"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me." (Matthew 5:11)
This is an interesting world we live in. There are so many things happening between crazy schedules and even crazier weather. It makes a person wonder how we CAN live our faith..... Over 20 years ago, now, when I was getting ready to graduate from college, one of my professors came up to me after class. He asked me to stop wearing my cross because it "offended" some of my fellow students. I looked him in the eye and said "No. I will NOT stop wearing my cross. I will, if needed, tuck the cross into the neckline of my shirt, but you will still see the necklace and I will keep wearing the cross." Nothing more was said about my cross. I continue to wear one every day.
The Scripture readings are about living our faith. Micah is reminding us the best thing(s) we can give God are to "act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God." (Micah 6:8) Paul is reminding us we ARE in Christ Jesus "who has become for us wisdom from God-- that is our righteousness, holiness and redemption." (1 Corinthians 1:30) Jesus is also pointing out there WILL BE problems because we are living our faith. It not only isn't going to be easy but there are going to be problems when we do. The things we have to remember are: God's gift of the Holy Spirit filling us to overflowing AND Jesus' reminder "I have overcome the world." (John 16:23)
Are you living your faith? Do others see Emmanuel, Christ living in you filling you to overflowing? As Caregivers we are, prayerfully, showing God's love in all we do but do others see - and know - God's love through us? Something to think about......
""Come and follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people."" (Matthew 4:19)
When we read this verse what do you think of? Do you think "yup, Jesus is calling the Disciples, so it doesn't really apply to me?" Or are you thinking I don't even fish let alone go fishing and I am not very good at talking to people. And besides those things I'm too ______ fill in the blank - old, busy, tired, young - we can all think of something.
The readings today are about being a "light on those living in great darkness." (Isaiah 9:2) Paul is thanking God and reminding us we "have been enriched in every way - with all kinds of speech..." He also tells us "therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift." (1 Corinthians 3:5 & 7) Then we see Jesus starting to call people to work with him. What are they doing? They are working at what they "do," what they "know." AND Jesus uses there knowledge to help them do what they know - "I will send you out to fish for people." (4:19 emphasis mine)
We are all called to be sharing where, when and how we see God in our own lives. Think of where you have seen and, or, felt God this week. Have you suddenly thought of someone you haven't talked to in a while? Have you slept well and then been WIDE awake at 2:30 in the morning? Are you waking up earlier than you ususally do - say 15 or 20 minutes before the alarm? Is God calling you to be in prayer -- to be spending time WITH God IN God's Word? Something to think about........
"If your gift is serving others, serve them well." Romans 12:7a NLT
As Caregivers we ARE serving others - right? We are trying to help, or even take care of, a family member/loved one. We are trying to do it "well" even if it doesn't always feel like it. We are trying to follow where God is leading. We are, prayerfully, even trying to take care of ourselves. The idea of taking care of self, of spending time with God - just for us, seems like an excellent idea we just aren't sure we have the "time."
An interesting point to think about is if we are willing to let someone else "serve" us. Are we willing to let someone help us by giving us respite? Can someone else do some of the cooking, for instance, so we can take a little time "off"? Can we actually 'schedule' some time just for us?
O God, thank you for giving us the strength to be able to serve. Help us to have the wisdom to know when to ask for help - to let someone else serve us. We pray in the name of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen
"As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, andhe saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting him." (Matthew 3:16)
I don't know about you but I don't remember my baptism. I know I was because the tradition I grew up in baptized infants and I just saw my godfather (my uncle) in Nov. I've been in church since before I was born. So what about you? Do you remember yours or are you thinking of baptisms you have been to or even been the sponsor for?
The readings today are about baptism. Isaiah is telling about the coming Messiah -"my servant, whom I uphold." (Isaiah 42:1) The reading in Acts is reminding readers of what people saw, and learned, with Jesus. (Acts 10:37-41) The Gospel reading, in Matthew, is about Jesus' baptism. The baptism, with water, by John and the baptism of the Holy Spirit - the dove "alighting on him." (3:16)
If we remember our own baptism - wonderful. If we are remembering a different baptism, or our confirmation, we are still thinking on our "I believe" statement. Do you really believe? IF we really believe are we supporting our local church with our gifts, prayers and presence? Something to think about.........
