Sunday, December 31, 2017


Ann Mizer

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.   Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

This is a very meaningful scripture for me as it came to me multiple times during a time of trial for me several years ago.  A college friend quoted it to me when I was explaining the struggle I was having.  Days later, hospice sent a comforting letter after my mother had passed away and this scripture was the heart of the letter.  Then I was showing houses to a client (not someone that I knew very well) and she quoted this to me……

To me, this is when God is speaking to me – hearing the same message in different formats, from different people.  What I began to hear at this time was that God was with me, God would help me through the struggle and that there was hope.  I am grateful to all the people who were the mouth of God.  I am blessed to be beyond the struggle and I am overwhelmed with the awesome mighty God who is there with me.

Dear Lord thank you for the plans that you have for me.  May I rejoice and celebrate with you.  As a New Year approaches, may we all look forward with hope and joy and gratitude.   Amen

Saturday, December 30, 2017


Pat Bricklemyer

"Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits---" Psalm 103 Vs. 1-5

We should always be thankful, but first we have to be thoughtful. If you THINK about your blessings rather than rant and complain about what you don’t have, you will become thankful.

Why do we only realize what we have after we lose it?

There is an old story about a poor Jew who went to his rabbi to complain about his circumstances: 8 people, he, his wife, and 6 children trying to live in the confines of a one-room house. He wanted the rabbi to help him. The rabbi asked if he had any animals—the man said yes, he had a cow, goat and several chickens.

The rabbi told him to go home and bring the animals into the house for the night. After that night the man went back to the rabbi and said how awful it was. The chickens were running everywhere causing so much confusion. The rabbi told him to go home and send the chickens outside.

Next day, the man went back to the rabbi and said how much damage the goat was doing to the family’s belongings. The rabbi said to send the goat outside. On the third day man complained to the rabbi about the cow—how awful the smell was in the house. Once again the rabbi said to send the cow outside. On the fourth day man came back and told the rabbi how thankful he was to live in a clean, safe house with his loving family.

This is from a sermon by Rev. Bob Hicks of the Upper Spruce Creek Presbyterian Church. You can tell it is a country church, but how true. All we need is to become thoughtful of our blessings and we will become thankful to the Lord, stronger and resilient for the challenges that face us.

Prayer:   Dear Heavenly Father, I know that too often it is easy to complain, fight and be depressed about what we don't have. Help us to be constantly thoughtful of the wonderful world you have given us and our blessings, and thus be eternally grateful to You and Praise You

Friday, December 29, 2017


Roy Behling

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!  Psalm 27:14 (NRSV)

Recently, Mt. Lebanon Evangelical Presbyterian Church was doing a week of mission work in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. As a part of this I was manning a "Free Coffee, Water and Prayer" tent for commuters at a bus stop on Washington Road. A middle aged gentlemen approached me for coffee and I asked if there was something on his mind I could pray for? He replied by stating he was on public assistance and had been trying all morning to reach his case worker, as he needed to get to the North Side before 10:30 am to pick up his medications. He was thinking of taking the bus but didn't know what number buses to use and where to make the transfers. As we prayed for a solution, his cell phone rang. It was his case worker asking his location so she could pick him up to go get his medications.

God doesn't always respond this quickly. Sometimes we have to wait a long time for God's response, for His time is not always in agreement with our time. In the Bible we find many people who waited for the answers they were seeking. David waited years to become King. The people of Israel waited for generations to find their promised land. Joseph and Mary waited to see how their son would save his people. The disciples waited following the crucifixion to find out what the true outcome of Jesus' death would be.

God still calls us to wait. We do not know the what, where, or why of how God works; but Romans 8:28 tells us that "all things work together for good for those who love God" - even if it takes longer than we'd like!

O Lord, we pray that you will give us an attitude of peace and gratitude for the blessings you have shown us. Give us strength to wait for You even in the toughest situations. In Jesus name, Amen

Thursday, December 28, 2017


Susanne Udvari      

“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, December 27, 2017

Notes from Florence 

Mark Mizer

1st Samuel 16, vs. 11-12   So, he asked Jesse, "Are these all the sons you have?" "There is still the youngest", Jesse answered. "He is tending the sheep." Samuel said to him, " Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives." So, he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, " Rise and anoint him; this is the one."

