Simple

Simple

That first sip of coffee early in the morning. The sweet sound of a child, friend, partner in life calling your name.  Sitting outside as the sun rises, listening to the birds chirp, the dark sky lightening as stars disappear and the promise of the day is unfolding.

Simple. Its not the first thing we consider on a daily basis. That is until now.  Now even the smallest of gestures take on tremendous significance.  Things that we have done with ease and little thought have become complicated.  To go to the grocery and pick up a “few things” is now fraught with decisions. Should I? Should I wear gloves, mask, order and pick up, what about sanitizing purchases, and even mail before bringing into the house. To share a meal with friends or gather for worship.

We thought life was complicated and exhausting on a daily basis before.  Now everything holds significance. Now every move we make represents life and death choices. We are coming to grips that the whole world will define life by the words “before and after” the pandemic.  Like you, I am processing all of this, struggling to make meaning or even begin to grasp the enormity of the daily news.  Its pretty big. (Understatement is always a defense!)

Maybe that is why God sent the word Simple today.  There is no way we can un-complicate all that is swirling around us.  There are brilliant and foolish decisions being made every moment. If we can be honest, that has been going on before and after any circumstance.  Acknowledging that we are not in control of others is a form of creating a healthy soul.  It seems so simple.  

The Word is offered as a means to gain a foothold on our thoughts.  Not diminish the realities but approach them on spiritual terms.  Loosen the strings that connect our worries and fears to the truth that we are not in control.  But we can know who we can shelter with, who we can call on, who will listen, who will respond.  All with love, truth and good.  We worship God who is all in all these things!  God offers all that and more. 

I am a preacher.  If I were preaching this, by now I would have spoken these words with Excitement! Emphasis. Conviction.  You would hear them with a bit of surprise as my voice raised with each attribute.  Then I would stop.  In the silence of the moment, the Holy Spirit would take these words and make meaning for you.  Because today, we need to know one thing.  

We need to hear that God is a God of unchanging character.  God desires to give good to us.  From Genesis to Revelation, God reaches out, offers love, redemption and salvation to us thought Jesus Christ.  This generous love is far beyond all we might ever be able to grasp and at the same time as simple as saying “I believe”. 

I won”t say its simple, but then again it is.  Allow this day be uncomplicated by the simple fact that God loves you.  God is with us, with you, through the crazy and into the calm.  God will not leave or forsake this world or you. You are the apple of God’s eye. Take a step of faith and confess to God, I am in awe of Your love. I believe in You.  In those words are your redemption and salvation for all time.   It’s just that simple.

You are loved, you are important to me and to God.  Pastor Lisa

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11: 25,26

Be blessed by the beauty of these words sung for you.
 
 


Honest

Honest

If we can be anything, we can be honest, right?  I worry about you.  I am concerned might be a better way to put it.  These are hard times for everyone.  The whole world is involved in surviving of Corona Virus.

The best advise is to shelter in.  We don’t know how long.  We know what we hope.  But hope can get battered down with messages of more to come.  I am a fairly positive person.  But this is hard.  

Yesterday on Facebook, Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson wrote, “We don’t despair as people without hope, but we do despair. It’s going to come out no matter how hard we try to hold it in or tamp it down.” So let’s be honest. Let’s be real about our difficulties, fears and talk about how we are doing.  Listen to each other, comfort and encourage, and then speak your truth to someone you trust to listen.  It’s ok to feel what you feel. No shame.  Those feelings will diminish as we express them.  The way we are feeling is safe in prayer to, for God listens. There is nothing you say that God does not already know.  It is in our speaking that the healing begins.  So let’s work on this together, ‘cause at this time, we are all struggling.

What does struggling look like for you?  

There is the More side: sleeping more, eating more, worrying more, binging on Netflix, hunting down Girl Scout cookies in the neighborhood that MUST be somewhere so you can have those Thin Mints dropped at the door… (thinking of fellow clergy Max Vincent here!) Just sayin’ Facebook posts tell the story!

