Thursday, November 30, 2017

Gladys Johnston  


" You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..."  Matthew 5:43-44

We often wonder what we can do to help others, especially those in great need. The recent devastation by hurricanes Harvey and Irma have brought this to the forefront in our minds. But 'helping others' is not limited to physical items like money, supplies or rehabilitation labor. There can be mental, emotional and spiritual needs involved in helping others that we encounter in our daily lives.

As Christians we are called to love others and minister to their needs whether they are friend or foe. Prayer is one of the powerful ways we can do this. It is not a sign that we have given up on worldly methods of helping when we say "Let us pray for one another."

Rather it is a sign of strength when we invoke the power of God, the Son and the Holy Spirit to address the needs and concerns of others whether they be Christians or non-Christians. To pray, that is to communicate with the One who calls us to love others as He has loved us, is the most powerful thing we can do for others.

Dear Lord, thank you for the power of prayer and make us ever mindful of the needs of others. Amen

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

THE POETRY OF SHARON CHURCH(by members, circa mid-1960's) Aldena Hedge Sieber


You are never completely defeated in life,
As long as you keep on trying--
No matter the trouble, whatever the strife,
God's interest in YOU, is undying.
He wants for His children,
Life's very best things--
And the gift of salvation to
All them He brings--
You've been in a hurry,
A hurry to where?
You've stumbled, and fallen,
And think it's unfair,
That other folks' plans
Aren't shattered, like yours--
And your hall of life,
Is meeting closed doors--
Each one is pursuing the path of your choice,
While grumbling so loud that you can't hear His voice, when He bids you, "Be still,
And know I am God"--
So take a good look at the path you have trod.
You kneel down to pray, ask, His will be done,
And then you complain, when your own will's not done
Just trust our dear Saviour to handle your life,
Know the power of His love undying-
And remember, You're never completely defeated in life,

As long as you keep on trying.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Mark Mizer   

We need God more than ever.

In the 1930’s, the Age of Rational Thought began its reign in creating a palpable and enduring tension between scientific or rational thought and traditional religious beliefs.

With rational thought the world could be explained in scientific terms with the goal of eliminating the need of the mystery and magic of an unseeable God.

Evolution theory and survival of the fittest provided much of the foundation for this ‘discipline’, further explained and ‘proven’ through a growing understanding of physics, chemistry and biology.
In my mind there is no doubt that our scientific methods have led us to living longer and hopefully healthier lives. Science has opened the heavens to exploration. Science has made our lives easier and more convenient. But, science cannot explain the ‘why’.

Can science explain the love between two people who commit their lives together in marriage? Can science explain the love that exists between a parent and a child? Can science explain the joy I have when I walk into Sharon Church and see my brothers and sisters in Christ?

I do not have a problem with science but I do have a problem with people who use science as an alternative to believing in a mysterious and wonderful living God, trying to convince others of their ‘proven truth’.  In our post- Christian Modern world we need God more than ever.

I believe without God, there would be no science and no magic to life. There would be no existence.

Prayer: Wonderful and mysterious Lord, we seek meaning in ways that cannot include You as the foundation of all existence and being. Our hearts are hard as stone and our minds closed to your magnificent love. With and in Your power melt our cold rejection of Your love and grace. Amen.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Toni Sample

“The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:23-24

I had the delight to be the facilitator of the October, 2016 Women’s Retreat at Sharon Community Presbyterian Church.

On that cold but sunny Saturday morning, I watched the women enter the room and enjoy an informal gathering time of fellowship. I felt blessed to be a part of this group of women who obviously supported and cared for each other.

Throughout the day we searched our Bibles repeatedly, staying in His word and letting Him guide us through the materials. Our study was based on Paul’s words to the church of Corinth, (2 Corinthians 3:3) when he wrote: “Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This "letter" is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.”

Although our focus was on the words in Corinthians we moved throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Each verse, each discussion that ensued, showed that these women were not only ‘letters from Christ written on human hearts’, but they were delighted in their relationship, not just with each other, but with their LORD. Some of these women were in the middle of struggles and were being upheld with His mighty hand; others had come out the other side of recent struggles and were enjoying a time of rest.

