Learning’s from Luke…. By Rachel Roussel “I cried out, ‘I am slipping!’ But your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” Psalm 94:18-19 Each day we each struggle with worries that can produce anxiety and fear. Maybe it’s personal or the economy, jobless rate, murder rate, or other problem. But recently I heard a pastor say, “worry is meditating on words that are not God’s word.” What can we meditate on instead? God’s word tells us to think on good things, to fear not and be anxious for nothing. God’s word says that he’s our provider, our fortress, our shield, our present help in time of need. God’s word says that when you cry out that you are slipping that he will grab you and hold on until you get back on your feet, and he gives us renewed hope when all hope seems lost, and renewed cheer. Cheer? This simple word at the end of the verse can easily be overlooked, but it’s important to remember that God always comforts us and carries us through times of trouble back to the place of joy. In Matthew 6:25 God tells us to stop worrying about our lives. Instead, focus on what God is doing today, and on what we can do today to help bring his plans into being. Because as Romans 8:39 says, “Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, or where we are—high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean—nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when he died for us.”
A Learning at Luke…… By Jenn Bull Recently, my husband asked me what I thought the difference was between trust and faith. Being an introvert who often goes away and processes things for a while (it’s been over a month) I didn’t answer right away. I have pondered the question a few times and am not sure I have completely come up with the answer but I love the question. The way we speak about trust and faith is similar but I also see a distinct difference. We say, “I trust you” or “I have faith in you.” Both are declarations that only we have the authority to speak yet one (trust) points to something more specific than the other (faith). I trust someone when, over time, they have shown me that they are sincere, reliable, and capable. They really mean what they say, they have followed through in the past, and they have the skills necessary to do what they say they are going to do. Faith on the other hand points to something deeper. While they may not have shown sincerity, reliability, and/or competence in the past, I have faith that it is within them. “I trust you” simply says what it says. “I have faith in you” attempts to draw something out that thus far has been unseen. Trust cannot exist without faith, yet, faith can exist without trust. This is because faith is a gift from God. It is that place within us that goes to the heart and often does not make logical sense. It is often a challenge to explain our faith. It simply exists but wrapping our minds around it can be a daunting task. When we have faith in someone or something, that faith comes from the light within us that sees the potential in the other and is not dependent on the past. Faith looks to the future possibilities. It goes to the heart and takes us out of our heads. When a parent continually makes room for a child to mess up it is because in the heart of the parent, the potential for the child exists. The light within the parent is trying to interact with the light within the child. This is also the distinction that creates the grey lines (and the grey hair) between when to let our children fall again and when to carry them. Knowing which one to choose depends on whether we are choosing from the head or the heart. Sometimes, it’s from both. Help us, Lord God, to follow Your guidance in our dealings with faith and trust. Make us sensitive to the light within ourselves and those around us. From there, help us to act accordingly. We adore You, O Christ, and place our faith and trust in You. Amen.
A learning at Luke 10:27 By Becky Walding In a world of uncertainty I often find myself looking ahead and wondering about all the what if’s and things to come whether they are good or bad, most often bad. I get so caught up in the unknown that I allow myself to get to a state of worry and then fear enters without even realizing it. Once in that place I become so frozen that I can’t or won’t allow myself to savor all that life is offering at this moment. I become so fearful it literally stops me from seeing anything good in my life because I am so focused on the if’s. This morning in my quiet time with Jesus, I asked him a question, “What do you want me to learn today?” this is what I heard.. “Be content- live for today, enjoy each moment. Do not worry about things to come, instead put all your trust in ME and I will guide you and keep you safe. I just love how he knows just what we need and when we need it. Feast on these verses. Philippians 4:11 I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 37:24 …though they stumble, they will not fall, for the Lord upholds them with his hand. Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. So today I am leaning into these truths and trusting. Father God, I want to savor each day with you and cherish every moment with the people in my life. Thank you for your sweet way of talking to us and reassuring us that you are right there with us every step of the way. I pray that as I savor all you have to offer that I will continue to grow closer and closer to you each day. Love you so much. Your servant, Becky
It was a Freudian slip. An error in speech due to an unconscious wish. His prayer during our worship service was coming to an end. “in the name of Jesus we play. Amen.” We play?! I love it! Praying is playing with God. Wow! That’s no Freudian slip. That’s divine revelation. God wants to play with us. I’ve prayed with prayer shawls and prayer books, but never with play dough. The unconventional thought seeped into my soul. Pray with play dough? Preposterous. Call out to God with a crayon? Absurd. Seek the Lord in sand? Strange. But not according to recent research in the field of Social Sciences . Studies of the brain prompt Neuropsychologist R. Joseph to say, “The limbic system (of the brain) may well be the seat of the soul or may serve as the neuro transmitter to God.” We are wired to connect with God. Creative arts heighten that connection by offering a “slow-paced setting conducive to reflection.” John Berryman, author of Godly Play, encourages us to be in the presence of Godly laughter. “Godly laughter,” writes Berryman, “is that of creation and play.” So, here’s to pink play dough, a pack of colored pencils, a sack of sand and a box of crayons. Teach us to pray, Lord. Teach us to play. . . . . with You! We adore You, O Christ, now and forever. Amen.