Then there is the Less side: sleeping less, eating less, reaching out to others less, paying less attention to self care, … we each have our own ways of drawing inward and shutting down to ease the difficulty of circumstances.

We each have our own way.

See the “oops-a-daisy” there? Remember Hugh Grant falling off the gate in “Notting Hill”? Every time he tried, he muttered “oops-a-daisy”.  Julia Roberts called him out on it, and he just denied, denied, denied he said it.  But he did.

Let’s not deny the hardships mentally, physically, spiritually now. We want to come through this. Together. Make sure you are taking care of yourself.  Take breaks and seek a healthy rhythm to your days.  Take a walk, sit in the sun, listen to the quiet, plan a meal that you enjoy and make it.  Share some laughter, tell a story, open up when all this becomes heavy. More or less, call a friend, call me.  I will listen.  Pray some prayers – its really like calling a friend.  Talk to God.  Don’t forget to thank God and worship when you do.

Honestly, that will make my day.  Your’s too.

You are prayed for, you are loved, you are not alone, ever.  

Pastor Lisa 770-598-5066 or ldempsey@cokeschapel.org

“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying…your Father knows that you need them.” Luke 12: 28-30b

 
Father Ray Kelly “Everybody Hurts” on American Idol with inspiring introduction
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Breathe

Breathe 

As I woke up my first thought was “Ugh, my nose is so stopped up!”. I bet I am not the only one who is able to confirm that the pollen count is as high as it has been this spring.  I saw a chart on the weather that pinged Every. Single. Thing. I tested as being allergic to. How about that!  I made the charts and I am feeling pretty special!  All kidding aside, Flonase is my friend. 

I have mentioned that God usually gives me a word to reflect on each day.  At first, I was sure it was breathe.  I mean, we are all trying to breathe during this time of shelter in place.  Two months ago we would have thought that was a term that would only be used in times of war… which in fact this is. War?  Yes, we are having to come to terms that we are fighting a battle to gain knowledge, protection, and dealing with unknowns and knowns that take our breath away.  Literally.  We hold our breath as we watch the numbers of illness and death go up, and the financial market go down.  Take a breath.  Really.  

For just a moment, stop.  Be still.  Empty your mind, settle your spirit. In the stillness, breathe.  Deep enough that your chest rises and falls.  Center on filling your lungs to capacity, gently taking in air and releasing it.  Again. Breathe.

See, you can do it!  We can allow our mind to lead our body and therefore our spirit to be calm. To be centered from within, instead of driven out of surroundings and circumstances.  I suspect that Jesus had to breathe like that many times.  Disciples forgot, missed the message, sought their own agenda… surely there were moments when he wondered, got frustrated, was questioning how God would redeem this plan that was in the works for humanity.  Remember too, Jesus was both human and divine.  He kept on doing what he was here to do: reveal God’s eternal plan, bring hope, healing and peace.  Jesus constantly centered life in the midst of the social, political and people who “thought they knew but didn’t” circumstances gave us a deeper understanding of how to be centered, peaceful, calm, hopeful.  A profound way to breathe through any physical, emotional time.  

Spiritually centered living returns us to the way of life that brings all we need.  A friend said yesterday, “it seems to me that people are looking to God, looking for God in this time.  There is more talk about God than I have heard in a long time”.

Perhaps because our spirit longs for companionship with the only One who can help us keep perspective.  We are not just physical beings, but spiritual beings.  Live into the spiritual center of life and take one breath, then another.  Allow God to inhabit your every cell, every part of you to bring just what you need.

God’s breath brought life to humanity in our creation.  Jesus last breath of life on the cross assured us of life eternal by faith alone. Jesus breathed the the Holy Spirit into believers that continues to transform our soul and bring new life.  That breath you just took was a moment of inhaling the power of God to give you all you need, until the next breath.  So breathe.

