E.R.

Psalm 119

emoyer-ER

 

E.R. debuted in 1994.  Each week, episodes were filled with exciting, heart wrenching and dramatic events based in a Chicago hospital emergency room.  The show often portrayed incredible measures taken as residents applied their medical school backgrounds to treat and save patients.   
Well, there are times we all find other things that we might put first in our day to day lives.  We may need some “healing” or “revival” in our own relationship with God.  Eleven times in Psalm 119 it mentions some sort of revival.  Terms like preserve, restore, spare, give, are mentioned throughout this chapter.  In the darkest of hours you may not feel like His Word is enough.  You may not feel like it is relevant to what you are going through or that God is near. You may have filled your time, your actions and your mind with everything but time in His word.  If this feels somewhat familiar to you consider this:  “Feelings follow correct behaviors and not the other way around”.  God’s word is a foundation for us all.  We need to turn to him and be in His word.  Don’t expect a quick fix. Instead, prepare to be transformed by him being more present in our life. So when we stumble, we need to get back up again, be dedicated to reading his word and trust on his strength for a full recovery in our lives.

-Emily Moyer

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Different Strokes

Romans 8

emoyer-diff strokes

Even though Different Strokes debuted way back in 1978, I am pretty confident that many of you know the familiar saying ”What you talking about, Willis?”  The premise of this dated sitcom is two young orphan boys coming to live with Mr. Drummond, a widowed and very wealthy New York businessman, his daughter Kimberly, and the housekeeper, Mrs. Garrett. The boys went from rags to riches, coming from the streets of Harlem to a high rise condominium in Manhattan.  The weekly episodes had typical sitcom lessons of growing up with the loving guidance of their adoptive father.

Paul writes in Romans 8 ways to go from rags to riches.  This whole chapter is a reminder to set our minds and lives on God.  We may feel like Willis and Arnold and may face challenges and suffer in various ways.  We may feel alone and want guidance and support. Well this chapter is a great one to mark to remind of us the gift we have in our loving Father. Specifically verses 15-23 remind us that we all have been slaves of sin and can be set free from sin if we follow his will.  We have a rich Father who yearns to be part of our lives.  He wants to adopt every single one of us and gives us hope for our coming “adoption day”.  Now isn’t that something to talk about, Willis?

-Emily Moyer

God Has Us

Isaiah 43

emoyer-mcgyver

Sticking with TV themes, MacGyver was a sitcom from the 1980’s that was filled with intense and often times ridiculous storylines.  MacGyver worked for a research company and often got into unreal and challenging situations, often including action, fire, and explosives. Time after time, he nearly escaped death by using strange and rare objects to escape danger just in the knick of time.  Conversations after each week’s episode would often include endless  jokes as to how MacGyver could narrowly escape getting blown from a yacht filled with massive explosives while speeding directly towards a huge rock.  Surprisingly, week after week, he successfully escaped and had great ratings in the process.  

 

You could say MacGyver and the girls from “Facts of Life” have a common theme.  Maybe it is a cheesy theme from the 80’s sitcoms that we can consider in our day to day lives.  Things may feel like they are falling apart.   Our relationships with others may have bumps along the way. We may feel overwhelmed and like we are heading towards that massive rock with things exploding all around us. If this hits close to home to you, repeat over and over the thoughts in verse 2 of Isaiah 43:  “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you:  and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned:  The flames will not set you ablaze.”  We may feel like things aren’t going the way we have planned, but in our reading today let’s keep in mind: God has us.  He has our lives in his hands.  He is so faithful.  He will be there through it all- we have nothing to fear. We have the best ending ahead of us if we continue to stay focused and true to his will for us.

-Emily Moyer

Facts of Life

Matthew 10

emoyer - facts of life

Ok, so I am going to age myself this week.  An old sitcom that was popular when I was young had a “catchy”/ jingle that would get stuck in my head every week when it was on.  The Facts of Life.  The chorus was:

You take the good, you take the bad,

You take them both and there you have

The facts of life, the facts of life.

 

There’s a time you got to go and show

You’re growin’ now you know about the facts of life,

The facts of life.

 

When the world never seems to be livin’ up to your dreams

And suddenly you’re finding out

The facts of life are all about you, you.

 

It takes a lot to get ’em right

When you’re learning the facts of life. (learning the facts of life)

Learning the facts of life (learning the facts of life)

Learning the facts of life.

 

If we we all think back and think about how we thought our lives would be, we would probably admit that things are nowhere near what we had dreamed if we are honest with ourselves.  In our reading today (Matthew 10) Jesus was speaking to his disciples and charging them to go out and share the gospel to the world.  He knew it wasn’t going to be easy.  The disciples had a long and challenging road ahead of them.  In fact, sharing the message and living for him would be one of the hardest things the disciples would ever do.  It was the disciples “Facts of Life” message from Jesus.  As we consider our relationship with Jesus, we might find times that make us angry, confused and end up with doubts and hurt.  What I take from these verses is the challenges may be great- and they are.  We may have teachers, family members, coworkers and friends that challenge, mock us or walk away from our lives. But the reward is greater.  

Let’s focus on what Jesus says in verses 21-23.  The Message Version says: “When people realize it is the living God you are presenting and not some idol that makes them feel good they are going to turn on you, even people in your own family.  There is a great irony here:  proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate!  But don’t quit.  Don’t cave in.  It is all well worth it in the end.  It is not success you are after in such times but survival.  Be survivors!  Before you’ve run out of options, the Son of Man will have arrived.”   

