Day 73 | Sunday, 31 May 2020
The Day of Pentecost
The assigned scriptures for Pentecost Sunday are: Acts 2:1-21; Psalm 104:24-34, 35b; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13 and John 7:37-39.
This is it. This is the day Jesus promised his disciples at his ascension. The day has come when the promised counselor has arrived. God – the Holy Spirit, the third part of the Trinity has arrived and filled the disciples with the power to continue the ministry and mission Jesus began. How is the Holy Spirit working in your life?
Acts 2:1-21 Pentecost
2 When Pentecost Day arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound from heaven like the howling of a fierce wind filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be individual flames of fire alighting on each one of them. 4 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak. 5 There were pious Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered. They were mystified because everyone heard them speaking in their native languages. 7 They were surprised and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all the people who are speaking Galileans, every one of them? 8 How then can each of us hear them speaking in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; as well as residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the regions of Libya bordering Cyrene; and visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the mighty works of God in our own languages!” 12 They were all surprised and bewildered. Some asked each other, “What does this mean?” 13 Others jeered at them, saying, “They’re full of new wine!”
14 Peter stood with the other eleven apostles. He raised his voice and declared, “Judeans and everyone living in Jerusalem! Know this! Listen carefully to my words! 15 These people aren’t drunk, as you suspect; after all, it’s only nine o’clock in the morning! 16 Rather, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
17 In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your young will see visions.
Your elders will dream dreams.
18 Even upon my servants, men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
19 I will cause wonders to occur in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and a cloud of smoke.
20 The sun will be changed into darkness,
and the moon will be changed into blood,
before the great and spectacular day of the Lord comes.
21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
“Spirit of the living God fall afresh on your people. May the world know your desire for all people to praise and give thanks. In our differences, bring unity; in our lethargy, bring life; in our despair, bring hope! Surprising God, generous God, your Spirit is among us, sending us into new adventures, opening new doors, exploring possibility beyond our dreams. May we be a people filled with the desire to respond, with the energy for your purpose, for the centeredness that only your Spirit can bring. Grant us new life in the Spirit this very day, we pray! Amen.” (Sourcebook of Worship Resources Vol 3. Page 187)
Today: Thank God for the gift of His Holy Spirit; pray for calmness and justice in our country.
Day 72 | Saturday, 30 May 2020
There is no doubt that we have felt the need for the strength of our relationship with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, more strongly during these past few months. We have needed something to hold on to with all our might as we have faced ever changing times. That strength is echoed in these verses where Jesus affirms that he is the vine rooted deeply in God and we are the branches attached to the vine. I have always loved this imagery. My first church was in the fruit basin near Lake Erie. It was surrounded by vineyards. I witnessed good farmers who took very good care in tending their vineyards and pruning the vines. I also witnessed vineyards that had been ignored and were dying because of lack of care. I have followed these passages with the hymn – I Need Thee Every Hour.
John 15:1-8 I am the true vine (CEB)
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vineyard keeper. 2 He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit, and he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit. 3 You are already trimmed because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me. If you don’t remain in me, you will be like a branch that is thrown out and dries up. Those branches are gathered up, thrown into a fire, and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified when you produce much fruit and in this way prove that you are my disciples.
1 "I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer.
2 He cuts off every branch of me that doesn't bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more.
3 You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.
4 "Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can't bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can't bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
5 "I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can't produce a thing.
6 Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire.
7 But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.
8 This is how my Father shows who he is - when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
“I Need Thee Every Hour” by Annie S. Hawks, 1872 (John 15:5)
1. “I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
no tender voice like thine can peace afford.”
2. “I need thee every hour; stay thou near-by;
temptations lose their power when thou are nigh.”
3. “I need thee every hour, in joy or pain;
come quickly and abide, or life is vain.”
4. “I need thee every hour; teach me thy will;
and thy rich promises in me fulfill.”
5. “I need thee every hour, most Holy One;
O make me thine indeed, thou blessed Son.”
