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The King Shall Come 11/29


Even if you haven’t seen the movie, you might know or be able to picture the scene where Leonardo DiCaprio shouts from the bow of the Titanic: “I’m the King of the World!” It’s become one of the “iconic” scenes in film history. In a slightly different version of the same thing, over 4000 years some kings in the ancient Mesopotamian civilizations would give themselves the title of “King of the Universe.” “It’s good to be king!” people say, for human and mostly self-centered reasons. It’s good for them. It may not be so good for others.

Our King Jesus comes to us in many different ways. But he’s so different from other kings we’ve heard about that we need to reflect on who he is and how to receive him. 

Take a moment to click on the video intro above to our four-week series in December, “The King Shall Come,” and join us for Sunday worship to our great and gracious King!

Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” 
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark 11:9)

Praying with thanksgiving 11/22



Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

That’s a big command from the Lord! To never be anxious and at the same time to be thankful always. The Bible verse from Philippians places anxiousness and thanksgiving against each other. Anxiousness takes away thanksgiving. Praying with thanks leads anxiousness to disappear.

Where are you right now on the spectrum of anxiousness and thankfulness?

It’s not within us alone to follow God’s teaching here. If we go back a couple verses we read: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4). IN THE LORD. In God the Father’s daily care. In Jesus’ eternal grace to . . . . us in forgiveness and salvation. In the Holy Spirit’s life-giving words in the Scriptures. IN THE LORD, gratitude flows out of us even before we realize it.

Even in the middle of a civil war in 1863 that violently divided the country, President Lincoln found many reasons to be grateful in his Thanksgiving Proclamation: “The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and even soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God. … They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”

In Philippians 4:6, the thanksgiving is our prayers, our requests and petitions. It’s not a bad idea – as I’ve been encouraged to do by a good number of Christians over the years – to start every prayer with a few things we’re grateful for. Even before asking for anything, let’s say “Thank you, God,” for never stopping to bless us in his gracious love!

Thankful For Each Other! 11/15

It’s just a coincidence, as far as I know, that our congregation’s anniversary is right around the time of Thanksgiving. But it sure is an appropriate coincidence! An anniversary is a perfect moment to be thankful, and thankful for God’s work in and through the people of our church, Abiding Word.

We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3)

Just like any person or group we’re around all the time, we can at times take them for granted. We might assume they’ll always be there and that all that happens in a church . . . . will just automatically continue to happen. Or we find little things to nick-pick about the way they do things or their personality. But in the big ways that really matter, and overshadow any differences, what a blessing our faith family is to us.

Maybe you’ve been away from or less connected to the body of believers at different stages of your life. I’ve had times when I was living outside the country and had fewer strong believers around me. Those times help to renew our appreciation for our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

We love everyone in Christ. Everyone is our neighbor. Of course, not everyone in your circle of friends and family has the powerful and deep conviction of the gospel in their hearts. There’s something truly special about being around someone who shares that with us. 

Let each other know that you’re really glad they’re seated next to you hearing the same Word of God on Sunday morning. Tell one another you’re grateful they care about faith in Christ and his teaching. Make sure you thank everyone for their Christian service among us. They are all great reasons to give thanks to our gracious God!

"Peace and Safety" 11/8

Be Alert When People Are Saying, “Peace and Safety”

“Peace and safety” (1 Thessalonians 5:3). “Everything’s fine.” “Nothing to worry about.” Those are reassuring words we’ve heard and spoken many times. They are wonderful words of comfort in stressful and uncertain moments of life. And yes, they are very true for all of us who’s hope is in the Lord, our God.

But if those same words are put out there as if nothing bad could happen, or nothing could ever change, then they lose their meaning. Especially when it comes to the day of the Lord, . . . the second coming of Christ to judge all people, just saying “peace and safety” is not going to cut it. It sounds lackadaisical and not at all concerned about the biggest day the world will ever know from now until it ends.

Peace and safety come and go. That’s more than obvious on the Russia-Ukraine border, and the latest Israel-Palestine conflict. From one day to the next, everything changed. We have some concerns in our own country, but even so it’s hard to imagine that our way of life would change too drastically. There will always be a way to fix things, won’t there? Well, it’s hard to say, and we really never know for sure.

