Welcome to the P.J. (Pastor J) Sound Theology Blog

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Let God Lighten Your Load!

Have you ever felt like life was too hard and, there was just too much of a burden to bear? Well maybe I'm alone but I have! Many times in my life I have felt overwhelmed with family, bills, projects, responsibilities, and the work of the Church. YES at times I have even felt crushed and  exhausted by the work of the Church.  I  believe that this is how Jeremiah  felt in today's text:

Jeremiah 1:4-10
1:4 Now the word of the LORD came to me saying,

1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."

1:6 Then I said, "Ah, Lord GOD! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy."

1:7 But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a boy'; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you,

1:8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD."

1:9 Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the LORD said to me, "Now I have put my words in your mouth.

1:10 See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant."

God gave Jeremiah a huge undertaking, to be appointed over nations, kingdoms and lives. God gives us the same appointment today. The thing that we must remember and trust in is that God prepares us as God placed the word in Jeremiah's mouth we are also prepared, and trust that God will always be with us. If we keep these two things in mind then the burdens of our lives will never overtake us nor be to much to bear. Family God does require much of us, because God knows how much we can truly handle.  In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus encourages us with these words- 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 
It's in trusting God through Christ that we find rest and peace during our every day life. Yes our task is to do work, but God will do  all of the heavy lifting on our behalf.  

Dear God, as the day moves along we will be faced with many new and difficult burdens, we turn them over to you and we are determined to focus on your will for our lives. Knowing that  you will enable us to deal with the burdens by lighting our load and doing  the real heavy lifting. this is our prayer. Amen.

Be Encourged today, Be Well, Love PJ.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Working in the Vineyard

 At our New Kingdom Bible study last night we discussed procrastination, how we do not have time to waste in life. That discussion lead us to the topic of God's fairness and how we are all held to the same standard by God because we all receive the same reward.  You and I won't have it any easier or harder because we are Christians and follow God, we all must work equally hard proclaiming the Gospel and growing God's kingdom on earth by winning souls. 

After bible study I could not stop thinking about Matthew 20, the parable of workers in the vineyard so I have chosen this passage for devotion today:

Matthew 20

New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
“About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.
“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
“‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’
“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’
“The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’
13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

At first glance it looks as if the owner of the vineyard is being unfair or playing favorites. However just like God the owner is being fair and just to each worker. The ones that came early at 9 in the morning and the ones that came at 5 in the evening both are held to the same standard. Despite the time of arrival all are expected to work hard until told to stop.  God responds to us the same way, despite when we start following God and living out our faith we are called to work hard until we are called home to heaven. Some of us come to God at 18, others at 32, some at 56 and still others at 71 but whenever we come to God we must work hard in the vineyard of the world until we are called home and then we all get the same reward.  After all Fair is Fair, I have to go now it's time to get to work!

Today I pray God that you give all of your current workers the strength to work as hard as we can sharing the good news that you have given us with the world, so that many more will reap the precious reward that is promised to us. Amen.  
Be Well!!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Holding on to your dreams!

·         The world is full of what I deem dream- killers or professional haters, people who make it their life's mission to discourage us and make us feel unworthy to accomplish our goals or be successful in life. While their are many dream-killers there are many more DREAMERS. This Friday I want to encourage us all to hold on to your dreams. As we continue to follow the story of Joseph in Genesis 37, we see that even his own brothers want to kill him and his dreams.  Proving that sometimes even those close to us won't understand our dreams or will be so angered by them that they become dream-killers. Friends remember despite who believes in you and your dreams they are God given and because of that they are God approved. Therefore hold on, be strong, keep the faith and never let go of your dreams.  I encourage you to read the text and then pray for all of us dreamers. Until Wednesday be safe, be well, be blessed. Love P.J. 
  Genesis 37:18-20 (message) They spotted him off in the distance. By the time he got to them they had cooked up a plot to kill him. The brothers were saying, “Here comes that dreamer. Let’s kill him and throw him into one of these old cisterns; we can say that a vicious animal ate him up. We’ll see what his dreams amount to.”

