HOW ABOUT A CUP?

My morning routine begins with a cup of coffee, Bible study and prayer for family, friends, the church, KAIROS and the many folks coping with COVID, cancer and the complications of American life. I enjoy coffee but I am mostly a “de-caf” dude because of acid reflux. I rarely have more than 2 cups a day. What I miss more, is coffee and fellowship. My favorite coffee is with my brothers in the KAIROS prison ministry inside the walls at Centinela State Prison. The COSTCO muffins are good too! The coffee is definitely caffeinated inside with KAIROS, and the fellowship is even more stimulated by the Holy Spirit!!! I also like the coffee and doughnuts at my Sunday school where we “used to” talk and chew on God’s word as we drink our coffee. The zoom Sunday school is definitely decaffeinated…no coffee, snacks and too little fun banter with my church family.

In an early morning Bible study, in Matthew 26:11 in the Garden of Gethsemane, it writes where Jesus said “My father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” In this study, and many of your will agree, the cup symbolizes suffering. Who wants to be beaten and nailed to a cross?” Most of us would pass on a cup full to the brim with suffering. No one wants this COVID mess. No one, except the Lamb of God, wants the cup. Jesus did it as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, so we could be free, and have a relationship with our Savior. He did it for amazing love for the billions who don’t and never deserved it.

Many do take the cup though! I was watching some fiction on TV and a woman was going to give birth and we all have seen the scene of suffering the hours/minutes before that bundle of joy comes into the world and just blesses our socks off! Mothers at the time, don’t like the cup, but know that the pain is extreme, but worthwhile. People working the front lines of COVID could easily quit their jobs, but the suffering is worth the ones they save. Healthcare is different today. With more losses and work hours, more pain for caregivers. 

Suffering is a dirty job but someone has to do it. We can say the same for law enforcement, military and firefighters. Going to college is different, but you deny the self for 4+ years in the hopes of a good job or the opportunity to work in chosen area. “If you like your job, you will never have to work a day in your life!” First comes the suffering and then comes the blessing. I am glad Jesus chose the cross. He paid my price to prevent my eternal suffering. 

My difficulties, so far, have been relatively less than others. My COVID positive friends and family members have or are recovering. My financial situation is stable. I don’t have a business struggling and my work losses less. For those going through COVID trials and tribulations, keep the faith. If you are having difficulty with the cup you have been given, spend some time in Psalms for comfort, and Hebrews to help you become a member of the Hall of Faith. It is beyond my pay grade to say that COVID was sent by God to punish us. People can make that case. I prefer to believe that COVID is just more prophecy by Jesus (Matthew 24:6-7) where we are experiencing more birth pains before the return of Jesus J

So what are you to do as the cup comes your way? In the words of Bill Belicheck, loved or hated Hall of Fame coach of the Patriots: “DO YOUR JOB!!” We are to do what He has always asked us to do: Love your neighbor, pray, keep the faith, study the word, be obedient, serve others and in all these ways we will be loving God. He took the cup because He loves us. Come on team. As we take the cup, do what you can so that your cup overflows with love. After this cup passes, hopefully in 2020, let’s sit down and have a cup of coffee and discuss how glorious and amazing is our God!Type your paragraph here.

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                                                                                                     LESSONS LEARNED FROM LAZARUS

Now as you read the title, you may be confused since in the Bible, there are two “Lazaruses” (or is it Lazuri?) Let’s get Lazarus 1 out of the way, because Lazarus 2 is more of the focus in this lesson. The first Lazarus is a poor man, who knew the Lord, died and went to heaven. The story in Luke 16:19-31, is about a rich man, who also died, but never repented or called upon the Lord, so he didn’t go to heaven, but he saw Lazarus in the good place (Heaven). Lesson here is don’t waste another day. Ask Jesus into your heart and you will inherit the riches of His kingdom, now and for eternity. Don’t wait, but repent today!

In Lazarus 2, there is another death, where Lazarus, a friend of Jesus’s dies (John 11:1-19) and in this story Jesus hesitates to do what He can do. It is OK for the King of King to take His time, but not for you and I. The COVID 19 crisis is getting closer and closer to me personally. This infection has hit my wife’s nephew, a good friend’s son and granddaughter, a counselor friend’s husband, long time members of my church and one of my grandson’s football coaches. This past week, the mother of two of my wife’s Sunday school students died from COVID. It is very sad and scary, and I wonder where will be the next infection detection.

If you read Lazarus 2, Jesus hesitates for a very good reason. He waited until the fourth day after Lazarus’s demise to resurrect him. Why did He wait so long? It was both hurtful and confusing for those close to Lazarus! Jesus came to save and by waiting it helped those who witnessed to believe that Jesus was the Son of God. My will is for this COVID to gone yesterday! But in all difficult situations, God will be glorified and He uses everything to save the lost and for His name to declare His majesty!

If you know the Lord, you already have the ultimate vaccination from physical death. The blood transfusion has already occurred where your sins have been covered by the blood of Christ. It is not easy to wait upon the Lord. David wrote about it in Psalms over and over again, and both Paul and Peter told us to wait as well. According to Romans 12:12 we are to “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Later in 2 Peter 3:9 we read “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.” It is hard to wait for the new vaccine or for things to get better.

Inside I am a child. I am impatient and what I want, when I want it. It is hard to wait for the pandemic to pass and to witness those perishing. My devotional this morning, given to me by Borrego Bill, a friend who is now resurrected stated, “The best things in life are the result of being wounded. Wheat has to be crushed before becoming bread, and incense must be burned by fire before its fragrance is set free. The earth must be broken by the share plow before being ready to receive the seed. And it is a broken heart that pleases God!” I also want to add that pregnancy (becoming a blimp!) and pain precede the birth of that wonderful child!

The lesson from Lazarus 2 is be patient. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promises!

 

9:15am    Bible Study for all ages         
10:15am  Sunday Morning Worship Service     
701 B Street * P.O. Box 334 * Brawley, CA  92227  (760) 344-3831   

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Due to COVID-19, Valley Baptist Church is currently closed for a typical Sunday morning worship service,

but as our normal custom, we live stream through our Facebook page every Sunday morning at 10:30am. 

Pastor John Mark Sharpe's message may be found on Facebook: 

Valley Baptist Church--Brawley, CA . 

The video below is our most current message.  See below article written by Jimbo Shinn!


Valley Baptist Church * 701 B Street * P.O. Box 134 * Brawley, CA  92227 * 760-344-3831 * Facebook:  Valley Baptist Church  Brawley, CA