Rename

Rename

Each time I open my IPad to write, a fresh new blank page faces me.  However, the header reads: “Rename”.  This causes me to focus on what idea, subject, or thing on my heart that I trust God to provide.  Today, when I read “rename” again, for probably the thousandth time or more, it stopped me.  Immediately I am reminded of the many stories throughout the Bible describing encounters with God.  As God is revealed, often as not, the person is renamed by God.

Renaming is a significant signpost in biblical life.  It signifies an encounter that is life-changing.  Not just for the message given, the new land provided, an anointed position of priest or leader, but a change in spirit.  A new understanding of who they are in community is couched in the name that gets attention.  Others, in speaking their new name, essentially confirm the formation of someone now called and set apart for a God-given task or role.  The renamed begins to see God at work in their life, fulfilling promises, being assured of God’s presence, with name providing constant reminders to who they are in the eyes of God. 

Abram’s story in Genesis has followed God, leaving family and familiar country, waiting on Sarai to provide him with heirs, God comes.  Abram was 99 years old as God says,

“As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.

I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you, and to your offspring after you, the land where you are now an alien, all the land of Canaan, for a perpetual holding; and I will be their God.”  Genesis 16: 4-8.  Abram, meaning “high father” became Abraham, “father of multitudes”, and not to be left out, Sarai was renamed Sarah, “mother of nations”.

Jesus renamed Simon, to Peter, meaning “rock”.  Peter was the strong disciple who would provide a foundation for the church to be established. There are other indications that Jesus called Levi, Matthew; the brothers James and John, Sons of Thunder.  That sounds more like a nickname.  A description of their way of being a disciple.  Where they went, there was increased activity, commanding teachings.  There must have been a personality that influenced the changes in name.  

I was happy to read that Abram was renamed at the ripe age of 99.  It says to me that age is no barrier to God reshaping our understanding of who we are spiritually.  We seem to have the idea that aging means slowing down, letting others step up to active serving, and being a disciple.  In God’s economy, there is no difference in how one can be of service to God.  Age or location are not barriers to fresh spiritual directions.  As we find ourselves in a new place, God will not only speak but show purpose for the new location.  Location in this sense may not mean a physical move, but a spiritual and emotional relocation.  

I suspect that we are all wondering how God is at work in this new land we are living in.  New decisions about going, doing, serving.  God is with us, even though there is no map or written word for how we go forward.  We. Like Abram or Sarai, may not become “all-new” but find God is building on who we are for new understandings of how to be more in the will of God.  

That is big. Being in the will of God requires that we listen, be open to what is being put before us, considering how God is intending us to move forward for the building of the kingdom.  Spiritual discernment is listening to the ‘more of God and the less of self’.  It is trusting the Word and assessing the truth.  It is walking humbly and serving with faith.  

These days are turning points for us all.  Are you gaining an awareness of the movement of God in your life?  Are you hearing a fresh understanding of how to live out your discipline life?  If not a new, expanded role, is there a nickname that Jesus is reminding you of?  Is it one that will strengthen you and give you charge to act and do more for Jesus?

Being uprooted from the familiar is the start of discernment.  Take time in these days of change to listen for God.  Mark the awakenings of insight and guidance the Lord is revealing.  Speak of it with a trusted believer, have your understandings be confirmed by others. Make it real by speaking and then, live in the promise of God with you.  

I love you, am praying for you and listening for God with you.  God is with us!

Pastor Lisa

“He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?”  Mark 8: 34-36

Laren Daigle “You Say”.  Discovering who we are as we listen….


Timeless

Timeless

Formerly, timeless described something that held an appeal, a look or activity that withstood fad or sway of popular opinion. 

Officially, it now describes my sense of time.  I have a pandemical problem, confirmed this morning.  I know we have days of the week.  However that has gone out of the window. Day’s have gotten all out of order!  Formerly, life proceeded: Sunday’s are for preaching. Monday’s are for staff and prep for the week. Tuesday’s are for Bible Study. Wednesday’s are for follow up, catch up, sermon prep. Friday is my sabbath, unless there is something needing attending at church. Saturday is some rest and then complete sermon.  “Boom!”, as Luke says.  