The corporate church goes through struggles, much like we do individually. We may stumble but He will never let us fall. God has been yoked to SCPC for 200 years, making the load lighter for those who gather to worship and delight in Him. It is the delight and hope in our LORD that sees us through our times of struggle. As we celebrate His faithfulness, He celebrates ours.

Prayer:  Dear God, we come to you through your Son, Jesus Christ, in awe of your power, your forgiveness, your love, and your healing grace. Thank you for never forsaking us. Thank you for helping us to walk on your path. Thank you for the hope we have in you. Amen

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Meditation for Deacon Meeting February 2017

Based on the Book Bread of Tomorrow, Prayers for the Church Year Edited by Janet Morley
In the introduction to the book titled, Bread of Tomorrow, which actually is a collection of prayers meant to be read year round, the editor, Janet Morley, challenges the reader to grow in faith and understanding of how the poor are perceived and why those in need should be helped. 

She hopes the prayers will inspire those that are “unpoor” to respond to the poor out of a feeling of solidarity instead of out of gratitude that they are not so afflicted.    After all, it is not our moral superiority or our faith that protects us from disease, loss of employment or natural disasters etc.  It usually is just happenstance that separates us from a similar fate to those we offer our generosity to.  Acts of charity done out of pity miss an important aspect of what God intends for us to accomplish when helping others.

In the Lord’s Prayer we say we want things “ to be done on earth as they are in heaven” and if we believe God has created us all in his image, it follows that He wants us all to be well fed, secure and happy.  When life presents challenges to some of God’s children, it should be an issue for us all.  For example, we shouldn’t think that “they” have a problem with drought causing hunger but “we” have a problem.  When drought leaves some of us hungry, we are all responsible for addressing the issue.
Responding in solidarity with someone’s plight is different than giving things away to the poor from our excess and then feeling the task is complete because we are nice and willing to share our wealth with strangers.  As Christians, we need to recognize our responsibility for assisting our brothers and sisters in need, to help problem solve issues working with those afflicted and be willing to get involved in a deeper more personal level.  Sharing in the struggles and hopes of those in need makes it a personal endeavor where human interaction can foster the growth of life enriching relationships.  

It’s important to understand that those in need have gifts to share with us as well.

Our ministry to others should always incorporate prayer.  We need God’s guidance as we strive to live in this world together as God’s beloved people.  The editor, Janet Morley wrote; “Prayer leaves space for God to reach us, and by praying we place ourselves, with all our sisters and brothers, within the hands of God.”


Father in Heaven help us grow in our way of thinking about helping others in need so we are responding in solidarity and not out of pity.  All of our blessings come from you and we need your guidance as we strive to minister to others.  Open our eyes to the possibility of being on the receiving end when we reach out to help the needy.  Help us to love and serve others the way you love us.  Amen  

Friday, November 24, 2017

THE POETRY OF SHARON CHURCH (circa 1964 by Aldena Hedge Sieber)


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.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

God’s Unconditional Love 

Jan Benard

Jeremiah 31:3  "the Lord appeared to him from afar. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued my faithfulness to you."

If you have ever had a dog, you will probably relate to this. Last year I took in my daughter's dog since she couldn't keep him. It was an 8 month old Golden Retriever. I had not had a dog in a long time, much less a puppy....just cats.

What a difference in many ways! I just kept thinking, "God only gives us what we can handle".
I have learned that a dog's love is unconditional. He is so faithful, it's unbelievable. No matter what has happened, he is there ready to greet me and be next to me. He is so willing to protect me. When I return from a trip, he is the first one to greet me.

I can only hope that I have this kind of faithfulness to God. I know God's love is unconditional, but I ask myself if my love and faithfulness to him is the same? I try on a daily basis to keep God in my heart and in the activities I do. It helps when I am walking Cayden (the dog) as I can reflect on how God works.

Prayer:   There are many ways God shows his love and faithfulness to us. Please help me to return this love and faithfulness in my everyday thoughts and activities.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Ann Mizer 

With God all things are possible

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.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Bearing Fruit For Jesus!


"Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me." John 12:16. ...for it is time to seek the Lord until he comes..." Hosea 10:12

Have you ever felt that life is so full of distractions and that there are such pulls on your time that you have lost your focus? As God's stewards, our goal is to live our lives for God's purpose according to his grace given us by the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacrament.

