Friday, September 25, 2020

Day #2460

September 25, 2020 

Today was the first day of the quarterly Synod Council meeting. As we began our Zoom meeting, Rev. Gretchen Wagner led us in devotions. She must be considering some of the same things I have been lately, because one line she used really stuck with me: “What the world sees you are, they consider Christ to be.” 

Wow, what a perspective! And one that means there is another important reason to carefully examine my actions and words and their possible impact. Thank you, Pastor Gretchen. You really helped me think.

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2459

September 24, 2020

The word for the day - thankful. For physicians and all medical personnel who care so diligently for others. I personally am grateful for finding a new doctor, one who really listened to me and made good and helpful suggestions at my routine physical. 

And, for all those who are recovering from recent illnesses or surgeries, thanks be to God for the skills of your doctors and surgeons. Thank you, God, the great physician and healer.

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2458

September 23, 2020

Today was a good day, in various situations, to do some thinking through this time in our world. And to focus on how we can watch for the ways God is with us and hears our prayers. Sometimes it is talking it through, and sometimes it is through actions. 

Once again, I am reminded of the importance of being present and listening. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. And using those ears can mean the world to someone else.

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2457

September 22, 2020

Today’s Tuesday’s Thoughts on Scripture is from Philippians 2:9-11: Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (NRSV)

There does not seem to be anything to add to or comment about with this scripture. This is the hope and prayer of every Christian, correct?! That every knee bend and every tongue confess Jesus is Lord? And perhaps a job description for every Christian - to spread the word so that all should know and believe in Jesus. 

But then Paul goes on to say in verse 13, “for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” So there we go - this is essentially the work of the Holy Spirit. And, the work of God to sort us all out at some point. Thanks be to God that isn’t my job! But to help spread the word...well, that is another story. 

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2456

September 21, 2020 

This might strike you as funny (I sort of thought it was), but I also share it as a reminder. If you mention something to me on Sunday, but do not see me make a note right then, you could help me by checking in that I remembered. Or better yet, hand me a note you wrote. I hope I do well, but the memory isn't what it used to be (remember, I had another birthday recently). :-)

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2455

September 20, 2020 

Today's worship began the annual three-part focus on the stewardship of time, talent and treasure. The first is to focus on the stewardship of time. We all have the same amount given to us by God - 24 hours in a day. So how can we "steward" what we all have? Many do so by giving of "their" time to ease the load of others, who struggle to find enough time to get everything done. I am grateful for them. I also understand about feeling overwhelmed, longing for additional time, and have precious little to spare.

As I was thinking about time and figuring out a way to talk about sharing, I was grateful for the Hershey candy commercial I saw. It reminded me about the joy of sharing. Perhaps you have seen it? If not, you may find it here: Hershey Candy Bar

I just fell in love with this modern-day parable about the joy of sharing, found in the most unlikely of places - a television commercial!!!! I hope I retold it appropriately today in worship. It certainly seemed to me to fit a stewardship focus of time, and also of talent and treasure. 

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2454

September 19, 2020

It seems to have been one of those weeks. Whew, as they say!

So as Saturday comes to a close, what can I say about “Satisfied Saturday?” For what am I thankful? 

Considering that we all have “those” weeks, or days, or times when we realize we are “messing up,” and this has definitely seemed to be my week for it, I am thankful for folks (especially my husband) who forgive my mistakes. Who hear my apology, and grant me grace. 

And, certainly, I am thankful for God who is the ultimate grace-giver and mistake-forgiver!!

Blessings. And prayers. 

Day #2453

September 18, 2020

Perhaps these words spoke to me more deeply because of where my mind is right now (see Day #2452), but the following from the devotion, Christ In Our Home, screamed to me and I have to share.

2 Corinthians 13:5: Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith.

Nancy Kettering Frye writes concerning this passage:

Paul challenges us to be honest about our lives and our faith. Are we out of practice? How long has it been since we wrestled with Jesus’ teachings? When did we last give ourselves away for another in need? What evidence is there that our faith affects our perspective? Our behavior? Our spending habits? Our prayer life? Do we—and does the world—“realize that Jesus Christ is in [us]?” (v. 5).

