Jesus, So Much More than Just Another Meal

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Some thoughts on John 6:35, 41-51:

Just a quick scan of the Bible reveals that God has quite the record of providing real food on a miraculous scale to sustain the body. In the beginning of Chapter 6 of John’s Gospel you can read about one of those times as Jesus fed over 5,000 people from just 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread with leftovers that filled 12 baskets!

Jesus had worked this mighty miracle as a setting for a plain talk on His true mission in the world. “I am the bread of life.” By saying it that way, ‘I am,” Jesus was identifying himself with God.

While it is true that Jesus spent much time ministering to people’s physical needs, the real purpose of His coming into the world was to save people’s souls.

Hearing this, the people began to lose interest. As long as there is free food, great; keep it coming. Be our King and feed us every day like the Israelites in the desert under Moses. Jesus’ first audience were thinking only of their own physical wants and needs. How many of us still do this too?

More than just another meal

Jesus addresses those grumbling as He points out that the manna, (in verses listed at the top) miracle that it was, did not provide the eternal ‘food’ that we all need. After all, their ancestors ate it and still died in the desert. Jesus is so much more than just another meal.

The first of the I am statements in John’s Gospel

Jesus, “I am the Bread of Life.” What does that say to you? The original audience had trouble processing that claim. What do you do with it?

Maybe before we examine that, a more basic question needs to be addressed first: Who is Jesus to you?

            Is He: a cosmic talisman you call on when you are in trouble?

Some far-off or aloof deity/someone you choose to keep at arm’s length?

Is He your Savior (the A answer!). Yet the text today seems to be telling us that the Lord can be something in addition to Savior. Please remember that Jesus is salvation, plus or minus nothing.

Jesus: “I am the bread of life.” (twice) “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.”

            Is He the Bread of Life to you?

When Jesus says you will never hunger or thirst again, obviously He does not mean physically. Rather, Jesus is telling us all that believing in Him brings with it a satisfaction that cannot be removed or replaced. It has been said that we are all born with a God-shaped hole in our hearts that can only be filled perfectly by Jesus. That hole is what gets filled when you take the Bread of Life. Jesus brings to you the wholeness that only He can.

Remember, Jesus is not just another meal

 Jesus does not want only to help us sustain life. No, rather He is offering all humanity eternal life! You, me and the whole world. This is God’s grace as it is poured out to us each day. John 10:10b records Jesus saying, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I have come that they may have live; and have it to the full.” Jesus has come to save and to have the life He offers to the full.

We then must use each day’s grace for the purpose God gives it; that it nourishes us spiritually. All we have to do is merely acknowledge our need and accept what the Lord is offering daily. God knows your needs. Do you trust Him to supply that which you need, even if you do not understand it or can explain it?

Thanks for reading.

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Pastor Chuck

Theology: What a Huge Topic!

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(As I journey through the United Lutheran Seminary, I will keep you updated with how things are going and occasionally share some of my work. This is one such time. The assignment was to share some thoughts of the topic of Theology)

My first thought upon looking at this assignment was, “Theology is the study of God. How can I adequately do that in a forum of roughly 150 words?” Relief from my mental gymnastics came as I realized that many more learned folks than me over the centuries have struggled with this same question; some writing great volumes about theology without ever covering the entirety of the subject.

Then, as if the study of God were not enough, those considering this usually add the study of religion to it, primarily as it deals with God’s relationship with the world at large.

Again, my finite brain shrivels at the enormity of the task. But fear not, I move forward knowing that my intentions are good and continually hoping that the God whom I/we study will guide my understanding as He leads me/us into further knowledge of His vastness.

Scripture brings comfort as it informs that in this life we cannot know God fully (1 Corinthians 13:12). Yet this encouragement is not to dissuade from gaining more knowledge of the Almighty. Hence, the study of Him. I firmly believe that it is God’s desire that we do indeed learn more about Him. Not for our edification, but for His glory.

In this pursuit, He that is all-knowing bestows on those who earnestly seek Him more knowledge of the things divine. What a privilege! What joy in gaining knowledge of the Creator!

My prayer for me and all of us as we journey together is that God will continue His transforming work in and on us all, for His glory and the edification of all who call on His name.

Pastor Chuck Copps

The Wonder of the Cross of Christ

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Christianity 101 tells us that the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is central to its theology. Jesus, the very Son of God, came to earth and lived a sin-free life as He taught and demonstrated of the nearness of the Kingdom of God.

