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It Really is Beautiful

Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
2 Corinthians 5:17
March 8, 2023

My husband and I recently bought a home new to us. Over the past month I was surveying what work would be needed to get it in ship shape before we moved in because I know how we love to procrastinate and before we are fully “in” I determined that some major projects needed to be addressed (not sure my hubby was in full agreement ). One of the “biggies” on my list is the landscaping. So many dead or dying things, so many overgrown things and sooooo many weeds. From the street you wouldn’t really see so much detail, but I sure did and I knew that every time I walked up our sidewalk to enter the house I would mumble to myself; “somebody needs to do something about this”.

Recently, I ventured out into the yard, taking a break from my inside projects and saw a beautiful sight, Daffodils. Yellow, white, tiny, larger, just a lovely array of Daffodils. In that moment, all the stuff that seemed bad, looked so much better. There was beauty there all the time, I just couldn’t see it. All of this reminded me of our scripture for today; “If anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation. The old is gone, the new is here.” I want to encourage you to take some time this week in the season of Lent, to look around at all that is really good and really beautiful and remember, that even if the work is still there to clean up whatever is wrong, there is beauty to encourage you to keep at it.



Stay Put

Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
John 15:4 +9 +15
March 1, 2023

When I was very young I had a hard time paying attention to instructions. It seems I was very distracted by other activities or even my imagination wondering around (I can already hear someone saying, as they read this, “She still does ). My parents were very patient with me, but there were many times when they would say out of desperation “Just stay put”. Now, I don’t know that this statement is a very good example of proper English, but I will say, it got my attention. When Jesus taught his followers, he often used phrases that were meant to get their attention. Just like me, the people he was trying to teach were distracted. They had worries, and fears and plans for the future, yet, Jesus desperately wanted them to pay very close attention as the day was coming when he would leave this world and return to the Father.

John 15 tells the lesson of the Vine and the Branches. It is here that Jesus is telling the people that unless they put forth a concerted effort to remain close to his teachings and follow his commands, they would be useless in the kingdom work of the Gospel; “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” And again, Jesus says; “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” Jesus wants his followers to trust and obey him, not out of fear of punishment, but out of love; “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” By Staying Put with Jesus we can be light and love bearers in a world that lives in the darkness of anger and anxiety. Maxie Dunham puts it this way; “Nothing gives more powerful witness to our friendship with Christ , and nothing is more effective in bringing others to claiming their chosenness by Christ than our love…For that reason, friends of The Friend should themselves be friends” (That’s What The Man Said, pg.68-69).



Ash Wednesday

Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
Psalm 139:23-24
February 22, 2023

The celebration of Lent has been a part of traditional church liturgy for several denominations, for many generations. Ash Wednesday begins the journey of Lent which guides us through forty days of prayer, fasting, and time to intentionally grow in faith and love for God and our neighbors. We also remember the significance of the forty days in the wilderness where Jesus was tempted by the devil which really was an excruciating time of preparation for the ministry that God planned for his son. All of this to prepare ourselves for ministry that God has planned for all of his children, and this time will lead us to the great celebration of Easter-Resurrection Sunday.

When we receive the ashes, many of us will hear the words; “Remember you are dust and to dust you will return”. These words may sound very hopeless and sorrowful, and yet I hear them as words of God’s abiding presence. Remember that the first human was created from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7) and because of the sin that Adam and Eve participated in, they would then be resigned to eventually die. But God in his great mercy provided a way for us to be reunited with him through the blood of Jesus shed on the cross and the glory of his resurrection. Those who believe and put their trust in Jesus will have their mortal bodies return to the dust of the earth and then be clothed with immortality (1 Corinthians 15:54).

I invite you to begin this journey of Lent today. As you seek God’s will and way I would encourage you to pray this beautiful passage in Psalm 139; “Search me O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”



God Loves You Best

Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
Psalm 19:13-14
February 15, 2023

Yesterday was “God Loves you Best Day”, or for others it was Valentines Day. One of the blessings I have on Tuesdays is sharing a worship time with some very fine folks in a senior living apartment complex. We enjoyed a time of singing and praying and engaged in a conversational message about how God loves us and wants us to love others. We were focused on 1 John 4:10; ”This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins”.  We even celebrated a wedding Anniversary on top of it all.

As I was driving home, I listened to a song by Steven Curtis Chapman; Love Take Me Over and I guess it just stuck while I was sleeping. I woke up in the wee hours of the morning and realized I had the subject for this week’s meditation – Love. Duh, Edith, pretty slow sometimes Steven Curtis Chapman shared in a video recording that he wrote this song shortly after the sudden death of his daughter Maria, and while he was praying with his other kids before school one day, he just broke out in a prayer that the Lord would guard his mind and mouth to be an example for his children and a blessing to others. He reflected on one of my favorite, yet challenging verses; Psalm 19:13-14; “Keep back your servant from willful sins, let them not have dominion over me, then will I be upright and innocent from great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength, my redeemer.”

