20.2.18

Baptism


February 20, 2018
Opening Hymns:
When Morning Gilds the Skies (http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh185.sht)
Scripture Reading:
1 Peter 3:18-22
3:18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit,

3:19 in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison

3:20 who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.

3:21 And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you--not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

3:22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.


Message:
Baptism can mean so many different things to different people. Some people believe that baptism cleanses us from the sin we are born with. They see it as essential if you want to go to heaven. Because of that, infants and babies are often baptized. In a way, this also shows the parent’s commitment to raise their child to be a son or daughter of Christ.

Others believe that baptism is a choice that the individual should make when they are ready. When they are baptized they are showing their faith and commitment to follow God. When I was 7 years old I came to the realization that I hadn’t been baptized yet, and made sure to get baptized as soon as I could. While my life as a Christian had started before I could talk, through my mom’s beautiful example, my full commitment came when I was 7.

As I read this scripture I can see something new about baptism. It is not only us committing ourselves or our children to follow God. It is a symbol of God cleansing us from our sins (be it is sin we are born with or sin we fall into). Peter compares baptism to the flood from Noah’s day. 8 people and 2 of each animal were saved from destruction. God promises never to flood the world again, however, through the waters of baptism He washes away our sin, letting the good remain.

I’ve for sure sinned since I was 7 after I made that commitment to God. Baptism doesn’t keep us from sinning. However, Peter gives us a beautiful image of the cleansing forgiveness of God. Our spirits are washed clean. Now, when I pray to God for forgiveness I will remember this scripture, and know that he is cleansing me. For Jesus promises to forgive us of all our sins, and we are once more clean.
Time of Prayer

Dear Father, thank you for sending Your Son down to forgive us of our sins. Cleanse us now, that we may draw closer to You. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Closing Hymn
Nothing but the Blood (http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh362.sht)

May the Lord bless you and keep you: May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."
Amen.
Go in peace, serve the Lord
Thanks be to God

19.2.18

Paths


February 19, 2018

Opening Hymns:
As The Sun Doth Daily Rise (http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh675.sht)
Scripture Reading:
Psalm 25:1-10
25:1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.

25:2 O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me.

25:3 Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame; let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

25:4 Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.

25:5 Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.

25:6 Be mindful of your mercy, O LORD, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.

25:7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness' sake, O LORD!

25:8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.

25:9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.

25:10 All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.


Message:
Today’s scripture is comforting to me, not only because it speaks to God’s forgiveness, faithfulness, and steadfast love. But also, because it shows the psalmist petitioning God to guide their path, and to help keep them from sin.

Sometimes I can forget that God forgives us of our sins AND helps keep us from sinning in the future. Life can be challenging, and daunting. Sometimes we can hurt others, or do wrong without realizing it. However, we can always ask for God’s help to lead us in the right way. Through prayer, the study of study of scripture, and worship we can have a better idea of how God would have us live our lives.

As I await the excitement and challenge of having a baby, I can feel terrified that I might not do everything right. So many what if’s come into my mind. What if I teach them wrong, or don’t discipline well enough. What if they have friends that start them down a bad path… I know I’m not perfect. I can worry about what is to come. But better still, I can trust this scripture. By trusting in God and the lessons that He has given me through the scripture I can go through my life with confidence knowing that God will be there with me to forgive me when I fall short, and to guide my path when I need a reminder of what is right and good.   

Time of Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father. Thank you for Your forgiveness of our sins, and for teaching us what is right and good in Your sight. Continue to guide us through our challenges, and through all of the questions that we have. Help lead us to do Your will in all that we do. Amen
The Lord’s Prayer

Closing Hymn
God Will Take Care of You (http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh130.sht)

May the Lord bless you and keep you: May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." Amen.
Go in peace, serve the Lord
Thanks be to God

18.2.18

Covenants

February 17, 2018
Opening Hymns:
Fairest Lord Jesus (http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh189.sht)

Scripture Reading:
Genesis 9:8-17
9:8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him,

9:9 "As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you,

9:10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark.

9:11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth."

9:12 God said, "This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations:

9:13 I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

9:14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds,

9:15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.

9:16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth."

9:17 God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth."


Message:
When life is hard we can forget the promises that God has made to us. Sometimes we can feel lost and abandoned. Life can feel so unfair when something that happens in an instant can change our lives. My mother-in-law had fallen down the stairs one night, and she hurt her back. That one instant made it so she had to be in a back brace for the next 6 months.


My husband has been such a wonderful son helping his mother through it each step of the way. While she is no longer in the back brace, she still does have doctor’s appointments even though the fall was nearly 2 years ago now.

Currently, I work as a nurse on an orthopedic unit. I work with people who need back surgery, hip replacements, or other surgical procedures involving bones. Often times a fall is what caused that person to come in. I will never forget that while I see them at the start of their recovery, they have a long road ahead of them too. In thinking of how my mother-in-law felt, I can try to relate, and show more compassion to the people that I work with.

