Day 184, | Saturday, 19 September 2020
COVID-19 Update: As of September 18th, at 4:30 pm there were 602 cases in the county with 151 in 14701 zip code.
One of my favorite and sometimes most challenging times in the worship service was my time with the children. There was, on occasion, one kid who would completely mess up what I had planned. One of my best children’s moments was using a small tube of toothpaste. I would select one child, give them the tube of toothpaste and a paper plate. Then I would tell them to squeeze out all the tooth paste onto the paper plate. Then I would select another child and say to them, now you put the toothpaste back into the tube. You can imagine the looks and comments I would get from the kids upon that request. I would then talk about the words we say, especially when we are not getting our way or when we are unhappy with one of our parents or siblings. Once the words are out of the mouth, it is difficult to take them back. Another way to illustrate the same thing would be to take a feather pillow, cut it open, go outside and shake the feathers out – then try to pick them all up and put them back in the pillow. That is difficult especially on a windy day. Words, we can’t take them back once they are out.
Have you ever been a victim of another’s rumors or vicious words? It hurts doesn’t it.
Today's Scripture & Insight: Exodus 23:1-3 CEB Don’t spread false rumors. Don’t plot with evil people to act as a lying witness. 2 Don’t take sides with important people to do wrong. When you act as a witness, don’t stretch the truth to favor important people. 3 But don’t privilege unimportant people in their lawsuits either. (Message "Don't pass on malicious gossip.”)
The following is from Amy Boucher Pye “After Charles Simeon (1759–1836) was named the minister of Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge, England, he faced years of opposition. As most in the congregation had wanted the associate minister to be appointed rather than Simeon, they spread rumors about him and rejected his ministry—even at times locking him out of the church. But Simeon, who desired to be filled by God’s Spirit, sought to cope with the gossip by creating some principles to live by. One was never to believe rumors unless they were absolutely true and another was “always to believe, that if the other side were heard, a very different account would be given of the matter.” In this practice, Simeon followed God’s instructions to His people to cease the gossip and malicious talk He knew would erode their love for each other. One of God’s Ten Commandments reflects His desire for them to live truthfully: “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). Another instruction in Exodus reinforces this commandment: “Do not spread false reports” (23:1). Think of how different the world would be if each of us never spread rumors and false reports and if we stopped them the moment we heard them. May we rely on the Holy Spirit to help us speak the truth in love as we use our words to bring glory to God.”
Words – once they are out, they cannot be put back in. Rumors and false statements are very harmful. I believe I should purchase a truck load of small toothpaste tubes and send it to a whole lot of politicians.
“Jesus, help me to speak Your truth in love. Give me words that bring peace, grace, and encouragement.” Lord, hear our prayers and help us be truthful always. Amen.
Prayers for our country and the family of Supreme Court Justice RBG.
Day 183 | Friday, 18 September 2020
From the Church Mouse
I have read about this research and have been following it as closely as I can. When it appeared in the Post Journal, I decided it was time to feature it for you. This is the first time that I have been hopeful about the testing that is being done. I trust this testing, and it seems to have been free of political influence and the attendant rushing of the testing process. Perhaps, as we choose , we can pray for this process.
Jamestown Post Journal, September 16,2020 by Dennis Phillips
Tiny antibody component highly effective against SARS-COV-2 in animal studies
Worldpharmanews September 16, 2020
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine scientists have isolated the smallest biological molecule to date that completely and specifically neutralizes the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is the cause of COVID-19. This antibody component, which is 10 times smaller than a full-sized antibody, has been used to construct a drug - known as Ab8 - for potential use as a therapeutic and prophylactic against SARS-CoV-2.
The researchers report today in the journal “Cell” that Ab8 is highly effective in preventing and treating SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice and hamsters. Its tiny size not only increases its potential for diffusion in tissues to better neutralize the virus, but also makes it possible to administer the drug by alternative routes, including inhalation. Importantly, it does not bind to human cells - a good sign that it won't have negative side-effects in people.
