"Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs." (Psalm 100:2)
Here we are at another Sunday, Sabbath, worship time but this time in the middle of the summer. Instead of weather we now have vacations, lakes, sports, family visiting - what other reason can you give? Although the weather can still be an issue during the summer it is more heat and humidity than snow and ice. So we worship inside but ARE able to get to the building! This is also a "5th Sunday" which can make a difference. The churches I serve like to have hymn sings on the 5th Sunday -- learning the story "behind" the hymns we sing. It is a way of worshiping, celebrating the Sabbath, learning AND praising God - especially with "joyful songs."
The reading, this morning, in Romans is about God's Spirit in us - being with us, praying for us (when we don't know how or what to say/do [Romans 8:26]), and giving us strength through all the changes happening in each of our lives. Emmanuel, God WITH us. Definitely a reason to "come before him with joyful songs." A time to s-t-o-p and BE with God.
So many changes happening! We are almost through summer(!), starting to look at fall schedules (I saw Halloween in a few stores already) and our "usual" busy schedules. When are you taking time to stop, worship, and praise God? When are you getting the fellowship of other believers? Are you coming together? Are you "making the time" to BE WITH GOD? Something to think.......
"Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it." (Genesis 28:18)
Reminders can be interesting things. When we have food, in the fridge or freezer, we want to remember to take with us we put our key on said food. We can't leave without the key so we remember the food. Or..... when we need to remember to do something it goes on the calendar - right? If it isn't on my calendar it probably isn't going to get done. One of my favorite reminders is my prayer scarfs. The prayer shawl group, at one of the churches I served, gave me the first scarf when I had to drive in BAD winter weather. The second prayer scarf is a red one I can wear when I'm doing a memorial service -- a way to remember and honor my parents as I work with celebrating someone's life.
The readings today are about remembering and getting results. In Genesis we know Jacob has just been wrestling and wakes up realizing "God is in this place." (v. 16) When he gets up he places the stone "as a pillar" - a reminder. (v. 18) In Romans we are reminded we are "children of God" (8:14) because of the Spirit. (8:15:) The Gospel reading has Jesus pointing out He "will tell the harvesters" what to do with the weeds and the wheat." (Matthew 13:30) We don't have to decide - God will. We can remember God with us, the reminders we have, and continue to share as we learn and grow.
What reminders do you have? Especially reminders of when you have really felt God's presence with you - guiding you and giving you strength? Do you share, with others, what the reminder is and how God has helped in the past and is helping now? As Caregivers we are busy, with schedules changing all the time, what "reminder" do we have of God's presence with us. Something to think about........
"The seed that fell on the good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God's Word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as has been planted." (Matthew 13:23 NLT)
When I say, or you read, "seed" what do you think of? How the "seeds" you planted are doing in your field or garden? How to gather the "seeds" to plant or re-plant? Or...what about how to take care of the "seeds" you planted? How often, maybe even when, you need to water said "seeds"? Or, maybe do you need to "feed" the seeds?
The readings, today, are about "seeds." Rebekah is having twins with her "seeds." (Genesis 25:23) and Romans is reminding us how the Holy Spirit will take care of each of us - "living in us." (Romans 8:11) And Jesus is telling a story about seeds and then explaining the story in Matthew 13. The question is are we paying attention, do we "truly hear and understand" (v. 23) What are we doing with the "seeds" of God's Word?
What I want you to think of is a different kind of seed. What about thinking of a "seed of an idea"? Will you still listen to what God is saying? Will you listen to someone else's "seed of an idea"? As Caregivers we are VERY busy. It seems like new things happen on a very regular basis. Are we still open to new ideas - maybe even a new way of doing something? Do we "truly hear" let alone "understand" what God is laying on our hearts? Something to think about.....
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
Do you still take naps? I mean actually go lay down on the bed, snuggle under a blanket (quilt?), nap? What about falling asleep in your chair? My Dad could lay down, sometimes in bed but sometimes on the couch or in his chair, sleep for 20 minutes and be up ready to go again. He did NOT pass on that ability. I can also remember sending my son to "go take a nap" - or at least be in his room quiet - so I could rest. Is this what you think of when I talk about naps?
The readings today point out the importance of "going to God." In Genesis, the servant, Rebecca and Isaac all go to God to seek guidance. (Genesis 24) In Romans 8 we are reminded that the "law of the Spirit gives life." (Romans 8:2) But the biggest reminder is in the Gospel reading. Jesus is reminding us to "come" to Him. His "yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:30) A yoke is for two, walking together - think of the picture we have all seen of the oxen pulling a wagon - Emmanuel, God IS with us.
Yes, we are tired and a LOT of things keep changing. Yes, we continue to care for "our" people. Yes, we are "weary" and in many cases "burdened." (11:28) So...are we going to God? Are we asking for direction? Are we letting Jesus walk WITH us? Something to think about.........
"Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me." (Matthew 10:40)
When I ask about magic words what do you think of? For some of us the first thing we probably think of is "abracadabra" - right? I want you to instead think of your grandparents, or parents, asking you what the "magic" word is when you want something. I can hear the adult saying "what is the magic word?" and expecting a "please, thank you or I'm sorry" in response. How are you doing at saying "please" or "thank you" or (maybe especially) "I'm sorry"?
The readings today are about trusting God's presence with us through all the changes and challenges. In Genesis Abraham looks up, sees the ram, sacrifices the ram (instead of Isaac) and names the place "the Lord will provide." (Genesis 22:14) In Romans we are reminded God IS with us, helping us to learn grow and make the changes needed. (Romans 6:22) In the Gospel reading Jesus is pointing out how welcoming people welcomes Him. Welcoming Jesus welcomes God (v. 40) so Emmanuel - God IS with us. With us, and "will provide" for us, through all the changes and challenges happening in our lives.
So.... Are we asking God? Are we TALKING to God? Are we saying "I'm sorry" for NOT asking? And...when we DO ask.... Are we REALLY believing God IS with us? As Caregivers we have busy schedules that are, pretty much, constantly changing. Are we taking the time to s-t-o-p to feel God's presence with us? Do we REALLY believe God will provide the strength? Something to think about...
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.