Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A little love

1 Corinthians 13: 3

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

I am stuck on Corinthians still; I guess a hold over sentiment from the weeding this weekend. Love is the tough one sometimes. Maybe it is because I am a guy…. Males seem understand faith, we get the hope part, but the Love part we tend to rush over. You know that touchy feely crazy thing called love. Love often does not make a lot of sense to guys. When we love something all reason seems to go out the window, and that usually means we give up the one thing that we hold so tightly to, and that is control. I believe that is the reason Christ told us that the two most important things we could do is to love our God, and love our neighbor. For us to truly do that we have to give up the control we hold so tightly to, and give it to God. We have to learn to become the pilot.

I always thought that bumper sticker was a little off. You know the one that says Jesus is my co-pilot. He should be the pilot, not the co-pilot, he has logged far more hours in the cockpit than we have, yet we often feel compelled to put him in the right hand seat, not the left. When I turned to the Lord......I mean really started trusting him....not as a plan (A). but as the one and only plan; the first thing I felt was peace; the second thing I felt was love. Once you get that feeling, you never want it to leave. It is not just a feeling of love, but an absence of anger, an absence of frustration. When you let the Lord take the wheel you start to live, not just survive. So if you have not done it yet I urge you to do it. Quit getting in on the left hand side of the car of life, jump in and ride shotgun, the ride is smooth, the driver is experienced, and the scenery that you have been missing while you have been watching the road is breathtaking. There are a lot of people out there that need to hear, and experience that love and you cannot give it to them with both hands on the wheel.

Rev. Thetford

Monday, September 29, 2008

Where do you place your faith?

1 Corinthians 13: 8-10
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

When perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. Yes we all hear this passage at weddings, and I was at one this weekend where it did get quoted, however verse 10 really stuck in my head. The word perfection is thrown around a lot today. It seems that perfection is now possibly an attainable goal. We know that this is the farthest thing from the truth; there is no perfection beyond the perfection of Christ. All to often we give people in our lives more faith than a human deserves. As a result we become disillusioned and feel betrayed when that person stumbles, and makes a mistake.

We tend to put some religious figures and some political figures up on a pedestal. We believe that due to their position in life they must be more righteous, or because of the piece of paper on the wall they now have some ability to withstand more than the "common" person. We should all remember that is not the case. The people standing behind the pulpits, and the podiums are all very much like us. They are human, and they are subject to the same temptations.

Now I will agree that we all would think, and hope that they are at a point in their spiritual journey where the normal temptations would not be as much of a challenge, but we should recognize that with much knowledge comes much responsibility, and for some reason, that always brings more temptation. As a result we see men and women fall from great heights. It is important to remember the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 7: 20 there is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins. We all are broken, some of us hide it better than others, but we all face temptations, and we all will stumble.

I do not make this point as an attempt to discredit people in high positions, but to re-emphasize the importance in where we place our faith. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 that we live by faith, not by sight. That means that we must live for what we cannot see, not for what is right in front of us. Our true faith belongs in Christ, not in men, nor in anything that man creates. To place our Faith anywhere else only cheapens our relationship with Christ. As if to say that the sacrifice that he made for us is not deserving of our full commitment. It is in Christ that our faith must be placed, everything else is secondary.

Rev. Thetford

Thursday, September 25, 2008

More More More

Philippians 4: 11-13

11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

More more more more. That is the battle cry for today’s society. DO not be happy, do not be content, you should work to get more, because there is something bigger and better out there! Better school, faster car, bigger house. You need these things to be complete; you need these things to be whole!

Marketing is everywhere you turn today, every ad on the radio, TV, or mailer, would have you believe that what you have is worthless, because there is a new and improved one, or if you do not have something it will create a vacuum in your life that must be filled with this wonderful new gadget. It creates a very covetous world. One of the reasons that we are in the financial mess we are in today is directly due to the “wanting” of the public at large. I know because I used to be on board with it. Credit cards, no money down…it is all too easy.

If you did not have the chapter and verse quoted above, you might think that the passage was written today, this is just another example of how we really have to advanced all that much in the last couple of thousand years. There is nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself, and there is nothing wrong with desire. It is what we do with it that matters. This is the message that Paul was preaching. Learn to be content. Good times will be replaced with bad; fortunes will be won and lost. It is all temporary. It is when we make Christ the foundation of our life that we learn what it means to be content. Sure we will all still struggle to do better, but we must not make that our goal in life, increasing our bank account should not be our driving force.

