Friday, November 17, 2017

Tanya Marshall   

Pilgrimage Reflection – The City on the Hill

“You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

We landed in Tel Aviv, Israel, in the evening, so by the time we were riding in our mini-bus to our hotel in Tiberias (two hours northeast), it was dark.  As we drove through the dark, our guide, Ibrahim, pointed out a city on our left on a hill, a well-defined conglomeration of lights, with darkness around the lit up area.  He said Jesus may have been referring to this particular town, Safed, lit up on the hill, when he made the statement quoted above.  When Jesus lived, the lights obviously would’ve been dimmer, with no electricity.  But still, the concept was the same:  everyone could identify where the city was by its lights on the hill.

This view immediately reminded me of driving after dark with my family, when I was eight years old, through a desert from Mexico City to the small town where my parents were missionaries for a year.  Now and then we’d see the clearly defined outline of a town on a hill, surrounded by darkness.  Perhaps you have a memory of a spot like this from your travels.

Is your life a light in this often dark and difficult world to others who desperately need a haven of light and hope?  Does your life give guidance to those who need help reaching the path to the Father?

Prayer: O God, help us to shine brightly for you in the world, not hide our faith from those around us who need to know you.  Amen.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ann Mizer


Proverbs 3:7 - Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.  He freed me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
I googled fear and the Bible and found 33 Verses about Fear and Anxiety to Remind Us: God is in Control and then I googled fear of the Lord and found 32 verses.  I have heard that “be not afraid” is one of the most frequent phrases on the Bible. 

I am writing this the week following the shooting that happened in Las Vegas and I was thinking about how frightening that would be.  I was listening to the news commentators discussing what could the motive have been?  I think that we want to understand how this could happen and how to prevent it.  Part of that motivation is people’s desire to control things. 

Fear can be a powerful motivator.  It can also be debilitating and cause us to not act as we should.  Everyone does not fear the same things, but certainly we can use prayer to help us (or others) to deal with things that we are afraid of.

Dear God, hear my prayers, calm my fears, guide my actions and help me to follow your way.  Amen.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Judy Lentz 

Every Day is a Gift From God

Psalm 118:24 “This is the day the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

On my refrigerator are four magnets inscribed “Every day is a gift from God”. Every day in the news and in our personal lives, we are reminded how precious life is and how quickly situations can change where life is no more. The privilege of watching the sun rise or set is one that has been given to us as a gift from God.

I always love when the worship service begins with the pastor quoting this scripture. Even better is when the pastor starts the scripture and we the congregational members end it. Best of all is the song with these lyrics that I learned as a young child. Such a powerful reminder of God’s blessings provided for us.

As many of you know, for the past 3 years I have been coordinating the Palliative Care Ministry along with other team members which is provided to those experiencing serious illnesses who wish to participate. What you may not know is that I also serve as a Palliative Care Doula for those who are not members of our congregation. Recently through the urging of the Lord, I started a Palliative Care Ministry in our southern church. More than 25 individuals are currently being served in one of these three ways. These individuals demonstrate daily how precious each day is and how we should indeed rejoice each morning when we awaken and be glad for yet another day.

Each time I open the refrigerator, visit a sick friend, minister to a fellow parishioner, sing the song or start the worship service with this scripture, I am joyfully reminded of the significance of the gifts we receive from God daily and I hope you do too.

Prayer:  Dear Heavenly Father – Help us to remember you are the creator of this beautiful world and the many blessings contained therein and that each day is truly a gift from you. Let us rejoice and be glad for all that we have but most of all for the sacrifice your son, Jesus, gave for us. In the name of Christ, Amen

Tuesday, November 14, 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.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Bearing Fruit  -BECOMING RICH

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21

Through the working of the Holy Spirit, who opens our hearts and minds to understand God's Word, we learn that riches do not consist of money. In fact, riches have nothing to do with money. We can have very little money and be very rich or be very wealthy and be impoverished. True riches have to do with a right relationship with Jesus who brings us satisfaction, joy, love and peace and who enables us to "take hold of that which is truly life" (1 Timothy 6:19).

Material possessions do not constitute real riches, as many have discovered to their sorrow. Material things are transitory. What we possess materially can be lost... All material things can be gone very quickly.

The wise person who desires to be rich will look at Jesus' words. Enlightened by the Spirit, he will understand what God's Word means when it speaks of the lack of foundation material riches provide. He will understand what a poor investment wealth alone is. He will see that true riches are found in investing in eternity, in laying up "treasures in Heaven" (Matthew 6:20).
How insightful C.S. Lewis was when he wrote, "He who has God and everything has no more that he who has God alone."

Jesus told us that he came "that [we] may have life and have it abundantly" (John 10:10). Let us not settle for the cheap counterfeit the world offers but embrace wholeheartedly the treasure of Jesus and his good gifts.

Prayer:Lord, you are the provider of all things. Help me to put my trust and faith in you rather than in material things. I thank you for your incomprehensible love demonstrated in the gift of your Son, Jesus, who gave his life that I might have true riches: the forgiveness of sins and life eternal in Heaven. In your precious name I pray. Amen.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Kathy Smith

Deuteronomy 31:8  Don’t be afraid, for the Lord will go before you and will be with you; he will not fail nor forsake you.

My mother needed to downsize to a smaller apartment and several of the boxes were stored at my home.  I started going through the boxes and found the Bible my dad carried with him every day during WWII.  I remember hearing about this Bible but never saw it.  The size is small, three inches by four and a half inches.  It states on the inside cover “A Bible for Victory-Heart-Covered    Pocket size New Testament with gold plated Steel Cover.”  There is no “Hollywood Movie” about the Bible’s gold-plated steel cover that saved his life from an enemy bullet.  But, there is the faith, hope and trust in Jesus my dad had every day of the war from reading this small Bible and keeping it close to his heart.

Dear Lord, please be with the all our troops as they protect our country.  Bring them home safely to their families.  Bless our country as we celebrate them.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Tanya Marshall 

Pilgrimage Reflection The Garden Tomb

He is not here; he has risen! (John 20:16)

On the last day of our pilgrimage in Israel, we visited the Garden Tomb, which is one of severalpossible sites of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial in a nearby tomb. This location lies outside Jerusalem’s old city walls, which fits with the custom of the time of not doing burials within the city limits.

A wonderful guide there told us the arguments for this possibly being the site, which included showing us an outcropping of rock right there which resembles a skull. Mark 15:22says, “They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull).

Then the guide led us into the tomb itself. He spoke of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection, rightly emphasizing that it doesn’t matter so much where it happened, but that it did happen.
Doug then led our group in a worship service and final communion in one of the small outdoor worship alcoves near the tomb. As Doug was speaking about the women coming to the tomb on Easter morning, I had a fleeting vision of Jesus standing next to him, with a grin on his face, saying, “Yes, I’m not in that tomb over there. I’m here with you, with the living. It is good that you are here. Now go, spread the word.”

Prayer: God, there are many who don’t know that you’re alive and present with us every day. Help us to tell others this great news, and to share the difference you’ve made in our lives.  Amen.