I have enjoyed the devotions from the people who travelled to the Holy Land this past spring. What they saw and when they walked the same paths and roads as Jesus did has to have been a life changing experience.

Ann and I had our own journey. Not quite a pilgrimage, but, still a magnificent experience. We went to Italy in April visiting Rome, the Isle of Capri, the Amalfi Coast, Florence and Venice. We both agree Florence is our favorite place to be in Italy. We went to the Academia which is actually an art school focusing on sculpting. And, of course, it is where the statue of David stands in magnificent glory; a piece of marble 17 feet high. You can look at it from all sides as it towers over you.
If you look carefully, you can see the perfect body of a man; six pack abs, bulging biceps, big quads and even the bulging veins in his arms. But, he has the face of a young boy , a sling hung over his shoulder as he contemplates his face-off against Goliath. You can see concern in his face but also determination to do what he knows must be done.

There is no modesty in his appearance which to me speaks of David's humble nature.
To be able to see this piece of art is indeed a blessing. It also tells an amazing story from the Bible in one piece of stone. It also reflects God's glory in a creation of one man's art.  Praise be to God.

Prayer:   O God, our God, maker and Master of all that ever has been, all that is and all that ever shall be, help us to appreciate all of creation, even that done by the hands of women and men who love you. Amen

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


Mark Mizer

'Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be according to your word' (Luke 1:38)

'Yes, a sword shall pierce through your own soul....' (Luke 2, v. 35a)

Rome, the Eternal City, is magnificent. It is not my favorite place in Italy but no one can deny its place in history, its survival through the centuries and its importance in the life and history of Christendom.  Vatican City is encircled by the city of Rome, and in itself is its own sovereign country.

St. Peter's Basilica is the centerpiece of the Vatican. As you enter the basilica from a large nave, to your right, you will find the Pieta, the marble statue of Mother Mary holding her dead Son. It is breathtakingly sad to see Mary's face, slightly tilted and looking downward with a look of numb shock and utter sorrow.

Mary is small and the body of Jesus is large, totally limp and draped across her lap. He is more than she can hold. We see a mother who loves her son holding him as any mother would hold her son yet painfully aware from early on that His sacrifice would be a mother's sacrifice as well. That Michelangelo was able to capture Mary's expression is magical. It is impossible to stand there and not have tears streaming down your face.

In several of my devotions I have related how I have been moved by human creations; der Kolner Dom in Cologne, the statue of David in Florence and the Pieta in St. Peter's Basilica. Many times I see the hand of God present in human imagination and creations. I find a parallel between the Bible, having been written by God inspired people and art created by God inspired artists. They all tell The Story.

Prayer: Loving Father, thank you for people who were inspired by you to create beauty out of stone and marble that helps to tell Your Story and for the ability you gave us to be able to be moved and thrilled by it. Amen

Monday, December 25, 2017


Gladys Johnston

"Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from Him cometh my salvation." - Psalm 62:1 (KJV)

I frequently find myself waiting: standing in line at the store, stuck in traffic, sitting in the doctor's office. I spend a lot of time waiting, and it seems like time wasted. I'd rather be busy.

But not all time waiting is wasted time. Passage after passage in the Bible asks us to "wait on the Lord."  This instruction is hard for me to take. Waiting goes against my nature and seems trivial compared to being up and doing. But I realize that waiting on the Lord is essential to experiencing a vital Christian life.

When God calls us to wait on Him, it isn't simply downtime. He wants us to shut out distractions, meditate on Him and talk to Him in prayer. Such waiting can be productive for God has promised us strength to meet life's challenges and to rise above difficulties if we come and wait to experience God's blessings.

Dear God, Give us the will to take time from our busy schedules to be with you. In Jesus name, Amen

Saturday, December 23, 2017


Karen Singley

The light fades
Into darkness
Then, one by one
The candles are lit
shine soft flickers of light
A symbol of
The Greatest Light
The Light of the World

The last lights are lit
Then the church bell
Across the street
strikes twelve
On Christmas Eve night

As the last chime fades
The bells begin
to ring out
Up and down the scales
Five different octaves
Five different patterns
To create a dream

In the background
The organ plays
The rejoicing, rich
"Joy to the World"

The joyous music continues
"The Lord is Come"
Plays the organ
And indeed he has come
to that very church
Announced by the angelic music
of the bells

A mood blankets the church
Originating in that presence
A mood of
Love, peace, joy, and happiness

Then in the hearts
of everyone
There is a message:
"Jesus has come!