And now I am sure, God gave us the word breathe today.  It’s vital to life and even more vital to our soul.  

Let’s pray together – God, we awaken with You today.  We praise you for the life and breath that you give us.  Help us to be centered on Your ways of peace and calm.  May we allow faith to lead and Your Holy Spirit to coach us into a holy walk this day.  Thank you Lord for your mercy and love.  Amen.

I love you, I am praying for you, and God is in your very breath.  Peace,  Pastor Lisa

https://youtu.be/M5keJHZdWYM   Breathe on Me Breath of God



The Present

The Present

Every day as I have begun to write to you, God has given me a word. Just one word that sparks my soul, giving me something to offer you.  I pray that what is written is born of the Holy Spirit, in the hope that you will find God’s whisper somewhere in the words.  I consider the word a present from God to me, one I delight in sharing with you.

God’s whisper can come to us in many ways.  Yesterday I mentioned music. I suspect that you have had moments where you clearly know that the Spirit has given you hope, peace, understanding, strength.  Those and other attributes that are often desired yet unattainable without God’s presence – or did I mean present?

Yesterday, following God’s word to me, I worked towards creating a better rhythm for my days. So yesterday I wrote, I learned from a webcast by the conference and I walked.  I desperately need to exercise more, so that was added to my structure.  It was a beautiful day to walk – the sun was up, skies were blue, birds were singing and even natural entertainment was provided by the sound and sight of 3 crows chasing off a hawk.  Each of those can be a “word” from God.  

These sights, sounds, “words” can be experienced as a present, a gift from God. A brief, heart lifting, soul filling moment of God with us.  God as creator, sustainer, healer, giver of life… the present is given with you in mind.  Just what you need. Take a moment to reflect on its meaning for you.   Embrace your gift, that is, “open the present”. God will bring you insight, comfort, peace… whatever is needed. Pause to let the fullness of the moment come into being.  Then. give thanks with a grateful heart to the One who knows your every need.  Just that moment of being in relationship with God on a personal level changes the day, our perspective, our assurance of God with us.

Look for the sights, the sounds, the whispers that God is continually offering to you.  Take time to see the present and open the gift.  God loves you, wants to bring good to you, and cares for your every need.

I love you, I am praying for you and pray the gift of the day from God will give you new hope.

Pastor Lisa

 

… and listen to the song that was found – just for you!  “Keep me in the Moment” by Jeremy Camp. Click on this link: https://youtu.be/xb1bx3hYfzg

Refrain: Singing, oh Lord keep me in the moment

Help me live with my eyes wide open

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what You have for me (What You have for me)

Singing, oh Lord show me what matters

Throw away what I’m chasing after, ’cause I don’t wanna miss what You have for me (What You have for me)

Keep me in the moment, oh keep me in the moment

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what You have for me (What You have for me)



Grace and Dinosaurs

Grace and Dinosaurs

It all started with the triceratops tromping through the bedroom.  Back and forth, 4 am, 5 am, then the loud bark – you know the kind when dinosaurs are hungry.  Not once, but throughout the house. No, I don’t have a dinosaur in my house, but it seemed that invasive to me this morning.  It was our 16 year old Yorkie.  Hershey is aging, his bladder is not so good, he can’t hear, his sight is mostly gone, and he can’t tell time.  When he thinks its time to eat he gives instructions.  He paces, he barks… incessantly until he gets what he wants.  

God bless Jack, he usually does the early morning feed.  But sometimes it doesn’t matter.  We think he forgets he has eaten.  Dinosaurs roam the house and there is nothing to assuage the wild beast.  He only weighs 11 pounds, but you would never think that when this starts!

I have a confession to make… I am a bit, how would I describe it… irritable?  This morning before dawn cracked, Hershey was playing dinosaur.  

