Weekly Devotions, August 3-7

Friday Devotion with Kim Wu

My mom was born in 1930 and grew up under the shadow of the Great Depression on a farm among the mountains of West Virginia. Life was hard, resources were scarce, and absolutely nothing was wasted. Mom passed away in 2018, and among the things I found while cleaning out her house was a long narrow strip of bright yellow cloth that was tied into a little bundle. I saw lots of those bundles around the house as I was growing up. Mom spent a lot of time sewing, and excess fabric – even thin strips – was all put to good use. That yellow strip was used like string – to tie up boxes and bundles - and small and silly as it is, I’ve kept it as a tangible reminder of her and her approach to life.

Growing up during the Great Depression left its mark on my mom. She learned the value of resourcefulness, and took that lesson with her for the rest of her life.

That era was a wilderness time for many people, and it shaped them, just like it shaped my mom. You cannot escape a wilderness experience without being altered by it. It’s up to you whether you let it change you for the better or for the worse.

We’re all in a wilderness unlike any other we have known. Things keep piling on, and there’s no end in sight. But there are lessons to be learned right here and now, and learning them can help us come out of this wilderness season better and stronger and renewed in our faith.

How are you being resourceful in these times? Don’t waste this wilderness. There is purpose and meaning in it, if you allow yourself to grow through this season.

Gather up all the scraps of your experiences, all your hurt and sorrow and fear, and pour out your heart to God in prayer.

Practice gratitude, searching out and naming all your blessings.

Dig deep in God’s word, and fill your mind with His promises. He will turn the darkness into light before you and make the rough places smooth. (Isaiah 42:16b) Spend time meditating on the Scriptures, noting and marking the words that speak to you, so they can abide within you.

Fellowship and worship with others, even when it can’t be in person in this season. Take advantage of opportunities to gather online with others. If you are in a small group, keep meeting via Zoom and encouraging one another. If you aren’t in a small group, join one. Keep in touch with others over the phone, or arrange to meet safely in person. Watch the online service, and use the chat function to greet others.

Be resourceful, and take advantage of all that God is offering you right now. And be blessed by it.

Thursday Devotion with Pastor Will

Tuesday Announcements with Pastor Will

Monday Devotion with Kim Wu

There’s a joke circulating on social media: Every time you feel sad, remember the people who wasted their money on a 2020 planner.

This year we have definitely had our lives upended and our plans for the spring, summer, and fall dramatically altered. My planner looks nothing like I thought it would when I carefully chose it last year.

My eyes were drawn to the whiteboard calendar on the altar table during the service yesterday, with sticky notes, menus, and other to-do list items attached to it. What a perfect illustration of how we often think we are self-sufficient, believing that orchestrating the hours and days on our calendars is entirely up to us.

In the sermon yesterday, Pastor Will focused on the line in the Lord’s prayer, “give us this day our daily bread.” As we adopt the posture of humility such a prayer requires, we are reminded that God both determines and provides what we need each day. “For in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28a)

There’s no more literal picture of the provision of this daily bread in the Old Testament than the story of the manna – the bread God rained down from heaven to feed the Israelites in the wilderness every day for forty years.

Christian author and teacher Beth Moore characterized God’s provision of manna for the Israelites as one of the hardest tests He put to them: as the people continued to eat the miraculous manna every day, would they grow in awe of Him or would the miracle become mundane, making them grow indifferent or even cold to the presence and provision of God?

How about us? As we pray, “give us this day our daily bread,” are we recognizing God’s daily provision for us, even in these extraordinary and trying times? Are we grateful for the blessings God has already given us and continues to give us, acknowledging that He is trustworthy and good and worthy of our continual praise?

There is surrender in asking God to provide for our daily needs. It requires us to hold onto our own plans loosely, as we learn to allow God to determine our steps. “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10) Make God the driving desire of your life. Let HIM direct your days, rather than your planner.

Lord, I praise you for your provision for me every day. Help me to let go of my plans for my life and embrace what you have planned for me. Make me your fervent follower. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Amen

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