Saturday, March 31, 2012

Three Groans and One Glory

Preached by Pastor Brian Robinson on March 18, 25, 2012

Romans 8:18-39

Creation groans, the church groans and the Holy Spirit groans.
God did not create the world with existing materials. He created out of nothing. What is nothing? It’s not air or space, because they are something. Matter is not eternal.
What is happening in creation now? Vs. 20, 21 Creation stands on tiptoe.
It eagerly awaits its redemption. The fate of creation is linked to ours. It awaits the revealing of the sons of God. Then God will release creation from its bondage. It is under a curse. We live in a fallen world. It cannot reach the perfection for which it was designed. It is flawed and frustrated. It was created for a purpose and has not been allowed to achieve it. It’s not by the choice of creation , unlike Adam, who disobeyed.
Man was to have dominion over creation. Now it would happen through blood, sweat and tears that man would get his food. The cruelty of animals against animals, germ causing disease, and natural disasters demonstrate this. Gen. 3:15 was a word of hope and promise.
Christ’s redeeming work was not only for us sinners, but for His creation as well.
He will not abandon His creation, but will renew it, unpolluted, that it cannot fade away. Like childbirth, it is not purposeless or meaningless pain. They are bringing to birth a new order. Picture a radiant mother holding her baby. You don’t show pictures of your wife in labour.
The lion will lie down with the lamb. Creation claims chaos came after order. It was a fall. Evolution says order came from chaos.
Christ wore a crown of thorns. He redeemed the earth on the cross, as well.
Vs. 23 We also groan, awaiting our redemption. This world is a vale of tears. Why do we groan? Because we see things as they are, and we know how they will be. We see the dissonance.
We long for its fulfillment.
Like Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus, he wept at the effects of the fall.
We have the firstfruits of the Spirit, but we long for the harvest. Vs. 24,25 we hope, and we wait patiently for it. We haven’t obtained it yet. This hope is certain. Therefore we endure, we persevere.
All of creation will sing His praises.
In warfare, morale is essential.
“We can do it!” This war is winnable. Don’t lose heart. We may groan, but we know how it ends.
The Holy Spirit also groans. Vs. 26
Paul assumes we are weak, dependent and frail.
The worldling boasts in his strength. The boast that they are self-sufficient and self-made.
1 John 2:16 “boasting of what he has or does”.
Paul boasts in his weaknesses. “When I am weak, then I am strong.” Paradox.
We boast in the cross. The Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses. Who is sufficient for these things?
We have the downpayment, but not the full inheritance yet. We await the full harvest. A pledge from God.
We don’t know what we ought to pray for. We know the will of God broadly from the Bible.
For prayer: ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication.
There are many sample prayers. Sometimes words are inadequate.
Unutterable sighs and groans. We are speechless before God.
Judges 2:4 the people wept aloud.
Jesus groaned before Lazarus’ tomb.
Prayer is not about eloquence, but as a general rule, we use words. But there are times when we have no words. Even if no one else is praying for you, the Spirit and the Son are interceding for you.
We feel Heaven’s longings. Our will is subsumed under the will of the Father.
We need to have the heart of God, not just the mind of God.
We are cold and indifferent. God uses us in our prayer life to further His purposes.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hunger Games