This is a slippery slope, and a reminder that we should spend time daily in prayer, even if it is just a short one sometimes. We should pick up the bible daily, and read God’s word so that we might wean ourselves off the milk, and feat on the meat of the Lord. We should remember to “get right with the Lord” then head out to work, and do our best. Our lives were bought and paid for at a very high price. When we make repaying that debt our focus, we become free from today’s market crisis. There is nothing wrong with money, but we cannot allow ourselves to love it more than we love the Lord. If anyone desires more, let that desire be for more of a relationship with God. HE will provide for our needs, and if we will put him in control, he will grant us more than we can imagine.

Rev. Thetford

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Use what you were given

1 Corinthians 12: 4-13

4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

This passage is a reminder for all of us to use what we have been given. The Holy Spirit touches us each in a different way, as a result each one of us is a unique cog in the gear of life.

We each should spend some time really searching for just what that gift is. Pray on it, meditate on it, and listen to what the Lord has to tell you. The reason I say it is so important is because we all have to play out our part for the Lord’s plan to work. To say you are a Christian is great thing, but to show that you are a Christian by utilizing your gifts is truly letting the Lord work within your life.

We all have a desire to show how the Lord has moved us. Each of us has a unique way of doing that. When we gather together as a church family we can see just how beneficial it is do have such great diversity in applications working towards the same goal. Perhaps you are a leader, or you have the ability to lift others when they are in need, it may be that when you read the Bible you see ways to relate it to a real world application. Are you good with schedules, and structure, or do you find true enjoyment in teaching the word of God? Then by all means let that gift flow forth. There are people all around you that could benefit from it, all you have to do is open the door, and share.

Paul tells us that we are like babies when we first come to the Lord. We feed on the milk of the Word of God. There is nothing wrong with that, it is very beneficial, and goes a long way in building a solid foundation, however we must work towards moving on to living on the meat of the word of the Lord. A good way to progress in your spiritual maturity, and get started eating meat is to share the gifts. All too often people Come to the Lord, and hear his truths, they read, they study but then they seem to go stagnant. We cannot continue to mature unless we share what we have been given with others.

When we take the time to not only recognize our gifts, but to expand on them and share them; that is when we clear that plateau. We will see our life improve, and we will experience the joy that comes from sharing the gifts that the Holy Spirit has blessed us with!
Rev. Thetford

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Luke: 21: 34-36

34"Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. 35For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."

Addiction is a nasty thing in life, and so often when we talk of addiction it is always the old stand-bys…..drugs, alcohol, tobacco……yet really we all contend with addictions, and one is no better of worse really, food, money, relationships, power, sex, material goods……..they all are destructive forces in our lives that when left unchecked will take us to ruin just as fast as the bottle.

It never ceases to amaze me how so many today are quick to point out how terrible it is that someone smokes, or that they drink too much, yet they say this while being addicted to something themselves. Just because society dictates what is and is not accepted, it does not change what the Lord has told us form the beginning is not acceptable. We should not put anything before our relationship with Christ that includes, the promotion, the power, and the fame, all of it. Society might tell us that drinking too much is bad, but giving up everything for fame is OK; that does not make it right.

With that in mind we should look at each other in a different light. We should realize that addiction affects all of us. We all have vices that tempt us, and this is what Paul preaches so earnestly about. It is not the device that is bad or sinful. It is our being given to it, our need for it, and the unyielding desire for something in our lives other than God. Paul tells us in Ephesians chapter 5: 1”Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is”.

In society today it is easy to get sucked in to the idea that addiction only affects a few people, or that it is only when we start hurting others with our addiction, that it becomes a problem. We would all do well to look within ourselves and rout out anything that we are holding on to tighter than our relationship with Christ. This is what Christ meant in John 12 when He said: “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” There is far more out there to be addicted to, the man given to money and power, is no better than the man addicted to the bottle, we should all remember that before we are so quick to judge the bum…..there are just as many bums in thousand dollar suits !

Rev. Thetford

Monday, September 22, 2008

Picking up the pieces

Luke 22:41-43
41He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." 43An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.

The lights are coming back on, trucks are bringing in supplies, and the government is jumping in to bail out the economy. All the lifelines are in place and it is now time to pick up the pieces left. These are perhaps the most dangerous of times that many could face. These are the times when it is easy to lose faith. It is when we are left with nothing, that many might find it hard to look to tomorrow with hope, let alone make it through another hour.

