Marie and I enjoyed a few days away but it is always nice to be back home. We attended the Methodist Church in Branson where Pastor Dierks is the minister. He was at The Warsaw Methodist Church for several years. Thanks to Mark Simmons for preaching Sunday. I have heard several good reports.
This coming Sunday is Reformation Sunday. I will be preaching on Martin Luther’s discovery of the Gospel. I have done Luther before but it is good to have an annual reminder of our heritage.
We continue to cope with the coronavirus. Thankfully no one has gotten sick from attending church. We do miss our members who have health issues that preclude them from attending. We have not forgotten you and look forward to the day when you can join us again.
Bible study will be on Wednesday at 3:30. We continue our study on discipleship. We begin a section entitled, “Twelve Things that Mark a Disciple.” If you come prepared to wear a mask then those who feel uncomfortable around those who are unmasked will be able to join us.
May the peace of God which surpasses understanding abide with you all. Pastor Bowman
Devotion, Heaven # 3
One of the clues about heaven which excites me is found in Jesus’ words, which we read so often at funerals from John 14:2,3: “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Heaven will be a safe place, and there is a special, unique place for each one of God’s children in heaven. Jesus told His disciples that He was preparing a special place for His people. Just think of it! Jesus, our creator, and redeemer is busy in heaven, preparing special places for His people. The King James Version says “mansions,” while other translations say “rooms.” The Greek word, “monai,” referred to stations along a great road where one could stop and rest. Our present “rest stops” are not the same idea. A nice motel would be more like it. Perhaps Jesus is preparing a glorious Holiday Inn just for you; only the heavenly version would far outshine anything we experience here.
We had to do some house hunting when we moved to Warsaw. It is a frustrating business. One house has some very nice features, but also some drawbacks, and so you keep looking. Every house you look at has positive and negative features. Finally, you realize that the perfect house does not exist, and so you compromise. Can you imagine walking into a home that had every feature you desired and some wonderful features you never even heard of? Can you imagine finding such a home, and then discover that it was free? That will be analogous to our experience in heaven, a special place prepared by Jesus that fits you perfectly. You will not be envious of your neighbors’ place because their mansion fits them but would not work for you. Heaven will be a place where you have a wonderful home for all eternity, a home beyond anything you can imagine.
Devotion, heaven 1, Oct 17, Saturday, 2020
I would like to spend a few days talking about heaven. Let’s look around in Scripture to see if we can catch a few glimpses of heaven. Since God’s will is done perfectly in heaven, our heavenly home will be a safe place. In this sinful world, we need to lock our doors and windows. We have to worry about children being abducted. Murder is a daily occurrence. We must periodically fight to maintain freedom and give up our young people to go off to war. We have to beware of drunk drivers. We are susceptible to unseen germs and viruses. In short, this world is a dangerous place. We must live carefully, working to protect ourselves from dangers that come from many directions.
Heaven will be a safe place, where none will have to worry about being harmed. We will be living in a peaceful community we can scarcely imagine. Occasionally, in this life, we have those glorious times when everything seems right; the weather is perfect, or we are enjoying fellowship with family or good friends, and everything seems right with the world. Don’t you cherish those moments when you are just enjoying life and not worrying about danger? Heaven will be like that, not occasionally, but eternally.
The Book of Revelation says that God will wipe away every tear, that death shall be abolished. There will be no grief, nothing to cry about. Pain will be unknown forever. We will live in perfect harmony with God and with one another. Heaven will be a safe, peaceful place. Joy will be our eternal companion. Right now, I cannot imagine living a life where I always feel secure, where I am perpetually full of joy, a life utterly void of negative things. That is what God has prepared for those who love and trust His Son. More on heaven tomorrow.
Gracious God, our heavenly Father, when we contemplate the blessings that await us in heaven, we are filled with anticipation. I pray You will keep me in true faith until it is time for me to leave this life. While I wait for the glorious future, help me to live my life in a way that reveals my gratitude to You. I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
We continue to do the best we can with the Covid restrictions. I believe everyone in the sanctuary Sunday wore a mask. Attendance is way down but that is understandable. We continue to ask God to lift this virus from the world.
Bible study continues at 3:30 on Wednesday. We will be exploring the important topic of the church and its relationship to discipleship.
This Sunday Marie and I will be on vacation. Mark Simmons will bring the message.
I continue writing daily devotions as a means to stay in touch with those who cannot attend church. I hope they are helpful.
On October 25th we will observe Reformation Sunday, taking a break from the series on John’s Gospel. We will take another look at Martin Luther, a topic we examine every year on Reformation Sunday.
The annual trip tp Osage Beach for their Christmas show has been canceled. They will not have a Christmas show this year due to the Coronavirus. Bummer!
Also, Marie and I have sponsored an annual Christmas dinner to express our appreciation to the congregation for many years. That dinner has also been canceled unless there is a miracle between now and Christmas!
Stay safe, everyone. Trust Jesus and whatever happens He will be with you.
DEVOTION, 10/14, Wednesday, spiritual prayer
“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Colossians 1:9).
Paul indicates that he prays for the Christians in Colosse. We need to notice the nature of his prayer. He is not praying for their physical health. He is not praying about their financial needs. He is praying for their spiritual needs. I wonder how often we pray in this manner? Paul prays that his Christian friends may be filled with the knowledge of His will. We learn the will of God through the Scriptures. Paul prays that they may open their minds and hearts to the Apostolic message, which he preaches. Since Paul is no longer with us, if we are to fulfill this prayer, we need to be diligent in our study of the Bible. We want to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will.
It is not just knowledge we need. Paul also prays for spiritual understanding. He is praying that we not only have knowledge of God’s will but that we also possess spiritual understanding. This requires that we read the Scriptures trusting in the Holy Spirit to grant us understanding, knowing how to apply divine truth to our lives. It doesn’t do us any good to know what is in the Bible unless we apply what we know to our everyday lives.
It’s okay to pray for physical health and other temporal needs. But let’s not forget to pray for the spiritual needs of ourselves and others.
Our Father, in heaven, I must admit that much of my intercessory prayer time is focused on temporal needs. I pray now for the spiritual needs of my church family and my personal family. Help us all to fill ourselves with the knowledge of Your will and the spiritual understanding to know how to apply Your will to everyday life. Help us all to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, in the blessed name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.