When God calls: An offering from Verlene Springer

March 8, 2018
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So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.

And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

“I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.”

Genesis 46:1-4

When God calls, it is specific to an individual and designed to fill what is needed, at that time, in God’s plan for the world. Like Moses, responses are often a variation of “are you sure you mean me, I stutter?” Or Ananias, “you must have made a mistake this time, God, that guy kills Christians!” It is always a free choice; the rich young ruler “sadly went on his own way.” The call often requires a response to something mysterious. Mary’s “yes” from just a girl changed the world forever. The call comes but the details, the how, often come later. Callings can begin subtlety as a strong desire, a persistent thought, or even a restless feeling of a need for change.  It can come through something someone says, something read, or even a movie or play. An open and attentive stance assists us to better hear God’s voice and be ready to drop our nets and follow Him.

(c) 2018 Verlene Springer

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Focus on Our Faith – An Offering from Diane Clay

March 7, 2018
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Armies may surround me,
   but I won’t be afraid;
war may break out,
   but I will trust You.
I ask only one thing, LORD:
Let me live in Your house
   every day of my life
to see how wonderful You are
   and to pray in your temple.
        Psalm 27:3-4 CEV
 
An image of Jesus “setting his face toward Jerusalem” came to me while meditating on these verses.  Jesus knew what awaited him upon his arrival, yet he resolutely continued the journey.  Just as many of us have verses of Scripture that strengthen us and give us hope in difficult times, surely Jesus recalled God’s love and promises as he neared certain death in Jerusalem.  Like Jesus, our focus should not center on our fears, but rather on our faith that God loves us, abides with us, and will never leave or fail us.
 
(c) 2018 Diane Clay
Spiritual Director
Contemplative
Grandmother Extraordinaire
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An offering from Evelyn: He is risen, indeed!

April 22, 2015
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Up from the grave He arose,

With a mighty triumph o’er His foes

He arose a Victor from the dark domain,Easter Lily

And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.

He arose! He arose!

Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Refrain from Christ Arose by Robert Lowry 1874

 

Christ’s resurrection victory means he conquered not only the foes of His day, but He also conquered my foes. Through the years my foes have changed. My personality has not changed so my attractions and my weaknesses have followed me through the passages and transitions of my life. Because Jesus arose from the tomb, I have been freed by God’s love and grace. He lives in me through the power of the Holy Spirit. I am not defeated by occasional loneliness and anxiety. I am able to face the unknown of aging with confidence and hope.

What foes has the Risen Christ conquered in your life?

He is risen, indeed!

© Evelyn Pope 2015

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An offering from Amy:

April 20, 2015
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I am created new.

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?” Luke 24:5

How slow I am to embrace new life in Christ.Untitled

I’ve spent time wrestling in the Lenten desert with who I am called to be. I’ve waited painful hours from the garden to the cross to carry that, which needs to die, to the tomb…reluctance to serve as I am called, impatience with God’s timing, pride, my desire to control. And in pre-dawn prayer I have known Christ’s renewal. I have been amazed, as I’ve experienced God’s love in and through me. Yet, I want to return to the tomb to retrieve my old ways in disbelief that I’ve actually been made new. I keep looking for the dead to see if it’s really dead rather than rejoicing in the living.

In the crucified Christ I am forgiven. In the risen Christ, I am a new creation. I surrender, Holy Spirit, to live in trust and joy among the living.

(c) 2015 Amy Moore

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An offering from Beverly: Transformation…Easter…Remembrance…

April 19, 2015
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He is risen, indeed!

On the third day, Jesus arose from the dead, fulfilling the prophecies. He is Messiah, Savior, Redeemer, King of Kings, Shepherd, God with us.rolled-stone

But where were His followers on that day? They had fearfully gone into hiding, left without hope or understanding. Imagine the surprised disciples, when Jesus suddenly appeared with them in their locked room! Consider Jesus’ grace-filled love for Thomas, who needed to experience Jesus for himself. Jesus met his need with an invitation to touch His nail scarred hands and side. Thomas’ eyes were opened, as he exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!”

These disciples, ordinary men, saw the Risen Christ, received the Holy Spirit, and became extraordinary in their passionate zeal for their Messiah. Receiving a remarkable new strength and courage, they were empowered to witness boldly, to bring healing and deliverance, and to live out the truth they believed, even to the point of a martyr’s death. Transformation.