Refrain: “I need thee, O I need thee; every hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my savior, I come to thee.”
O blessed Savior, we need you every hour. We need your strength. We need your love. We need to be fed from you our vine. We come to you each day with our prayers. We have concerns, fears, uncertainties, sorrow and despair as we continue through the unknown. We want to bear fruit because of our love for you. Prune us where we need to be pruned. Nurture us with your grace and love. Lord, hear our prayers. Amen
Today: Do you need some pruning? Let's pray for peace to prevail in our country.
Day 71 | Friday, 29 May 2020 …From the Church Mouse
Some time ago I found a greeting card that I just loved for our daughter and a friend who were going through trying times. I bought 4 cards and am sending one to our dear grandson Bryan and his fiancé, Sierra who will be having a COVID wedding in August. Grandpa was supposed to officiate, but on doctor’s orders, we cannot travel to West Virginia. We may be able to join for a virtual blessing.
I want to share this card from Blue Mountain Arts and written by Donna Levine-Small. It speaks to exactly what I’m thinking. It is still available on e-bay.
“Life doesn’t always happen
the way you want it to
or the way you planned it
or hoped for…
Detours suddenly appear; storms
blow in unexpectedly. The road you’re
traveling – that seemed so safe and
secure – changes direction without
warning, and life becomes something
that’s not at all what you thought it
would be. You find there’s nothing to
do but stop for a while, figure out your
options, and think about new decisions
you have to make.”
“Life is forever changing. You can’t
always control what happens, but
you can hang tough through it all and
make the changes and decisions that are
so necessary and will help you grow in
site of the disappointments, develop
courage in spite of the adversities,
be creative and come up with solutions,
and always keep love in your heart.”
“No matter how hard things may seem . . .
life will change again, and it’s possible
that this detour will lead you to a place
that will bring you more happiness and
let you reach more satisfying places in
your heart and life that you’ve ever
“And if you need someone to lean on . . .
give me a call.”
Lord, today we pray for your help in getting through the detours in life. May your spirit guide all those who are making detours. Hear our prayers. Amen
Today: those who lead us through the detours in life.
Day 70 | Thursday, 28 May 2020
It was great to be together yesterday for prayer and later for the zoom meeting.
Today, I am going to share a couple more translations of Psalm 23 for your reflection and meditation.
Psalm 23 – The Message Translation (MSG)
God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure. You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.
Psalm 23 – Good News Translation (GNT)
The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in fields of green grass and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water. He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths, as he has promised. Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, LORD, for you are with me. Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me. You prepare a banquet for me, where all my enemies can see me; you welcome me as an honored guest and fill my cup to the brim. I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life; and your house will be my home as long as I live.
The Lord is Our shepherd
What about us? What about me? Can we be so bold as to make this claim, “The LORD is my shepherd?” Can we move beyond reciting, yet barely daring to believe, these verses as words we were required to memorize as children? How, when, do these words, “The LORD is my shepherd,” become, not just words in the Bible, but our words, even my words? How do I lay claim to these words and make them mine?
Let’s look at what comes after the psalmist makes his claim, “The LORD is my shepherd.” I will, the psalmist says, lie down in green pastures. I will surely find myself beside not troubled waters, but still waters. My soul shall be restored. I will discover right paths, and even in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for the LORD, who is indeed my shepherd, will lead me.
More thoughts for your consideration with the next translations I present.
Lord, as our country now has seen just over 100,000 deaths due to the virus, we look even more seriously to you as the shepherd to lead us. You have given us everything we need. We are feeling the need for some rest from all that has been confronting us every day. Lead us to those restful, quiet places. Lord, hear our prayers. Amen
Today: those who spend their working hours stocking and restocking shelves.
