Day 147 | Thursday, 13 August 2020
COVID update – 8/12/20 2:30 pm 262 with 106 in battalion 3
“God is at work. Light pierces the darkness. Love calms fear. Joy tickles sadness. Hope lifts up despair. Peace disarms anger. Kindness dances around hostility. Music sings away troubles. God is at work! Rejoice!”
A Prayer of Invocation:
“Loving God, give us open hearts, as open and eager as a toddler's first steps. Give us open ears, that we may hear your words fresh and wild, comforting and challenging us. Give us open hands, ready to receive a blessing and willing to offer gentle care. Loving God, show us the depths of your grace in these precious moments and in your holy Word. Amen.”
A Prayer of Confession:
“Holy God, like a loving mother and a caring father, you seek the best for us, desiring health and wholeness, peace and justice for all creation. Yet we seek our own way, wandering off toward the gods of success, popularity, wealth or comfort. We look for immediate satisfaction, the quick fix, a temporary relief. We sit at the wrong table, ignore our troubling conscience and try to numb our loneliness.
“Teach us, loving God, that our true home is with you, that you have a place for us at the banquet, that you adorn us with the finest robes and place us on the right path again and again. Fill us with your deep and abiding joy. Amen.”
An Affirmation of Faith: A New Thing (Isaiah 42:5-9; Revelation 21:5)
“We believe that the LORD is God,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people upon it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
who called us in righteousness,
who took us by the hand and kept us;
who has given us as a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to
bring out from the prison those who sit in darkness.
We believe the former things have come to pass, and new things now spring forth.
For we believe the one seated on the throne of heaven who says "See, I am making all things new."”
A Prayer for Quietness:
“As the world rushes by, O God, we want to slow down and find meaning in you. In the age of information, may we stop and listen and empty ourselves to find the simple and true message about your love for every human being. Create in us a place that is not touched by the world that calls us to rush, hurry, consume and satisfy all our wants. Simplify our desires so that they become one with your desire for us. And when we are weary, give us the strength to find the quiet place that renews us for the days ahead. In your goodness, we pray. Amen.”
“May the blessings of God warm you like the sun. May the love of Christ wash over you like a gentle rain. May the joy of the Spirit raise you to new heights like an eagle soaring.”
Quote: “The best rose bush, after all, is not that which has the fewest thorns, but that which bears the finest roses.” -Emily Dickinson
Day 146 | Wednesday, 12 August 2020
Forgot on Monday – Exercise Group #3
Romans 12:9-21 CEB
9 Love should be shown without pretending. Hate evil, and hold on to what is good. 10 Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other. 11 Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic—be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord! 12 Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of God’s people, and welcome strangers into your home. 14 Bless people who harass you—bless and don’t curse them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and cry with those who are crying. 16 Consider everyone as equal, and don’t think that you’re better than anyone else. Instead, associate with people who have no status. Don’t think that you’re so smart. 17 Don’t pay back anyone for their evil actions with evil actions, but show respect for what everyone else believes is good.
18 If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people. 19 Don’t try to get revenge for yourselves, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. It is written, Revenge belongs to me; I will pay it back, says the Lord. 20 Instead, If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. By doing this, you will pile burning coals of fire upon his head. 21 Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good.
9 Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. 10 Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. 11 Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, 12 cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. 13 Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. 14 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. 15 Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. 16 Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody. 17 Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. 18 If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. 19 Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it." 20 Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. 21 Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.
“Holiness of Heart and Life” “Marks of a Christian”
“Love is routinely preached. But the litmus test of this love is whether it is genuine or hypocritical, out of self-interest or putting others’ well-being first.
“Wesley’s general rules of ‘doing no harm, avoiding evil, and doing good of every possible sort’ are ways to help us practice love in our lives. For Wesley, faith and works are two sides of the same coin.
“Wesley’s ‘going on to perfection’ requires the practice of spiritual disciplines. Love is expressed in works of piety, our devotion to God, works of mercy, and our compassionate treatment of others.”
Wesley Study Bible CEB page 1434
We all know that the greatest commandment is all about loving others as we love ourselves. If we do not love ourselves, then how can we love others? This section from Romans is a reminder that loving others is such an important part of our relationship with God. It reminds us that we cannot fake our love for others and that loving others is not about us. We may find some folks really hard to love, that is when we leave them up to God and let God deal with them.
Today: is your love from the center or do you fake it on occasion?
Holy God, make us more loving, right from our centers. Lord, hear our prayers. Amen
Day 145 | Tuesday, 11 August 2020
A Call to praise:
“God, we praise you for summer sun and laid-back days, family vacations, or this year staycations, and leisurely mornings.
God, we praise you for fathers, mothers, children and all who make up our circle of love,
for friends who help us to wholeness, for the church, which gives us a taste of heaven, a glimpse of the kingdom.