He ultimately revealed the depth of His love for all mankind when He willing went to an awful death by crucifixion. As He did, He supernaturally bore the weight of the entirety of the world’s sin on His person in order that ordinary folks like you and me could be saved for all eternity.

The Apostle Paul sums this all up for us in his letter to the Roman church: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9 NIV)

I would gladly welcome conversation on any of the above at any time, including questions, concerns and uncertainties. But let’s do that during another post. For today I want to focus on the physical cross itself that Jesus was crucified on. I believe that God is still calling us to Himself and that much of the invitation still lies in and around that wooden implement of death that God has wondrously turned into an invitation to life.

I have been giving some thought to the physical cross. I know that much of Christian art has depicted Jesus carrying an entire cross up Calvary’s hill. However, research seems to have shown that the Lord carried only the cross piece as the longer vertical pole would have been left in place for re-use.

Joseph Zias, an anthropologist with the Israel Department of Antiquities, and Eliezer Sekeles of Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem state that, “One can reasonably assume that the scarcity of wood may have been expressed in the economics of crucifixion in that the crossbar as well as the upright would be used repeatedly.”

If they are correct, and I have no reason to doubt them on this, that means that the crossbar that Jesus carried and died on was used again, possibly many times.

I think it unlikely than any of those being put to death by crucifixion by the Romans of that time for treason, speaking against the government, rebellion or murder (the crimes most often punished by this means) knew of the previous carriers of their cross-piece. Word of who Jesus was and what He had done was still confined to a relatively few people at the outset. How sad to think that the very piece of wood that had held the Savior’s body was unknown to them.

Conversely, how wonderful is it that we live on the other side of the event of the Cross of Jesus! Because He took the place of all sinners (that’s you and me again!) and willingly paid the price for all of our transgressions, we can know that our forever home has been secured with Him.

Yet as we celebrate this greatest news ever presented to human beings, let us not forget how it came to be. In other words, let us not lose sight of the significance of that cross-piece that Jesus carried. We have the opportunity to know why His Passion had to play out as it did.

As you contemplate that awesome truth again today, I ask that you also remember those who have no knowledge of what Jesus did (and is doing). Many are trudging through life carrying a burden that can only be relieved by the One who cares for us all. Please, if given the opportunity today, won’t you share the incredible story of God’s love for all as it is represented in the Cross?

Thanks for reading.

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Pastor Chuck

No More Burnt Toast!

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I am blessed to be a part of a blogger chat group that meets via zoom on Saturday mornings. One of the regular attendees, Alicia, has a recurring problem: She burns her morning toast (a lot!). Though she does not claim to be the world’s greatest chef, Alicia finds this on-going issue frustrating; probably because it occurs more often than not.

As the discussion turned to failed attempts in the kitchen this morning, talk of Alicia’s toast problem surfaced. It was as I listened to what happened that God nudged with some Spirit-filled advice for her. You see, the root cause of her burning bread was not the toaster, but rather the fact that in an attempt to use her time constructively, Alicia goes off to do other chores while the toaster does its thing. Invariably, one task leads to another and the inevitable burnt toast pops up.

The words of the Prophet Micah popped into my head and in them I believe is the end of all of Alicia’s failed toasting: But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. (Micah 7:7 NIV)

The God-given answer seems clear: Stop all other activity and wait by the toaster form your meal! Knowing as I do that Alicia wants to make every second of her day count, I then counseled her to use that time of waiting to praise God. Maybe a short gratitude list of things she is thankful for. Or perhaps spend those few minutes while waiting for her toast to pray for her kids and husband. Using time in this way is certainly productive, with the side benefit of not having to throw out burnt toast.

As I like to do, I then apply this advice to myself, looking for areas where I allow busyness to cloud or even block my awareness of God around me. Having identified a few, I will take the same Spirit advice I shared with Alicia and apply it to myself. Very rarely is a thing to do so important that I cannot slow down to simply be in God’s presence. He already knows my heart, so why not bask in His wonderful presence. Doing so will make whatever is pressing at hand fall into a clearer perspective.

Like Micah, I will watch in hope, knowing that God has only good for His children. I will wait for God my Savior, for waiting for Him is better than anything I might accomplish on my own and I will cherish the knowledge that He hears me. And not only hears, but listens with a loving heart that will direct me in His ways, if I only will open myself to Him.