Christmas is here!!"

Friday, December 22, 2017

An Angel Helped Me 

Sara Kobak

Psalm 91:11 “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” (NASB)

In the early 70s when I graduated from college and began teaching, I bought my first car – a “lovely” blue Ford Pinto.  It got me where I needed to go every day – until it didn't.

I had driven back to my alma mater in New Concord, Ohio to attend Muskingum College's (now University) Homecoming Weekend.  I was on my way home to Coraopolis, playing the radio and thinking about the weekend with my friends.  I heard a clanging noise.  I tried to ignore it hoping it would go away.  It only got louder.  I pulled over onto the roadside on Route 70, got out, and looked around the car.  Underneath I could see that the exhaust pipe had slipped out and was dragging on the ground.  I stood there for a while trying to decide what to do and was about to get down on the ground and reach underneath when a car stopped.

A man got out and asked if I needed help. I told him the problem.  He crawled underneath the car and fit the two pieces of the pipe together.  He said I should drive to the next exit and see if I could find a garage to fix it more permanently.  I barely had time to thank him before he was in his car and gone.
It was a Sunday and back in those days nothing was open.  Somehow, I got home without things falling apart again.  I was able to get everything fixed the next week and continued to drive the car for a few more years.

I often think of that man and have decided that I entertained an angel that Sunday afternoon.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for sending your angels to watch over us.  May we find your comfort and guidance through them and that we too may be angels for others.  Amen.

Thursday, December 21, 2017


Ann Mizer      

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:8-9 ESV

I have been hearing people talk about being intentional, being present in the moment – intentional eating, intentional listening, or intentional spiritual journey.  I know that so many of us get so busy (especially around the holiday season) that we lose focus, lose our peace.  So I googled verses in the bible about living in the moment and ten or twelve verses came up.  I chose this one because it is familiar, but not as frequently quoted as verses such as 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7.  I liked the words “true” “honorable” “pure” – words that don’t seem to be used as often these days.  I also like the fact that it is from a letter Paul wrote to a struggling church, offering them comfort and guidance.  We all struggle and need direction, and this is a good guide.

Dear God, help me to be more in the moment and more intentional in my life.  Amen

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


Mark Mizer

'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.'  (Jeremiah 1: 5)

I am treading on treacherous ground here, so, please suffer my thoughts with patient tolerance. My intent is not to offend nor to pretend I am a theologian, nor am I asking anyone to accept my treatise, but to make an observation of what I consider a misunderstanding of predestination.

As Presbyterians we are often criticized as those 'predestination believers' meaning we believe our whole future has been laid out for us and we have no control over who we are or who we are to become. Everything in our lives is pre-set, pre-programmed, both good and bad; that God has predetermined whether or not we are to go to hell or heaven.

But, in my mind there is a difference between predestination and predetermination. I believe predestination means we were chosen to receive God's grace, through the Christ, Jesus, who, in the Gospel of John was present at creation with God. We receive this gift even before we have consciousness of our own existence. We cannot earn this grace. It is given freely to us by and through the sacrifice of Jesus, who gave his life to wipe away the sins of all people, both those born and those of us who were yet to be born, and his resurrection overcoming death giving us eternal life and joy with Him.

But, we still possess the freedom to either accept or reject this grace. This is our call to make. Our part has not been predetermined. I believe we are predestined to receive God's gift, but, we are not predestined to accept it.

Prayer:     O God, our God, you have given us the gift of grace through your son, Christ, Jesus. Thank you. Amen

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


Roy Behling

The Apostle Paul writes "I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name." Eph 3:14 (NIV)

My small group at church is currently studying Paul's letter to the Ephesians. In the passage above we learn that Paul knelt to offer prayer in a time when people stood to pray with uplifted arms as they still do at the wailing wall in Jerusalem. His kneeling emphasizes the importance of the prayer that follows in that kneeling was akin to begging. As you read Paul's prayer for the church at Ephesus, make it your prayer for your church by inserting your name and church.