There is something to be said for an abrupt change in lifestyle. For people to be worried about making their next impulse buy, and in an instant be worried if they will be able to afford, or even locate the bare minimum to survive. It is the hard sting of reality that sometimes is too much to bear. The battle line is drawn, and how we respond to these times will decide how we will recover.

If we think back to Moses, Abraham, Joseph, the Apostles, Paul, even Christ, they all had moments when their lives looked pretty bleak. There were times that they asked God to change their path, for they did not want to bear any more. They all had moments that tested their faith. They all chose to rise to the challenge, steeled by their faith in the Lord.

These are the models that we should follow. We all can hang our heads and ask why. We can shake our fists at the sky and blame God for our woes. We can even choose to withdraw into a reclusive state and let ourselves become drawn down by depression, and self pity. We CAN do all of those things, but that does not mean we should.

We are children of the most high God. We should look to the future, and the season of rebuilding that lies ahead. Yes the task ahead may look daunting, but just as Caleb knew the strength of the Lord, we too must place our trust in the foundation of our lives, and that is Jesus Christ.

While the world moves on and uses each day to relive the horror, you will hear many say that someone should have, or they could have, or why didn’t they…..all of that is of no importance. What matters is that you are alive, you still are drawing a breath, and that is what counts. We were all given the gift of another day. A new day to start again, and that is what we all should do. If your fortune is gone, start looking for a way to build again, if your house is gone, perhaps there are things that you have always wanted that you can now put into your new house. Yes it sounds simple, and I know that there is a lot more to it than just “doing it” but the point is you have to start, and the best place to start is by giving thanks to the Lord that you are still alive, and that you get another chance, there will be many that do not.

Rev. Thetford

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Turn it over

short and to the point today.

Psalm 6: 4-10

4 Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.
5 No one remembers you when he is dead. Who praises you from the grave
6 I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.
7 My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.
8 Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping.
9 The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies will be ashamed and dismayed; they will turn back in sudden disgrace

We all have low spots in our life. Times that we feel like we will never make it out alive. Grant it, we all might not feel the despair to the point that David did, but we can all relate to the sentiment in this Psalm. When the walls are closing in, and the enemy is at the gate how we respond matters more than ever. It is in these dark times we must remember to call on the Lord. Paul tells us about the Lords thoughts on these times in 2 Corinthians 12 : "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." The Lord wants to hear form you not just on the good days, but on the dark days as well. He tells us that it is during these times that his strength will be the greatest. It is during our weakest moment, when we turn it over to the Lord, that he can show us his power and might.

The telling part of this psalm in verse 10; I think we have all had moments where for no apparent reason the doom that was at our door banging loudly falls away. It is those moments that the Lord has stepped in; he has changed hearts and worked in other people for our benefit. The Lord does hear our cries for mercy, he hears our prayers; but we have to pray, we have to offer up our worries and our needs. To hold them inside, and think that we can do it on our own is a lesson in futility. It is a sad lesson that we will be allowed to repeat over and over again. So pray honestly and earnestly to the Lord, he will deliver you in the bad times, and he will bless you in the good.

Rev. Thetford

Tag you are it

Gi from u can hope 2 tagged me, and as a result I get to tag 8 people. Pretty cool idea! If we all stick with it, eventualy we all should be tagged.

Here is how it works.

The Rules:
1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

So here we go.

8 random facts about me

I have:

2 daughters

Been married for 15 years

more pets that people in my family. Horses, dogs hamsters, what can I say, we are animal people.

have no use for professional sports, yeah I know….just never got in to it.

would rather be outdoors than in.

Drove / fired a tank (M60A3) for a little while in my life.

worked as a DJ.

free climbed 1500 ft with no harness.

I tag the following people:

The Big Ruski


In His Glorious Name

Guitar Jockey

For the Lord of lords

Toni at tmrlfiles

Seed Thoughts

the writing on the wall

Have fun and get out there and tag!

Rev. Thetford

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Torn Between Two Worlds

Acts 26: 4-8
4"The Jews all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that according to the strictest sect of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee. 6And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our fathers that I am on trial today. 7This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. O king, it is because of this hope that the Jews are accusing me. 8Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?

