Pastor’s Corner

Freedom

Pastor’s Corner – Independence Day!

This article is essentially a re-run form July 4th 2012.  It might be even more appropriate today than it was then!

We love our independence don’t we?!?  From the young child who can walk for the first time or can finally say “I do it mySELF!” to the teenager who can drive (finally), or the elderly who no longer can, our independence is important to us.  July 4th is especially celebratory for me because it was on July 5th (yes, the day after Independence Day) I met my bride to be.  Also, July 5th is the day our second child was born! How poetic right? (We can add Pastor Matt’s wedding to this list of July 5th celebrations!)

Two hundred and forty-four years ago, we celebrated our independence as a country; free to do our own thing–free to worship, to pursue happiness, to follow our dreams.  But, what happens when we think we are free from everything that doesn’t impact us directly?  When every person says “I am free to do whatever I want!” we have nothing left but chaos and selfishness.  We have people serving for their own gain rather than sacrificing for the sake of the greater good.

This country is great because, historically, people willingly gave up their freedoms so the next generation could remain free.  We, too, need to give up our freedoms or the next generation will inherit nothing but a selfish, prideful, mess.  When societies no longer sacrifice willingly, they become forced to sacrifice through political legislation or other authoritative means.

This isn’t just my opinion, it is biblical.  God teaches us through Paul that we have freedom as Christians, but within that freedom comes the responsibility to determine what is good, constructive, and beneficial (1 Corinthians 6:12, 10:23.)  What helps me keep a good perspective on how I use my freedom is to remember I don’t have a “right” to be free.  Freedom was fought for, sacrificed for, and a high price was paid so I could have this awesome gift I now enjoy.

I am sure you notice the similarity between our current freedom and our Christian freedom.  We can’t walk around bragging we are free because we didn’t pay for it! (Romans 3:21-24, 27.)  We can pass the gift on, teach others what a blessing it is and encourage them to live in that same freedom.  Passing on the freedom to the next generation requires sacrifice of the generation before it.   As you consider your freedom this weekend, remember the price paid by others and honor them, honor HIM, by using that freedom, using your life to bring glory to God and share freedom with the world.

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” 1 Corinthians 10:23.

His servant and Yours,

Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

What's Next

Pastor’s Corner – What’s Next?

As you read this, I am heading off on “vacation”.  This year looks very different than we expected.  Our family has saved for several years to be able to go to Washington, DC and New York City this summer.  The friend who was going to let us stay at their house contracted COVID-19 and well, you know the rest of the reasons.  So, instead we are headed to Nebraska to stay with a family member and at least have some time away.

Everything has been happening so fast and is changing so dramatically I have been more focused on tomorrow than “two months from now”.   I have recently been trying to change this by asking the question “What is next?”  What does the near future look like and how can we be more proactive with life and ministry instead of being so reactive like these last several months?

This leads me to another question I often ask, but haven’t been asking lately, “What is God trying to do here?”  I say trying, not because God isn’t capable, but rather, because I am not always listening well.  In the midst of the chaos of Corona, racial unrest and trying to become an expert on safety protocols for churches and schools, it has been easy to get lost in the weeds.  It is difficult to hear God’s voice when all the other voices are so loud and seem so important.

So, how do we refocus?  What should we consider as we do? Are there some specific steps and strategies we can take?  I recently met with some other leaders in nearby communities and came up with a few practical things to consider.