I _________, a servant of Jesus Christ, to the church at SCPC. "I pray that out of [God's] glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge ---that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Eph 3:16-19

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Eph 3:20-21

Monday, December 18, 2017

Fear of God 

Judy Lentz

Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

This Psalm is such a comforting psalm and is repeated so frequently that individuals can often repeat it from memory. Unfortunately, this was not the case for our son years ago.

As a preschooler, our youngest son would get ‘time outs’ for being too rambunctious when playing with his friend, Johnny. One day, he declared to me that he was no longer going to play with this friend. When I asked why, he said, because he gets me into trouble. I encouraged him to talk to his teacher about this situation so she could help him figure out how to be Johnny’s friend but not get into trouble during playtime.

Nothing more was said for several days. Then one morning as we were driving to preschool, he said, “I talked to God last night and asked him to tell Johnny not to play with me.” I immediately asked “Did you talk to your teacher about Johnny so she can help prevent you from getting into trouble when playing with him?” He quietly answered “No”. I said “Why not? If you can talk to God about Johnny, why can’t you talk to your teacher?” He sat quietly for a minute and then said “Because I am not afraid of God!”

I have often told this story and each time I do, I am reminded of the scripture for today. I wonder how often we talk to God about problems in our lives. Do we remember that this scripture assures us that God will walk us through difficult times in our lives if we just talk to him to let him know we need his help. God’s faithfulness assures us of his continuing presence. He seeks to console us; all we need to do is ask for his support and guidance by praying as instructed by Jesus to his disciples.

Prayer:    Matthew 6: 9-13. “This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Amen.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Chris Cratsley

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 NIV

After finishing some shopping the Friday before Christmas, my wife and I took the kids to Eat N Park. After we ordered, my wife went up to the buffet to get her food. While we waited I decided to pull out my phone and check our bank account to make sure we were still within our budget.
While I was logging in the waitress came over and delivered our drinks, buns, and soups. After she left, my phone updated and I saw the figure my wife spent at the store earlier and said out loud in a low whisper "Dear Lord!" Without missing a beat my son spoke out and said "We have to wait for mom to get back to pray."

Two things occurred to me. One being I should watch my language. Two, it was nice to be reminded we are instilling good habits in our kids that they actively wait until we are all together to pray. Sometimes I wonder how well we do as parents since I easily see the mistakes we have made more than the success we are having.

Lord, please give us strength and resolve to develope habits in our daily lives that allow us the proper time to acknowledge your presence and works and help guide in the long term to stay close to your plans for us. 

Friday, December 15, 2017


Roy Behling

Jesus said, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." - Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

Today most families have a landline phone at home and mobile phones to use away from home. People have a desire to be connected and with mobile phones and social media it becomes possible to be connected to friends and loved ones 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

If we use the analogy of the landline phone versus the mobile phone to apply it to our Christian lives, it suggests that many of us are landline Christians; we only live our faith fully within the vicinity of our homes. However, the mobile phone goes everywhere with us. We can take it to work, to school, the store ---- everywhere. That is what Jesus expects us to do as Christians ---- to be mobile and share our faith with everyone, everywhere.

Jesus traveled widely, teaching and encouraging those he met to love one another. If He had remained in one location, the gospel may not have spread to those in need. Let us all strive to be mobile Christians and spread the word in every place.

Dear God, help us to share our love, your love and the gospel with everyone we meet, wherever we go. Amen.

Thursday, December 14, 2017


Judy Lentz

John 4: 23-24 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in Spirit and in truth.

Don’t we always wonder why it is that the church pews are full on Christmas and on Easter. I have actually heard these worshippers called “Chreasters”. Why do individuals feel those days are the only important Sundays to worship and not each of the other 50 weeks of the year? And yet, I thank the Lord for their sporadic attendance in hopes that they might make a decision to come on one of the between weeks. Weekly worship is our practice - why do we value worshipping weekly?

As I was scrolling through my Facebook the other day, I saw this message that might answer this question. The message said “Worship will get you through the ROUGHEST TIMES in your life, because it shifts your focus from the problem to the problem solver.” Wow, what a powerful statement.

