Day 103 | Tuesday 30 June 2020
Here we are on the last day of June. Even though we are still under COVID watch, this month seems to have flown by. As we are on the doorstep of July, I thought Psalm 98 would be a good closing for June. I am sharing from both the CEB and the Message. It is always good to sing to the Lord either a new song or a very familiar song, an old standby. Admittedly, there are a couple struggles with some portions of the psalm. I find it difficult to Be Happy when we are thinking about 127,000 deaths in this country. I cannot be happy that so many states are increasing in their COVID cases and deaths. I do rejoice in the Lord and the Lord’s righteousness. We need to make joyful noise to the Lord for God is still doing wonderful things.
Psalm 98 CEB
Sing to the Lord a new song because he has done wonderful things! His own strong hand and his own holy arm have won the victory!
2 The Lord has made his salvation widely known; he has revealed his righteousness in the eyes of all the nations.
3 God has remembered his loyal love and faithfulness to the house of Israel; every corner of the earth has seen our God’s salvation
4 Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth! Be happy! Rejoice out loud! Sing your praises!
5 Sing your praises to the Lord with the lyre—with the lyre and the sound of music.
6 With trumpets and a horn blast, shout triumphantly before the Lord, the king!
7 Let the sea and everything in it roar; the world and all its inhabitants too.
8 Let all the rivers clap their hands; let the mountains rejoice out loud altogether
9 before the Lord because he is coming to establish justice on the earth! He will establish justice in the world rightly; he will establish justice among all people fairly.
1 Silence is praise to you, Zion-dwelling God, And also obedience.
2 You hear the prayer in it all. We all arrive at your doorstep sooner or later, loaded with guilt,
3 Our sins too much for us - but you get rid of them once and for all.
4 Blessed are the chosen! Blessed the guest at home in your place! We expect our fill of good things in your house, your heavenly manse.
5 All your salvation wonders are on display in your trophy room. Earth-Tamer, Ocean-Pourer,
6 Mountain-Maker, Hill-Dresser,
7 Muzzler of sea storm and wave crash, of mobs in noisy riot -
8 Far and wide they'll come to a stop, they'll stare in awe, in wonder. Dawn and dusk take turns calling, "Come and worship."
9 Oh, visit the earth, ask her to join the dance! Deck her out in spring showers, fill the God-River with living water. Paint the wheat fields golden. Creation was made for this!
10 Drench the plowed fields, soak the dirt clods With rainfall as harrow and rake bring her to blossom and fruit.
11 Snow-crown the peaks with splendor, scatter rose petals down your paths,
12 All through the wild meadows, rose petals. Set the hills to dancing,
13 Dress the canyon walls with live sheep, a drape of flax across the valleys. Let them shout, and shout, and shout! Oh, oh, let them sing!
Lord, today receive our joyful noise as we sing praises to you for your wonderfulness. Yes, we may have to find reasons today to shout triumphantly due to so many deaths and so many cases of the corona virus. We wonder if and when we will ever feel safe. We know of your goodness, so we sing praises. Lord, calm our spirits and hear our prayers. Amen
Today: health care providers in those states experiencing high cases of the virus.
Day 102 | Monday, 29 June 2020…
From the Church Mouse
How often do we complicate things? We dissect the actions and words of our friends and family trying to find motives and underlying reasons for things. If someone does us a kindness, we often look deeper for their “real” motive instead of responding in gratitude.
A dog doesn’t do that. Our dog, Jonah, was a perfect example. That beautiful fawn and cream Greyhound did not try to figure out why I was going to his treat jar. He did not equate that with what he had to do to manipulate me into giving him more treats. Although he did have that one look. . .with those eyes. . .
Jonah did not think of his treat as a treat. He did not look at his leash as something to curtail his fun. He had learned that the law of those things was love.
If we simplify our lives into following God’s guidance, our lives can be filled with joy. God’s laws do not exist to take away from our lives but to give us true life. If we love God and follow God’s plan, we will find contentment. God created us out of love and to be loved. What can be simpler than that?
“Walk in faith. We can love God, not just need God. Spend time in God’s love and feel how life changes.”