  • Plan for the next “wave” – we all hope this won’t come, but what if we are ready for it just in case it does? Stock up on toilet paper now J.  Stay in the habit of washing and sanitizing.
  • Create a Quaranteam – The stay at home orders were difficult before, if they happen again, it could be mind-numbing. Find a small group of people (neighbors, Community Group, family, other) and plan ahead now for what the expectations are to work together as a team in the next wave.  This maintains safety, but increases our support and influence.
  • Follow up with the Spiritually Curious – During the outbreak many of you shared stories of family members, friends and co-workers who were joining us online for worship. How are they doing now?  This doesn’t mean asking them how they liked the service.  This means staying in touch and asking how they are doing.  They may say “fine” for a while, but if God is stoking spiritual curiosity, He will not let it burn out easily.
  • Grow as a disciple-maker – As a church community, we have become highly dependent on large events and gatherings. These are good and Godly, but we have become increasingly inept at personal relationships and large gatherings are not likely to return for quite some time.  Now is the perfect opportunity to work on your skills as a disciple- maker.  Whether in your home or other circle of influence.
  • Grow as a follower of Jesus – One of my favorite memes during this pandemic has been the one that calls out our excuse making. It simply said “I used to say I was too busy to clean; now I just have to admit, I don’t like doing it.”  Similarly, our hectic lives have been our convenient excuse to not engage in the lifestyle of a follower of Jesus; read scripture, worship, pray, mentor, serve, work then rest, and listen to God.  Now is the perfect time to practice these skills!
  • Make sure as life resumes you keep space for the important things you rediscovered – Whatever it is that you had lost focus on, don’t return to the old habits and lose focus again. God has given us a gift, if we allow it to be.

I hope these ideas help you start thinking about what is next.  This of course is not a complete list, but it should definitely get you thinking about what God might want to accomplish through you in these interesting times.  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good…”  Romans 8:28

In Christ,

Erik Gauss

 

Pastor’s Corner

Happy Fathers Day

Pastor’s Corner – Blessed Father’s Day!

One of my memories of my father was he could get anywhere in the world, from anywhere in the world.  He had an amazing sense of direction; he would frequently take the back roads and would get you to a place of familiarity after a sometimes dizzying trip through unknown lands.  We seldom went the same place, the same way, as the time before.

When I was younger I didn’t like getting “lost.” I would tell my dad, “This isn’t the way to (fill in the blank)!” (I’ll use “Grandma’s House” from here on out instead of blank.)  He would just get a smirk on his face, say something like “It isn’t?  Are you sure?” and keep on driving.  This of course kept my attention as I would watch and wonder where we would finally make a turn and things would start to look familiar.

The memories that come to mind the most often involve us starting out in the right direction and then I would look out the window realizing I had no idea where we were.  Even though I had gone to “grandma’s house” 20 times, nothing looked familiar this time.  This would keep my attention as I wanted to know what dad was up to.  You see, occasionally when dad would take a “new way” to a familiar place, it meant he was taking a short cut that involved a stop at an ice cream parlor or some other fun detour.

As time went on I went from getting frustrated when dad didn’t go the right way, to hopeful that maybe we were going someplace fun on the way.  I sort of feel that way right now.

In 2020, we have veered off course; in fact, I would say 2020 started very well for Cross and my family.  All the trends were going in the right direction on the way to “Grandma’s House” when all of a sudden we took a detour.  This has been frustrating, scary, sad and overwhelming at times.   At other times, there has been joy, rest, family and focus that weren’t possible or didn’t seem necessary before.

Now, while all of the uncertainties, unknowns and anxieties abound, I find myself wondering “What is Dad up to?”  I find myself asking the question, “What is God working in all of this?”  I am beginning to become excited again that the people of God are getting fed up with the struggles of the world and want to do something to bring about healing and restore the joy of life again in this world.

The problem is that the road to healing and hope requires going through an unknown land.  Our Heavenly Father is still at the wheel and He will still get us to the destination He has in store.  But, until then, opportunity abounds.  The choice is ours as God’s children; to question our Heavenly Father and be filled with fear and frustration or to lean into our Heavenly Father, trust He is in control and keep looking to see what He is trying to do FOR us and THROUGH us.

Earthly Fathers have one primary role–that is to be the embodiment of Christ for their family.  We don’t do it perfectly, far from it.  Some children have never had it and still struggle because of it.  But, I am ever grateful for my earthly father who, even when he probably didn’t think he was trying to teach me anything about my Heavenly Father, taught me more than he’ll ever know.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word”

In Christ,

Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

1 Corinthians 12

Pastor’s Corner – Alone Together

This phrase has become quite commonplace these days.  If you have seen commercials, listened to the radio or seen social media, you’ve seen or heard the slogan #alonetogether.  I appreciate the effort by everyone, from car manufacturers to celebrity endorsements, to encourage us as a society through these challenging times.  “Alone Together” attempts to comfort us by reminding us that we are all experiencing similar challenges at similar times.  You are not alone in your pain, you may be physically isolated, but you are united to something greater than yourself.

