Dailies

We will have a daily Lenten scripture for you to read and a question(s) for your devotion time.

Friday, April 15, 2022

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5 You see the progression of the transformed Christian life in the first 5 verses of Romans chapter 5: Faith hope and love… Faith, hope and love are key parts of Paul’s teaching throughout his ministry. In 1 Corinthians 13:13, he wrote “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” A transforming Christian is always growing, changing. Faith, hope and love… Love God and love your neighbor…the greatest of these…God is good!

Submitted by Pastor Mark

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Thursday, April 14, 2022

“Not only so but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4 Hope is a wonderful gift from God. Hope is kind of a by product of our lives lived in Christ. Paul gives us a sequence of character-building steps that each of us has to experience to produce unquestioned hope in our lives…hope in Christ only and nothing else...’suffering…perseverance…character…hope…’ During this Lenten season, open up to the hope that only our lives in Christ can produce. God is good!

Submitted by Pastor Mark  

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Wednesday, April 13, 2022

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2 As Christians, Paul tells us that we have been justified (made right with God) though our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In other words, we are saved via our faith in Jesus Christ. It is the grace of God in which we are saved. It is in the awesome power, majesty and glory of God that we have hope of salvation and by no other means. God is good!

Submitted by Pastor Mark

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Tuesday, April 12, 2022

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” Hebrews 11:1 Father Abraham is attested to having the greatest faith of the ancient Hebrews. God promised to both him and his wife, Sarah, that Abraham would be the father of nations and that their descendants would be as numerous as the stars. That was a pretty big promise to a man and woman who were pushing 100 years of age and had never been able to have children. But, after initially doubting, their faith in what they hoped for (a child) and the assurance of what they could not begin to see or imagine was rewarded. Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah! When we doubt because we cannot see that God can or will act in whatever way in our lives, we are in good company with the ancient Hebrews. But, when our faith is steady and unwavering we can be assured that God can and will act on our behalf in accordance to His will and purposes. God is good!

Submitted by Pastor Mark  

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Monday, April 11, 2022

“He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” Matthew 8:26 Even though Jesus was literally with them, the disciples were afraid when adversity came upon them in the form of the storm on the lake. By this time, they had been with him basically night and day for months or even years. They had seen the miracles that Jesus could perform and had heard his teaching probably every day…maybe, even all day every day. It is no different with us. We have all known Jesus for days, months, years or even decades. He has been with us basically night and day. It is no wonder that our faith waivers from time to time especially during the storms of our lives. But, let us begin to have complete faith in the Lord of everything with everything in our lives and our families. God is good!

Submitted by Pastor Mark  

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Friday, April 8, 2022

We have many parts in the one body, and all these parts have different functions. In the same way, though we are many, we are one body in union with Christ, and we are all joined to each other as different parts of one body. So we are to use our different gifts in accordance with the grace that God has given us. If our gift is to speak God’s message, we should serve; if it is to teach, we should teach, if it is to encourage others, we should do so. Whoever shares with others should do it generously; whoever has authority should work hard; whoever shows kindness to others should do it cheerfully. Romans 12:4-8 Just as our physical body has so many parts – eyes, ears, mouth, arms, hands, legs, feet – our Christian body has many parts – you & me, all the others on this earth. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ – FAMILY. We are the hands and feet of our Jesus as we live in his world. We have many ways to serve him; help each other, love your neighbors, tell others about Jesus, pray often, and go to church.

Submitted by Judy Jones M

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Thursday, April 7, 2022 “

Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before His presence with singing.” Psalm 100:2 “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…” Matthew 28:19-20a The Christian life is also a life about work. As God’s children, we have tasks that He has given us that we are to carry out in our lives. These tasks all revolve around making sure that the world comes to the knowledge of Christ. Every Christian has a part to play. When we do our work for God, we should be joyful in it. Dear God, I ask that as I carry out what you have called me to do, may I always do it with a glad heart. I do not see this work as a burden but as a blessing because it is a privilege to do anything for you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen

Unknown

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Wednesday, April 6, 2022

“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 She’s not likely subject for a photographer. It’s rare that she presents her best side. In fact, the first picture I saw of her left me unimpressed. Her eyes seemed unfocused and her hair was anything but shiny and lustrous. In fact, my original plan was to meet her siblings, and possibly make a choice involving one of them. That was not to be, however. The moment we stepped into the play yard, her sister ignored us. It was Lucy who ran eagerly to our side. It was Lucy who claimed our attention with her buoyant personality. It was Lucy who chose us through her persistence. And it was Lucy who won our hearts that day. When people ask how we got our dog, we share how we didn’t go to the shelter intending to choose her, but she chose us and we were blessed. 1 John 4:19 tells us that even before we loved God, God loved us. May we remember that today and every day. When we feel unchosen, when we feel unlovable, we have One who loves us completely.