So I tip my cap to the last burnt toast Alicia ever makes, and join with her as we proclaim the greatness of the God of the Universe!

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Pastor Chuck

Checkin’ in

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Greetings in grace to you Most Appreciated Readers! I wanted to take this quick opportunity to check in with you all.

I realize I am not the most prolific blogger on WordPress. Yet even my less than regular jottings have been even more spaced out than usual. Hence the update.

As you may remember, I have gone back to my old painting job at Le Moyne College for the months of June and July in an attempt to help my replacement (who also happens to be our oldest son) get the thousands of square feet of dormitories and other living spaces re-coated before the new academic year begins in August. This effort keeps me more than busy during the week, as the 8+ hours of painting each day go speeding by.

Weekends are spend primarily doing the things around our house that get neglected during these weeks, thus leaving little time for blogging. I don’t know how it is for you, but the less I write makes me more aware of how much I enjoy sharing this time with you.

Even in these uber-busy times of my life, God is faithful. In fact so much so that He is presenting me with a new ministry opportunity. Beginning in September I will be joining the staff at a Lutheran Church just a few miles from our home. I will be serving there ½ time, as I also go back to seminary to tackle some courses in the Lutheran foundations. This tract will be leading me into full-time parish ministry so time down the road.

I will embrace this new chapter while maintaining my roots in the local church Betsy and I belong to, as well as seeing to the ministry opportunities presented to Lakeside Christian Ministries.

I realize that some folks get to my age and begin to slow down or at least start to look at the possibly of life after work. I say blessings to them.

But for me, it is full speed ahead (with God’s leading)! I am energized by what lies ahead while enjoying the blessings of the moment. God is so good!!

I hope to keep you all posted (a little more frequently) going forward.

As always, thanks for reading.

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Pastor Chuck

Freedom for All!

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This 3 day weekend here in the States has given many the opportunity to celebrate our country’s independence. With Covid-19 on the run in many places, folks have traveled near and far to join in these festivities with family and friends. To many, the lifting of restrictions has a feeling of release from pandemic prison. I find it a joy to see the many happy faces around our neighborhood as they share laughter and food with others for the first time in a long time.

Yet I also know something of human nature and when tomorrow, July 6th gets here, many of these same people will trudge off to work. The thoughts of weekend celebrations will quickly fade into the dull routine of earning a living.

Part of the reason for this drudgery, in my opinion, is the fact that though we celebrate July 4th as a mark of freedom, most are aware that we live in a culture that is far from free. Racial and social injustice are still painfully prevalent, and no amount of celebratory fireworks can mask that truth. I believe that as a nation we carry this fact with us, thus quickly dampening the good feeling of celebrating something that is not universally available.

Thanks be to God, there is a true freedom that is offered to all; the freedom that Jesus Christ has procured. It is by His sinless life, His crucifixion in the place of sinful mankind and His glorious resurrection that this freedom comes.

Jesus spoke of this freedom while He still walked the earth. John’s gospel records it his way: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36 NIV) The Lord is speaking here of the freedom from the bondage to sin. He knows that only His perfect sacrifice will satisfy the wrath of God against all sinners, of which you and I are included. The word Jesus uses for freedom in the original Greek means to be liberated from something that holds you captive. In the case of humanity, this means the sinful nature that we are all born with. It is this sin nature that prevents us from entering into this saving relationship on our own, therefore making the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross a necessity.

How to we get this freedom that Jesus offers? Simply put, we must recognize our need of salvation and our helplessness towards attaining it on our own. If we can do this, it becomes a matter of simple faith: Believe that Jesus died, was buried and then resurrected as payment for our sinfulness. The Apostle Paul spells this out directly: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

Sound to simple to be true? It’s not! God loves us all. In that all-encompassing love He invites each and every person into relationship with Him. Salvation is from God and truly it is all about God. We are left to simply accept the gift of freedom as offered.

What, then, are we to do with this freedom once we accept it? Again, it is Paul the Apostle who gives us instruction: It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1 NIV)

Faith in Jesus sets us free from eternal death. Paul’s point then is that we live in that freedom each day until the Lord calls us home. When, with the Spirit’s help, we live in this freedom to the best of our ability, we can know what the liberating power of God’s love is. If we can allow this love to permeate the depths of our heart, God’s love can flow from us to the world around us. Living in this freedom then ought to allow us to see all other people as they are, children of the same creator.