Outside my window...sunny and clear, but cold again. Weird weather this winter.
I am thinking...it was a nice change to be in class last week instead of on night shift. It was a good refresher on Solid Tumours. I learned something new in each class, and I got 14-1/2 hours of continuing ed. I was most surprised to learn that even now, advanced colon cancer and skin cancer (malignant melanoma) still have a prognosis of less than two years.
I am hoping...those two people will be put in jail for what they did to Tori Stafford. It makes me wish Canada still had the death penalty.
I am thankful for...my Mom's good health. She turns 72 tomorrow. I would love to see her saved, though.
I am wearing...jeans, a green top, a black cardigan, and a black leather jacket.
From the kitchen...pork chops, homemade macaroni and cheese, broccoli and roasted cherry tomatoes.
I am hearing...a guy on his phone on the train. He has a limited vocabulary; foul language.
I am reading...How to Write a Non-Fiction Book in 60 days, by Paul Lima. I may need to know that this year.
Around the house...my youngest finished another part of her pre-work training. Both girls are heading into the final stretch at school, with papers, tests, exams and stress. My husband is busy at work. I spoke at Women of Faith on Christ in the Book of Ruth, Nehemiah, and Jonah. We decided that fourteen of us will go to the SGF Women's Retreat in May.
One of my favourite things...my husband and I got to see The Hunger Games. He went for my sake. As far as I can remember, that was the only movie I've ever seen on opening day. It was pretty true to the book, but of course books always give you more insights. Never judge a book by its movie. It's not necessarily a new plot, but it is a commentary on our times; with the obsession with reality shows, blood sports (UFC) and entertainment. Like the evil Capitol, we don't even see how wrong it is to kill our children, as long as we are entertained and satisfied.
Some plans for the week...work three nights. I'm not sad to have missed Urology night last week. Have I mentioned that I hate Urology nights? No plans so far for the weekend, which is nice, because I have much to do around the house. I couldn't sleep during my usual Sunday afternoon nap time because I had a crazy idea brewing in my head about public speaking. That's strange for me, since I don't consider myself a speaker, just a writer. Anyway, I ran it past my daughter and she thought it was a great idea and encouraged me to go for it. I'll let that percolate a bit.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What Did You Want to be When You Grew Up?

I didn’t have many role models of women who worked. Back in the sixties, most of the people we knew, in the Finnish community, were new immigrants who were still learning English. Many were housekeepers. They called themselves, ‘Leaning Ladies’. My own mother was first a waitress, then a bartender, then a cook. The only jobs I knew of for women were the traditional ones; secretary, teacher or nurse. Although I didn’t personally know any nurses. I didn’t even really know what they did until I started watching the show, Emergency.

At different times, I wanted to be a teacher, or a writer, or a flight attendant. We called them Stewardesses back then. I wouldn’t actually want to be one, since I hate flying. I also thought I wanted to be an architect, but that was more because I was a dreamer and was imagining my dream house, even as a little girl.

During highschool, I was still undecided, so I looked through the list of programs offered at different universities. I had no clue. I thought maybe Geneticist, since I seemed to understand the class on Mendellian genetics. When I found out I needed the other Sciences and Math, I gave up on that. I seemed to be all over the map with my marks in highschool, barely passing the courses I disliked, like Math or Geography, and excelling in the ones that interested me, like English, Shorthand, or Typing.

Suddenly, highschool was ending and I still didn’t know what I wanted to study. I didn’t have any five year plan. I couldn’t imagine that I would have to learn a trade and look after myself. I was a typical narcissistic, short-sighted teenager.

At the last minute, I looked over the courses offered at our local community college. Nursing looked to be the most interesting to me. I applied for only that, and only in that one location. They received over 300 applications and randomly chose 80. I was one. I guess that was where I was supposed to be, because once I got in, I loved it, and excelled in my studies, since every class interested me.

I’ve been nursing over 25 years now, and I love my job. I specialized in Oncology Nursing. See my post on Oncology Nurse, On Purpose for an explanation.

I’ve been writing off and on for about five years more seriously. I write because I love it, and I feel I have something to say. Where this will lead, I leave to God. I don’t know if I feel the need to be published to be validated, although it would be nice.