God, we praise you with quiet deeds or with our voices raised in song.”
A prayer of invocation:
“Precious God surround us with your presence so we may breathe deeply of this moment and discover a fountain of joy, a river of light, a stream of hope.
Precious God, come in word and silence, in song and prayer, and lead us to the heights of glory.
Precious God visit us now with your peace and power that make all things new. Renew the earth and renew us by your grace. In Jesus we pray. Amen.”
A prayer of confession based on: Genesis 2:15-17
“Gracious God, you created us in your own image, set us in a garden filled with living creatures and instructed us to nurture and keep it. In the cool of the evening you came looking for us, but we hid ourselves from you.
Throughout history, you have continued to come to us, and we have continued to turn ourselves from you.
Help us to stop hiding from you. Let us stand before you now, acknowledging our temptations, seeking your sustaining presence and accepting your grace found in Jesus Christ. Amen.”
An affirmation of faith:
“We believe in a bold God, Creator of splendor, spinning stars into night skies, warming the planet with life-giving sunshine, filling the earth with all creatures great and small.
We believe in a big God, Creator of 150 billion galaxies, who is big enough to receive our praise and loving enough to answer our prayer.
We believe in the risen Christ, who meets us in the brokenness of life, accompanies us on all our wanderings and forever seeks to welcome us home with open arms.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, guide and companion, who fills us with windy hope and fiery compassion.
We believe in the church, where we can taste some of the heavenly banquet and live as a renewed people for the world.”
“God of the wind that sweeps over the chaos of our lives, we thank you for the wind of your Holy Spirit. We thank you that by the power at work in us, you are able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine. We give thanks that by your Spirit you empower us to bear with one another in love, maintaining unity in the bond of peace.
We give you thanks, then, almighty God, that you call to us in grace and mercy, that you help our unbelief, that you empower us to be your people and your church. May we, as your people, lead a life worthy of the calling to which we have been called, believing that there is one body and one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. Amen.”
“Come to us, O God, especially when things get bad, and give us strength. Don't let us be afraid. Fill us with renewed courage, spirit and voice, in the name of the triune God. Amen.”
Day 144 | Monday, 10 August 2020
The Church Mouse
“If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That is to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there is not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we are not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.”
2 Corinthians 4: 7-9 (The Message)
I thought about this parable when the Rev. was barking like a dog to scare away the golden squirrel who comes frequently to ravage our woodpecker bar and anything else, he can get his furry paws on…he isn’t particular. Come to think of it, the Rev. does not care for rodents of any kind. Lately, he has been at war with a particular mole who is as accomplished a tunnel digger as a civil engineer. This will just not continue, according to my mild-mannered spouse. So, a few days ago, before 8:00 AM, we were in Home Depot purchasing. Let us just say, something to unite the mole with his maker. Usually, I have the backs of all God’s creatures. In this case…not so much.
I explain to my husband that the chipmunk that eats his radishes and green bean sprouts is only taking the 10 percent of the harvest we owe him for the right to live in his territory. The same goes with the deer nipping off some of our morning glories and my hibiscus buds…or the skunk that uproots my violets. Life is difficult for these small creatures, since they are not at the top of the food chain as we are.
Have you ever been driving and seen one of these small creatures’ dash from the side of the road into the path of the car in front of you? If they are lucky, almost in slow motion you will see them dash back and forth between the car’s wheels looking for any escape. I do not ever think you will find a better example of the word panic than what the little furry one does as it tries to avoid becoming roadkill.
Have you ever felt like that? It can be exceedingly difficult living in a world such as we have now. Words we might use to describe it are frenzied, hectic, pinging with anxiety, heavy with helplessness and exhaustion. We can become so overwhelmed with things that are so scary, things that make no sense to us at all that we might resemble that little creature trying to avoid those car wheels.
We must remember that God is in this boat with us. We cannot become distracted by those car wheels or it is curtains for us. It is so important to remember that true peace only comes from shifting our attention back to the One who can properly arrange our priorities and perspectives.
I read the following in my devotional recently:
“Dear Lord, help us see through eyes of faith beyond the circumstances that riddle our hearts with worry and indifference, or anxiety. Help us to see you, your love and glory that shines truth and hope into all our busyness and promises the sweet rest of your perfect peace. Amen” ----Pepper Basham
Day 143 | Sunday, 9 August 2020
The assigned Scripture lessons for this the 10th Sunday after Pentecost are: Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b; Romans 10:5-15; Matthew 14:22-33 and...
Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28. (Message)
1 Meanwhile Jacob had settled down where his father had lived, the land of Canaan. Joseph and His Brothers.
2 This is the story of Jacob. The story continues with Joseph, seventeen years old at the time, helping out his brothers in herding the flocks. These were his half brothers actually, the sons of his father's wives Bilhah and Zilpah. And Joseph brought his father bad reports on them.