While it is true that all of society is experiencing the pandemic and the requirements of social distancing, it is not necessarily a time of intense bonding.  Some people’s lives have looked very similar to pre-corona days; other people’s lives have turned completely upside down.  Our experiences may not be the same, but we are all together.

The Bible uses many illustrations and descriptions that highlight the uniqueness of each individual person and at the same time honors the unity that we all have as God’s beloved children.  No description is more poignant than the Body of Christ imagery through Paul’s writings.  In 1 Corinthians 12, we are told quite clearly “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

One of the most beautiful images of this illustration is the description of the more “modest” parts of the body.  These are the parts that get extra attention and extra protection and, if they become injured, can cause the most pain and incapacitation to our entire body.  This illustration keeps running through my head as I consider all the groans of unrest that are coming from people all around us.

When people around us hurt, the temptation is to diagnose the cause of the pain and then point out the problem.  We point to the rock they stubbed their toe on and say “watch where you are going next time!” We believe our good and well-intentioned advice is the blessing they want, even if it isn’t what they are looking for.   When the hurt is a stubbed toe, this quick fix might suffice; when the issue is more significant, the solution must be more significant as well.

A small shift goes a long way in being the blessing hurting people both want and need.  That shift is to affirm the hurt they are feeling, even if you think it is of their own doing.  Telling someone to watch where they are going might make YOU feel better; it does little to comfort the person in pain.  It may help them avoid future pain, but it makes them feel foolish for the pain they are currently feeling.  If we affirm the pain they are feeling now, we actually provide comfort while also showing them we care.  When we eventually encourage them to “watch where they are going” they are more likely able to receive it with the love it is intended.

When Christ saw people crying out, acting out and hurting, the Bible frequently said it moved Him to feel “compassion.”  Compassion is not just empathy or heartbreak; compassion literally means it felt as if His guts fell out of His body and landed on the ground.  Jesus was moved to a visceral reaction when He saw people in anguish, He wasn’t moved to tell them what they were doing was wrong.  Jesus saved this kind of judgment for the self-righteous.

May the peace of God give you strength to endure.  May the love of Christ compel you to allow your heart to break and have compassion for your neighbor in all circumstances.

In Christ,

Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

Encouraging Word

Pastor’s Corner – Encouraging Word

Near the end of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus approached the city of Jerusalem for the last time. The Disciples didn’t know it, in fact they threw a coronation party for their new King! But Jesus, being fully aware of what the days in front of Him held, tried to prepare the Disciples for what was about to happen. If I was Jesus, (did I just write that?), I would have tried to soften the blow at what was about to come. The real Jesus, being perfect, did not shy away from the truth, but outlined exactly what was to come.

Here Is Jesus description of the life that was to be for the followers of Jesus: “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other…Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold…For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.” Matthew 24:9-21. Does that sound familiar? This is only a small highlight. Jesus goes into more detail about the destruction that would come upon the Disciples and all His followers.

How in the world do the Disciples overcome this and have the message of Jesus become what we know it to be today? First and foremost, because it is God’s message and He made sure it happened! But second, the Church has always shone the brightest in the darkest times.

In the midst of all the doomsday promises, Jesus told His Disciples He also promises them this “but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:13,14

The Gospel promise of Jesus frequently gets drowned out (even for believers) amongst all the worldly promises that strong economies, individual wealth and protection under the law entice us with. Like everything else in this world, the promises of man will eventually fail and when they do, the days seem darker than the nights. But the Gospel still shines bright! Faith, Hope and Love are easier when things are going well. But, when things are not going well, they are not necessarily easy. Amongst all the uncertainty, destruction, hatred, sickness, loneliness and whatever else is happening, remember the Gospel of Jesus is our certainty.

See, the Gospel literally means Good News, and Good News is exactly what the world needs, what we need and what Jesus has given to us, for just a time as this. Isaiah 40:8 reminds us that while this world WILL fade away, the Word of God will NEVER fade away. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus declares “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” Our hope cannot be in this world or it will fade away with it. Thanks be to God he has given us a “living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”. 1 Peter 1:3

May the love and promises of God fill you with peace from trusting that even in these uncertain days, God is accomplishing His work. And, may the Light of the Gospel of Jesus shine bright in your life and through your life unto all whom you encounter.