Ab8 was evaluated in conjunction with scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston, as well as the University of British Columbia and University of Saskatchewan.
"Ab8 not only has potential as therapy for COVID-19, but it also could be used to keep people from getting SARS-CoV-2 infections," said co-author John Mellors, M.D., chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at UPMC and Pitt. "Antibodies of larger size have worked against other infectious diseases and have been well tolerated, giving us hope that it could be an effective treatment for patients with COVID-19 and for protection of those who have never had the infection and are not immune."
The tiny antibody component is the variable, heavy chain (VH) domain of an immunoglobulin, which is a type of antibody found in the blood. It was found by "fishing" in a pool of more than 100 billion potential candidates using the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein as bait. Ab8 is created when the VH domain is fused to part of the immunoglobulin tail region, adding the immune functions of a full-size antibody without the bulk.
Abound Bio, a newly formed UPMC-backed company, has licensed Ab8 for worldwide development.
Dimiter Dimitrov, Ph.D., senior author of the Cell publication and director of Pitt's Center for Antibody Therapeutics, was one of the first to discover neutralizing antibodies for the original SARS coronavirus in 2003. In the ensuing years, his team discovered potent antibodies against many other infectious diseases, including those caused by MERS-CoV, dengue, Hendra and Nipah viruses. The antibody against Hendra and Nipah viruses has been evaluated in humans and approved for clinical use on a compassionate basis in Australia.
Clinical trials are testing convalescent plasma - which contains antibodies from people who already had COVID-19 - as a treatment for those battling the infection, but there isn't enough plasma for those who might need it, and it isn't proven to work.
That's why Dimitrov and his team set out to isolate the gene for one or more antibodies that block the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which would allow for mass production. In February, Wei Li, Ph.D., assistant director of Pitt's Center for Therapeutic Antibodies and co-lead author of the research, began sifting through large libraries of antibody components made using human blood samples and found multiple therapeutic antibody candidates, including Ab8, in record time.
Then a team at UTMB's Center for Biodefense and Emerging Diseases and Galveston National Laboratory, led by Chien-Te Kent Tseng, Ph.D., tested Ab8 using live SARS-CoV-2 virus. At very low concentrations, Ab8 completely blocked the virus from entering cells. With those results in hand, Ralph Baric, Ph.D., and his UNC colleagues tested Ab8 at varying concentrations in mice using a modified version of SARS-CoV-2 . Even at the lowest dose, Ab8 decreased by 10-fold the amount of infectious virus in those mice compared to their untreated counterparts. Ab8 also was effective in treating and preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection in hamsters, as evaluated by Darryl Falzarano, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Saskatchewan. Sriram Subramaniam, Ph.D., and his colleagues at the University of British Columbia uncovered the unique way Ab8 neutralizes the virus so effectively by using sophisticated electron microscopic techniques.
"The COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge facing humanity, but biomedical science and human ingenuity are likely to overcome it," said Mellors, also Distinguished Professor of Medicine, who holds the Endowed Chair for Global Elimination of HIV and AIDS at Pitt. "We hope that the antibodies we have discovered will contribute to that triumph.
Today: Prayers for all those doing research to help discover a solution and a vaccine.
Note from the Computer Bug: I believe this is the article referenced in today’s Woodland Shepherd - https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S009286742031148X?token=D9C6F663BDABFA8C205879FCF66C05FDE4B2683523A1F343772EF84293716873670E2757140DCF765C4203BCC904A33F
Day 182 | Thursday, 17 September 2020
My least favorite time in the church year was when it was time to talk about giving – mainly financial to support the ministries of the church. I do know one thing for certain. One cannot be a good giver without first learning how to be a good receiver. The passage and thought below comes from Our Daily Bread.
Today's Scripture & Insight: 2 Corinthians 9:6-11 First from The Message
6 Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop.
7 I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.
8 God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.
9 As one psalmist puts it, He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out.
10 This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God,
11 wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.