Day 69 May 27, 2020 SEE YOU AT NOON FOR PRAYER
As time marches on with the changes that have confronted our lives, I find that my anxiety level sometimes takes a jump. It doesn’t happen much. When it does, I just remind myself that I am a person of faith and the God will guide us through this and the changes for the future. So, I turn to Psalm 46 specifically verse 10 and am reminded that I need to be still, be quiet and remember God is God. God did not cause this pandemic, but God is using in ways we do not yet understand. God is allowing us to use the gifts God has given us to become better human beings, if we so choose. Following in the Psalm from the New Revised Standard Version and the Message. I have followed the scripture with the hymn “Be Still, My Soul.”
Psalm 46 -NRSV
1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. [Selah]
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God will help her right early.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. [Selah]
8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has wrought desolations in the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear, he burns the chariots with fire!
10 "Be still, and know that I am God. I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth!"
11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. [Selah]”
The Message “God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him.
2 We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in seastorm and earthquake,
3 Before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains. Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, God of angel armies protects us.
4 River fountains splash joy, cooling God's city, this sacred haunt of the Most High.
5 God lives here, the streets are safe, God at your service from crack of dawn.
6 Godless nations rant and rave, kings and kingdoms threaten, but Earth does anything he says.
7 Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, God of angel armies protects us.
8 Attention, all! See the marvels of God! He plants flowers and trees all over the earth,
9 Bans war from pole to pole, breaks all the weapons across his knee.
10 "Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything."
11 Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, God of angel armies protects us.”
Be Still, My Soul – Katharina von Schlegel, 1752; trans. By Jane Borthwick, 1855 Ps. 46:10
1. “Be still, my soul: The Lord is on your side. Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
leave to your God to order and provide; in every change God faithfully will remain.
Be still, my soul: your best, your heavenly friend through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.”
2. “Be still, my soul: your God will undertake to guide the future as in ages past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake; all sorrow mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know the Christ who ruled them while he dwelt below.”
3. “Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on when we shall be forever with the Lord,
when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone, sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past, al safe and blessed we shall meet at last.”
Lord, you are on our side making the journey with us through these days. We remind ourselves that we need to pause, take a deep breath and be still for you will guide the future as you have the past. Hear our prayers. Amen
Today: take time to be still and know that God is on your side
Day 68 | Tuesday, 26 May 2020
This is being sent earlier than normal as I have my infusions scheduled for today, tomorrow and Thursday early in the morning and I will be away from the computer until afternoon.
Last year we gathered together up at the Gazebo for a noontime picnic on Memorial Day. I missed that opportunity this year. I hope we might be able to get together for a picnic sometime this summer.
Today, going against my practice, I am going to put together some selected verses form the book of Proverbs. Quoted from the Common English Bible.
7 Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
2 Turn your ear toward wisdom, and stretch your mind toward understanding.
Proverbs 3:13 Value of wisdom
13 Happy are those who find wisdom and those who gain understanding.
The Lord laid the foundations of the earth with wisdom, establishing the heavens with understanding.
5 Get wisdom; get understanding. Don’t forget and don’t turn away from my words.
7The beginning of wisdom: Get wisdom! Get understanding before anything else.
23 More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it.
10 The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord; the knowledge of the holy one is understanding.
33Wisdom resides in an understanding heart, but it’s not known in fools.
16 Acquiring wisdom is much better than gold, and acquiring understanding is better than silver.
24 Pleasant words are flowing honey, sweet to the taste and healing to the bones.
Proverbs 16:31 & Proverbs 20:29b 31 Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is found on the path of righteousness. 29b gray hair is the splendor of old age. (these two are my favorites)
8 Those who acquire good sense love themselves; those who keep understanding find success.
“Several times, the writer of Proverbs tells us to ‘get wisdom’. Throughout Scripture, we find passages in which the authors encourage us to use our reasoning capacities. Wisdom is sometimes described in terms of a thoughtful and reflective woman who draws upon her experience as she carefully considers how best to live in relation to God, others and herself. Jesus and authors of the OT tell us to love God with our minds, but sometimes Christians think that reason is opposed to faith. John Wesley encountered people who valued emotional experiences over reason. Wesley said that our reason is not opposed to faith, but helps us understand our faith. Reason a gift of God; developing our mental capacities is one way that we show gratitude for that gift.”
