2024-03-19 14:55:38

2024-03-19 14:55:38

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Favorite HymnsFavorite Hymns

   At church today we sang some of my favorite hymns, ones I remember best from childhood.  More and more I find myself recalling these old hymns.  They remain deeply rooted in my memory, like the wooden stake that sticks out of the ocean when the water level is low.  It marks a spot where I begin my walk, but it isn’t always visible.  Just when I think it’s been washed away by strong waves or heavy tides, it reappears, sturdy and tall.  So it is with these hymns and memory verses I learned as a child.  They come to my mind when I most need them, bringing their own sweet comfort.  The hymns, these verses, help me measure my walk with you.  Thank you, God, for the words written in my heart and mind, words you help me summon to the surface.  May your words never fade from my reach. Amen.

Emmanuel: God is With UsEmmanuel: God is With Us

Dear Heavenly Father—Christmas is a time to reminisce, to remember the past and celebrate early days. But Christmas is equally a time to look forward. The birth of Jesus itself was prophesied by sages centuries earlier, people who saw the promise Jesus would fulfill. The angels predicted Jesus’ purpose to Mary and Joseph, to the Shepherds, to the Wise Men. They looked ahead and reported what they saw in the future.

Jesus was not “Super Baby” who lifted strong men and performed crib-side miracles; he had a purpose assigned to him, and he continued to fulfill that purpose. It was to Jerusalem he was going, and all that happened there was part of his future. From the beginning he looked ahead, and lived his life with that future in mind.

As a church also we think of the future. What is our purpose on this island, in this county? What can we do to fulfill our purpose, to be true to the mission Christ has placed upon us? How do we grow? How do we minister? How do we best serve the world around us?

Finally, as individuals too we are called upon to consider our futures at this blessed time. Emmanuel means ‘God with us’—but what does God being with us mean? What does God’s immediate presence allow us to do? How can we make decisions that best define that God is with us?

On this Holy night, may each of us consider what Emanuel means and how it will affect our lives, change our lives. May we live each day demonstrating to all others that God is with us, and that our lives reveal His presence. May this Christmas become the Christmas that was different, one where we are different, and may God’s presence with us be clear to all who meet us. May we face the future with the sure knowledge—Emmanuel—God with us. Amen.

Too Far!Too Far!

 When my husband and I walk, we aim for specific spot, easily identified on the beach.  Sometimes we try to go past that spot, adding each day to the length of our walk.  Of course the problem, with adding a bit daily is that eventually the distance becomes a hindrance rather than an encouragement; the walk seems too long to begin and so it is easily postponed.  For us the trick is to be realistic, setting a goal we can hope to maintain without excuse and without being certain of failure.  Prayer life is sometimes like that walk.  I want to increase the depth and intensity of my prayers, but know that if I overestimate my concentration, I’ll begin to skip my time with God.  Forgive me, God, for my failure to meet your goals, for my impatience, for my lack of attention.  Have mercy on me and grant me renewed dedication to you and your word. Amen.