Saturday, July 22, 2017


"And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." - Matthew 16:18 (NIV)

In this verse Jesus chooses Peter as the rock on which to build His church. But we also see throughout scripture that Peter had several weaknesses. He often spoke before he thought the situation through. He was impulsive, abrupt in his actions, and discourteous to those around him. Peter was the disciple that cut off the ear of the high priest's guard as Jesus was being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Peter said he would die before disowning Jesus, but as Jesus predicted he would deny Jesus three times before the crucifixion. Jesus was aware of Peter's shortcomings and failures, yet He saw Peter's true heart. He knew Peter would go on to do great things for God's kingdom.

Just like Peter, we have many shortcomings and frequently fail at our endeavors. However, when this happens we must never think that God can't use us. Through God's strength and power, we can achieve all that we are called to do.

Dear Lord, help me to remember that I can rely on Your strength to accomplish what You call me to do. In the name of our Lord and Savior, Amen.

Friday, July 21, 2017


Genesis 17:1  When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty” (Hebrew  El-Shaddai).

Every day we experience a multitude of ways that others guide us - through MapQuest, various GPS’s on our phones or in our cars, turn signals, Siri, helpful responses to inquiries at the store, comments from loving friends, parental guidance, internet sources,  etc.  The list can go on and on.   We rely on the help of others to simplify our days, to answer questions, seeking advice to keep us from getting into trouble, to aid us in accomplishing our mission or way again.  These are just a few of the many reasons we look to others.  And when that help comes from a human source, we gratefully acknowledge to them our heartfelt appreciation.

How often do ask Jesus to provide guidance for us in times of need?  Do we seek his guidance as often as we seek the help of others or are we hesitant?  Do we acknowledge our appreciation to Him as easily as we do to others?  He is our El Shaddai “ God Almighty, all sufficient one.  He knows our needs long before we bring them in prayer to Him.    We owe Him everything for sacrificing His life for us.  Not only is He the most knowledgeable about guiding us in the right direction but He is also the most loving.  Trust in Him.  He asks only that we come to Him to express our concerns and He promises to respond in gratitude and appreciation.  Listening for His response, hearing the Holy Spirit’s guidance and giving thanks for all that He has done for us remembering that He is God Almighty, El-Shaddai.

Prayer:  We thank you for the guidance and love you show us when we come to you in prayer.  You are our El Shaddai.   You light our way.  May we always seek you first before asking others and keep our ears open for your response.  In the name of Jesus, we pray.  Amen.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Susanne Udvari - Glory

“We pray that you will have the strength to stick it out over the long haul – not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory strength God gives.  It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that He has for us.”  Colossians 1:10, 11 (The Message)

When problems in this life require us to stick it out over the long haul, we need to be careful of passing time with a negative, gloomy face.  God does not desire to see us endure in this way.  He gives us His “Glory-Strength” to empower us, to strengthen our soul.

The dictionary defines glory as radiant beauty, brightness, magnificence, and splendor.  So, any strength infused with God’s magnificence and power is sure to be better than our own flawed human strength.  God gladly gives us Glory-Strength!  His spirit empowers and strengthens us when we need it most.  Think about His limitless power -  He can give us more than enough to spill over into Joy.  We must seek this, pray for this, look for God in all circumstances.

As it says in Ephesians 3:16 “that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His spirit in your inner being”.

So let us endure the unendurable drawing on the vastness of God’s Glory-Strength!

Prayer:  Lord, help me to live each day with your Glory-Strength, approaching all circumstances with a joyful, positive attitude.  I know this can never be accomplished with my own power but only by relying on you.  May I seek your will and share the amazing gift of your love with everyone around me.    Amen

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

POEMS FROM THE PAST...The following poem was found in Sharon's archives from a booklet published in the 1960's by members of the congregation.  This untitled poem was submitted by Mrs. S. W. Hixson.

When days are filled with worldly snares,
Ask God to help.  He truly cares.
He sent His Son to earth to show
How much He loves us here below.
Don't make a move without His guiding,
Ever in His love abiding.
Lean on Him if strength is wanting.
Love and faith He gives undaunting.
Though doctor, lawyer, student, wife,
Take Him with you through your life.
If you but ask, your spirit humbling,
He'll surely keep your feet from stumbling.
Take Him then to work or school
And you will live the Golden Rule.
As each thought and act you know He'll see
You'll live as the Christian He wants you to be.
Prayer:  Remembering those who are a part of Sharon's history

Monday, July 17, 2017

Tanya Marshall    

Pilgrimage Reflections:  The Crippled Man by the Pool

When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”  “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred.  While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”  (John 5:6-7)

During our pilgrimage in Israel, we visited the pools of Bethesda (or Bethsaida), the traditional site of Jesus’ healing of the man who was crippled for 38 years.  Again I tried to picture Jesus and the man in this setting.  After seeing the site and hearing the Biblical story, we were challenged to reflect:  “What would Jesus ask me if I were in this story?” (i.e. what is my area of need?)  and also, “What would my excuses be?” 

I thought that Jesus would say to me, “Do you really want to learn to trust me totally with your future, and with all those people/family members you worry about so much?”  My excuses would include:  I doubt I’m important enough for God to care about my issues, and I try to fix and control everything myself.

My challenge is to trust Jesus, to really believe Jesus who says over and over, “Do not be afraid, I am with you.”

Prayer:  O Lord, help me remember the promise in Isaiah 41:10:  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Amen.

Saturday, July 15, 2017


"After He dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by himself to pray." Matthew 14:23
Is our society afraid of the sound of silence? Do we need music in elevators, doctors' offices, car radios, department stores?

Does our society think that we are failures if our calendars are not crammed with appointments, committee meetings, car pools, etc.? Does our TV have to be blaring all day long?

Maybe what we should hear each day is the sound of silence... A time to step away from life's distractions and spend quiet time with God... A time to praise and thank Him... A time to listen for His still, small voice.

Prayer:   Lord, help us to slow down and take time to be with You. Help us to realize that Business is not Godliness. Amen.

Friday, July 14, 2017


"...I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." Philippians 4:11-12

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

"For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." 1 Timothy 6:7-8

Have you ever fantasized what it would be like to win millions in a lottery? If you were a multimillionaire, you could have virtually everything you wanted. The sixty-four thousand dollar question is: "Would you be better off than before you won the lottery?" Does winning the lottery bring contentment? What is the secret of contentment? Is contentment found in satisfying every desire? According to the Apostle Paul, the key to contentment is to be found in God, not in ourselves and what we possess. At times Paul lived with an abundance of things and, at other times, he lived in need. However, he said that he had "learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.

If we are not content with what we have now, we will not be content with what we have in the future... We will find contentment when we realize our greatest need is not for more material wealth but a need of the heart, a need for God. Contentment, therefore, comes from God and not from things. We can remain content even in the absence of material things. Only Christ can take away our appetite for things for he fills us with himself. He removes our attitude of greed and replaces it with the spirit of contentment. Jesus fills our lives, filling the inner void that material things cannot satisfy.

Prayer:   Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for providing for my needs and for the promise that you will always provide for me. I pray, Lord, that you will teach me to find my contentment in you. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.