So, as we worship together next week, let us remember that our focus is on the problem solver and He will be there for us to help us with any problem that we identify. This is the message we must strive to share with the Chreasters.

Prayer:   Dear Lord, your eye is always watching us and your heart is always loving us. Be with us as our problem solver and may we always focus on you as we worship in your name. Amen.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Think Beyond Fairness

Ann Mizer

13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ Matthew 20:13-15 NIV

I used to work with a man who when things became difficult would say, “Pretty soon we are going to have to use the four letter “F” word.”  Jaws dropped and then he would smile and say, “You know, it’s not fair.”  How often we feel that things are not fair.  Someone gets an unexpected raise, but not someone else.  Someone seems to eat whatever they want, and they never gain weight.  Someone else gets picked for a special project, but not someone else… can list your own examples I am sure.

Jesus tells this parable of an employer paying the same wage, but the people worked different amounts of time.  He uses the word unfair, but he also uses the word envious and generous.  I wonder if we stop to ponder things that we think are unfair and see if it is envy that might cause that thought.  We might also rejoice in someone being generous, without comparing and thinking about fairness.  
People can be generous with money, but they can also be generous with time, with praise, with attention and other things.  It might be good for us to focus on those things.

Dear God, help me to think beyond fairness but to consider generosity, opportunity, and what your intent and hopes and desires are.  Amen.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Why is the Fish a Christian Symbol?   

Jan Weber

The fish is thought to have been chosen by the early Christians for several reasons:

•             The Greek word for fish (ICHTUS), works as an acrostic for I = Jesus, C = Christ, TH = God's, U = Son, S = Savior (Also see Christian beliefs about Jesus Christ)

•             The fish would not be an obvious Christian symbol to persecutors; It is said that during the persecution of the early church, a Christian meeting someone new would draw a single arc in the sand. If the other person was a Christian, he or she would complete the drawing of a fish with a second arc. If the second person was not a Christian, the ambiguity of the half-symbol would not reveal the first person as a Christian. (Also see Christian history and Christian beliefs and Christian fast facts)

•             Jesus' ministry is associated with fish: he chose several fishermen to be his disciples and declared he would make them "fishers of men."

At VBS this year we learned about the early church in Rome and taught the children about the fish symbol.   I brought in a small metal fish for the metal worker's shop that was intended to be put on the bumper of a car that my daughter had gotten for me several years ago.  I was never one for bumper stickers or window decals on my car, but after VBS was over, I decided that I should finally put my fish on my car.  Instead of putting it on the bumper to identify myself as a Christian to whoever was behind me, I decided to put it just above my door handle.  Now every time I get in my car, I see it, I touch it, and I remind myself that I am a Christian.  I sometimes do my best praying in the car.

Heavenly Father, Thank you that we live in a place where we can freely express our Christian faith.  Please protect the Christians in other parts of this world who are still persecuted for their faith, and give them courage and strength.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Be Still My Soul  

Tanya Marshall

Jeremiah 29: 11-13  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

A few weeks ago I went back to visit my mother, who lives in a memory care wing of a lovely retirement center in Hershey, PA.  Often when I visit her, I take her to the grand piano in the lobby, and sit with her as she plays through familiar hymns.  Though Mom’s memory is gradually slipping away such that she can’t come up with any names (not even mine), she can still play the piano.  I’m always amazed at this bit of grace God has allowed her to retain.

As Mom played some hymns, I sang along softly by her side.  On that particular day, the first two verses of “Be Still, My Soul” were particularly meaningful to me, as I thought about the future for Doug and me, and wondered where God will be sending us next in ministry.  These words also calmed me as I contemplated the unknown future for all three of our adult children.

1.            Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

2.            Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.  

Powerful words!  So much of life is filled with uncertainty and change.  Thank God that he has promised to lead us and be with us in all things.

Prayer.  Thank you, Lord, for your promise of guidance and provision.  Help us as we go through times of waiting, to know you are with us, and will never leave us.  Amen.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Here’s The Church

Judy Lentz

Lamentations 3: 22-24   Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore, I will wait for him.”

Do you remember reciting the ‘ditty’ with hand gestures titled “Here’s the Church”?

