Think About This

January 25, 2023
Midweek Study with Pastor Edith

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Mark and I were blessed today to be treated to lunch with a very dear couple. During our lunch, we began discussing how we make excuses for forgetting things or remembering things incorrectly. Have you ever done that? For instance; I said that whenever I forget or remember incorrectly, I usually say that I have a lot on my mind. I quickly admitted that it may seem to some that I really just don’t have enough in my mind, meaning; I don’t take time to think about what I am thinking about and that usually leads me to forget things that are important to remember. Hope I haven’t lost you yet.

Today’s scripture was given to me as an assignment on my journey through the bible in a year, and I found it interesting to apply it to this idea of Thinking About What You Are Thinking about; “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).

In it’s original context, Paul is instructing a struggling congregation to be careful with those who choose to argue their case against Paul’s leadership and teaching. Paul reminded the people that “though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does…God has provided divine power to demolish arguments…”.

So, here is a thought (hee, hee) for you today. What is your motive for arguing your case, whatever it may be and as noble as it may seem? Why not ask the Holy Spirit, the divine power, to work in and through you to demolish what is divisive in your conversations and watch how He brings peace to your spirit and your mind as you take those divisive thoughts captive for God’s will and way. You just might find yourself remembering more and remembering more correctly the things you need to do or say today.

AMEN!


 

God's Promises

January 18, 2023
Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
Romans 8:28

I was just recently inspired by one of my favorite preachers; Dr. Charles Stanley with a comment he shared on the radio. He was referring to our passage for today, among others and he said something that gave me pause. He said; “God always keeps his promises, but he doesn’t promise to provide explanations”.

This is hitting home for me and several others I know. Have you ever found yourself in a predicament and said to yourself, “What possible good can come out of this”? I can attest to the stress that comes when we face situations, either of our own negligence, or someone else’s doing. Hang on, I have hope.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good for those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. Here’s the hope; Do you love God sincerely and want to obey him ultimately? Do you know that when you have an ongoing relationship with Jesus, you have been called according to his purpose? Wow! I need to hold onto that truth and stop expecting God to give me explanations of how this whole thing works.

Please be in prayer for those you know who are facing difficult situations, confusion, anxiety and any other thing that robs them of a fulfilling life with God. Please remember to trust Him through it all, and he will keep his promise to work it all out for your ultimate good and his glory.

AMEN!


 

Let Your Light Shine

January 11, 2023
Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
Matthew 5:16

Do you remember the children’s song This Little Light of Mine? Well, after you finish singing it, I would like to encourage you with what Jesus taught in his great sermon as noted in our text for today from the Gospel of Matthew; “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven”.

What a wonderful thought, that whatever we do for the good of the Kingdom of God brings praise to God, not for ourselves, which would be a very brief experience, but to our Heavenly Father for eternity I have been greatly inspired by a devotional reading a friend gave to me. It’s entitled “Prophets of a future not our own” by Bishop Ken Untener. See if you can find the connection between the scripture for today and what the Bishop is relating; “It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us. No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the Church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything. This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.”

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are the light of the world, shining hope in someone’s darkness today. Maybe this is a good time to sing the song again.

AMEN


 

Take Time to be Holy

January 4, 2023
Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
Hebrews 12:14-15

How is your new year coming along? For me and my house, we are in the beginning of many changes and through it all we are reminded to turn our eyes upon Jesus and He will guide us step by step. Isn’t that the best way? One faithful step at a time. Funny how that is not the way I often look at change. It seems I often see the task too big in front of me. Today’s scripture text speaks of Holiness and how God requires his people to consistently reach for holiness in day to day faithful living so as to be a beacon of hope for those around us; “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many”.

Right off the bat we read that holiness will take great effort. Looking up the word Holy in my Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary I find it well put; Holy= ”To be set apart for God”. That is what a believer in Jesus Christ is, and that is what a believer in Jesus Christ does. As it turns out in today’s reading, Holiness requires that we do not allow bitter roots of unforgiveness, grudges, and attitudes that do not lead to peacefulness. You may not read those words in today’s text, but the hint is there.

Perhaps you have come up against other emotions or behaviors that you could add to this list. Wherever you are, however your new year has begun, please allow me to encourage you to take it one step at a time. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you and if it’s a very difficult time try to do what my friend and mentor Jim Prickett used to do when he was running a 5K race and grew very weary very quickly, he would say; “Lord, you pick ‘em up and I will put ‘em down.”

Why not schedule some time with the Lord, just you and Him? Make it part of your new year plan and don’t be surprised when more peace comes your way.

A favorite hymn puts it this way; “Take time to be holy; Speak oft with thy Lord, Abide in him always and feed on His Word. Make friends with God’s children; Help those who are weak, forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek”.

HAPPY NEW YOU!


 

Love Came Down

December 15, 2022
Midweek Study with Pastor Edith

Matthew 1:20-21, 1 John 4:7-11

I just love driving through our small community and seeing all the beautiful lights and Christmas light displays. This time of year, it gets very dark, very early and even though there is still much work to be done after the sun sets, I find it a peaceful and centering experience to see all the bright snowflake patterns shining brightly all up and down our main street. Jesus is the light of the world. When he shines in your life through your loving, sharing, comforting, and patient listening, the world gets changed, even if just a little bit and for just a little while.

