Friday Devotion with Kim Wu
Manna in the form of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream delivered via drone to your doorstep. Or if you are in the mood for some Thai food, that can be arranged instead. Manna is the name of a company in Ireland that had planned to begin delivering fast food via drone to small Irish towns in March of 2020. A nice play on the Biblical story of manna from heaven.
Most of us are familiar with the story of God providing manna from heaven while the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness. The people were complaining to Moses about the food in the desert, and lamenting all the food they used to have access to while held as slaves in Egypt. The Lord’s answer was to rain down daily bread from heaven, in the form of thin flakes that appeared on the desert floor each morning when the morning dew was gone.
Manna, which literally means “what is it”, was the whatchamacallit for the Israelites in the wilderness, and the Lord provided it to them for the forty years they spent in the desert.
Manna is the Lord’s provision for our needs every day we spend in the troubled times of our personal and collective wildernesses. It is always sufficient for our needs – just enough to help us take the next step and get us through the day. God’s grace and mercy are freely provided to us. “Great is His faithfulness; His loving-kindness begins afresh each day.” (Lam 3:23 TLB)
But unlike the drone-delivered manna which is ready-to-eat and dropped at your doorstep, the manna the Lord provided required the Israelites to go out and gather it. And we have to gather God’s grace-filled and merciful provision for us. Gathering requires action on our part. It is working to receive God’s provision.
God “satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (Psalm 107:9), but Jesus tells us in the sixth chapter of Matthew’s gospel that when we are worrying about our daily provision, we are to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
How are you seeking His kingdom and gathering your manna in the wilderness? Are you immersing yourself in the beauty and wonder of His Word? Are you going regularly to Him in prayer? Are you accepting the opportunities offered to be in Christian community with others?
And are you helping others experience and share Christ’s transforming love in their wilderness times? With the arrival of the pandemic in the early months of 2020, Manna, the drone delivery service in Ireland, pivoted their plans to deliver medicine and other essentials to the elderly in rural or isolated areas. Manna’s provision for God’s people in their wilderness.
Thursday Devotion with Pastor Will
Tuesday Announcements with Pastor Will
Monday Devotion with Ray Leonard
Lately, I have been reading a lot about gratitude as it relates to generosity in our Christian lives and the many ways that Jesus Christ is able to work through us and through our church. We continue to see so many examples of this as CUMC serves so many in our community every week because of our gifts of food, time and yes, money.
I have also been continually reminded of the hardships, suffering and adversity so many are experiencing right now because of the virus, the demonstrations, lost jobs, and everything else going on. Studying about gratitude during these times had seemed somewhat disconnected for me until today. Each Wednesday morning, I meet with our men’s small group, the OMG (Old Men’s Group) and for the past few weeks we have been talking about living a Christian life. Today we talked about hardship, suffering, and adversity. The main point that I took away from the session was that as Christians, we will suffer hardship and adversity, but we see it not as just something that we have to live through, but rather as an opportunity to grow in our faith and learn more about what it means to be a follower of Christ. That does not mean that we do not suffer, but because of our faith we come out stronger than we were before.
During the discussion one of the members read the following from Romans 5, verses 1-4:
“1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.” NIV
As I listened to verses 3 and 4, I suddenly saw how suffering and gratitude are not opposites, at all. We glory in our sufferings? Yes, because through God’s grace our suffering produces perseverance which builds our character and leads to hope. This certainly seems like something to be grateful for, even though it may take a while for us to see the hope that ultimately comes through our faith in Christ.
Father, we are able see the beauty of the world You created each and every day when we wake up, but for many their life situation may make it hard, if not impossible, for them to see the beauty around them. We ask that they may feel Your healing presence in their lives and experience the hope that ultimately comes from our suffering. Thank you for your never ending grace. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.