“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.” Psalm 77:11 (ESV)

Last Wednesday the youth group had a movie nigy. (Without going too off topic let me just say that it is hard these days to find church appropriate movies.) We ended up picking the movie Finding Dory. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a forgetful fish who searches for her lost parents. Throughout the entire movie poor Dory has flashes of memories that she had forgotten long ago. She wishes more than anything that she could just remember what she has forgotten. I won’t give the ending away, but I will say that her memory is her only hope to find a happy ending.

It’s easy to forget. Sometimes it’s really easy. Some days make it harder to remember than other days. When things are at their worst it can bring doubt and our troubles grow bigger than our faith. When things are at their best it can bring about a self-confidence that pushes thoughts of dependence on God out of our minds. Is there something in your life today that is making it difficult to remember?

God is the same faithful, loving, and powerful God He has always been. His deeds and wonders are worth remembering. I challenge you this morning to remember what He has brought you through. Remember how good He has been and how great His love and power has been revealed in your life.

There are several examples in Scripture that tell us that it’s not only God’s children that remember. We are told multiple times that God remembers us. God remembers you. He sees you. In the Bible the word “remember” means more than just to reminisce about past experiences. There is an action that is associated with it. When God remembers us, He moves on our behalf. When He remembers you, He works for your good. He favors you. You are not forgotten.

God sees your hurt. He sees your struggle. He remembers the promises that He has made toward you and He looks at you with an unfailing love in His heart. Don’t forget that you are His child and He is your God. Remember the One who remembers you.


Having One of Those Days

Have you ever had one of those days, maybe a string of days when you are frustrated and discouraged with your walk with the Lord? You hate to admit to even thinking it, but there are those days when you question your faith, you wonder, “Where is God?” Life circumstances, pain, and disappointments leave you asking, “Where are You, God?

David must have been having one of those days in Psalms 42 . . . he said, “My tears have been my food day and night” (Psa 42:3). In verse six he declared, “My soul is downcast within me.” This Psalm tells us that people around David were mocking his faith, his God, asking “Where is your God?” David said, “My foes taunt me all daylong” (Psa 42:10). The persecution of his soul even affected him physically. He described his pain as waves and breakers sweeping over him; his bones even hurt (Psa 42:10).

Well . . . if David can have those kind of days, I guess I can expect the enemy of my soul to tempt and torment me as well. David gives us the solution in verse one. David marks the beginning of climbing out of the spiritual doldrums. He longs, even pants, as a deer after water, his soul also longs after the Lord. The beginning place, back to spiritual vitality, begins with the Lord (Psa 42:1).

In Psalm 42:4, David declares the importance of going to the house of God. Within the “sanctuary” of His house we can enjoy worship, participate in prayer, discover encouragement, and find support.

Two times (Psalm 42:5 & Psalm 42:7) we find another nugget that David gives us. David talks to himself! “Why so downcast oh my soul?”(KJV) It is as if David is giving himself a quick kick in the seat of his pants, a spiritual swat . . . “Snap out of it, David,” he says, “Put your hope in God!” Then, the friend of God says with determination . . . in midst of turmoil, while having a bad day, week, or month, “Yet, I will praise Him, my Saviour and my God” (Psa 42;11).

Let’s take a cue from David . . . pant after, long for our Savior’s care. His words, determine to fellowship in the house of God, and give yourself a spiritual pep talk . . . He will get us through the storms of life, the doldrums of our faith. He will never leave us! Bless His Holy Name!

~Pastor Rod

Freedom is Costly

I have been reading a devotional Susan got me a while back. The devotional is based on letters from those embroiled in the Revolutionary War. Continental Congress members, writers and signers of the Declaration of Independence, soldiers, and pastors. There are writings from General Washington and from his wife, Martha. The letters of the time can be somewhat surprising, yet the excerpts demonstrate the deep “divine culture” of the times. From generals to normal citizens, the letters, words writtent with conviction, passion, fear, and faith, paint a picture of a people hoping that God would carry their cause.

Loss of life, battles gone bad, treachery and betrayal was written about with profound sadness, anger, and hopeful divine intervention. All in all, you can see the great cost of our independence from England by our founding fathers, from the most influential and powerful, to the weak and helpless.