PS. The Rev. said that this was too short. So, how about another chickpea recipe?
Decadent Hummus recipe (makes 6 servings)
1 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tbs. minced garlic
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tbs. olive oil
3 tbs. tahini
¼ tsp. turmeric (for color)
Add olives if desired
2-3 tbs. water
¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
Add the first 8 ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Add in the water, until the creamy consistency is reached.
Garnish with fresh dill if desired, and serve with pita chips, pita bread or various cut vegetables.
Day 100 | Saturday, 27 June 2020
I started this daily thought with Psalm 23 on day 1 so today, as we reach day 100, I thought I would share some more translations of Psalm 23 with you today. I know you may be getting tired of these. I find the different translations interesting as I compare them. (I only have a few left) Out of these sharing, you may have discovered one or two that really speak to you in this present day. No matter what, I find Psalm 23 to be most comforting as we continue the journey in our COVID- world. I want a shepherd whose desire is to protect me. I want a shepherd who will prompt me to rest, who will give me strength. I want a shepherd who will anoint me with blessings. And I want a shepherd who will walk with me when the shadows take over the light. Jesus the Christ is that shepherd for me. How about you?
Psalm 23 – Douay-Rheims 1899 Bible Translation
The Lord ruleth me: and I shall want nothing. He hath set me in a place of pasture. He hath brought me up, on the water of refreshment: He hath converted my soul. He hath led me on the paths of justice, for his own name’s sake. For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they have comforted me. Thou hast prepared a table before me against them that afflict me. Thou hast anointed my head with oil; and my chalice which inebreateth me, how goodly is it! And thy mercy will follow me all the days of my life. And that I may dwell in the house of the Lord unto length of days.
Psalm 23 – New Century Version (NCV)
The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in green pastures. He leads me to calm water. He gives me new strength. He leads me on paths that are right for the good of his name. Even if I walk through a very dark valley, I will not be afraid, because you are with me. Your rod and your shepherd’s staff comfort me. You prepare a meal for me in front of my enemies. You pour oil of blessing on my head; you fill my cup to overflowing. Surely your goodness and love will be with me all my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23 – World English Bible (WEB)
Yahweh is my shepherd: I shall lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He guides me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup runs over. Surely goodness and loving kindness shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in Yahweh’s house forever.
“He leadeth me: O blessed thought! O words with heavenly comfort fraught! Whate’er I do, where’er I be, still ‘tis God’s hand that leadeth me. He leadeth me, he leadeth me, by his own hand he leadeth me; his faithful follower I would be; for by his hand he leadeth me.” Joseph H. Gilmore, 1862
Holy God, like a shepherd lead us, much we need your tender care. Take us to places for rest. Give us quiet when we are being bombarded with the noises of the world. Walk with those who are making the journey through the valley. Restore us when we are depleted and stressed. Help us remember the blessings you have given because of your generous spirit of love. Lord, hear our prayers. Amen
Today: those who are unemployed
Day 99 | Friday, 26 June 2020…
From the Church Mouse
Chickpeas are the most sought-after legume in the world. In fact, they are used in various cuisines including in the Middle East, India, Israel, Spain, and North Africa. This ancient bean has its origins in the Middle East where it was cultivated as early 7,500 years ago. Today, chickpeas have become an essential ingredient in many household kitchens. Also called garbanzo beans and Ceci, chickpeas are small in size. They are usually available in dry form and must be soaked and cooked before consumption. In modern times, chickpeas can be consumed from a can, ground up into a flour, stewed or even pureed.
When cooked, chickpeas have a grainy texture and nutty taste, making them an excellent accompaniment with many other foods. Apart from being very tasty, chickpeas are rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins. They offer many health benefits like reducing risk factors to diseases, weight management, and improving digestion. Chickpeas are also very high in plant-based protein. This makes them one of the best meat replacement ingredients. Chickpeas are an essential ingredient in vegan and vegetarian diets.