In Christ,

Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

re-opening square grunge stamp

Pastor’s Corner – Re-Opening!

Did I catch your attention with that title or what?  It seems like everything is reopening now and it is very exciting; it is also very nerve wracking.  Just because places are reopening, doesn’t mean the virus isn’t an issue. In fact, the virus is a bigger issue now, in Kendall County, than it was when we were issued the Stay-at-Home Order.  On March 13th, there was one known case in Kendall.  Now there are nearly 400 active cases, with nearly 400 in recovery.

I, too, am very excited about reopening, but we will do so with great intentionality and with safety as a major aspect of our every decision.  Our first step in reopening will be next weekend on June 7th at 1:0 PM.  We had already planned on hosting a communion service and we will continue with that plan. We have over 250 people registered to come receive the Lord’s body and blood or a blessing and I do not want to change that plan.  Trying to add on-site worship to the communion weekend would be a tremendous challenge and ultimately reduce our ability to provide a safe experience.

Sunday, June 14th, we are working toward being able to host a small number of people on-site.  We had already been working toward this on our own, but yesterday (Thursday) the Governor of Illinois finally published guidelines for worship centers.  This is a minor miracle in itself.  Under those guidelines, the recommended worship size is 25% of capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.  Currently our plan involves hosting about 70 people per service which is right in that range.  We are still developing a process for registration/reservations.

There are many factors to consider, the most daunting of which is to sanitize our entire sanctuary between services and keep surfaces as untouched as possible.  We will be recruiting teams of volunteers to help sanitize on Sunday mornings and to help hold doors and direct traffic to minimize surface contamination and traffic jams in the hallways.

Sunday mornings will not be like they used to be–there will be no donuts or coffee, there will be no Sunday school or nursery, there will be no Community Groups or Bible studies on site.  There will be no Fellowship Hall to hang out in and no hallways to run through.  It will feel very different as we wear masks and refrain from breaking social distancing recommendations. But, the church has not changed her mission.

As the people of God, we will continue to mourn our inability to gather together in the way we ultimately desire.  We look forward to the day when we will be able to do so once again.  But, until that day, we are reminded that we are the Church on Mission.  God has sent us to “the ends of the earth” to be His witness for all people.  The Church of God, whether in the Old Testament or New Testament, always struggled when it was scattered by an enemy. But, it was these times of scattering that often proved to be its finest moment as it adapted and shared the Good News of Jesus in new places.

As your leadership, we will continue to work tirelessly (or more accurately, continue to work even while we are exhausted!) to create the safest way we can worship and gather together. And, at the same time, we will encourage and equip one another to be the presence of Jesus right where we are, in places we never wanted to be, but places where God needed us to go!

In Christ,

Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

Memorial Day

Pastor’s Corner – Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend has snuck up on us, but it is here and worthy of celebration.   With the stay at home order transitioning to phase three soon and many schools finishing up their online learning last week, I anticipate much rejoicing.  This traditional weekend of revelry comes at just the right time.  We need it.

Memorial Day is a day worthy of celebration, even as the joy is built on the memory of events that brought much sorrow.  The greatest celebrations don’t usually come when things are consistently good; the greatest celebrations come after a time of sorrow comes to an end.  These times of heartache refine us and cause us to appreciate the things we previously took for granted.

On Memorial Day, we remember and celebrate the freedoms that were won for us through the precious blood of our military.  Our freedom is something we often take for granted; not because we don’t appreciate them, but because we are so used to them.  When our freedoms are taken away, like they have been for the past couple months, we start to appreciate them more.

These past couple months have grown within me an appreciation for a lot of different things.  I appreciate my family and the increased time with them. I appreciate the freedoms that we have in this country, especially as I desire all the things we have not been able to do.  I also appreciate the relationships that I miss from our gatherings on Sunday mornings and our ongoing ministry throughout the week.  You have been able to see me through the on-line streaming, but I can’t see you!  I look forward to seeing many of your faces at our communion service on Sunday, June 7th.

