Daily Scripture

Wednesday, January 26, 2022 – Luke 4:15

   Good morning from Mount Pleasant on Tuesday January 26. The following is a devotion by seminary professor
Marilyn Pagàn-Banks and is based on Luke 4:15.

   Jesus returned to Galilee, and “a report about him spread through all the surrounding country.” Wait, Jesus had
been gone forty days, so what was in that report? That he had survived all that time in isolation with no food? That
not even the promise of power and position could tempt Jesus to turn his back on God? Did Jesus start his public
ministry by testifying about his battle with the enemy? We don’t know. But we do know that the story was spread and
passed along because we have it.

   There is power in offering testimony. Sharing what we have gone through might just be the encouragement that
someone needs to leave an abusive relationship, stand up to an unjust employer, finish a degree, conquer an addic-
tion or fear, seek help, write a book, or give love another chance.

   Not only did Jesus’ spiritual practice prepare him for the struggles he would face; it also created space that
allowed him to be “filled with the power of the Spirit” and to teach and lead with conviction, clarity, compassion, and
courage.

   From the very beginning of his ministry, Jesus embraced vulnerability. He knew the importance of sharing his exper-
ience and the lessons he had learned. He wanted people to get to where he was in their relationship with God and
to be clear that he was the example of God’s love made flesh and not the exception. Jesus wanted them to know
that they too could overcome obstacles and that evil did not have the final word.

   In a fast-changing world, many of us have the gift of social media as a space to share our wilderness experiences
and to realize that we are not the only ones going through such trials. Social media can help us celebrate the many
ways we have found joy, strength, and hope on our journey. Often we have the pictures to prove it!    Amen

 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022 - A Place for Us – Upper Room Devotions

I John 3:1 – See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!

   For most of my life, I have struggled with anxiety. I pile up stresses for myself, and I think of life like I’m running
a race with a goal of winning something — good grades, athletic achievement, or being the best at my favorite
activities.

   In high school, one such goal was to fit in. This goal turned out to be unachievable for several reasons. My limited
finances, transportation, and dislike of texting conversations made me unfit to join the group I wanted to be a part of.

   At the time I didn’t recognize that even though I struggled to fit in in high school, I was already included in an even
more important group: God’s family. This family did not have earthly requirements like the group in high school. This
family only needed my love, faith, and belief in the greatest good of all. It does not matter to God where we are from,
how much money we have, or if our life is perfect in the world’s eyes. God cares and has a place for every one of us.
This promise gives me comfort and a new appreciation for my wonderfully unique and diverse family.

 

Monday, January 24, 2022 – Devotion by Ray Waddle

   Good afternoon from Mount Pleasant on Monday January 24. The following is a devotion by Christian author Ray
Waddle and is based on 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

   Paul lists famous gifts: wisdom, faith, knowledge, healing, miracle-working, prophecy, discernment, tongues, and
interpretation of tongues. Apparently some of these gifts were disruptive enough that they needed calling out.

   Presumably some other gifts and talents are worth honoring too. I think of patience, trustworthiness, serenity,
reliability, hospitality. I also think of the quiet competence needed for musicianship, liturgy-planning, and book-
keeping.  Churches couldn’t function without them. In other words, there’s room for all kinds of people, even though
it can make for a swarming, combustible mix.

   The world these days is obsessed with dividing people. It’s always some version of us against them. It drives an
addiction to conflict, the temptation to call opponents evil. The real world, God’s world, isn’t like that.

   Paul spells this out. The gifts he lists look irreconcilable. Yet this hodgepodge forces us forces us to acknowledge
a truth about the divine creation: Its prodigious diversity is to be grasped and respected, not feared.

   Why is there so much diversity and pluralism? Evidently, God didn’t want a monochrome world, a place of gray
sameness. This is God’s work, and we’re privileged to share in it, for all our differences. I should have the humility
and good humor to honor it. We still have identical identity—ultimately in God, not in race, tribe, or party. Those
things are too finite—too impermanent, flaky, soon embarrassingly out of date—to bear the weight of eternity.

   Paul says to focus on the gifts divinely allotted to each of us and acknowledge that others have been similarly
bestowed in turn—all under God.   Amen

 

Saturday, January 22, 2022 – Poem by P. Williams

I believe churches are meant for praising God; but so are 2 a.m. car rides, showers, coffee shops, the gym, conversations with friends, conversations with strangers.