Wow! Perhaps it is difficult in these times in which we find ourselves to focus on things other than politics, elections, racism, pandemics, storms, fires, or smoke. Perhaps I do wonder if the way of life I have known in recent years is gone forever. Perhaps my focus has narrowed more toward being inside myself - my prayer life has shortened, my study time lessened, and/or my spending has gotten out of whack. Perhaps, also, I am not alone. What does the world see about how I am living and who I am trusting? Again, wow!

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2452

September 17, 2020

Sometimes we need to hear the hard truth about ourselves. It isn’t easy. It isn’t fun. Often it may not even seem correct, because we see things from a different perspective (our own). But, we also have to consider the feelings and thoughts of those we care about. So, today I am contemplating. Introspective. Trying not to feel hurt, but taking things at face value. Perhaps I do need to be a tad different and a little less rigid in certain areas. Hmm...

Funny how yesterday I could laugh and today I feel a whole different kind of emotion. I am thankful God understands - and loves me how I am, but also enough to challenge me in ways that might help empower others. 

With all that said, I give thanks for leaders of the congregation who do the tough work of making decisions and policies!

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2451

September 16, 2020

How has God recently shown you God’s love for you? Or, how has God’s presence been made known to you? Or, in what way has God been made visible in your life? 

I believe the answer to those questions is one we train ourselves to see. That’s a large part of the premise of this blog; helping train myself, and sharing with others, ways that God is made visible in my life. And, of course, to always share these thoughts with our Godson in mind.

Anyway, someone who I haven’t seen in quite a while said today, “How I’ve missed your laughter.” I think that is a sweet thing to be known for. And a gift from God. To be able to still laugh in the midst of all that is going on in the world is definitely a sign of God’s presence. At least I think it is. 

I imagine you have something to share. I would love to hear it!

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2450

September 15, 2020 

Today’s Tuesday’s Thoughts on Scripture comes from Matthew 20:11-12: And when they [the laborers] received it [their pay], they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ (NRSV)

I would like to meet the person who has never declared, “That’s not fair!” I believe they would be a very special person. Because whether the comment follows something I did not receive that I thought I should, or that someone else received something they should not have (like an illness or job loss, etc.), lamenting about fairness seems to be a human norm. Perhaps, at least, in America. Or maybe it is just me, but it does not take long to look around and see life is anything but “fair.” At least from my perspective, and maybe that is the point. My perspective is a bit clouded. 

Well, these laborers are no exception, meaning this cry about fairness is not something new. Jesus tells the parable about the landowner who hired laborers throughout the day and when the day ended, he paid the ones who worked only an hour the same as those who worked all day. All received a fair daily wage. 

Now, I suppose no one would have been the wiser if the last had been paid first, but that is not the way the story goes. So the ones hired first see the “short-timers” receive a full day’s wage and expect more. After all, they have been working harder and longer, so a “bonus” should be in order. 

But the Kingdom of God doesn’t play favorites. All are equally loved and equally welcomed into the Kingdom. And all means all! 

So the next time I begin to think about fairness, perhaps I can remember that God is the ultimate of being fair. God is about being equal, with no clouded perspective. Thanks be to God. 

Blessings. And prayers.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Day #2449

September 14, 2020 

The smile for the week:

For those of you who know my hubby, you may think this is him. It’s not, but I think it could be. Haha!! 

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2448

September 13, 2020 

The word for the day - thankful! For worship (especially seeing folks we haven’t in months), for a good planning meeting, for prayer, and for the reminder of how much God desires the family to be in good relationship and also teaches us how (not that the teaching is easy, but God helps us with that, too!). 

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2447

September 12, 2020

And just like that, vacation is almost over. We are home, unpacking, doing laundry, and wondering where the time went! 

But on this Satisfied Saturday, how could I be thankful for anything other than relaxation and the time/opportunity to enjoy the beauty of our world. Hope you have some of that, also!

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2446

September 11, 2020 

As we were out and about, we passed several fire departments where a single firefighter was standing out front in full suit, holding the American flag, and at attention. We did not take a picture, but thought what a fitting tribute this was to the memory of so many who lost their lives on this day nineteen years ago. Lord, have mercy.

Also, I feel a need to share this prayer from the devotion d365 written by Kamal Hassan: 

God, may I not let what others do decide what I should do. May I respond to problems with the loving kindness I have on the inside. Despite how hard it is to forgive and how long it may take, let me remember: what I cannot let go of will never let go of me.

Wow!! Again, Lord, have mercy!

Blessings. And prayers.