Views

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

Monday, November 23, 2020

Keep Doing

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

About a year ago, one of our neighbors told us his philosophy on aging and his belief that whatever you can keep doing…. You can keep doing. If this sounds complicated or like word play say it out loud a few times. He was referencing activity. If you mow your lawn every week, you can probably keep mowing it year after year (even with a break for winter) because you are training and conditioning your body. If you took 2-3 years off from mowing and outsourced it to a child or grandchild, or neighbor kid, or even a mowing service it might be hard for you to get back to doing that chore. Our neighbor makes sure that when the weather is nice he rides his bike once every week, so that he can keep riding his bike. Before he retired he walked to and from work 3 or more days a week. 

My grandmother would have turned 100 this year. I have been thinking about this idea, of doing what you can do. My grandmother lived with us most of my life.  She had a stroke when I was 2 and returned home, with a walker. Our house had a LOT of stairs, and her bedroom was on the second floor, and the laundry was in the basement, and we had a huge clawfoot tub but no shower. This seems like a physical therapy return to home nightmare. But my grandmother survived the Great Depression, and World War II serving as a WAVE, and the turbulence of the 1960s, and the uncertain economic structure of the 1980s, and the early instances of domestic terrorism and she was certainly going to come home, and do everything that she did before her stroke. She was able to keep doing, what she was able to keep doing.

In 2020, we have struggled mightily against a virus that we cannot see. Through a political campaign that has divided friends and families and neighbors. Through changes to virtually every normal experience in our lives. As we approach the holidays, it is hard to endure the loneliness, to remain separated, to let go of our anger about differences in polity, to plan for a celebration with only those who we regularly interact with, and to keep our numbers small and exclusive. To wear a mask indoors when visiting others and to hold our hugs and kisses for the future. It is hard to not feel angry for these losses and limitations. But if we want to continue to celebrate with those we love in the future, we must push past this challenge and throw off everything that hinders us. We must be creative.  We must protect those we love by assuring that we are distant from them. We might have to explain that we know this will result in hurt feelings, but saved lives. We have to keep doing what we can keep doing.

Prayer: God who knows all about the race course ahead, please be with us during this time of sadness and uncertainty. Help us to manage our feelings of loss and anger.  Help us to remember that our sacrifices today, will be of benefit for all humanity in the future. Shower us with your love and compassion and give us strength to endure.  Amen. 

Christi Moock

Friday, November 20, 2020

Holy Spirit

And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Acts 2:2

The strong winds of the south came blowing into our area. It was gusting up to 40 MPH and it was 73 degrees outside. I took the dogs outside and standing on my porch I felt the strong winds pressing against me. For some reason, I don’t really know why, it reminded me of every time I have heard of the Holy Spirit with the breath of God embracing the body. I stood there and felt the need to pray for the Holy Spirit to encompass me. The last 8 months have been such as over pouring of negativity, anger, sorrow, fear and hate in the world.  Every time I have felt overwhelmed I take the time to talk to God and pray for strength and refresh my soul. At this moment it was a feeling of a warm wind with the sun that began to feel like arms wrapping around me. I closed my eyes to fully enjoy the moment of God’s nature sending the message that all is good. I opened my eyes and began to again see the beauty of nature before and count my blessings.

Prayer: Dear Father in Heaven, I pray that the mighty power of the Holy Spirit will cover the world and heal your creation. I pray that all find the strength to work together and comfort each other in their hour of need. I pray that we learn to count our blessings, even the small ones that we so take for granted. I pray that all those in turmoil will find it in themselves to kneel down, pray and ask for your forgiveness and guidance. In Jesus name, Amen. 

And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:22

Lori Hood



Thursday, November 19, 2020

Hope

 


And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  1 Peter 5:10 

We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:3

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Be Glad

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. John 3:16

2020 is probably not a year that anyone will remember with complete joy. I awake each morning with the question, will I be sad or mad today? Jigsaw puzzles have lost their luster, crosswords are sometimes too easy and jumble requires too much brainpower. I can't even clean house because it will use my shoulder too much.  Raking leaves would require bending over. Another no-no. So I turn to reading and even that does not bring happiness to my day. Then I remembered a poem that my mother used to recite to me when I was in a complete funk. This poem was written by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, an American poet in the 1800s. It was published in the form of Poems of Passion and Solitude.