So don’t cave in! Don’t be discouraged.  As the song lyrics state:It takes a lot to get it right when you are learning the facts of life. The fact is Jesus loves you and desires your commitment, love, praise and life.  He wants you to face these challenges in life and the end result is the ultimate prize. It does take work and the road may not always be easy but he is there and his love and promise is worth it.

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-Emily Moyer

Reflect His Goodness

psalm 107-22

It’s been a week of thankfulness – recognizing God as the Giver of All Good Gifts, getting to know Him more and more through the gift of His Word, gratefully accepting the gift of His Son, Jesus, and being thankful even in the midst of a difficult time.

Now for the great yearly challenge – how do we continue the thankful thinking all year?

Perhaps the following quote from J.F. Kennedy will provide some help.  “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”  Show your gratitude, not just by saying, “Thank You” to God and to others, but by living a thankful lifestyle.  If we are deeply thankful for the blessings that have been given we will naturally want to share those blessings with others.  Opening our home to others, tithing to our church, caring for those experiencing difficult trials, and sharing with those who have less material blessings are all ways we can express our gratitude for what has been given.  We can reflect His goodness.  He has given to us.  We will give to others.

And, most importantly, when we are truly grateful for what God has done, for who He is and for His plan of salvation, for the gift of His Son and the forgiveness given, for the Kingdom hope – we will want to share it with others.  Inviting a friend to church, sharing a devotion with the family, praying with someone struggling, telling what God has done for you, giving a Bible, donating to missions (*), posting Scripture on your social media, home, office and locker walls, and the list goes on.

Read over Romans 10.  The world is full of people who do not know the gifts they could be receiving right now – who have not heard the message.  It is our job to, “Sacrifice thank offerings and tell of His works with songs of joy.” (Psalm 107:22).  What thank offerings will you present?  How will you tell of His works?  We are not responsible for other’s reaction to the saving message.  Just as Moses and Isaiah met up with resistance and obstinate people – so will we when we exercise our beautiful feet (Romans 10:15).

Look over your thankful list (go ahead and write it down if you haven’t already this week).  Prayerfully consider how you can show your appreciation for each gift.  How can you pass along the joy you’ve received?  How will you reflect His goodness?

-Marcia Railton

 

(*) Be watching for the soon-to-be released Lord’s Harvest International Gift Catalog for some great ideas on how to help provide for needs on our missionary fronts (Bibles, church buildings or rent, a pastor’s transportation, an orphan’s or widow’s care, seed & fertilizer, etc….) 

Life Can Be Hard

Psalm 107

I Thessalonians 5-18

There are some things that show up on lots of thankful lists: sunshine, rainbows, favorite foods, fun with family, and puppy dogs.  There is undoubtably a LOT of good, beautiful, enjoyable and delicious things in life to give thanks for!  Thank you, God!

But, what do we do with the darker side of life: the illness, the unpleasant, the hospital visits, the trials, the storms, the hurting, the loneliness.  What about those times when it can be hard to see clearly – like when the windshield is covered with giant raindrops -and it is more difficult to make out God’s goodness.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:18).  Notice the verse doesn’t say we must give thanks FOR the illness or storm or difficulty.  But, IN that situation – in EVERY situation – God’s will is that we give thanks.

Yesterday we read Psalm 105 and were reminded of Joseph’s trials (sold into slavery by his brothers, and then thrown into prison for years for a crime he didn’t commit).  Perfect conditions for becoming a hardened, cynical, ungrateful man.  Instead, we see Joseph emerging as a wise, forgiving ruler.  The difficult times helped to strengthen him and mold him into the man who would do what God had prepared for him.

English poet, Felicia Hemans, wrote, “Strength is born in the deep silence of long-suffering hearts; not amid joy.”  And, James put it this way, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).  When we look at our tough seasons as periods of growth and times of training for trusting in Him, we have yet another thing to add to our thankful list.

As you read Psalm 107 look for the trials and difficulties (some self-made – as is the case today – and some the product of “circumstance”) as well as what was learned through them.  And, count how many times you read the refrain, “Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.”

Life can be hard.  Thankfully, God is with us there.

-Marcia Railton

365 Days to Give Thanks

Psalm 105

psalm 105-1

Perhaps you have a busy day ahead.  But not too busy for the Giver of All Good Gifts.

Perhaps you are feeling lonely today.  But not so lonely with the Giver of All Good Gifts.

Whatever your day holds – whatever your heart holds – take the time to seek Him and thank Him.

“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.  Remember the wonders he has done.” (Psalm 105:4-5).

Read the rest of Psalm 105 as you look to the Lord, seeking his face.  This Psalm – as well as Psalm 106 & 107 and several others – is a great thankful list of how God has worked through the history and family line of this Israelite author.

Today would be a great day to start your own thankful list of how God has worked through your own history and family line.

And then, as it says in verse 1 – “Make known among the nations what he has done.”  Start by sharing with those around your table, with your contact list, even on your social media and blog and beyond.  Give thanks to Him – and make it known.

Remember the Giver of all Good Gifts (at the tippy top of your thankful list) as you celebrate, remember and give thanks today – and everyday.

-Marcia Railton