Day 124 | 21 July 2020
Exercise Group #2
Exercise #1 – Squats
Exercise #2 – Seated Sit Ups
Sit securely toward the front of a sturdy armless chair, leaning back against the backrest, crossing your arms across the chest. Slowly move forward from the hips tightening the abdominal muscles. Pause when seated upright and return slowly to the starting position. Perform the exercise 5 – 10 times, slowly and controlled.
Alternate between #1 and #2 and try to do three reps of each.
Jesus and Prayer (Luke 3:21-22; 5:15-16; 6:12-13; 9:18-20, 28-30, 35;22:39-42)
“We believe that when Jesus had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."
“We believe that as Jesus continued to heal many people, the word about him spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But Jesus would withdraw to deserted places and pray.
“We believe that Jesus went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles.
“We believe that once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" They answered, "John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered, "The Messiah of God."
“We believe that about eight days later Jesus took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!"
“We believe that on that last night, Jesus came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. When he reached the place, Jesus withdrew from them about a stone's throw, knelt down, and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done."”
Prayer for people who have trouble praying:
“O God, whose Son prayed at all times and who taught his disciples to turn to you any time in respectful trust, we pray today for people who do not seem to have the gift of prayer, who do not know how to pray – perhaps because they do not believe that you are real, perhaps because they cannot believe that you care.
“Help them, Father, by the poser of your Spirit: Help them take a chance, to pray as if you were indeed real, to pray as if you surely did care. Then respond to their prayers as only you know how – that their doubts may be banished, their unconscious longing for you stilled.
“All – knowing God, we cannot fool you: We are no different! We often fail when trying to pray – or fail to pray, period. We know, from aching, humiliating, firsthand experience the doubts of all doubters, the loneliness of all loners. While we pray, sincerely, for others who fumble at prayer, we are praying just as much for ourselves!
“Give us your Spirit, O God, to be our teacher. Let us learn from your Spirit the honesty and the terror, the intimacy and the awe, the frustration and the fulfillment of true prayer. And curb our pride, so that we may dare to confide our ups and downs with prayer to loved ones, friends, fellow Christians, for the mutual lightening of burdens.
“In the name of Jesus. Amen”
“The purpose of prayer is not the same as the purpose of speech. The purpose of speech is too inform; the purpose of prayer is to partake.” Abraham Heschel
Day 123 | 20 July 2020
Exercise Group #2 – exercise #1 – Squat: Stand tall with your feet shoulder-to-hip-width apart. Hold your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder level and brace your core. This is your starting position. From here, push your hips back, and bend your knees to slowly lower your body int a squat, not letting your knees cave in as you do so. Pause, then push through your heels to slowly return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Aim for 10-15. To make it easier stand in front of a chair. Keeping your weight on your heels, bend your knees to slowly lower your body to the chair with control. As soon as your rear touches the seat, push through your heels to return to standing.
Prayers this morning for Sharon Richards who will be having surgery today.
As of Saturday, at 7:00 PM the COVID-19 cases in the county were at 200 with 91 in our battalion. This is cause for concern and most likely can be attributed to activity on the Lake and the Holiday activities.
An Affirmation - Be Not Afraid (Genesis 15:1; Exodus 14:13a; 1 Chronicles 28:20a; Matthew 1:20; 28:5, 10; Luke 1:30; 12:7, 32; Revelation 1:17-18)
“We believe that the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great."
We believe that Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the LORD will accomplish for you today ...."
We believe David said to his son Solomon, "Be strong and of good courage, and act. Do not be afraid or dismayed; for the LORD God, my God, is with you."
We believe that an angel said to Joseph in a dream, "Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit," and to his betrothed, saying, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God."
We believe Jesus said to those who would hear, "Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows .... Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
We believe that the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified."
We believe that Jesus then said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."
We believe that Jesus said, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive forever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades."”
A Prayer for Worry and Fear
“We come to you, our God, in times of concern, worry and fear. The walls close in, and there is a sense of desperation in our despair. We do not know how to pray as we ought in these difficult times, so we come and ask for your reassurance. All knowing God, you know what is in our hearts and on our minds. You hold out your hands toward us for you know that we do worry, and we have fears even now as we are concerned about the future and what this pandemic is doing. Help us not to lose sight of who you are, and WHOSE we are. We know that Jesus told us to not be afraid, but we confess that fears do creep into our lives and we do worry. In your peace, grant us the ability to see new choices, think about new ways to keep the light in front of us, and find the reassurance we need. You are our help in times of trouble; send us your aid, we pray. Hear us now as we lift our concerns, worries and fears to you. [long silent prayer] Hear us as we offer our prayers and grant us your peace. Amen.
