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Romans 8:35 VOICE

Reminder for you:

So who can separate us? What can come between us and the love of God’s Anointed? Can troubles, hardships, persecution, hunger, poverty, danger, or even death? The answer is, absolutely nothing. (Romans 8:35 VOICE)

"Trouble Don't Last Always" Playlists

We'll miss being together in worship. 

To help us get through these tough times, we've put together a playlist that will shift your focus from the problems of this world to the God who is really in control. 

Enjoy!

Click here for the YouTube Playlist.

 

Click here for the Apple Music Playlist.

 

Click here for the Spotify Playlist.

Download our App!

 This is really exciting! Click here (SMZBC App), enter your phone number, and they'll send you a link on your cell phone to install the SMZBC app on your Apple or Android device.  On the app, we'll be posting sermon notes, you can follow the church's social media, give, update your contact information on your profile, and stay in the loop with upcoming events. 

  • On the app, you can listen to a specially curated "Lent 2020" playlist for those who have Spotify or Apple Music.
  • Special Section For Members Only: We'll be posting the Sunday's Sermons at the Mount on this site so you can listen at your leisure.  You will see them on the home page when you log in to your profile.

February 27, 2020 (Lenten Devotional)

Expect the Unexpected

by Nicole Massie Martin

Read Exodus 5:10–23

Then Moses turned again to the Lord and said, “O Lord , why have you mistreated this people? Why did you ever send me? Since I first came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has mistreated this people, and you have done nothing at all to deliver your people.” (5:22–23)

It was supposed to be different. When Moses agreed to follow God, things were supposed to get better. The lives of the Israelites should have gotten better. Moses and his family should have been better off. Saying “yes” to God was supposed to lead to increase, not decrease. But instead of getting better, things began to get worse.

God met with Moses and promised to deliver the Israelites. God promised they would be free to worship and no longer bound to the Egyptians. But Pharaoh denied the request for worship and decided to make their lives worse. Demanding more bricks with less straw, the promise of freedom instantly turned into the reinforcement of slavery. Is this what God had in mind all along?

Life with God is filled with promises and expectations. However, God’s promises are not always fulfilled when or how we expect. We can be so focused on an expected result of a promise that we lose sight of the source of the promise. In our anguish, we want God to move quickly, wasting no time to do what God promised to do. Yet even in desperate times, we are called to reset our expectations of God. This becomes a sacred opportunity to take the focus off of what God does and refocus on who God is.

What expectations must you surrender today? How can you redirect your attention from what God does to who God is? When you lean in, you might be surprised how God allows you to let go. While your assignment or suffering may not immediately change, God can strengthen you to let go of the resentment associated with your pain. Leaning in helps us to discover that our trouble does not trouble God one bit.

God, reset my expectations. Shift my gaze from your hands to your heart and carry me through all my troubles. Thank you for teaching me how to wait on you.

February 26, 2020 (Ash Wednesday Devotional)

Ash Wednesday: Starting with “Why?”

from Leaning In, Letting Go by Nicole Massie Martin

 

Read Matthew 6:1–6, 16–21 (in the app, click "Bible" button; on computer, go to www.biblegateway.com)

 

“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them;  for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.” (6:1)

 

“I can’t have dessert; I’m fasting.” My friend was so pleased with her denial that I almost felt a tinge of guilt as I gobbled my chocolate cake. I was proud that she decided to make a commitment to God and happy for her discipline, especially around cake.

As we left our time together that day, I couldn’t stop thinking about her comment and how it made me feel. I was both happy and ashamed, inspired and embarrassed, all at the same time. Should I have been fasting too?

 

Public displays of righteousness often seem to have this effect. They make the “righteous” feel good while simultaneously making the “unrighteous” feel bad. However, Jesus was not interested in public works. He told his disciples that those people get on earth exactly what they want: to be seen by people on earth. But he wanted them to strive for something more than temporary satisfaction. Jesus wanted them to have a relationship with God in which their doing came as a result of their being . He was less concerned about what they were doing and more concerned about why .

 

As we enter this season of Lent, Jesus reminds us that he is more concerned about why we lean in than he is about what we let go. We are invited to fast, serve, and pray not because we’ll be recognized by people, but because of our love for God. When God is our audience, no one else has to know.

 

So whether we choose to eat cake or deny it, whether celebrating in silence or with a loud song, God is most concerned with our motivation, not our activation. When we have the right motives, the simple act of leaning in will be all the reward we need.

Lord, help us to let go of outward piety and lean into your unfailing love. Let your presence be our pursuit and your pleasure our only reward.