Yes, a new rhythm has emerged, but now Saturday Starts on Monday or Tuesday, Sunday is now Thursday, videoing sermon so Velda has time to piece together worship,  can you see how this goes?  Good.  Because I can’t!

So when you add in holidays, there you are. Or I am. What? When? What day?

If it weren’t for sales (online of course) I wouldn’t have a chance! This morning we woke at 5:30 to try and get our sweet but aging Hershey outside to pee. His second alternative…. in the fog of waking and flashlight walking outside, I was doing my best to determine what day it was. You know, just sorta get located in life…

I remembered! At dinner Luke said,”it’s Friday, right?”. At that time, more lucid, I said, “no, today is…Monday!”. Feeling good until I realize he is getting caught in the pandemical time syndrome! If four and a half year olds can get out of place – where is our future? We will all live in a vortex, black hole of time out of time, a space of day confusion, timelessness without definition…my mind is racing without stop… all of society will never be the same!  Help! Stop! 

Ok, so maybe it got away from me for a timeless moment. Insert canned laughter😂(Warning, pandemic preacher humor is desperate at best…)

And then browsing emails I saw it:  sale advertising. Wait,,,,It’s Memorial Day!!!  What? When? I literally had to go to the calendar to check. It’s THIS Monday. All the banks will close.  Every business that can will will have special sales.

If it weren’t for sales I might have missed Memorial Day. The day was instituted as a time when Americans honored those who died while in service to our country. May it remain so.

The subsidizing of Memorial Day by enterprising retailers may have overtaken public awareness of its meaning with overblown advertising. But this year, they earn an unexpected appreciation from me. I won’t miss Memorial Day.  It’s hard enough to keep days straight right now. Thank goodness we have sales to remind us there are other important days to keep.

It’s the little things sometimes, right?  May you keep time with God. May the unending love and mercy of God console us in our times of displacement, and seat us in peace, no matter the day or night, no matter the circumstances. In God’s time all is well.

May you be safe, healthy and at peace. You.are loved, prayed for and held in God’s love.  Pastor Lisa

“He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.  On God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.”  Psalm 62: 6-8

“I Need Thee Every Hour”
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Goodness

Goodness

There were moments yesterday when I had an awareness of feeling good. I’m not talking about health, though I am grateful for good health.  It was the kind of good that felt as I reflect on the pleasure of being with people I love, and enjoying their presence.  Melissa went to visit overnight with Amanda and brought Luke here with her to stay the night.  His early rising is too cute to fuss about.

So what if it Is six A.M.?  “When he says Nana can I get in bed with you?”, I’m undone. Several visits ago I introduced him to America’s Funniest Home Videos.  He loves to laugh, loves, loves to watch that show.  Usually late afternoon I will turn it on for him.  But somehow I knew… yep. This morning he looks up at me and said, “Nana, can I watch AFHV?” With a smile and channel changer, we starter the day off giggling together.

Good is watching Melissa play with Luke.  Her patience is so impressive.  She too enjoys giving to him of time, attention, listening, and encouraging him. The good day included swimming, playing with a new set of rings, toys to throw and retrieve underwater. Aunt Mel counted One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi endless times as he held his breath to go under the water to pick up the jewels. Learning to swim and not even knowing it.

Good is feeling the sun on my face, or washing lettuce Jack planted for a salad. Watching, doing, being.  

This past week has been a hard one.  I lost a dear friend and hurt for his wife, Mary of almost 50 years. As word got out, even though we can not gather, friends and former co-workers began to write their good memories, their appreciation for Charlie. Though there is sadness, the stories and memories brought laughter and for a few minutes, it was good.