3 Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons because he was the child of his old age. And he made him an elaborately embroidered coat.
4 When his brothers realized that their father loved him more than them, they grew to hate him - they wouldn't even speak to him.
12 His brothers had gone off to Shechem where they were pasturing their father's flocks.
13 Israel said to Joseph, "Your brothers are with flocks in Shechem. Come, I want to send you to them." Joseph said, "I'm ready."
14 He said, "Go and see how your brothers and the flocks are doing and bring me back a report." He sent him off from the valley of Hebron to Shechem.
15 A man met him as he was wandering through the fields and asked him, "What are you looking for?"
16 "I'm trying to find my brothers. Do you have any idea where they are grazing their flocks?"
17 The man said, "They've left here, but I overheard them say, 'Let's go to Dothan.'" So Joseph took off, tracked his brothers down, and found them in Dothan.
18 They spotted him off in the distance. By the time he got to them they had cooked up a plot to kill him.
19 The brothers were saying, "Here comes that dreamer.
20 Let's kill him and throw him into one of these old cisterns; we can say that a vicious animal ate him up. We'll see what his dreams amount to."
21 Reuben heard the brothers talking and intervened to save him, "We're not going to kill him.
22 No murder. Go ahead and throw him in this cistern out here in the wild, but don't hurt him." Reuben planned to go back later and get him out and take him back to his father.
23 When Joseph reached his brothers, they ripped off the fancy coat he was wearing,
24 grabbed him, and threw him into a cistern. The cistern was dry; there wasn't any water in it.
25 Then they sat down to eat their supper. Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites on their way from Gilead, their camels loaded with spices, ointments, and perfumes to sell in Egypt.
26 Judah said, "Brothers, what are we going to get out of killing our brother and concealing the evidence?
27 Let's sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let's not kill him - he is, after all, our brother, our own flesh and blood." His brothers agreed.
28 By that time the Midianite traders were passing by. His brothers pulled Joseph out of the cistern and sold him for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites who took Joseph with them down to Egypt.
Commentary: “Joseph’s dreams lead to hatred, jealousy, and more favoritism, fueling the flames of betrayal and violence. Reuben attempts to stop the brothers, who eventually allow their hatred to give way to greed. Shepherds sometimes relocated their flocks from a home base such as Hebron, to regions with better grazing during the summer. Dothan is near an international trade route. Their statement “We will see what becomes of his dreams” reveals jealousy as primary among their insidious motives. As firstborn, Reuben is responsible for assuming the role of his father in Jacob’s absence. He will need to answer for the harm done to Joseph. The garment is the tangible object of their father’s favoritism. Pits were routinely used as cisterns holding water, so the absence of water means Joseph is not yet dead. The caravan is described as both ‘Ishmaelite’ and ‘Midianite,’ assuming perhaps the Midianites were a subset of the Ishmaelites.” CEB Wesley study Bible page 52
Questions: Was favoritism ever shown in your family? Did you get jealous over the favorite?
Today: pray for those whose hatred stems from jealousy.
Day 142 | Saturday, 8 August 2020
COVID-19 Update: County 255 battalion 3 - 106
A Prayer of Invocation:
“All-knowing, all-powerful and all-present God, we come to you this morning to lift up our praise to you. Although we sometimes seem painfully ignorant of the magnitude of your grace and of the power potential of your love, we joyously declare our faith and trust in you.
“Help us as we explore our faith to understand in some small measure your greatness, for everything about you is great - your love and mercy and your grace and peace. Thank you for being among us. We give you the praise, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
A Prayer of Confession
“Wondrous God, forever seeking us, willingly forgiving us, we should be amazed at your grace. Yet how often we ignore your presence. We focus on keeping life in control, in balance, and get angry at the interruptions, the problems that ruin our plans, mess up our days. We never entertain the thought that you may be speaking to us in the turmoil, in the messiness of life. We are so bent on our desires and our plans that we squeeze you out. Holy God, you are there in all the circumstances of life. Open our eyes; help us come to our senses and trust your guiding hand. Amen.”
An Affirmation “The Questions of Jesus”
(Matthew 8:26; 14:31; 16:15-16; Luke 8:45; 9:23-27)
“We believe in the Lord who questions, "Why are you afraid, you of little faith?" and then stills the storms of our lives and gives us peace.
We believe in the Jesus who tenderly asks, "Who touched me?" and then heals us of our disease.
We believe in the Master who says, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" and then reaches out his hand to catch us when we are sinking.
We believe in the Christ who wonders what it profits us to gain the whole world, but lose ourselves.
We believe him when he says, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
And when he queries, "Who do you say that I am?" we are glad to confess, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."”
