Friday, March 24, 2017

Change

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            In a way, this is a slight departure from the topic of Lenten thoughts. Please bear with me.

            The disciples faced a major change in their lives. Their Master told them He was going to leave them. They could not fathom what Jesus said. We have Peter and his misguided declaration of following the Lord to the end.

            The youth at our church are facing a change in their lives. Our youth leaders all graduate from college this spring. All three of them came here from an adjacent state. The main youth leader and his fiancĂ©e, also a youth leader, will get married sometime this summer. We believe they will all return to their home state.

            Several of us have been aware that this time was coming. Those in church leadership roles have been discussing this upcoming time and how to transition through this change.

            Word has come to me that one of the comments heard from a youth member is, “I don’t like change.” I understand the thought. At different points in our lives, none of us like change. I believe one reason we don’t care for change is we have a fear of the unknown. We sometimes have seen change whose result caused more problems than were present before.

            When I was a freshman in college, about midway through the first semester, one of the girls in the dorm told some of us she wasn’t coming back for the second semester. Some of us took it hard. Another freshman girl mentioned it to some upper-class girls in her Greek organization. She shared the response with some of us.

            “That’s going to happen the rest of your life.” The response referred to people moving out of our lives. As I have become older and have seen many changes in my life. I know the response given to one of my peers is true.

            The disciples faced and eventually went through losing their Master. All but one of them deserted Jesus as the cross loomed bigger and bigger on the horizon. Our Lord promised to send a helper, the Holy Spirit.

            Because of the arrival of the Holy Spirit, they yielded themselves to Him, returned to Jesus’s teaching, and grew in their faith to aid in enlarging the Kingdom.

            As a young adult, I taught a junior high Sunday school class. Late one winter, the pastor announced he had accepted a call to pastor another church in the southern part of our state. This pastor was departing our church after at least 15 years. (Memory won’t give me the exact number of years.)

            When our class met again, the subject came up. One of the boys told the class that pastor was the only one he had known. I didn’t know what to say. Later, I realized these boys and girls feared the unknown.

            Change will come:
           
            Children grow,
            Young people go to college or start working.
            People get married,
            People move to another neighborhood, community, or state. (I discovered earlier this year that a friend of mine’s stepdaughter moved to London, England.)
            Marriages fail and dissolve
            People pass away
            Neighborhoods change
            Cities change
            Relationships change

            Not all change is bad. When Jesus went to the cross, God sent the Holy Spirit to help us through the difficulties of our lives. We grow because of the work of the Trinity. Without the Holy Spirit, the disciples would have returned to their previous trades and God’s Kingdom would not have been enlarged at that time.


            How do you react to change in your lives? Do you accept things easier as an adult than you did as a child? Do you have any suggestions for the up and coming generations about changes they will see in their lives?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Possible Thoughts of the Disciples



                                                                                                                   


                                         
 John 16:5-16                                                                                   
                                         
         
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The Inspirational Wordpress.com.
    

                                           

            “What is the Master saying?”

            “He speaks of our being persecuted because He chose us from those of the world. Why?”
            “They hated Him without reason?” Who would do that?”

            “How can this be for our good that he leaves us?”

            “He will send someone in his place, why? Why can’t He choose to stay with us?”

            “This new person will guide us? He will convict the world?”

            “Why does He not make sense to us?”

            The disciples heard Jesus speak of hatred, persecution, shunning, and killing of those who believe in Him. Questions arose in the disciples’ minds. Jesus’ words pierced their hearts, bringing grief to the forefront.

            We present-day Christians should look closely at His words and ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten and strengthen us.

            What questions would we ask about how our world reacts to Christianity in our world today? Could it be possible that we may have the same questions? Or because we have information the disciples lacked, would we realize that because we belong to Jesus we will experience those same negative actions from the world?



Monday, March 20, 2017

Thoughts on Lent

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My Song in the Night


            I worship in a faith community that observes the season of Lent. On March 1, we held Ash Wednesday service. We had, as our guests, congregants from a sister church and their newly-appointed pastor.

            In my Lenten devotional reading, one author reminds me that our practice of observing the season recalls the 40 days our Lord spent in the wilderness. Another writer calls it a time of preparation for Easter. I am interested in the practice of fasting.

Fasting

            The custom of fasting or giving something up during these 40 days reminds us of what Jesus went through both in the wilderness and during the time between His entrance into Jerusalem and His being crucified at Golgotha.

            We might give up whatever we feel we depend upon. One friend said she was giving up caffeine because she realized she felt she needed that latte every day.

            Some people choose to give up chocolate or sweets each year because they have developed a daily habit of indulging, or shall I say overindulging, in those treats.
            One of the devotional guides I read last year, and am reading again for this year, “40 Days of Decrease” takes a different approach to the practice of fasting. The author suggests we fast something different each day.

            Back when I was in college, I tried to give up a long-standing habit I had. However, I was not able to sustain my resolve for the entire 40 days.  I didn’t give it much thought through the intervening years until we had a pastor in our old church who posed the idea that we, as a congregation, observe Lent, including fasting a habit or a treat.

            The pastor of our present church has, in the past, has reminded us to fast a meal or two one day a week through the weeks of our Lenten observance. Some people can’t give up a meal for reasons of health. The current idea is that we give up a certain part of our meals, like that pie, cake, or ice cream, we enjoy afterward. One friend of mine gave up her nook one Lent. I gave up sugar one year and discovered sugar was more than a substance that I put in my tea. 
 
            We can also consider adding something to our daily life that we believe will help us become better people. On one of the social media sites, the husband of a friend of mine posted the suggestion that we might consider de-cluttering our homes as well as our lives during this season. Yes, I have considered this specific practice and have already started *but I haven’t kept up with it.* I plan to get back on it as soon as I finish updating this blog.



Fear, Courage: God Is With Us

scpeanutgallery.com  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...