Monday, January 1, 2018



Judy Lentz

Matthew 28: Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore 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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

As we close the year of the Bicentennial Celebration for Sharon Community Presbyterian Church, we look once more at the logo for this historic occasion. “Celebrate The Past, Dream The Future” We have devoted the majority of the year celebrating the past. Now it is time to ‘dream the future’.
Dreaming is a favorite for me. I have always had wonderful dreams. At times I would say as I retired for the night “Wonder what I will dream tonight?” I am not a believer of dream interpretation – too much manipulation of thoughts for me. I am, however, a strong believer of envisioning the future. Some have credited me as being a visionary. I choose to believe it is my strong faith that enhances those skills.

So what might we envision for Sharon. We have started on a new path with our new pastor, Rev. Becky Branch-Trevathan. Many, including me, have believed that God has been revealing his plan each step of our journey. God doesn’t reveal his plan unless we purposely seek his guidance and direction. I am praying fervently for spiritual growth and continued vitalization of the ministry at Sharon. I ask you to join me in this prayer so that our dreams of strengthening the future will occur – remember God wants us to grow. He wants us to spread the word – His word is the guidance we seek as it is written in Matthew 28.

At a children’s time in another church we belong to in our southern home, the pastor was talking about God’s love for us and how important it was for us to ‘spread the word’. A little eight year old boy immediately spoke up and said “That’s what he tells us in Matthew 28; that’s the Great Commission”! I was astounded!! To hear these words come from the mouth of an eight year old was so reassuring in these troubled times. As faithful Christians, let’s do our part to ‘spread the word’.

Prayer:    Dear Heavenly Father – we have read your words of guidance and are doing our best to spread your word to others. Please know we are dreaming about our future as your followers. We praise you every day and get so excited when you reveal your plan to us. Keep us on the path of spiritual growth and vitalization and give us the strength needed to overcome any adversities along the way. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen

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