The freedom purchased for us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ truly levels the playing field. It allows us to shake off the shackles of hatred, distrust and jealousy so that we can be conduits for His love.

As you know, I have nothing against a cookout and sharing good times with friends and family. But those pale when compared to the celebration God calls us to. Please join me in continuing this celebration in all we do and say and may our hearts reflect gratitude to God for loving us so much that He has chosen to truly set us free.

Thanks for reading.

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Pastor Chuck

Jesus Christ! More than just swear words

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Each of the last five summers I have gone back to work at the “other college” in Syracuse, New York. As I have mentioned here before, I left full-time employment there in September of 2016 so that I could devote my full attention to our ministry. It continues to be a blessing and a joy to take up my paint brush and roller for the summer months as I help the maintenance crew get the dorms ready for the new school year.

The friends I made while working there are for the most part still employed by the college. It is a relatively small crew made up of about 30 workers. Having worked with them for over 12 years, they were all aware as to my reason for leaving. Though they may not have completely understood my motivation for moving on, to a person they have respected it.

I make that last statement based on their reaction these days when I walk in on or are part of a conversation that is laced, shall we say, with colorful language. “Oh, sorry, I did not mean for you to hear that” is the common apology I hear when this happens. My normal response is something like, “That’s ok, I have heard all those words before.”

I was prompted the other day to respond differently to a ‘blue streak’ I walked in on. As I entered a new suite of rooms to begin painting, I found one of the maintenance crew struggling mightily to put a bedframe back together. Before I could offer any help he let out with a string of profanity that told me this was a problem that had him completely frustrated. He ended his tirade with a loud “Jesus Christ!”

I saw the embarrassment on his face when he realized I had heard everything he had said. Rather than merely laugh this one off, I felt prompted to respond in a different way.

Speaking first, I said, “You know, that last name you used does not really belong with the rest of what you said.” Smiling kindly at his reddened face, I went on, “Jesus Christ is the Son of God and I have found that He loves me all the time, even when my mouth is running way ahead of my mind.”

“I know,” my co-worker said in a much softer tone. “He just has never seemed real to me, even when I heard those stories as a kid in church.” There was a brief silence. Then he added, “I don’t see much evidence of any Son of God in my life.”

I would love to tell you that at this the choir of heaven started to sing or that this man fell on his knees in sudden joy. But none of that happened. I simply assured him that I had been in that very place he was in and that I knew all about confusion and doubt.

I then left him with this assurance: “Neither I nor God are here to condemn you for your language or for anything else. But please let me leave you this one suggestion. The next time you feel your anger taking off, think of Jesus first, and not as simply a swear word. Ask Him to make Himself more real to you, that you might be interested in getting to know who He really is.”

That’s where we left it. But I don’t believe the Lord has. My prayer for my co-worker and all those baffled by confusion and doubt is that they allow for the possibility of Jesus Christ being more than a cuss word and in so doing, crack open enough of their heart to find out that He is so much more!

Thanks for reading.

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Pastor Chuck

Happy Father’s Day. Bag!

A tribute to my Dad and to our Gracious Heavenly Father (Originally posted in June 2018)


My father’s name is Kenneth Charles Copps.  I say is because that is still his name, even though he passed away early in 2002.  He was known as Kenny to family, friends and co-workers; but for the last 30 years of his life, I called him Bag.  An unusual nickname you might say, and it was.  I’ll save you the backstory as to its origin, and probably just as well given the ‘G’ rating of this blog.

I loved my Dad as much as any son has loved his father.  In my eyes he was the complete package: hard working, patient, and possessed of a down-to-earth wisdom that guides me to this day.  He was a family man first and last, providing for his wife and 2 boys with nary a complaint; and oh, how he loved to laugh.  His whole body shook (picture a dog shaking itself off coming out of the water and you get a picture).  It didn’t matter if you told him the joke or if he was repeating one for the 100th time, his laughter was a whole-body work-out.

I believe much of the happiness in my Dad came as a result of what he had overcome in life.  As a child, frequent ear infections left him hearing impaired from an early age.  This proved no deterrent in his schooling, as he graduated from high school at the age of 16.

He then entered the workforce as a tool and die maker/machinist apprentice.  He worked his way through the training, making himself one of the best in his trade.  Unfortunately, that did not translate into a high salary in those days, so he took on a second job as a dockworker.