Here’s the Church
Here’s the Steeple
Open the Doors
And see all the people

I always loved to do this with our grandchildren. When very young, they are always intrigued about how I made the ‘people’ pop up when I turn my hands inside out. To them, it was a mystery.
It is the people of that ‘ditty’ that makes it so mysterious. But there is no mystery to the understanding that the ‘people’ are ‘the church’-- not the bricks and mortar. Our love for one another reflects our love for God. We grow stronger in that love each day. Forming one big family representing the collective church. The bricks and mortar provide the building structure for the ‘church’ to meet for worship.

Our ‘church’ is celebrating two hundred years since its founding. What a marvelous testimony to all the faithful followers who have joined together over those two hundred years. All that we are, all that we do, is for the ultimate glory of God.

So the next time you say the ‘ditty’ and watch the people pop up in the gestures that accompany the words of that ‘ditty’, think of all those who have come before us and will follow after us as we continue to join together in worship to our Lord.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, Great is your faithfulness. Bless each and every person who has been a part of this ‘church’ for more than two hundred years. May your love continue to shine through as we seek to fulfill your plans for us as your ‘church’. Amen

Friday, December 8, 2017


Roy Behling

"For the Lord is good and His love endures forever, His faithfulness continues through all generations." - Psalm 100:5 (NIV)

It has been a little more than two years since my beloved wife Peg went home to be with the Lord. She was always there for me during the 62 years we were together. A steady rock in a tumultuous world, she was an excellent listener with appropriate and meaningful responses, who I could count on when needed. Today this role is being fulfilled by my daughter Lindsey and friend Gladys. These are two persons I can always count on and being able to say "I can always count on him/her" is one of the best things you can say about someone.

As stated in Psalm 100:5, we can especially count on God to be with us and be willing to listen and to consider our prayers. We do not have to worry about the reaction we will receive as we speak our thoughts and cares to God. When we need help, God is always available.

From God, we learn how to be good listeners by taking the time to listen more and talk less. God is the best example of a good listener, available and approachable, the One whom all of us can count on.

Dear God, Thank you for always being ready to listen. Help us to listen carefully to you and to be good listeners to others. In Jesus name, Amen

Thursday, December 7, 2017


Gladys Johnston

"The Lord watches over you---- the Lord is your shade at you right hand." Psalm 121:5 (NIV)

Outside on a sunny day, shadows are our constant companions. When we move along they move along with us, connected to us. Regardless of our pace, our shadow keeps up. It is impossible to separate ourselves from it.

This is what I think of when I read that the Lord is the "shade at your right hand". I see God attached to us as determinedly as our shadow. Sometimes our shadow is lengthened and more obvious; other times it is shortened and not so easily seen. God's presence is the same. At times we can clearly see God moving in our lives. At other times God's work isn't as obvious and we may doubt that God is even there. During these latter times, we can depend on the word of God and know that God is forever with us.

When we see the shadows cast by our bodies and how they stay with us, may we be reminded that it is the same with the Lord. God is always with us.

Dear God, our companion, thank you for your constant presence. Amen.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Mark Mizer

'The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.' (Deuteronomy 32:4)

It is said that Michelangelo chose an ordinary piece of marble to use to sculpt the statue of David that is in the Academia in Florence.  Michelangelo supposedly wanted the stone to serve as a metaphor to the life of David because as a man, despite his heroics, despite his leadership and faithfulness to God, he was still imperfect and sinful.

So, does this not serve as a metaphor for us all? Despite all of our works and prayers, despite all of our caring for others, despite all of our unselfishness and faithfulness to others and the church, we remain ordinary and imperfect. So, you may ask, why try so hard to be a good and faithful servant to our God?

In my mind there-in lies the magic of the marble and the sculptor, the sculptor being Jesus Christ. He takes us, as ordinary folk, and transforms us into something extraordinary, something we cannot do on our own.

Only Jesus Christ can transfer the gift of Grace on us. We cannot earn it, we cannot buy it. We can only say 'yes' to it and let the perfect Sculptor transform us into what He desires.