Paul was one of the best known Apostles. The amazing thing about him was his 180-degree turnaround. This man went from being the tip of the spear against the followers of Christ, to their best spokesman of the day. While there is little doubt that Paul’s faith was strong, it does make me think of many of us whose coming to Christ may not be that abrupt. Many of us currently are torn between two worlds; divided by the people that we are, and the people that we want to be. Worse yet, many are held shackled by the people who they were.

I spoke of perseverance yesterday; this explains why it is so important. The devil himself will make a play for each of us daily. As a matter of fact the more we walk with Christ; the harder the evil one will attack you. We know that we are dead to our old lives when we start following Christ, and accept him as our Savior. However, Christ knew that we would always be pulled back to our old comfortable lives. HE knew that once we put our hand on the plow, our paths would change forever. It would take us in a different direction from many who we counted as our close friends. This is why he told us not to look back (Luke 9:62).

Bob Dylan wrote a great song, called serve somebody. If you are not familiar with it, the chorus is “your sonna have to serve someone. It might be the devil, or it might be the Lord, but your gonna have to serve some body.” This is very much the struggle many of us face everyday. We all want to serve the Lord I do not doubt that, it is the call from the dark side that pulls us daily. It is not something that most people want to talk about but it is something that many contend with. You might not think much of it, for me often it is nothing more than a fleeting thought, but it is there. Others I have talked with say it is a daily struggle sometimes. Romans 6:16 sums it up well: “Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?” We have to make that choice, and then not look back.

We cannot live in the past, or reflect on how life might be easier had we not changed. We must look forward to our new lives, and leave our old lives behind us. There is no need to be torn between two worlds. There is only one that is worth living for, which is the one that brings the promise of everlasting salvation…… The one that acknowledges Jesus Christ.

Rev. Thetford

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


2 Peter 1: 5-9

5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

I think we should all remember that this wonderful journey with Christ is just that….. a journey. I like the way that that walk is illustrated in this passage. We have to make the effort, we have to put the work in. It starts with Faith, goodness, and knowledge, and builds from there. What strikes me is the path that is laid out. TO gain self-control we have to start the journey, and it all begins with faith. Not faith in ourselves, but faith in Christ. Self-control, is not just bestowed onto us, we have to have a solid foundation, and as we know Christ himself has told us that he is the only sound foundation worth building on. It is only when we expand our knowledge of God that we can start to see the path that we should follow.

We are told that if we seek, we shall find; but we must first seek! We have to firmly place the Lord in our daily lives. I say it all the time, Faith is far more than showing up on Sunday for the book report. It is when we make time for our walk with Christ daily that we can advance our goodness, we start to practice our self-control daily, and best of all we start learning to persevere. That is when we see the love and kindness flow forth from us in a way that can only be contributed to God. We are not prefect, we never will be. We will all struggle with our own demons, and our crosses will become heavy from time to time. Our perseverance in our faith will deliver us to the feet of Christ!

Rev. Thetford

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Storms of Life

Matthew 7: 24 - 27

24"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

The headlines have it today. This past weekend was a weekend of destruction. From the Hurricane wiping out entire neighborhoods, to financial giants falling on Wall Street. It was a weekend of awaking for many. In today’s world so many are searching for a solid foundation. We want to invest our money in a “sure thing”, we want to have as much if not more than they fella living next to us, we want the house with a view, and the beach at our doorstep.

This weekend showed us all that even when those things are achieved, they could be taken away in a matter of hours. The house that we saved and struggled for can be wiped away as if it was never there, the bank account can go from black to red in the blink of an eye.

How we recover from these things all depends on our foundation for our lives, and the only foundation that is worth building on is the foundation of Christ. Psalm 57 verse 1 reads: Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. There is little doubt that we all have storms in our life. Some are nothing more than the brief summer storms that pass quickly, others bring rains that swamp the soul, and submerge the spirit. There is only one place that we can find true refuge, there is only one place that offers the peace, and faith needed to weather that storm, that place is in the shadow of the Lord’s wing.

People who have put their faith in the natural world are assured of failure. They will always be found wanting, no matter their success. All that they acquire is dependant on the lives of others, or their own life. We all face death, and life, just like all of the “toys” that they toil so hard to acquire, will be gone before they are ready. The comforts that we acquire in the natural pale in comparison to the comfort of Christ.