Don't let a building confine your faith because we will never change the world just by going to church.

We need to be the church.

 

Thursday, January 20, 2022 – The Last Days by Al Eakes, Jr.

These are the last days according to the Spirit.  
But as in Noah’s day No one wants to hear it.

   People did not comprehend until the flood came.  
   And now men will never discuss until the world is a flame.

Men are laughing and scoffing, in unbelief they mock  
But all will be betrayed except God’s chosen flock.

   Some are conscience stricken so they attempt to be good. 
   But their righteousness is useless and will be burned as charwood.

False prophets everywhere, wolves in a sheep’s clothes.
Pretending to be spiritual, but it's all a grand pose.

   Many Charlatan leaders, masses are misled. 
   The blind lead the blind, the dead lead the dead.

Lawlessness has multiplied, reality has faded. 
Everyone out for himself, Covenant love is outdated.

   Wars and rumors of wars, Christians being slain. 
   Believers are hated on account of Jesus’ name.

Famines in various places, earthquakes so violent. 
Jesus is coming soon yet many of us are silent.

   Knowledge keeps increasing, technology on the rise. 
   But the Son of Man is coming on the clouds in the sky.

The elect will be gathered and will gloriously shine. 
This is rapidly nearing as we approach the end of time.

   So how should we then live, knowing what is impending?
   Conducting ourselves holily, on His Grace ever depending.

 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022 – John 2:1-11

   Good morning from Mount Pleasant on Wednesday January 19. The following is an excerpt from a devotion by
religious author Ray Waddle and is based on John 2:1-11

   The locale of Jesus’ first miracle is a party, a wedding, with wine at the center of the action. Scripture dares to
place God’s abundance in a festive setting here, not a mountaintop vision or a sermon on a plain. The wedding at
Cana invites the reader to expect God’s activity even in the details of raucous human celebrations that aren’t strictly
“religious,” like a noisy wedding reception.

   Momentous news penetrates the scene. Jesus declares a mission focused on a family much larger that his imme-
diate one. He also makes it clear that his hour has not yet come. For the time being, he turns attention to the matter
at hand—a lack of wine at a crucial moment in a teeming social occasion. He extravagantly transforms six massive
jars of water into wine. It’s the good stuff, and it’s more than anyone needs—the modern equivalent of about nine
hundred bottles.

   It’s usually explained that these verses carry symbolic meaning about Jesus’ cosmic nature: The miracle is a
symbol of God’s power, and the wine foreshadows the Last Supper and Easter drama to come. To me the force of
Cana has much to do with the earthly details amid laughter, hospitality, and carousing. This story didn’t have to be
told. It didn’t have to appear in a Gospel in order to make the case for Jesus’ unique relationship to God. Yet here he
is, at leisure with his friends, the heavenly will of God bisecting the sweet traditions of a wedding.

   I know people who feel alienated from religion because they think the Christian message is judgmental or joyless.
I hope they’ll take another look at the Gospel of John and crash the wedding at Cana.  Take care and God bless.

 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022 – … the Living God (excerpt from Streams in the Desert)

   “We find the expression “the living God” many times in the Scriptures, and yet it is the very thing we are so prone
to forget. We know it is written “the living God,” but in our daily life there is almost nothing we lose sight of as often
as the fact that God is the living God. We forget that He is now exactly what He was three or four thousand years
ago, that He has the same sovereign power, and that He extends the same gracious love toward those who love and
serve Him. We overlook the fact that He will do for us now what He did thousands of years ago for others, simply
because He is the unchanging, living God. What a great reason to confide in Him, and in our darkest moments to
never lose sight of the fact that He is still, and ever will be, the living God!

   Be assured, if you walk with Him, look to Him, and expect help from Him, He will never fail you.

 

Saturday, January 15, 2022 - Poem

Snow is Coming… Sleet and Ice, too. All the Weather Folks are telling You.

But pause a minute… Use Your head to think. Weather is “iffy” and can Change in a Wink.

Snow is So Silent… No Sound does it Make. But Freezing Rain even Sounds Bad by Saying its Name.

Then the Sleet comes with a big PING; Noisy and Kinda bouncy not like a Ring.

Just so You Know How I feel about all this, Below is my answer… Soft as a Kiss.

I Hope it snows Beautiful Big Flakes. And I hope we have Freezing Rain… Makes it Glisten like Glitter.

I also wish for lots of sleet there. Enough to make a song that Rides on Air.