Easter. Remembrance.  Jesus Christ, Risen Savior, invites me to be with Him presently, forever. Everyday, I fall in love with Him again. Every day, a new opportunity to say, “My Lord and my God!”

(c) 2015 Beverly Middleton

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An offering from Donnie: God Has Chosen Me

April 18, 2015
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He is risen and has given me himself as the example upon which my ministry is to be lived out. This was first shown to me in the Father’s relationship to Jesus and by extension,

2005-7-Bee-Balm-with-Orange-Butterfly4Jesus’ relationship to me. The heart of that relationship consists of reaching out in love and concern for all. This happens in and through the intimacy I am called to by Jesus: “I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.” (John 15:15)

That is pretty heady stuff—intimacy with Jesus–but if I am ever to go out and be of service to others, that intimacy has to be cultivated and not by myself, that is the Lord’s work, accomplished in and through the power of the Spirit. So with his Resurrection, I am given my walking papers—go and reach out to others in love and concern. Alleluia!

(c) 2015 Donnie Hawley

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An offering from Dorothy: Known to them in the breaking of the bread…

April 17, 2015
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Jesus walked unrecognized with two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection and was not known to them until the breaking of the bread at the evening meal (Luke 24:31). breadEach time we take communion we, too, can know Christ again and again in this sacrament. After my mother died, I was in a deep state of grief. One Sunday at the altar rail during Eucharist, I felt an indescribable peace, a profound realization that Jesus and my mother were somehow together there in that moment. He is risen, indeed! He is there in the breaking of the bread, offering His love and His grace to all who will accept the gift.

(c) 2015 Dorothy Castle

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An offering from Deborah: He lives within us all…

April 16, 2015
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He is risen!birds-of-north-america_t4868

Like many others, I  draw closer to my Creator when I pause to appreciate the great outdoors.  There is just something about the overwhelming beauty and complexity of nature that seems to authoritatively proclaim His majesty.  Sadly though, much of this gift of creation is ill-used.  From global warming to overfishing and animal abuse, from the destruction of incomprehensible swaths of rainforest to massive water waste, it is a sad proclamation of how disconnected man is from his role of stewardship when it comes to caring for the environment.  And not only sad, but demoralizing and seemingly hopeless except for one very simple and very important belief: Jesus lives.  He lives within us all.  Thus, I can rely on his strength to have the courage to do my part to care for his creation.  And as I do my part, my hope grows with the reminder that Jesus’ power to save is greater than all the ills of the world combined.

(c) 2015 Deborah Bouis

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An offering from Nancy: I have touched him with my own hands.

April 14, 2015
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. . . I have touched him with my own hands.

1 John 1:1image001

John writes from the perspective of having known the Christ in the flesh.  His powerful, straightforward witness makes our faith seem tangible.  He inspires my most exultant Easter joy with confidence.

Yet I know that John’s witness doesn’t explain my experience of faith.  I have tried to reclaim the moment when I first believed, and it eludes me.  Yet I know it’s not so much that I have touched Him as it is that He has touched me, and I can recapture that moment, just by listening.  When I push aside the clutter in my mind, I know His guiding touch, His restraining touch, His encouraging touch.  When I am truly present, I feel God moving in my life.

As I reflect on the miracle of His resurrection, my heart is full with joy at the knowledge that God reached down to touch me.

(c) 2015 Nancy Jagmin

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An offering from Debra: Joy in being alive…

April 13, 2015
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He is risen, indeed!

I love the beginning of spring.  I love sitting outside with the pups and a cup of coffee, watching the sky lighten, hearing the birds wake up and start to sing, feeling the breeze soften as the day awakens.  I IMG_2365especially love watching the leaves overhead seem to burst forth overnight, their tender, pale green shoots rendering what were stark, bare branches to those bursting with life.  I walk around exhilarated this time of year, singing more often than not.  If I ever thought God was nowhere to be found I must have had my eyes closed.

We’re lucky the Easter season coincides with this miracle of nature.  My Lenten focus on where I have missed the mark gives way to a generalized joy in being alive.  Like the risen Christ, I, too, am raised to new life, filled with a joy and hope and a zeal to follow the blueprint to wholeness and holiness God has so graciously provided.

(c) 2015 Debra Cook

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