Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Words Can Hurt

Psalm 23
(A Psalm of David.) The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.


As a child I remember “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. In the movie, Bambi, Thumper said “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. As I child I do remember being teased, which probably now a days would be called bullying.  

As an adult I don’t believe people should get offended by everything around them. I also believe it’s the intent or the spirit that hurts not the words. I also believe that Thumper is right: if you don’t have anything nice to say keep it to yourself. As a Christian I don’t understand the need or desire to intentionally hurt someone’s feelings, even if that person is intentionally trying to hurt your feelings or spirit.  

As a Christian I believe in standing up for what I believe and standing up for the person who can’t stand up for themselves. I also believe in praying for my enemies that they may find their way to Jesus and change their ways. I know it is their journey and only Jesus can guide them. I also don’t know the path that led them to this destructive behavior.  

Recently I was confronted with a situation with someone trying to damage my spirit but knowing I am never facing life’s trials by myself helped me. I heard recently someone say as long as I am holding hands and entering the room with Jesus I can do anything.  

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for always walking with me in the good and bad on this earth.  Thank you for guiding me to do my best in treating others with the same respect I wish to receive.  Hold my tongue from causing any damage to others.  Let me not judge others but I pray for their finding your love.  Amen

Lori Hood 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

God Cares, Others Care

“Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” I Peter 5:7

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” John 13:34

“So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.” Galatians 6:10 

Prayer Concerns at Eastridge Presbyterian Church are lifted up in our weekly Lamp as well as emails. Many churches do this.

I recall at one of my previous churches, prayers in action shown to our family. When I was recovering from surgery, a fellow church member delivered a meal to our home. Many times, we had given this “love in action” to others. The church member sensed I felt uncomfortable receiving the generous meal for our family of five. She said, “We just found the skinniest family to fatten up.”  That made me smile.

Recently, I have been challenged by a painful leg and back issue.  Church members have reached out to my husband and me.  Hopefully, now older and wiser, I accept this gratefully.  Just as God cares for us, we are called to care for others.

Persons of any age can share a smile.  I am especially pleased when young people hold open a door or give me a smile. 

Gary Sinise, actor states, “Each person on this planet is here for a purpose ---- That purpose is to care for other people and to help this world become a better place through service to others.”

Each day we have opportunities to show love in action.  What can we do today?  The prayer below, used in our worship bulletin on May 12, 2019, lists some simple ways we can share love with others.

Prayer: Generous God, we thank you for all we have been given.  As we learn to recognize our gifts, help us not to overlook the simple ones: the smile for strangers, the word of encouragement, the get-well card, the listening ear, the willingness to be patient with the long-winded, and gentle with people we find difficult. So shall we all be enriched with your grace, and share your love with all we meet. Amen.

Lois Poppe

Monday, May 20, 2019

Kindness


Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

I have recently noticed an increase in the use of the word kind. While used as a compliment, it is often met with a tinge of surprise. Even though I am glad to know that we are becoming a community where kindness is nurtured, there is a note of sadness when people are surprised by it. 

My grandmother always watched out for people. She had the sweetest and kindest heart. If she knew someone would be alone on a holiday, she opened her home and made them feel like family. She was often thinking of others and used her kindness to share with people that they were special, and thought of.  That might be a card for a friend having a bad time, it might be fresh cookies for neighbors who were getting ready for travel, but it could be as simple as smiling at someone in the grocery store. She understood that a successful community was one that loved and cared for each other.

It might seem like some communities are too big for kindness to take root. I disagree, I think that kind and simple things can go a long way.  It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. This spring I want to think about ways that I can nurture kindness and watch it grow. Not for recognition, and not as some kind of penance, but because we love and care for each other as God’s chosen people.

Prayer: Creator God, help us all to share your kindness with those around us.  Please be with me now and always, reminding me of the simple ways that people can feel special, welcome and loved. Amen.


Christi Moock

Friday, May 17, 2019

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish,  and he took it and ate it in their presence.

He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:36-49



Thursday, May 16, 2019

Words from Galatians

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. 
                                                                       ~Galatians 6: 2-10



Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Suffering


Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.  So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”  He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” Luke 10:30-37

On the evening of March 14 I scanned the Facebook news feed and found tragedy. Tragedy mostly in catastrophic flooding, but also those who had lost loved ones, a little girl fighting cancer, adults fighting illnesses. It left me with a feeling of sadness and empathy as well as gratefulness that I was spared from these situations. In fact, the gratefulness with tinged with guilt, as so many in our state were suffering from the effects of severe weather…and not even a corner of my basement was wet. I thought: how can I help those who are suffering?

In our Lenten study earlier in the week “Crossbound”, we discussed suffering for others and doing what we can to help others, instead of focusing on ourselves. I shared with the group an article I had read that weekend, with one quote standing out: “Make a commitment to something greater than your own self-interests. If we all did that, we would make a huge difference in our country—and our world”.*

Sometimes it’s hard to see beyond our own worries. When we do step outside our own personal world and reach out to help others, God reminds us that it brings a sense of peace. It feels good to serve others, and we're obedient to His word as well. However, sometimes our own tragedies are overwhelming…in those instances, perhaps someone will reach out to us. And if not, God is there for us to call on.

Prayer: Lord, help us see those who are suffering in our midst. Give us courage to reach out in ways we can, and give us courage to reach out to you when we're feeling overwhelmed. Amen.

*Elizabeth McLellan, founder of Partners for World Health, in an interview in the April 2019 Oprah magazine.

Donna Gustafson

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Another Move


He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and sews it on an old garment; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece from the new will not match the old.  And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed.  But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.  And no one after drinking old wine desires new wine, but says, ‘The old is good.’”  Luke 5:36-39

It’s time for change at our house. We’re leaving our home of fifteen years to move to an apartment in a retirement community, which will be our eleventh home in 56 years of marriage. It is surprisingly easy to lighten the load of possessions to accommodate the new smaller space. The old IS good, but so is the new. This move is only one of many changes in our years of marriage, as is true for most folks. We expanded from two to a family of seven, and then, over the years, became two again. We’ve lived in Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, and Texas. Starting out in apartments, we moved to ever larger, then smaller houses. We’ve moved from one telephone to two, to too many, including the one we tote about with us. We’ve learned to cook with gas and electricity and microwaves, in pans, crockpot, roaster, electric skillet, griddle, and waffle/pancake iron. We’ve spent undue amounts of time reading directions to learn to use new possessions like FM radio, television, VHS, cordless phone, dishwashers, refrigerators, computers, CD player, bread machine, lawn mowers, snowblower, hedge clippers, and the weed whacker before enjoying these tools’ making our lives easier, as they were meant to do. After initial rebellion, we accepted area codes for telephone numbers and zip codes for addresses. We rejoice in long-distance dialing, air conditioning, e-mailing, and internet browsing, all fruits of the present not available in our early adulthood. The young often think that their elders are set in their ways and opposed to change.  Given our evidence and that of most of us of our age, I believe that change has been our only constant, and will continue to be. 

Prayer: Lord, we pray for your guidance to take the best from the old and the new as change continues to come to our lives.  After all, your son, Jesus, brought the greatest change to the world it had ever known—and that turned out all right.  Amen. 

Ruth Ann Lyness (reprinted from Daily Devotional Book, November 2008)