Now from the CEB: 6 What I mean is this: the one who sows a small number of seeds will also reap a small crop, and the one who sows a generous amount of seeds will also reap a generous crop. 7 Everyone should give whatever they have decided in their heart. They shouldn’t give with hesitation or because of pressure. God loves a cheerful giver. 8 God has the power to provide you with more than enough of every kind of grace. That way, you will have everything you need always and in everything to provide more than enough for every kind of good work. 9 As it is written, He scattered everywhere; he gave to the needy; his righteousness remains forever. 10 The one who supplies seed for planting and bread for eating will supply and multiply your seed and will increase your crop, which is righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous in every way. Such generosity produces thanksgiving to God through us.
“Scaling. It’s a term used in the world of fitness that allows room for anyone to participate. If the specific exercise is a push-up, for example, then maybe you can do ten in a row, but I can only do four. The instructor’s encouragement to me would be to scale back the push-ups according to my fitness level at the time. We’re not all at the same level, but we can all move in the same direction. In other words, she would say, “Do your four push-ups with all the strength you have. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else. Scale the movement for now, keep doing what you can do, and you may be amazed in time you’re doing seven, and even one day, ten.” When it comes to giving, the apostle Paul was clear: “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). But his encouragement to the believers in Corinth, and to us, is a variation of scaling. “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart” (v. 7). We each find ourselves at different giving levels, and sometimes those levels change over time. Comparison is not beneficial, but attitude is. Based on where you are, give generously (v. 6). Our God has promised that the disciplined practice of such cheerful giving brings enrichment in every way with a blessed life that results in “thanksgiving to God” (v. 11).” By: John Blase
“Reflect & Pray: How would you describe your giving: Cheerful? Reluctant? Under compulsion? Not comparing yourself to anyone else, what might cheerful giving look like? “Generous God, I want to be a cheerful giver, to give it my best effort. I know that discipline in this area is crucial. Give me the wisdom not to compare, the strength to sow generously, and the faith to leave the results in Your hands.”
Today: Continued prayers for those dealing with disasters – fires, hurricanes, personal.
Day 181 | Wednesday, 16 September 2020 See you at noon!
A Beginning: (Psalm 19:1-4)
“The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. Praise the name of the LORD!”
“God of love, we confess that our silence is noisy, our minds filled with distracting chatter, our thoughts focused on problems and our lives bombarded with temptations. How hard we find it to be still and rest in your holy and healing presence. God of love teach us in this day the words to pray and the silences to keep. Quiet the tempests within us that we may hear you. In Jesus' name. Amen”
A Prayer of Confession: Generosity
“Holy God, your love is like a gentle wind that is forever guiding us along. Yet how often we turn away from your support and attempt to push ahead in our own way. We prefer our plans and miss seeing how we might cooperate with your guidance. We believe that it is by our own efforts that we accomplish the deed or possess the reward. We miss the spirit of joyful thanksgiving in our drivenness. We live without gratitude and languish in isolation. Holy God keep our sails turned toward you. In your guidance, in the example of your Son, we move toward joy, wholeness and community. Amen.”
An Affirmation of Faith: The Lord Will Guide Us
(Genesis 12:1; Exodus 13:21; Joshua 3:3-4; Psalm 23:1-3; Isaiah 42:16; John 16:13)
“We affirm that the LORD guided Abram, saying, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you."
We believe that the LORD went in front of Israel in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night.
We affirm that Joshua commanded the people, "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God being carried by the levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place. Follow it, so that you may know the way you should go, for you have not passed this way before."
We believe that the LORD is our shepherd, we shall not want. He makes us lie down in green pastures; he leads us beside still waters; he restores our souls. He leads us in right paths for his name's sake.
We affirm that by the prophet, God said, "I will lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them."
We believe Jesus when he promises the Spirit of truth, saying that he will guide us into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to us the things that are to come.”
A Blessing: Selections from Joshua
“Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed. The LORD your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below. Sanctify yourselves, therefore, for the place where you stand is holy.”