So, I got up, started my day, and here I am.  It’s only 10 o’clock and it feels like I have already had a day.  Emails, phone calls, texts, listening to news of more virus spread, Congress in a stall (Grrr – get your priorities right for the circumstance!!).  Oh yea, and i have to make a call to the online pharmacy to see if they are following up on sending meds on time.  Ok. Enough!  

For some reason, would you say the Holy Spirit, as I was brushing my teeth I was called into accountability.   What is my problem? O.K. – so I reflected on the current chaos in the world, in our country, and in our lives.  That is unsettling.  Then there is the dinosaur thing….  many folks facing job loss, funds for food, insurance, all the things that one needs for safety and security, being dropped away like a bomb.  I feel that for them.  I am facing into the reality that we really do need to STAY HOME.  Containment stares us (ME!) in the face.  That brings its own set of challenges, whether it is being all alone or being in a confined space with family, children… so close that irritants can surface.  

God help me. God help us.  We have all seen the posts about parents at wits end.  There are the real anxieties we face each day that leave us frustrated, irritated. You know what I mean!

Right in the middle of dental hygiene, I heard “Where is your grace?”  What? Again. “Where is your grace?”.  I have to confess, my grace was in very short supply.  How do we refill the grace attitude when we can come up with any reason to stay in a state of grace-less-ness?  

You have to want it. I have to want it.  I had to reflect on the unmerited, unearned love of God that I experience every day, every minute. I have tromped all over the grace laid before me, demanding what I want, when I want it. And may I say I, I have forgotten how many ways God has redeemed me from my own actions, decisions, desires so that I can get beyond myself to let God take lead in my heart, mind and soul.

Deep breath.  The irritants of life, especially now when we are in stress, can seem like dinosaurs disrupting our life.  I breathe again, say a prayer, Lord help me. Help me keep perspective.  Help me to live into Your grace, so I can share grace with everyone I interact with.

Thanks be to God, that dinosaurs are extinct, and grace is alive!

I love you, I am praying for you, and I am praying that grace will show up all over the place for you.
Pastor Lisa

 

“where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 5: 20b – 6: 4

 

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Vulnerability

Vulnerability

Not a word we like to use to describe ourselves.  Especially as Americans.  We like to think of ourselves as independent, capable, “pull ourselves up by the bootstraps” kinda people.  The emphasis on being independent is deeply ingrained, not just in culture, but in our world.

 

Somehow, being invulnerable appears to be the gold standard for society. Think about it – we actually become more isolated by trying to be invulnerable.  “I can do it by myself” might start in toddler-land, but as we develop this mindset throughout life, that shell of protection separates us from the very essence of a good life.

 

Our spiritual life suffers too.  We easily carry the “I can do this” into our relationship with God.  It’s the great lie.  We were not created to be alone, but to be in relationship.  In relationship with one another, and with our Creator. 

 

It’s only when we hit significant circumstances that we realize we can’t do it all by ourselves.  In moments of loss, grief, pandemics.. we need each other. We need God.

 

That is the great truth.  Being vulnerable allows us to discover we share similar feelings, stories, hurts, losses, fears, griefs, and anxieties.  Sharing these pieces of life removes the power they hold over us!  Jesus understood the destructive power of isolation. He willingly became vulnerable even unto death, so that we might have life now and eternally.

 

The pandemic is revealing just how much we need each other. Individuals and communities come together in vulnerability to be stronger for the day and for the future. The world has changed as we encounter our vulnerability.  And that is just O.K.

 

Let’s pray: Lord, let us join in heart and spirit to give you praise! You came and made yourself vulnerable so that we would never fear again.  In your self-emptying love, you teach us to pour out ourselves in order that we can fully be who You created us to be.  Thank you for accepting us, for making our soul safe in You.  Thank you that Faith is all we need to be reconciled to You!  That is freedom, that is life!  Let us trust in You and be strong in our openness and trust in you.  We love you, Lord.  Amen.

