Thursday, April 26, 2012

Unforeseen Circumstances?

The picture above is funny. How can a psychic have an unforeseen circumstance? Maybe it is because the psychic isn't really a psychic! I find it very interesting that I never hear of a "psychic" winning a huge lottery prize. It seems to me that it would be something that they both could do and would want to do. The bottom line is that there is only one Person who knows what tomorrow (and the days after that) hold, and that is God. We live in troubled times, but that isn't new, there have been many troubled times in the history of mankind. The children of Israel give is a portrait of what can happen when we take our eyes off of the One who holds the future. Through the Old Testament we see them lose focus and God allows other cultures to come in and dominate them. When they realize their mistake, they return to God and He rescues them out of there situation. What about today? If God's people will listen to His voice and pray, don't you believe that He can still help us out of our situation? Of course He can! Christians, we need to get serious about what God is calling us to do, and do it. I have know idea how long the Lord may tarry before He returns, but I do know this--we are called to be faithful. It is time for ALL of us to stop whining about our circumstances (whatever they may be) and start praying. Let us return to the One who made us, loves us, died for us, and rose again to give us hope!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Well, today was the day. The weather cooperated and I walked my first labyrinth. I wasn't really sure what to expect or how I would react. I went with an open mind to see if this was a way that God would choose to communicate with me. As many people already know, silence is not one of my strong suits. Adding to the silence was walking the labyrinth--alone and without guidance. But I did it and I'm glad I did.

Now, I didn't find any great inspiration in my walk. I didn't have what many might call a mountaintop experience. But that doesn't mean I received no benefit from the 45 minutes I spent. As I entered, I was trying to block out distractions and focus. I have to admit, I didn't do a great job of that! The good news is that God had something for me anyway.

As I walked, one step after the other, content to follow the path as it made its many turns, I realized how much this is a metaphor for our walk with God. As we walk, sometimes we feel closer to Him than at other times (much like the many times I neared the inner part of the labyrinth before I was led back away from the center.) What the labyrinth reminded me was that as long as we put one foot in front of the other on God's path, we will eventually end up where He is leading us!

I may choose to walk the labyrinth again before I leave and maybe something else will b e triggered. If not, I will be content to know that as long as I let God lead, no matter how many twists and turns are in the path, I WILL make it to my proper destination!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Read, Rest, and Plan!

Well, that is my goal for this week! I am at the Silver Bay YMCA camp on Lake George, in NY state. It is colder than I was planning, but rest is an indoor activity, so that part is ok. I have my kindle, so the reading works. But without Amy's help the planning part (as well as my health) might not have happened. I left my netbook at the house and while I could have probably struggled to use my iphone for my study (yes i have an app for that!), my medications were unfortunately in the case with the netbook! Amy was wonderful and got it shipped overnight to me and I received it around 9:30 this morning, so I was only about 13 hours late with my meds.

Now I can work on being productive. Along with sermon planning and lesson planning and some "how can we work together with that church in Andover" planning, I am also going to walk a labyrinth for the first time. I keep hoping for a warm, less-wet day, but if I have to, I'll just do it in the cold and rain! I taught a Lenten Lesson about labyrinths, so I am going to practice what I teach!

The setting here is so peaceful, that study and rest seem to go hand in hand. While I realize that my mind and my body need this time to recuperate, I still have to remind myself that I am here to rest as I tend to get caught up in wanting to "do" rather than to let God heal me.

While I realize that it may not be practical for everyone to take a full week to let God recharge them, I do know that God gave us a Sabbath for a reason. I encourage all who read this to make it a practice to find time each week to rest and just let God love them!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Maundy Thursday

Today's Scriptures: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-15

Do you know what the "Maundy" in Maundy Thursday really means? It is about the foot washing that Jesus preformed at the last supper He had with His disciples. It comes from the Middle English maunde ceremony of washing the feet of the poor on Maundy Thursday, from Anglo-French mandet, from Latin mandatum command; from Jesus' words in John 13:34. I find it interesting that most mainline denominations (that includes us Presbyterians) seem to forget that point! Communion is obviously important, but the very title we give to the day focuses on something else entirely!

The it all too common in much that we do as Christians. We say one thing and do another! We say we want to follow God, but then we "do our own thing." God wants us to love Him, our neighbors, our enemies, and ourselves, yet we only want to love the lovable. Anyone can do that, the real test is in loving the unlovable.

God wants us to feed the hungry, cloth the naked and visit the sick and those in prison. We, if it fits our schedules and if the "deserve it" the we MIGHT do it. This is NOT what God wants. Jesus gave us the example to follow and we seem to have decided that it is only up to certain people to actually do it. That is SO wrong. It is ALL of our responsibility to do what God has shared with us to do.

Jesus gave himself completely for us. Isn't it reasonable for Him to expect us to give Him back ourselves and to do as he commanded? Love for God is a verb. It needs to be the same with us. Love one another. Love and don't do it because the people you love deserve it, do it because God told you to do it!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lenten Lesson April 3

Today's Scriptures: Isaiah 49:1-6; John 13:21-33, 36-38

The life and mission of Jesus were not some last minute idea on God's part. Right from the beginning, after the sin of Adam and Eve, God promised to overcome the forces of evil (Genesis 3:15). Then God called Abraham to father a people who would be ready to accept the divine gift of salvation. God freed them from their exile in Egypt and sent prophets to keep them aware of His divine plans for them. Everything that happened to them was somehow connected with the ultimate Servant, the One who was to come, the prophet like Moses. Even their rejection of the Servant when He came couldn't frustrate God's plans. Out of the Servant's suffering and death God brought about salvation for the whole world.

Our life is not some sort of chance happening either. God has plans for each of us and has had them since long before we were born. These plans may include suffering and uncertainty, but they are still God's plans. Like Jesus, each of us has a role to play and a cross to carry, but each of us is called to ultimate success. The Servant of the songs of Isaiah is Jesus but, because we are in Jesus, the Songs are also about us!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lenten lesson April 2

Today's Scriptures: Isaiah 42:1-7; John 12:1-11

The Isaiah passage is one of the Suffering Servant Songs from Isaiah. From the earliest New Testament times, believers have seen Jesus as the embodiment of Isaiah's Servant of God. During these last days of Jesus' life the Church offers us the Servant Songs as kind of poetic meditation on the person and mission of Jesus.

In today's Song we hear that the Servant in endowed with the power of God. he will not be a revolution political leader, but will work quietly, with compassion for the weak, the sightless, the oppressed. His mission is to bring the justice of God to every part of God's creation.

That's how Christ has dealt with us. He has been patient with our weakness. He has given us a new kind of vision. He has brought us into a new Kingdom that stretches to all the earth and extends even into heaven.

Today we thank our heavenly Father for his Servant. Today we thank Jesus for his self-sacrificing faithfulness to His mission!