Views

The views expressed here are those of each individual devotion writer. Thank you to our writers for their contributions to this ministry!

Friday, January 22, 2021

Spreading Kindness

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. Luke 6:31 

I have a former co-worker who has started a church in our community, the focus of this church is on being a good neighbor. You might have seen this church on the local news when they started meeting at an apartment complex clubhouse.  Or heard about this church when the Mister Rogers movie with Tom Hanks came out last year. As I have mentioned before, with virtual church, we sometimes attend more than one church service in a week, sometimes more than one in a single day.  At that church’s service this week, the musician sang a song called Revolutionary by Josh Wilson. If you keep up with current Christian music maybe you have heard it. The music is lovely and the lyrics really lead to introspection.  The chorus of the song returns to “Why does kindness seem revolutionary, when did we let hate get so ordinary”. The artist wrote it to document all of the turmoil we experienced in 2020 and efforts for us to overcome this through kindness, collaboration and perspective.  

We have a lovely and eccentric gentleman who lives down the street from us. He is single, retired, served more than 40 years in the national guard and has been deployed many times. He always has older cars that seem to be in jeopardy of falling apart. When they will cost more to repair than what he paid for them he leaves them where they die. Monday very early as I pulled out of our driveway this neighbor was pulling into the neighborhood and his car was shooting flames out the back (imagine Back to the Future). As he turned onto his street he realized that the car was on fire. I yelled to him to park and get out while I called 911. He ran into his home to get the fire extinguisher but by then the car was too far engulfed. We stood together in our driveway as we waited for the Fire Department to arrive and we hoped that they could maybe salvage his belongings, even if the car was no longer drivable. Sadly, the car and virtually everything in it was a total loss. The fire investigator found that he had driven oven a sign post on the highway that someone else had hit and it punctured his gas tank. The post created the spark for the gas and he was lucky to escape when he did. 

Our neighborhood is amazing. People came to make sure he was ok, one of our neighbors has an older vehicle they will be selling (exactly the kind of on-its-last-legs cars that he likes) and people were quick to help with clean-up. They also shared with him how glad they were that he was ok. As Brian and I talked about this throughout the last few days we mentioned this song and the fact that our experience, even in this terrible event, reflects the kind of Nebraska that we want to live in.  And the kind of country that we want to live in. A place where when a tragedy strikes people call for help, and they support each other. A place where we tell our neighbors – I’m glad you are safe. A place where a police officer gently asks questions of an older gentleman moments after a shocking event and commiserates with him about the wallet that was on the front seat of the car – and is now burned up. A place where kindness isn’t that unusual.  

Prayer: Creator God, thank you for watching over us. Thank you for helping us spread your love and your kindness to our families, friends, neighbors and strangers. Help us to increase the spread of kindness everywhere that we go. Amen    

Christi Moock          

Thursday, January 21, 2021

A Word from Jeremiah

 

I will put My law within them and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

They shall teach no more every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. Jeremiah 31: 33b-34


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Lord, Teach Us to Pray

 


One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

He said to them, “When you pray, say:

“‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins,  for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’”

Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’  I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:1-13

Monday, January 18, 2021

A New Baby

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born; and she gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn. Luke 2: 6-7

They (the shepherds) ran to the village and found their way to Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby lying in a manger. The shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.  All who heard the shepherds story expressed astonishment, but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and often thought about them. Luke 2:16-19

December twenty-fifth I had the privilege of seeing a little baby –the new niece of my grandson and his wife. As so often happens, when a baby is brought into the room—all eyes focus on the baby. There is a wondrous appreciation of the miracle of new life. I counted ten little toes on the feet that had worked hard to get rid of her socks. She had ten beautiful fingers which reached for her father when he cooed for her. Her eyes followed her parents whenever they moved. Her legs were in almost constant motion—an extension of her emotions between being happy and crying—which she could do well, very loudly. Of course, there was also the knowledge that she could eat and would need a diaper change—everything was working. I’m sure Mary, the mother of Jesus, felt these same things as she looked at her baby boy. Ten little toes, ten little fingers, eyes that followed her movements, little kicks that were now free of the womb. When the shepherds came , they were in awe of this miracle of birth—a beloved new baby, but also the future that had been told to them while they were out with their sheep. This was the joy of the savior’s birth. 

Christmas is over, but the vision of the tiny baby and the love it brings to the world lives on.  In these harried times, keep in mind the peace and joy of the baby and the hope he brings to us all throughout the ages.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for letting us witness the miracle of birth. The perfectness of your creation.  Thank you for your promise of salvation brought to us in the form of a baby. Thank you for the awe that still exists with new life. Amen 

Nancy Hall

Friday, January 15, 2021

Psalm 29

              

Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings,

    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;

    worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. 

 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;

    the God of glory thunders,

    the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.

 The voice of the Lord is powerful;

    the voice of the Lord is majestic.

 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;

    the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.

 He makes Lebanon leap like a calf,

    Sirion like a young wild ox.

 The voice of the Lord strikes

    with flashes of lightning.

 The voice of the Lord shakes the desert;

    the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.

 The voice of the Lord twists the oaks

    and strips the forests bare.

And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;

    the Lord is enthroned as King forever.

The Lord gives strength to his people;

    the Lord blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29

Thursday, January 14, 2021

"It's not about me, it's about us"

"...that all of them may be one.." John 17:21

Have you heard rhetoric from friends or families or even leaders in organizations or our country making things all about them lately? Have you been to a family reunion before and someone makes the event all about them instead of the whole group?

One thing I LOVE about the church and more specifically the church choir is how that message is challenged and a different example is set, the one set by our Savior. When coming to worship at Eastridge, I love that people saw a diverse group of people at front helping lead worship! We sang as a community, as a family, worshipping together. I saw young and old, rich and poor, black and white, all coming together to lead worship. I'm SO thankful for Brian and the pastors working so hard to make sure we don't lose that important message and example during this time. 

A very special thing about our church choir is that they continue the tradition of wearing robes. When someone sings in the church choir, we don't see fancy clothes or someone wearing the same shirt for the 50th time...we just see part of our church family, helping lead worship, inviting us to be a part! Again, it's not about me and my personality and what I wear, it's about us all, in Christ. I grieve the loss of the church choir leading worship every week right now. That constant message that it's not about YOU, it's about US. 

I thank the Lord for churches like Eastridge that have a choir helping lead worship every week that just by their being there say "It's not about me, it's about us" AND "ALL are welcome, all are children of God and ALL have a place here." What a message and example, following in the footsteps of our Savior, that goes against the message of the world. 

Brent Shaw