 

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 28-30

 

Enjoy one of Georgia’s own singing for you today! “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”
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Simple

Simple

That first sip of coffee early in the morning. The sweet sound of a child, friend, partner in life calling your name.  Sitting outside as the sun rises, listening to the birds chirp, the dark sky lightening as stars disappear and the promise of the day is unfolding.

Simple. Its not the first thing we consider on a daily basis. That is until now.  Now even the smallest of gestures take on tremendous significance.  Things that we have done with ease and little thought have become complicated.  To go to the grocery and pick up a “few things” is now fraught with decisions. Should I? Should I wear gloves, mask, order and pick up, what about sanitizing purchases, and even mail before bringing into the house. To share a meal with friends or gather for worship.

We thought life was complicated and exhausting on a daily basis before.  Now everything holds significance. Now every move we make represents life and death choices. We are coming to grips that the whole world will define life by the words “before and after” the pandemic.  Like you, I am processing all of this, struggling to make meaning or even begin to grasp the enormity of the daily news.  Its pretty big. (Understatement is always a defense!)

Maybe that is why God sent the word Simple today.  There is no way we can un-complicate all that is swirling around us.  There are brilliant and foolish decisions being made every moment. If we can be honest, that has been going on before and after any circumstance.  Acknowledging that we are not in control of others is a form of creating a healthy soul.  It seems so simple.  

The Word is offered as a means to gain a foothold on our thoughts.  Not diminish the realities but approach them on spiritual terms.  Loosen the strings that connect our worries and fears to the truth that we are not in control.  But we can know who we can shelter with, who we can call on, who will listen, who will respond.  All with love, truth and good.  We worship God who is all in all these things!  God offers all that and more. 

I am a preacher.  If I were preaching this, by now I would have spoken these words with Excitement! Emphasis. Conviction.  You would hear them with a bit of surprise as my voice raised with each attribute.  Then I would stop.  In the silence of the moment, the Holy Spirit would take these words and make meaning for you.  Because today, we need to know one thing.  

We need to hear that God is a God of unchanging character.  God desires to give good to us.  From Genesis to Revelation, God reaches out, offers love, redemption and salvation to us thought Jesus Christ.  This generous love is far beyond all we might ever be able to grasp and at the same time as simple as saying “I believe”. 

I won”t say its simple, but then again it is.  Allow this day be uncomplicated by the simple fact that God loves you.  God is with us, with you, through the crazy and into the calm.  God will not leave or forsake this world or you. You are the apple of God’s eye. Take a step of faith and confess to God, I am in awe of Your love. I believe in You.  In those words are your redemption and salvation for all time.   It’s just that simple.

You are loved, you are important to me and to God.  Pastor Lisa

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11: 25,26

Be blessed by the beauty of these words sung for you.
 
 


Honest

Honest

If we can be anything, we can be honest, right?  I worry about you.  I am concerned might be a better way to put it.  These are hard times for everyone.  The whole world is involved in surviving of Corona Virus.

The best advise is to shelter in.  We don’t know how long.  We know what we hope.  But hope can get battered down with messages of more to come.  I am a fairly positive person.  But this is hard.  

Yesterday on Facebook, Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson wrote, “We don’t despair as people without hope, but we do despair. It’s going to come out no matter how hard we try to hold it in or tamp it down.” So let’s be honest. Let’s be real about our difficulties, fears and talk about how we are doing.  Listen to each other, comfort and encourage, and then speak your truth to someone you trust to listen.  It’s ok to feel what you feel. No shame.  Those feelings will diminish as we express them.  The way we are feeling is safe in prayer to, for God listens. There is nothing you say that God does not already know.  It is in our speaking that the healing begins.  So let’s work on this together, ‘cause at this time, we are all struggling.

What does struggling look like for you?  

There is the More side: sleeping more, eating more, worrying more, binging on Netflix, hunting down Girl Scout cookies in the neighborhood that MUST be somewhere so you can have those Thin Mints dropped at the door… (thinking of fellow clergy Max Vincent here!) Just sayin’ Facebook posts tell the story!

