Monday, July 31, 2017

Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd........ Myra Leigh Tokar

Memorizing scripture or anything else for that matter, has always been a challenge. Since this is a favorite, I really wanted to meet this challenge. Someone suggested trying to visualize the place, person or situation to better remember the words.

So I envisioned those green pastures, the still waters and actually feeling my soul being restored. I could feel the presence of Jesus, my Lord and Shepherd. As I walked through the "valley of the shadow of death", I feared no evil. The rod and staff of my Shepherd comforted me.

 I can see the Lord preparing the "table before my enemies and anointing my head with oil". Yes, my cup indeed overflows. Each time I pray this Psalm, I am reassured that I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever and I can feel the comforting presence of my Shepherd. The meaning is much more than words.

Prayer:   Lord, you know how many times I've prayed this Psalm; during stress, sadness, illness and always before surgery. Helps us to always envision your presence and feel your loving arms about us. Thy name be praised.    Amen

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.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Judy Lentz   JEALOUSY

Exodus 20:5-6 “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations, of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

As I was preparing a Bible Study to share with some Christian sisters, the lesson was on jealousy, one of the ugly sinful emotions in our world. Jealousy is the green-eyed monster, so says Shakespeare in Othello -- being envious of someone or something that one person has but another person doesn’t have.

It is a sin because it breeds envy, greed, covetousness, selfishness, or hostility because our heart isn’t satisfied with what we have. We want what someone else has -- the ‘better’ job, more pay, bigger house, bigger diamond, more of the material things in life, etc. I am sure you can name many other ‘things’ that we worship/covet. These are examples of sinful jealousy.

So how do we interpret the words of Exodus 20:5-6 – “I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God”? Is the jealousy described here different than the jealousy that Shakespeare was talking about? The word ‘jealous’ in Exodus 5 is translated the same as the word ‘zealous’. God is zealous for His people – the love He has for us is zealous. He zealously desires us to be exclusive to Him in our devotion, study, worship, prayer.

Striving to change our sinful jealousy into the righteous jealousy of faithfulness to our Lord should be our focus.

Prayer: Dear Lord - May the jealousy that is our sin because we want something that is not ours be changed into God’s jealousy -- zeal for our Lord and love for Him as deep as the love he has for us. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray.  Amen.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Pastor Doug Marshall

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son..." John 3:16 (RSV)

One of my favorite hymns, which we don't often sing (only twice in the past 10 years) is "Of the Father's Love Begotten." The song is simple yet ethereal (the tune name is apt - Divinum Mysterium, the Divine Mystery). The words were written at the end of the 4th Century by a Spanish lawyer who had experienced God's love in Jesus. Near the end of his life he gave up his public career to live a life of poverty and prayer. These words describe how God, who is mysterious and beyond us, chooses to enter our world in the person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the one who gives us life (the source) and the goal (the end) of our life, the one toward whom our lives are headed. "He the source, the ending He, Of the things that are, that have been, and that future years shall see." Honestly, I'm still trying to figure out what that means. All I know is that Jesus is the one who brings my life meaning and hope. My job is to seek Christ and to worship Him.

One of these days we will need to sing this again in worship!

Prayer:   Christ, to Thee with God the Father, And, O holy Ghost to Thee, Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving and unwearied praises be: Honor, glory, and dominion, And eternal victory, Evermore and evermore! Amen. (v3)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Ann Mizer       

“Be Still”

He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."  Psalm 46:10 NIV

I think often it is in our nature to try to fix things – our problems, other’s problems, things that aren’t really problems.  I think this one line in Psalm 46 gives us assurance that we don’t have that
responsibility, that we are not actually in control and we should be still.  Being still can be difficult, it can take practice and it can be so gratifying. 

I looked up the word exalted, and it means to lift up.  God is telling us that he will be lifted up among nations and in the earth.  We need to trust this and find comfort in it.

Lord help me to learn to be still and to know that you are God!  Amen
Bearing Fruit    

"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12  NRSV
The lack of goals, priorities, and plans contributes to a loss of time. There are other time wasters, such as procrastination, excess television and/or computers, wrong priorities, and never saying "no." All of these habits steal time and keep us from pursuing the best God has for us.

What are we doing with our time? We are often less productive than we want to be because we are trapped in the "emergencies" of the moment. Possibly one of our biggest problems with controlling our time is letting the urgent crowd out the important, which has been termed the "tyranny of the urgent." Those things that confront us the most loudly are likely not the most important. ...

Having our goals and priorities in place will help us not to get bogged down in the urgent and less important things. When we fail to prioritize, we are deciding not to make needed decisions as to what is important and what is not. Proverbs 25:28 reads, "Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control." Self-control allows us to stay focused and on track, able to accomplish the important things. Self-discipline helps us keep our priorities straight. If we are too busy to attend church or pray or too preoccupied to read God's Word, we need to take another look at our priorities. The primary consideration in the use of time is to do the will of God and to live in harmony with God's plan for us.

Prayer:    Dear heavenly Father, from your hands I graciously receive all things. Give me wisdom to use the time you've given me wisely. Teach me to seek your guidance in all my choices. In your precious name I pray. Amen.

Saturday, July 8, 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

Friday, July 7, 2017

Roy Behling    


"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." - 2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)
In the verse above, Paul talks about being a "workman" for God and studying the Word to hone our skills. If we are to be workman we need some tools, so let's take a look in our toolbox and see what we have:

Safety goggles:    As Christians we need to have some safety measures in place for our eyes, such as what TV and movies we watch, what reading material we use and what type of places we allow ourselves to go.