Getting our priorities straight and sticking to them is one of the most difficult tasks we face. We are called to be faithful and not misdirected by the world, our flesh, or Satan. "As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all that you do" (1 Peter 1:14-15).

It is challenging, but with God's help it is possible to keep God at the center of our busy lives and to keep some of life's diversions from consuming our time...

We may ask ourselves the question, "Does the way I live my life reflect the importance of my relationship with God?" We may also ask, "Does my faith focus my life or does my faith get lost in the blur of busyness and day-to-day routine?" Our goal is to keep "the main thing the main thing," which is to love, serve, trust, and obey our heavenly Father.

Prayer:  Father, I thank you for the gift of life. Please grant me your wisdom so I can see the foolishness of my ways. Help me, Lord, to use my time wisely so that I may glorify you. Guide me in your path. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Roy Behling


"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." - Proverbs 14:12

We were on a trip to Hilton Head and left after work on Friday so we only planned to go as far as Beckley, West Virginia that first night. We had plugged the address of our hotel into the GPS. As we approached the environs of Beckley, the voice guidance on the GPS system and the display were guiding us to the hotel. As we entered the city in the dark, things didn't seem right that a Marriott property would be located in this residential part of town, but the voice guidance was so soothing and confident sounding we proceeded as directed. Well we ended up on a dead end, in a less than desirable part of town. We eventually found the hotel by calling them and getting directions.

It makes me think how easily we can be misled or distracted as we travel through life. Our world can offer any number of tempting paths, which may or may not prove to be the right direction for us. Other people can persuade us to think we are making the right choices. But sometimes those options can lead us down roads that are dangerous.

Fortunately, through prayer, we can ask God for daily guidance and wisdom to know which paths are right for us. Centering our lives in daily prayer helps us find the way, guiding us toward joyful living and an eternal home.

Dear Lord, thank You for guiding me through life. Thank You for Your wisdom that shows me what to do in difficult situations. In the name of our Lord and Savior, Amen.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

 Roy Behling 


"Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God." - Psalm 146:5 (NIV)

For four hundred years the Israelites where slaves in Egypt. From a human standpoint their situation seemed hopeless. But God sent Moses to proclaim God's power and concern for the people. A seemingly hopeless situation was transformed by the unimaginable acts of God.

When Jesus was executed, His followers scattered fearing they would suffer the same fate. The ray of hope that Jesus' disciples had found in Him died on that cross. But the unimaginable power of God once again transformed a situation of despair. Christ's resurrection kindled a flame of hope that would never be extinguished.

Sometimes situations in our own lives and the news from around the world can cause us to despair. But the unimaginable acts of God still break through seemingly hopeless situations. Through faith and prayer, we can call on our loving God to enter in and give us hope once more.

Dear God, you have no limitations. When our imaginations and efforts reach their limits, give us courage to step out into the unknown and trust in You to help us. Amen.

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.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Roy Behling  


"Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves His child as well. - 1 John 5:1 (NIV)

If you dare to believe that you are loved by God before you were born, you may realize that your life is very, very special. You become aware that you were sent here for a short time, for twenty, forty, eighty or so years, to discover and believe that you are a beloved child of God. The length of time doesn't matter.

You are sent into this world to believe in yourself as God's chosen one and then to help your brothers and sisters know that they are also beloved sons and daughters of God who belong together.

We are to be people of reconciliation that overcome the barriers between neighbors, locally, nationally and globally to achieve the unity that God has in mind.

We are in this world for a little while to claim that we and every other human being belongs to God and to assist our brothers and sisters to know that truth through faith in Jesus Christ.

Dear Father, Abba, I am called to be your child. Today I will look closely at the quality of faith you have given me and marvel. What a miracle. Thank you for choosing me.  Amen

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

 Judy Lentz   

I Love to Tell the Story

Psalm 66:16 “Come and listen, all who honor God, and I will tell you what he has done for me”

Our 10 year old granddaughter came to spend a week with us to enjoy Camp Oma and Pop as she does each summer. Although Madison loves to do things and go places, she hates long car rides. When it was time to drive her across state to meet her uncle, I did my best to divert her thinking about how long the drive would be. I spent the time telling her stories about her Dad when he was a baby, a toddler, a preschooler, and an elementary school student just as she is now.

