Devotions 4/13 to 4/17

Friday Devotion with Rebecca Shepherd

Psalm 118: 24 This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

I pray this verse every morning when I wake up and ask God to help me rejoice all day.  This verse reminds me that God is in charge and to rejoice in what the day brings whether it matches my plans or not.  God’s plans are often much better than what I wanted in the first place.

In these uncertain pandemic times, I feel like I need to remind myself often to rejoice in the simple blessing each day brings.  I have to admit that I often forget to rejoice in the day the Lord made by lunch time. The world has started to take over my thoughts and moods and I am not so glad.  I am going to challenge myself to bring this verse to lunch with me.  Will you join me in that challenge?  Pick one verse that lifts you up and to pray it twice a day.

Sending prayers to each of you that you feel God’s love and you find a way to rejoice and be glad in it today.


Thursday Devotion with Pastor Will

Tuesday Devotion with Pastor Ellen

I really enjoy mowing the grass. I enjoy getting out in the yard and doing something active. But more than anything, I enjoy the way I can see the progress. I follow a pattern when I mow, and I can see where I have been and where I’m going. It’s satisfying to follow a project from start to finish.

Unfortunately, life is not always that simple or clear. Things can get messy and we can get lost or distracted. Especially when day-to-day routines change. But if there is a place you want to end up, you have to pay attention to how you get there. The same holds true in our spiritual lives and how we find God. There is no single path for everyone to take. Each of us walk our own road to God, but it does require that we choose to walk in God’s direction.

I wish it were as easy as mowing the grass, but it’s not. We can’t have our spiritual lives completely mapped out and prescribed like we’re mowing the lawn. This is not a task that needs to be finished or one more thing that goes on the to-do list. At the same time, this is not something that happens magically when we’re unaware. Moving in the direction of God does not happen by accident. It requires an intentional choice and active navigation. It happens slowly, one day at a time and one step at a time. You don’t have to get there all at once, but you do need to move.

So, what is that step for you today? Is there something to add to your schedule? What do you need to take away or release? Could it be 5 minutes of reading, prayer, or meditation? Maybe it’s just acknowledging the need for God or the desire for grace. What if it’s a simple as a moment of gratitude that redirects your attitude? Whatever it is for you, find the direction. Take the step.

“Cheshire-Cat” [Said Alice] “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—,” said Alice.
Then It doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that, said the cat, “if you only walk long enough”
-Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Monday Lay Devotion with Kitty Stapleton

Last week, like many of you have been doing, I made some bread. It’s a simple recipe that I got from a German friend. It’s made with spelt flour and has only a few ingredients. Although the recipe contains yeast, the dough doesn’t have to rise or be kneaded and is put directly into the oven! How easy is that? What could possibly go wrong?

When the bread was finished, I took it out and buttered it, anticipating the warm deliciousness of it. Ugh, something was definitely missing. Salt! It seemed to be missing salt. So, I went back to the original recipe and sure enough, I had missed adding one teaspoon of salt.

Thinking about how different the lack of only one teaspoon of salt made in the taste of the bread, I was reminded of Matthew 5:13 ESV: “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.”

I thought about how many times a reference of salt is used in the New Testament. Searching further, I found that salt was mentioned many times in the Old Testament also. So, what was the importance of salt to the Israelites? As Edward Bagby Pollard writes in “Covenant of Salt”, “As salt was regarded as a necessary ingredient of the daily food, and so of all sacrifices offered to Yahweh (Leviticus 2:13), it became an easy step to the very close connection between salt and covenant-making. Covenants were generally confirmed by sacrificial meals and salt was always present. Since, too, salt is a preservative, it would easily become symbolic of an enduring covenant. So offerings to Yahweh were to be by a statute forever, "a covenant of salt for ever before Yahweh" (Numbers 18:19).”

Now that I have some insight to the significance of salt for the Israelites, I have a new appreciation of the way salt was used in the New Testament. Its usage went beyond merely adding taste to food. Yes, we, as Christians, are called to be the salt, the seasoning for our brothers and sisters. We are expected to add salt to their lives; to serve as meaning for their lives. If we don’t strive to live Christ-like lives, then we have “lost our taste” and are no longer suited for the Kingdom of Heaven.

Also, looking to the Old Testament and the use of salt as a symbol of an enduring covenant, I now realize the possibility that Christ was reminding the disciples of the Covenant made between Yahweh and the early Israelites. Perhaps Christ wanted his disciples to realize that they had a new Covenant that God has made with mankind through the sacrifice of Christ. This Covenant reminds us to look beyond ourselves and our selfish desires and to reach out in servanthood to others and to share the Love of Christ.
It doesn’t take much thought to see how relevant the living out of that Covenant is for our lives today. This is the time for Christians to step forth and be the salt for our suffering brothers and sisters. Consider the words of Christ: “Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” (Matthew 9:50)

How will you be the salt in the coming weeks?

Prayer: Gracious Lord, please help us be the salt: the helping hand, the comforter, the supporter for our brothers and sisters in distress. Help us discern your will through our prayers and worship. Amen.

Print your tickets