Then there is the Less side: sleeping less, eating less, reaching out to others less, paying less attention to self care, … we each have our own ways of drawing inward and shutting down to ease the difficulty of circumstances.

We each have our own way.

See the “oops-a-daisy” there? Remember Hugh Grant falling off the gate in “Notting Hill”? Every time he tried, he muttered “oops-a-daisy”.  Julia Roberts called him out on it, and he just denied, denied, denied he said it.  But he did.

Let’s not deny the hardships mentally, physically, spiritually now. We want to come through this. Together. Make sure you are taking care of yourself.  Take breaks and seek a healthy rhythm to your days.  Take a walk, sit in the sun, listen to the quiet, plan a meal that you enjoy and make it.  Share some laughter, tell a story, open up when all this becomes heavy. More or less, call a friend, call me.  I will listen.  Pray some prayers – its really like calling a friend.  Talk to God.  Don’t forget to thank God and worship when you do.

Honestly, that will make my day.  Your’s too.

You are prayed for, you are loved, you are not alone, ever.  

Pastor Lisa 770-598-5066 or ldempsey@cokeschapel.org

“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying…your Father knows that you need them.” Luke 12: 28-30b

 
Father Ray Kelly “Everybody Hurts” on American Idol with inspiring introduction
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Breathe

Breathe 

As I woke up my first thought was “Ugh, my nose is so stopped up!”. I bet I am not the only one who is able to confirm that the pollen count is as high as it has been this spring.  I saw a chart on the weather that pinged Every. Single. Thing. I tested as being allergic to. How about that!  I made the charts and I am feeling pretty special!  All kidding aside, Flonase is my friend. 

I have mentioned that God usually gives me a word to reflect on each day.  At first, I was sure it was breathe.  I mean, we are all trying to breathe during this time of shelter in place.  Two months ago we would have thought that was a term that would only be used in times of war… which in fact this is. War?  Yes, we are having to come to terms that we are fighting a battle to gain knowledge, protection, and dealing with unknowns and knowns that take our breath away.  Literally.  We hold our breath as we watch the numbers of illness and death go up, and the financial market go down.  Take a breath.  Really.  

For just a moment, stop.  Be still.  Empty your mind, settle your spirit. In the stillness, breathe.  Deep enough that your chest rises and falls.  Center on filling your lungs to capacity, gently taking in air and releasing it.  Again. Breathe.

See, you can do it!  We can allow our mind to lead our body and therefore our spirit to be calm. To be centered from within, instead of driven out of surroundings and circumstances.  I suspect that Jesus had to breathe like that many times.  Disciples forgot, missed the message, sought their own agenda… surely there were moments when he wondered, got frustrated, was questioning how God would redeem this plan that was in the works for humanity.  Remember too, Jesus was both human and divine.  He kept on doing what he was here to do: reveal God’s eternal plan, bring hope, healing and peace.  Jesus constantly centered life in the midst of the social, political and people who “thought they knew but didn’t” circumstances gave us a deeper understanding of how to be centered, peaceful, calm, hopeful.  A profound way to breathe through any physical, emotional time.  

Spiritually centered living returns us to the way of life that brings all we need.  A friend said yesterday, “it seems to me that people are looking to God, looking for God in this time.  There is more talk about God than I have heard in a long time”.

Perhaps because our spirit longs for companionship with the only One who can help us keep perspective.  We are not just physical beings, but spiritual beings.  Live into the spiritual center of life and take one breath, then another.  Allow God to inhabit your every cell, every part of you to bring just what you need.

God’s breath brought life to humanity in our creation.  Jesus last breath of life on the cross assured us of life eternal by faith alone. Jesus breathed the the Holy Spirit into believers that continues to transform our soul and bring new life.  That breath you just took was a moment of inhaling the power of God to give you all you need, until the next breath.  So breathe.

