God is with us in life’s changes by PASTOR MICHAEL CISLER North Kent Bible Church In the next few weeks, the lives of many young adults will change forever. They will walk across a stage and be handed a piece of paper which says they have graduated from high school. They now enter a new stage of life. Many have already decided what they will be doing next fall, while others are still making decisions about their future. In both cases there is often excitement of the possibilities and fear of the unknown. As adults, we face these same emotions when we have children, when our children graduate and move out, when we change jobs, when we move, and whenever our lives change dramatically. The Word of God, in Joshua 1:9, teaches, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” These words were spoken by God to Joshua as his life changed in obedience to God. They are true for us today. As we obey God, no matter how much our lives change, He will be with us and we need not fear. In Jeremiah 29:11, God says, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God says this not at a time of excitement but when the Jews were in captivity by another nation. For 70 years they would be captives and God is encouraging them that He has plans for them. We can be encouraged that as we face times of difficulty we have a God that has plans for us as well—plans to prosper, gives us hope, and a future! Whether in times of exciting change or times of difficulty, God is with us to give us strength and courage, to give us hope and a future. Our responsibility is found in Jeremiah 29:12-13. Right after God tells of His plans, hope and future, He says, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your […]
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What a difference by PASTOR MICHAEL CISLER North Kent Bible Church There is a song made popular in the late 1950s entitled “What a Difference a Day Makes.” I have heard this song used in movies and commercials to support the point of how quickly life can change. Certainly we have experienced this truth in our own lives as well. As we look forward to what is typically known as Holy Week next week, we certainly see the truth of this concept of change in a short period of time. On one day Jesus dies on the cross. Only a few days later he is raised to life again. Today I would like us to consider, however, Jesus’ triumphal entry and the mood of the crowd compared to their mood only a few days later. In Matthew 21:1-11 (as well as Mark 11, Luke 19, and John 12), we find the account of Jesus entering Jerusalem only a few days before he is arrested, tried, crucified and eventually raised from the dead. When Jesus enters Jerusalem on this day, there are large crowds spreading their cloaks and palm branches on the road in front of him. This spreading of the palm branches and waving them in the air was done in the presence of someone thought worthy of honor. Matthew 21:9 says, “The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Hosanna in the highest!’” The crowds are proclaiming by their actions and words that this Jesus was very special. It seems by their words, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” that they even understood him as Messiah, the anointed one of God. Upon his arrival into the city it says “the whole city was stirred.” This triumphal entry into Jerusalem by Jesus was celebrated and he was honored by the crowds that accompanied him. It is hard to believe then, that just a few days later, the crowd in Jerusalem was shouting, “Crucify him!” What a difference a few days make. I would encourage you to be involved in worship this upcoming week. Throughout the week, many local churches will be remembering and celebrating […]
God is Strong and He Cares—Message of Hope by PASTOR MICHAEL CISLER North Kent Bible Church Concerning the terrible devastation that has come upon Japan following the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, a newsperson recently asked which of the following two things is true. Is God strong enough to take care of things but doesn’t care enough to do so, or is God very caring but not strong enough to take care of things? At first I was disappointed because the truth was not given as one of the options. Then I realized that likely many people ask this question, not knowing there is another answer. Concerning the strength and caring of God, Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Luke 1:37 says, “Nothing is impossible with God.” God created the heavens and the earth and, with Him, all things are possible. His strength is not lacking. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God loves people so much that He gave us His son. In 2 Peter 3:9 it says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” God’s care for us is great and He does not desire that anyone should perish. So why does so much bad happen in our world? God is strong, God cares, and God has allowed man to make his own decisions. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they brought upon the then-perfect earth a curse. And we still see that curse in place today as death and sorrow are around us. But God has also made a way through Jesus for people to have peace today and a hope for the future. Jesus says in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We can have peace in the world today through Jesus. We also have hope for the future, […]
Giving gifts that matter by PASTOR Michael Cisler North Kent Bible Church I don’t want anyone to get upset with me, but there are a lot of countdown clocks to Christmas, and many of them have already begun counting down. I would love to write this devotion with the theme of Jesus being the reason for Christmas and not losing sight of that through all of the things that we do surrounding this holiday. However, that might be better received as we get closer to Christmas itself. I would like to share with you some things that God has been putting in my heart as I prepare for Christmas. In Isaiah 58, God speaks through the prophet Isaiah concerning what He desires in fasting. Fasting had turned into a practice that was more about other people seeing our fake righteousness, than the desire that God had for it from the beginning. In this chapter, God talks about wanting people who are involved in loosening the chains of injustice, setting the oppressed free, feeding the hungry, providing shelter for the homeless, and meeting the needs of those in need. In Isaiah 58:10, it says, “…and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” Now what does this have to do with preparing for Christmas? Many of us are probably already compiling lists of gifts that we need to buy for others. Our names are being compiled on other people’s lists. Have you ever considered replacing some of those gifts with gifts that really matter? What if, rather than buying a $20 neck tie for your brother-in-law, you donated that $20 in his name instead. It is amazing what $20 can do to bless those in need. North Kent Community Services can turn $20 into an astounding amount of food to give to our neighbors who may need some assistance. I recently learned that through some organizations $20 can buy enough food to feed 100 orphans in Malawi, Africa for an entire week. I think now is a good time to begin talking to others with whom we exchange gifts for Christmas and […]
You are important by PASTOR MICHAEL CISLER North Kent Bible Church It is interesting in the midst of largeness we can feel very insignificant or unimportant. I have been to sporting events with thousands of people cheering and felt like it was just as loud without me cheering as it was with me cheering. In times of great need I have felt like my contribution was so small that it would not be able to help at all. When Hurricane Katrina brought great destruction to New Orleans five years ago, I remember the desire to help and the need seemed so great that what I was able to offer was not enough. In those situations, if we acted on those feelings of insignificance or unimportance, where would we be? If we all decided not to cheer for our team, stadiums would be quiet. If we all decided not to give in times of need, relief efforts would cease. This issue reminds me of the way we are to function as believers in Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 12:27 says, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” As individuals in the body of Christ we are one of millions. But what if we all decided that we were too insignificant or unimportant to function as such? Who then would share the good news of love, hope and wholeness in Jesus Christ? Each of us is able to make a difference in the lives of people around us. All of us are able to work together to love, encourage and help others. You are significant and important. If you are not a follower of Jesus, you are still important to God. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God loves you and gave His son, Jesus, so you would have an opportunity to live forever with Him. God desires that you know Him and have a relationship with Him. You are significant and important to God.