It would seem that the only way we will ever truly love is when we remember how much God loves us and he loves everyone the same way, so we ought to do the same. Steven’s chorus to his song is part of his prayer; “Love, take these thoughts that I’m thinking, Love take these words that I’m speaking. Love take me over. Love fill up all of my space, stand right here in my place. Love hear this prayer that I’m praying, Love, Love take me over”.




February 8, 2023
Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
John 14:26-27

I often need reminders, how about you? The dentist office calls me a few days before an appointment, they even send out a post card to remind me as well. The optometry clinic calls me a few days to remind me, the doctor’s office calls me a few days ahead to remind me, I make notes in my calendar to remind me, I even have ladies in my churches who text me to remind me of cards to send or visits to make. Wow! I can’t seem to function on my own, I need help remembering.

That is what the Holy Spirit does for believers in Jesus Christ, and I am very thankful. In the gospel of John, Jesus is preparing his disciples for the time when he will no longer be physically with them; “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). Praise the Lord! He knows we need help and provides it, not just for appointments and communication, but for the greatest task ahead of us, the work of the Kingdom of God here and now.

I have been working through a study on the Holy Spirit and found this quote; “The phrase ‘remind you’ can mean ‘make contemporary.’” (Frederick Dale Bruner, The Gospel of John: A Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2012), 867. In other words, “The Spirit does more than repeat the words of Jesus; he makes them relevant. He unfolds their significance for the world in which we live” (Max Lucado, Help is Here, Thomas Nelson Press 2022, pg.22). Here’s a suggestion; Why not take some time today, and every day, to ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of what Jesus taught and direct you in your Bible to read again how much he loves you. There’s a promise that follows the above scripture for today; “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you what the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

I need that kind of peace, how about you?



Think About This

January 25, 2023
Midweek Study with Pastor Edith

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Mark and I were blessed today to be treated to lunch with a very dear couple. During our lunch, we began discussing how we make excuses for forgetting things or remembering things incorrectly. Have you ever done that? For instance; I said that whenever I forget or remember incorrectly, I usually say that I have a lot on my mind. I quickly admitted that it may seem to some that I really just don’t have enough in my mind, meaning; I don’t take time to think about what I am thinking about and that usually leads me to forget things that are important to remember. Hope I haven’t lost you yet.

Today’s scripture was given to me as an assignment on my journey through the bible in a year, and I found it interesting to apply it to this idea of Thinking About What You Are Thinking about; “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).

In it’s original context, Paul is instructing a struggling congregation to be careful with those who choose to argue their case against Paul’s leadership and teaching. Paul reminded the people that “though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does…God has provided divine power to demolish arguments…”.

So, here is a thought (hee, hee) for you today. What is your motive for arguing your case, whatever it may be and as noble as it may seem? Why not ask the Holy Spirit, the divine power, to work in and through you to demolish what is divisive in your conversations and watch how He brings peace to your spirit and your mind as you take those divisive thoughts captive for God’s will and way. You just might find yourself remembering more and remembering more correctly the things you need to do or say today.



God's Promises

January 18, 2023
Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
Romans 8:28

I was just recently inspired by one of my favorite preachers; Dr. Charles Stanley with a comment he shared on the radio. He was referring to our passage for today, among others and he said something that gave me pause. He said; “God always keeps his promises, but he doesn’t promise to provide explanations”.

This is hitting home for me and several others I know. Have you ever found yourself in a predicament and said to yourself, “What possible good can come out of this”? I can attest to the stress that comes when we face situations, either of our own negligence, or someone else’s doing. Hang on, I have hope.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good for those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. Here’s the hope; Do you love God sincerely and want to obey him ultimately? Do you know that when you have an ongoing relationship with Jesus, you have been called according to his purpose? Wow! I need to hold onto that truth and stop expecting God to give me explanations of how this whole thing works.

Please be in prayer for those you know who are facing difficult situations, confusion, anxiety and any other thing that robs them of a fulfilling life with God. Please remember to trust Him through it all, and he will keep his promise to work it all out for your ultimate good and his glory.



Let Your Light Shine

January 11, 2023
Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
Matthew 5:16

Do you remember the children’s song This Little Light of Mine? Well, after you finish singing it, I would like to encourage you with what Jesus taught in his great sermon as noted in our text for today from the Gospel of Matthew; “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven”.

What a wonderful thought, that whatever we do for the good of the Kingdom of God brings praise to God, not for ourselves, which would be a very brief experience, but to our Heavenly Father for eternity I have been greatly inspired by a devotional reading a friend gave to me. It’s entitled “Prophets of a future not our own” by Bishop Ken Untener. See if you can find the connection between the scripture for today and what the Bishop is relating; “It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us. No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the Church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything. This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.”

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are the light of the world, shining hope in someone’s darkness today. Maybe this is a good time to sing the song again.