The struggle for freedom is a struggle that is not free. We can be talking about our American way of life today, or a much more profound freedom. The freedom of our soul. The most familiar of verses demonstrate this basic truth that freedom is not free; for God so loved He gave. (John 3:16) Christ’ death on the cross bought us our freedom. Sin’s grip, death’s stranglehold was broken when Jesus cried out, “It is finished.” His work was then sealed when He rose victorious over death, hell, and the grave. Our freedom, as we receive it, cost Christ His life …His death, my freedom! Praise His Holy Name . . . lam free!


More Than You Can Imagine!

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20, 21).

I think I have a pretty good imagination. At least I did when I was younger. I love playing with children who are still young enough to think up entire worlds out of thin air. It seems that as we get older, it becomes harder to remember how to imagine things that we can’t see or touch.

Hebrews tells us that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith isn’t about playing games with adorable children. Faith is about trusting that the God “who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we can ask or think” is still at work today.

Can you imagine a request or problem too big for God’s power? No! In fact, I would challenge you to ask Him to expand your imagination of what He can do in your life. We do not need to resign to the limitations of this world. There is nothing that God cannot do! Ask Him for a miracle! Ask Him to move a mountain! Ask Him to increase your heart’s expectation of what He can do through His powerful work in you!

You may not be able to see it now, but He is working. He is more than able to carry you through whatever struggle you are facing. Give Him an opportunity to show you that He is worthy of all praise and all of our faith!

“To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, Forever and ever. Amen. ”


The Times We Live In

Paul writes to Timothy, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come” (2 Timothy 3:1). The word perilous in the Greek (Strong’s 5467) means: harsh, savage, difficult, dangerous, painful, fierce, grievous, hard to deal with. The word describes a society that is barren of virtue, but abounding with vices. Does that, by any means, sound like the times we are living in?

In this particular epistle I believe Paul was, not only interested in Timothy coming to him, but that Timothy would be faithful in presenting the Gospel, both to believers and non-believers, in the times which were increasing in evil. Paul, afraid his death might happen before he got to see Timothy again, wanted to make sure Timothy would carry on where he left off especially in the face of perilous times that would surely be taking place.

Paul’s letter to Timothy is pertinent to us today. Especially, due to the fact that our society is definitely barren of virtue and full of vices. The news reports bear that out, saying nothing about the trash seen in movies and TV shows anymore.

So, what can we do? For me it means separating myself from the things of this world (Romans 12:1-2). It means spending more in prayer and the Word. It means spending quality time worshipping with other believers on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening Bible study and other activities in which Christians are involved. The devil doesn’t like that and will try to pull us away from Christ, but Jesus will not let us down. Praise His wonderful Name!


The Commute

Today after church, Pastor Adam and I are driving to Washington D.C. Adam is excited. If I’m honest, I am kind of dreading it. When I lived in Los Angeles, I worked 15 miles away from where I lived. It took me 90 minutes to get to work. I absolutely hated the traffic. My commute to work drove me crazy!

Did you know that D.C. has the worst traffic in the country? Today’s trip has given me traumatic flashbacks of my time in California. I can still remember daydreams about flying cars and the possibility of teleportation . . . all while my car sat still on a 5 lane highway surrounded by other commuters just as frustrated as I was.

Why would anyone want to take a trip right into the traffic capital of the country on a holiday weekend? The answer is simple. Our destination is there. Pastor Adam and I are traveling to Washington D.C. because our denomination’s international convention is there. The commute may be horrible, but the destination is going to be worth it.

Sometimes I feel like this life is a long and painful commute. There are some bumps in the road. There are frustrations and disappointments. Things don‘t go the way I wish they would. My plans fall through. My pursuits become slowed down or completely stop. The commute of life can really hurt.

Philippians 3:20 says, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly await. . .” Our present commute may often times be difficult. Be encouraged! The destination is well worth it. All of the struggle on our way is nothing compared to the glory of Heaven. Don’t give up! Heaven is worth the commute!


Finding Faith in the Dark

“Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”’ (John 20:29).

Lately, I have been walking through what I am going to call, a spiritual growth spurt. This spiritual growth spurt consisted of a darkness and a very tight, narrow passage. This squeezing came with a lot of pain. I always thought that faith was taking steps consistently forward to accomplish what God would have for us. What is this? I was going backward and not forward. Did I miss something? I felt many times that I wanted to curl up into a fetal position and just weep. I had very little courage to move forward. I wanted out of this situation fast.

