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Persevere in Prayer

Acts 12:1-5 “1 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2 He had James,...

Monday, July 31, 2023

The Forgiven

Psalm 15: 1-5

“1 O Lord, who may abide in your tent?  Who may dwell on your holy hill?

2 Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right, and speak the truth from their heart 3 who do not slander with their tongue, and do no evil to their friends, nor take up a reproach against their neighbors, 4 in whose eyes the wicked are despised, but who honor those who fear the Lord; who stand by their oath even to their hurt; 5 who do not lend money at interest, and do not take a bribe against the innocent. Those who do these things shall never be moved.

This Psalm is accredited to King David.  In this Psalm, King David asks, who can dwell with God?  His answer is those who are faultless and upright.  

If we know anything about David, we know that he was a good King, and that he was a man after God’s own heart, but he was certainly not faultless.  He had his issues.  Yet, God loved him and used him.  Why?

Sin interferes with our relationship with God and our ability to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.  David sought forgiveness after being confronted with his sins and reconciled his relationship with God.

God wants us to remain in relationship with Him.  When we sin, God offers us forgiveness, but we have to seek it.  And we must seek it with our whole heart.

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

Thursday, July 27, 2023

The Thousand Year Day

2 Peter 3: 8-9

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

God’s time is not like our time.  In fact, God is not bound by time.  God exists outside of time.  This means that God can see our past, present, and future all at once.  In God’s eyes, we are being born, we are living our lives, and we have already died, all at once.  

God can interject himself at any point into our timeline.  He can go backward in our time and forward in our time at will.  Because of this, God knows all of our choices and our decisions.  God does not have to wait for the future to unfold.  So, it would seem that a thousand years of our time is just a day to God. 

When we get impatient or worried, we need to remember that whatever we are impatient or worried  about, God answered our prayer before we prayed it, as we prayed it, and after we prayed it all at once,... in His time. 

We just need faith to trust and the patience to wait for the answer... and the grace to accept His wisdom.

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Living Stones

1 Peter 2:4-5

4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Christ is the living Stone.  He dwells with God, the Father, in heaven and within our hearts.  He is the foundation of the Church.  

We, Christians, are living examples of Christ.  Christ dwells within us and it is because of this that can we offer the world the love, mercy, grace and forgiveness of Christ.  Our lives embody His teachings, His words, His actions.  In living a life in imitation of Christ, our lives become a living sacrifice. 

Together, Christians are the living church, the spiritual community of God.  We enter the Church through the living Stone.  Our mission is to offer the living Christ to the world and, through Christ, transform the world….. one person at a time.

The Living Stone.  The rock of the world.

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Praise the Lord Even from the Grave

Psalm 6:5

“5 Among the dead no one proclaims your name.  Who praises you from the grave?”

No one can physically praise God from the grave.  But the memories others have of our faith after we pass can serve as beacons to other Christians.  Some of my fondest memories are of Sunday School teachers who taught me about Jesus, although I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time.  They are all dead now, but their examples still serve as beacons of light for me.

When one Christian passes away, it is up to another to pass the light to others.  The example of those who have passed guide us in this effort, as we remember their dedication, their sacrifice, their passion, and their hope.

From their graves, Christians who have passed do praise God.  They praise God through us.

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Take Refuge in the Lord

Psalm. 5:11

“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy”.

What does it mean to take refuge in the Lord?  Does it mean that God will protect us from the world and all of its harm?  We all know people who are Christians, who know God and have a deep relationship with Him, who have suffered.  So, taking refuge in God will not provide us or our loved ones physical safety. 

Taking refuge in the Lord means that we are given a place of peace to turn to, spiritually, in times of trouble, in times of doubt and unrest.  We have access to this place of refuge through prayer, scripture, worship and service to others.

While events swirl around us, we have a great source of peace and rest.  God is our refuge.  Let our hearts sing for joy.  

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

Friday, July 21, 2023

Hospitality to Strangers

 Hebrews 13: 1-2

“ Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without  knowing it.”

There are people that we meet by accident.   Maybe God directed them into our paths.  We do not know them.  But because we said a kind word to them or helped them through a door, or picked up something they dropped, their day was changed for the better.  And maybe because their day was better, they made the day of someone else better. 