Submitted by Pastor Susan  

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Tuesday, April 5, 2022

God says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 We live in a very busy and noisy time. Airplanes flying overhead, cars driving by with radios blaring, tv’s playing in the background not so much for watching as for noise, cell phones ringing or beeping, microwaves dinging. I could go on and on. There is so much going on around us in our home lives, our job lives, our personal lives just to mention a few. Do we ever get quiet? Some of us even make noise in our sleep. Yet God says to us in Psalm 46:10, “Be still”. Recognize that HE is God. He wants us to make time for Him - to listen to Him. In order to do that we have to be quiet. He speaks to us all day long. We just need to listen. That may mean going off by yourself and communing with God. Eat His words. You will never grow fat doing that and it will be more fulfilling and lasting than eating a full meal. God’s calling you now to come to Him and hear what He says. Father in Heaven, forgive me for my failure to give you my all and to listen to you when you speak to me. Amen

Submitted by Susie Ammerman  

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Monday, April 4, 2022

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We Always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 Unsinkable Through God’s Unfailing Love Life can sometimes bring discouraging episodes that seem endless and without hope. Whether it is a prolonged illness, an unfruitful job search, a broken relationship, or grief over a lost loved one, these situations can seem to be a relentless attack on our faith. Yet, even here, God brings a message of hope. He knows that life on this earth is often no cupcake. The magic word is “but” God. God does not allow crushing, despair, abandonment or destruction of His children’s lives. He does provide the resurrection power and hope that was revealed both in Jesus and now in our lives. Inspiration from the “Unsinkable Molly Brown” can become the motto of Christians as we are “unsinkable” by the grace of God and His love and faithfulness. Molly was born one of four children, working in a tobacco factory at the age of 13 to help her family and later working at a dry goods store as a seamstress. Despite her own lack of money, she always found time as a young teen to work at the local soup kitchen and offer help to those more needy. She was active in her efforts to improve the schools for miners’ children and for women’s suffrage. She met the love of her life, her husband John “JJ” Brown, while working at the dry goods store. They decided despite their poverty that they would be happy together. JJ had an interest in the local silver mine. The repeal of the Silver Purchase Act brought the mine and whole town into a collapse, but JJ knew that at the bottom of the mine was gold. It was the largest vein of gold found in North America to date. Once they accessed the gold, JJ with his family and the company became extremely wealthy overnight. Molly continued her crusade for good in Denver, speaking out against societal wrongs and even running for elected positions. She helped build playgrounds and hospitals. She was snubbed and never accepted in Denver society because of her “new” money. She and her husband separated because of her outspokenness for the causes she deemed important. She got her nickname for surviving the Titanic’s sinking, stating that typical to Brown luck she was unsinkable. Molly is an inspiration in that despite her own circumstances, she did not waver from her beliefs or her commitment to what she felt was right. She experienced poverty and wealth, good times and bad, achievements and disappointments, but always clung to her faith and calling. As we are pressed by the circumstances of our lives, the light of Christ shines through our persisting hope in God’s love and faithfulness. While others might fall apart at what you are facing, you can cling to the fact that God is right there with you walking through the valley. Your reaction to your circumstances can be a beacon of hope to those around you, Dear Heavenly Father. Thank you that your unfailing love for me endures forever and that nothing can separate me from your love. Please help my life to be a beacon of hope to those around me that they might find their hope and comfort in You. Thank you for your faithfulness to your children in every situation that they face. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

Submitted by Debbie Specht  

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Friday, April 1, 2022

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 Imagine you are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you, making you spill your coffee everywhere. Why did you spill the coffee? (pause) You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup. Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea. The point is whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill. Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which will happen), whatever is inside of you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled. So, we have to ask ourselves, “What’s in my cup?” When life gets tough, what will spill out? Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility? Or does anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions come out? You choose! Today let’s work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation, kindness, gentleness and love for others.

