Devotions

It’s Been a Good Season

When the church had to shut down because of the onset of the covid-19 virus, we spent hours and hours discussing ways to stay connected with our church family. For many, there was a deep need to come together, and we all know there was a plethora of opinions. One way we thought we could stay in touch and nurture our community was through our devotions. In the beginning, our staff participated and eventually the clergy wrote daily devotions.   

If I am being honest, it was a great way for us to stay in God’s word and speak to what we were all experiencing. At times, it was difficult to find the words that might be an encouragement and other times, it was not so difficult. Our time has come to end our weekly devotions.  With Martha leaving to answer God’s call to explore a new way to serve and program opportunities increasing, we have found that our focus and energy needs to be given to our ministry areas and our church family. 

This has been a good season for stretching ourselves and learning new things about how God uses scripture and life’s experiences to speak to our souls and strengthen our faith. Thank you for all who have read, listened, and shared our heartfelt words and thoughts. You have been faithful to us and to the church. May God continue to bless you and meet you in your discovery of how he uses your life to encourage others.   

Blessings,  
Betsy 

Posted by Betsy Butler
Tags: devotion

A Lesson in Praise

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish far more than we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 

The days of waiting for something good to happen were tough to manage during the lockdowns of the pandemic. We worked to be safe and we hoped to be wise in our care and concern for one another. What is the great lesson to learn from all of it? We gather more freely now and feel safer than we did, but what wisdom should we carry forward? The list is probably long for each of us. One thing I will always hold dear is that relationships are precious. It’s good that we learned how to Zoom together, worship online together and communicate in new ways together because that kept us connected. We also realized how these discoveries help us reach more people. Looking back on those days prompts me to thank God for all his many blessings. It is our relationship with God that sustained us then and sustains us now. I must confess that during the pandemic, my prayers were filled with appeals to God for help and for the healing of the world. I had a desperate desire for better days to come. I’m not sure I was as mindful to praise God daily. The challenging circumstances informed my heart, but I know that when we praise God each and every day our trust in God grows and our spirits lift. It’s a lot easier to rejoice when things are going smoothly isn’t it? If I could choose only one lesson to take into the rest of my life, it is that God is good all the time.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow! 

The traditional Doxology that we sing on Sunday mornings was written by Rev. Thomas Ken. It’s one of the most widely sung Christian hymns of faith. It crosses denominations and oceans and languages to unite the people of God in praise. The good reverend lived faithfully and was highly regarded as a preacher, but his sermons are long forgotten. He wrote other hymns and even some poetry, but nothing he said or wrote or did compares to the impact of the Doxology on the Christians who sing it. We have sung it in peace and in wartime. We’ve sung it in hope and in pain. We sing it on days of rain or sunshine or cloud. Acts of praise help us connect with the goodness of God. Carry forward into the days and years ahead, praises for the One who blesses us daily! 

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! 

Praise God the Father who’s the source; 
Praise God the Son who is the course; 
Praise God the Spirit who’s the flow; 
Praise God, our portion here below! 

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