I’m not an alarmist. We don’t live in fear! The apostle’s message is one of encouragement. Any disruption of peace on earth just leads us to lean all the more on our appointment by God to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:9). That is peace. That is safety. Whatever else might be happening around us.

So we stay awake spiritually. We encourage. Encouragement is something we can take part in. We don’t know the times and dates of Jesus’ second coming. But we can assure our brothers and sisters in Christ that Jesus will return so we may live together with him.

Who Are the Blessed? 11/1

Where are you most likely to see people in a photo with the caption “blessed”?

On a beach in Cancun or in a pew at church?
After they just bought a new car or after reading a new chapter in the Bible they had never read before?

Are we in danger of losing the meaning of “blessed,” or at least giving it a very narrow definition? Some churches lean into that material attitude fully, and make no apologies about it. They closely associate being blessed by God with your personal financial prosperity and health. Are you moving up, living the American dream, getting ahead? That’s a sign you have God’s favor. If not, something must be wrong.

I read a few books on the “prosperity gospel” a number of years ago. One of the prosperity preachers claimed: “God never planned that we should live in poverty, either physical, mental, or spiritual. He made Israel the head of the nations financially. When we go into partnership with Him, and we learn His ways of doing business, we cannot be failures.” Revealing a very money-and-success oriented way of seeing God’s blessings.

The Beatitudes in Matthew 5 give a much fuller and spiritual view of being blessed by the Lord. Blessed are the pure in heart and the peacemakers. Blessed even are those who mourn, who are meek, and are persecuted.

Even though everything, including the material, is from God’s gracious hand, our vacations and homes and cars and clothing are not the sign of God’s favor. In good and bad financial times, in good and bad health, you are blessed! Through faith in Jesus the kingdom of heaven is yours, you will be shown mercy, and you will see God. Take a minute to read the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12 and refresh your perspective on the true blessings we enjoy in Christ!

The Time In Between 10/25

We don’t actually own or fully enjoy everything we own. The new couch you wanted and saved up for is now yours! Bought and paid for at the furniture store. You have the receipt to prove it. But it’s on backorder for a couple weeks because it’s so popular, so you’ll have to wait some more before it’s truly in your possession and installed in your living room. The house you bought on a 30-year loan is yours. Or is it? Yes and no. It’s yours, but the deed won’t appear in your name alone until you pay off the mortgage.

Jesus arrived in our world once before, and by his extreme generosity he bought and paid for our forgiveness and salvation on the cross. There’s nothing left to pay! And we know it’s ours through faith. No doubt about it. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:13). But if we’re reading this, we’re not in the heavenly Jerusalem just yet.

What do we do in the time “in between”?

As we wait for a couch to be delivered, we can rearrange the living room so it fits. While we wait to pay off our mortgage we can take care of and maintain the home we live in.

While we live in eager expectation of Jesus’ arrival at his second coming, there’s plenty to do. We’ll consider that topic as we gather together for worship over the next few Sundays.

October 29: A Time for Steadfast Faith
November 5: A Time to Focus on Future Glory
November 12: A Time for Watchfulness
November 19: a break in the series for our 40th anniversary service
November 26: A Time to Yearn for the End

The Lord will strengthen our confidence in the eternal blessings of his first coming, and will encourage us to stay active in our faith until those blessings become a full reality when he comes again!

Godly Government 10/18

Do you follow political news avidly, mostly try to avoid it, or do you participate in the political process but are generally lukewarm about the whole thing?

It’s difficult to stay out of it completely. How soon will we get a new speaker of the house? How will the president handle the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine? You might have some passionate opinions to share, or you might be undecided or neutral, but either way they’re topics of discussion that are out there and come into our lives in different ways.

Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. (Romans 13:5). Our Christian conscience moves our attitude toward government up another notch. … for the authorities are God’s servants (13:6). It’s not just a matter of avoiding punishment. How we live and speak in our civil society comes out of a conscience that has been formed over years by the teachings of the Word.

Romans 13 is one of the big sections on government in the Word. It doesn’t tell us how to vote or which politicians will ultimately be the best for the country, but it does urge respect. Those we agree with, and those we don’t.

However we engage with government (and it’s good and necessary to engage with it!), we will be able to follow our Christian conscience, informed by the Word of God, and treat all the people involved in it with loving respect.

Come and hear more about the topic at Sunday worship!