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Tag Archive | "Pioneer Christian Reformed Church"

A recipe for a healthy marriage


Pastor Jim Alblas

Pioneer Christian Reformed Church

3592 17 Mile RD NE, Cedar Springs

It’s common knowledge that summer is a very popular time for weddings. In my church, July ranks as the top anniversary month, with August not far behind. This summer, it’s likely that you will either get married, attend someone else’s wedding or at least send an anniversary card. Since the topic of marriage is popular right now, I thought it fitting to see what the Bible teaches us about what makes for a healthy marriage. While there are various places to turn to answer that question, I share with you what we find in the Old Testament book of Song of Songs.

Song of Songs chronicles the romantic journey of a man and woman from their courtship to their wedding day and into their married lives. What I found most profound is the continuous passion between the couple in all three stages. While they are dating, as seen in chapter one, listen to the words of the woman. “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth for your love is more delightful than wine.” And hear the man, “Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings, your neck with strings of jewels.” Then on their wedding day, the passion continues as seen in chapter three. She says, “Come out, you daughters of Zion, and look at King Solomon wearing the crown, the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding, the day his heart rejoiced.”  And he replies by saying: “All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.”  But as we follow the story, we see how they keep up their passion, even as they get married. She says to her husband in chapter seven:  “Come, my lover, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages. Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded.” She wants to go out on a date with her husband and knowing him, he will certainly oblige. Their continued passion and even dating is a powerful lesson married couples can learn from.

Often, when people are dating, they speak passionately to one another, gaze lovingly at each other and enjoy frequent outings together. However, when a couple becomes married, sometimes those things lessen. Why is that? Perhaps during courtship we work hard to win each other over, and now, having been won over, we put in less effort. Maybe the excitement that comes, with something being new, naturally fades as it is no longer new. Whatever the reason may be, I say we learn from the continuous passion of this husband and wife. As married folks, we need to keep writing love letters and keep going out on dates; it’s an ingredient for a healthy marriage. It’s not the only ingredient; you also need love, respect, commitment and to keep God at the center of your relationship. But, when we combine a continued passion for God, with a continued passion for each other, we find a recipe for a healthy marriage.

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Living like He’s living


Pastor Jim Alblas

Pioneer Christian Reformed Church
Cedarfield Community Center

3592 17 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs

Cedarfield Community room

 

In life, often times things happen that we don’t expect. I was recently playing “Words with Friends” (Online Scrabble) and found myself down by a ton of points and considered the game unwinnable. However, as the game progressed, I slowly cut away at the lead and ended up claiming the victory! I certainly didn’t expect that. In the same way, when the women went to the tomb in the early morning of Easter, they did not expect Jesus to be alive. Even though Jesus had told them He would die and rise again, they did not recall His words. Perhaps the burden of their sadness was all they could think about. As a result they and others experienced a terrible feeling of sadness, disappointment and fear. He was alive, but sadly, they were living as though He was not.

Christians today can live the same kind of way. We may know that Jesus is alive, but we don’t always show it by our actions. We see this by how we react to some of the difficult things we face in life. When we see violence, injustice and tragedy, how do we respond? Sometimes we feel like giving up and believing there’s no hope for this world. When there are times of uncertainty, how do we respond? Sometimes we worry and are filled with anxiety. When there are challenging assignments that God hands to us, how do we respond? Sometimes we doubt whether or not they can get done. If those are our responses to the difficulties of life, it sure doesn’t seem as though we are living as though He’s living. Secondly, how do we sometimes interact with the risen Lord? Sometimes we neglect our prayer lives, fail to study His words and refuse to obey how He calls us to live. Again, we may know He’s alive, but when we avoid Him in these ways, we sure don’t show it by our actions.

But I write to you today to remind you that He has risen, He has risen indeed! And if you haven’t been, I invite you to live as though He’s living!

Rather than giving up on this world, remember that Jesus is alive and at work in the world today. He can still convict the heart of even the vilest person and offers comfort to those who are the victims of awful tragedies.

Rather than being a worry wart, remember that Jesus is alive and thus will guide us through all of our times of uncertainty. Rather than doubting whether or not we can accomplish an assignment given from God, remember that Jesus is alive and will help us to complete all that we are given to do. And rather than neglecting our relationship with Jesus, remember that He is alive and strive to get to know Him and be obedient to Him more and more.

Jesus is alive—let’s live as though He’s living.