“God of all peoples, we come before you this day calling your holy blessing upon us. As we give our lives to you, we ask that you show us your ways. Where there is sickness, bring healing. Where there is hurt, bring comfort, where there is separation, bring resolution for health.
Right now, we lift our own concerns to you in a moment of silence. [silence]
Grant us the insight to know when you speak to us. Help us not to drown out your message. May we know the movement of your Spirit when we experience it. And then, may we know what you would have us do. Praise to you, O Creator. Amen.”
“May the risen Christ be with us as we seek to follow his example: forgiving and not hating, uplifting and not tearing down, serving instead of being served and doing all things to the glory of God the Father. In his precious name, we pray. Amen.”
Quotation: “The secret is that God loves us exactly the way we are ... and too much to let us stay like this.” -Anne Lamott
Day 141 | Friday, 7 August 2020
From the Church Mouse
What You Can Do with Quark
In the last edition of the Church Mouse, I let you know what Quark is and why it’s good for you. This edition of the Church Mouse will focus on recipes using Quark. However, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that Wegman’s doesn’t carry Quark, but they do know what it is. There just isn’t a high enough demand for them to stock it. So…I crawled around in the exotic cheese display until I found a near enough substitute to serve our purposes. Jot this down: BelGioioso Ricotta con Latte cheese. This cheese contains pasteurized whey, cream and milk, vinegar and salt. It contains 11 grams of protein, only 2g of sugar, 50% of the daily value of calcium, and is perfect for a low carb diet (there you go Ann). There are no added gums, fillers, or sugars. It is also gluten free.
You can eat this fresh for energy. Top it with fresh berries and granola. Mix with cocoa or chocolate chips and a little sugar. Use as a cannoli filling. Its traditional uses are to be baked into lasagna and pasta dishes, added to cheesecakes, and used as a cannoli filling.
Now for a substitute for quark recipe: Hot and spicy quark chicken recipe
This succulent and healthy dish will add a little spice to your family meals. Using quark instead of Greek yogurt means that there is 74% less saturated fat per serving, meaning that it's far healthier - but you can use the BelGioioso Ricotta con Latte cheese if you can't get hold of quark.
Note that this recipe also requires at least an hour's marinating time.
Cuisine: Indian | Recipe Type: Main | Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 10 mins | Cooking Time: 15 mins | Serves: 4
1. To make the marinade, mix the quark, spices, seasoning and lemon juice together in a large bowl. Add the chunks of chicken and stir well until coated all over, leave to marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight if time allows.
2. Preheat a heavy griddle pan for 5 mins. Toss the vegetables in the oil, then griddle cook them for 4 mins, turning until they are charred on all sides. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm.
3. Add the chunks of chicken to the griddle and cook for 8-10 mins, turning the chunks occasionally until they are nicely charred on the outside and cooked through. Add the vegetables and keep warm.
4. Warm the tortillas on the griddle pan. Make the sauce by mixing the Tabasco sauce with the quark in a bowl. Serve the chicken and vegetable with the tortillas and sauce.
Day 140 | Thursday, 6 August 2020
“Surprising and persistent God, you never give up on us. You seek us, follow us, call us. We cannot escape from your yearning for us, and only when we turn to you do we find the sweetness of life, the reason for living, an ever-flowing fountain of joy.
Thank you for your amazing grace that surprises us, comforts us and renews us. Give us hearts of gratitude, and forever let us sing your praise. Amen.”
“Wondrous and generous God, you have blessed us with gentle rains, glorious sunsets and sun-warmed days. You bless us with loving families, kind friends and caring neighbors. Let us receive these gifts with thankfulness and humility. We cannot earn nor do we deserve such generosity, but we graciously open our hearts and hands to receive.
Forgive us when we are hardhearted and tight-handed, when we don't let your goodness flow through us, when we hide our talents and turn away from the needs of the world.
Release us, Holy One, from fear, and create a contagious spirit of giving that touches the world with hope. Amen.”
We pray for a cure,
You send us healing.
We pray for continued life,
You give us new life.
We pray death will not come,
You overcome death.
We pray in anguish,
You weep with us.
We pray in fear,
You teach us to laugh.
We pray for ourselves,
You give us each other.
We pray for miracles,
You fill us with love.
We pray for the future,
You shower today with blessedness.
Thank you, Lord.
“Almighty God, provide light for us in times of darkness, joy in times of sorrow and peace when life seems chaotic and troublesome. Most of all, stay by us as we encounter the challenges of the world that we will face as we live in this world. In our Savior's name. Amen”
“Darkness is everywhere, but God doesn't give in to the darkness, not even when we do. God comes to us in the midst of darkness and offers us light and hope. -Charles Tobias”
Today: Pray for Doctors and Nurses and staff who are going beyond their limits to help those sick with the virus.