This Tomato-Chickpea Salad Is the Taste of Summer
The tomatoes in New York are starting to get pretty good, and while they’re not quite the juicy yum bombs of July, they’re finally tasty enough to hold their own next to chickpeas in a soft, juicy, herb-filled salad.
The key to coaxing a tomato’s best flavor is to season it separately and let it marinate a little, before adding the rest of the salad ingredients.
To make enough salad for two, cut one large or two small tomatoes into bite-size chunks and put them in a bowl. Add salt, pepper, and a grated garlic clove, if you like, and toss gently but thoroughly. Let sit for 15 minutes or so, then taste. Does it lack brightness? Add a tangy acid, like lime juice, lemon juice or sherry vinegar. Could it use a little sweetness? Drizzle in a syrupy balsamic vinegar or pomegranate molasses instead. Or use one of the tangy acids, along with a sprinkle of sugar or drop of honey to balance it.
While the tomatoes are marinating, you could quickly pickle some onions. Slice up a red onion (or a few shallots) and put the slices in a bowl. Add enough lemon or lime juice to coat the slices well, a pinch of salt and two large pinches of sugar. Let sit for 10 to 30 minutes. The longer the onion slices sit, the pinker, more supple, and more pickled they become. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for at least a week.
Now, back to your tomato: Add about 2 cups (or the drained contents of a 15-ounce can) cooked chickpeas (or white beans), a handful of torn or chopped fresh herbs (basil and mint are nice), a pinch of red-pepper flakes and a shower of olive oil. Toss in some of the pickled onions if you’re using them. Season with more salt and pepper. Add some acid, to taste, if you did not use the pickled onions.
Garnish this with flaky sea salt and cracked black pepper for a little crunch. Or for something even crispier, serve the salad with buttered crackers on the side. If you can, savor this meal outside, which is always the best way to celebrate the beginning of tomato season.
Gracious God who provides for our needs, thank you for our daily food and drink. We are so blessed with wonderful variety from which to make our meals. Your creation is wonderful and bountiful. We who are blessed need to share with those who are not as fortunate as us. Lord, hear our prayers. Amen
Day 98 June 25, 2020
When we first came to Jamestown in 1995, one of the noticeable attractions was on Buffalo Street right next to the church. Perhaps many of you have taken notice of this attraction. There is even a plaque describing it right there. It is what has become known as The Jamestown Oak. It has been determined that this beautiful expansive oak is well over 200 years old. I am still in awe of this magnificent oak tree. I considered it a privilege to have Christ First church sharing space with this beauty.
One could study this tree for hours noticing its many branches that span high and wide. In the summer, cool breezes rustle the green leaves. The sun peeks through the gaps in the tree creating dancing glimmers of light. Its canopy provides some wonderful shade. Its low branches are tempting to children of all ages who want to hold on and swing. (Our custodian was not that fond of the low branches when attempting to mow the lawn.)
Do you know what is most magnificent about this tree? Not what is seen but the root system below the ground. The Jamestown Oak has a main root that grows vertically, providing a reliable supply of nourishment. From the main root, there is a mass of roots that spread horizontally providing a lifetime of nutrients and moisture. This intricate root system can grow more massive that the tree it supports. The roots are an anchor providing stability for the above ground tree.
Going back to the Parable of the Sower again, think about our own lives. Like the mighty oak, so much of who we are and so much of our growth comes from what is inside or beneath the surface so to speak. Jesus emphasized the importance of being firmly planted in a personal relationship with the Father, in that good soil. As the knowledge of God as revealed through the Scriptures takes root and grows in us, our faith roots sustained by God’s Spirit are nurtured and watered. No matter whatever-changing circumstances, trials, persecution, and worry we face God helps we followers grow like the Jamestown Oak.
Explanation of the parable of the farmer
18 “Consider then the parable of the farmer. 19 Whenever people hear the word about the kingdom and don’t understand it, the evil one comes and carries off what was planted in their hearts. This is the seed that was sown on the path. 20 As for the seed that was spread on rocky ground, this refers to people who hear the word and immediately receive it joyfully. 21 Because they have no roots, they last for only a little while. When they experience distress or abuse because of the word, they immediately fall away. 22 As for the seed that was spread among thorny plants, this refers to those who hear the word, but the worries of this life and the false appeal of wealth choke the word, and it bears no fruit. 23 As for what was planted on good soil, this refers to those who hear and understand, and bear fruit and produce—in one case a yield of one hundred to one, in another case a yield of sixty to one, and in another case a yield of thirty to one.”
