Saturday, May 20, 2017

Tanya Marshall  

Pilgrimage Reflection:  The Pit and the Ancient Steps

 Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled.  (Matthew 26:57)

During our pilgrimage in Israel, we saw many sites where different Biblical stories may have occurred.  Often churches were built at these places, commemorating the event.  Sometimes in and around these churches we were shown ruins of ancient buildings, thought to be from the time of Christ or earlier.

One such site was the supposed location of the high priest, Caiaphas’ home, where Peter denied Jesus three times.  There are caves and rooms deep underneath that were probably servants’ quarters, and dungeons used to hold prisoners.  It is speculated Jesus would likely have been held down there overnight in this story of his questioning by Caiaphas and the elders prior to the crucifixion.  Jesus may have been in this very “pit” that we saw.

Just outside it, we were shown ancient steps going up a hill, grass growing in and around them.  We were told Jesus was most likely led or dragged up or down those very steps.  Though we were not allowed to walk on them, I saw a stray cat walking up the steps.  I’m not sure why the cat touched my heart, but it did.  Anyway, these spots – the pit and these steps – are images I’ll not forget.  They remind me of the pain and agony Jesus endured in his last few days, all for our sake, to offer us forgiveness and eternal life.

Prayer:  “For me, dear Jesus, was your incarnation,
              Your mortal sorrow, and your life’s oblation,
              Your death of anguish and your bitter passion,
              For my salvation.

              Therefore, dear Jesus, since I cannot pay you,
      I do adore you, and will ever praise you,
        Think on your pity and your love unswerving,
              Not my deserving.”
        (From hymn, Ah, Holy Jesus)

      Amen.

Friday, May 19, 2017

With God all things are possible – Ann Mizer

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 (NIV)

I have always found comfort in this verse of scripture.  It assures me that what may not seem logical or reasonable, could happen if God chooses.

 A friend of mine was very disturbed by the thought of a “fox hole Christian”, the one who on their death bed becomes a believer.  He thought that so unfair and not right that they would be saved, but to me, with God, all things are possible.

 It seems to me to be a hopeful passage, not a guarantee of what I want, but the opportunity that things will be what God knows to be best.

I would assume that most of us pray for specific things that we want or that we believe would be good.  I think that this passage is one of the reasons that we say these prayers because we believe God can make them happen.  The passage however does not guarantee that what we want is what will occur.


 Prayer:  God, please help me to believe all things are possible with you, and also to understand that you will do what is best.  Amen.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Weathering Life’s Changes

Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses,  Ecclesiastes 3:1 (Today's English Version)

Because I travel in my job, I am able to see the many differences this country of ours has to offer. Our area has the 4 seasons, which I love, but many areas do not get to enjoy these changes. I sometimes wonder how the people that live in those areas can appreciate what they have when they don't get to witness the cold of winter or the beauty of spring.

 I think because of these changes I can enjoy the weather more. As tough as some of the weather can be, this is how our lives can be at times, too. Because I have weathered some of the hardest times, divorce, sickness of parents and death of parents, I know God is with me during all these seasons of my life. He has given me the strength I needed during each of these events.


Prayer:  God, thank you for the different seasons we get to enjoy and for the changes in our lives that show us you are with us no matter what. Help us to continue to come to you with our fears knowing you will guide us and give us strength to continue. Amen.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Grace Peters

Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God.”  1 John 4:7 NRSV

God often speaks through children and they deliver His message simply and innocently.  My daughter’s third grade class had a Mother’s Day program.  The loving messages were recited: “I love my Mom because she’s a good cook and feeds me”; I love my Mother because she is pretty”; “I love my Mum because she takes care of me”.  Then my daughter got up and said, “I love my Mummy because she loves me.”   Isn’t that how it is with God?  We love God because he first loved us; He is love.


Prayer:  God thank you for first loving us and help us to love one another and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Amen

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Judy Lentz     WORKING FOR THE LORD

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-25

When I began my professional career, I would often talk about the ‘day when I retire’. Dreams were created about what retirement might feel like. Bucket lists were created listing all the places I wanted to go and the things I wanted to see when time allowed. As I neared the normally accepted age of retirement, I found myself thinking of retirement in a very different way.

 I would say to people “the closer I got to retirement age, the less I wanted to retire because I was enjoying my professional career more and more.” It had taken many years to gain the knowledge and experience to feel confident and assured. During those years, I was maturing in my spiritual journey ultimately recognizing that the ‘work’ I was doing was not serving others, I was serving the Lord! I had always worked with all of my heart, but my purpose was miss-directed. I was focused more on achieving earthly goals, like money, recognition, etc.

I formally retired four years ago – since that time, I have come to recognize the real purpose of the work of my lifetime. I had been given talents by the Lord to be used in serving Him. He has rewarded me in so many ways – love, compassion, gratitude, humility to name just a few. May the ‘work’ that I do as a volunteer today always be Christ-led to return to Him what he has already given me.

Prayer:  Dear Heavenly Father – you have generously blessed me with gifts. May I never forget ‘who I am’ and ‘whose I am’. As I serve others, may I never forget I am serving you. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, May 15, 2017

THE POETRY OF SHARON CHURCH (by Mrs. S. W. Hixson,circa 1964).
When Jesus calls us do we listen?
Do we answer, "Here am I"?
Or is your life so full of living
That you never think of Him on high?

Do you know Him as your savior?
Know he died for you and me?
Have you given time for thinking
Where you'll spend eternity?

As we go along life's pathway
We should always keep in mind
That we leave a trail to follow.
Is yours the leading Heav'nward kind?

When e're we have the chance for service
We should answer willingly
Do our part in God's own planning
Saying, "Here am I send me."

If your task is big or little
Of your talents you should spend
Helping spread the word around you.

Of each stranger make a friend.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

THE POETRY OF SHARON CHURCH (circa 1964 by Aldena Hedge Sieber)
 A MOTHER'S PRAYER

The world's great problems I can't solve
May never be famous--but I resolve:
As a Christian mother, to do my part,
To raise each child with love in his heart.
God IS love, so can't you see?
The important mission entrusted to me:
I'm so unworthy of all things good--

God guide my mission of motherhood.