I know this time of sheltering in is tough. We are isolated from what brings diversity to our days.  We can not always be with the ones we love. But there is a way to find good.  We can call one another. We can face time. We can watch old home movies, dig in the dirt…  all the while, i pray that you will feel some good. Good health, yes. But moreover good in your soul.

And if all else fails, turn on ‘merica’s Funniest and giggle!   

You are loved and prayed for. God desires good for you.  Pastor Lisa

“ ‘So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. ..on?… If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit* to those who ask him!’ “. Luke 11: 9, 10, 13

Thanks to our Cokes Chapel Praise Band! “Known” 
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Quarantine Perspective from Missionary Caleb Earle

I caught this post on Facebook that our missionary, Caleb Earle Daniel wrote.  His writing is so thoughtful, reflective and insightful.  It is good to know more about this young man and appreciate the skills that he has in communication.  Usually, Caleb would be in Italy training students, however this pandemic is keeping him home. I am thankful for him, and for our Coke’s family that provides support for him to do God’s work no matter where he is.  Enjoy, and thank you Caleb Earle Daniel!  Pastor Lisa

Quarantine Perspective 

I know it’s been hard for everyone as our adventure tanks are running on fumes. Actually, we’ve all really been stranded on the side of the road when it comes to exploration and normal fun activities. I’ve been seeking ways during this time to feed that longing for adventure in this time of limitation.

One thing that’s helped is using my imagination to transform my current situation into a more exciting time. I have tried to look at it from every possible angle. I have enjoyed rest. I have invested in a hobby. I have reconnected with friends, mostly online of course. And, as well as working from home, I have learned new things.

Our perspective is important here. It’s not about ignoring the reality of how hard this situation has been for many. Nor, is it diminishing anyone’s struggle as this crisis has taken so much from so many. I hope that no one feels I’m being insensitive to the hardship people are facing. I have definitely experienced it as well as my whole life changed in a matter of weeks.

I just think it helps a lot in the area of our mental health when we choose to mine for the gold instead of wishing it would magically come up out of the dirt. Even if it’s a golden needle in a hay stack, the idea that it’s there motivates me to search for it, even if it may take a while and I may get frustrated. It’s super easy to become discouraged by what’s happening. There’s so much negativity and fear. I guess I’m just choosing to hope for the best instead of fear the worst.

My King Jesus is on the throne. He has promised to care for His people. He will never leave us nor forsake us. I do not need to worry. That’s what keeps me going.
Caleb

#2020writingchallenge #adventure #quarantineadventures #contentcreator #christiancontent #mentalhealth
 

 
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SharpsburgGA 30277

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Time

Time

Take no oath by the earth that you stand on.

    You walk on it only for a while, 

    but soon you shall be buried within it.

Pay no heed to the world you live in.  

    You are dazzled by its pomp and pleasure, 

    but soon you shall be carried from it.

Time is like the ebbing tide on the beach.  

    You cannot see it move by staring at it, 

    but soon it has run away from sight.

From one of my favorite books, Celtic Prayers by Robert Van De Weyer.  
 

This prayer reflection, written by some ancient Irish heart, captures me.  It allows me to name that which we loose sight of.  Our days are finite. Embrace the beauty of life, the joy of love, family, community in all its fullness.  For it is good. Most of the time.

It seems that this unknown writer must have come to a hard place.  Perhaps he or she had been living life to the fullest, the crops were abundant, the forest provided meats, all was well.  And then, it wasn’t.  Did he loose a friend to a tragic accident?  Did she experience loss of a child?  Did hunger overtake abundance and living was precarious?  We don’t know, however we can relate.

For the most part, we, especially in the U.S., have had somewhat of a charmed life.  We have our failures in society, we have many shortcomings within and without, we get dazzled and teased out of our complacency by well scripted commercials that convince us to part with our money.  In this pandemic, we have all had to wrestle with temporary.  Temporary “shelter-in”; temporary cancelations; temporary alteration of habits, travels, etc.  It is becoming a long term temporary.  Words like “new normal” are popping up.  Warnings of second wave infections and vaccines that will take more time. 

