Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘hymns’

Spread Love & Hope!


Beautiful Words of Love

O love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer fuller be.

O joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.

Today’s Worship Service

In the absence of a worship service in our church today because of COVID-19 and the need for social-distancing, our worship service was e-mailed to us. The hymns I include in this blog were chosen by our pastor Steve and our music director, Fran McNeill, and then e-mailed to us from our Madison Valley Presbyterian Church here in Ennis, Montana today.

The following sermon by Pastor Steve Hundley was printed for us to “hear” in the privacy of our homes. It is powerful!

Please take your precious time now and hear it with me:

Today’s Sermon

TRUSTING GOD IN THIS DARK TIME

Read: Psalm 130

Read: Romans 8

Some years ago, Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote a book entitled, “WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE.”  He wrote this book in response to the death of his 14-year-old son, Aaron, from a rare disease called “Progeria” which causes the body to age and die prematurely.

In his bestselling book, Rabbi Kushner concluded that we must decide between a God who is infinitely powerful, but not loving enough to prevent such tragedies as the suffering and death of his 14-year-old son, or, a God who is all loving but not all-powerful.  “You can’t have it both ways,” he says, “we must choose: all-powerful or all-loving.”

Yet as Christians, we believe that:

  1. Evil exists in this world, causing bad things to happen to good people, so evident in these past weeks of the COVID 19 pandemic.
  2. Secondly, we believe that our God is all-powerful; and
  3. Thirdly, we believe that our God is a loving God.

Now, I admit that our dilemma is that we can reconcile any two of the above philosophically, but not all three.  For example:  If evil exists in the world, how can a loving God be all-powerful?  Or, if God is all loving and all-powerful how can evil possibly exist?

Still, the Bible does not deal with human, philosophical questions, as much we would prefer it be so.  Instead, the Bible deals with divine faith questions.  So, even if we cannot know philosophically how evil can exist in light of God who is all-powerful and all-loving, what we “can” know from scripture is that “no matter what evils or tragedies we face in life, our God will not desert us.”  And, knowing that is enough. 

Yes, it is enough for most of us—most of the time.  But, in moments like this, that alone may not be enough.  When our entire world is paralyzed by this current pandemic, it is difficult in this dark hour not to cry out to God: “WHY, OH WHY, GOD?”  I don’t mean to make you feel guilty, for It is only human to want to know “WHY?”

I don’t know about you, but I find myself cringing every time I hear someone in the media refer to this COVID 19 pandemic as “AN ACT OF GOD.”  In all fairness, I realize it is an accepted way for referring to any such natural disaster.  Still, I am uncomfortable attributing such death and tribulation to the will of God.  As someone said: “If God is light,” according to Holy Scripture, “then why should we impart darkness to God?”

Visiting a young couple who stopped coming to church after their only child died of cancer, their pastor pleaded: “You can’t stop believing in God because of what has happened, can you?”  “Oh, I still believe in God,” said the grieving father, “I don’t come to church anymore because I hate God!”

It is for people much like that father that I have chosen to venture further out on the “thin ice” of what is called “the Theodicy Problem”, that is: “Why do bad things happen to good and innocent people?” 

So, I humbly dare to venture forward on behalf of all around this world who have suffered or lost loved ones in the midst of this unprecedented natural disaster that has and will continue to cost so many lives.

Let me begin by saying that the Bible, as I understand it, speaks of our all-powerful God who does not completely control everything in our fallen creation because of the limitations God has placed on God’s self in order to allow us freedom of faith.  Without freedom, there could be no faith.  Faith, by its very definition, requires us the freedom to love and believe in God, or to reject belief and love for God.  God does not desire us to be puppets, manipulated into having to believe in or love God.  Therefore, our God has granted us, and creation itself, freedom by relinquishing total control over our lives and the world.

The Bible speaks of Satan—and other dark forces at work in this world.  And, our own human experiences confirm that there is a dynamic evil force that exercises a powerful presence in our world contrary to the will of God.

“Yet, God in Christ,” writes Paul to the Roman Church, “broke the power of these dark forces on the cross,” which means that we are dealing now with mortally wounded, though still very dangerous “principalities” and “dark powers.”  Bad things continue to befall good people because these dark forces are still alive, powerful, and enemies of all that is good in this world.

As Christians, in this Easter Season, we have hope and assurance that through Christ and His resurrection, God’s eventual victory over the evil in our world is a foregone conclusion.  But, until that time “when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess Jesus Christ is Lord,” our God will do all that can be done to drive back these dark forces and utterly destroy them, as we continually pray and serve Him until God’s Kingdom comes on earth as it is in Heaven. 

Until that time, says Paul in Romans 8:19-23:

Creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

In his book: “Christ and Time”, Oscar Cullmann uses the analogy of WWII to illustrate our and creation’s struggle against the powers of darkness.  He makes a clear distinction between two definitive days of the war: D-Day and V-Day.  D-Day was the day Allied Forces landed in Normandy and established a beachhead.  The strategizing generals on both sides recognized that the outcome of war was decided on that fateful day, June 1944. 

They understood that if the enemy had driven the Allies back into the sea, the Nazis would have won the war.  However, the Allied Armies prevailed in Normandy and sealed the doom of the evil Nazi regime.  Still, in spite of the triumph of D-Day, the Allies had not yet totally subdued the enemy.  Between D-Day and V-Day (Victory Day), there would be many months of suffering, death, and struggle.  There would be horrendous battles as the Allied Army, little by little, pushed back the Nazi forces.  Still, the ensuring battles would culminate in “Victory Day,” which marked the complete surrender of the enemy and the total liberation of Europe.