CEB p 817
Gracious God, wisdom and reason are gifts you have given us. During these trying times, we pray that we will put these gifts to good use. We need wisdom more than ever as we decide how to move forward with our lives. Hear our prayers. Amen
Today: Wisdom and Reason
Day 67 | Monday, 25 May 2020 - Memorial Day
“We hold up before you, our Creator, all of our loved ones who have passed from earth into eternity. Especially, we remember those who have laid down their lives that others might live. Keep them in our memories. Keep them in our hearts. And grant us the assurance that we shall be reunited around the Father’s throne. Amen” (Source Book for Worship Vol. 3 page 67)
“Nurturing God, we lift to you today all whose memories are part of our lives. For those who stood up for what they believed, for those who worked in the name of justice, for those who simply lived the life of holiness, we give you thanks.
“We pray for those who live in danger, who still wage combat - externally or internally. We pray for those who have lost loved ones - may your healing be upon each of us. We pray for the renewal of all our spirits, knowing that those who have died have simply gone on before us as saints of the living God.
“Hear our prayers, O Life-Giver, and grant us your peace. Amen.” (Ibid. page 193)
Gracious God, today we also remember those who have been on the front lines of the battle against the COVID-19. We also remember the nearly 100,000 in this country who have lost their lives to the virus. This is a day to remember and continue to pray for the recession of this pandemic. O Lord our God give us your strength and peace. Hear our Prayers. Amen
Today: pray for our veterans
From the Church Mouse
Essential oil 101:
Two recipes for homemade hand-sanitizer gel:
1. Making your own hand sanitizer gel is easy to do and requires only a few ingredients:
The key to making an effective, germ-busting hand sanitizer is to stick to a 2:1 proportion of alcohol to aloe vera. This keeps the alcohol content around 60 percent. This is the minimal amount needed to kill most germs, according to the CDC.
2. The second recipe is the same as the first except add ½ teaspoon vitamin E oil
Place all the ingredients in a bowl or measuring cup and whisk to combine. Using a funnel, pour all of the ingredients into a misting bottle. Use as needed.
Day 66 | Sunday, 24 May 2020 Happy Lord’s Day
The assigned readings for this the seventh Sunday of Easter are: Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35; Acts 1:6-14; 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11 and John 17:1-11. This Sunday is also referred to as Ascension Sunday.
John 17:1-11 Jesus prays
When Jesus finished saying these things, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, so that the Son can glorify you. 2 You gave him authority over everyone so that he could give eternal life to everyone you gave him. 3 This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent. 4 I have glorified you on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 Now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I shared with you before the world was created.
6“I have revealed your name to the people you gave me from this world. They were yours and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 This is because I gave them the words that you gave me, and they received them. They truly understood that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.
9 “I’m praying for them. I’m not praying for the world but for those you gave me, because they are yours. 10 Everything that is mine is yours and everything that is yours is mine; I have been glorified in them. 11 I’m no longer in the world, but they are in the world, even as I’m coming to you. Holy Father, watch over them in your name, the name you gave me, that they will be one just as we are one.
6 As a result, those who had gathered together asked Jesus, “Lord, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now?”
7 Jesus replied, “It isn’t for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 Rather, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
9 After Jesus said these things, as they were watching, he was lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going away and as they were staring toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood next to them. 11 They said, “Galileans, why are you standing here, looking toward heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you saw him go into heaven.”