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Family DRAMA

 I woke up this morning thinking about family drama, and as I read the text for today I began to think about my childhood and how hard it was growing up the younger brother of my siblings. I like Joseph during many times in my life was accused of tattle-telling on my sisters and like Joseph I got in trouble with them for telling the truth on them to our parents. Have you ever gotten mad at a sibling  for tattle-telling on you or were you the one doing all the telling and your siblings got you back in their own way? In today's text 17yr old Joseph upsets his brothers 1st because he tells on them and 2nd because he has dreams about what God has called him to. Has anyone in your family ever told you what you can't be or can't accomplish? Has anyone ever told you that you are crazy for thinking you can become or achieve something special? If so, then you know exactly how Joseph felt. Today's text reminds us that despite our family drama God still has a plan for us and when others say we can't God says that we can! Prayerfully the story of Joseph will provide encouragement for you as it has for me.

Genesis 37

New International Version (NIV)

Joseph’s Dreams

37 Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.
This is the account of Jacob’s family line.
Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.
Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate  robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.

Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”
His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
Dear God please never let us get discouraged enough to believe the Nay-Sayers in our lives, and to trust and believe in our God given dreams and gifts. This precious prayer we intrust to you. Amen.

Until Friday, Be Well, P.J.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Living A Righteous Life

With LENT swiftly approaching in the next three weeks many people are searching their hearts seeking to find what God wants of them. Some have already decided what sweets to give up and what foods to avoid during LENT. While the truth of the matter is all God ask of us is to turn from evil, do good; seek peace and pursue it. Far to often people think too deeply about what God really requires from God's children. As the Lenten season draws near I invite each one of us to focus on how we can live better and righteous lives for God. This Resurrection season I personally am working on my relationship with God through my relationship with my fellow person and the world. This is what God requires of all of God's people to live in Righteous Love with one another. Today's text for thought is taken from  Psalm 34:12-14:

New International Version (NIV)

12 Whoever of you loves life
    and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.

In closing, I pray that you and I let God do the heavy lifting of writing our life story, and we just follow the script of living accordingly. Amen and Be Well!!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What's Looming Over Your Shoulder From Last Year?

John 9:1-7 (NIV)
1 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 "Teacher," his disciples asked him, "why was this man born blind? Was it a result of his own sins or those of his parents?" 3 "It was not because of his sins or his parents' sins," Jesus answered. "He was born blind so the power of God could be seen in him. 4 All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me, because there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end. 5 But while I am still here in the world, I am the light of the world." 6 Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and smoothed the mud over the blind man's eyes. 7 He told him, "Go and wash in the pool of Siloam" (Siloam means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came back seeing!

My 1st cousin text'd me excited this New Year, saying "thank you so much for the Gospel cd that you made me last year I listened to it for the first time today!" I made the cd at least four months ago for him. There is something about the New Year and a fresh start where we start to try and clean up our lives by making resolutions, promises, deals, diets, bargains, and  beginning all types of new lifestyle regiments. While if you are anything like me in the past many of your old resolutions barley lasted a month, the core idea of them came from a great place of promise and a God given desire to become our best self.  The text of John 9:1-7 reminds us today that we no longer have the option of coming up with short lived great ideas. John's text instructs us to quickly carry out the task that God has assigned us daily striving to become our best selves. My cousin's excitement this morning just drove home the point that regardless of what I failed to do last year, this year I can take of the old business that I left looming and looking over my shoulder. Now is the time to pick up and work, God has given each of us a chance to allow God's power to be seen in us and the quicker we get to work the better for us and the world.

For me, I'm past making deals and promises to keep in the New Year, however I am resolved to daily better myself and lift up God in all that I do all the while that I can. While it's light and I am able to work I will give testimony to God's awesome power through living a radical gospel of love, and I'm going to start with the abundance of left-over agenda items from 2012. I invite you to join me! 

Loving God encourage all who read this to strive with each breath to become their best selves for you and in your will to go out in loving and peaceful ministry and work starting now. In Jesus name we ask these things of you. Amen. Be well, PJ.