The stories lasted most of the ride – her Dad created plenty of stories to tell!!!! She loved hearing about the funny things he did, the trouble he got into, the punishments he received, the stories of his school friends and school teachers, the things he disliked in those years, etc. Stories that revealed the love expressed for him and by him as he was growing up. Just as adults appreciate hearing stories, so do our children.

I remember singing the song “I love to Tell the Story” when I was growing up. The tune was composed by W.G.Fischer and the lyrics written by Dr. Doane with the refrain that goes like this: “I love to tell the story, ‘twill be my theme in glory, To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love”.
God wants us to tell stories of all kinds – about Jesus, about people in the Bible, about ourselves and about our friends and loved ones. We learn from these stories about the Bible and how God wants us to love (just think of how many times stories are read to the children during Children’s Time). Stories help us pass along traditions, offer guidance in problem solving, rekindle the memories of those who have gone before as well as the friends who are special to us now. But best of all, stories tell us about ‘love’ and how we show love just as God wants us to do. Stories enrich our lives in so many ways. 

Are you a story teller?

Prayer: Dear God – we love to tell the stories of Jesus and His love. We love to tell the stories about those we love. Help us to tell the stories that lead others to you so they can feel your love just as we do. Amen 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

 Pat Bricklemyer

Choose Life

Deuteronomy 30: 15 –“See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.” NIV

I was reading in the Old Testament the other day and came across Deuteronomy Chapter 30.  This is one of the final speeches Moses gives to the children of Israel before he dies and they proceed to go into the Holy Land.  The chapter is truly worth a read!  The Lord has told the people what will happen if they turn to other nations’ gods (and we know they do) and what will happen if they follow His laws.  He gives them the offer of Life or Death. God called the people to keep his commands, while reminding them that his laws were not hidden from them or beyond their reach.

In the same way, we have been given the same offer, only our choices are even more visible, since we have the Word, Jesus Christ, to follow—all we have to do is to accept Christ as our Savior and live as he would have us live. The hardest part is simply deciding to start now.  When you look back at the passage in Deuteronomy you see that the choice is truly important, life or death, blessings or curses.
Moses challenged Israel to choose life, to obey God and therefore experience his blessings.  God doesn’t force his will on anyone.  He lets us decide whether to follow or reject him.  This decision however is a life-or-death matter. God wants us to realize this, for he would like us all to choose life.  Daily, in each new situation, we must affirm and reinforce this commitment.

Prayer:  Dear Heavenly Father, please help me each day to wake with thoughts of you and choose life with you!  In Jesus' Name—Amen

Monday, November 6, 2017

Ann Mizer 


This is the day the LORD has made.    We will rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118: 24

This is so familiar (one of the Bible verses that I can spout off) and comforting.  I often get busy in my daily life and don’t think about the many blessing that I have.  I know that I don’t always rejoice, but I should.  

I am writing this on the first full day of autumn, and although the weather feels more like summer, there are pretty leaves turning bright colors.  The sun is shining.  This is a gift from God.  How often I get caught up in the hustle and bustle and don’t take time to enjoy the beauty that is around me.  Certainly the news is rarely about good things.  Many people are cranky – but what if I lived as an example – rejoicing and being glad.  Possibly it would rub off on others!  Possibly it would become a habit.

Dear Lord, thank you for this day that you have given to all of us.  May we rejoice and be glad.  Amen

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Nancy Moore 


“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6: 25-34 (RSV)

A local grammatical quirk references small nondescript birds as “sputzies.” Nothing stands out about them; each are streaked brown and white; there is nothing about them to draw particular attention. From my childhood I have always referred to these small abundant sparrows as sputzies (possibly derived from German).

I recently installed a small bird feeder on my deck just outside the sliding glass door where I get a good view of the birds that routinely visit. While occasionally a pair of bright cardinals, a noisy blue jay, and two mourning doves stop by for a quick repast, the vast majority of birds are the small, fragile brown sparrows who actively fuss with each other for feeding spots. Youngster will follow behind a parent fluffing its feathers and chirping loudly for attention to be fed.