Prayer: O God, our God, we confess we are sinful and imperfect. Take us and mold us into what you would have us be. Amen. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


Roy Behling

"Because [Jesus] himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted." Hebrews 2:18 (NIV)

Although the Bible clearly tells us that Jesus was tempted (as we are) and suffered (as we do) we still tend to overlook His humanity. Somehow we think He was above all the nitty gritty of daily life. However, Jesus came as a helpless baby, needing someone to supply His every need. He grew up in the home of a carpenter, so He probably endured His share of childhood cuts, bumps and bruises along with daily dust and dirt. He experienced the ridicule and hate of the Jewish leaders and finally the pain and suffering on the cross. Although Jesus experienced life in a different time and culture, the risen Christ understands and identifies with our daily dilemmas.

Whenever we feel alone and wonder who will understand, or how we can continue, we can remember that Jesus has already been there. He hears our cries and stands ready to walk with us through whatever difficulties we face. He holds us up in our lowest moments. He offers hope when life seems hopeless and celebrates with us when our hardships cease.

O God, thank you for your never-failing presence in every circumstance. Amen

Monday, December 4, 2017

An Attitude of Gratitude - 

Sara Kobak

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 5:20

I remember telling my daughter on more than one occasion: “Do not give me that kind of attitude.”  I am sure that God has wanted to say that to me on more than one occasion as well. 

I realize now in my “older” years, more than ever, that I really need to have an attitude of gratitude.  Certainly I need to give thanks to God for all the blessings He has given me.  But I also need to express this to everyone around me: to my family and my friends, of course,  but also to those I randomly meet each day like the clerk at the Giant Eagle, the maintenance staff at the gym, the nurse at the doctor's office, or the young man who holds the door open for me at the library.  A thank you just might make their day.  And it will make my day even better. 

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for everything that you have given me.  Help me to express my thanks to others.  Amen

Saturday, December 2, 2017

 -God's Eye  - 

Toni Sample

“I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.  These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16(b) 

“When Jesus spoke to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 

On August 21, 2017, in Greenwood, South Carolina I sat in the front yard of my friends. The sun was shining fully overhead with few shadows. It was 88 degrees. I leaned my head back and glanced for a half a second toward heaven. The full ball of the red-hot sun was visible in the sky.

I pushed the black eclipse glasses over my ears, resting them on the bridge of my nose. Glancing upward again, I lost my breath. Only a small slip, about 1/16th, of the full sun, remained uncovered by the moon as it passed between the sun and the earth, in its path of totality.

That small sliver of light was still lighting the world, keeping it warm, while appearing to our naked eye to be the full burning orb.

When God tells us that he will turn darkness into light, make the rough places smooth, and never forsake us; do we believe? When Jesus tells His followers that He is the light of the world, we will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life; do we believe?

When the moon passed fully in front of the sun, during the eclipse, a corona appeared. The corona is described as the rarefied gaseous envelope of the sun, normally visible only during a total solar eclipse, appearing as a pearly glow surrounding the darkened disk of the moon.

I saw that pearly glow and darkened disk, and it looked like God’s eye looking down on me.
The eclipse was both a scientific and spiritual experience for me, and God gave us both.

Prayer Thank you, God, for allowing us these brief views of your glory. It is so important that we never forget that you are the Creator of the heavens and earth, the moon, and the sun, and that you allow us to walk in the light of your son. It is through Jesus that we are reunited with you, and through Him, we feel the peace and strength that erases darkness from our most difficult days. With open eyes and open arms, we praise you. Amen

Friday, December 1, 2017


Roy Behling

David said, "The Lord who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from this Philistine." - 1 Samuel 17:37 (NRSV)

David was a young boy whose job was to protect his flock from predators. He wasn't a mighty warrior, but what he lacked in size he made up in faith. David didn't cower in Goliath's presence; he was ready to fight him face to face with only a slingshot. He didn't need anything else because God was there in the fight with him.

We all face challenges. Some are small and we easily work through them. Others become more difficult and seem to be life-altering, but we can stand firm and face them because God is with us.
No matter what giants we face----unemployment, health issues, loss of a loved one----we can take our focus off the overwhelming situation and turn it to God. Then we may overcome the obstacle in an unexpected way as God can show us how to overcome our situations and be victorious.

Heavenly Father, give us courage and strength. Help us to trust you as we face seemingly overwhelming obstacles. Amen.