So you see, the cross and resurrection of Jesus were our D-Day.  God in Jesus won the decisive battle over evil and death in this world.  However, God and His children, as well as nature itself, continue to face struggles while driving back the forces of darkness whose power has been broken.  Still, dark forces are alive in the world and free to raise havoc.  God’s V-Day is not yet here!  However, we can be confident in God’s triumph over evil and death (and COVID 19), because we know how it will end. 

Or, as Paul says:

Who (or what) shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine or nakedness, or peril, or sword (or this COVID 19 pandemic)?  As it is written, “For Your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither, death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 35-39)

Pastoral Prayer:

(Written by Rev. Steve Hundley and printed in our worship e-mail)

“In midst of life, O Lord, our lives have been interrupted by death: the death of our normal routine, the death of worship as we have always done it, the death of life as we have known it, the death of our personal plans, the death of innocence, the death of institutions, the death of promises, the death of those we love, the death that works in our own bodies.

In spite of our broken dreams we give You thanks for the gospel of Jesus Christ, whose message is not death but life: the life of the Spirit, the life of dreams, the life of faith, the life of love, the life of justice; life for the small people of the world, life for the meek, life for the broken and rejected, life for the diseased and afflicted, life for our loved ones, and life for us.

Lord, we pray for those who need hope, healing, and grace.  We hold up before you those who are alone and isolated, those who are sick, and those who are scared of what the future holds for them. Lord, help us to discover new ways of living: living for Christ, living for those around us, living for this frightened world, living for Your Kingdom.  Let the Christ of the empty tomb make empty tombs of all our disappointments and fears.  Come and reign over us, now and in the days ahead and forever and ever. Amen”

Verse One:
God be with you till we meet again; By His counsels guide, uphold you,
With His sheep securely fold you; God be with you till we meet again.

Chorus:
Till we meet, till we meet; till we meet at Jesus’ feet;
Till we meet, till we meet, God be with you till we meet again.

Verse Two:
God be with you till we meet again; ‘Neath His wings protect and guide you,
Daily manna still provide you. God be with you till we meet again.

Verse Three:
God be with you till we meet again; When life’s perils thick confound you,
Put His arms unfailing around you; God be with you till we meet again.

Verse Four:
God be with you till we meet again; Keep love’s banner floating o’er you,
Smite death’s threatening wave before you; God be with you till we meet again.

(Back to chorus)

Photo by 42 North on Pexels.com

Spread Love and Hope

I pray you found love and hope in these songs, these words, and these prayers.

If you did, as I did, you can spread love and hope by forwarding this post to your friends and family. Or you can sit with those in your household (as I did with my husband this morning) and read/sing these messages together. Or you can do both!

God’s got us in the palm of His hand.
He never fails us.
Spread His love and hope to this hurting world today.

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

God bless you.
See ya tomorrow.



I Love You!


Happy Valentine’s Day!

I love you!

It’s a day for love. Love is so easy to SAY… but while saying it is important (when it is sincere), it’s not the word that counts. It’s the heart and the action behind that word. You know that! So, what did you DO this week, what did you do yesterday, what did you do today to SHOW your love?

Bob Goff is one of my favorite authors. About 8 years ago my granddaughter gave me his book, Love Does, as a Christmas gift. Have you read it? Do you know this zany, whimsical, amazing man? Check him out at this link… Google it – and listen to him. He will inspire you to DO LOVE!!

LOVE DOES by Bob Goff

176,359 views • May 11, 2012

Kittie Eneboe

Yesterday our Madison Valley Woman’s Club had a Valentine party. My friend, Kittie, came dressed for the occasion. I love her spirit! Don’t you?

We decorated chocolate covered strawberries to take home to our loved ones, and we created/decorated Valentine’s cards to give to someone special in our lives. (Oh, and we got to eat some of those strawberries, too. Yum!)

It was a fun activity… but the real fun was delivering our gifts to our “Special Valentine” today.

Of course, you know who mine went to… but I also decorated an extra couple of the strawberries and made a card for our pastor, Steve, and his wife, Elaine, and delivered them to their house yesterday afternoon. Love does! Love shows. Love cares.

Love does show on our faces. Bob got my strawberry and card for his breakfast today.
And love shows on the faces of our friends, Steve & Elaine, too.
Love DOES show in their lives all the time.

Last Sunday Steve & Elaine hosted a fellowship at their house after church.
Our mutual friend, Christine, created these skewers to add to the goodies we all enjoyed. Someone else lovingly made the bean dip.

Our friend, Jim Forsberg, brought his guitar.

Jim led us all in singing some of our old favorites. “Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam, where the deer and the antelope play.” Ah yes, music is an automatic transmitter of love, don’t you agree?

I inherited a book from my mom. It is tattered from loving years of use. It is titled, The Modern Hymn Book. It was printed in 1924. There is a bookmark on the page where my mom’s favorite hymn is, “Blessed Assurance.”

“Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.”

Ah yes, on this Valentine’s Day, this song is a great reminder. There is no greater love than the love of our Savior who demonstrated LOVE DOES with His whole life. How blessed I am to have had a mother who marked the page, loved the song, and knew that story well. The song was copyrighted in 1873… and its words are as pertinent today as they were then. The tune is known around the world. Let’s sing it!

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

And let’s remember the Truth of real AGAPE love on this day of LOVE.
John 3:16 – my favorite verse: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Yes, God is the ULTIMATE example of Love Does.

“I love You Lord,
and I lift my voice
to worship you,
O my soul rejoice.
Take joy , My King
in what You hear;
May it be a sweet, sweet sound
in Your ear.”

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

Go out today – and DO LOVE!!

Happy Valentine’s Day!
See ya tomorrow.

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