That is just it. From the ancient reality to this day.  Time slips by, and all of a sudden it seems we have passed through these days, or occasions in life, without being fully present.  We loose awareness of the precious momentary events that can make meaning of life.  Fleeting, passing time seems to gobble up or cover over the sacred moments.  These solemn words from the Celtic mind call us to attention.  If not by the Celt, we have been brought to the abyss of truth by this pandemic.  Each day, each minute, each breath is a great gift.  To live is to be given something not to be wasted.

Not that we are wasteful, just distracted.  Not moving mindlessly through our days, but at times dazzled or distracted by things that remove our rootedness, our base understanding of life.  Time is passing, there is life and death. It will come to us all.  When the dark and moody Irishman wrote these words, we might think it a morbid, black and depressing way of thinking.  Sometimes it takes a person outside our life to bring truth to us.  Not to scare, create fear, or send us trembling into the corner for what is to come. 

No, to be reminded that all is temporary.  A gift from the words of a thoughtful Irish soul given yet again. Allow the truth to generate a fresh awareness of temporary  and permanent.  Embrace the goodness of each day.  This moment is what we have.  Awaken to the holy moments of being alive.  Never loose sight of the permanent.  God is with you now and in eternity.  Peace and joy now and forever.  Because He promised.  

Your are loved and prayed for.  Every day is full of God-given goodness, its God’s plan!

Pastor Lisa

“The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40: 8

 

A timeless favorite, “In Christ Alone” with an Irish lilt!


Accompaniment

Accompaniment

Not a word we use frequently, I suspect.  But it is something that we desperately need. That is – to know that we are not alone. Not just in the sad, fearful, glass-not-even-half-full day, but all days.  Days that start with good intentions, begin with prayer, engage in all manner of faithful life.  Happy days, quiet days, all days.

The shelter-in life has hit most of us hard.  If you are an introvert, maybe not so much, but still. We need companionship, conversation, a hug or two, right?  Families right now are missing special events together, holding off on gatherings, eating together, just doing life.  There are those who are struggling with friends and family ill with corona virus or other circumstances.  In the hospital, unable to sit with them, hold their hand, give encouragement, or sadly share last moments with loved ones.  These are times that we all need someone to be with us.

Jesus understood our needs.  Remember when just before Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, and brought his disciples to sit and pray with him?  And they fell asleep.  Remember when they were breaking bread at what we now call “the last supper”, and Jesus was telling how he would die and be resurrected?  “Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus answered, ‘Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterwards.’  Simon Peter was offering to accompany Jesus, however it was not his time.  Not now. 

However, Jesus was ready to journey in faith with His Father, so that the Holy Spirit would be sent to carry on in the lives of those who love Him.  It is hard to explain what you see.  Even harder to explain what is a very individual experience or encounter.  Faith is a first stepping stone in coming to know the Holy Spirit.  There is a trust and assurance that comes from knowing God is with us. Now.

Just now, I had to stop and take a phone call from a dear, dear friend. We have been in touch as her husband has been hospitalized, developed complications from heart issues.  Today she called to tell me, he was able to express his wish to stop further invasive treatments.  He is on his way home.  My heart is breaking, my sorrow is clouding my eyes and the pain I feel for them both is physical.  I can’t write anymore right now. I need, need someone. I need God to take this, hold this, be with them.  For so many over the years I have depended on the Holy Spirit to carry these times that overwhelm. And always, always, God shows up.  I pray, for you also, that the Advocate will accompany you in good and hard times.  Come Holy Spirit, and fill the spaces and places of sorrow, emptiness and brokenness we all experience. 

Thank you Lord, for your sacrifice on the cross that opens up the way for your presence in the Spirit.  Take this message and use it for your glory.

Peace and love, Pastor Lisa

“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.” John 14:18

Alison Krauss “Down to the River to Pray” in honor of one who is journeying home, to get his starry crown.  For the many you also pray home, may the Holy Spirit journey with you also.