I wish you could experience my daughter-in-law, Kathryn, tell this story. She’s such a gifted storyteller. During Sunday School this past Sunday I wanted our children (ages 3-12, a most amazing, delightful blend) to experience the omnipresence of God, i.e. God is always present everywhere. As a part of our exercise Kathryn took three different age groups to play Hide and Seek in the sanctuary. First, they entered the sanctuary like little, noiseless ninjas. Next, they silently sought their hideout while the “seeker” counted. When the seeker was ready to seek he/she whispered the scripture, “If you seek me, you will find me.” After a couple of solo rounds the seeker said softly “If you seek Me,” and the hiders gently joined in, “you will find Me,” until all had been found. The following point was to be made: Even though we can’t see God, God is here. When Kathryn got to the “God is here” part, she heard an audible gasp. There stood her stunned daughter, Caroline, age 3. Body motionless. Eyes as wide as saucers. Disbelief refusing to flee from her face. S-l-o-w-l-y . . . three very BIG words came out of her tiny, petite mouth. “G-O-D is H-E-R-E?!!!” Incredible! Unbelievable! The Big guy?! The One I talk to every night?! He’s here?! WOW! Utterly, totally amazing!! No wonder Jesus said, “Unless you become like a child you will not enter the Kingdom of God.” Help us get this, Lord. Grow us younger, Grow us smaller. Grow us into a deeper understanding that wherever we are, You are. Y-O-U are H-E-R-E!! Incredible! Amazing! What are You seeing? What are You hearing? What are You longing to be for us? We adore You, O Christ, now and forever.
Unhurried intimacy with Christ. Like a salmon swimming upstream it’s a daunting task. Why? Why is it so difficult to linger in God’s presence? Why is it so hard to just hang with the One who knows us better and loves us stronger than anyone? When I was growing up my Mom had a mantra: “Leslie, slow down!” I wish I had been a better listener. Have you ever noticed how the beautiful things in God’s creation take their time? Slowly, insistently light defies darkness as the sun rises. A baby is born. A flower blooms. An oak tree looms large in our yard. Each formation takes the path of gradual growth. Each formation experiences barely perceptible change from one day to the next. I think God likes unhurried. Today, Lord, help us linger in Your Love. Give us the courage to challenge “busy” and “not enough time” by spending gentle, relaxed time with You, the One who saves us from ourselves. We get that it’s going to take us time to learn how to take time. So, bless us with persistent patience, Jesus. We adore You, O Christ, now and forever. Amen.
Today, Lord, How many faces will we see? How many words will we read? How much time will we spend with our family and friends? As our fingers type and swipe Bring us, Love, into Your Light. Yours is the Face we want to see when we strike a messaging key. Love listens. Love learns. Love forgives a wrong turn. Love seeks to always find something good – something kind. Love never wants to turn away from what His people have to say. Love gives us space to make a fuss refusing to give up on us. So, today, Lord, may Your Face fill the space between us and our friends. May Your Love from above be our button marked “Send.”