A person of faith understands that all things in this life are temporary; the only lasting venture is our partnership with Christ. When we build our life of the foundation of the Lord, we find our life on solid footing. It is an unshakable foundation that can handle all of the stress and all of our life’s storms. It will not crack, it will not erode, and it will not fail. The foundation of Christ gives assurance and direction in times of struggle, it will call you home like a beacon in the night when you are lost, and feeling overwhelmed.

The Lord will bless and protect you in and through all of life’s storms. He will clear the path and show the way to safety. It is by his grace that we are saved, and it is in his wisdom that we will be sustained. Do not bemoan the loss of things created by man; they are only baubles and trinkets.

Rev. Thetford

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Relevant to today

The conversation came up about Church being relevant. Is it good or bad, is there a place to draw the line? This was my 2 cents, I am curious to know what any of you might think about it. Please leave a comment, or e-mail me, my e-mail link is on the upper right side of the page.

One thing that always bothered me about Church when I was younger was everything taught about the Lord ended in past tense. He WAS crucified, God PARTED the waters, Jesus HEALED the sick and afflicted, Christ PREFORMED miracles. There was no “now” there was no “present” we were taught that all of this happened, and we should live our lives in remembrance of the past. Hence church became for me more of a history lesson, with guidelines on how I should live my life now, based on things that happened long ago. From that perspective what you end up with is a church community that believes in religion, but they do not believe in today’s power of Christ and His Church.

We have to energize the community by showing that our God is very much a 21st century God, and he is very much alive and in action today. Which brings up the question where do we draw the line. I think we have to draw two lines. One behind us, and one in front of us. There is not a chapter in the bible, and I am sure that you will all agree, that we cannot read and see where the point of the chapter follows today’s events. I think that is by far the key. We have to make the bible come alive today. We have to draw all of the parallels between the past and today. When I read the bible I am always amazed that when you strip it down, humans today are no different than they were in the days of Moses. Same mistakes, same short comings, same problems with the same sins. That is our challenge, to bring those examples (good and bad) in to modern times.

The line that has to be drawn in front of us is one of reverence. God is not a rock star, nor is he a celebrity. HE is our creator, and a loving and compassionate God. I have seen pastors try to bring Christ “up to date” so much that they almost trivialize the Lord. They go too far in making him like the common man in an effort to make him more accessible. Much like the child that thinks their parent is their “friend” not their Parent, Christ’s desires for them become more guidelines, than Law. Many churches also tend to drop off a lot of the correction of Christ, if not all of it. All that is left is a feeling of American theism, “God is great, and we all go to Heaven”. Without reverence for the Lord and his laws, it is hard to profess, or acknowledge his plan.

The line behind of us has to be one of keeping the Lord current. We cannot continue to “live in the past” we have to keep Christ current, by showing that yesterday’s problems are today’s problems, Christ is alive and well, and the church community is the new living human body of Christ. The laws laid down so long ago are not just old laws that we follow because that is the way it has always been done. We have to show that they are vital to the health of the church today. We have to show not only that the Lord DID many wonderfully divine things, but that we continue to see them today. Christ might not have one human body today, but he does have entire congregations of people that are charged with carrying on his work. This is our purpose, continuation of Christ’s legacy. Not just to live a “good Christian life” and wrap ourselves in a cocoon of self righteousness, but to bring the living Christ to the forefront in modern times, and continue his work through an energized community. One with a clear understanding that Christ is alive in each of us and that the Church’s mission is not one just of praising the Lord; but one of bringing the good news to this modern world. In my opinion this is what builds a strong working Church Community, and not just a building filled with many believers.

To summarize, yes, in my opinion we have to make the church relevant. It is bringing the message to a relevant perspective that will increase the faith of the followers. However we cannot take it to the point of excess. This is the challenge we face today. We have to have one foot in the past, and one foot in the present. We have to bridge the gap, and keep the balance between old and new. We have to maintain a balance between reverence, and accessibility. We need a Church that promotes the unchanging doctrine of the Christian faith founded all of those years ago with a 21st century perspective.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

it's not your timetable

Joshua 1:9
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

In today’s world we get bogged down in right now. We spend large amounts of time worrying, large amounts of time absorbed in us. Our little world, and the few people that are in it. We tend to live about six inches past our nose.

