He did all the research for this topic and I’m passing it on to you.

Pastor Takeshi Yozawa ·

He preached 2 Thessalonians 3:1-13. These are notes I took. If you want to hear the sermon and take your own, then go here https://youtu.be/08DYW1UcC-A

These are in order in terms of what he said, but there is no outline. It’s straight from my notebook.

Sermon Notes:

Paul starts by saying to keep away from certain Christians because they don’t live according to tradition. Tradition means what is originally received from someone and passed on to someone else. This would mean a teaching from Jesus to the apostles, and the apostles pass it on to the churches. Paul says when we disobey the teaching of the Apostles, we disobey Jesus. 

Paul says there is disorderly conduct and idleness. They are out of order. He commanded the church to work, but some disobeyed. What does our work have to do with the testimony of the church? Our attitudes toward work should change.

Verses 7-9

Paul says he was NOT idle – He labored. He did this for two reasons:

-He did not want to be a burden 

-He wanted to be an example so that they would imitate him

In the modern, individualistic world, we tend to think vacation is great and work is a necessary evil. 

But work is a God thing. Work is our first calling as humans. Starting in Genesis 2:15, the man was placed in the garden to work and watch over it – 

Work is not a punishment. It is a gift – a blessing of God. 

Sin has made work harder.

John 5:17 My Father is still working, and I am working also – 

Work is in the Ten Commandments – You are to labor six days…

The rest of the command is the part we focus on about resting. Resting is good, but we are no longer under the Sabbath law because it’s been fulfilled in Jesus.

Work is the means for us to serve Jesus and bring glory to God. 

Colossians 3:23-24

I Corinthians 10:31b

Our workplace is the one place we will impact more non-Christians than anywhere else.

We can show Christ and bring glory to Him.

The calling of mankind:

To serve God

To show the character of God

To bring glory to God

2 Thessalonians 3:7-9

vs.9 – Paul was working as a gospel worker for the church. He believed he had the right to get support. But Paul didn’t receive support from a church he started. He would not make them pay. He was fine about outside churches supporting him.

Every pastor on staff at TBC was a church member before they were called to their current position – the supporting staff too. They were volunteer workers before they were ever paid by the church. Their hearts are about giving and serving others. Vs. 10-13

Those were not willing to work – this was a particular group. He calls them busybodies, unwilling. 

He is not talking about the sick, people who want to work but can’t find work, or the old and retired who can’t work, or homemaker teaming with your spouse to run the home and children, or students working hard on their training and education. This is not who Paul is talking about. 

These are people unwilling, and he calls them busybodies. 

We use our gifts to glorify God and serve others, especially for the salvation of others. We are a peculiar people. It’s entirely different from others lives. We don’t work for ourselves. We rejoice to serve at home, church, and work. This is the Christian life. We live and work and serve. It’s the life of Jesus. 

The Paperclip Matters

Do you work in an office setting? Whether you have a corner office, share a cubicle, sit in an area with a few others, or just report occasionally to your supervisor’s office, integrity is necessary to live with a clean conscience and to enjoy favor with God and man. This is why the paper clip matters.

For the sake of this blog, the paperclip will represent anything at work supplied to you when you got the job to help you with your job. It can include everything from ink for the printer, copy paper, publications, sticky notes, calendars, pens, pencils, writing or drawing tools, receipt books, tape, and containers holding any of these items., cell phone, vehicle, expense report, office furniture, secretary or assistant, anything. Some of these items are small and easy to rationalize if you just borrow them. Have you ever “borrowed” any of these to help your child do their homework or to avoid a stop by the store on the way home? Most of these things fit easily into your work bag brought from home. It would be easy to take one or two items from work now and then and rationalize it. Rationalization is the struggle keeping you from integrity. Let’s consider some of the mindsets of rationalization:

  • The company won’t miss it. Hey, I’ll even replace it when I get a chance.
  • I need this so that I can help my child get a project done. My boss would want me to help my child.
  • I’m so busy, and I already work overtime. I don’t have time to go by the store to pick up my own supplies to use at home.

Every time you “borrow” these items from your workplace, you are setting a new precedent for your conscience to tolerate. It’s the small decisions we make every day, which define our destination.

So what does it matter if you take a paperclip every now and then? Who does it impact? Why can’t I take a paperclip?

Stealing is when you take something that isn’t yours without permission. It is #8 of the ten commandments.

Integrity is living a moral and ethical life in the sight of God and man.

Maybe you think taking a paperclip is not a test of your character. But if you are a follower of Jesus, then He sees you taking it. If you go back to the definition of stealing, then taking the paperclip matters. Being a person of integrity may be a quieter life, one marked by humility, but it is a rewarding life because it affords you sleep at night and a sense of well being during the day. Why negotiate with your conscience, or even with the Holy Spirit, when you can simply live your life in peace?

We’ve started a new year, another beginning. Do you want to be a person of integrity? Integrity doesn’t care who sees. Integrity doesn’t need an audience. Integrity is a decision to be who God created you to be, whether anyone is looking. Integrity is a core value for a Jesus follower. It’s a way to shine your light in the darkness. People will notice and appreciate a person of integrity. Even if you work in a Christian environment, the standard may not be as high as what is presented in this blog. You can be the one to change this environment in your workplace by being a person of integrity.

Integrity is what you do when no one is watching; it’s doing the right thing all the time, even when it may work to your disadvantage. Tony Dungy