Our words and actions toward people that we do not know may not seem to matter to us because we never see the result.  But if we were God and could see the full scope of the things that we have done and said, and the effects they had on other people, we would be astounded… or concerned.  

Keep on loving one another, and, most importantly, be an example of Christ to everyone we meet.

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Keeping our Eyes on Jesus

Hebrews 12: 1-3

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

The writer of Hebrews wrote that the Christian life is liable to be entangled in temptations and sin.  What is the Christian to do?  

First, we are to surround ourselves with people who are “witnesses” to the Christian life.  These are people who have experience; people who know things and have been through things.  We are to rely on such people when the going gets rough.  

Second, we are to fix our eyes on Jesus; His words, His actions, His teachings..  He is our example of how to live a Godly life in the midst of temptation, opposition, persecution and suffering.  

With our “witnesses” beside us and Jesus fixed in our hearts, we will never grow weary.  We will never lose heart.  

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Children of Light

Ephesians 5:8-11, 15-16, 18b-20

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  18….Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul called Christians the “children of light”.  As the children of light we are to offer the world our light.  Our light consists of goodness, righteousness and truth.   These things exist in us not because of us or anything we do, but because God dwells in us.  The Holy Spirit leads us to all that is good, encourages us in righteousness, and helps us discover God’s truth.  We are to share these things with the world through our words and deeds.

But the world has many temptations and distractions.  We are to be careful that we do not become caught up in these things.  The Apostle Paul warned Christians in his letter to the Romans, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2).”

We are to seek the things of God so that we are filled by the Spirit.  And if we do this our light will shine forth into the darkness and we will be, as Paul described us, the children of light.

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

The Armor of God

Ephesians 6: 12-18

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

Paul described God’s spiritual gifts to us in a very practical way so that persons who read his letter would immediately understand.  In his analogy, he is in no way suggesting that Christians should take up arms and march to war.  I frequently see the armor of God portrayed as a Crusader on horseback.  Paul would have been horrified.

The armor of God is not to be used to beat people into submission.  The armor of God are those things God offers to us so that we will have eternal life and not fall to temptation to the things of this world.  

We are to put on the full armor of God, not just one favorite part but all of it. The armor of God consists of God’s word and God’s truth found in the gospel; righteousness found in our ongoing, lifelong relationship with Christ;  a spirit of readiness to serve and offer a gospel of peace and love to a hurting world; a faith that will lead us and guide us and be our rock through the trials and tribulations of life; and the knowledge that we have eternal life because of our faith.

These things, coupled with constant prayer in the spirit, are the foundation of our spiritual lives. 

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Christ, the Revelation of God

Hebrews 1: 1-3

“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”

God is revealed in Christ.  Christ the Son is the glory of God that walked among us. He is God incarnate; God in human form, the same God that created the universe.  Through our knowledge of Christ we know God.

God's Purpose for sending His Son to  live on earth was to provide human beings with the path to salvation, the path of faith.  When we come to faith, God’s spirit dwells in us.   The Spirit enables us to live Christ-like lives. Our lives are to be examples of Christ for the world to see.

Who do people know when they know us?  Hopefully, they know an example of Christ.

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Rest in God

Hebrews 4:1, 9-10

“1 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his." 

When the Jews approached the promised land with Moses, they saw the end of their journey.  They saw rest.  But they weren’t ready.  And they wandered in the wilderness for another 40 years.  

For Christians, our rest comes when we are in a relationship with God.  We have to be ready for this relationship, because it involves commitment, and some wandering.

But, when we are in a true relationship with God, our spirit is at rest.  We are no longer striving to fill the void in our souls.  While we may physically live in a world full of violence, hatred and unrest, the Spirit of God gives us the power and the courage to resist becoming a part of these things and to live a life based upon the teachings of Christ.

Living a different life is stressful if we try to live it within our own power and resources.  Living a different life with God leading and guiding us is a life of peace and rest.

Enter God’s rest.  Find His peace.

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

Friday, July 7, 2023

A New Song

Psalm 149:1

“Sing to the Lord a new song,

  his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.”

The new song that Christians sing to the Lord is the song of faith.  It is the song of a new life, a new outlook, and a new hope.  This new song is a song that can and should be sung by everyone of faith.

Our lives are lives that are different.  Our words and our actions are those of love and concern for others.  We know that our future rests with God and we know that we will dwell with Him in the end.  