I appreciate our team of volunteers and staff at Cross who have endured and succeeded at bringing a school year to a close and transitioning to online ministry throughout the week.  I appreciate the many notes of encouragement that have come through the mail, the phones and other various means.  In these times of uncertainty, you all have been a light into my days.

This Memorial Day weekend I plan to celebrate you all and especially our military who have paid the greatest price so that I could have all these things to miss!  It is only because we are so blessed in this country that the loss of freedoms is so hard.  So, celebrate life and freedom–it is God’s way.  Do it wisely, as we steward the life God has given to us, trusting in Him and loving our neighbor.  After all, that has never changed.  I pray, we just appreciate it more now than ever before and that in itself, is worthy of celebration.

Jesus said, “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

 

Pastor’s Corner

Human-Rights

Pastor’s Corner – “I Have the Right To Do Anything….”

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12. This is how the NIV translates Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Our nation is built on the foundation that each human has rights that are given to us by our Creator and cannot/shall not be taken away from us. This week, the importance of our individual and societal rights came to the surface as many States “opened” under pressure from its citizens, as the Wisconsin Supreme Court ended the Safer-at-Home Order and, as our own Kendall County Sheriff reminded us all that our Governor cannot make laws and cannot take away our rights through a simple executive order. For this, we should all be celebrating–that we have the right to use our minds, gather information and make wise decisions.

At the same time, the verse continues that not all things are beneficial. Just because we have the right to live our life how we want, doesn’t mean we should. When we act out of our own desire and do not take into consideration the needs of others, our Government leaders are there to guide society to be beneficial for all. These two issues are always in tension: our own rights and the rights of others.

How does Jesus teach us to resolve this tension? We can’t fully resolve it, but we do have a biblical framework we can apply to each decision and circumstance in which we find ourselves. In John 13:35, Jesus is recorded as saying that the world will know His followers by our love. Love is the framework for our coming, our going and our tension resolving. How does love apply to our rights and especially our current stay-at-home mandate? Well, it applies as you put it in the context of your own circumstances. But, love is defined in scripture as this, again from Jesus, “Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down his life for a friend” John 15:13.

As we look to our right to assemble, our right to travel freely, visit friends and even our free economy, we need to also weigh the well-being of those around us. These are not opposing issues because there is an immeasurable difference between somebody requiring you do something sacrificial and you choosing to do so. If someone forces us to lay down our life, it is murder or abuse. If we choose to lay down our life, it is love. The results are the exact same; but the way we get there is very different.

As people and organizations are rightly defending our freedom to worship, hold weddings and the like, we must also consider the realities that these gatherings still spread a dangerous, unknown and untreatable virus. As a believer, it is good that we are not afraid to gather and face these realities and yet we don’t get to choose who else we may get sick in the process. We must consider not only our freedom, but the impact of exercising our freedom on all we encounter. The CEO’s of Rush Copley and Mercy both said they saw spikes in cases after Easter when families gathered to celebrate. Eleven new cases were immediately connected to just two family gatherings. This is not to spread fear, but to show that our decisions and our attentiveness make a difference.

How will we continue to move forward at Cross? Just as we have been. We will be intentional and work together with local officials including the Sheriff’s department, the health department, our church body leaders here and in other States and many other people, to find solutions that allow us to exercise our faith and lovingly share that faith with others.   As the school year winds down, our energy has been on celebrating our teachers and our students. We have been praying and planning about what the next “Phase” looks like. We will share more at our Congregational Zoom meeting on May 31st. We will implement safety protocols to be able to celebrate the Lord’s Supper together on June 7th. We will continue to explore safe ways to gather together in Worship and above all we will honor our Lord by being a powerful witness for Him in the community. Stay vigilant; pray for our leaders, especially in Kendall County as case numbers continue to rise. And, ask the questions differently; ask God how and to whom you can be a blessing while we seek to be blessed by Him.

In Christ,

Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

mothers-day

Pastor’s Corner – Thank God for Mom

This weekend is Mother’s Day, believe it or not.  My personal sense of time is completely off kilter these days, but my appreciation for Mom has never been greater. The only thing more difficult than being a mom is being a mom during a Stay-at-Home Order.  I never would have known that was even possible until now–so thank you 2020.  And thank you moms everywhere.

