Devotions

Showing items filed under “Martha Aenchbacher”

Make New Friends

A friend loves at all times, and kinsfolk are born to share adversity. Proverbs 17:17  
   
Memories of Grace Rabek rise up from the past like the fragrance of flowers. She was the longest-lived Girl Scout that I ever knew and one of the friendliest humans this world has ever seen. I barely remember when she was a new friend. She immediately made a connection with me and sustained it. I quickly learned that she did that with everyone she encountered. Armed with her love for God and song lyrics she’d memorized from her scouting days Grace went out into the world always ready and willing to make new friends. I think what’s especially beautiful about Grace is that she was already your friend before she knew you. Are you like that too?  
   
The first verse of the Girl Scout song Grace loved says, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold. A circle is round, it has no end. That's how long, I will be your friend.”   
She often quoted that song to me, and she lived it out. I enjoyed a wonderful friendship with Grace and miss her brilliant smile very much. Her dedication to making new friends still inspires me. This Sunday, September 26 is “Friend Day” and I want to encourage you to invite a friend to join you for worship. If Grace were here, she’d probably be calling everyone in her neighborhood.   
   
My last exchange with Grace Rabek was sweet and brief. I thanked her for being so loving. I said, “You’ve loved everybody, even the worst people!” She said, “Of course! God made everyone and so everyone has love in them.” She said, “God doesn’t waste a person because he made them.” Grace is the best sermon I’ve ever seen and heard.

It’s Time to Tell

The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1 
 
A family member needed help early one morning that required me and my car. I enjoy the small hours of darkness before dawn, but I’m not usually trying to get out the door at that hour. I was glad I could be helpful, but a little sleepy. Suddenly one thought really blessed my soul as it crossed my mind, and that was how I would get to see the sunrise on my way back home. God’s design for the light switch of earth is always a breathtaking work of art, to put it mildly! I’ve watched sunrises and sunsets in all kinds of weather, and I’ve never been disappointed. The array of light, the texture and shapes of clouds, and the diversity of colors amaze me every time. It occurs to me that admiring God’s handiwork is an act of praise. To love God with all our heart and mind and soul and strength is to be constantly aware of God’s good work. That day as I drove east and the sun began to rise, my heart lifted with joy and I praised God. The dark purple-grey streaks of cloud had become sunrise orange underneath, and the dark blue sky shifted to a powder blue. At one point in my journey home I had to turn the car west and so I faced the dark side of the sky where the sun had not yet reached. I cannot tell you how badly I wanted to turn the car back to the light. 
 
These hard days of fighting a virus, seeing the pain of our brothers and sisters around the world, and trying to live our daily lives in as normal a way as we can takes a toll on our spirits. The psalmists were often faced with real life traumas and epic disasters. Praise of God was a regular practice for them that helped them grow in faith even as it helped them cope with pain. Praise can feel like a disconnect from reality or a jarring note of joy in the middle of a lament. Here’s the good news: hope and love are not tied to our circumstances. God’s love and goodness are not dependent on our mood or situation. Hope in God is water for the thirsty soul. Our God has loved us with an everlasting love and so when the heavens are telling us of his glory, the right response is praise. In the act of praise we remember God is with us and we celebrate his unlimited power. We turn to the light! I find encouragement flowing towards me and filling me when I lift up praise. Telling God off or telling God our troubles or telling God on each other are likely things we’ve all focused on from time to time. The fact is that God has done for us what no one else could ever do. And God isn’t going anywhere! He keeps communicating his love to us. Praise helps turn our darkened perspectives around to the light of God. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! What beauty to discover and blessings to share as we tell God of our love for him! We, like the sky and clouds and sun, are God’s handiwork. Get going with your praise. This is the right time to tell of the glory of God! 

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