When life presents us with these challenges it can be easy to become disheartened. It can be hard to remember the promises that God has made to us. However, remembering that God is with us and loves us through each challenge can also help us through them. Whenever challenges come, remember that God loves you. He always stays true to His promises.

Time of Prayer
Lord, thank you for showing us Your love and forgiveness. Help us through each of our individual struggles. Lead us back to You when we feel as though life has become overwhelming. Thank You for always being there for us through the good times and the bad. Amen

The Lord’s Prayer

Closing Hymn
Jesus Loves Me (http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh191.sht)

May the Lord bless you and keep you: May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." Amen.
Go in peace, serve the Lord
Thanks be to God

16.2.18

Remembering to Say Thank You

February 16, 2018
Opening Hymns:
Oh Love that Wilt not Let Me Go (http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh480.sht)

Scripture Reading:
Deuteronomy 26:1-11
26:1 When you have come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it,

26:2 you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for his name.

26:3 You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time, and say to him, "Today I declare to the LORD your God that I have come into the land that the LORD swore to our ancestors to give us."

26:4 When the priest takes the basket from your hand and sets it down before the altar of the LORD your God,

26:5 you shall make this response before the LORD your God: "A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous.

26:6 When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labor on us,

26:7 we cried to the LORD, the God of our ancestors; the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression.

26:8 The LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders;

26:9 and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

26:10 So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O LORD, have given me." You shall set it down before the LORD your God and bow down before the LORD your God.

26:11 Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house.


Message:
The Israelites had a long journey behind them at this point. They had traveled the desert for 40 years, and now God’s promise has been fulfilled. They are no longer slaves in Egypt, they are no longer wanderers without a home. They have a place to call their own.


God gives them instructions on how to thank and praise Him for giving them this new land. They are to give the first of their harvest to the Lord, and they are to celebrate the bounty that the Lord had given them. The Israelites haven’t been the best at saying “thank you” to the Lord, so it makes sense that He needed to tell them how to show their gratitude.
 
Do we remember to say thank you? When we are children our parents give us rememders… but do we still need those reminders as adults? Luke 17:11-19 tells the story of 10 men who were healed and how only 1 man came back to thank Jesus for the miracle that had occurred. Sometimes it can be easier to remember to pray for what we need, but not as easy to remember to thank God for all He has given us. So as we go about our day today, let us remember to say “thank you”

Time of Prayer
Dear heavenly Father. You have made all things on earth and beyond. Thank you for the beauty that You have created. Thank you for calling us Your children. You hear our prayers, and You give us Your loving presence. Thank you for all the answered prayers and all the times that You are with us through our struggles. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Closing Hymn
Oh For a Thousand Tongues to Sing (http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh057.sht)

May the Lord bless you and keep you: May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." Amen.
Go in peace, serve the Lord
Thanks be to God

15.2.18

Give In Secret

February 15, 2018
Opening Hymns:
I Sought the Lord (http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh341.sht) /


Scripture Reading:
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
6:1 "Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

6:2 "So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.

6:3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

6:4 so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

6:5 "And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.

6:6 But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

6:16 "And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.

6:17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,

6:18 so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

6:19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal;

6:20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.

6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


Message:
As we enter this season of Lent, this scripture reminds us that when we are donating, fasting, or giving up something during this season, we must remember why we are doing it. If we do it to show off and brag to others about how good we are, our hearts are not in the right place. We should instead use this time and our sacrifices to draw closer to God.


As I ponder this scripture and look out at the world, I can’t help but question it this year. When I hear the news each day it can feel so dismal. It seems like there needs to be more stories of all the good that people are doing in the world too. They need to see kindness in action.

I know the scripture isn’t saying to hide our kindness from others. In fact, by fasting, giving, and sacrificing in secret the end goal is to draw closer to God. That closeness will reflect out in how we live our day to day lives. God tells us not to hide our light, but to let it shine (Matthew 5:15).

So, in this season of lent, remember that while we may pray, fast, donate, or give up things in secret, we still should openly show our kindness and God’s light to others. The world needs to see love and forgiveness. The world needs to remember there is goodness and grace.

Time of Prayer
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for giving us this season so that we are reminded to draw closer to you. As we reflect on Jesus’ ministry and sacrifice during these next 40 days, be with us. Guide our actions and motivations. Draw us closer to you so that we may in turn show others Your love and grace. Amen


The Lord’s Prayer

Closing Hymn
Nearer My God to Thee (http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh528.sht)


May the Lord bless you and keep you: May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."
Amen.
Go in peace, serve the Lord
Thanks be to God

25.5.17

God Hears Our Prayers

May 25, 2017
Opening Hymns:
What a Friend We Have in Jesus: http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh526.sht

Scripture Reading:
Psalm 47
47:1 Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy.

47:2 For the LORD, the Most High, is awesome, a great king over all the earth.

47:3 He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet.

47:4 He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah

47:5 God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.

