Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Lenten reflections from years past

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Scripture: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

God’s Plan… God’s Direction

There have been many times that I have heard discussed God’s plan for our lives. People have said, “This is God’s plan for your life, my life, etc.”

I believe God does have a beautiful plan for mankind and we all strive toward it as we reach out to Him… but I also feel He has given us free will placed in the world of natural laws that He created. Our very own bodies are subject to these natural laws (rules). God has dished out to us nature but it has been blessed with His wisdom.

God’s direction is different from His plan. The word direction implies a course laid out for us – but a course we can either accept or reject. It is hard to know which course God intends us to take unless we are in communication with Him through prayer, scripture, fellowship and worship We need to cultivate friendships with those who love God and have Him in their lives. We need to read good books that can speak to our hearts and minds. We need to witness to others of the ways God has touched our own lives.

As I look back over my life I can see so many places where God has reached down and directed my life. Many times He has almost had to hit me on the head to make me realize what He would have me do. His direction has always been there for me to accept… and each time I have realized His guidance I have absolutely known what I have chosen to do was right and His will.

After realization of His direction I have had a great sense of awe at His great love and power. So many times His direction was already working in my life before I even turned to Him for advice and help. He has sent me people or ‘circumstances’ at just the right moment. We do have to reach out and accept His guidance though. We must leave ourselves open to Him by looking for the good that we can find in unpleasant situations. The closest I have come to God has been those beautiful moments that I accepted Him and recognized his direction.

Carol Fry, 1982


Thursday March 4, 2021

I was pretty new to the church community in Campbelltown PA in 2011 when that region received heavy rains, and fields were flooded, and I remember finding this song, “Though the Mountains May Fall,” by Dan Schutte. I made a recording of it for the tenth anniversary of 9/11. We hold that even in times of trouble, God is good, all the time (all the time, God is good!). – Pastor Kerry, 2021

Though the mountains may fall and the hills turn to dust
Yet the love of the Lord will stand
As a shelter for all who will call on His name
Sing the praise and the glory of God

[Verse 1]
Could the Lord ever leave you?
Could the Lord forget his love?
Though a mother forsake her child,
He will not abandon you


[Verse 2]
Should you turn and forsake Him
He will gently call your name
Should you wander away from Him
He will always take you back


[Verse 3]
As He swore to your fathers
When the flood destroyed the land
He will never forsake you
He will swear to you again


Friday, March 5, 2021

Scripture: Why do you seek the living among the dead? – Luke 24:5

We live in an age that doesn’t believe much in miracles. Even so, God goes quietly about the business of performing miracles quite well. Everything about the season of spring is awesome. The springing up of the flowers, new leaves on the trees are no less miracles even though they are familiar.

The people in the time of Jesus weren’t much different from us. The women came to the tomb of Jesus not expecting a miracle. When they got there, they found themselves confronted by two men in dazzling apparel who asked, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

Our lives can take on new meaning when we realize that His spirit is alive in our midst just as He was alive among His disciples long ago. We begin to experience His power when we realize that this “miracle of miracles” set Him free to even be our companion.

Prayer: Dear God, help me to overcome my blindness to see you in many miracles each day and meet you in the risen power of your Son. Amen.

Pastor John L. Smith, 1983


Saturday, March 6, 2021

Scripture: Isaiah 56

Care for the Problems of Today

“What we are spending our energy on today is arguing about morality in government. That is not to say that this issue is not important; in many respects it transcends every other issue in a free society.
But morality should be something we start with in a free society;
we ought to be able to have a government that may be wrong but, nevertheless, can be counted on as being moral.” – William E. Ruckleshaus, from an address at Virginia Tech, Jan. 29, 1975

It does seem that we learn terribly slow. Amos, the shepherd prophet from Tekoa, spoke against the people for “accepting bribes and [selling] into slavery the poor who can’t repay their debts – they trample the poor in the dust and kick aside the meek.” Jeremiah cautioned the people to “stop your wicket thoughts and deeds, and [be] fair to others, and stop exploiting orphans, widows and foreigners. And stop your murdering.” Then 2,500 years ago Isaiah advised folks to “Be just and fair to all. – Do what’s right and good--.”