Submitted by Penny Bond  

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Thursday, March 31, 2022

Read Psalm 136 – “…His faithful love endures forever…” Unlovable Unlovable – that’s the title belonging to one of my favorite books for children. It’s a short and simple story with a powerful message. In it, a little dog (Rex) is mocked by other dogs in the neighborhood and scorned by the family cat. Repeatedly, Rex is told that he is “unlovable”, until that is how he sees himself and what he believes to be true. A new dog moves into the neighborhood and Rex hides, fearing more torment. To his great surprise, the new dog looks just like Rex. Rex discovers that he is actually lovable! It seems to me that many books geared toward children hold lessons for adults as well. How often do we experience negative treatment and come away with the idea that we, too, may be “unlovable”? In Psalm 136, we are told TWENTY-SIX TIMES, “His faithful love endures forever”. Isn’t that amazing? TWENTY-SIX times!! Whenever we are tempted to feel “unlovable”, may we turn to the One whose love does not fail.

Submitted by Pastor Susan

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Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8 God is love. He’s also forgiving. If we claim to love and know God, then we must be loving and forgiving also. If we are not loving or forgiving, then this must mean we either do not understand His depth of love or perhaps we do not love God like we should. There are times when we, as humans, do not reflect God’s image (even though we were created in His image). When those times occur, God shows His love even more to us in that He forgives us. We are not perfect and because of that God sent Jesus into the world to save us. Let’s spend time reflecting on how God has shown each of us His love and mercy. Then strive to show that same love to others around us even those who do not deserve it. We are children of the Almighty God even though we may not know or recognize it. Holy Father, please forgive us when we do not show the love of you not only on the outside but deep within our hearts. Amen.

Submitted by Susie Ammerman

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Tuesday, March 29, 2022

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1 As I have experienced more in my old age, I found that causing harm in any form is something that should almost always be avoided. What does causing harm usually lead to? More harm. If you can approach a situation in one or two ways either harshly or gently, the choice should be obvious. How many times did you hear Jesus use harsh words in the Bible? Now compare it to your own life. Let us all try to be more Christlike. Forgive me, Father, for I am so far from perfect. Like the prodigal son, I have wasted so much of your knowledge on trivial pursuits. I have often caused pain to others. Lord, I beg that you help me realize when I cause harm to others so that I can quickly apologize for my misdeeds. Help me carefully choose the words that I say so that others will be comforted rather than angered by my speech.

Amen. Unknown  

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Monday, March 28, 2022

If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:2 love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 1 John 4:20 Nobody Cares How Much You Know Until They Know How Much You Care I was working for a company that offered IT services on a contract basis. The Marketing Manager wanted a quotation to be added to some trinket he was going to give to all our clients and potential clients to help them remember us. He asked the staff for ideas. A fellow employee named Joe said he had a quote that his dad always said: “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care”. The Marketing Manager loved it and had it put on hundreds of these trinkets. I would see these things at various client sites I went to work at. I always remembered Joe’s dad had that saying. Years later, with the help of the internet, I learned Joe’s dad may have said it, but Theodore Roosevelt said it first. Still there’s a lot of truth in that saying. And as Christians we can look to a few scriptures that emphasize that truth. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. Sometimes we encounter someone who has an answer for a problem. But their answer doesn’t consider all the facets of the problem. They are trying to impress us with their “intelligence”. Hopefully, if I am giving someone advice it is because I am wanting to help them. Another verse to remember here is 1 John 4:20. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. Dear Heavenly Father, help me to remember to speak in love. In Christ’s name, amen.

Submitted by Ron Specht  

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Friday, March 25, 2022

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds. James 1:2 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. John 15:1 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus Philippians 4:19 While working as a Wine Steward, I learned all there was to know about wine. I found grapevines can thrive in a variety of different climates and soils. However, I have noticed that the more intense, flavorful wines come from areas where the climate is marginal and the soil not so fertile. With the tough climate and poor soil, the vines must work harder to produce the grape leaving the vines stressed. This then makes fewer but a more flavorful and concentrated grape. Think of your faith as being a grapevine. You will go through trials and hardships that will strain your faith, but the toughest conditions produce the best faith. Jesus is the grapevine, you are the branches and God is the vinedresser. God puts you in these conditions to help you produce a strong and unyielding faith. Like Jesus through all his trials and crucifixion his faith became stronger in God, his Father – our Father.