That narrow passage acted like an extrusion process which forces materials through a die or mold, and it is comes out a different shape. That dark, narrow, tight passage was there for a reason. It was to force me through that perfect mold and to allow me to come out cleaner with a new perspective on the other side, which would involve forgiveness.

My pain came from my own sin of unforgiveness which I was holding on to pretty tightly. I am currently finding out that faith is at its best in the darkness. God has me right where I am supposed to be at this time, so I need to take courage and move on with the extrusion process. This is all part of God’s purpose.

I am choosing faith in God’s wisdom that He loves me enough to squeeze that things out of me.


Happy Mother’s Day 2017

Recently Susan and I traveled to the San Francisco area in California to visit with Susan’s alllng mother. It was a hard trip, not only for Susan, but for me as well. I found it very hard to stay in the room and see a woman who has come to mean so much to me in the condition she was in. I’m not sure she even knew who I was and although a smile creased her face, the usually bubbly kidder full of life, constantly giving me a hard time, was only a distant memory.

Ailean has always been a big supporter and encourager to me. She approved of me long before Susan’s dad, Lorne, did. I received a phone call from her after Susan and I moved to Dover. . . she told me “Pastor Rodney, you will always be my pastor.” I have been so blessed to have wonderful mothers, my mom, my mother-in-law, grandmothers, great grandmothers, in my life. Women who prayed for me, encouraged me, told me I could accomplish much. God has truly blessed me. Thank you mom, thank you Ailean, thank you Grandma’s Phillips, Armstrong, and Tome. You have been such a blessing in my life. I am who I am largely due to your investment into my life.

Oh, yeah . . . thank you Susan for being the mother of our wonderful TRIBE!

Loving our Mothers this day!

It Is Well With My Soul

“Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say it is well, it is well with my soul.”
(Horatio Spafford, It Is Well With My Soul)
It was after his son died, a fire burned up his fortune, and his two daughters died in a shipwreck, that Spafford penned the above words. He wrote the hymn as he approached the area in the ocean where his children had drowned.
I don’t know about you, but that blows my mind. I think that if I was looking into ocean’s depths where my children had taken their last breath, the last thing I would be able to say is, ‘‘It is well with my soul.” I’m 100% certain that this man wasn’t happy. I know that he wasn’t smiling, or laughing when he wrote those words. How can he possibly I have found peace at a time like that?
Colossians 3:15 says,
“ …let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…”
Letting the peace of Jesus lead our hearts is easier said than done, but it’s not unreachable. The reason that Spafford could say, “It is well with my soul” is because it WAS well with his soul. Would he have preferred that circumstances were different? Absolutely! However,  somehow he was still able to say, “It is well with my soul.”
My favorite part of Spafford’s hymn is verse one. “When peace, like a river attendeth my way. When sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, it is well It is well with my soul. ” I love the imagery, but what I really love about it is the coexistence of peace and sorrow. It’s easy for me to resign my pursuit for peace when difficulty comes. I can make an excuse for myself to wallow in a puddle of pity when times are hard. However, that kind of attitude and response is not biblical. There is a peace that surpasses all reason, and it can only be found in Jesus.
To pursue peace means to pursue Jesus. My challenge to us today is that we never let the sea billows of sorrow toss us too far from knowing the peace of Christ. Whatever our lot, may we always be able to say, “It is well with my soul.”

It’s Easter Sunday

Creation! Out of the dust of the earth! The breath of God! Mankind enters the world in fellowship with this creation. The Fall of Man! Sin, the plague, rooted in the souls of man, every curse to torment humanity. The Promise! The Hope that the curse would be shattered. Jesus! Born in a stable, laid in a manger, walked the earth as a perfect man . . . a perfect sacrifice. The Cross! The emblem of suffering and shame. The instrument, the vehicle the Father used to destroy sin’s curse. The obedience of the Son, even death upon the tree. Freedom! Sin’s ugly blight destroyed! The open grave, the risen Lord, Alive! O death where is your victory? Destroyed, its power vanquished. The curse brought into the world by the first Adam, annihilated by the second Adam. Blessing be to our risen Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who brought us the victory.

We celebrate Resurrection Sunday today. The wonderful day when we purposely acknowledge the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. Because of His work on the cross and this victory over death, hell, and the grave, we rest in the blessed hope of our victory over the grave and the assurance of an eternity of fellowship with the Holy Trinity. PRAISE GOD!

Worship the resurrected Lord with us. Enjoy the day church, God bless you!