Our loving God nourish our hearts with your Word. May your Spirit nurture and feed our faith helping us become deep rooted so that the canopy of our love is shared with others. Allow your Son to shine through us. We desire to be productive fruit for your Kingdom. Lord, hear our prayers. Amen
Today: Look for those beautiful trees whose roots go deep to provide moisture and nutrients.
Day 97 | Wednesday, 24 June 2020
See you at noon for prayer.
Last Saturday I shared with you the parable of the sower from the message and the three synoptic gospels. I said I would return to this parable. Today, I have the passage from Mark from The Message and from the Contemporary English Bible.
Mark 4:3-8 (Message)
3 "Listen. What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. 4 As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road and birds ate it. 5 Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn't put down roots, 6 so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. 7 Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled among the weeds and nothing came of it. 8 Some fell on good earth and came up with a flourish, producing a harvest exceeding his wildest dreams. 9 "Are you listening to this? Really listening?"
Mark 4:3-9 CEB
3 “Listen to this! A farmer went out to scatter seed. 4 As he was scattering seed, some fell on the path; and the birds came and ate it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground where the soil was shallow. They sprouted immediately because the soil wasn’t deep. 6 When the sun came up, it scorched the plants; and they dried up because they had no roots. 7 Other seed fell among thorny plants. The thorny plants grew and choked the seeds, and they produced nothing. 8 Other seed fell into good soil and bore fruit. Upon growing and increasing, the seed produced in one case a yield of thirty to one, in another case a yield of sixty to one, and in another case a yield of one hundred to one.” 9 He said, “Whoever has ears to listen should pay attention!”
Those of us who have done some gardening relate to this parable. Even in my small area of raised garden beds on the east side of our home, I have found that not all the seeds that I sow produce. There is a mystery involved in planting. Are the birds eating the seeds? Is there some other critter enjoying the tender young plants? Is the sun too hot on the plants? Is the seed to old and no longer viable?
I have looked at this parable and made a comparison to the message of Jesus the Christ and how it is received. Some hear the message of Jesus through other witnesses and they are like the road, a hard, beaten down path and the message gets walked on with no recognition. Then there are folks who get all caught up in the excitement of others who are receiving Jesus message. Isn’t it wonderful? They want to be part of this experience. The concept of being part of the Jesus parade begins to germinate but the ground is rocky, not capable of allowing the seed to root deeply. Soon, another exciting proposition becomes popular and off they go. No deep roots to support and nourish the germinated seed of Jesus love so it withers and does not become a good plant (habit).
There are some who hear the word of God, but they are focused on so many other activities that the Word of God gets choked out by other things which are deemed more important. The seed may have been planted, but the mind has been closed to any kind of growth or any new ideas. Then there are those who receive the message of Jesus and are completely open to its leading. They are like rich soil, eager to learn and grow in their faith. They are open to expanding their knowledge and they want their faith to grow so that they can share it with others. The good soil produces as the parable says, a great yield. Not everyone who listens, hears. Theses are just some of my thoughts.
Lord, how is our soil? How is our listening? God of grace, we are thankful for those who sowed your seeds in our lives. We are thankful for those who helped nurture and feed that seed so that it would mature and grow allowing us to be good disciples. Keep us growing and help us be sowers of Jesus love. Hear our prayers. Amen
Today: nurture your soil.
Day 95 | Monday, 22 June 2020
COVID cases in the county are now at 118 with 32 in our battalion.
From the church Mouse
Provides the most protein per calorie and the least amount of fat. Good substitute for meat.
Provides rich quantities of protein.
