“Super Moon!”

img_1007“Super moon!”  Scientists tell us that this is the best view of the moon we will have between now and 2034!  That is quite a while.  I hope you have had the chance to enjoy this rare spectacle, but if not, here are some great pictures taken by friends and one from the internet.

What really caught my attention with regard the “Super Moon” is the is that the moon is really no different today than it was in 1948 (the last time it appeared this big) or than it will be in 2034 (the next time it will appear Supermoon.jpgthis big).  It is actually the coincidence of a full moon with the closest approach that the moon makes to the Earth in its orbit.  The technical term is the perigee-syzygy of the Earth–Moon–Sun system.  So in short, it really isn’t about the moon at all!

The reason why that is so interesting to me is that it reminds me of the way that we have a tendency to misconstrue things.  Especially when it comes to faith.  We often think of Jesus as coming closer to us at particular times and being more distant at others.  As if the circumstances in our lives, behavior, heartaches, or struggles could “move” God closer or further away.  That simply isn’t true!  Jesus doesn’t img_0997change.  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) On top of that, Jesus’ last word before He ascended into heaven was, “I am with you always.”  (Matthew 29:20)  That means that He isn’t moving back and forth, He is right there … next to you … right where you need Him.

So when we feel like God/Jesus is far away, what is really going on?  Well, sometimes our ability to perceive the spiritual truth is clouded by the physical and emotional realities around us.  Sometimes, we have allowed our hearts and minds to be filled with other thoughts and priorities and have drifted (in our perception) away from God.  Sometimes we just aren’t listening.

img_1008So what can we d0?  I would suggest three things.  1)  Pray.  Just because you feel like there is a distance between you and God, don’t stop praying.  Keep it up!  And in addition to telling God what you need, be sure and allow some quiet moments to listen.  2)  BE IN THE WORD!  God makes the promise that wherever His WORD is, He Sprit is there, also.  Read the Bible.  If you want to know where God is at this very moment … FOR SURE … He is waiting for you in the pages of Scripture.  Not as a story to read, but as a living and active friend and leader and “lover of your soul.”  Finally, 3) Trust. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5, 6)  Don’t let your short term struggles distract you from the truth.  The one who called you to faith will NEVER abandon you.  Trust that.  Believe that.  Write it down and read it over and over again!  God loves you with an unconditional and everlasting love.

A Prayer for Our Nation

USA.jpgGracious Heavenly Father,

As our nation moves forward in the wake of a contentious election, I pray You would bless our land. Guide the leaders we have elected (and each of us as individual citizens) by Your strong and faithful hand. No authority exists that is not ordained by You. You raise up rulers and depose them. Lead and guide our nation during this fragile time.

Restore our unity as a country and our love and respect for one another. Draw us back to Yourself as You did so often for the people of Israel. Let humility, service, kindness, and generosity prevail in place of arrogance, lawlessness, selfishness, and anger. Help the hearts of all Americans to be moved to put the needs of others above their own.

By the power of Your Holy Spirit, grant that our leaders heed your Word and follow the way of truth. Grant them wisdom, courage, and conviction to make good decisions, even during difficult times. Surround them with wise and faithful counselors and advisors. Help them, in the midst of the cacophony of voices and opinions, to hear the voice of Your Spirit.

Father, there are threats that linger today – threats of terror attacks, threats of violence and discord, threats of upheaval in the markets and in our economy. Lord, thwart any coordinated plans against the good order and peace of our United States. Allow clear and reasoned responses to all of the election results to prevail among us. Protect us, Abba.

In the days ahead, allow the witness of the Christian Church to shine brightly with Your love to our nation and world. Help us, no matter what, to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. Help us, by Your Spirit, so that our words and actions reveal that we are disciples of Jesus. Help us to remember daily that we, Your Church, are the hope of the world.

We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.