Blog
August 2, 2018, 4:04 PM

Seeking The Lord In Our Misery


Seeking The Lord In Our Misery

The prophet Hosea long ago wrote these striking words: "In their misery, they will earnestly seek Me." (5:15) Isn't that still true for us, today? When things are going well, we can't spare very much time for the Lord. But when things are going poorly, when we are miserable, and realize that we cannot extricate ourselves out of our problems, then we get religion all of a sudden. We become earnest in prayer. We come regularly to worship. And we begin more energetically to read the Bible, seeking guidance and comfort from God. God uses our misery for a good purpose--to cause us to earnestly seek Him. He allows the misery to come to us to break us down, to show us our great need for Him and to cause us to become more faithful in living for Him. Misery is sent by God to discipline us, as a loving father disciplines his son, according to Hebrews 12:7ff: “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. ..God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness....it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Though we are so often faithless, God "will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself" (2 Timothy 2:13). God rescues us from our misery, not because we have sought Him earnestly, but because He cannot disown Himself. He is the God of love and mercy! He's proved that in sending His own Son to the cross to pay for our sins. In His love and mercy, God is the One who has allowed the misery to come into our lives in the first place. Hosea continues: "He has torn us to pieces, but He will heal us! He has injured us, but He will bind up our wounds!” (Hosea 6:1-2) God promises to heal us, to rescue us from our misery. God's deliverance will come to us with certainty, as Hosea promises: “As surely as the sun rises, He will appear!" (Hosea 6:3). So, if you are suffering in misery, seek the Lord earnestly. Understand that He has allowed this misery to come to you, for the good purpose of drawing you closer to Him. Trust His promises that He will rescue you; He will forgive you; He will heal you of your misery!

In Christ,

Pastor Orr




February 22, 2018, 10:37 PM

February 2018


Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We face challenging times.  The economy supposedly is getting better, but it seems like if you live in Illinois the good times may be a ways off.  Prices at the store keep going up, our bills too.   Speaking of prices, the farm economy has seen better days as well.  As far as church is concerned, things could be better.  Attendance is down everywhere.  Many have fallen into the habit of infrequent worship attendance or in the case of young families; sports have become the priority on Sunday morning.  The decline of the church started in earnest after 9/11.  There are a number of reasons why people stop coming, but more often than not, the problem is not the church or even the pastor, but a spiritual problem of the heart of the one absenting themselves from worship.  Because of this the body of Christ suffers.  As a school, enrollment is down and costs are up, and there are a number of reasons for that as well.  This is not a good recipe for a healthy budget.  So what are we to do in the challenging and uncertain times for our family and church?  The natural thing to do is to blame and to fight and point the finger.  That isn’t healthy nor is it helpful.  Paul exhorted the Ephesian congregation with these words, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit – one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” (Ephesians 4) These words apply to us.  As we deal with the challenges and uncertainty of the future we are to seek peace and unity.  We are to repent of our failings and return to our merciful God and his Word.  We are to trust that God will guide us through our difficulties and lead us to God pleasing decisions. And as we work together for the good of the church we are to seek the glory of God.  Now is not the time to wallow in fear about the future.  God will guide us through the challenges that lie ahead, for hasn’t he promised his people through Moses in Deuteronomy 31, “It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”  We are not called to fear, but to faith.  There is much to do in the months and years ahead and the Lord puts difficulties and trials in our life as a test.  Our Father in heaven disciplines and tests His children to draw us closer to Himself as Wise King Solomon says in Proverbs, “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”  And James, the brother of our Lord says this, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”  The Lord loves you and He loves Salem and we, His children are to love one another.  Let us remember this as we work together in God’s Kingdom.

 

In Christ,

Pastor Orr