As I watch these vulnerable little birds through the glass, I recall the scripture that encourages and reassures me of our value in God's sight. When we feel alone or insignificant, lack self-confidence or need to overcome some obstacle, the words from the song “His Eye is on the Sparrow” (Civilla Martin, 1904) remind me not to be discouraged and know that our heavenly Father watches over us as he does each little sparrow—so what am I worried about?

Verse 2: “Let not your heart be troubled, His tender word I hear, and resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears; though by the path He leadeth but one step I may see: HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW, AND I KNOW HE WATCHES ME.

Prayer:  Lord, we thank you for each day. We turn to you for strength, guidance, and reassurance of your love and concern, and know that you care and value each of us as you do even the smallest of your creations. Amen

Friday, November 3, 2017

Tanya Marshall   

God’s will, not my will

 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).

 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  (Isaiah 55:8)

I heard a fairly new contemporary Christian song on the radio a few weeks ago.  It’s called “Even If” by the group, Mercy Me.  The main theme is expressed here:

I know You’re able, and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand.
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone.

I know the sorrow, I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word.
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone.

We often face huge trials, disappointments, serious illnesses, deaths, and crises in life.  We pray for healings and resolutions to big problems.  Here’s where the conflict between the two scriptures above becomes apparent.  We’re supposed to ask God for what we want and need, and the Matthew passage implies we’ll get it.  But these song lyrics express a mature faith of one who has chosen to hope in 

God, even if God doesn’t answer our prayers how we’d like.  A mature faith trusts God anyway, and acknowledges the idea in the Isaiah passage.

For some reason this song was a comfort to me.  I don’t understand God’s ways, but I am choosing to trust anyway.

Prayer:  God, help us remember you are with us through all the trials and difficulties of life, even when you don’t choose to heal or resolve or answer.  Help us keep going and keep our hope in you anyway.  Amen.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Ann Mizer  

Anxiety and Prayer

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:5-7 (NIV)

I imagine that all of us are anxious at times in our lives about various things – jobs, family, decisions we have to make.  God knows this and through Paul, in his letter to the church at Philippi, assures us that we can and should give every situation to God.  I don’t know that we always do it with thanksgiving, in fact I know that there are many times it is the last effort to go to God in prayer, in desperation.  But there is comfort in this verse that assures us of peace.

This is one of those scripture that periodically shows up for me.  This week I heard Max Lucado being interviewed about his recently published book and he quoted this scripture. I wrote down the chapter and verses and when I went to my stack of devotions – I had written this same passage down to consider writing about.  I think that God often comes to us when we repeatedly hear the same message  from different people.

Heavenly Father, remind me to come to you in every situation, to petition, to request, to give thanks and to find peace.  Amen

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Deb Williams

Thought for the day " By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another". John13:35

We're celebrating our anniversary at Sharon Church this year. It's a time for me to reflect on the years I've spent as part of that local body of believers. I remember a lot of good times here. Granted, there were times when I sat back and left others to do the main jobs of the church. I prefer to work in the background, and can say I've been doing that to some extent all along.

Still, it's complicated being a Christian. The church building is not a utopia. As I've seen some upsets that have happened over the years, it makes me realize I may well be a part of the troubles without even realizing it. Have not welcomed someone new, just because I'm shy with strangers? Have not looked at someone and thought their clothes not appropriate for church? Have I paid little attention to the sermons at times? Or put off attending Sunday School as an adult? Yes, have to admit I'm at fault and need to be ashamed of myself. I've come to the conclusion that a church Is meant to LOVE. It looks good on cards, works on t-shirts, but unless we give ourselves completely To God and his will, Love is just a word. think this is what Jesus meant when he admonished the Disciples to love one another. Stick together, even if you disagree. Let your common ground be Him.  Do what you can to love your neighbors, friends, and even your enemies. God does!

Dear God, I love you and adore you, so now bow before you in praise and adoration. You alone are all I need, no matter what bumps and bruises this world has to offer. I know you are with me 24/7 and love me as one of your children. Please help me in my loving and helping others. Amen