Submitted by Andrea Sweet 

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Thursday, March 24, 2022 “.

. . Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Mathew 28:20 Knowing that God is always with me no matter what I’m going through gives me great peace and joy. Heavenly Father, thank you for always being by my side. Amen.

Submitted by Alene Campbell 

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Wednesday, March 23, 2022

For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less… 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 Coming Home Lately, I have been considering the meaning of coming home. I know that even today, as I drive down the street where my childhood home was. I remember the feelings of anticipation of arriving home after a long day at work or school; home was a safe place, a place to rest, a place where those who loved me awaited my arrival. In the home I have shared with my family I remember my teenage daughter, bursting in the door after school, delighted that I was home to greet her. I asked her how she knew I was at home, and she said the house was filled with the aroma of baking and fresh air! She knew that someone loved her and was anticipating her arrival. We associate good smells, love, security and welcoming with our memories of home. Another daughter who has moved to another country seeking God’s purpose for her life, shared that as her family considered their move and visited several possible locations, they settled on their new location because she said it felt like home and that she had a tremendous peace and belonging in that location that other places did not provide. You may have had many homes, but some of those special feelings and good memories linger and are just a shadow of the home that is to come. We all know that this earth is not our final home. 2 Corinthians 5:1-2, “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling.” We are all strangers on this earth and longing for our eternal home. As much as we have appreciated the homes that God has provided, how much more so will we be completed as we join Him in our eternal home. Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your gracious provision for us as we live our lives out on this earth. Please help us to live each day remembering the sacrifice of Your son, Jesus Christ, so that we might have an eternal home with You in heaven. Please help us to be a light to those in our city who are suffering from homelessness that their needs may be met. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Submitted by Debbie Specht

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Tuesday, March 22, 2022

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. Lamentations 3:22-23 “There was an old man named Michael Finnegan, he grew hair on his chin-nigan. He pulled it out and it grew in again, poor old Michael Finnegan begin again.” I am not certain where my children learned that song, however, it gave them great delight to sing it, repeatedly. I’m certain that whoever created it did so with that in mind. Yet, I have often wondered if the author knew just how many parents would be tempting to pull their own hair out when the children wouldn’t stop singing! I lost count at how many times we read “Chica Chicka boom boom” or “Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see” when my girls were small. Children enjoy repetition. Somewhere along the way, as we journey through life many of us lose parts of our own childlike spirit. We might forget the rhymes, the riddles, the limericks. We can get so caught up in the turmoil of life that we lose sight of the fact that we can indeed begin again. One of my favorite passages comes from Lamentations 3:22-23, where we are told that His mercies are new every morning, His compassion is unfailing, and His faithfulness is great. While we may have moments when we think that we are too far gone, as Corrie Ten Bloom once said, “There is no pit so deep that His love is not deeper still”. Thank you, God, for Your love.

Pastor Susan  

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Monday, March 21, 2022

“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 God’s church has never been perfect, but it is so important that it strives for the best it can do! Each individual in the church must recognize hat the world is watching them as a representative of the church. So we must all do our best to be a light unto the world. We will stumble, but we have God on our side. If we follow His ways that light will shine through like the sun. Heavenly Father, we pray for your church. May it be united, and may its individuals come to know you. May we all keep your commandments. May we know your truth and believe it with our whole hearts. May our church be representative of your church which gives the light this world needs. Amen