“Having faith means that we must stop worrying so much about what we don’t believe and learn to listen for whispers of the unprovable Infinite. . . In our hearts and minds, in the happenings of each day, in the hills and in the streets, in horror and happiness, God is there, and if we listen and do not turn away, we will hear God.” – Avery Brooke
Today: What or who causes you to worry and be afraid?
Day 122 | Sunday, 19 July 2020
The assigned scripture readings for this the 7th Sunday after Pentecost are: Genesis 28:10-19a; Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24; Romans 8:26-39 and Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43.
Let the reading from Genesis and the hymn cause you to reflect on a time when you used to sing this song. Has God come to you in your dreams? Are we not descendants of Jacob?
Genesis 28:10-19 Jacob’s dream at Bethel CEB
“10 Jacob left Beer-sheba and set out for Haran. 11 He reached a certain place and spent the night there. When the sun had set, he took one of the stones at that place and put it near his head. Then he lay down there. 12 He dreamed and saw a raised staircase, its foundation on earth and its top touching the sky, and God’s messengers were ascending and descending on it. 13 Suddenly the Lord was standing on it and saying, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will become like the dust of the earth; you will spread out to the west, east, north, and south. Every family of earth will be blessed because of you and your descendants. 15 I am with you now, I will protect you everywhere you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done everything that I have promised you.” 16 When Jacob woke from his sleep, he thought to himself, The Lord is definitely in this place, but I didn’t know it. 17 He was terrified and thought, This sacred place is awesome. It’s none other than God’s house and the entrance to heaven. 18 After Jacob got up early in the morning, he took the stone that he had put near his head, set it up as a sacred pillar, and poured oil on the top of it. 19 He named that sacred place Bethel,”
The Message “10 Jacob left Beersheba and went to Haran. 11 He came to a certain place and camped for the night since the sun had set. He took one of the stones there, set it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 And he dreamed: A stairway was set on the ground and it reached all the way to the sky; angels of God were going up and going down on it. 13 Then God was right before him, saying, "I am God, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. I'm giving the ground on which you are sleeping to you and to your descendants. 14 Your descendants will be as the dust of the Earth; they'll stretch from west to east and from north to south. All the families of the Earth will bless themselves in you and your descendants. 15 Yes. I'll stay with you, I'll protect you wherever you go, and I'll bring you back to this very ground. I'll stick with you until I've done everything I promised you." 16 Jacob woke up from his sleep. He said, "God is in this place - truly. And I didn't even know it!" 17 He was terrified. He whispered in awe, "Incredible. Wonderful. Holy. This is God's House. This is the Gate of Heaven." 18 Jacob was up first thing in the morning. He took the stone he had used for his pillow and stood it up as a memorial pillar and poured oil over it. 19 He christened the place Bethel (God's House).”
We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder – Afro-American Spiritual
1. “We are climbing Jacob’s ladder; we are climbing Jacob’s ladder, we are climbing Jacob’s ladder; soldiers of the cross.”
2. “Every round goes higher, higher; every round goes higher, higher, every round goes higher, higher; soldiers of the cross.”
3. “Sinner, do you love my Jesus? Sinner, do you love my Jesus? Sinner, do you love my Jesus? Soldiers of the cross.”
4. “If you love him, why not serve him? If you love him, why not serve him? If you love him, why not serve him? Soldiers of the cross.”
5. “We are climbing higher, higher; we are climbing higher, higher, we are climbing higher, higher; soldiers of the cross.”
Day 121 | Saturday, 18 July 2020
“In truth, the only evidence that matters at all is changed lives.” -Stephen Farris
Exercise Group #1
1. Wall Pushups
2. Upper Body Stretch
3. Leg Curl
4. Hip Extension
An Affirmation of Grace and Truth (John 1:14-17; Exodus 19:6; Psalm 86:15; 103:8; Leviticus 11:45; Joel 2:13; Romans 12:1; Jonah 4:2;1 Peter 1:15-16; John 8:11)
“We believe that the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth. From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
We believe that you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
And so, we believe we are to be for God a priestly kingdom and a holy nation.
We believe that the LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
And so, we believe that the LORD has said, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."
Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.
We appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
For we, along with the reluctant prophet Jonah, know that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing.
And so, as he who called us is holy, let us be holy ourselves in all our conduct; for it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."
For we believe Jesus speaks to us all in grace and truth when he says, "Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more."
“There are so many voices, O Lord. We are assaulted from every corner. We are surrounded by a myriad of calls and offers and temptations. There are offers of salvation, there are promises of prosperity, there are threats and coercion toward conformity. There is so much, O Lord, that we often feel like we are drowning in a sea of confusion and despair.
How do we cut through the darkness? How can we know where to stake a claim for our lives? How can we know which path is right when so many lay claim to our souls? How can we know which words to call our words and claim for our own?