A new life, a new outlook, and a new hope.  Sing to the Lord.  Sing a new song.

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

#Faith #Love #New Life

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Forgiven and Ready to Serve

Isaiah 6:5-8

“5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Isaiah had seen God and realized how sinful he was.  Standing in God’s presence, he saw himself to be unworthy of serving God. 

This happens to all Christians when we come to faith.  When we finally realize who God is we also realize who we are in relation to God.  And our only response is to cry out as Isaiah did, “We are not worthy.”

But God does not leave things there.  He reaches out to us and He forgives all of our sins, and we stand in His presence sinless, justified, and worthy.  Then He asks us, “Who shall I send.”  And we answer, “Send me.”

Once we are forgiven and justified, our past sins are of no consequence to God.  We are ready to serve.

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

#Forgiven, #God’s grace #Serving God

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

The Encourager

Esther 4: 11-14

11 “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.” 12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Esther was a reluctant queen.  She was in a position to help the Jews who were being persecuted and killed, but she was afraid for her life if she approached the king.  Mordecai, her uncle, reminded her that it was for just such a time that she was queen.  

Esther was reluctant to act.  But God knew that she was the perfect person for the task.  So, he worked through Mordecai in order to get Esther to take the heroic action that was required.

We all have people in our lives that we can point to and say, “Without that person things would not have turned out the way that they did.”  Looking back, we can see the hand of God in our lives working through those people.  These are people who encouraged us when we needed a kind word; people who came by when we were hurting; people who visited us when we were sick; and people who said, “You can do it” when we were scared and doubting ourselves.

All of us, at one time in our lives, needed a Mordecai.  Let us now be the Mordecai that someone else needs.

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

#Encourage one another #Caring for each other #Esther and Mordecai

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

The Narrow, Difficult Path

Jeremiah 1: 4-6

4 The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. 6 “Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” 7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.

Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet.  He wept because God had given him so much to say and no one would listen to him.  He was hated and ostracized, and thrown into cisterns and prisons.  He tried to quit prophesying but the words of God burned inside him until he uttered them.

Throughout it all, God was with him and rescued him from many tough situations.  Jeremiah told God that he was too young to become a prophet and that he did not know how to speak.  But God thought he was the perfect person to be His prophet.

The road God asks us to travel may be a narrow, difficult path.  But we do not travel it alone.  We travel with God.

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

#The Narrow Path. #Jeremiah. #God’s presence

Monday, July 3, 2023

Go in Strength not in Doubt

Judges 6: 13-15 

13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” 15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

Gideon was a reluctant warrior.  The Angel of the Lord visited him as he was beating out wheat in a wine press, hiding from the Midianites.  The Angel of the Lord called out to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty warrior.”  If Gideon was such a mighty warrior, why was he hiding from the Midianites?  Apparently God saw something in Gideon that Gideon could not see.

And Gideon did become a mighty warrior.  With an army of only 300 men, he defeated the mighty Midianites and saved Israel. 

When we look at other people, what is it that we see?  Do we see their height or weight?  Do we see their hair color?  Do we see their race?  When God looks at us, God sees something very different.  God sees who and what we can become.  

The power of God can change us.  All we have to do is have faith.

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier, Retired

#God’s power. #Transformation. #Gideon

Saturday, July 1, 2023

The Reluctant Prophet

Jonah 1: 1-3

“1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” 3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.”

Jonah was a reluctant prophet.  God asked him to go to the Assyrian capital of Nineveh and tell them to either repent or be punished by the Lord.  Jonah hated the Assyrians and wanted God to strike them down.  He did not want them to repent.  So he fled from God as far away as he could possibly flee.

When he arrived in Tarshish he discovered God was there.  When he fled again and was swallowed by a giant fish, he discovered that God heard his prayer in the fish’s belly.  

Jonah went to Nineveh and he told them to repent.  To his surprise, they repented; everyone repented.  Even the animals.  And God spared them. God knew that Jonah was the perfect person to travel to Nineveh.  He knew he would succeed in spite of his hate of the Assyrians.  

God knows us better than we know ourselves.  He knows all the secrets of our hearts, but uses us for His purposes anyway.  And he hears our prayers, even in the belly of a giant fish.

May the love of Christ be with you

Rev. Eric Lanier

#Jonah. #Tarshish. #Nineveh. #God uses us