It was just such a moment when the angel appeared to Joseph and told him “Don’t be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins”. What a moment that must have been, and what a challenge faced Joseph and his beloved, yet, what an amazing gift was being given.

This week in my congregations, we will light the fourth candle on the Advent wreath, and for us it will be the candle of Love. I will read from the scriptures how “This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another”.

We will remember how the prophet Isaiah foretold; “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel [which means, God with us]”.

The next time you are out and about, or even just roaming the halls in which you dwell, stop and look at some Christmas lights and decorations and say to yourself, or even out loud; “Love came down at Christmas”.


 

Waiting

November 15, 2022
Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
Isaiah 40:28-31

I found an Oswald Chambers devotional quote today as I was looking for more illustrations for a message on what it means to be more Faith-Full and to Fear-Less. The congregation which I was to address is made up primarily of widowed, single women who probably range between the ages of 70 and 90. A bit challenging for me since I am not a widow. I am blessed to have a sweet and faithful husband and though I may look and feel older, I am not yet in my mid 60’s. The challenge is how to relate to a group of women who face loneliness, chronic pain, anxiety of the future, and a myriad of other concerns, while I have a much easier life.

Thanks to Oswald Chambers, I found a connection in Isaiah 40:28-31 which reads from the NKJV; “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary, His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and the those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint”.

Oswald’s comment on these verses was just what I needed and I pray this will help you today in your walk of faith; “Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led. It means loving and knowing the One who is leading. It is literally a life of faith, not of understanding and reason—a life of knowing Him who calls us to go…The final stage in the life of faith is the attainment of character, and we encounter many changes in the process. We feel the presence of God around us when we pray, yet we are only momentarily changed. We tend to keep going back to our everyday ways and the glory vanishes. A life of faith is not a life of one glorious mountaintop experience after another, but is a life of day-in and day-out consistency; a life of walking and not fainting”.

AMEN!


 

Be still, My Soul

November 9, 2022
Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
Psalm 116:5-7

I am up late. It is Monday night and my mind is swimming with things I needed to do that I didn’t do and things that trouble me that I can do little about. Ever been there? What did you do to calm your mind so that you could get the rest you needed? Maybe you meditated, maybe you did breathing exercises, maybe you rooted through the frig. looking for a snack.

Tonight, I decided to get up and read through the Psalms (before I rooted through the frig. ). I realize that it is only Monday night and I can post on Wednesday, but I looked at my calendar and it is getting pretty full, so I thought I should go ahead and prepare a mediation early. So, here it goes. Psalm 116:5-6; “The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need he saved me. Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you”.

Here, in this time and place, I can attest to so many ways God has been good to me personally, and how I know in my heart I am undeserving while also realizing God doesn’t wait until his people are good enough, he blesses us so that we can grow in Him and His goodness. I am guessing someone will read this and relate and if it’s you, please take a moment, like I am taking a moment, and simply thank him. Perhaps that is what it means to be “simplehearted”; simply taking the time to be thankful for what God has already done, and looking forward to what he will do.

As I have been typing, a wonderful hymn came to mind; Be still my soul, the words written in 1752 by Katharina von Schlegel and translated in 1855 by Jane Borthwick. I wonder if these women were up late some nights, fretting over things they didn’t get done and things that troubled them that they could do little about. I will never get to ask them, at least not while I am still earthbound, but I can take comfort in the words and imagine as they recited or sang them, they too could get the rest they needed. Let’s try it; “Be still, my soul: the Lord is on your side. Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain; leave to your God to order and provide; in every change God faithful will remain. Be still my soul: your best, your heavenly friend through thorny ways leads to a joyful end”.

AMEN!


 

The Best Dressed Person

October 27, 2022
Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
1 John 2:1-8 and Matthew 22:37-38

I came across an old hymnal the other day and thought to myself; “I have enough hymnals, I don’t need to add another to my collection”, yet I was drawn to open it and was surprised that I was very familiar with the hymn-“All the way my Savior leads me” and I began to sing it which brought a smile to my face at a moment of fatigue and weariness. Isn’t it funny how something so simple can make you pause and think again about how blessed you are simply to know that the Lord is always with you?

Maybe you are in a season of doubt and wonder if God really does care about you and the world in which you live. Please allow me to share with you a note of encouragement. Jesus walked this earth during very troubled times. It must have been very discouraging for believers to even imagine that God was leading them, when all around they could see only trouble and despair. But that’s the beauty of the Gospel. Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost not at an easy time but in the most difficult time. He came to teach us all how to get dressed in His righteousness alone, not in our own self-righteousness. When you and I get dressed, it probably means we are either going somewhere, or about to do something. Well, get dressed, because you are about to go somewhere and do something for the kingdom of God.

We read in 1 John 2:8; “Yet, I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining”.

I believe that the true light shines through people like you and me when we choose to follow Christ and do as He requires; “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-38).

I pray today you may be inspired to walk in the light of God’s Word and maybe you might want to sing this verse of another hymn I found today; “When He shall come with trumpet sound, O may I then in Him be found; dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand”.

Let’s get dressed!

AMEN


 

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