Rename

Rename

Each time I open my IPad to write, a fresh new blank page faces me.  However, the header reads: “Rename”.  This causes me to focus on what idea, subject, or thing on my heart that I trust God to provide.  Today, when I read “rename” again, for probably the thousandth time or more, it stopped me.  Immediately I am reminded of the many stories throughout the Bible describing encounters with God.  As God is revealed, often as not, the person is renamed by God.

Renaming is a significant signpost in biblical life.  It signifies an encounter that is life-changing.  Not just for the message given, the new land provided, an anointed position of priest or leader, but a change in spirit.  A new understanding of who they are in community is couched in the name that gets attention.  Others, in speaking their new name, essentially confirm the formation of someone now called and set apart for a God-given task or role.  The renamed begins to see God at work in their life, fulfilling promises, being assured of God’s presence, with name providing constant reminders to who they are in the eyes of God. 

Abram’s story in Genesis has followed God, leaving family and familiar country, waiting on Sarai to provide him with heirs, God comes.  Abram was 99 years old as God says,

“As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.

I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you, and to your offspring after you, the land where you are now an alien, all the land of Canaan, for a perpetual holding; and I will be their God.”  Genesis 16: 4-8.  Abram, meaning “high father” became Abraham, “father of multitudes”, and not to be left out, Sarai was renamed Sarah, “mother of nations”.

Jesus renamed Simon, to Peter, meaning “rock”.  Peter was the strong disciple who would provide a foundation for the church to be established. There are other indications that Jesus called Levi, Matthew; the brothers James and John, Sons of Thunder.  That sounds more like a nickname.  A description of their way of being a disciple.  Where they went, there was increased activity, commanding teachings.  There must have been a personality that influenced the changes in name.  

I was happy to read that Abram was renamed at the ripe age of 99.  It says to me that age is no barrier to God reshaping our understanding of who we are spiritually.  We seem to have the idea that aging means slowing down, letting others step up to active serving, and being a disciple.  In God’s economy, there is no difference in how one can be of service to God.  Age or location are not barriers to fresh spiritual directions.  As we find ourselves in a new place, God will not only speak but show purpose for the new location.  Location in this sense may not mean a physical move, but a spiritual and emotional relocation.  

I suspect that we are all wondering how God is at work in this new land we are living in.  New decisions about going, doing, serving.  God is with us, even though there is no map or written word for how we go forward.  We. Like Abram or Sarai, may not become “all-new” but find God is building on who we are for new understandings of how to be more in the will of God.  

That is big. Being in the will of God requires that we listen, be open to what is being put before us, considering how God is intending us to move forward for the building of the kingdom.  Spiritual discernment is listening to the ‘more of God and the less of self’.  It is trusting the Word and assessing the truth.  It is walking humbly and serving with faith.  

These days are turning points for us all.  Are you gaining an awareness of the movement of God in your life?  Are you hearing a fresh understanding of how to live out your discipline life?  If not a new, expanded role, is there a nickname that Jesus is reminding you of?  Is it one that will strengthen you and give you charge to act and do more for Jesus?

Being uprooted from the familiar is the start of discernment.  Take time in these days of change to listen for God.  Mark the awakenings of insight and guidance the Lord is revealing.  Speak of it with a trusted believer, have your understandings be confirmed by others. Make it real by speaking and then, live in the promise of God with you.  

I love you, am praying for you and listening for God with you.  God is with us!

Pastor Lisa

“He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?”  Mark 8: 34-36

Laren Daigle “You Say”.  Discovering who we are as we listen….


Timeless

Timeless

Formerly, timeless described something that held an appeal, a look or activity that withstood fad or sway of popular opinion. 

Officially, it now describes my sense of time.  I have a pandemical problem, confirmed this morning.  I know we have days of the week.  However that has gone out of the window. Day’s have gotten all out of order!  Formerly, life proceeded: Sunday’s are for preaching. Monday’s are for staff and prep for the week. Tuesday’s are for Bible Study. Wednesday’s are for follow up, catch up, sermon prep. Friday is my sabbath, unless there is something needing attending at church. Saturday is some rest and then complete sermon.  “Boom!”, as Luke says.  