This weekend, we will attempt to celebrate mom and women in mom-like roles everywhere.  We will do it in spite of the restrictions put upon us because, after all, moms need to be celebrated.  A mom or mother figure is a mentor and a support for her children and a partner to her husband.  A mom has an impossible task of keeping the family functioning and often sacrifices her own desires to make that possible.  Mom always tries to set good boundaries for her children, but also attempts to not be too heavy handed.

Even if you do not know your mother our natural instinct is to fill that void with a mentor who will love us like a mother.  If you are not a mother, it is common to love other children as if they were your own.  A mother is a gift from God and is a need that cannot be replaced by anything else. We never outgrow our moms and you never outgrow being a mother.

Nobody has a perfect mom and nobody is a perfect mom, at least not of our own worldly efforts.  But, by the grace of God, any mistakes a parent will make, any division between parents and children can and will be healed as we confess and forgive.  This is my lesson from many moms I have interacted with over the years.  My mom, the mother of my children, my sisters, mother-in-law and many others have shown me that moms take the cake when it comes to showing God’s patience and love with others.  Even on their worst days, a mother’s love is on full display.

So, celebrate mom in your own special way this year.  But, one thing should never change; thank God for your mom, give yourself grace if you are a mom, and even if you have never been a mom, remember you are still being used by God to show His divine love to others in a very special way.  Take it from Jesus when he tells us that mothers, brothers and sisters are defined more by the love they show one another than any biological status (Matthew 12:46-50).

To my Mom, Grand-Moms, Sisters (who definitely “mommed” me), Mother-in-law and of course my Bride, Alicia, the mother of our three moms-in-training — I thank God for you each day and am truly amazed how great you are and have been at loving me and teaching me how to love more like Christ every day.

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him…”  Ephesians 1:15-17

In Christ,

Erik Gauss

Pastor’s Corner

40 days 2

Pastor’s Corner – Congratulations!

Congratulations are in order. We have made it through a very significant time period of humanity with regards to this pandemic. That is right! We have officially made it to 40 days and nights of the “Stay-at-Home” order in Illinois. Forty is an exceptionally significant number for biblical events and for the human mental-emotional-spiritual state.   The most widely known 40-day period is the season of Lent leading up to Easter. This 40 days, however well known, is not actually biblical. It is based on other significant biblical events that all lasted 40 days.

Lent is most closely connected to Jesus fasting for 40 days in the wilderness prior to the start of His public ministry. Forty days and nights is also the length of time it rained on the earth during the flood of Noah. Moses fasted for 40 days prior to receiving the Law and spent 40 days on Mount Sinai receiving the Law from God (We’ll get back to this later,) As a baby, Jesus was presented at the temple 40 days after his birth and He ascended into heaven 40 days after his resurrection.

This is just a sampling of the 40-day events in scripture; there are more, and this doesn’t include the events that took 40 weeks or 40 years. You/we have made it to a significant milestone and a celebration is in order! Congratulations, so far, and may God be with us as we endure and overcome this pandemic together.

What is next? Well, in order to look ahead we need to be real with where we are. Remember, I said we would get back to Moses’ trip up Mt. Sinai to get the Ten Commandments from God. Well, during the 40 days Moses was up there, the Israelites got restless. They were tired of waiting and, instead of turning to God, they turned to their own devices. They made statues to worship and threw wild “worship” parties to their false Gods. Moses was with God and knew what was happening. The time flew by, the people were waiting, lost their focus and put their hope in things more visible.

Forty days is a significant period of time where our minds wander and our flesh gives way even though our Spirit is willing. That might be where you are. Maybe, 40 Days has been enough already. If so, you are in good company. Maybe, this 40 Days has been great for refining your faith. If so, praise God for His mercy. Regardless, celebrate and praise God that you have endured and that He has been with you.

As we look forward to the next 40 days, hear these words that God gave to Moses as he came down from the mountain after those 40 days. “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” Genesis 33:14. The Presence of God is with us. As we are tempted to turn our focus to things more visible, remember the only one that gives true peace is with you. Turn your eyes toward Jesus and His presence will be felt and He will give you peace.

In Christ,

Erik Gauss