This is the way I remember it from my mother.

Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone for the sad old earth has to borrow its mirth but has trouble enough of its own. There is probably more to the poem but that was the part I often heard. We need to laugh these days. We need to feel joy. We need to be glad about something. Oh how wonderful. Instead of mad or sad, I can add glad. After all, it is a rhyming word!

Can we all add glad to at least one day a week? Can we laugh and see who laughs with us? Can we remember that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son?  There must be something to be pleased with if He even loved our world.

Prayer: Let us be grateful Lord, for what we have, not wanting more or needing a lot more. In your son's name, we pray. Amen

Carolyn Olsen

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Psalm 85

 



God, you smiled on your good earth!

    You brought good times back to Jacob!

You lifted the cloud of guilt from your people,

    you put their sins far out of sight.

You took back your sin-provoked threats,

    you cooled your hot, righteous anger.

Help us again, God of our help;

    don’t hold a grudge against us forever.

You aren’t going to keep this up, are you?

    scowling and angry, year after year?

Why not help us make a fresh start—a resurrection life?

    Then your people will laugh and sing!

Show us how much you love us, God!

    Give us the salvation we need!

I can’t wait to hear what he’ll say.

    God’s about to pronounce his people well,

The holy people he loves so much,

    so they’ll never again live like fools.

See how close his salvation is to those who fear him?

    Our country is home base for Glory!

Love and Truth meet in the street,

    Right Living and Whole Living embrace and kiss!

Truth sprouts green from the ground,

    Right Living pours down from the skies!

Oh yes! God gives Goodness and Beauty;

    our land responds with Bounty and Blessing.

Right Living strides out before him,

    and clears a path for his passage. Psalm 85 The Message

Monday, November 16, 2020

Wild Lament into Whirling Dance

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord, my God, I will give you thanks forever. Psalm 30:11-12

I can so relate to these words, and to the message of these verses from my NIV Parallel Bible: “You did it: You changed wild lament into whirling dance; You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers. I’m about to burst with song; I can’t keep quiet about you God, my God, I cannot thank you enough.”

On Nov. 7th, 2019 I suffered a cardiac arrest near my home. Steve and I were returning from a state volleyball game and dinner out. Steve, in a remarkably brilliant move, drove me to the fire station five blocks away where I was revived for the first time. I also needed to be revived on the way to the Heart Hospital in the ambulance. I was literally without a heartbeat for over 30 minutes all together. I was placed in a medically induced coma for four days and my family and friends prayed hard with Pastor Melodie that I would live and that my brain would not be damaged. Their prayers were answered! I am here a year later with my same brain capacity and feel that I was given several miracles.

We did discover months later that part of my colon died when it was deprived of oxygen. That was recently repaired and by the end of summer of 2020, I was completely well, adjusting to just a few very manageable new normals.

I am not aware of what personal hardship David was recovering from, but I can identify with his words of gratitude and thanksgiving to God for “changing his wild lament”. I recently wrote a letter to the firemen who saved my life and shared with them that I feel beyond blessed and that I intend to live my life with gratitude and joy. I want to help others whenever I can and continue to praise and thank God daily.

It has been a long journey to recovery. I was in active heart failure the seven months prior to my crash and burn so I have had cardiac rehab as an in-patient, in home rehab, and outpatient rehab, which I am still participating in. I have had phenomenal medical and rehab care. I have so much to thank God for. My family, friend, and church support was remarkable!

Prayer: Father God, I thank you for the miracles that I received, for your constant love; and for the Hope and Joy that I was always able to find in you during my  long illness. May we all praise and thank you daily for your unwavering love and mercy. We can’t thank you enough for all our many Blessings!

Connie Barry

Friday, November 13, 2020

A Word from the book of Daniel



Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” Daniel 9:17-19