It was at this job that he suffered a near fatal accident, as a cable broke on the crane that was off-loading material.  The pallet crashed to the dock, glancing off my father’s head, crushing his right arm and breaking both his legs.  The injury to his arm was devastating.  The surgeons did all they could to save it, but remember this was 1958, and medicine was nowhere as advanced as it is now.  Though he kept his arm, he lost use of his ring and pinky finger and worse still, the bone that allows you to rotate your palm upward was pulverized.

As he began the long process of convalescence, the doctors told my Dad he would never work again.  But they didn’t know him! He worked feverishly on his re-hab, getting both legs back to full strength.  What he was able to do with that right arm was simply amazing.  He not only went back to work at his machinist trade, but he resumed participating in his favorite sport, bowling.  The only change he made was to switch to a lighter bowling ball and even with it, he still excelled.  Basically, those who didn’t know his story (and if he had on long sleeves), wouldn’t have realized that there was any disability there at all.

My Dad retired at the age of 66, having worked the last 17 years at a job that finally paid him for what his abilities were worth.  He and my mother then had 5 wonderful years of retirement, tending to grandkids and their garden, traveling and relaxing.

Unfortunately, all those years of working around the metal dust of machine shops, along with his 30 years of smoking cigarettes, brought on COPD, something he would not be able to overcome.

By this time, I had sobered up and had begun to live a life that at least began to resemble the one my Dad had lived.  A growing faith in Jesus Christ had been born in me as I realized He was the only answer for my addiction.  My Dad, a once a week church attender, was nonetheless interested in what was going on with/in me in this regard even though outwardly he seemed content that his weekly attendance was all he needed as far as God went.

He welcomed my prayers for his healing as his disease worsened, to the point where he would allow me to lay hands on him as we sought a miracle from God.  In my private prayers, I asked God to restore the health to my Dad’s lungs, that he might enjoy many more years of happiness that I believed he had earned.

Yet, no matter how hard or often I prayed, Dad’s health steadily declined.  I was deeply saddened as I watched him waste away before our eyes.  Finally, the call came from my mother, he had been admitted to intensive care with little or no chance of coming out.

I spent most of the last 96 hours of his life with him as doctors, nurses and family came and went.  We talked, while he still could; followed by him listening to me and lastly to just looking with deep affection at each other.

Not knowing why all my prayers had seemingly gone unanswered for healing, it occurred to me to ask Dad what was next for him when this struggle ended.  He whispered, “I hope I’ve been good enough, I hope I go up to heaven.”

I have come to realize that what I said next was inspired by God: “Bag,” I said, “how would you like to know for sure what’s next.”  I then briefly explained why Jesus had to do what He did; telling Dad that the forgiveness of God was a personal thing that the Lord had accomplished by dying for us and then being resurrected.  “If you believe Jesus did that for you, Bag, and if you will ask Him to forgive you, you can know without a doubt where your next stop will be.”

A peace came to his face and eyes as he whispered, “Yes I believe, please forgive me Jesus.”  Six hours later my Dad passed away, physically.

Later that night, with my emotions on a roller-coaster, I fell into a fitful sleep.  It was then that God revealed to me His greater purpose.  While I had been praying for my Dad’s health to be restored, God had been after his heart.  I awoke realizing that God had answered my prayers after all! I had been praying, somewhat selfishly, to be allowed to have more time with my Dad.  God, in His wisdom and immeasurable love, was making it possible that we could be together forever in heaven.  My heavenly Father had indeed healed my earthly Dad.

If you are reading this and share in the assurance of eternal life through Jesus Christ, and if you get to heaven before me, look up my Dad.  When you find him, ask if it’s ok to call him Bag.  Then enjoy that full-bodied laugh.

A Blind Faith?

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I was involved in a discussion about faith the other day. Some of those involved were agnostics, some atheists and others, like me, claimed to believe in the God of the Scriptures. We talked about many things like coincidence, random occurrence and the possibility that all things were some part of a greater plan known only to someone or something else.

Though the talk was mostly amiable, one person, exasperated by my claims of an unshakeable belief in God, told me that I merely possessed a “blind faith.” Their point was that I basically had to have my head buried in the sand to actually think that all that happened around me and the world in total was watched or even cared about by some higher being.

Having never argued anyone to heaven, I soon left the conversation. I felt sadness for those who could not or would not open themselves to at least the possibility of an Almighty God.