All that to say, I think our dreams change over time, yet sometimes we don’t know what they are until we learn what’s out there. I appreciate that my daughters learned how to study earlier in life than I did, so that they had more opportunities. Also, women aren’t stuck in just the traditional jobs. My eldest is a Social Worker and my youngest is studying to be an International Lawyer. I’m very proud of them.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Tale of Two Cities: Part 2

Originally preached by Pastor Brian Robinson on March 18, 2012

1 Kings 14:21-31

The house of Reheboam was being strengthened. Meanwhile, Jereboam was building shrines in Dan and Bethel.
He was being pragmatic.
Jereboam couldn’t wait on God anymore.
Trust God and obey God.
Satan whispers that there’s an easier way.
Pilots must trust their instruments over their senses.
Vs. 21, 31 Reheboam’s mother is named. She is mentioned at the beginning and end of his reign. It also mentions she was an Ammonite. This is an inclusion, similar to brackets. Mentioned because she had an influence on Reheboam. Solomon married many foreign wives who introduced idolatry into Israel.
Deut. 23:3 No Ammonite or Moabite may worship in the temple.
Satan is powerful and crafty. You are no match for him, unless you have the Strong Man on your side.
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. How can two walk together unless they be agreed?
God is jealous for His name and reputation. He is jealous when our affections are given to lesser things.
2 Chron. 12:9-11 God used an even more wicked king to judge Reheboam.
Shishak, King of Egypt undid everything Reheboam tried to build. He carried off all the treasures of the palace and temple.
Reheboam was now impoverished. Solomon’s kingdom was diminished both in quantity (number of tribes) and quality (treasures).
The gold shields were replaced by bronze. The continued the same ceremonies as before, bringing them in and out.
Do some ministries go through the motions even when there is nothing valuable left, only appearances?
Do we repent when we are judged? Do we agree that God’s judgments are righteous and holy?
Isa. 1:5 The law beats us but cannot save us. That’s why God sent His Son.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

She said Yes! to the Dress

Outside my window...foggy. It’s supposed to get up to 22C this week. Bring it on!
I am thinking...I’m enjoying my Bible reading. Always pleased when I can keep up this long. I’ve read the first five books of the Old Testament and the first two of the New Testament.
I am hoping...that soccer player who had a heart attack during the Tottenham/Bolton game recovers. He’s in critical condition. Whenever I hear of a young person with a heart attack, especially an athlete, I always think steroids. Maybe it’s not fair, but they can cause heart failure.
I am thankful for...my daughter chose her wedding dress. It’s beautiful.
I am wearing...jeans and a hoodie.
From the kitchen...homemade pizza.
I am hearing...a soccer game between Borussia Dortmund and Werder Bremen.
I am reading...Talk of the Town by Lisa Wingate.
Around the house...my daughter and her fianc√© visited this weekend. We bought the wedding dress this morning. My husband and Rony went to a mens’ breakfast at our church today. The topic was God and Money. I had a crazy busy week at work, and I’ve never been happier to see the weekend.
One of my favourite things...a quiet Saturday.
Some plans for the week...I’m in a course at work on Monday and Wednesday, on Solid Tumours. I need more education hours to keep my Oncology Nursing status. Otherwise I’m off work. I get to miss Urology Day. Have I mentioned I hate Urology Day? I’m leading the Women of Faith meeting on Saturday morning, speaking on Nehemiah, Boaz and Jonah.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Proposal

Outside my window... sunny and mild. It’s expected to be in the high teens all week.
I am thinking...I’ve got to get the proposal letter written for the 50th anniversary project for our church. The elders are brainstorming at the end of the month and I want to send that idea along. I want it to look professional. I think it’s a great idea. We’ll see if they agree.
I am hoping...to feel better. I’ve got some stomach bug. Hopefully I won’t miss more than one night of work this week.
I am thankful for...air miles. It’s nice to get free things, like our movie last Friday.
I am wearing...p.j.'s. I'll shower and dress after my coffee.
From the kitchen...teriyaki beef and vegetable stir-fry with rice.
I am hearing...the washer and dryer. So glad I don’t have to use a washboard at the river.
I am reading...The Hidden Flame by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke, set in the early days of Christianity.
Around the house...my husband is back at his original location for his third six-month period of management training. It’s saving money on gas since he doesn’t have to drive all the way to the west end anymore. My eldest has one month left of university. My youngest is doing some training for her summer job, which looks likely now. My mom has booked a cruise with my sister for the summer. They’re going to the Mediterranean. My sister turns 50 this year.
One of my favourite things...the first cup of coffee each day.
Some plans for the week... we’ll see how I feel, but I was supposed to work four nights. My daughter and her fianc√© are coming Friday and we’re going to buy her wedding dress on Saturday morning.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Proper Use of the Law