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem—a sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they entered the city, they went to the upstairs room where they were staying. Peter, John, James, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James, Alphaeus’ son; Simon the zealot; and Judas, James’ son— 14 all were united in their devotion to prayer, along with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
In the Gospel of John reading, we find Jesus praying for himself and then for the disciples and followers. I realize that this prayer was for the disciples but as I read it, I felt as though Jesus was including me in his prayer. The group of disciples was a select group who were to carry on the mission of Jesus in the world. Isn’t that what we are asked to do? Jesus is asking God to watch over us in this world. We have been selected, chosen, adopted by God to be His children and to witness to the world. This is not an elevation holiness but and obligation to mission. Jesus prays for God’s protection over us. He prays for our unity in mission and for our joy. How great is that especially in these days of constant change.
Holy God, you are an awesome God. You watch over your people with love and compassion. You call us to mission as we continue to share in the ministry of your precious son, Jesus the Christ. Surround us with your joy as we journey through these times. Hear our prayers. Amen
Today: Missionaries serving throughout the world.
Day 65 | Saturday, 23 May 2020
As we continue to journey through these unprecedented times, we have gone through many emotions and feelings. We are beginning to witness the “reopening” of the country and our local area. We probably have mixed feelings about moving forward as we remember what we have been through these past several months. There are times when it is important to shut out all the outside “noise” and sit in the quiet seeking the presence of God. When I do that, I am reminded of how great the faithfulness of our God is. I know that I must wait patiently for things to return to what will be comfortable and less troubling. I have appreciated the good weather and the chance to be outside puttering around the house and the grounds. Our gatherings on Wednesday at noon have been so beneficial to all of us. I have taken a few verses from an Old Testament book that reminds us of God’s faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:20-26; 31-33
“20 I can’t help but remember and am depressed.
21 I call all this to mind—therefore, I will wait.
22 Certainly the faithful love of the Lord hasn’t ended; certainly, God’s compassion isn’t through!
23 They are renewed every morning. Great is your faithfulness.
24 I think: The Lord is my portion! Therefore, I’ll wait for him.
25 The Lord is good to those who hope in him, to the person who seeks him.
26 It’s good to wait in silence for the Lord’s deliverance.
31 My Lord definitely won’t reject forever.
32 Although he has caused grief, he will show compassion in measure with his covenant loyalty.
33 He definitely doesn’t enjoy affliction, making humans suffer.”
To accompany these verses, I am also sharing a familiar hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1923
1. “Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father; there is no shadow of turning with thee; thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not; as thou hast been, thou forever wilt be.”
2. “Summer and winter and spring-time and harvest, sun, moon, and stars in their courses above join with all nature in manifold witness to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.”
3. “Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide; strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!”
Refrain: “Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; all I have needed thy hand hath provided; great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!”
O Lord our God, we are glad to affirm your faithfulness to your people. We need to be reminded of just how faithful you are as we remember the difficulties of these past months. It is good for us to take some time in silence to listen to your still, quiet voice speaking to us. Continue to show your compassion to all those in need this day. Great is your faithfulness. Lord, hear our prayers. Amen
Stay safe this weekend. This is unlike any other Memorial Day weekend we have experienced.
Day 64 May 22, 2020
From the Church Mouse...
Today we’ll discuss the use of masks in our current situation.
Who: all people should wear masks in public, especially those 51 years old and older, and those with current health difficulties.
When: Masks should be worn in all public situations, especially when social distancing cannot be maintained.
What: The best masks for our use should be made with pure cotton, 1000 threads per square inch. A filter pocket should exist from side to side on the inside of the mask. A filter should be made of chiffon or silk since both these fabrics are electrostatic. The mask should have no gaps between your face and the mask.
Why: The COVID-19 virus is smaller than a bacillus and cannot be seen except with an electron microscope. The 1,000 thread count fabric can block a good deal of the virus. The electrostatic fabric properties can catch the remaining virus and holds them fast.
How: To insure proper reuse of this sort of mask, do the following:
Good news and Bad news:
Next time: two recipes for hand-made sanitizer if that supply chain breaks down.
God of all resources, we give you thanks today for those who are busily sewing and making masks for our protection. We are thankful for their talents and gifts. Bless all the mask makers in the world. Blessed are the mask makers and wearers, for they shall be protected. Hear our prayers. Amen