And now I am sure, God gave us the word breathe today.  It’s vital to life and even more vital to our soul.  

Let’s pray together – God, we awaken with You today.  We praise you for the life and breath that you give us.  Help us to be centered on Your ways of peace and calm.  May we allow faith to lead and Your Holy Spirit to coach us into a holy walk this day.  Thank you Lord for your mercy and love.  Amen.

I love you, I am praying for you, and God is in your very breath.  Peace,  Pastor Lisa

https://youtu.be/M5keJHZdWYM   Breathe on Me Breath of God



The Present

The Present

Every day as I have begun to write to you, God has given me a word. Just one word that sparks my soul, giving me something to offer you.  I pray that what is written is born of the Holy Spirit, in the hope that you will find God’s whisper somewhere in the words.  I consider the word a present from God to me, one I delight in sharing with you.

God’s whisper can come to us in many ways.  Yesterday I mentioned music. I suspect that you have had moments where you clearly know that the Spirit has given you hope, peace, understanding, strength.  Those and other attributes that are often desired yet unattainable without God’s presence – or did I mean present?

Yesterday, following God’s word to me, I worked towards creating a better rhythm for my days. So yesterday I wrote, I learned from a webcast by the conference and I walked.  I desperately need to exercise more, so that was added to my structure.  It was a beautiful day to walk – the sun was up, skies were blue, birds were singing and even natural entertainment was provided by the sound and sight of 3 crows chasing off a hawk.  Each of those can be a “word” from God.  

These sights, sounds, “words” can be experienced as a present, a gift from God. A brief, heart lifting, soul filling moment of God with us.  God as creator, sustainer, healer, giver of life… the present is given with you in mind.  Just what you need. Take a moment to reflect on its meaning for you.   Embrace your gift, that is, “open the present”. God will bring you insight, comfort, peace… whatever is needed. Pause to let the fullness of the moment come into being.  Then. give thanks with a grateful heart to the One who knows your every need.  Just that moment of being in relationship with God on a personal level changes the day, our perspective, our assurance of God with us.

Look for the sights, the sounds, the whispers that God is continually offering to you.  Take time to see the present and open the gift.  God loves you, wants to bring good to you, and cares for your every need.

I love you, I am praying for you and pray the gift of the day from God will give you new hope.

Pastor Lisa

 

… and listen to the song that was found – just for you!  “Keep me in the Moment” by Jeremy Camp. Click on this link: https://youtu.be/xb1bx3hYfzg

Refrain: Singing, oh Lord keep me in the moment

Help me live with my eyes wide open

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what You have for me (What You have for me)

Singing, oh Lord show me what matters

Throw away what I’m chasing after, ’cause I don’t wanna miss what You have for me (What You have for me)

Keep me in the moment, oh keep me in the moment

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what You have for me (What You have for me)



Grace and Dinosaurs

Grace and Dinosaurs

It all started with the triceratops tromping through the bedroom.  Back and forth, 4 am, 5 am, then the loud bark – you know the kind when dinosaurs are hungry.  Not once, but throughout the house. No, I don’t have a dinosaur in my house, but it seemed that invasive to me this morning.  It was our 16 year old Yorkie.  Hershey is aging, his bladder is not so good, he can’t hear, his sight is mostly gone, and he can’t tell time.  When he thinks its time to eat he gives instructions.  He paces, he barks… incessantly until he gets what he wants.  

God bless Jack, he usually does the early morning feed.  But sometimes it doesn’t matter.  We think he forgets he has eaten.  Dinosaurs roam the house and there is nothing to assuage the wild beast.  He only weighs 11 pounds, but you would never think that when this starts!

I have a confession to make… I am a bit, how would I describe it… irritable?  This morning before dawn cracked, Hershey was playing dinosaur.  

