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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day

I have always thought that Veterans Day was a big deal. You see my father was a WWII veteran. He kept a journal  in his boot when he was traveling to and from North Africa transporting POW's to the US.  It was fascinating to read his short accounts, however it was heartbreaking too. The fear and sadness at the loss of comrades and friends in time of battle.

Veterans Day means so much more to me today, as my oldest son is now a veteran of 2 deployments. He has witnessed the tragedy of war and the pain which it brings to families and friends.

Veterans Day is a day of thank you in our house. Thank you to all my family who has served, thank you to all the service men and women who have answered the call to serve this country.

This psalm reflects my heart felt thoughts for each and every veteran today:


Psalm 91

"He who takes refuge in the shelter of the Most High
    will be safe in the shadow of the Almighty.
He will say to the Eternal, “My shelter, my mighty fortress,
    my God, I place all my trust in You.”
For He will rescue you from the snares set by your enemies who entrap you
    and from deadly plagues.
Like a bird protecting its young, God will cover you with His feathers,
    will protect you under His great wings;
    His faithfulness will form a shield around you, a rock-solid wall to protect you.
You will not dread the terrors that haunt the night
    or enemy arrows that fly in the day
Or the plagues that lurk in darkness
    or the disasters that wreak havoc at noon.
A thousand may fall on your left,
    ten thousand may die on your right,
    but these horrors won’t come near you.
Only your eyes will witness
    the punishment that awaits the evil,
    but you will not suffer because of it.
For you made the Eternal [your][a] refuge,
    the Most High your only home.
10 
No evil will come to you;
    plagues will be turned away at your door.
11 
He will command His heavenly messengers to guard you,
    to keep you safe in every way.
12 
They will hold you up in their hands
    so that you will not crash, or fall, or even graze your foot on a stone.[b]
13 
You will walk on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the lion and the serpent underfoot.
14 
“Because he clings to Me in love,
    I will rescue him from harm;
    I will set him above danger.
Because he has known Me by name,
15 
He will call on Me, and I will answer.
    I’ll be with him through hard times;
    I’ll rescue him and grant him honor.
16 
I’ll reward him with many good years on this earth
    and let him witness My salvation.”

The Voice Translation


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Whom Shall You Serve

Joshua 24: 14-24

Joshua was a the man that would follow Moses and lead the people of Israel.  He learned from Moses the commands and the ways of God.

God began to teach Joshua about what it takes to be a servant of the most High King.  In chapter 24 we learn that we can serve no one greater than God our creator.

                    vs. 14 "Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness..." Vs 15 says "But if serving the Lords seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,...But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." 

Joshua is telling us we can choose whomever we want to serve. BUT he is sharing with the people of Israel, he is going to serve only GOD.

So let me ask you today!!!!!

            WHOM WILL YOU SERVE?



Wednesday, November 1, 2017

All Saints Day

Today we celebrate those people that have gone before us in the faith of our churches.  Many people today in mainline churches celebrate this day as a remembrance of those that have died.

Let us reflect today on their story, their journey in life with God.  

I remember growing up in church with my parents who were faithful attenders on Sunday mornings. My mom had us there each week and all Holy Days as well. In her tradition, the Holy Mass was vital to her growth as a Christian.  My dad was less regular, but wanted his children to grow up in the church.

Now that I am older and maybe somewhat wiser, I realize the importance of those memories and the relationship I would now have with the church and God. As a UMC clergy, I know that God is vitally important in my life and the lives of my children and grandchildren. 

I have learned the importance of telling our faith story to the next generation of church attenders and followers of Christ.  If we do not share our story with others, how are they going to learn the ways of God and the church.

So as we remember today, friends and family alike, let us never forget the importance that God has on each person's life.

Thank you to all those who touched my life in the ways of God and his teachings!


   

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Taking Time to Rest

Many times we do not take the time to rest and rejuvenate our hearts, bodies and souls. We are so busy in our culture today that rest is a forgotten necessity of life. As new parents, we go without sleep sometimes for a few days if our child is sick or cranky. When we grow into our teen years, we just keep going from one activity to the next, not thinking about the fact that our physical body needs to rest and regain its' strength.  One time I took one of our boys to the Dr because of some sort of illness and the very wise physician we had at the time told me to let the boy sleep! Sleep all day if he needs to, he is growing so fast his body can't keep with itself. Then, we become young adults in a new career and we continue to burn both candles at the ends. We work 50-80 hours per week. 

Some times I think about our churches. We might find ourselves doing the same thing in our places of worship. We have so many things offered to the likings of so many diverse ideas and ministries, that we forget to rest in the Spirit of the living God. To truly find God's presence during our time of worship, to rejuvenate our souls!

    What about rest, God taught us from the very beginning of time that even the Divine Creator of the Universe rested. 

    Gen. 2:2 "On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work." (NLT)

    Jesus found himself needing rest. Many times he would go off by himself, leave his disciples and spend time  in the place he found rest and peace. Many times Jesus would find this rest in the Mount of Olives. Can you picture it? Sitting amongst the beauty of the olive grove, the smell of the Mediterranean Sea and the olives themselves. Jesus knew enough to do something for himself, to find a quiet place to rest, to rejuvenate with his heavenly Father.

    We are no different. As humans we need to find rest, and as followers of Christ we need rest! The kind of rest that only comes from the power of the Holy Spirit which brings forth healing. Healing, so that we may continue on the journey that God has placed us on; as we walk together on the planet sharing the love and grace freely given to us by our Creator.  Jesus gave so much of himself that when he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed and drops of sweat blood came from him.

   Luke 22:44 "He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood." (NLT)

    My encouragement for you today is this; find that sweet place, those few moments during your day, that week of rest and vacation, and rest, body soul and spirit. We need to be ready to come into a place of regular rest so that we can continue on this journey of life sharing the great commission with those around us. 

   Matthew 28:18-20 "Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (NLT)

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Lesson 6



Lesson 6                                                        

Day 6 of Holy Week-Friday 



Today we explore the truth that happened that Friday when Jesus was crucified, died and was buried.

READ:
This first reading is long, but it shows us the prophecy of what will happen to the Son of Man. As you read this passage, attempt to visualize the horror that Jesus must have looked like to those who witnessed his abuse at the hands of the Roman soldiers.

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

The Suffering and Glory of the Servant

“13 See, my servant will act wisely[a]; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. 14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him[b] his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness—15 so he will sprinkle many nations,[c] and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.
53 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
 the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression[d] and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished.[e]
He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
 and though the Lord makes[f] his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life[g] and be satisfied[h];
by his knowledge
[i] my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[j] and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[k] because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”


What are your thoughts about this very graphic description of what Jesus looked like!






READ:

John 18:1-19:42

This passage is very long. I suggest you read it, put it down, come back again a while later and read it again. This way, you can begin to break it apart.


Here is what we need to…this week, is a reflection week. As you read and re-read the long passages, think on these things

          1. Could you remain silent during this physical torture?
__________________________________________________________

          2. If you were a bystander, could you watch?
__________________________________________________________________

          3. If you were Jesus’s parent what would be running through your mind, and heart?


          4. What if you were one of Jesus’s followers, what would you have done?
_____________________________________________________________________

          5. Lastly, by suffering for us all, Jesus took the sins of the world upon himself…what does that mean to you?
_____________________________________________________________________



If you are a FB fan, ask me to join our closed ACC Bible Study FB group. We will be discussing our thoughts there.

Until next week! Ask God to show you how to worship Him freely and openly or, maybe, you will need to go for a walk and hear the rocks singing!