Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Being of Service to Others


Serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. 1 Peter 4: 10

As I listened to the Trustees talk about Stewardship Sunday and thought about my monetary donation to Eastridge Church for 2018, I also thought about the other ways I can support the church.  Many of us volunteer to participate in one of the many missions of the church, such as serving on the Session, Trustees or Deacons, helping with funerals, participating in Bible studies, volunteering at the Gathering Place, and the list goes on. 

I was reminded of something I read by the anthropologist, Margaret Mead, who said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” It made me know that all of us have gifts and talents that we can share to serve others in our church and community, and in doing so, have a great impact on the world, be it small or large. We all can be of service.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to take my place as a channel for service to others around me.  Let me give joyfully of my time and talents to insure that your love flows to all individuals I meet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Carolyn Brandle

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Storing Treasures

 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Matthew 6:19-21
 



Jesus teaches about the orientation we must endeavor to achieve, directing our hearts toward the things of heaven, rather than worldly possessions and desires.  He speaks of moths, rust and thieves as threats to the material goods we strive to attain.  Of course, Jesus is also addressing more broadly the many agents ready and waiting to erode the worldly wealth we are so inclined to try and possess. 
 

I am inclined to be a saver, or as we sometimes joke, an “archivist,” following in the footsteps of my parents and grandparents.  My more minimalist adult children often respond with a polite “no thank you” when I offer “treasures” that I see as important elements of the history of our family.  Their arguably more scriptural perspective prompts me to contemplate how I might direct my heart more faithfully in sharing the worldly possessions—from financial assets to antique china—with which I have been endowed.  This is especially true during the season of stewardship. 
 

The poet Ralph Waldo Emerson puts it another way:  “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
 

Prayer: Heavenly Creator, thank you for the many ways you care for us as we navigate this physical world.  We ask for your direction in turning our hearts toward heaven.  Guide us in using and sharing the worldly possessions for which we are responsible in ways that bring glory to you and your light to those we encounter.  Amen
 

Barry and Alinda Stelk

Monday, November 20, 2017

Sorrow in America


"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelations 21:4

How many times in the last few months have you asked yourself "will this violence and pain for America ever stop?" When is the next tragedy and will it be in my hometown or to someone I love? Unfortunately emotional and spiritual pain is very prevalent in our society. During these times we see no hope in sight for our country and ourselves. But we are promised that our suffering will end, that all tears will be wiped away and there will be no more death. 

During these times of tragedy we can only rely on God and his word for strength. One thing that has always helped me is that I have Bible verses memorized and I will chant them over and over in my head when I am in desperate need of inner strength. His message is embedded within my heart when I have no other words. God is our hope, continue to pray! 

Have a courageous day!


Becky Rankin

Friday, November 17, 2017

Tongue


But no one can tame the tongue-a restless evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:8

Someone recently said the following in a conversation. The tongue has no bones, but is strong enough to break a heart. So be careful with your words.

Harsh words said by one human to another stirs up anger and hurt. It can cause a real rift.  The dictionary says that a rift is a breach in friendly relations between people or in the unity of a group.

Think back and remember a time when someone did not control their tongue when talking to you or you observed this happening.  Remember your hurt or watched someone being hurt.  Can you remember a time when you did not control your tongue in a situation and you hurt someone?  Think about controlling your tongue and the words that break a heart.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Help me remember not to use harsh words aimed at others- tame my tongue and not hurt others.  Amen

Susan Taylor

 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Trust in Times of Turmoil


Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.  I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold.  I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me.  I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched.  My eyes fail, looking for my God.  Psalm 69: 1-3
 

I have been thinking recently about challenges in life.  The times when we feel we are up to our neck – in the mire, or the deep water, or the floods.   As I read this verse I couldn’t help but think of a very dear friend who, after 20 years of sobriety, relapsed and has not been able to get control over her addiction for more than a year.  In a recent call, it was as though I could hear the flood of addiction taking over her life…. The mire sucking her down.  One moment she was begging for help, and in the next moment unwilling to take any help that was offered. 
 

How often do we get caught in the mire and don’t use our voice to call for help or our eyes to search for God?  Moments where we choose to remain miserable, times at work when we believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness, times as a parent that we miss the joy of raising a child because we are struggling through the unrelenting responsibility of being a parent… there are so many times when we can feel overwhelmed and alone in this earthly life. 
 

These times in the mire are not constant, we all have good days, and bad days.  Sometimes the mire sucks at our ankles and we know we are free to escape but we choose not to.  Sometimes we even know people who love the mire and can’t get enough of the drama, or the problems. 
 

Knowing that I can lean on God is a tremendous relief, knowing that he has the strength to pull me from the mire gives me comfort. 
 

Prayer: Gracious God, I know you are always close by.  I know that you don’t want your children to suffer, please continue to be with those who have lost their voice or whose eyes have turned away.  Help them from the flood, do not let the undertow pull them down. 
 

Christi Moock

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Happy Birthday to Me!


A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. John 16:21

 
November is my birthday month and so many happy memories fill my mind of birthdays past. My family is big on celebrating birthdays. My parents always made our special day a day of excitement, recognition and a joy knowing we had reached another year. It has always been a celebration that each of us is special in God's eyes. In my younger years it would mean a homemade cake of your favorite made by Mom. There was always a present but it seemed the best part was family together.  
 

I find it sad that so many don't celebrate their birthday or meet it with regret that they are another year older. It isn't about the gifts, the cards, or the cake; it is the time we get. Time to spend with family and friends. More time to extend the good news of Jesus Christ and continue to share the passing of peace.  
 

Yes I am getting older but because of this great gift I meet each birthday with the same spirit of joy, happiness, excitement of what my next year holds for my future.  It is a time to count my blessings. 

 
Prayer: Dear Father: Thank you for another year. Thank you for giving me more time to enjoy my family and friends and their life milestones.  Thank you for giving me more time to do your work here on earth.  Continue to guide me in my life's journey in the way of your plan and not mine.  Help others to see the glory in your gift of life and in the lives of others around us.  In Jesus name we pray Amen

For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
 

Lori Hood