Preached by Pedro Rodriguez on March 11, 2012

1 Tim. 1:8-11

Paul was slanderously reported to be antinomian.
Stephen was martyred for allegedly speaking against Moses.
Legalism: an approach to living in which a person tries to follow a set of standards to obtain a desired goal. Acceptability based on performance. It leads away from Christ.
Antinomianism: it means against the law. States that the Christian is free from the law because of reliance on Christ.
This letter, written by Paul, about A.D. 65, after his first imprisonment, probably from Macedonia, to Timothy, to warn him about false teachers.
Paul is aware of the impending end of his ministry. He cares about what the next generation will face.
He wrote 1 Timothy, then Titus, then 2 Timothy. They are called the Pastoral Epistles.
Paul may be warning about more than one group of false teachers.
Vs. 4: rather than God’s work—a plan involving a set of arrangements, purpose, or scheme. God’s work is by faith, contrasted with the false teachers.
Vs. 7: they wanted to be teachers of the law, experts in the Old Covenant.
Law here refers to the first five books of the Bible (Pentateuch, Torah).
The law is not for the righteous. Romans 3:21-26
Through the law, we become conscious of sin.
Law vs. Grace debate.
Contrast is not between the law and the gospel. We are not under law, but under grace.
Gal. 2:21
“If righteousness could be gained by the law, Christ died in vain.”
The Bible does not separate the law into civil, moral or ceremonial categories. We do that.
The law is for the unregenerate.
The vice list is similar to the Ten Commandments, the first few relating to our relationship with God, the rest to our relationship with people.
What is moral law, what is not?
The whole law is fulfilled in Christ.
What to do with the Sabbath command in the new covenant?
The New Testament takes up the whole law, except the Sabbath.
Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, is not just reinterpreting Moses; He is making new law, as the Lawgiver. “But I say unto you.”
The Christian is to live to a higher standard than the Jew ever did.
Love fulfills the law when we love God and others.
The law of works and the law of Christ are binding on the believer.
Legalism and antinomianism are extremes.
We are under grace and under the law of Christ.
The unbeliever is under wrath and under the Law of Moses. He is obligated to keep it.
Gal. 3:24,25 The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. We no longer need the tutor.
In a church, you may write a new constitution. When the new one is in place, it nullifies the old. Yet you may still see many aspects of the old in the new
We have a different relationship to the law because we are justified by faith.
Vs. 14: Paul, formerly a blasphemer, had grace poured out on him. He was passive.
The law of Moses has condemning power. It shouts, “Guilty! Guilty!” Only Jesus can save.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Stewardship

Outside my window... despite the sun, it’s frostbite weather. This morning when I walked the dog, I was wishing for a balaclava.
I am thinking...time goes too quickly. Not just in the big picture, but each day seems to fly by and I don’t feel like I get anything substantial accomplished.
I am hoping...to be able to do at least one month of this workout for people who don’t work out. It’s targeting abs. It’s really pathetic how sore I am the next day, after just twelve pushups, twelve crunches and two twelve second side planks. At least I get aerobic exercise from walking the dog for at least 30 minutes a day during the week. My husband takes him out in the evening and to the dog park on weekends.
I am thankful for...good preaching. See the sermon notes below. I especially like when our Pastor preaches from narratives. He brings the story alive, and draws out so many lessons.
I am wearing...navy yoga pants, a navy hoodie.
From the kitchen...salmon, sweet potato fries, mushrooms.
I am hearing...silence. Some days I don’t like to have the t.v. on all the time.
I am reading...A Prisoner of Versailles by Golden Keyes Parsons, again. Since I read them out of order, now I want to read the second book again since I know the characters better.
Around the house...we had a nice dinner with our Pastor and his wife. Work was very busy this week, so I was happy to see Friday. Our new normal with a budget is working out well and we don’t feel deprived. We’ve not been good stewards of the money God has given us. We’ve been good with giving, but haven’t controlled our spending. We need to change our ways and be more self controlled and less covetous. We have to answer for these things one day.
One of my favourite things...hearing good news. A couple from our church is engaged.
Some plans for the week...work three nights, visit a friend in the hospital on Friday, maybe go to see a NAVY SEAL movie on Saturday night, with my husband, and church on Sunday. I’m in the nursery in the morning and we’re having refreshments on Sunday night.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Lion and a Donkey