Today: Those dealing with Hurricane Sally
Day 180 | Tuesday, 15 September 2020
COVID-19 update: the county map is now by zip code instead of battalions. Total in the county – 582 with 150 in the 14701 zip code.
My daily jottings are available on audio. If you would like to have an audio version emailed to you just let me know.
A Beginning: Creation
“Morning glories - birds chirp their praise; trees lift their limbs in adoration, stretching as a prayer to heaven; birds of paradise stick out their necks in radiant splendor; all creation sings praise. The hills echo your love, the ocean is a wave of constant praise, the sky extends in blue wonder. Everywhere you look with eyes open to see, there are morning glories stirring us to praise.”
“We come into your presence with glad hearts, O Lord. We think of your innumerable benefits constantly showered upon us. We cannot help but let joy bubble up within us when we consider your grace bestowed upon us "good measure, pressed down, running over." Accept then, our praise and gratitude, and touch us all with your loving, healing hand. Amen.”
A Prayer of Confession:
“Loving Creator, you made us to praise you, to sing your glory in the marvels of the world. Yet, so often, we find our mouths filled with complaints and our word accompanying a whine. We complain about the weather, and we complain about not having enough - enough money or time or patience. We complain about other drivers, teachers, students, neighbors, roads - and the list goes on and on. Holy God, restore our perspective, lessen our fear and fill our hearts, our love and our voices with praise. In the saving name of Jesus. Amen.”
An Affirmation of Faith: Be Still and Know
(Psalm 46:10; 1 Kings 19:11-12; Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16; Luke 6:12)
“We believe we should be still and know that God is God! He is exalted among the nations he is exalted in the earth.
We believe Elijah heard the Word of the LORD, saying "Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by."
We believe that there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.
We believe that Jesus got up in the morning, while it was still very dark, and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed; that often he would withdraw to deserted places and pray; and that at least once he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God.”
“O God of dry, lonely times and God of powerful company, O God who knows the hard times and the soft times, the good and the bad, draw near. Stay close as we confront our own devils and our own deviltry. Do not abandon us, just as you did not abandon your own Son. Give us the courage to face what we must and to come out richer in spirit, deeper in purpose and more capable of the life you hold out to us. In the name of Jesus. Amen”
A Blessing: “May almighty God, the giver of every good and perfect gift, bless and keep you forever. May God's unwavering grace be for each of us a very present help now and always. Amen.”
Day 179 | Monday, 14 September 2020 From the Church Mouse
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents By Isabel Wilkerson
I’m sharing this information for any of you that are interested in the subject of social justice.
I thought, after all these years of studying this subject, that I understood it well. Was I ever wrong! The information below is taken from Amazon.com. I encourage you to read this book. It will certainly equip you to navigate part of our current struggle with greater understanding.
Caste (Oprah's Book Club): The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson (author)
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK • The Pulitzer Prize–winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.
“An instant American classic.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power—which groups have it and which do not.”
“In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.”
“Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people—including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others—she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity.”
“Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.”
Available on Amazon - All formats and editions:
Day 178 | Sunday, 13 September 2020
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BILL DISBRO!!!!!!!
The assigned readings for this the 15th Sunday after Pentecost are: Exodus 14:19-31; Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21; Romans 14:1-12 and Matthew 18:15-20.
Let me share with you the Romans reading from The Message:
“1 Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don't see things the way you do. And don't jump all over them every time they do or say something you don't agree with - even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.
2 For instance, a person who has been around for a while might well be convinced that he can eat anything on the table, while another, with a different background, might assume all Christians should be vegetarians and eat accordingly.
3 But since both are guests at Christ's table, wouldn't it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing what the other ate or didn't eat? God, after all, invited them both to the table.
4 Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God's welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.
5 Or, say, one person thinks that some days should be set aside as holy and another thinks that each day is pretty much like any other. There are good reasons either way. So, each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience.
6 What's important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God's sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you're a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli.
