Presented at Curwensville Alliance on 6/20/21 by Pastor Steve Shields.
What comes to mind when you hear Jacob and Esau? Do you relate more to the one or the other?
When we think about Esau, there are some items to consider. The Bible speaks of the peculiar birth of Jacob and Esau with the prophetic jostling and the prophetic grip. Esau sells his birthright for a bowl of stew. The birthright and attached blessing meant everything! Esau marries the wrong women, loses his blessing, and then meets his brother again years later.
There are a few issues in Esau’s life. His eyes were spiritually unhealthy. He had a tendency to be rash. He had little interest in spiritual matters, and lived more for the world.
On the other hand, Jacob seemed to look to God. He wrestled with God and would not let go. He desired blessing from God. He showed a respect for God.
Can you see yourself in Jacob? These are the questions to ask yourself. Am I willing to work out my life’s struggles with God? Am I truly seeking the closeness with God? Am I showing a respect for God and sense of reverence?
Presented at Curwensville Alliance on 6/13/21 by Pastor Steve Shields.
Have you ever struggled with the Bible story of Abraham and Isaac?
Have you ever wondered why God would ask Abraham to do something so out of character for God? Or wondered how God could ask something that is in conflict with the covenant made with Abraham? Or just totally wondered how God could ask something that seems beyond child abuse?
For Abraham, God’s leading is unmistakable. He knows with absolutely no doubt that God is asking him to go on this journey with Isaac. Abraham’s faith is unparalleled. He believes that if he goes through with the sacrifice that God will raise Isaac from the dead. God knows that Isaac will not be sacrificed.
The key to the story of Abraham and Isaac is on the mountain of the Lord it will be provided. This story speaks of God’s attention. God sees how the story unfolds. This story speaks of atonement. God provides the sacrifice needed here as well as the sacrifice needed to atone for our sins.
If you look, you can see that God provides what you need throughout your own journey. God sees you with eyes of compassion, and He acts just as He acted to prevent the sacrifice of Isaac.
Presented at Curwensville Alliance on 5/30/21 by Pastor Steve Shields.
When we hear the story of Hagar and Ishmael, we personally connect with different characters. Many identify with Sarai, but this isn’t a story about infertility. Many identify with Abram, but this isn’t a story about fathering a child. Many identify with Hagar, but this isn’t a story about slavery. Many identify this as a story of trust, but it is not a story about faith.
So what is the point of this story? This is a story of the love of God!
God gives Hagar and Ismael a lit of ink!
God shows up when Hagar is on the run. God gives her the confidence she needs to go back. God hears her misery with her situation, and He assures her that her son will be a fighter.
God promises that Ishmael will be okay even though Abraham sends Hagar and Ishmael away with meager provisions.
Hagar loses hope as the provisions are gone, and she cannot bear to watch her son die. But God hears her cries, and He responds!
The story of Hagar and Ishmael brings hope to us all. How? It means God loves us. It gives us hope that we can choose to love.God wants us to love as He loves. That means to show love to people who are outsiders, love people who are difficult, and want to provide for people who have a genuine need, whether they deserve it or not.
Presented at Curwensville Alliance on 5/23/21 by Rev. Bernie Knefley.
When we are feeling anxious who is really in control?
Paul told us to not worry but instead to pray about everything. So how do we not worry?
Change happens when we admit we are stuck. When we quit denying what everyone else can see.
Common signs of anxiety are feeling keyed up, on edge, restless, irritable, difficulty concentrating and angry.
There are also hidden characteristics that we may see as good qualities, but that really are just a way to hide anxiety in our lives. Those who are outgoing, punctual, helpful, talk excessively, overthink, and those who appear calm in all circumstances may be using these good qualities to cover over anxiety.
What does this all mean? Christ tells us to come to Him all who are weary and heavily laden, and He will give you rest.
We need to come to Christ, learn from Him, be still in His presence and wait for Him. We shouldn’t be looking to the world to solve our problems, but rather looking to Christ.
Presented at Curwensville Alliance on 5/16/21 by Pastor Steve Shields.
Appreciating surprises requires at least two elements. A high level of trust and a high level of insight.
God involves Himself in our lives. He told Abram to go and leave behind his country, people and family. When Abram obeyed, he was accepting the uncertainty of the journey.
God told Abram to look at what He was doing. God told Abram to look at the stars in the sky and that his offspring would be that numerous.
The covenant that God made with Abraham overflows to us. You can trust God to go where he invites you to go. God always does the heavy lifting, just look. God gives us a purpose to show His nature to others.
Presented at Curwensville Alliance on 5/02/21 by Pastor Steve Shields.
When you hear The Tower of Babel different perspectives may come to mind.
In this podcast, Pastor Steve will lead us through the different perspectives and show us the real reason for The Tower of Babel.
There were two real problems in Babel and also in our lives. Pride and Fear. The people wanted to make a name for themselves in their pride. The people were also fearful that they would be scattered over the earth.
God protects us so we do not need to fear. God’s eye is on us. He sees where we are headed, and He ensures our redemption.
Communion reminds us that Christ sees to our redemption, knows about our struggles today and sees what is ahead of us!
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