Unknown

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Friday, March 18, 2022

“Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14 The Most Important Thing We Could Ever Do I must have been the last person on the planet to get a smartphone. I couldn’t see how a phone could be smart. I’d rather send a note or an e-mail. Eventually I succumbed to society’s gravitational pull toward technology, and I got a smartphone. But then I just stared at it. Because the “smart phone” didn’t have any buttons, at least not the kind where you can feel the button lower as you push it. My granddaughter said I had to swipe and tap. Swiping and tapping. Imagine that. I kept hearing about all these amazing apps, too. So I gave them a try, but the apps required too much swiping and taping so I gave up on most of them except one. There’s one app that looks like a yellow legal pad. It’s for notes. The little electric notepad lets me create lists any time. I make my to-do lists because I like to be productive. Being productive is a good thing but it can easily become an idol. In 1 Corinthians 16:14 Paul admonishes the people who love God to do everything in love. Doing for the sake of doing doesn’t do anything. The most important thing we can ever do is love God and love others. Love changes everything. Love will do more to change a heart than a million tiny checkmarks on a todo list ever will. I want to approach each new day the same way in the morning when I rise. I want to look at the list of things I want to accomplish that day and ask God to show me how to do each task in love – because the most important thing we could ever do is love.

Submitted by Kathy Oelschiager

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Thursday, March 17, 2022

“Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If you are the Christ, save Yourself and us,” “But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? “And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has Done nothing wrong.” “Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” “And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:39-43 The Criminal on the Cross When I read the Scriptures I often have difficulty understanding what the message is. Invariably my thoughts go back to the promise made to a criminal on a cross next to Jesus. At the end of his condemned life, he recognized Jesus as the spotless Lamb of God. The condemned man knew he was a helpless sinner, and Jesus was innocent. He could do nothing to save himself and was now bound to death and could not escape. He also had a correct view of life after death. Though he was sentenced to death he believed that his soul would continue to live after he died and cried out to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” This criminal had a correct view of salvation (v. 42) and wanted to offer the last thing he had to give (his soul) to Jesus. He realized that Jesus was the Son of God and that he wanted to be a part of Jesus’ realm. The cross is a symbol of the sacrificial love of Christ and His conquering of the grave. Dear Jesus, I am like the criminal. I know that You died for me. Amen

Submitted by Art Smit-Roeters

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Wednesday, March 16, 2022

In him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s Grace that He lavished on us. Ephesians 1:7-8a I was at the grocery store this morning and heard a loud crash and something shattering. Being nosy, I walked towards the sound and saw some people whispering and looking back to the end of the next aisle. When I walked down that aisle, I saw an older lady had hit a shelf containing dishes with her cart and many had fallen to the ground and broke. She was kneeling on the floor embarrassed, frantically picking up the shattered pieces, while her husband was peeling off the bar code from each broken dish saying, “Now we will have to pay for all this!” I felt so bad for her, and everyone was just standing there staring at her! I went and knelt beside her and told her not to worry and started helping her pick up the broken pieces. After about a minute, the store manager came and knelt beside us and said, “Leave it, we will clean this up. Let’s get your information so you can go to the hospital and have that cut on your hand looked at.” The lady, totally embarrassed said, “I need to pay for all this first.” The manager smiled, helped her to her feet and said, “No ma’am, we have insurance for this, you do not have to pay anything!” Now please close your eyes. I would like you to take a minute to really think about this. All the shattered pieces are going to be covered. How do you think she was feeling? How would you feel? God has done the same for you! He has collected the pieces of your broken heart from all the blows life has thrown at you. God will heal all your wounds. Your sins and mistakes will be forgiven. You see, we all have the same insurance, and it’s called Grace. When you accept Jesus as your Savior and ask for forgiveness, the manager of the universe, GOD, will say to you, “Everything has already been paid for, now go on your way, all is forgiven!”

Submitted by Penny Bond 

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                          Tuesday, March 15, 2022

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15 Years ago, my daughter’s preschool class took a trip to the fire museum in downtown Cincinnati. The children got to do many fun activities in addition to learning about fire safety. They were able to slide down the pole similar to one the firemen use, and they were shown how to “stop, drop, and roll”. In fact, the guide presented it so well that some of the children were reluctant to quit! It might seem like a stretch, yet I’m reminded how this principle might transfer over to our prayer life. John Wesley is said to have instructed people to always be prepared to “pray, preach or die”. In 1 Peter 3:15, we read as believers, “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks the reason for the hope that lies within you”. I’m convicted and pray that I will always be ready to “stop, drop, and pray”, for the God’s people. May it be so with you.