Yes, a new rhythm has emerged, but now Saturday Starts on Monday or Tuesday, Sunday is now Thursday, videoing sermon so Velda has time to piece together worship,  can you see how this goes?  Good.  Because I can’t!

So when you add in holidays, there you are. Or I am. What? When? What day?

If it weren’t for sales (online of course) I wouldn’t have a chance! This morning we woke at 5:30 to try and get our sweet but aging Hershey outside to pee. His second alternative…. in the fog of waking and flashlight walking outside, I was doing my best to determine what day it was. You know, just sorta get located in life…

I remembered! At dinner Luke said,”it’s Friday, right?”. At that time, more lucid, I said, “no, today is…Monday!”. Feeling good until I realize he is getting caught in the pandemical time syndrome! If four and a half year olds can get out of place – where is our future? We will all live in a vortex, black hole of time out of time, a space of day confusion, timelessness without definition…my mind is racing without stop… all of society will never be the same!  Help! Stop! 

Ok, so maybe it got away from me for a timeless moment. Insert canned laughter😂(Warning, pandemic preacher humor is desperate at best…)

And then browsing emails I saw it:  sale advertising. Wait,,,,It’s Memorial Day!!!  What? When? I literally had to go to the calendar to check. It’s THIS Monday. All the banks will close.  Every business that can will will have special sales.

If it weren’t for sales I might have missed Memorial Day. The day was instituted as a time when Americans honored those who died while in service to our country. May it remain so.

The subsidizing of Memorial Day by enterprising retailers may have overtaken public awareness of its meaning with overblown advertising. But this year, they earn an unexpected appreciation from me. I won’t miss Memorial Day.  It’s hard enough to keep days straight right now. Thank goodness we have sales to remind us there are other important days to keep.

It’s the little things sometimes, right?  May you keep time with God. May the unending love and mercy of God console us in our times of displacement, and seat us in peace, no matter the day or night, no matter the circumstances. In God’s time all is well.

May you be safe, healthy and at peace. You.are loved, prayed for and held in God’s love.  Pastor Lisa

“He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.  On God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.”  Psalm 62: 6-8

“I Need Thee Every Hour”
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4096 Lower Fayetteville Road, Sharpsburg, GA

SharpsburgGA 30277

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Goodness

Goodness

There were moments yesterday when I had an awareness of feeling good. I’m not talking about health, though I am grateful for good health.  It was the kind of good that felt as I reflect on the pleasure of being with people I love, and enjoying their presence.  Melissa went to visit overnight with Amanda and brought Luke here with her to stay the night.  His early rising is too cute to fuss about.

So what if it Is six A.M.?  “When he says Nana can I get in bed with you?”, I’m undone. Several visits ago I introduced him to America’s Funniest Home Videos.  He loves to laugh, loves, loves to watch that show.  Usually late afternoon I will turn it on for him.  But somehow I knew… yep. This morning he looks up at me and said, “Nana, can I watch AFHV?” With a smile and channel changer, we starter the day off giggling together.

Good is watching Melissa play with Luke.  Her patience is so impressive.  She too enjoys giving to him of time, attention, listening, and encouraging him. The good day included swimming, playing with a new set of rings, toys to throw and retrieve underwater. Aunt Mel counted One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi endless times as he held his breath to go under the water to pick up the jewels. Learning to swim and not even knowing it.

Good is feeling the sun on my face, or washing lettuce Jack planted for a salad. Watching, doing, being.  

This past week has been a hard one.  I lost a dear friend and hurt for his wife, Mary of almost 50 years. As word got out, even though we can not gather, friends and former co-workers began to write their good memories, their appreciation for Charlie. Though there is sadness, the stories and memories brought laughter and for a few minutes, it was good.