Level:  A level helps us line things up with precision. That's how we need to approach life. The word of God should be our level so the things in our life line up with the Bible and what it teaches us.
Screwdriver: This common tool is used to put screws in by turning in the correct direction and back them out by turning the other direction. Do we turn the correct way that God wants us to, even if it's not the direction we want to go and would rather back out?

Nuts and Bolts: These amazing little things hold pieces together even under tremendous pressure. Do we count on Christ to hold us together so we can withstand the tremendous pressure of the world?

Adjustable Wrench: They have adjustable heads to accommodate various sizes of nuts and bolts. Are we flexible to situations that arise and adjust to unforeseen events in a Christian way?

Chisel: With a sharp edge at one end it is used to chip and carve into something solid such as wood or stone. Are we busy chipping out the things that are not necessary or Anti-Christian in our lives?

Hammer: As workmen we are going to have to use a hammer from time to time to put things in place. Do we have things hammered into place in our lives such as regular Bible reading, regular prayer and regular worship attendance?

Pliers: Used for grabbing hold of things we are working on, there are going to be some things in our Christian lives that we need to grab hold of and work on such as prayer life, witnessing or something else we are struggling with.

Tape Measure: When we are working on our Christian lives, we need to measure our progress from time to time. Are we doing more for His kingdom than we were a year ago? Are we growing in the faith?

Bible: Studying God's word is what hones our craft and helps us with our skills as a Christian. The Bible is our handbook and it is full of instructions to improve our Christian lives and our relationship with the Lord.

Dear Lord, May the Holy Spirit work in me so that I might better utilize the tools You provide to become a better workman that helps build and expand Your kingdom. In the name of our Lord and Savior, Amen 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Susanne Udvari       Changes
 “See I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:19
We all have changes in our lives.  Change is one of the most difficult things for people to face; however, change is inevitable.  Some days we may be shouting “Praise God!”  while other times we may be crying out, “I need a miracle.”
 I know about these changes as I strive to form a new identity since the passing of my husband.  I know I cannot get stuck in this difficult circumstance holding on to what God did in the past, but I will certainly treasure those past moments and thank God for each one.  I need to embrace the changes God has for me in the future and move forward with trust and joy.
In the same way, Sharon Church must face changes as we look forward with enthusiasm and hope to the arrival of a new pastor!  What has God promised us?  He has promised to never leave or forsake us, no matter what.  In Malachi 3:6 God says, “For I am the Lord, I change not.”  We are so thankful for the time we have had with Pastor Doug, but now we must move forward with a new pastor.
So, let the changes come.  We will not walk in fear, but in faith!  We will trust God with all the changes, and know that He is more than able to help us, and that He even has plans to bless us!
    I would like to share this acronym with you –
Every second, if need be, we can find a blessing.  Changes can be our friend.  Let’s look for God in them.

Prayer:   Lord, thank you for the gifts you give us each day.  Help us to embrace the changes that we must face, and to seek your will in those changes.  Fill us with patience, grace, trust, and love for everyone around us.  Help us to shine for you.  Amen

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Kathy Hamsher

Psalm 150 (NSRV)
Praise for God’s Surpassing Greatness
1 Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty firmament!
2 Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his surpassing greatness!
3 Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!
4 Praise him with tambourine and dance;  praise him with strings and pipe!
5 Praise him with clanging cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

I have participated in music in church, school, college and my adult life for as long as I can remember. I never had formal training in music other than what was taught in school, but I love to hear, sing and play good music. None of that loud rock and roll or heavy metal for me. I want to be able to understand the words and be soothed by the music. One of my favorite singing groups is Celtic Woman. Their singing is so pure and clear and enjoyable to both watch and listen to. Another group I have enjoyed is Home Free - an all male acapella group. That means no instrumental accompaniment at all - just pure voices. You might think you are hearing percussion in the background of their singing, but all the sounds are produced by voices.

Music is beauty, harmony and emotion all rolled into one. Certain tunes can evoke a beautiful picture of family or friends doing things together. Listening to groups singing in harmony can make you ask "How do they do that?" Singing an old hymn can bring back emotions and memories of family and growing up in your hometown church.

Good music is soothing to your senses and food for your soul. Listen to music and you will be refreshed. You don't have to be a good singer to sing hymns - just put your heart into the words of the hymns as you sing and you will be blessed by good feelings.

Dear Lord,
Thank You so much for creating music and for giving us the tools to sing or play our own music. There is music in nature in the rustling of leaves, the sound of waterfalls, and the songs of birds and the calls of insects. There is music in our hearts for our family and friends. Just hum or whistle a tune or sing out loud. Be surprised at what music can do for you.

In Christ's Name, Amen, Amen, Amen

Tuesday, July 4, 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 our independence.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Grace Peters

Galatians 3: 26-29 NRSV (26) So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith...(29) if you belong to Christ you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
Sundays were usually special days in our household. First we went to Sunday School, then to church and after church, we had pizza for lunch. Moods were usually pretty happy, but one exception was the day that our second son learned the story of Jacob and Esau in his Sunday School class. He was out raged that the first born son would inherit the birth right and the blessing.

It took some doing for us to convince him that the law of primogeniture was an Old Testament law and that through Christ, we are all first born children of God. Christ took on our sin and died for us so that we are no longer bound by Old Testament laws. We are ALL children of God through faith not inheritance!

Dear God, thank you for sending your first born son, Jesus, to die for our sins so that all of us will inherit your blessing of eternal life through faith. Amen

Saturday, July 1, 2017

(by members, circa mid-1960'a)

It stands on a hill
With spire a-glow
Overlooking the land
That lies just below.
It earnestly beckons
All to come in
For comfort and prayer
Away from the din.
The light in the steeple
Of the church on the hill
Reminds one and all
Of His word and His will.
Come enter its doors,
And here you will find
Peace and salvation -
The need of mankind.
L. R. Therrien