Submitted by Pastor Susan

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Monday, March 14, 2022

“We have known and have believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them.” 1 John 4:16 The Good News: You are able to share love because you have been shown love by God. Give that feeling to others by showing them how much you care as well. “No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us.” 1 John 4:12 The Good News: You may not be able to definitively prove that there is a God, but you can feel His love and know He is there for you. Lent seems to be the ideal time to look at marriage. How does our Lent journey shape what we are called to do in marriage? A few decades ago, the word “obey” was removed from wedding vows. Instead we promised to love, honor and cherish each other. Many years later, Jesuit philosopher John Kavanaugh, S.J. lamented how much we had lost by dropping the word “obey” from wedding vows. He said that the root of the word “obey” simply means to put the needs of another ahead of our own. Obedience in this context is nothing about one dominating another – only two people pledging to put the needs of the other ahead of their own. What a wonderful idea. It seems that this is exactly what we are called to in a gospel-based marriage. Do we love as deeply as we had originally intended when we first made our vows? Whether we’ve been married 3 years or 30, this sacred season could be the start of a renewed relationship with our spouse, shaped by our experience of Lent. We can deepen our commitments in marriage and even change the dynamics within our relationships through unconditional love. In loving this way, we transform not only our spouses but more importantly, ourselves. During Lent, we can make “obey-ing” the special focus of our lives. Instead of giving up chocolate, what if each day during Lent, we asked for the grace to be more unselfish in our marriage? As a first step, what if tomorrow, before we got out of bed, we asked God to help us love our spouse more? To put the needs of this life partner of ours ahead of our own? We are called to love in marriage the way we are loved by Jesus – without figuring out what we will get out of it. “Love one another as I have loved you.” As I have loved you. In the same way Jesus loves us – without limits. Re-focusing our marriage invites us to be more giving to fight our human nature that has us focused on our own needs. We are asked to stop keeping score with the ones we love and to put their needs ahead of our own. It is then, Jesus promises, that by losing our lives for his sake, we will find real life. When we make this progress in our most intimate relationship, how then, will it impact our relationships with our children, our church family, the one who has hurt us, our friends, strangers, that person holding a sign at that intersection?

Submitted by Deborah Baker  

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Friday, March 11, 2022

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 God has gone to the ends of the earth to make sure that you will always know that He has got you covered no matter what. He will keep you at rest. He will strengthen you, and He will see you through the tough times. In everything you do, every trial that you face, and in every challenge that comes your way you should know that you have no reason to fret or worry. God is with you. Dear God, I thank you that I can trust in you completely, never having to worry or fret when troubling times come my way. I thank you, Lord, that I can rely on your faithfulness. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen

Unknown 

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Thursday 10, 2022

Thoughts – Isaiah 58 Lent is a season of being invited by God in a deeply personal way. “Come back to me, with all of your heart,” our Lord beckons. “We will,” we respond, but we aren’t quite ready yet. Our hearts are not prepared. We want to squirm, evade, avoid. Our souls are not yet perfect. We are not ready for God to love us. Lent offers us all a very special opportunity to grow in our relationship with God and to deepen our commitment to a way of life, rooted in our baptism. In our busy world, Lent provides us with an opportunity to reflect upon our patterns, to pray more deeply, experience sorrow for what we’ve done and failed to do, and to be generous to those in need. Lent is an invitation to GROW, REFLECT, PRAY, EXPERIENCE, SORROW, BE GENEROUS…what an invitation! Lord, “Jesus loves me this I know…For the Bible tells me so” It’s hard for me to feel it sometimes, but you tell me you are always with me. Lord, Let everything I do this day and in this season of Lent come from you, be inspired by you. I long to be closer to you. Help me to remember that nothing is important in my life unless it glorifies you in some way. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of my life and keep saying, “Tomorrow, I will spend more time in prayer,” but now my longing meets your love and I want to do it now. Help me to rely on you for help. Please, Lord, remind me that “perfection” isn’t the crazy, “successful” way I try to live my life, but a perfection of my most authentic, real self. My “perfection” might be holding my many flaws in my open hands, asking you to help me accept them. Heal me, Lord, and help me to find you in the darkness of my life. Let me reach out in this darkness and feel your hand and love there to guide me. Amen

Submitted by Deborah Baker

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Wednesday, March 9, 2022

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with s are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:15-17

What Do You See?