47:6 Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.

47:7 For God is the king of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm.

47:8 God is king over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.

47:9 The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted.


Message:
Prayers can be answered! Whether it is a prayer for rain, or a prayer to be released from captivity. God has answered prayers throughout the New and Old Testaments, and is still answering prayers today. As I read this psalm I can’t help but think of all the prayers that were answered for this psalmist… and I also can’t help but pause and think of my own answered prayers.


While there are countless blessings in my life, one stands out, because it just happened earlier today. My husband and I have a cat, and he wasn’t doing well. Less than a year ago I had to say goodbye to my cat Lynx because of health complications. So, it was extra hard when our cat Sebastian got a bladder obstruction. We took him to the vet to get him treated, but after the treatment his bladder got blocked again. The vet described an invasive and expensive surgery that could be done to help him. After a very long and hard conversation we had decided that it would be too much to spend on our cat.


Every now and then we volunteer at “Feed My Starving Children,” an organization whose mission it is to help feed children all over the world. Volunteering there has reminded us how blessed our own lives are. It seemed hard to justify spending so much money on our cat when there are mothers and fathers that may not have the means to support their own children. We wondered, could that money do more good elsewhere?


So, we took our cat home, hoping that he wouldn’t obstruct again. We had pain medicine for him to keep him comfortable. When he still couldn’t pee after two days, we made the call to schedule a time for them to put him to sleep (3:30pm today).


Over those 2 days I had prayed, googled home remedies, and tried to help create a urine stream with a technique that the vet had showed me… to no avail. Today was a day to say a tearful goodbye. However, at 1:45pm Sebastian was just sitting on the ground when a steady stream of urine began to flow. I have never been so happy to see a cat peeing on the floor! While he’s not yet at 100%, it was such a blessing to hear his purr again.


This challenging week has made me think a lot. It has shown me all the blessings I have in my life. I have an amazing husband, a loving family and friends, and a cute little fur friend. It has shown me the importance of treasuring each moment with everyone in my life, because changes happen so fast. It has also helped shift my focus from “what I want”, to “what can I give?”  


Prayers can be answered, and no prayer is too big or small. I know that not all prayers are answered in the way we wish, but I strongly believe that God listens to each and every one. Remember to pray when you face your own hardships. Pray for those who are facing challenges of their own. Pray for the hungry, the homeless, the sick, the dying, and for those who morn. Pray, and know your prayers are heard.

Time of Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for listening to Your children when we pray. Thank you for caring about each and every struggle that we face. I pray that you will be with those who live in poverty. Be with the people who feel their prayers are going unanswered. Send Your comforting presence to those in most need of comfort. Guide us all, that we might become answered prayers for those in need. Thank you so much for every prayer that you have answered. Thank you for always listening. Amen

The Lord’s Prayer


Closing Hymn
I Surrender All: http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh354.sht



May the Lord bless you and keep you: May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." Amen.
Go in peace, serve the Lord
Thanks be to God

Great Joy


May 25, 2017

Opening Hymns:
Crown Him With Many Crowns: http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh327.sht


Scripture Reading:
Luke 24:44-53
24:44 Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you--that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled."

24:45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures,

24:46 and he said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day,

24:47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

24:48 You are witnesses of these things.

24:49 And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."

24:50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them.

24:51 While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.

24:52 And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy;

24:53 and they were continually in the temple blessing God.



Message:
What has made you joyous in your life? As strange as it is, I know the most joy I’ve had has come after hardships. The joy you feel after 4 years of school when you finally graduate, or the joy and energy you feel after you’ve been sick and have recovered. Happy times are indeed more impactful when they follow hardships.  

In today’s scripture, the disciples are experiencing great joy. Not only had Jesus arisen from the grave. Their teacher had taught more lessons, and opened their eyes so that they could understand the scriptures. Then, they were able to see Him ascend into heaven. The disciples had been through so much, they faced ridicule, and they even had to see their teacher die on the cross. After all they had experienced, it is no wonder the overwhelming joy they felt during all the events that followed.

Unfortunately, life does have its ups and downs… the hardships for the disciples were anything but over. They were given a mission to spread Christ’s teachings, and not everyone would want to listen. There would be more who ridiculed them… but through each challenge they faced, I can’t help but think that this joy that Christ had given them, helped sustain them through each challenging moment. Jesus had given them a hope that could not be killed, and a mission that they followed with joy.

Time of Prayer
Dear Lord, help us through each hardship we face. Thank you for the lessons and the joy that we feel as hardships fade and pass. Help sustain us with Your joy, and let us never forget the mission that You have given each of us. Grant that we may add more goodness and beauty to this world. For those who are sad, let us bring joy. For those who are sick, let us bring healing. Teach us to be Your hands to a world in need of love. Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer


Closing Hymn
Dona Nobis Pacem http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh376.sht


May the Lord bless you and keep you: May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." Amen.
Go in peace, serve the Lord
Thanks be to God