But Most of ALL I want to see then A BIG Rain Storm that lasts and lasts. And washes all this down the Drain,
And Looka Like it never came!

God Bless Us All!  Be safe and warm.

 

Friday, January 14, 2022 – Mystical Image for our Religious Quest

   Good afternoon from Mount Pleasant. The following is an except from a devotion by Father Ron Rolheiser.

   John’s Gospel gives us two powerful images of discipleship, one male and one female: The Beloved Disciple and
Mary of Magdala.

   The Beloved Disciple, whom we commonly, though perhaps naively, identify with John himself, offers one image of
what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. John presents this figure in various guises, but all have this is common: The
Beloved Disciple has a unique intimacy with Jesus. Perhaps the single most powerful picture of this is that of the
Beloved Disciple reclining at the Last Supper with his head on Jesus’ breast.

   What is contained in this image? This is a mystical image, of intimacy and of listening. Simply put, the image is this:
If you place your ear on someone’s chest, you can hear that person’s heartbeat. The Beloved Disciple, then, is the
person who is so intimate with Jesus that he or she hears his heartbeat and, from that perspective, looks out at the world.

   To be a disciple of Jesus is to have your ear attuned to his heartbeat as you gaze out into the world. For John, if you
do this, you will always be at the right places, will aways have the right perspective, and will always have the courage
to do the right thing. You will also be driven by love.

   Please know that we are monitoring the winter storm threat and will let you know Sunday morning what worship will
look like.

   I hope you are blessed by these words and I pray you will have a great day! Take care and God bless.

 

Thursday, January 13, 2022 – Psalm 23

1 Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need!

2,3 He lets me rest in the meadow grass and leads me beside the quiet streams. He restores my failing health. He helps me do what honors him the most.

4 Even when walking through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way.

5 You provide delicious food for me in the presence of my enemies. You have welcomed me as your guest; blessings overflow!

6 Your goodness and unfailing kindness shall be with me all of my life, and afterwards I will live with you forever in your home.

 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022 – Prayer Readings from “Anxious for Nothing” by M. Lucado

   Dear Lord, You spoke to storms. Would you speak to ours? You calmed the hearts of the apostles. Would you
calm the chaos within us? You told them to fear not. Say the same to us. We are weary from our worry, battered
and belittled by the gales of life. Oh, Prince of Peace, bequeath to us a spirit of calm.

   Grant us the wisdom to remember that you are not the source of anxiety. Rather, help each of us to remember that
resting in you provides relief from all worry. Give us the courage to choose what is good and pure, even when it is
hard or inconvenient. Amen

 

Monday, January 10, 2022 - Prayers and Announcements

   Good morning from Mount Pleasant. We ask that you pray for the heart of our nation, law enforcement officers
and their families, all those affected by the COVID pandemic, our healthcare providers, all those who have suffered
loss in the tornados, and the nations of Haiti and Afghanistan.   Amen

 

Saturday, January 8, 2022 – Weather

The Weather today is very Cold   Pretty soon… this might get old!

Hot or Cold… Or In Between   It does it’s best to keep Us “On Our Toes”

I Love the Cold and Many Love the Hot   We have Many Choices in the Weather we’ve Got.

In Summer here it Gets Hot and Muggy   But a Shower Comes and Cools it Down

Summer Brings Beach Trips   And trips to the Mountains, too.

Fall brings Beautiful Leaves and   Overlooks with a Panoramic View.

Then we Head into Winter and then the Spring   And I think How Lucky We are

Because our Snow is Still Fun   Though Scattered Flakes Reach Out Far

Not measured in Feet Here   Like Snow Storms… North and West.

Because We Have FOUR seasons   We are Certainly Blessed

Sparkling Snow flakes or the Sound of the Rain   God is working His magic… Again

Warmth of the Sunshine – Flowers Bloom   Beauty of Moonrise at Night comes Soon

We are Blessed for Sure, No Matter What   God Loves us ALL… What a Gift We Have Got

 

Thursday, January 6, 2022 – Psalm 139: 1-18

1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

 

Wednesday, January 5, 2022 - “Trapped in the Airport” from Daily Devotions

Jeremiah 29:7 – Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you.

   “We’re calling because we need your prayers, Pastor. We are trapped between flights in Chicago because of the
snowstorm.”