Elisha’s servant was much distressed at the obvious threat to him and his master from the angry Arameans. Through God’s divine revelation, Elisha had been able to avert numerous ambushes of Israel by the Arameans by sharing their plans with the King of Israel. God had given to Elisha the very words the King of Aram spoke even in the privacy of his bedroom to protect the Israelites. The King of Aram then sent by night a strong force of horses, chariots and soldiers to surround Elisha and his servant. Elisha’s servant saw this large threatening contingency and alerted his master. But Elisha saw more than what the human eye revealed. God had opened his spiritual eyes to the heavenly forces sent on their behalf! Elisha prayed that his servant’s eyes would likewise be opened. The Aramean forces were defeated without Elisha lifting a finger.

Often it is difficult for us as human beings to get past what we see with our physical eyes and our logical mind tells us to see what God sees! After all, we were given the ability to think and see as one way to survive in this world! But God asks us to submit even these God-given abilities to His Lordship and to seek to see our world through His eyes as His Spirit reveals to us a higher level of acuity.

Like Elisha, we need to ask God to open our eyes to what He sees in situations that we face, for our lives, for our church and for our community! We have seen in history what can happen when a person dares to look beyond what is physically there!

Mount Rushmore is an example of a man seeing more than a mountain range. Doane Robinson dreamed a sculptor could carve a mountain. It had never been done! This particular mountain range consisted of the hardest granite. Gutzon Borgium shared his vision. Instead of Mount Rushmore, he saw American history march along the skyline. It took 14 years and almost $1,000,000, but his vision came to past. More than 2 million people come each year to admire the vision that Robinson and Borgium brought into reality.

What vision has God given you? Can you see beyond the mountain of rock to the finished work that He has ordained? God wants us all to have our spiritual eyes opened and not be defeated by what is there but be inspired by what He has ordained to be there.

Dear Heavenly Father, please open my eyes, Lord, to what Your plans are for me, my church and my community. Help me not to be defeated by what is in front of me but be inspired by your ability to move mountains for those with the faith as small as a mustard seed. Help me Lord to listen to Your Voice and follow your plans. In Christ’s Name. Amen.

Submitted by Debbie Specht  

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Tuesday, March 8, 2022

“I tell you the truth, John the Baptist is greater than any other person born, but even the lease important person in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John.” Matthew 11:11 Ever think you are just a speck in the ocean. You blend in the crowd. Nobody notices you or recognizes your talents. Perhaps you don’t think you have any talents good enough to show to the world. This passage shows how untrue that is. You are a child of God and God loves you. He created you. He gave you gifts/talents that only you have. You can try to compare yourself to someone else but everyone is different. God loved you even before you began your life here on earth. He cherishes you and places you on a pedestal. It’s been said that if God had a wallet, your picture would be in it. I’m positive that is true. Never ever think you are unworthy. You were worthy enough for Christ to die on the cross for you to give you eternal life with Him and His Father. Dear God, thank you for the gift of your Son. Thank you, Jesus for dying on the cross for me. Amen

Submitted by Susie Ammerman W

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Monday, March 7, 2022

But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and a few find it. Matthew 7:14 Our striving to leave behind sinful ways and show mercy to suffering people around us will not be easy since Matthew 7:14 states that the journey to Heaven will be difficult. A story of the journey of an average Christian person striving to leave behind destructive, sinful ways and get to Heaven is told in John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. Jesus told His followers to choose the difficult narrow road with the small gate. The narrow gate opens to the hard way of following Jesus. This gate is “narrow” because the single means of salvation is Christ. John Bunyan writes about Christian’s journey, a dream that the book’s unnamed narrator is having. In the dream, Christian is carrying a heavy burden on his back – the weight of his sins – and doesn’t know how to get rid of it. He’s also struggling with the knowledge that his hometown will soon be destroyed by a fire. Christian soon meets a man named Evangelist who tells Christian that he must escape the impending destruction, and that he must flee by passing through a gate. On his way to the gate he plunges in a muddy bog containing sinners’ doubts and fears. Then he meets a man who gives him bad advice. Christian’s burden becomes heavier and he fears being crushed by it. Evangelist finds him again and explains that Christian has been misled. When he finally arrives at the gate, he identifies himself as a sinner. Christian is pointed to the straight and narrow path to the road that will end at the Celestial City, or Heaven. He then meets a man who provides him with symbols of a Christian believer’s journey through life. After this Christian runs to the Cross, where he loses his burden, which tumbles from his back and disappears into a tomb. Angels greet him. One of them hands Christian a roll, or certificate, which he must hand in when he reaches the Celestial Gate. Christian’s troubles were not over. He got locked up but when he resorts to prayer, Christian discovers a key which releases him and his companion named Hopeful from the dungeon. They meet a few more obstacles. The last one was a terrifying crossing of the river of Death by the power of their faith. Once Christian begins to think of Jesus instead of his own sins, he suddenly finds the crossing easy. The pilgrims handed in their certificates and were joyously welcomed into Celestrial City. Dear God, please help this sinner to enter the gate to Celestrial City. Amen.