How will I…..what if…..there is no way that I can…..we look at so many of our problems as if we have control over them. How can we fix it, how can we assert ourselves to get the outcome we want. We spend billions each year learning to “cope” with all of our daily pressures. The actual problem is that we cannot give up control.
Let me say here yes I understand the need for medical intervention, and I am not inferring that we should not use the tools we have at hand, I am not talking about the medically ill, but the spiritually sick.

We are so sure that the answer is right around the corner. That if we push a little harder, or scream a little louder, or worry a little more, then miraculously the wrongs in our life will turn right. I have a thought for you. Let God drive. I am not saying that you should give up sit down and wait for something to happen. That is not driving at all! What you do have to do is put forth your best effort, and be done with it.

It has taken me a long time to come to grips with this, and I still battle with it from time to time, but guess what? Everyone is not going to like you, things are not going to always go your way, and you are going to make mistakes. All any of us can do, is our best. That is it. If we put forth our best effort there is nothing left to do. We have to let the Lord’s plan unfold. We have to allow him time to set the stage.

We have to give up one of the things that we love to horde. Time. We seem to forget in today’s fast paced world that God’s plan involves more than just us. As much as we would like to believe the sun rises and sets around us, that is not the case. We have to give the Lord time to work things out. We waited over 700 years for Christ to become man. It is little wonder that we might need to wait a few days, months, or even years for our direction to become clear. Joseph sat in prison for two years before the Pharaoh pulled him up and made an equal. Moses wandered in the wilderness for 40 years before making it to the promise land.

Whatever is happening right now is happening for a reason, We might not understand it, we might not agree with it, but one thing is for certain, the answers will be forth coming. In the meantime, we should focus on our relationship with the Lord, we should look to those around us that need help and freely give it. We should get out of our self absorbed cocoons and recognize that part of the Lord’s plan might just be for us to be right where we are at, and make an impact on our world right now. We cannot see it if we are banging our head against a wall, or trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. We should listen for the Lord, but we will never hear him over our own voice!

Rev. Thetford

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

many seasons, many people

2 Corinthians 3 16- 18

16But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Ecclesiastes 3
1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

Genesis 40: 14

14 But when all goes well for you, remember that I was with you. Please show kindness to me by mentioning me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this prison.

These are very inspiring passages, the first two are of hope and encouragement, the last is more of a reminder. What we must remember is that when that veil is taken away it is not replaced with blinders. Once we turn to the Lord we cannot forget the people along the way. The people who helped us turn to the Lord, the people who first offered the hope that is Jesus Christ. Most of all we cannot forget the people that are still struggling along the path themselves.

People enter and pass through our lives each day. Some offer hope, some take things from us, and some leave things that we can use, all to often those people are forgotten as soon as they leave. We might remember that person who stops by and tears us down, yet the person that has held out hope for us is often forgotten. The problem lies in the situation getting better, and us being human. Once we are restored form a hardship, how we got out of the situation tends to fade if we let it. Most people will try to block the whole incident out of their mind all together, so along with the pain, any memory of one who helped gets locked away as well.

This is one of the many differences between a common person and a righteous person. The righteous person does not forget those who have helped. They don’t forget because they were never concerned with the hardship in the first place. No matter where we find ourselves we should remember that we are there for some reason, it is not a chance happening when it comes to life. There is always something to learn, something to do, someone to help. The idea is to not focus on the hardship, but focus on the opportunity. The Lord is at work in each of us, the wonders that we see will be in direct proportion to how much control we give him over our lives. The righteous person works for the Lord, the common man works for himself. The righteous man does not forget those who have helped because he was always more concerned with the Lords plan (which involves all of us) instead of just his plan for himself. The common man forgets because it is only his selfish plan that he is trying to advance. May we all work to be the righteous, not the common.

Take a look at Joseph in chapter 40. Joseph is assigned to the Pharos imprisoned servants, as an assistant. I believe it is no coincidence that a man of God finds him self in service to others. The key thing here is that Joseph is not concerned with his station in life. While most would grumble and lament about how they should not be there, or withdraw and shut down when faced with being wrongly accused, Joseph just goes to work. Not only does he take care of his duties, he actually shows concern for others. He takes time to put forth the effort to get involved in helping others. Joseph is not concerned with his surroundings, or his situation, he knows that it is only temporary. This is the model that we should try and follow. We all go through different seasons, and you can rest assured the season always changes. If you find yourself in trying times, get busy doing the Lord’s work. There is something to be accomplished where you are at right now in life, you can’t find it, if you are self absorbed in the situation. You have to recognize it as a season that will pass, Remember that in good times and bad the Lord’s work still needs to be done. We cannot follow the Lord’s path for us into the next season, if we stop to lament in the season we are in now.