1 Kings 13

Preached by Pastor Brian Robinson on March 4, 2012

Jereboam feared a return to David’s house if the people worshipped in Jerusalem.
He built two places of worship; Bethel and Dan. It was for pagan worship; he appointed priests from every class, instituted holidays.
He offered sacrifices, himself. He is not concerned with God’s glory, but his own.
Because a person is ordained, or sweet, or smart, doesn’t validate his message.
Jereboam was appointed to be king, but it doesn’t follow that God approved of all he did.
He made it seem as if he was doing it make the lives of the people easier. “It’s too much for you to go up to Jerusalem.” Vs. 28
The man of God disrupted the public ceremony and spoke against Jereboam’s action. He was like a lion.
Jereboam calls for his arrest, not because he was a criminal, or was attempting to assassinate the king, but because he embarrassed the king.
Jereboam was humiliated at the height of his public life.
His outstretched arm withered and he could do nothing about it.
The altar split as predicted.
Let us not fear princes, parliaments and courts.
Jereboam pleads for the man of God to intercede for him with “your God”.
Do we pray for civil authorities who pass laws that persecute believers?
Both the healing and the broken altar should have been a sign to Jereboam, but he did not change.(1 Kings 13:33)
When the world threatens, we can resist, but it’s harder when they offer friendship and gifts.
The man refused to fellowship with the king. Still a lion.
It would have legitimized Jereboam’s rebellious actions.
The second prophet lies, saying God was cancelling His first command.
Never fall for special revelation that contradicts Scripture.
We are most vulnerable after a victory. Now a donkey instead of a lion.
Sometimes temptation comes from an unexpected source--the people of God.
The animals (lion and donkey on the road)were not acting in character.
It made the second man of God realize that the first one was a true prophet. He had respect for him.
He did it to save his own bones because of the resurrection. He didn't want his grave desecrated when the prophecy came true. He wanted to be buried along with the man of God.
This is fulilled in 2 Kings 23:17,18

Suffering Vs. Glory

Preached on March 4, 2012 by Pastor Robinson

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Romans 8:18

We will share in Christ’s glory. We will also share in His sufferings. We can’t have glory apart from suffering.
Like a piano virtuoso who is taking a bow, and the camera pans the crowd to find his family. They share his glory. Yet they have scrimped and saved, and suffered with his years of practice.
Most of us want to avoid suffering. We should not seek it, but if we live as believers, we will come across many enemies.
We are sheep among wolves.
Paul lists his sufferings. What are our complaints by comparison?
We shouldn’t avoid it by denying our Lord.
We all suffer; some more than others.
We have regular suffering, and suffering for our faith.
When Paul compares suffering now, with glory later, there is no comparison.

“For our light affection, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2 Cor. 4:17

Comparison between temporal and eternal perspective.
If you live only in the “now”, suffering is intolerable and meaningless.
If you have an eternal perspective, suffering is part of glory.
We need right perspectives.
Less “now” and more “not yet”.
We’re not saved because we suffer (a Roman Catholic belief).
Parable of the sower—a true believer will not fall away because of persecution.
Our suffering cannot cancel even one sin. Only the blood of Jesus covers sin.
How can you compare 80 short years to eternity in glory?
“We are a moment, You are forever.”
Men cling to this life. Put your treasures in heaven.
Nothing in this life surpasses glory in heaven.
The glory that lasts.
There is nothing we will miss from this life.
“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”