O Lord, the modern world has given us so much to believe in but has made us so cynical we hardly know if truth is even a possibility anymore. We pray that you might guide us through this maze of conflicting ideas. Take our hands as children and steer us through this confusion and doubt. Gently turn our faces away from the shadows toward the light. Help us to know that there is a truth to which we may commit ourselves - not an idea or confession, not a proposition, not a theory, not a principle, but a person.
Heal us, O Lord. Lift our bowed heads and help us say with one voice, "We believe in God, maker of heaven and earth, and in his Son, Jesus Christ."
Teach us to say this not as a mere ritual affirmation, but as humble recognition that our voices are joined with others saying the same words.
And let the words and the truth behind them form a new world, and silence the cries and lies, and scatter the darkness, and make us whole. Amen.”
Day 120 | Friday, 17 July 2020
Do all four exercises in a cycle 3 – 4 times.
This completes exercise group 1. Next week, group 2.
An Affirmation of Faith: Testing the Faith
“(Genesis 22:2, 13; Deuteronomy 8:16; Psalm 26:1-2; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 6:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:21;1 Peter 1:6-7)
We believe that God tested Abraham, saying to him, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you."
We believe that the Lord saw Abraham's faith and provided a ram.
We affirm that God led his children Israel in the wilderness for forty years, and fed them in the wilderness with manna, to humble them and to test them, and in the end to do them good.
We believe that we have trusted in the LORD without wavering; therefore, we ask God to prove us, and try us; to test our hearts and minds.
We affirm we should examine ourselves to see whether we are living in the faith.
We believe all must test their own work; and that we should test every-thing, holding fast to what is good.
We believe that we should rejoice, even if now for a little while we have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of our faith - being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire - may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
Prayer for The Future
“In the midst of all that is before us, O Rock of our salvation, come and give us peace. When we are frightened, hold us tight. When we are despairing, reassure us. When we are angry, soothe our spirits. For when we put our trust in you, you will not lead us astray.
Grant us the power to let go of knowing all things before they pass. Teach us to give our futures to you, for the glory of your great vision for all humanity. Show us how to sacrifice in meaningful ways, not always needing to see instant results. And in the midst of change, give us the confidence of your love above all else. We are bold to pray, so be it! Amen.”
“Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. Faith is the belief that God will do what is right.” -Max Lucado
The COVID-19 cases in the county were at 193 as of 2:30 on July 16th. The south county battalion was at 86. Note the significant jump over the last couple weeks in our area.
Day 119, JULY 16, 2020
An Affirmation of Faith
“We believe in God, our source of hope. Though our hopes are sometimes fragile and often battered, we cling to God, who points us to the eternal and everlasting.
We believe that hope is woven with faith and love to form a tapestry of beauty and possibility.
We believe that out of suffering, hope and new life can emerge through the grace of God.
We believe Jesus showed us how to live with hope, keeping our eyes on the Creator and letting songs and prayers unite us.
We believe the Spirit fills us with power to be witnesses to hope, examples of caring and tellers of good news.
We believe the church is a community of hope - all through the week.”
“Sustaining One, these are difficult times. The darkness closes in, and we can-not find the hope you promise. Send us your light, your sustenance. Send us your comfort and promise that the future will come with renewed blessing.
Help us to trust, even in this time, as Jesus did during his trials and even in his loss of life. We are a people of the resurrection; grant us this hope of a new day dawning, we pray. In our Christ's name. Amen.”
“Hope doesn't help us get out of our difficulties, but it does get us through.” -Peter Gomes
“Let it breathe on me; let it breathe on me; let the breath of the Lord now breathe on me. Let it breathe on me; let it breathe on me; let the breath of the Lord now breathe on me.” Words and Music by Magnolia Lewis-Butts, 1942 (John 20:22)
Day 118 | Wednesday, 15 July 2020
Wendy is out of the hospital and now in the hospitality house. She reads these every day. Blessings to you Wendy.
Exercise #1 – standing pushups (wall or counter) do 10
Exercise #2 – wall upper body stretch- you are already at the wall doing your pushups. Stand slightly farther than arm’s length from a wall, feet shoulder-width apart. Lean forward and put your palms flat against the wall at shoulder height and shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight, slowly walk your hands up the wall until your arms are above your head. Hold your arms overhead for 10 – 30 seconds. Slowly walk your hands back down and then relax. Repeat the stretch three to five times.
Alternate between the pushups and stretch and do three reps of each.
An Affirmation of Faith
“We believe in God, who promises to be with us always, in all our seasons of life. We believe God wants to fill us with power so we may be witnesses to all the ends of the earth.
We believe in the risen Christ, who shows that God's love is stronger than our fears, more enduring than our worries and deeper that our despair.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the hidden power of God, working for good, bringing hope, encouraging justice, building peace, promoting healing, creating joy.
We believe God is at work in us and in this community of prayers and doers.”