Submitted by Art Smit-Roeters  

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Friday, March 4, 2022

“. . . I know what I am planning for you,” says the Lord.  “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you.  I will give you hope and a good future.”                                                                                 

                                                                                      Jeremiah 29:11

The above Bible verse I’ve used to help me through many a struggle during my life.  I found it when I was younger searching for some comforting words during one of those times.  It was then that I realized that I could get through anything with God at my side.  It wasn’t until recently that I realized there was a much deeper meaning to it.   This was written by Jeremiah, a prophet, way before Jesus was to enter this world.  God was telling us then that He was sending Jesus to save us from ourselves.  He loved us so much that He was willing to send His only Son to save us.  And Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to go to His death to save us. Jesus took our sins upon Himself on the cross so that we could have eternal life.  How much more hope and love could be shown than that?  We need to show our love to God willingly by living in accordance with His plans for us.  Ask God to reveal His plans to you during this Lenten season and prepare to follow them.  Then prepare to be awestruck by God.

Heavenly Father, help us today to fully recognize the love you gave to us in that you sacrificed your Son, Jesus Christ, that we might live forever.  You have planned our salvation since the world began.  Thank you, Loving Father.  Amen

Submitted by Susie Ammerman

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Thursday, March 3, 2022

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

                                                                                                            Ephesians 2:10

Grandma Shirley was an extraordinary cook.  From traditional Swedish cuisine to standard American fare, to random items from the church cookbook, it didn’t matter what she made it all tasted delicious!  There were rarely many leftovers at her house.  And the best part from a kid’s perspective was the fact that both lunch and dinner would include a dessert course.

Grandma Shirley made pies and cakes and cookies, all from scratch.  Each of us had our own personal favorite, and she made sure to include them all.  One day, she tried a new recipe.  It was a kind of lemon bar with a twist.  According to Grandma Shirley it was a complete flop and she was reluctant to serve it.  However, we all clamored for a taste, and it was spectacular!  In fact, it was so tasty, that for many years afterward, one of us would invariably ask her to bake a dish of “flop”.

I’ve often thought about this as I became an adult.  I am reminded of the many times that we may feel like we are “flops”.  It’s tempting to give up.  Yet, God sees us not as flops, but as His masterpiece.  In fact, Ephesians 2:10 says just that.

May today find us embracing that reminder.  When we are leaning toward seeing ourselves or our situations as a flop, may we remember how God views us -- His masterpiece!

Submitted by Pastor Susan

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Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Lent is a time we, Christians, set aside each year to remember the love of God that is poured out through Christ Jesus on the cross in His death.  We acknowledge His defeat of death, sin and Satan in His resurrection that brings Eternal Life.

It is a time period of 40 days that is representative of the 40-day fast that Jesus underwent (see Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:13 and Luke 4:1-13). 

It begins today on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday.  During this time Christians observe the time by fasting and/or giving up (sacrificing) a particular food or act symbolizing what Christ did those 40 days. 

This year let us begin by considering the following:

            L – loving God first and foremost and each other as we would love ourselves.

                 (Mark 12:29-31)

            E – extending a helping hand to those less fortunate than us.  (Hebrews 13:1-3)

            N – never letting a day go by without reading God’s holy word (Psalm 12:6) and

                 praying without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

            T – thanking God daily for the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, and for His mercies.

                 (Psalm 106:1)

Heavenly Father, we praise your name on high and thank you for sending Christ into the world to save us from ourselves.  Amen.

Unknown

 

 

 

Last Published: April 14, 2022 6:43 PM
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