Cottage cheese is a preferred diet of body builders as it provides rich amounts of protein to the body. Just a single serving of this low-calorie food contains as high as fifteen grams of protein. Much part of this protein is in the form of casein, which is a slow digesting type of protein. Although the quantity of protein is much low than that found in meat and poultry but is one of the best vegetarian sources of protein. The high protein content present in the form of casein, help to make cottage cheese a high satiety food, which is capable of reducing hunger for long periods of time.
Spinach 'n' Broccoli Enchiladas:
Total Time: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 25 min. Makes:8 serving
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 2 teaspoons olive oil
• 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
• 1 cup finely chopped fresh broccoli
• 1 cup picante sauce, divided
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 cup Daisy 1% cottage cheese
• 1 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, divided
• 8 flour tortillas (8 inches), warmed
• Preheat oven to 350°. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook and stir onion in oil until tender. Add spinach, broccoli, 1/3 cup picante sauce, garlic powder and cumin, heat through.
• Remove from heat; stir in cottage cheese and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Spoon about 1/3 cup spinach mixture down center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down in a 13x9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spoon remaining picante sauce over top.
• Cover and bake 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
Today: Please keep Wendy Howig in your prayers this week as she is at Roswell undergoing a procedure for her cancer. She will be in the hospital for a few weeks.
Lord, we begin another week praying for rain. As more places begin to open in our area, we pray that your Spirit will keep us calm as some of us are uncertain about our safety. Continue to give us wisdom and strength. Lord, Hear our prayers. Amen
Day 94 | Sunday, 21 June 2020 – Happy Father’s Day
The assigned readings for the third Sunday after Pentecost are: Genesis 21:8-21; Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17 or Psalm 17; Romans 6:1b-11 and Matthew 10:24-39. I want to share the Romans passage with you from both the CEB and The Message. The Message is just so plain. I will follow the passages with a commentary from the CEB study Bible I use. Again, you are invited to take the thoughts I share, let them simmer and adjust
Romans 6 CEB Our new life in Christ
“So, what are we going to say? Should we continue sinning so grace will multiply? 2 Absolutely not! All of us died to sin. How can we still live in it? 3 Or don’t you know that all who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore, we were buried together with him through baptism into his death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too can walk in newness of life. 5 If we were united together in a death like his, we will also be united together in a resurrection like his. 6 This is what we know: the person that we used to be was crucified with him in order to get rid of the corpse that had been controlled by sin. That way we wouldn’t be slaves to sin anymore, 7 because a person who has died has been freed from sin’s power. 8 But if we died with Christ, we have faith that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ has been raised from the dead and he will never die again. Death no longer has power over him. 10 He died to sin once and for all with his death, but he lives for God with his life. 11 In the same way, you also should consider yourselves dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus.”
“1 So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? 2 I should hope not! If we've left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? 3 Or didn't you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace - a new life in a new land! That’s what baptism into the life of Jesus means. 4 When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. 5 Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we're going in our new grace-sovereign country. 6 Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the Cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life - no longer at sin's every beck and call! What we believe is this: 7, 8 If we get included in Christ's sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. 9 We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. 10 When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. 11 From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That's what Jesus did. “
Wesleyan Core Term Power of Sin: “Wesley believed the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ was the greatest out-pouring of God’s love and mercy upon the world. In Jesus, the power of sin that penetrates every aspect of our lives and the whole creation was exposed, engaged, and overcome. One of the marvelous benefits flowing to humanity through the person of Christ is the cancellation of sin and guilt before God. For Wesley, this is the working of divine grace that turns us and draws us toward God, pardoning and renewing us through the gift of faith, moving and enabling us to seek and receive the benefits of Christ. While Wesley understood the power of sin to be broken and our sin forgiven, our realization of full participation in God’s new creation, as adopted children of God, remains a lifelong journey. Our baptism into the death and resurrection of Christ signifies the shape of this journey and the power that makes it possible.: CEB page 1427
As we join others in some form of worship on this Lord’s day, we offer our praises to you, O God, for your love and grace. Surround us with your Spirit’s presence and prepare us for another week of living amid changes. Be with those suffering from COVID-19 and their families. Let them feel your comfort. Hold them in your hands. Lord, hear our prayers. Amen
Today: remember your baptism and be thankful.