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Ephesians 4:29
Do you talk to yourself? What do you say to yourself? Are you encouraging or discouraging? Do you tell yourself you can or "can't" do something? When you do tell yourself you can do something is it with positive conviction? I talk to myself all the time. I started when my son was a teenager - I was the only one answering the way I wanted to hear it. Also I live by myself so I am often the only one listening OR talking!
It is amazing how "positive" talk can help another person and our own feelings/work. Sometimes it helps convince us God IS with us and we CAN do this. Sometimes a "positive" talk can remind us to thank God, and others, for the good things happening - even in the midst of bad things happening around us.
Something to think about - especially as we all, pretty much, talk to ourselves. Are we being a "benefit" to those who listen? Are we being a "benefit" to ourselves?
O God, help us to encourage ourselves as we try to help others. Help us to feel your presence, your strength as we go about out day. Help us to talk positiviely to ourselves and others. We pray in Jesus name. Amen
"Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, grankincense and myrrh." (Matthew 2:4b)
Are all of your Christmas decorations put away? What about your Christmas gifts? Have you put everything away? I confess the decorations are all put away but I wait to put the gifts away until I have written the thank you notes. Did you forget anyone's gift? I must confess again.... Yes, I totally spaced on a couple of gifts. Thankfully for the grandkids, even the step grandkids, after they are 13 they get cash instead of me trying to figure out what they want. The other gift was a mad scramble to find something and get it into a giftbag.
The readings today are about gifts. Isaiah is reminding the Hebrew people, and us, "your light has come, the glory of the Lord rises upon you." (Isaiah 60:1) Paul is pointing out, in Ephesians, the reason he is a prisoner of Christ -- "Surely you have heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me for you." (Ephesisians 3:2) Then, as we start into Epiphany, we have the Wiesmen getting to Bethelhem to give the Christ child "On Coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary...." (Matthew 2:11) The gift God has given us, God's grace through the gift of his Son, and the gifts the Wisemen brought to the King of kings.
So my question is...what gift are we bringing? What are we giving to Christ, whose birthday we just celebrated? As Caregivers we are already "giving" a lot, I know and I understand. It doesn't change the question...what are we giving to the King of kings? What if (to continue from last week) we gave ourselves? If we gave our heart and our time? What if instead of an hour on Sunday we spent time daily with God? What are we bringing? Something to think about.....
"He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young." (Isaiah 40:11 NLT)
Christmas season, celebrating Jesus' birthday - the Good Shepherd. This morning's God time is about trusting God. We know God keeps God's promises. We are getting ready to celebrate Epiphany - the Wise Men bringing gifts to the Christ child. I brought up "what if..." on Sunday so I want to suggest a "what if." "What if" the gift we bring, to the Christ child (Emmanuel, Good Shepherd) is doing what God is calling us to do? What if we trusted all of the "do not fear" we see in Scripture?
O God, we thank you for being the Good Shepherd holding, and guiding, us. We thank you that we can trust your promises. Amen
"I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us" (Isaiah 63:7a)
What if.... How often do we say it? What if we used this fabric instead? What if we turn here instead? What if we tried using this instead? Or, as I try to do when traveling, what if we tried something "new" to eat? We are starting into a New Year today so there are a lot of "what ifs" we could come up with. Of course some people call them "resolutions" instead of "what ifs" but in many ways they are the same. This year I am going to exercise more, loose weight, eat better, read more, ______ fill in the blank with what you are thinking of.
Todays readings are about praising God as we follow where God is leading. Isaiah is reminding the people to praise God. To remember all the "kindnesses" God has given and to tell people about them. (7a) Hebrews is reminding us of God's claiming us as Christ's "brothers and sisters" because "both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family." (Hebrews 2:11) And, because we are still in the Christmas season, the reading in Matthew is pointing out how Joseph DID what God told him to do. "So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt." (Matthew 2:14)
So.... think about it..... "What if" we followed, and DID what God is asking us to do? As Caregivers we do have pretty busy schedules that can change quickly - I know. At the same time I also know we suddenly get an idea to call someone, or be thinking about someone, or to try doing something. What if we did it? What if when God wakes us up, earlier than the alarm, we got up and spent "extra" time with God? What if, this year, we were to spend time learning, growing and strengthening our relationship with God through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit? What if we were to TELL people of God's kindnesses? What if.........
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.