Sermon "Skill in Your Hand & God in Your Heart"

Thursday, June 28, 2018

God Can Turn Rain into a River - A Morning Prayer

Good morning Lord. Thank You for another day. I pray that today You will once again prove how strong You are through how weak I am.

Father, some time back my youngest daughter was educating me on what she learned in school about clouds. She talked about the water cycle and how water goes from being vapor to clouds to precipitation to streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, and oceans and then back through the cycle again. Of that whole process, she seemed the most intrigued by the clouds. She was pointing them out as we went down the road, and schooled me on the different types of clouds. For me, I think the most interesting part of that process is rain. I am fascinated by how rain turns into a river.

Father, I researched and read that approximately 4 trillion rain drops will fall just in one square mile in a hour's worth of rain. Then to think how many rain drops could fall within a whole creek or river basin. Then all of those rain drops will follow a law that You created called gravity. As they travel down hill, they begin to collect until the drops become a trickle, and the trickle becomes a stream, and the stream becomes a river.

That is amazing to me how the tiny can within minutes become the mighty; how the one rain drop that was barely able to make a dent in the dust turns into a river that can cut its own path through soil and rock; how the one droplet alone could barely survive the heat of the sun can turn into a river that sustains life all around it. Lord I am truly amazed by how You turn the rain into a river.

Father, everyday of my life You are depositing droplets of Your goodness into me. Droplets of joy and peace; droplets of faith and strength; droplets of wisdom and understanding; droplets of grace and mercy; droplets of love and hope. By themselves they make no noticeable impact on who I am or what people see. But over the years since I've been following You, these droplets collected in my heart and created a river. Now that river has not only changed me, but it's starting to change the landscape around me.

Lord, I didn't start it, nor can I stop it. It just flows to me and through me. And I can't take credit for it any more than I can take credit for the rain that runs across my yard. So, I will just continue to watch in amazement as You turn this rain into a river.

Now Lord, I can better understand what You told the woman at the well when You said "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” So I thank You for sending the rain and for turning it into a river. I love You.

In Jesus name. Amen.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep - A Morning Prayer

Good morning Lord. Thank You for another day. Thank You for watching over me while I slept. I can always sleep knowing that You never do.

Lord, last night I was lying in bed about to go to sleep, and for some reason it came to mind the prayer I was taught to pray when I was a little boy. I used to pray "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep; if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take."

I remember praying that prayer as a child and sometimes thinking to myself "What if I die before I wake?". That was a scary thought of closing my eyes for the last time and not waking up. But Father, I thank You that You gave me parents who taught me to believe in You and to pray to You. I do remember thinking that if I did die, it would be ok because I knew You would take me.

Now Lord that I am grown and saved, the truth behind that prayer still comforts me. As sad of a thought it is, the truth remains that one day I will actually close my eyes to never open them again. I pray Lord that it will be as peaceful as going to sleep. But however it happens, it is sure to happen.

Over my life, I have comforted grieving families, and I have also been a part of the grieving family needing the comfort. One day Lord it will be my family who will need comforting for me. I won't need it, not only because I won't be here to receive it, but really because I already have my comfort. My comfort is in knowing that it is my soul now that You keep and one day it will be my soul that You take.

Lord, I can better understand what the Apostle Paul felt when he wrote "To live is Christ, but to die is gain". Father, You know that I love living and hope to be doing it for a long time. But because I know that You are my keeper and one day will be my taker, I don't fear death. It will be ok for me to have to give up life, because in exchange for it I will receive glory, and Heaven is more than a fair trade for this Earth.

Father, thank You for the peace in knowing that one day to Heaven I'll be going. How can I not serve a God like You. I love You.

In Jesus name. Amen.

Friday, June 15, 2018

September 5, 1971 - ?

Good morning Lord. Thank You for another day. I feel pretty tired this morning' but I'm still ready to do Your work. Show me what You want me to do.

Lord, as You know, sometime back I was teaching a lesson on Your power; in particular, Your power over death. To get the class' attention, I gave them a mock obituary with my picture on it with the dates Sept 5 1971- (whatever that day's date was). Father, not only did it spark conversation about death, but it also caused me to do a lot of thinking about my own.

The truth is Lord, one day people will be sitting around looking at a folded piece of paper with my picture on the front. It will display two dates; one date I know what it is, and the other I do not what it will be. On the inside there will probably a nice poem that my family will pick on the left, and on the right side will be a short summary of the life I lived between those two dates. Hopefully it will say some nice things about me..that are true, and hopefully it won't be too hard to find some nice things to say. It will list those close to me who have gone ahead of me, as well as those left behind. On the back will be listed the names of the ladies nice enough to carry my flowers, and the guys nice enough to carry me. Then there will be a note of thanks to those who showed kindness to my family and will likely invite them back to the church to share in some chicken as their reward. Those there who knew me well would be eating that chicken thinking "Eric sure would like a piece of this".    Lord, that will all be for day.

Father no matter how I or anyone else may feel about death, it's something we one day must face. And though there are things I can do and ways I can live that may delay or hasten it, ultimately my death is in Your hands. And Father of all the mysteries You hold that I would Ike to know, how and when my death will be is something best left unknown.

So Lord, it will suffice for me to know that it will come one day, and because of You I will be ready. Therefore, in the time that I have to live, help me to live. Show me Father how to make what I do in these temporary days last for an eternity. Make my life matter, not so much to others, but to You. And Lord it's ok if no one says nice things about me at my funeral just as long as when I meet You I can hear You say 'well done!'.

Lord thank You for my life and thank You for filling it with love. I love You too. In Jesus name. Amen.