7 None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters.
8 It's God we are answerable to - all the way from life to death and everything in between - not each other.
9 That's why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.
10 So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister? I'd say it leaves you looking pretty silly - or worse. Eventually, we're all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren't going to improve your position there one bit.
11 Read it for yourself in Scripture: "As I live and breathe," God says, "every knee will bow before me; Every tongue will tell the honest truth that I and only I am God."
12 So tend to your knitting. You've got your hands full just taking care of your own life before God.”
“(From the CEB- 12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.)”
From the Hymn – Pues Si Vivimos (When We Are Living) based on Romans 14:8
1. “When we are living, it is in Christ Jesus, and when we’re dying, it is in the Lord. Both in our living and in our dying, we belong to God, we belong to God. We belong to God, we belong to God.”
2. “Through all our living, we our fruits must give. Good works of service are for offering. When we are giving, or when receiving, we belong to God, we belong to God. We belong to God, we belong to God.”
3. “’Mid times of sorrow and in times of pain, when sensing beauty or in love’s embrace, whether we suffer, or sing rejoicing, we belong to God, we belong to God. We belong to God, we belong to God.”
4. “Across this wide world, we shall always find those who are crying with no peace of mind, but when we help them, or when we feed them, we belong to God, we belong to God. We belong to God, we belong to God.”
Gracious God, as we read these words, we are reminded that it is difficult for us sometimes when we have to deal with those who do not always agree with us. We need to remember that it is not up to us to change others, that is your realm. Our responsibility is to be faithful to you and eventually account for our own living and dying. We belong to you, our God. Hear our prayers. Amen
Day 177 | Saturday, 12 September 2020
I cannot help but continue to reflect on the events of September 11, 2001. The acts of terrorism changed our country from what we had always known to some new realities. It is hard to believe that it has been 19 years. I remember just where I was and what I was doing and then what I did the rest of that day and week. This was a crisis and a disaster.
COVID-19 is something that has also changed our country and the world. What we understood to be normal lives has been changed. We want to go back to normal but also know that our future will be a different normal. A virus has changed us in ways we did not anticipate. We are over 192,000 deaths in the US alone. I believe this is a crisis and a disaster that will be with us for some time.
I am also thinking about the people in the far western states dealing with disastrous wildfires. The landscapes, homes, lives there are being changed forever. I pray for the firefighters, forest rangers, homeowners, support staff; national guard members; government officials; wildlife personnel; first responders and everyone else dealing with these fires. Yes, another crisis and disaster. Lives have been changed and lost.
Hurricane season has already caused disruption in parts of our country leaving a trail of devastation, changing lives and communities.
Admittedly, we can easily say that there are other types of crisis and disasters in our country at the present time. What are we going to do? Let me offer a prayer for disaster followed by a version of Psalm 23 and The Lord’s Prayer.
A Prayer for Disaster:
“God, our hope and trust are in you. We have nowhere else to turn. Be for us an anchor in the chaos. Hold out your hand so that we can find you and know which way to turn next. Oh God, how could this happen to us? Grant us the faith to find you in the midst of it, even in our questions, our disbelief. We raise to you our concerns in this moment. Hear our prayers, and grant us and those around us safety, we pray. Amen.”
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, 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 overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.” Amen
Today: Pray for those dealing with crisis and disasters.
Day 176 | Friday, 11 September 2020
A DAY TO PAUSE AND REMEMBER 9/11, where were you?
From the Church Mouse
Must I be Dependent?
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:4-5 NIV
A very long time ago, when I was young, and could do all kinds of things for myself, I had a pond on the back half of the five acres I called home. At that time, I had two young children, a large house, a huge vegetable garden, a beautiful rock garden and 38 rose bushes. The pond is the feature of the parable for today. It was 4 times as large as ours here at the Woodlands and was 12 feet deep. It needed to be 12 feet deep to “turn the water over” and keep it fresh.
The pond was home to 12 largemouth bass and many panfish. It was my pleasure to care for the pond and to keep the creatures in it healthy and happy. My son and I named the bass each after a different dinosaur, my son’s passion at the time.