I know this time of sheltering in is tough. We are isolated from what brings diversity to our days.  We can not always be with the ones we love. But there is a way to find good.  We can call one another. We can face time. We can watch old home movies, dig in the dirt…  all the while, i pray that you will feel some good. Good health, yes. But moreover good in your soul.

And if all else fails, turn on ‘merica’s Funniest and giggle!   

You are loved and prayed for. God desires good for you.  Pastor Lisa

“ ‘So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. ..on?… If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit* to those who ask him!’ “. Luke 11: 9, 10, 13

Thanks to our Cokes Chapel Praise Band! “Known” 
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Quarantine Perspective from Missionary Caleb Earle

I caught this post on Facebook that our missionary, Caleb Earle Daniel wrote.  His writing is so thoughtful, reflective and insightful.  It is good to know more about this young man and appreciate the skills that he has in communication.  Usually, Caleb would be in Italy training students, however this pandemic is keeping him home. I am thankful for him, and for our Coke’s family that provides support for him to do God’s work no matter where he is.  Enjoy, and thank you Caleb Earle Daniel!  Pastor Lisa

Quarantine Perspective 

I know it’s been hard for everyone as our adventure tanks are running on fumes. Actually, we’ve all really been stranded on the side of the road when it comes to exploration and normal fun activities. I’ve been seeking ways during this time to feed that longing for adventure in this time of limitation.

One thing that’s helped is using my imagination to transform my current situation into a more exciting time. I have tried to look at it from every possible angle. I have enjoyed rest. I have invested in a hobby. I have reconnected with friends, mostly online of course. And, as well as working from home, I have learned new things.

Our perspective is important here. It’s not about ignoring the reality of how hard this situation has been for many. Nor, is it diminishing anyone’s struggle as this crisis has taken so much from so many. I hope that no one feels I’m being insensitive to the hardship people are facing. I have definitely experienced it as well as my whole life changed in a matter of weeks.

I just think it helps a lot in the area of our mental health when we choose to mine for the gold instead of wishing it would magically come up out of the dirt. Even if it’s a golden needle in a hay stack, the idea that it’s there motivates me to search for it, even if it may take a while and I may get frustrated. It’s super easy to become discouraged by what’s happening. There’s so much negativity and fear. I guess I’m just choosing to hope for the best instead of fear the worst.

My King Jesus is on the throne. He has promised to care for His people. He will never leave us nor forsake us. I do not need to worry. That’s what keeps me going.
Caleb

#2020writingchallenge #adventure #quarantineadventures #contentcreator #christiancontent #mentalhealth
 

 
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Time

Time

Take no oath by the earth that you stand on.

    You walk on it only for a while, 

    but soon you shall be buried within it.

Pay no heed to the world you live in.  

    You are dazzled by its pomp and pleasure, 

    but soon you shall be carried from it.

Time is like the ebbing tide on the beach.  

    You cannot see it move by staring at it, 

    but soon it has run away from sight.

From one of my favorite books, Celtic Prayers by Robert Van De Weyer.  
 

This prayer reflection, written by some ancient Irish heart, captures me.  It allows me to name that which we loose sight of.  Our days are finite. Embrace the beauty of life, the joy of love, family, community in all its fullness.  For it is good. Most of the time.

It seems that this unknown writer must have come to a hard place.  Perhaps he or she had been living life to the fullest, the crops were abundant, the forest provided meats, all was well.  And then, it wasn’t.  Did he loose a friend to a tragic accident?  Did she experience loss of a child?  Did hunger overtake abundance and living was precarious?  We don’t know, however we can relate.

For the most part, we, especially in the U.S., have had somewhat of a charmed life.  We have our failures in society, we have many shortcomings within and without, we get dazzled and teased out of our complacency by well scripted commercials that convince us to part with our money.  In this pandemic, we have all had to wrestle with temporary.  Temporary “shelter-in”; temporary cancelations; temporary alteration of habits, travels, etc.  It is becoming a long term temporary.  Words like “new normal” are popping up.  Warnings of second wave infections and vaccines that will take more time. 