“O God of wisdom and understanding, in mystery and silence you are present. You are always bringing new life out of destruction, hope out of despair, growth out of difficulty. We thank you that you do not leave us alone, but labor to make us whole.
Help us today to perceive your unseen hand in the unfolding of our lives and to attend to the gentle guidance of your Spirit, that we may experience and feel the joy you give your people.
We realize that wisdom is more than gaining knowledge and understanding more than listening. Enable us to let go of heavy expectancies and shriveling anxieties.
We come with praise and thanksgiving as we welcome this new day and trust that what we experience today will truly enable us to see you more clearly, love you more dearly and follow you more nearly.
In the Savior's name. Amen.”
Christianity is a revealed religion, with a historical tradition. Without a community of faith surrounding us, retelling the stories and traditions again and again, we cannot know Jesus. Leonard Sweet
SEE YOU AT NOON
Today: for all those states where the virus is on the rise.
As of July 14th at 2:00 pm the cases in Chautauqua county number 188 with 81 now in our battalion.
Day 116 | Monday, 13 July 2020
From the Church Mouse
I’m as happy as a dog with his head out the window.
I can remember our greyhound, Jonah, sitting on the back seat of the car, with his head out the window. His ears were flapping, and his nose was up, scenting the wind…and I swear, he was laughing. How much joy he must have been feeling at that time! Since Jonah, being a greyhound, could never be off the leash when he was outside, I can only imagine the carefree joy he felt with the speed and the wind in his face. He didn’t care about the destination. He was just feeling the joy of the journey.
We are all passengers on this journey of life, and the person at the wheel is not only our Creator, but also our Savior who died so that we might know freedom. When things are going along well, it’s easy to feel the joy of the journey. But…when we’re thrown a curve, sometimes in focusing on the bumpy road, we forget who holds the map.
The lesson here is, even though we are in the midst of the COVID curve, remember the joy of the journey. So, go ahead, stick your head out the window, and let your ears flap.
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope,”
Jeremiah 29: 11 (RSV)
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook: 8 minutes Stand: 5 minutes Serves: 2
¼ cup whole milk
¼ tsp dried Italian seasoning
Salt and black pepper
1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
2 tsp butter
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and Italian seasoning. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Stir in cheese.
In a medium 6 to 8-inch nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Pour egg mixture into skillet. Cook uncovered, over low to medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until eggs are almost set.
Remove skillet from heat. Cover and let stand 5 to 10 minutes or until eggs are completely set and no liquid egg remains. Cut into wedges to serve.
Day 115 | Sunday, 12 July 2020
Today: praise God for the freedom we have in God’s Spirit.
The assigned scripture lessons for this the 6th Sunday after Pentecost are: Genesis 25:19-34; Psalm 119:105-112 or Psalm 25; Romans 8:1-11 and Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23.
Romans 8:1-11 Set free by the Spirit CEB
8 So now there isn’t any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 God has done what was impossible for the Law, since it was weak because of selfishness. God condemned sin in the body by sending his own Son to deal with sin in the same body as humans, who are controlled by sin. 4 He did this so that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us. Now the way we live is based on the Spirit, not based on selfishness. 5 People whose lives are based on selfishness think about selfish things, but people whose lives are based on the Spirit think about things that are related to the Spirit. 6 The attitude that comes from selfishness leads to death, but the attitude that comes from the Spirit leads to life and peace. 7 So the attitude that comes from selfishness is hostile to God. It doesn’t submit to God’s Law, because it can’t. 8 People who are self-centered aren’t able to please God. 9 But you aren’t self-centered. Instead you are in the Spirit, if in fact God’s Spirit lives in you. If anyone doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ, they don’t belong to him. 10 If Christ is in you, the Spirit is your life because of God’s righteousness, but the body is dead because of sin. 11 If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your human bodies also, through his Spirit that lives in you.
1 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. 2 A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. 3 God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn't deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that. 4 And now what the law code asked for but we couldn't deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us. 5 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in them - living and breathing God! 6 Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. 7 Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. 8 And God isn't pleased at being ignored. 9 But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won't know what we're talking about. 10 But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells - even though you still experience all the limitations of sin - you yourself experience life on God's terms. 11 It stands to reason, doesn't it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he'll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ's!
This is a passage that reaffirms the new life under the Spirit that is for believers. The Spirit sanctifies, leads, witnesses to and intercedes for believers. The CEB uses the word selfish when talking about people who only focus on themselves. I am reminded of a prayer offered by a selfish individual “Lord, bless me, my wife, our two kids, us four and no more.” Life in the Spirit of Christ is what we enjoy as God’s heirs.
Lord – your spirit’s presence in our lives helps us recognize that sin does have the power to control us. Thank you for accepting us as your children. We want to glorify you with our lives. Lord, hear our prayers. Amen