I had to keep the three feet barrier around the pond in good shape and to keep the algae at bay with barley straw. I knew that if I got too busy with other things and let time go by without checking on the pond, something could go haywire. One thing I had to watch for were the muskrats that insisted on taking over the pond leaving burrows everywhere and snacking on my fish with insistent regularity. I preferred the “have-a-heart” trapping method followed by relocating them to a distant location: more work, less guilt.
I realized that the creatures at my pond, yes, even the muskrats, were dependent on me in order to thrive. I loved my little wild ones and did not want to put them in harms way.
As humans we can be clueless when it comes to realizing how dependent we are on one another. We can surely seem to be as clueless as my fish as we swim through life unaware of the help we need from others (and God) just to get through the week. If COVID-19 has taught us only one thing it is most certainly that.
Just as I’m certain that I cannot survive without my community, here and at my church, I also realize how much I struggle with my fierce independence and my comfort with being a loner. I also realize how vital it is to my well-being to depend on others, whether they are family, friends, neighbors, or people in my church.
As I struggle with my independence as I walk around our Woodlands Pond checking on what is needed, I want to be like our grass carp now: just doing what I can and asking for help (how awful!) with things. I can no longer manage. I can manage just fine if I trust in others and my Lord.
Heavenly Father, thank you for providing all my needs and making available others who care for me. Help me learn to receive their love gratefully and trust those you have placed in my life. Amen
On Missing my Beloved greyhound, Jonah
God summoned a beast from the field, and he said, “I endow you with the instincts uncommon to other beasts: faithfulness, devotion and understanding surpassing those of man himself.”
“Lest it impair your understanding, you are denied the power of words. Speak to your master only with your mind and through honest eyes.”
“So be silent and be a friend to man. This shall be your destiny and your immortality.” So spoke the Lord.
And the dog heard and was content.
Day 175 | 10 September 2020
COVID-19 Update: as of 9-9-20 at 4:30PM there were 534 cases in the county with 172 in battalion 3 and 285 in battalion 1.
“From the fullness of his love, we have all received one blessing after another. That is what grace means. Let us worship God!”
“Our Father keep our minds and hearts directed toward you. We would center upon your love and grace, which stagger our minds and prompt our greatest appreciation. May our time with you be true and real, that when we end this day, we may have some of your goodness within us. In Christ our Lord. Amen.”
“Grant us a home in this day and in this prayer. Shelter us with your goodness, the kindness of each other, the earnestness of our hope to know you more. Alleviate our anguish and grant us your peace. Amen.”
An Affirmation of Faith: A Longing for the Spirit
(Psalm 104:30; 143:10; Zechariah 4:6; Romans 8:26-27; Ephesians 5:18-20)
“We believe God's word to the psalmist, that when God sends forth his spirit, all creation is created; and the face of the ground is renewed.
We ask God to teach us to do his will, for he is our God, and to let his good spirit lead us on a level path.
We believe the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the LORD of hosts."
We affirm God's word from Paul, that "the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
We yearn to be filled with the Spirit, believing that as we sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among ourselves, and as we sing and make melody to the Lord in our hearts, that we should give thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
A Morning Prayer based on Psalm 5
“Give ear to my words, O God. Listen to the sound of my soul. In the morning you hear my voice. In the morning I plead my case to you and wait. Through the abundance of your love, you bid us enter your house. We bow our heads in awe of you. Lead us, O Lord, in your righteousness, for you are not a God who delights in wickedness. The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful. On account of such enemies make your way plain before us. Let all who take refuge in you rejoice. Cause us ever to sing for joy in your presence. Spread your protection over us, so that those who love you may exult in you. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Amen.”
A Blessing: “And now, may we follow God's path of love and faithfulness that we may know his grace, mercy and peace forever. Amen.”
Quotation: “Faith is not something to grasp; it is a state to grow into.”-Mohandas Gandhi
Today: Continue prayers for the opening of schools – administrators, staff, children.