In this journey called Life, it gets a bit muddy - But Jesus sees beyond the mud and sees the person He created, the person He loves, and the person He is still working on. I am one of those persons - and so are you. I am a sold-out follower of Jesus, husband way out of my league, father to a great son, part of the family of God, and pastor of a great church family - Evergreen Baptist in Appomattox.
That’s right. Muddy Shoes will be returning to its weekday blogs on a unique, albeit a bit warped, perspective on life. Not a lot of politics (just enough to laugh at) and a lot of down-home insights from a guy who regularly has some muddy shoes.
So, what will we look at? Maybe Dolly Parton on the SciFi The Orville, or reviews of local eating establishments, or some sneak peeks at weird news or upcoming worships? Who knows? You will have to read each week day just to find out.
Oh, there will be some obligatory grandkid pics – that’s the real joy in life isn’t it?
Bread … sourdough, tortillas, crumpets. Bread … something to crave. Yet, not always the healthiest. Too much carbs they say. My doc told me … eat less carbs and eat more protein. So I cut out the toast and add on some bacon to my breakfast order. But I always come back to bread.
I ran across a great article in the travel section of online CNN. Now I don’t listen to or read much from CNN, but this article grabbed me … 50 of the World’s Best Breads. Yes, it was more of a click bait, more of strumming through over 50 pages of pictures and information, but it was quite interesting. Alphabetically working through 50 countries/regions … Jen Rose Smith worked through top breads from across the globe. From Afghanistan to Yemen … and everywhere else … this montage of breads made my mouth water.
Montreal Bagels from Canada (smaller than NY Bagels)> Fry Bread from the Navajo Nation. Challah Bread from Israel Crumpets from the United Kingdom. Tortillas from Mexico. And from the US – Biscuits. Who doesn’t love some biscuits?
And the country that makes bread an art – Karava from Russia.
Bread is all through the Bible – from Abraham to the Paul. Leavened, Unleavened. Jesus multiplies bread to feed over 5000. The Last Supper has bread. Bread is an option for certain sacrifices.
But today – what is this all about – except just great knowledge about different breads?
Some lessons – peoples’ tastes are different all around the world, but we all crave the basics. Bread is a great way to bridge cultures, to talk to people about desires and needs. Yet, in the end, we feed off the bread of life … the Word.
In the end – there may be a lot of different types of breads, different tastes, different histories … but there is only one bread that meets all the needs … the Bread of Life: Jesus!
He’s not real – He’s a fictional character from a book written 80 years ago by Ivan Albright. The plot varies by different versions but the main theme is pretty consistent.
It has been made into movies. He has been character in TV shows and movies alike. He’s been the hero and he’s been the villain. But his message still resonates into this generation.
Dorian is sitting for a painting made by Lord Henry Hallward. Dorian comments on his hedonistic lifestyle and wishes the painting could age and he never feels the impact from his pursuits of worldly pleasures. He lives a life of eternal youth with hedonistic sensuality that has no impact on him. An eternal life with numbness.
Drugs – paganistic urges – reckless living.
Magically, the painting ages, becomes disfigured, and takes all the ugliness that would have been Dorian’s. But he lives a life with no feeling.
I get the desire – healthy, no regrets, no hurts, no repercussions …
But no love, no closeness, no humanity.
Would you give up the love, the caring, the community – to live a life that is nothing but a shell
And in the end – the picture is destroyed and Dorian immediately feels the impact – he ages instantly, the life he lived catches up with him.
There are repercussions from bad decisions and to sin. In the end, there is judgment. Fortunately, God loves us, He sent His Son to pay the price for us, to be the substitute in taking our judgment.
And once we believe, once we are His … we are to more and more forsake the world, forsake the world pleasures and seek to bring pleasure to Him and His Son.
There is a cost – and He paid it for us. Of that, I say ‘thank you’ and strive to live for Him from now on. And also – love is real!
I was pondering doors in the Bible. Doors are mentioned over 180 times in Bible – throw in gates, entryways, etc, that number just goes up.
Doors can be literal – Door to the Ark, Passover Door, Lot’s house door in Sodom, Temple Doors and so on. They can be symbolic – Door to Heart, Door to Worship, Heaven’s Door (maybe literal?) and so forth. The Bible talks of open doors, closed doors – so they can be doors of opportunity or doors of termination. So doors redirect, contains protects, isolates, and introduce new places, people, and opportunities.
Doors are often an entrance to great spiritual significance.
So today, let’s look at the Pauline Letters. Paul mentions doos three times: 1 Corinthians 16.7-9, 2 Corinthians 2.12-13, and Colossians 4.2-5 (yes, chapter 4 – not chapter 2 … sorry, inside joke.)
A// For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide DOOR for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. … B// When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though a DOOR was opened for me in the Lord, my spirit was not at rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia. … C//Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a DOOR for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
Notice … Doors are placed. They are by and from God. And remember, an open door doesn’t mean easy. Expect opposition and loneliness and hardship. But here, when Paul is discussion the doors, he is discussing the opportunity to spread the gospel.
Notice …. In praying for the open doors, pray persistently – pray watchfully – pray thankfully – pray specifically. And the specific prayers are to be for leaders, for opportunities, and for clarity.
Do you have a door in front of you. A door of opportunity. It may be at work, in your home, in your community, or your church family. What will you do? Will you share the good news with great clarity? Will you walk through the door when it opens?
Doors are often an entrance to great spiritual significance.
In Phil 2.13, it looks as if God is the one responsible. His power, His presence, His purpose, His pleasure.
… for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
But here is a great solid truth – before verse 13, comes verse 12. Yeah, aint I smart? 12 comes before 13. And 12 is me.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling …
So, is it me to work it out, or is it God? Well, both.
This passage is … Not about getting into heaven. Not about working for affirmation from God. It is about working from affirmation of God. Therefore … based on our being part of the family of God. Therefore … based on the example of Jesus Himself. Therefore … since you’re saved, work it out ion your life … and take it VERY seriously.
But if you mess up … oops, when you mess up, remember the truth that 13 follows 12. By that, remember we actively strive in our working it out (vs12) – but in the end – it’s His power that makes it possible (vs13).
So is it about me? Yes. Is it about God? Obviously and always.
Before you show up or log on to Sunday worship – God is already present at church and is desiring you to pour out your life and be blessed and transformed. Before you even thought of what is going to happen – God is ahead planning to show you singing for your life.
Pastor Todd (me) will be back from Texas and will be talking about “Now What” in our lives. I (me) May be talking but it’s the Holy Spirit I want you to hear!
Worship Set List
Yet Not I, But Through Christ In Me
King of kings
How Great Thou Art
How Great Is Our God
Plus …. Communion
Communion! I loved when we are revived of His love.
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