Rev. Thetford

Monday, September 8, 2008

doing the right thing

Genesis 39: 7-9

7 After some time his master's wife looked longingly at Joseph and said, "Sleep with me."
8 But he refused and said to his master's wife, "Look, my master does not concern himself with anything in his house, and he has put all that he owns under my authority. 9 No one in this house is greater than I am. He has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. So how could I do such a great evil and sin against God?"

Doing the right thing. ......Everyone says it, but I will be the first to admit, it can be the hardest thing to do sometimes. Doing the right thing means not doing something as often as it means doing something. Typically if you have to take action it is going to be hard, and if doing the right thing calls for not doing something, you can almost bet that you are going to WANT to do it on some level. This is the situation we find Joseph in, doing the right thing means not taking action. Let’s be honest here, we are not talking about a one-time encounter. It gets to the point that every time she sees Joseph, the Egyptian wife propositions him. We can safely assume that the woman was not a hag. She was the wife of an Egyptian officer; she was most likely a beautiful woman for that day and time. The devil never plays fair, and he never takes a day off. He will assault us with every trick in the book, and exploit every angel. So here it is the safest bet, the “sure thing” Joseph shows up and she has dismissed everyone. It is just her and Joseph, all alone, no one watching, it would be so easy to say yes. Some might even do it and say that the only reason why they did it was an attempt to make her stop. Not Joseph, and we can look to his explanation in verse nine to see why he ran. “No one in this house is greater than I am. He has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. So how could I do such a great evil and sin against God?"

He cites all that his earthly master has given him, he talks of how nothing has been with held form him, except her, so then how can he do this great sin against, not his earthly master, but against God! Joseph is dialed in on this, he realizes that all that has been given to him, while it has passed through his earthly masters hands, was bestowed upon him by God. It is the Lord’s blessing that has been poured out on him, his master is nothing more than conduit for the will of God. Joseph realizes that God owns it all, and he is just letting us use it. Going against his earthly master, would be going against God.

The Lord puts us here on this earth for a short time. While we are here he entrusts us with many things. The better we manage what we have been given, the more he will give us as time passes. It is not when times are easy that we will see our blessings increase, it is by perseverance through the though times that we see our harvest expand. We all find ourselves pushed to the point of being uncomfortable; this feeling is nothing more than the Lord helping us grow. There will be temptation to lie, cheat, or steal, and the easy way will always be appealing, but we will be shown through our experiences how to proceed down this road of life. It is when we come face to face with the temptations of the devil himself that we will have the chance to show the Lord our Love for him. Joseph understood that. Temptation should not be feared, but it should be recognized for what it is. While many will say that the devils temptations are a chance for us to do something wrong, I say it is a chance for us to show our love for the Lord. It is the prime opportunity to show our strength and the level of our faith. It is a chance for us to look up to the heavens and tell the Lord that what we are going through now is an easy challenge and we welcome the next chance to be victorious.

I know I say often that God will not allow us to be tempted more than we can withstand, we also know that the evil one will push all the way up to that line. There is no doubt that there was a great amount of temptation, but Joseph was a man of faith he knew the true cost of relenting. I pray that we can all recognize that the right thing is the only thing to do. We might be tempted, we might have lies spread about us, we might even be thrown in jail. As long as we are doing the right thing, and following the path of Christ, the earthly hardship is of little matter.

Rev. Thetford

Thursday, September 4, 2008

forgive yourself

Matthew 26: 27-28

27Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. 28This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom."

I was reflecting on the day last night, and thought about regret. It got me to thinking there is a key piece to letting go of regret, and that is forgiveness. I always talk about forgiveness of others, but I do not talk enough about the most important part of forgiveness, and that is the act of forgiving ourselves. I hear people say it all of the time, “ I would never forgive my self if….” Or how can I forgive myself since I…..” what you put in the blank is not really important. What we have to realize is that by making that statement, we are breeding regret.