So, I got up, started my day, and here I am.  It’s only 10 o’clock and it feels like I have already had a day.  Emails, phone calls, texts, listening to news of more virus spread, Congress in a stall (Grrr – get your priorities right for the circumstance!!).  Oh yea, and i have to make a call to the online pharmacy to see if they are following up on sending meds on time.  Ok. Enough!  

For some reason, would you say the Holy Spirit, as I was brushing my teeth I was called into accountability.   What is my problem? O.K. – so I reflected on the current chaos in the world, in our country, and in our lives.  That is unsettling.  Then there is the dinosaur thing….  many folks facing job loss, funds for food, insurance, all the things that one needs for safety and security, being dropped away like a bomb.  I feel that for them.  I am facing into the reality that we really do need to STAY HOME.  Containment stares us (ME!) in the face.  That brings its own set of challenges, whether it is being all alone or being in a confined space with family, children… so close that irritants can surface.  

God help me. God help us.  We have all seen the posts about parents at wits end.  There are the real anxieties we face each day that leave us frustrated, irritated. You know what I mean!

Right in the middle of dental hygiene, I heard “Where is your grace?”  What? Again. “Where is your grace?”.  I have to confess, my grace was in very short supply.  How do we refill the grace attitude when we can come up with any reason to stay in a state of grace-less-ness?  

You have to want it. I have to want it.  I had to reflect on the unmerited, unearned love of God that I experience every day, every minute. I have tromped all over the grace laid before me, demanding what I want, when I want it. And may I say I, I have forgotten how many ways God has redeemed me from my own actions, decisions, desires so that I can get beyond myself to let God take lead in my heart, mind and soul.

Deep breath.  The irritants of life, especially now when we are in stress, can seem like dinosaurs disrupting our life.  I breathe again, say a prayer, Lord help me. Help me keep perspective.  Help me to live into Your grace, so I can share grace with everyone I interact with.

Thanks be to God, that dinosaurs are extinct, and grace is alive!

I love you, I am praying for you, and I am praying that grace will show up all over the place for you.
Pastor Lisa

 

“where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 5: 20b – 6: 4

 

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Vulnerability

Vulnerability

Not a word we like to use to describe ourselves.  Especially as Americans.  We like to think of ourselves as independent, capable, “pull ourselves up by the bootstraps” kinda people.  The emphasis on being independent is deeply ingrained, not just in culture, but in our world.

 

Somehow, being invulnerable appears to be the gold standard for society. Think about it – we actually become more isolated by trying to be invulnerable.  “I can do it by myself” might start in toddler-land, but as we develop this mindset throughout life, that shell of protection separates us from the very essence of a good life.

 

Our spiritual life suffers too.  We easily carry the “I can do this” into our relationship with God.  It’s the great lie.  We were not created to be alone, but to be in relationship.  In relationship with one another, and with our Creator. 

 

It’s only when we hit significant circumstances that we realize we can’t do it all by ourselves.  In moments of loss, grief, pandemics.. we need each other. We need God.

 

That is the great truth.  Being vulnerable allows us to discover we share similar feelings, stories, hurts, losses, fears, griefs, and anxieties.  Sharing these pieces of life removes the power they hold over us!  Jesus understood the destructive power of isolation. He willingly became vulnerable even unto death, so that we might have life now and eternally.

 

The pandemic is revealing just how much we need each other. Individuals and communities come together in vulnerability to be stronger for the day and for the future. The world has changed as we encounter our vulnerability.  And that is just O.K.

 

Let’s pray: Lord, let us join in heart and spirit to give you praise! You came and made yourself vulnerable so that we would never fear again.  In your self-emptying love, you teach us to pour out ourselves in order that we can fully be who You created us to be.  Thank you for accepting us, for making our soul safe in You.  Thank you that Faith is all we need to be reconciled to You!  That is freedom, that is life!  Let us trust in You and be strong in our openness and trust in you.  We love you, Lord.  Amen.

 

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 28-30

 

Enjoy one of Georgia’s own singing for you today! “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”
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