   Our pastor asked, “Are you inside where it is dry and climate controlled?” “Yes,” I replied. “Do you have access to
water and food?” Again, I said, “Yes.” Then he asked, “Are you sick?” I answered, “No.” He said to me, “Then you
aren’t really trapped, are you? I’ll pray for you to be of service to the Lord where you are.”

   We prayed together, and my attitude changed almost immediately.

   I bought children’s books at an airport store and offered them to families with children. My wife struck up a conver-
sation with an older man wearing a Korean War veteran’s hat. Later we offered to wait in the food line for others. It
became easy for us to approach others, knowing we were all in the same situation. Additionally, several worried-looking,
stranded passengers accepted our offer to pray with them.

   The 16 hours in the terminal went rather quickly when we made ourselves available to others. We were not trapped.
We were in the right place at the right time to reflect the love of God.

 

Tuesday, January 4, 2022 – Deep and Wide

   Ephesians 3:17-19 – I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power… 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.

   There is a chorus that we sing sometimes called “Deep and Wide”. If we add in the motions in that the children
show us, we stretch out our arms as far as possible to try to show how “deep and wide” that fountain of God’s love
for the whole world really is!

   When Christ stretched out his arms on the cross, taking the punishment for our sins on Himself to complete God’s
plan of reconciliation with mankind, THAT was the ultimate example of how deep and wide God’s love is for each and
every one of us! Have a blessed day!

 

Monday, January 3, 2022

Genesis 33:14 – I will move along slowly at the pace of the cattle before me and that of the children.

   What a beautiful picture of Jacob’s thoughtfulness for the cattle and the children! He would not allow them to be
driven too hard for even one day. He would not lead them at a pace equal to what a strong man like Esau could keep
or expected them to keep, but only as fast as they were able to endure.

   Jesus “knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust”. Think of that when you are tempted to question
the gentleness of His leading. He remembers all the time and will never make you take even one step beyond what
your feet are able to endure. ..He will strengthen you to make you able, or He will call a sudden halt, and you will not
have to take it at all.” –

   Excerpt from Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman

 

Saturday, January 1, 2022 – A New Year’s Resolution

   Every year I tell you that today we all have this unique opportunity… A New Year’s Resolution… I have made and
broken many in my life… but this year I want to suggest that we all quit that roller coaster and get on a different one.

   How about we all resolve to help each other… to be more kind… to give of ourselves… to lift the spirits of others…
to become more upbeat… to give more hope an strength… to say nice things and be less critical.

   I want YOUR world to be sweeter… I don’t care about how much I weigh or how much money I don’t have… I don’t
care about wrinkles or fashion or 4-wheelies or trucks… but I care about YOU… I want you to feel wonderful about
yourself… and if we all do this we will live in a better world.

   Happy New Year!

   My favorite prayer – God, I will pedal if You will steer.

 

Thursday, December 30, 2021 – Love Calls

   How we need some solid love that can withstand any threat 
Of such genuine quality that we’re secure in its net

   We are in such need of cheer Possessions always sprouts wings
There has to be more to life than putting our faith in things

   Yet the God of love calls us in Him all fear is erased 
And the way to know His love Is to receive His free grace.

   His love never dies God yearns to grant His favor
hear Him, trust Him, obey Him as our Father and Saviour.

 

Wednesday, December 29, 2021 – ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

   ‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take Him at His Word; Just to rest upon His promise; Just to know, “Thus
saith the Lord.”

   O how sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to trust His cleansing blood; Just in simple faith to plunge me ‘Neath the healing,
cleansing flood!

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er! Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! O for grace to trust
Him more!

Yes, ‘tis sweet to trust in Jesus, Just from sins and self to cease; Just from Jesus simply taking Life and rest, and joy
and peace.

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee, Precious Jesus, Saviour, Friend; And I know that Thou art with me, Wilt be with me
to the end.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er! Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! O for grace to trust
Him more!

 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021 – Jesus is Waiting

   Rev. 3:20 reads “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come
in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

   The Adult Sunday School Teacher’s book reads “the operative word during Advent has been waiting. It’s what Advent
is all about. We wait for the Messiah to be born in Bethlehem and to return someday to finish what he started. We are
doing so much waiting for Jesus that we might not realize how much Jesus is waiting on us.

   When we consider all that God has gone through with the human race – it is amazing God continues to be patient
with us. We don’t deserve it, but here is Jesus in today’s text, waiting at the door of our hearts for us to open the door
and let him in.” Have a blest day!