But also, I was left with the desire to examine this faith I professed in hopes of renewing/strengthening the belief within me. Specifically, to clarify in my heart and mind that I was not acting as an automaton who goes through life blissfully unaware of what is happening around me; acting solely on a blind faith.

Having fallen asleep with these thoughts, our ever-faithful God had some assurances for me as I awoke the next morning.

First and most clearly, He made it clear that there is no such thing as “blind faith” when it comes to Him. Faith itself, as the Apostle Paul writes, is something that God gives us: in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (Romans 12:3b NIV). Faith then, coming from a perfect God, would not lack the ability to see. Now this is not necessarily sight as needed to get your driver’s license, but rather a gift of insight into the happenings of the spiritual world that is at work around us.

I believe God has given us all this type of vision and He uses many different passages in the Scriptures that mention it and guide us as to how to use this gift.

As I have quoted before on my blog, the definition of faith itself includes the ability to see with eyes of faith: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1 NIV). This is the certainty that allows me to see God at work in the physical world around me. Eyes seeing with faith can see the addicted set free, the estranged family reunited and the healing of a broken heart as being God ministering to those conditions, as well as so many more.

To help us keep our faith eyes open on our daily journey, Scripture reminds us several times that by keeping those eyes focused on Jesus, they will witness more and more of God at work. The author of the Book of Hebrews says it this way: So we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2 NIV).

I attempt to fix my eyes of faith on Jesus by keeping Him in the forefront of my thoughts each day. I make it a point to thank Him daily for enduring that cross for helpless sinners like me. I praise Him as He sits at His rightful place on the throne. By staying actively conscious of the Lord, I tend to ‘see’ Him with more clarity. Obviously, I am not seeing Him physically, but that does not diminish the reality of His presence with me.

What a daily blessing this gift of seeing in faith is! And it is a gift I can partake of as often as I like. The richness of our God cannot be run dry. He is always and everywhere ready to help in the honing of our ability to be aware of Him.

My prayer for me and you is that we use the tremendous gift of sight to look more intentionally than ever to see God with us. I am convinced that as we do, there will be nothing blind about our faith at all!

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Pastor Chuck

Have you seen the wind?

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Have you ever seen: Rain? Snow? Trees? Grass? Flowers? The sky? The sun? The moon? Of course you have. Your sense of sight sees them most everywhere you look. Your other senses remind you of many other of the multitude of things that surround us constantly in the physical world.

What about the wind? Have you ever seen it? You can see trees move and their leaves blowing around. You can also see the mighty force of wind in storms like tornados and hurricanes. Yet these things are the result of wind. I ask again; Have you ever seen the wind? I have not. But even though I have not seen wind with my eyes, I know that it exists. I have felt it on my skin and seen it move things, making me convinced that it is real.

What about God? Have you seen Him? Personally, I have not. I am alright with this because the Scriptures tell us that God does not need to be seen or experienced by our senses in order for us to know He exists. Much like we know the wind is real by what we see it do; the same goes for God.

But we do have to look (perceive) things a little differently for us to ‘see’ Him. The Apostle Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthians explains it this way: So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV)

Basically he is telling us that in order to see God in the world around us, we have to take our focus off the material, tangible world. This is a difficult thing to do. Yet it is necessary so that we can be able to experience His presence with us day by day.

We have to practice using eyes of faith with the intention of getting them to a 20/20 capability. How can this be done?

Allow me to share with you my approach and though I am still a work in progress, I have found it to help sharpen my faith-sight. The author of the Book of Hebrews defines faith in a way that I use toward this end: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)

I practice this as a two part exercise. First, I must be sure of what it is that I hope for, understanding that this hope is not like hoping to win a lottery but rather a calm assurance that the presence of God is a real and true thing. Next, by honing my faith eyes to see the things I cannot see, the faith that God has given me grows ever stronger.

As I said, this is a work in progress. There are times when the physical world around me brings me to near sensory overload. When this starts to happen, my eyes of faith tend to grow dim. The comfort here is that though I may be having trouble seeing what is unseen; this does not mean that God is not there. As I remember this, the unseen usually comes back into focus and with it the assurance of God’s loving care, protection and direction.

As always, thanks so much for taking the time to read this. I deeply appreciate your time and pray that these words may indeed help you to see the unseen a little more clearly today.

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Pastor Chuck