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Finding Time for Jesus in a Busy Season


pioneer-christian-cedarfieldPastor Jim Alblas

Pioneer Christian Reformed Church
Cedarfield Community Center

3592 17 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs

Cedarfield Community room

 

 

 

I was recently at a local shopping center hoping to make a quick holiday purchase. I’m sure you can already guess how foolish I was to think I could do anything quick at a shopping center this time of year. With many Christmas shoppers out and lower gas prices available, most stores are jammed pack with people right about now. It may be the most wonderful time of year, but it’s certainly the busiest time of the year tooIt’s not just the Christmas shoppers; this is the time of year when many of us invite people over, which means we have to prepare and clean. This is the time of year when we attend many special events, which means we have to struggle to find a way to get to them all. This is the time of year when we tend to do a lot of baking and create fancier meals. While there is a degree of excitement in all of that, sometimes it can become a little overwhelming and even frustrating. It can even get to a point where a great thing such as Christmas can become a burden to us. This sort of thing happened when Jesus stopped by the home of Martha and Mary, which can be found in Luke 10:38-42.

Martha, realizing how important her guest was attempted to be the best possible host she could be and thus was preparing a meal for Jesus while her sister sat at Jesus feet listening to Him. However, soon the meal preparations became overwhelming to Martha and she became frustrated that her sister was not helping. Things became so hectic for her that at one point she stormed out of the kitchen and demanded that Jesus tell her sister to help. But Jesus’ response to Martha teaches us a very important lesson, especially when things get busy. Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” What was it that Mary was doing? She was listening to Jesus. Jesus was saying to Martha and to us: Don’t get so busy that you don’t have time for The Lord. Martha was focused on many things, but Jesus was not one of them. That can happen to us too. We can know the reason for the season is Jesus and we can even run around trying to serve Him, but yet in that season never talk or listen to Him. That’s a mistake. Staying connected to helps us to know what His will is, it draws us closer to Him and helps us to stay calm and peaceful when things get busy. If your serving causes you to lose site of Jesus, make adjustments to your service. If your holiday schedule leaves no room for Jesus, adjust your schedule. Only one thing is needed; keeping our eyes focused and ears tuned to Jesus!

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Martha’s Lesson


Pastor Jim Alblas

Pioneer Christian Reformed Church
3110 17 Mile Rd, Cedar Springs

 

In the last few days before Jesus went to the cross, one of the things He did was stop by the home of Mary and Martha. That visit provided a wonderful lesson for His two friends, particularly for Martha, and it’s a lesson that’s still helpful to us today. You can find the account of Jesus’ visit in Luke 10:38-42, but what follows is a retelling of that story from Martha’s perspective. As you read, imagine Martha is talking to you.

“I’m a little overwhelmed today. Has something ever hit you right between the eyes? I just experienced that. You probably heard Jesus was in town today. I invited Him to stay at my house for a while. I figured he could use a break from his travels. I thought it was the least I could do, after what he did for our brother Lazarus. So I invited Him in and I thought it would be nice to serve him a meal, too. Jesus would appreciate that. But it didn’t go so well. It didn’t go well because Mary, my sister, didn’t help with any of the preparations! I was trying to get all of this stuff together, to do something that would please Jesus, but I needed some help with it. And guess what she was doing? She was just sitting there. I couldn’t believe it. This wasn’t just peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; I was trying to make a good meal for Jesus and I had to do it all by myself!

I guess she was trying to be nice to Jesus, too, by listening to Him, but in my mind, I was thinking, ‘Come on Mary, what’s most important here? Would Jesus rather have a conversation, or a nice meal?’ You’d think she’d understand. You’d think I wouldn’t have to say anything, and that she’d naturally come and help. Jesus was always serving people; Jesus was always giving. He gave to our family. We could repay Him; we could say thanks. And, maybe part of me was trying to impress Jesus, too. I wanted to do something nice for him. But maybe I was trying to earn His favor, too. Is that so bad? But I couldn’t do all that alone… and Mary just sat there.
Well, I let Jesus know about it! I voiced my displeasure with her and I asked Jesus to tell her to help. As I look back, I can’t believe I ordered Him around like that, but I thought I was right. Hospitality was important! And while I didn’t say anything about my desire to impress Jesus, maybe I thought that was important, too.

But here’s the part that got to me. Jesus taught me what was really important. And I’ve been going over and over these words in my mind. Jesus said: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

He didn’t say anything further, but I knew what He meant. He meant the conversation was more important. The meal wasn’t wrong, but the fact it kept me away from Jesus was wrong. Jesus didn’t need me to do all that work for him; he came to serve, not to be served. And I realized that if I was trying to impress Jesus, I didn’t need to do that either. He loved me, whether or not I had a meal for Him.
Now I’m not going to give up making meals for people or serving in other ways. Jesus did teach those things are important. I’ve come to realize that I shouldn’t serve to earn His favor; I should serve because I already have it. I’m so thankful that Jesus taught me that lesson today. It will stay with me forever.”
The Cedar Springs Ministerial Association invites you to the annual Good Friday Service on April 6, held this year at The Springs Church starting at 7 p.m. A dramatization of this very story of Martha, as well as two other biblical characters, will be part of this service where we remember the work that has been done for us.

 

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