Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Lenten reflections from years past

Wednesday, March 17

Spring is springing, birds are singing, the sun is sunning, and a mere year after the beginning of a global pandemic that has shaken the lives of billions, vaccinators are vaccinating. There is new life in the air! This Lent especially we look as the grass begins to green and the trees to bud and we look with hopeful expectation to a celebration of Easter.

I am enjoying sharing little bits of history with you as I comb through a few of the archives of Lenten devotions from Lakeview disciples, and as I write a reflection this week, I think back to the birth of my own child (who turns 18 today!) I am reminded of the wonder of her life, and God’s gift to me. Moments after she was born I just held her in my arms and cried for joy. Who was I to receive such a precious child?

When we returned to our home the day she was baptized, we were greeted by mourning doves in our mums. Never before or after did we see doves in our mums, but on that day of baptism, there they were. What a gift!

I remember a time when she had a coloring page of Joseph after he was thrown in a well by his bitter brothers. What did my daughter do? She drew a ladder! Precious child!

I receive such joy being her daddy, and truly I receive joy living as a child of God and sowing and growing among you in God’s garden.

To God be the glory!

Kerry Bart, 2021


Thursday, March 18

Before moving to St. Albans and attending Lakeview Church, my life was lost. I had no aim that included God. But since then, I met so many people in this area that influenced me, taking me for who and what I am. I used to not get involved, take part, or help. I often said, “I am too tired,” or “I don’t have time.” But here, I have seen so many that help and work and never really say “no.”

It has been inspiring.

Then I realized that God played a big part in this kind of person’s life, and I wanted to have God share my load and be part of this. Including God made my life so much more meaningful and pleasant. It gave me new strength, and gave my life new meaning.

When I look around me, I see as in my favorite hymn “how great Thou art!”

Prayer: God, continue to teach me and others patience, courage, knowledge, confidence, and love. We need you and your love to go from day to day. Amen.

Dicky Thompson, 1982


Friday, March 19

Scripture: Mark 9:50 – Good salt is worthless if it loses its saltiness, it can’t season anything. So don’t lose your flavor!

To keep one’s Christian enthusiasm through everyday trials and tribulations is, at best, difficult; but to lose it is disastrous. Just think of what a “pinch of salt” can do for even the poorest of food! That in itself is a small miracle, and each of us has within himself, by the grace of God, the talent and ability to “season” those we touch in Christian love, and add “flavor” to all who will receive.

“Good salt” needs to be used!

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to reach out and touch others in Christian love – keeping our “flavor” by giving it away.

“A Friend”, 2008


Saturday, March 20

Scripture: John 8:12 – Then spoke Jesus again to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

My father-in-law and I were recently attempting some interior lighting enhancements to  my home. After overcoming several challenges presented by the project, we were ready for the ultimate test of our workmanship. I reached for the light switch with the expectation of seeing the kitchen illuminated, but nothing happened.

We stood in disbelief. Why didn’t the lights com on? We immediately began troubleshooting. Did it blow the breaker? Did we not wire something correctly? My father-in-law then realized we hadn’t installed any bulbs in the light fixtures!

After we finished laughing at our obvious oversight, I began to apply our gaffe to my Christian faith. Often, I focus too much on the wiring of life and overlook the light source. Attending church, Sunday School, Bible study, and performing various good deeds are all good things, but without Christ at the center of my life, I will miss the spiritual illumination that he can provide.

Prayer: God, thank you for sending your Son to be our Savior, as well as a guiding light for us. Forgive us when we stray from your lighted path. We ask that you help us put Jesus in the center of our lives, so that we can be a light for your glory. Amen

Thought for the Day: Jesus is our everlasting light.

Wayne Kersey, 2011


Sunday, March 21

Scripture: Matthew 6:28-34 (“Consider the lilies”)

Spring as none other season holds such an aura of expectancy for me. The most rewarding accomplishments come from being able to hang freshly laundered curtains up to sparkling windows that have been opened to air out the winter’s stuffiness. It is being able to bring indoors an apparently dead branch of forsythia, and by placing it in a vase of water, watch life burst forth.

I hope to always be in awe of how the simple things can give such meaning and pleasure to one’s life. I became aware of this priceless lesson the Easter of 1970 when Jay was born. We were living in a rural farming community where everyone was seemingly absorbed with the various responsibilities of running a farm. My feelings were truly mixed, for the excitement of having a baby was wonderful, but feelings of isolation and loneliness were also present.

The long waiting was over, when on Good Friday we went to the hospital to have Jay. The joy of having a perfect little life seemed to dispel all previous feelings of gloom. This abundant gift from God was not all I was to receive that Easter.

The day we took Jay home from the hospital, the temperature was bitter cold, and the ground lay beneath a blanket of snow. As we pulled into our driveway, I caught a glimpse of something that had not previously been there, for along the wall stood bunches of daffodils in bloom. I couldn’t imagine how they had gotten there inasmuch as I certainly hadn’t had the foresight to plant them.

As the days went on I would find myself being drawn to the kitchen window to gaze at those sturdy daffodils. I had needed this visual sign from God, saying to me that regardless of winter storms and frozen ground, His love pushes through and is there for the asking. I will always be thankful for God’s servant that took time to plant this lesson for me.

Nancy Smith, 1983

Monday, March 22

Scripture: 1 John 4:11 - Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

My two-year-old daughter is in a very affectionate stage. She freely gives hugs, blows kisses and says, “I love you.” Everyone in the family enjoys being loved by her – sticky kisses and hugs and all.

Love comes in many varieties. Two kinds of love are described in the verse in 1 John – God’s love toward us and our love toward others. We were loved by God who loved us enough to create us. After sin entered into the world, God loved us enough to redeem us by allowing Jesus to die on the cross in our place. This is perfect love.

Because of God’s great love toward us, we are commanded to love each other. Sometimes this isn’t easy. Not everyone is as lovable as a sweet two-year-old. Sometimes life’s battles and disappointments leave scars and turn people bitter, cold, and not easily lovable. But this doesn’t change God’s command to love them. By trying to see them as God see them, we allow God to love them through us.

Accepting God’s love and letting God love others through us is a sure sign that we are abiding in Christ and letting him work in us.

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for loving us enough to die for us. Make your love present in our actions today. Amen.

Thought for the Day: God calls us to love even those who seem unlovable.

Veronica Clingenpeel, 2006


Tuesday, March 23

I recall a story from Guideposts several years ago that has always stuck with me. It was about a fellow who was a “water dowser”.
He had learned by accident when he was twelve years old that he had a strange and rare talent of being able to find underground veins of water with a forked stick. He used the talent only to entertain himself because he did not intent to subject himself to public ridicule.

He grew up, married, and spent his adult life in the Pacific Northwest, cowboying, fruit picking, truck driving, saw milling, and ranching.
He had done well, raised his family, and life was moving on.

At about fifty, he had an accident cutting timber, and ended up in the hospital for a few months with a broken back. He recovered, and went back to work cutting timber.

About a year later, he had another accident, which broke even more of the bones in his body. After recovering, he moved further into the country, and had to use his rare talent to find water for himself.
He also found water for a neighbor, and then for another neighbor.

At this point he said to himself, “I never thought of it as a God-given gift. Instead, I felt self-conscious about being different, and fearful of what people would say.” And he went into “dowsing” full time.
He brought untold joy to many farms and small-town people in the dry areas of the region, and eventually began to say, “God has made me to be a water dowser. We all have unique talents. God was smart that way. He knew we would all need one another, and that is what keeps us close.”

Bill Casto, 1990

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