Deut 31:6-8 I Will Never Leave You

Deut 31:6-8 I Will Never Leave You

The woman with a mastectomy, he kissed her scars
The solder who lost his legs, climbed in his hospital bed

Joshua is be the daunting task of succeeding Moses. The Word of God is given to Moses to speak to Joshua. “Be strong and courageous, I will never leave you or forsake you” What powerful words. God repeats those words to Joshua directly. They were the words Joshua needed to hear and the words we need to hear, words of healing. These are words you need to hear from God and words you need to share with others.

In a little Mennonite church the son of one elder and the daughter of another stood with the pastor and confessed they gave into temptation and now she was pregnant. The pastor thanked them for their courage to face their sin, then read 1 John 1:9 to the congregation. The congregation then came forward and laying hands on them pledged to help them raise their child. It was 1972. The pastor was the president of the first seminary I went to. What powerful words were spoken that day. “We will not leave you nor forsake you”

I was reading a story in a magazine about a woman who had a double mastectomy due to breast cancer. She was struggling with cancer and her identity as a woman. It had been a week since surgery and she would duck into the bathroom to change her clothes. Then her husband sat her down on the bed and undid her blouse and kissed her scars. His actions said “you still are the woman I love and I am not leaving or forsaking you.”

But all to often in our world people in the midst of their greatest struggles those words are not shared with us and we forget God has spoken them. We think we have been abandoned, because of our addiction to drugs, or porn, because of our sexual identity, because of our handicap, our age or dementia. We feel alone, abandoned, forsaken by God. But we are not. God has not left us, He has not forsaken us, if we only turn and look for Him. God is not frightened by your situation. God is not frightened by your sin. He has walked the road your on with countless others just like you, and never has He run away.

I love the movie “Back Draft” there is a scene where bull and axe are fighting, the catwalk they are on falls as Axe starts to fall Bull catches his hand and is now holding him with one hand and the catwalk with the other, suspended over the raging fire below. Axe begs Bull to let him go. Bull answers with the words “you go, we go”.

You have friends going through terrible times in their lives, divorces, illness, addictions, and a thousand other things and they need you to not approve of their sinful choices but they need to know that in spite of their choices you are not going anywhere, your not running away. They need to hear you say “you go, we go” They need to be reminded of God’s word to them, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

Jesus is the God who kisses our scars, stands with us in our shame, holds us in our darkest hours and days. Listen closely and you can hear Him say “be strong and courageous, I will never leave you nor sake you.” Go out and fight the battle and win your personal war, because Jesus goes with you.

Let’s make this the cry of our families and our church, we will never leave you nor forsake you.

You go, We go.

You are loved Romans 5:6-11

You are loved Romans 5:6-11

More tragic than the latest school shooting or flood or fire, is that people will wake up this morning and god to bed this evening not knowing if anyone loves them. Single people who never hear the words I Love you, spouse who never hear I Love you, children who never hear the words I love you.

We don’t advertise we need it, we assume that the people around us don’t need to be told it, but at the bottom of so many broken lives, and broken families lies the need to be loved. Loved not for what you can do but loved for who you are.

When is the last time you told your spouse or your child why you love them and not included something they did for you? Kathy I love you because you have a heart for God. Kathy I love you because of the way you care for people when they are sick. Nothing about me and what I Get from her. The same with our children and grandchildren. I love you for who you are not what I get from you.

That is why God speaks those words to us and backs them up with His very life. The most powerful of God’s healing words is “You are loved”. Our passage today in Romans 5 says “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Eph 1:4-8 “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love   5he predestined us £ for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,   6to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.   7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,   8which he lavished upon us,”

Rev 13:8 “everyone whose name has been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.”

John 15:12-17 ““This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.”

Before the world was formed, before we did anything for Him, even while we were fighting Him God chose to love us. And God challenges us to pour out that kind of love on others.

There was a woman who collected dolls, hundreds of them. Some dolls in her collection were worth thousands of dollars. A new friend came over to visit her house for the first time, and got a tour of the dolls. In the center of the doll room were three glass cases on pedestals. The visitor noticed the doll in the center and highest case was quite odd. All the other dolls were pristine and beautiful. But in the center case was an old rag doll who’s one arm was hanging by a tread. It was covered with dirt and it’s dress was torn. It’s one button eye hung ready to fall off. The visitor asked about this unusual doll. The doll collector told her. “When I was a little girl this was my first doll, I dragged it everywhere with me until one day I lost it. I searched and I cried for weeks, but I never forgot it and my longing for that doll started me collecting. When my grandmother died a few years ago we had to clean out her attic. There covered in dust I found my long lost friend. So I dusted her of and gave her, my most valuable doll this spot above all others. The visitor looked puzzled and so the doll collector told her. “some things are loved because they are valuable, and some things are valuable because they are loved.”

These are God’s healing words to you. “You are loved”. These powerful words can transform your life and they can transform someone else’s life. There are people all around you that need you to sincerely say these words to them. “You are loved” not for what you do for me you are loved for who you are.

This next week, every day, tell the people who mean the most to you why you love them, don’t use anything that they do for you but something that comes from who they are. Sit down and write a list then every day write them a note or send them a text and let them know they are loved.

And remember that God speaks these words to you. “you are loved”

Matthew 12:33-37  The Power of Words

Matthew 12:33-37  The Power of Words

When Amy came to school she was feeling fine, she didn’t know that her friends had chosen her for an experiment. They had heard about the power of suggestion in a class at school. Someone thought it would be interesting to see if they could make someone sick. So unbeknownst to Amy she was chosen. Her friends would look at her and ask her is she felt well, tell her she looked sick, and other comments until noon when perfectly healthy Amy went home sick from school.

We are aware of how words can be used to inflict great harm on people. Young people are taunted on the internet and in school the words push them to suicide. Hate filled words fill our news, painted on sings, and spewed out over the internet until someone inspired by those words burns a church, shoots up a school or synagogue. Words have immense power. To ignore their power is a foolish thing.

Jesus confronted the Pharisees and scribes about their words, and has a message for us about ours. In verse 36 it say that you will give an account for every careless word you speak. You may think that your gossip and prejudice are not going to find you out but your careless words are being listened to.

The news is filled with people who have made comments that they thought were made in secret only to find them on the from page and TV news. Words have great power to destroy people and nations.

James 3:1-12 says; “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways, and if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.”

We see this power in the eyes of children told they are stupid, lazy, useless, and ugly. We see it in bent shoulders of a spouse who is the victim of constant verbal abuse. Negative words have great power.

Not only is what you say important, what you don’t say is important. Spouses how often have you told your husband or wife that you love them or why you love them. How often have you held them with no other agenda than to tell them you want to be near them? How many children have grown up without a single word of approval or encouragement from their parents. Sometimes it is what you don’t say that is as important as what you do say.

But as much as words can destroy, words can heal. Positive words honestly said can turn life around. Words like I believe in you, You are loved, you are beautiful, I value you, you are important, you matter to me, and I see you.

In the next few sermons I am going to show you the positive words that God has to share with us. God has words that will lift your heart and change your life, so I hope you will join us each Sunday and bring your friends to learn these words which God says to you.

Until next week will you ask God to show you if you are using hurtful words. Will you ask God to show you if you have stayed silent and spoken the words of praise and encouragement to someone. Your words and the lack of words really do make a difference.