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May 2017
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“His Loving Hands”

 

Well…  TGIF ! Thank God I’m Forgiven!!!

You were probably thinking about this acrostic TGIF as “Thank God it’s Friday”.
Indeed… it is Friday, but the end of the week doesn’t have much meaning if we don’t
have something to look forward to. What is it that you are looking forward to?

I know it would please our Pastor if you said you were looking forward to his message
this Sunday, or it would certainly please your wife if you said you were looking forward
to doing something special for her this Valentine’s Day. The list goes on…

It goes without saying that there are an endless number of things to look forward to in
this world we live in. The old pessimistic saying, “The only thing we have to look
forward to is death and taxes.” is one way to look at the world. Most of us however, are
usually a bit more positive. Nonetheless, it does turns out to be a bit challenging at times
to pick and choose the “things we look forward to the most” – that is, realizing the desires
of our heart.

On a larger scale however, the deeper, and more significant question might look more
like, “What is it that we are really looking forward to in our Christian life? This speaks
to our level of contentment in life, and has a lot to do with what we value and appreciate.
In a real sense, we tend to become what we desire, and we desire to be steered by what is
in our hearts, and our hearts tend to reveal that which we look forward to. Many times
this comes down to an internal conflict of doing what “we” want to do, versus doing what
“God” wants us to do.

This opens us up to attacks by the evil one, so we must be careful in our worldly walk –
always being conscious of what we look forward to (that is, what we are thinking and
doing). 1 Peter 5:8, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around
like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
In a worldly sense, our will and God’s will are always at odds with one another, for we as
sinful man always have desires of the flesh (worldly desires), but as followers of Christ,
our desire is that which is of God. What is the right balance between the two? Is it
possible to “blend” these desires? We need to be careful not to dilute our understanding.
God’s Word talks about this matter of trying to serve “two masters”. In Ecclesiastes,
Solomon speaks about the futility of life apart from God (a chasing after the wind), and
he concludes in 12:13-14, “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will
bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”
In Romans 7, Paul speaks of the difficulty of struggling with our sinful nature, which
gives us a clue that worldly considerations have choices and consequences. Consider
what Paul is looking forward to as he concludes in 7:25 “Thanks be to God – through
Jesus Christ our Lord!”

From all this, we too can conclude that it is far better, to place God at the “center of our
lives” – that is, a Christ-Directed Life that considers Him in everything that we look
forward to. This mindset results in harmony with God’s plan for our life. As a practical
matter, only when we have a Christ-Directed Life, is it possible to realize the full
measure of goodness that God has planned for our life.
However, having a Christ-Directed Life does not mean a casual acceptance of Christ.
There is inherent responsibility in being a follower of Jesus. Let this serve as a starting
point that challenges us each new day. God desires that we elevate our thinking and
behavior so that we may grow as Christians. Listen to what it says in Proverbs 9:10.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

Don’t you wish there was a so-called “spiritual GPS” we could use to help us with all the
paths and turns we encounter in life – that when we approach life’s intersections, it would
call out to us in a Godly voice, “Go left at Straight Street, then turn right – your
destination is ahead.” The truth is, we as Christians have one – it’s called the Holy Spirit,
and He dwells within each of us. Not only that, God allows us “free will”, and if we
listen carefully to His instructions, the Holy Spirit will guide us as promised by Jesus.
For as it says in John 16:13-15, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide
you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he
will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine
and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the
Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”

Do you think that God puts trust in us? He does – and He has expectations of us all.
This certainly puts a different perspective on “what we look forward to”. Simply stated,
God desires that we look forward to Him, giving Him thanks in praise and worship – not
just on Sunday, but every day of our lives. God also desires that we are obedient. When
we do this, God gives back to us abundantly – for He knows we have worldly needs and
desires, and He takes care of everyone according to His will.

What are you looking forward to today?

When I think about God’s desire for us, it seems clear that His love is never ending.
After all, look at everything He has provided for us in this world. Not only in this world,
but the world to come.

In this, God also provided a way for the forgiveness of sins through what Jesus did for us
on the Cross — the atoning sacrifice of His Son Jesus so that we may have eternal life. As
we know, we can’t earn our salvation, as it is a free gift from God, made available all
through faith in Jesus Christ. (TGIF) What great love God has demonstrated to us!
Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still
sinners, Christ died for us.”

Even though we have struggles in this world, God continues to pour out His Grace upon
us. Even though we sometimes sin against Him – God continues to give us more than we
need. Sad to say, we may leave or ignore God sometimes, but listen to what God says in
Hebrews 13:5, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” God’s Guiding Light
always shines in our life — 24/7, and in every moment and circumstance He desires that
we come to Him in humble obedience – seeking Him — that He may tenderly hold us in
“His Loving Hands”.

When I try to visualize God’s “Loving Hands”, I’m reminded of a beautiful object in our
Milky Way Galaxy called “The Eagle Nebula”, technically named ic2177. This object is
very large and is considered an emission nebula. One small region that is part of this
nebula appears to me as “two hands” meshed together, gently holding that which needs to
be cared for.

Can you see the hands in this image? It is a good visual reminder of God’s Grace,
Mercy, and Love – all declared to us in His Creation.

This is the region of the Eagle Nebula that I call “Loving Hands”. I took this image last
year from our now snow covered JMSM Observatory near Mayhill, NM. Speaking of
“snow covered”, the photo below shows what conditions are like now at the observatory.
One thing we can always look forward to here in New Mexico — changes in the weather!


Yep… God has a plan – snow and all…  I hope this day brings you closer to God, and that as you go through your busy day and the upcoming Valentine’s Day weekend, you will reflect on the Glorious Hope we have in Jesus – and consider how wonderful it is to be held in “His Loving Hands”.
Now that’s something to look forward to!

Your Brother in Christ,
Mike Sherick

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