That is just it. From the ancient reality to this day.  Time slips by, and all of a sudden it seems we have passed through these days, or occasions in life, without being fully present.  We loose awareness of the precious momentary events that can make meaning of life.  Fleeting, passing time seems to gobble up or cover over the sacred moments.  These solemn words from the Celtic mind call us to attention.  If not by the Celt, we have been brought to the abyss of truth by this pandemic.  Each day, each minute, each breath is a great gift.  To live is to be given something not to be wasted.

Not that we are wasteful, just distracted.  Not moving mindlessly through our days, but at times dazzled or distracted by things that remove our rootedness, our base understanding of life.  Time is passing, there is life and death. It will come to us all.  When the dark and moody Irishman wrote these words, we might think it a morbid, black and depressing way of thinking.  Sometimes it takes a person outside our life to bring truth to us.  Not to scare, create fear, or send us trembling into the corner for what is to come. 

No, to be reminded that all is temporary.  A gift from the words of a thoughtful Irish soul given yet again. Allow the truth to generate a fresh awareness of temporary  and permanent.  Embrace the goodness of each day.  This moment is what we have.  Awaken to the holy moments of being alive.  Never loose sight of the permanent.  God is with you now and in eternity.  Peace and joy now and forever.  Because He promised.  

Your are loved and prayed for.  Every day is full of God-given goodness, its God’s plan!

Pastor Lisa

“The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40: 8

 

A timeless favorite, “In Christ Alone” with an Irish lilt!


Accompaniment

Accompaniment

Not a word we use frequently, I suspect.  But it is something that we desperately need. That is – to know that we are not alone. Not just in the sad, fearful, glass-not-even-half-full day, but all days.  Days that start with good intentions, begin with prayer, engage in all manner of faithful life.  Happy days, quiet days, all days.

The shelter-in life has hit most of us hard.  If you are an introvert, maybe not so much, but still. We need companionship, conversation, a hug or two, right?  Families right now are missing special events together, holding off on gatherings, eating together, just doing life.  There are those who are struggling with friends and family ill with corona virus or other circumstances.  In the hospital, unable to sit with them, hold their hand, give encouragement, or sadly share last moments with loved ones.  These are times that we all need someone to be with us.

Jesus understood our needs.  Remember when just before Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, and brought his disciples to sit and pray with him?  And they fell asleep.  Remember when they were breaking bread at what we now call “the last supper”, and Jesus was telling how he would die and be resurrected?  “Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus answered, ‘Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterwards.’  Simon Peter was offering to accompany Jesus, however it was not his time.  Not now. 

However, Jesus was ready to journey in faith with His Father, so that the Holy Spirit would be sent to carry on in the lives of those who love Him.  It is hard to explain what you see.  Even harder to explain what is a very individual experience or encounter.  Faith is a first stepping stone in coming to know the Holy Spirit.  There is a trust and assurance that comes from knowing God is with us. Now.

Just now, I had to stop and take a phone call from a dear, dear friend. We have been in touch as her husband has been hospitalized, developed complications from heart issues.  Today she called to tell me, he was able to express his wish to stop further invasive treatments.  He is on his way home.  My heart is breaking, my sorrow is clouding my eyes and the pain I feel for them both is physical.  I can’t write anymore right now. I need, need someone. I need God to take this, hold this, be with them.  For so many over the years I have depended on the Holy Spirit to carry these times that overwhelm. And always, always, God shows up.  I pray, for you also, that the Advocate will accompany you in good and hard times.  Come Holy Spirit, and fill the spaces and places of sorrow, emptiness and brokenness we all experience. 

Thank you Lord, for your sacrifice on the cross that opens up the way for your presence in the Spirit.  Take this message and use it for your glory.

Peace and love, Pastor Lisa

“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.” John 14:18

Alison Krauss “Down to the River to Pray” in honor of one who is journeying home, to get his starry crown.  For the many you also pray home, may the Holy Spirit journey with you also.