Connecting Point – June 26, 2023

It's been really hot in South Louisiana, with the heat index often being well in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. So, what are some steps we can take to make life more bearable when the heat has been so bad? There are some practical and spiritual responses to that question.

Some practical steps to "beating the heat" include: staying hydrated; wearing loose-fitting, lightweight, porous clothing; going swimming; wearing broad-brimmed hats; staying indoors more than usual; and keeping air conditioning filters and units clean. Another practical step would be exercising and/or doing labor-intensive work when temperatures are noticeably cooler, like before the sun is at its zenith in the morning and after the sun goes down in the evening.

But there are also some spiritual steps we can take when dealing with the oppressiveness of the summer heat. We can spend extra time reading God's Word, praying to Him, and taking time to really focus on praising the Lord for who He is to us and all He has done for us. And I have personally discovered that when I do that, it takes my mind off of the temperature heat and off of the "hot" discussions and decisions I'm dealing with in my life. And doing that helps me to cool down emotionally and mentally, but it also helps me to cool down physically.

Let me give you some tips on praising the Lord that will perhaps help you "beat the heat" in your life. Psalm 145:1-7 says: "I will praise You, my God and King, and bless Your name forever and ever.  I will bless You every day, and I will praise Your name forever. Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! . . . Let each generation tell its children of Your mighty acts. I will meditate on Your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles. Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue; I will proclaim Your greatness. Everyone will share the story of Your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy of Your righteousness." (Psalm 145:1-7)

Now let me ask you several questions. To begin with,
 "What do you have to praise
the Lord for?"

You can certainly praise the Lord for life itself, and for that which He provides that sustains your life. Perhaps you can praise the Lord for the provision He has given you throughout your life, and the people He has utilized to provide that provision for you. Perhaps you can praise the Lord for His protection - thinking of times and ways when the Lord has rescued you from death, disease, hurt or other harmful things. If Jesus is your Lord and Savior, you can thank the Lord for the transformation He has brought to your life. The Bible teaches in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that if "Anyone is in Christ they become new creations; old things pass away and everything becomes new." If you haven't experienced such a transformation, you need to go back and check the legitimacy of your new birth experience.

There are innumerable things and relationships that we have to thank the Lord for. We used to sing a hymn that had a refrain that included the following words:  "Count your many blessings name them one by one. Count your many blessings see what God has done. Count your many blessings. Name them one by one. Count your many blessings, and see what God has done." Stop and reflect on what the Lord has done for you.  David the Psalmist said in Psalm 145 "Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! I will meditate on Your majestic, glorious splendor and Your wonderful miracles." We need to do the same!

Let me ask you a second Question -

"Whom have you told about the many blessings that God has brought to your life and performed in your life?"

 In our text David writes: "Let each generation tell its children of Your mighty acts" and "Everyone will share the story of Your wonderful goodness; they will sing with the joy of Your righteousness." Those verses remind us that Parents are commanded in Scripture to share with their children who the Lord is to them, how much the Lord means to them, and what the Lord has done for them. Grandparents are to do the same, and so are Uncles and Aunts. Sharing about the greatness and goodness of the Lord with our family members is to be a regular part of our family lives and activities. But we are also to share about God's greatness and goodness in our lives with our friends, co-workers, neighbors, and even our casual acquaintances.  We are to constantly look for opportunities to share about God's greatness and goodness in our lives with others.

As you think and pray today, let me encourage you to do several things. First, reflect on who the Lord is to you and what the Lord has done for you, and write out many of the blessings you have received from Him. Second, sing a song (or songs) that characterizes God's goodness to you, and your love and appreciation for Him. And three, think of those in your life that you need to share with about how good God has been to you in your life, write their names down, and pray for them.  Remember today to "count your many blessings, and you will be surprised at what God has done." And it will take your mind off of the blistering heat of summer.

Next week our nation will be celebrating our 247th birthday on Independence Day, and as a prelude to that holiday our Pastors and I will be preaching a message this Sunday titled, "My Hope For Our Nation." Plan to join us in-person if you are in the New Orleans region, and join us online if you are out of town, working or on vacation. I believe you will be encouraged by this challenging message.

 

On the following Sunday (July 9), we will begin a new sermon series titled, Connect More. In this series we will be learning how to make or strengthen connections with the Lord, with other Christians, with our Church family, and more. The Connect More series will help us to deepen our relationship with the Lord and His people, and help us to discover how we can find and begin to fulfill the great purposes and plans that God has for our lives.
If you would like to see more justice and unity take place in our region and nation, I encourage you to register today for our UNIFY Conference on Biblical Justice and Unity that will take place at Celebration on Airline on July 15. Our aim for this conference is to ignite the heart, equip the mind, and propel the body of Christ forward in engaging in issues of justice and God's work of loving our neighbors.
UNIFY CONFERENCE • JULY 15

The UNIFY Conference will feature powerful keynote messages from Pastor Jonathan Tremaine Thomas of the Civil Righteousness organization, question and response sessions with local thought and community faith leaders, and dynamic breakout sessions enabling attendees to link arms and join hands with organizations making a difference in our communities. Pastors and Leaders from other Churches are planning on joining us for UNIFY on July 15. For more information or to register for this free Conference, go to www.celebrationchurch.org/jutcc/.

Stay out of the heat as much as you can.

Gratefully Yours,
  
Pastor Dennis Watson
Lead Pastor, Celebration Church
dennisw@celebrationchurch.org
  dennis.watson.96
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