We have to allow forgiveness for ourselves, yet so often that is the one person that we hold the most resentment against. I believe that people who are trying to live a good Christian life are even more susceptible to this. We spend a lot of our time reading the word, learning how to try and walk in the footsteps of Christ. As a result we tend to hold ourselves to a standard of perfection. It is a standard that we will never reach. The New Testament is full of many different people preaching about forgiveness, even Christ himself spent time making sure that we understood that He was the ultimate gift of salvation. Christ understood that we always have been, and always will be imperfect. If the picture of perfection can live with our imperfection, then we must certainly learn to understand, and accept it within ourselves.

I am not saying that anything goes, but I believe we need to learn to treat ourselves better. We have to offer ourselves the same care and understanding that we are so eager to give to others. If Christ can love us in spite of our flaws, then we must learn to love ourselves. The first step to that, as with any relationship here on earth, starts with forgiveness, without it the bitterroot of regret will spring forth. That bitterroot will take hold and start to cut us off, not just form those we are trying to help, but from Christ himself. It is my prayer that we can all offer ourselves the gift of forgiveness. The Lord has already given it to us, but like so many things in our spiritual life, we have to accept it, and take it in for it to be of use in our growth. SO be gentle with yourself, if we are to love our neighbor, we must first love ourselves, and that love starts with forgiveness.

Rev. Thetford


Sorry, I did not post this yesterday, so I will double post today.

2 Corinthians 7: 10-1

10Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.

We all have it on some level. There are things in our past that we regret. Maybe it was something that was said that ended a relationship, or an action on our part that we wish we could change. Regret is a very human emotion. It is nothing more than recognition of a wrong in our life.

Regret is a very selfish emotion, it breeds a lack of self confidence, and it makes us second guess what we know is right. However, regret can be a useful tool, as this passage shows recognizing the wrong, and turning from it, or making it right, brings about salvation. It is being honest with ourselves that will allow us to move beyond the regret. As we all know, none of us are perfect. We all stumble, we all slip along the way, this should not bring us regret. It should be the beginning of the search for redemption.

When we are honest about the issues surrounding the feeling of regret we are left with two choices, we honestly accept our short coming and make a change to make it right, or we recognize that as sad as it might be, the situation might be a sad one, but it is necessary for us to grow in our relationship with God. Either way, there is no need for regret….no there is no room for regret. If we wrong someone and make it right, that is all we can do, if we make a change in our life and as a result we suffer loss, as long as that change was moving you closer to God, there should be no regret.

Regret is the feeling of us taking our focus off of the Lord, and turning in on to ourselves. We would all do well to focus on the two most important rules our Lord gave us. As we take our lives in that direction, we will see there is no regret, only hope, promise, and salvation.

Rev. Thetford

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Deception of the worst kind

As I continue through Genesis, I though I would share this episode of Jacob’s sons with everyone. If you are not familiar with it you can find the entire book under Genesis chapter 34. The excerpt that I use just outlines the deception.

Genesis 34: 13-17 13 The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully, because he had defiled their> sister Dinah. 14 They said to them, "We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us. 15Only on this condition will we agree with you that you will become as we are by every male among you being circumcised. 16Then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to> ourselves, and we will dwell with you and become one people. 17But if you will not listen to us and be circumcised, then we will take our daughter, and we will be gone."

Jacob's sons use the one thing that should never be used to deceive. God's word. Praying the rosary does not make you Catholic, showing up for Church every Sunday does not make you a Christian. These are things that we use as ways to show our faith, there has to be meaning behind them or they are useless. The Covenant of circumcision was a sign of faith. Simply doing it will not bring you in to the grace of God, you had to align your life with the beliefs of the Covenant for it to mean something. To use any sign of God as a way to trick your enemy not only cheapens the worth of the ritual, it undermines the value of God to unbelievers. For us touse God's name in trickery is inferring that God is acheat.

We see this today throughout our faith. People using the word of God to extract money for personal gain is an example that jumps to mind. As a result it makes it harder for honest people of the Lord to be taken seriously. Or people quoting Scripture as a way to incite hate and judgment. What Simeon, and Levi did was no different. How can people of the land (non-believers) take the God of Abraham seriously, if they cannot be sure what is heldout as a Covenant will be honored or not? This is a good example of why it is so important for us to hold true to the teachings of Christ, not because we see an angle to work, but because it bringsGlory and honor to the Lord. Jacob's sons had the opportunity to change the hearts of an entire town, instead they used God to kill them. May we all evaluate our intentions, and make sure that we are advancing the Glory of God, not our pride.

Rev. T