Yet it sometimes seems that these men never spoke; that we never heart; that each generation has to learn all over again; that Christ’s message, too, was ignored. The nation’s problems can be solved by
a return to selflessness and caring for others and departure from
self-centeredness as He taught.

Christ called us to love God and each other. That’s still the cure for today. The way we  live our lives down to the most insignificant person in the most insignificant situation shows whether or not
we’re taking our cure.

Prayer: Father, help me to “do what’s right and good” for others and to think less of myself. Amen.

Charlie Fry, 1975

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Scripture: “But Jesus said, ‘Suffer little children and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” - Matthew 19:14

As I grow older one thing seems more and more clear, that life is more enjoyable if you can find some good point in every bad situation, a silver lining so to speak.

Prior to moving to the Lakeview area it would only take me about 7 minutes to drive to work, and now it takes about 30 minutes. Day in day out, week in and week out, the difference in driving time really adds up. The silver lining in all this driving time is the quality time I now have one-on-one with Morgan who is now 4 years old. Some of the conversations we have had on these long drives I will forever treasure as priceless memories. The following occurred a few months ago and is my favorite.

Morgan started out by asking me if anyone could live forever. I tried in my feeble way to explain to her how some people live long healthy lives while others leave this world at a young age, but eventually all people must die in one way or another. But if we stay close to Jesus and keep him in our hearts and if we are always goo (remember, I’m explaining to a 4-year-old) then when we die our soul will live forever with Jesus in heaven. Well, Morgan liked this idea, so she promised to be always good so that she could live with Jesus forever. And then her final question still warms my heart as I recall it over and over, “Mommy, will you promise to be good too so that you can live with me and Jesus forever in heaven?” I tearfully agreed to be very good.

Prayer: Dear God, please help me always to find the good in every bad situation. Help me to look for the hidden wisdom in the “mouth of babes.” Show us the way to draw close together as a family, and forever close to thee. Amen.

Ronda Garrett, 1990


Monday, March 8, 2021

Scripture: Exodus 16:3-10

Do we fail to see the miracles around us?

Soon it will be our turn in this part of God’s earth to plant our gardens. As this season nears, I get anxious, even excited about the miracles that will take place all around us. Plant a single grain of corn and you get back 200 kernels (I never counted them) on each ear. Usually there are two ears of corn per stalk. The corn is pollinated by the bees through the “silky” strands that run from the husk to each kernel of corn. This is a miracle! God uses little bees to help keep us in food.

One little tomato seed will produce enough tomatoes for two quarts or more of canned tomatoes. I could go on for pages, but this spring, go outside and witness the works of God all around us. We are the stewards of the land. We are blessed with the know-how, health and hand to nurture the good earth God gives us. We produce food for ourselves and to share with others. God will give us enough if we just thank him always for what he has already given us.

Prayer: Dear Lord, Thank you for letting us share a little piece of your space and the miracles and blessings that come out of this space. Help us to recognize you in everything we do. Amen.

Johnny Carr, 2008


Tuesday, March 9, 2021

“I am pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed. I am blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure that His joy’s gonna be my strength.” Inspired by 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

These are words that are contained in the song “Trading My Sorrows.” Ever since the first time I heard this song it has been a favorite. The words make you think… He is always with me and I can get through anything with Him by my side.

I found a story regarding the writing of this song. The writer [Darrell Evans] was at a church service and they were praying at the altar and the writer started to think about what he would be laying at the base of the cross. He started to sing about what he would trade in. The band started to follow his lead and picked up the pace.

The whole congregation and the pastor began to feel the spirit of the words he was singing. Then the chorus came out of nowhere: Yes Lord, Yes Lord, Yes, Yes Lord as an agreement with the Lord that He was there at that moment. And so a song was born, and to listen to the words you feel the spirit in you as well. Think about what you would lay at the base of the cross. Trading my sorrows and shame should be something we all should do. Though the sorrow may last for the night, His joy comes in the morning. Listen closely before church starts on any Sunday and you will heart this song playing in the sanctuary.

Prayer: Yes Lord, Yes Lord, Yes, Yes Lord, we are here to spread your word. Help us to go into the world to teach those who know of you but have not accepted your love and caring spirit. Let us be the vessel to deliver the message. Amen.

Robin Black, 2006


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