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Nudges from God

Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
November 15, 2023
Psalm 25:4-5

Have you ever noticed how God brings to your mind a memory of an event as a way of directing a decision? Here’s is an example: I recently attended a gathering where I met again many folks I have been blessed to partner with in ministry. Sometimes, I feel a bit less than qualified to be part of the kingdom work of the church when I am surrounded by “such a cloud of witnesses”, and yet I always come away feeling encouraged by them.

A couple of people, at the above mentioned gathering, invited me to be part of a youth retreat a couple of years ago, and still remember some hectic and funny situations in which we found ourselves and through which God restored our joy in ministry. At one point during the dinner hour of the recent gathering, I sort of flashed back to the moment of decision of whether I should include myself among the faithful volunteers who invited me to be a speaker and guide at the youth event several years ago. I kept praying and reflecting on scripture verses I have been memorizing as a way of clearing the noise in my head so as to make the right decision for the right reasons. One passage kept coming to mind and often still does; it’s our verses for today; “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long”. I made the decision to attend the youth event several years ago, and one of the first things that happened was that I was handed a T Shirt with the theme for our weekend long event. Guess what the Scripture was? Yep; Psalm 25:4-5, thank you Lord.

All this to encourage you today to look for little nudges from God. Reflect on times He lead you to a decision and helped you make it. Should you remember some bittersweet decisions and a tear comes to your eye, thank Him for that too. God knows how hard it can be in this world, but He also knows the path He has for you. He will walk with you all the way home.

Amen!


 

Prayer Life

Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
November 8, 2023
Romans 8:26-27

This morning I am thinking about my Dad. I woke up with a feeling that God was reminding me that no matter how many things I have on my agenda, there is always the priority of prayer. My Dad was a praying man. He didn’t pray publicly very often, but he always made sure there was a purposeful prayer before meals, before big decisions and at family events. When I was 12 years old, my Dad and Step Mom made the trip to Holland to visit our family there. The first evening when my Oma was serving supper, my Opa (my Dad’s Dad) took out his Bible and read a passage of scripture, and then he prayed. I couldn’t understand what he was reading or praying because he was speaking in Dutch, but that didn’t matter because I knew it was God’s word and it was a heartfelt prayer and God would bless the reading and praying. It was then that I got a glimpse of the spiritual heritage that I should carry it on with my family then and my family in the future.

The scripture for our meditation today tells us; “…we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is sayng, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will” (quoted from my Dad’s bible; The Book, NLT published by Tyndale House Publishers).

There’s a lot going on in my world today that I don’t understand and am at a loss for words to pray, but I can take comfort that God knows the beginning from the end and He will guide me through the middle. It is interesting that I felt my Dad urging me to remember and renew my commitment to pray all throughout the day. I opened up his bible and found a quote from the last devotional he read before he passed away November 8th 2007; “As Christians, we must rely on God and His power. God has an incredible amount of power that He wants to share with us, but you can only receive this power when you’re plugged in to Him. How do you know if you’re depending on God? It’s simple; check your prayer life. Whatever you pray about is what you’re depending of God for”.

Amen!


 

All Saints Day

Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
November 1, 2023
Hebrews 11

Happy All Saints Day everyone! It has been my tradition with all the churches I have been blessed to worship with to celebrate and commemorate all the believers who have gone ahead of us. The faithful followers of Christ who sacrificed time, resources and even their very lives so that you and I would have opportunity to hear the Gospel and be encouraged to believe. Hebrews chapter 11 has often been called “The Hall of Faith” as we read about “the ancients” who were commended for their faith. From these followers of God to the followers of God’s Son today, we have much for which to be grateful.

I found a children’s song that was published in 1929 by L. Scott entitled; I Sing A Song of the Saints of God. It is good to tell our children about our Spiritual Heritage and l think these words are sweet; “I sing a song of the saints of God, patient and brave and true, who toiled and fought and lived and died for the Lord they loved and knew. And one was a doctor and one was a queen, and one was a shepherdess on the green; they were all of them saints of God, and I mean, God helping, to be one too”.

Amen!


 

Waiting

Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
October 25, 2023
1 Peter 1:3-5, Psalm 71:6

Today is a very exciting day for our family. My son and daughter in love are soon to deliver their first baby and my 5th grandchild. We’ve started day 2 of waiting. It seems our new baby needs a bit more time than we anticipated to prepare for his entry into our world, though from his conception he has been very much a part of our hearts and lives.

Waiting is hard. It’s hard to see the anxiety and fear in my son’s eyes, though it is very normal to have roller coaster emotions. It’s hard to hear how my daughter in love is going through pain and desperately wants her baby out of her womb and into her arms. It’s hard to know what to do and what would be most helpful even though I have had 4 children of my own. Waiting is just hard. It’s hard to wait upon the Lord and His time for conflicts to end, for lost ones to be found, for healing of body, mind and spirit. Waiting can be really hard.

Yesterday, the day we thought our little one was arriving, I found the above listed scripture passages in our morning devotional and thought they fit very well to bring comfort and peace while we wait.

Psalm 71:6; “From birth I have relied on you [Oh Lord]; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you”. 1 Peter 1:3-5 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time”. Birth and new birth, both marvelous gifts of God. Perhaps in times of waiting it is a good thing to remember that God’s got the whole world in his hands, yes, he’s got the little bitty babies in his hands…he’s got the whole world in his hands. Praise him for his great love and mercy!

Amen!


 

Renew & Restore

Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
October 19, 2023
John 1:1-5, Colossians 1:15-17

Recently I was invited to share in a review and study of the Gospel of John. It is a refreshing time of getting back to the basics of my faith at a time when there is so much turmoil in the world around me. It’s like a cup of cool water after working and sweating at a task that wears a body down. Perhaps you have felt worn down and worried about the task that lays ahead of you, if so, would you consider taking a moment to pray and invite the Holy Spirit to refresh, renew and restore you? Would you accept God’s invitation to read again how He initiated a relationship with you? Look and look again at the beginning of all things as revealed in John 1:1-5, note how Christ is light and life for all humankind, and because of this the darkness of fear and doubt cannot overcome us.

In the beginning of Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he gives encouragement to stay connected with the One who was in the beginning; ”He is before all things, and in him all things hold together”. So much of what throws me into a panic is the fear of the unknown, mostly the fear of authorities who are making crazy decisions that are hurting so many people. I realize that as long as I am in this world there will be trouble. John writes later in the gospel that Jesus says; “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world” (16:33).

I found a quote from a sermon by Clarence Jordan that reminded me to stay grounded in Christ. Clarence was very familiar with turmoil in society as he fought for civil rights and demonstrated by his own willingness to make a difference for people all around him who were trapped by poverty, discrimination and fear. He started his sermon entitled The Womb of God this way; “Today when the Church is being attacked and challenged on every hand as a viable institution, when the Church is in doubt and confused about its own identity and mission, it must make contact—It must touch base—with the rock from which it was hewn. We must look again into the faces of that crowd of witnesses which surrounds us and cheers us on in our often lonely task of being faithful witnesses to the Lord Jesus Christ” (The Substance of Faith and other Cotton Patch Sermons by Clarence Jordan. Copyright 1972 by Florence Jordan, Associated Press New York, NY).

I am asking the Lord God to motivate all of us to seek His way and will today and everyday. Yes, we are surrounded by a great crowd of witnesses in His Word and in our world, perhaps you are one of them. May God richly bless you!

Amen!


 

He's Calling You

Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
October 11, 2023
Mark 10:46-52
“Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you”

During a recent devotional time, I was reading about the healing of blind Bartimaeus. As I read, and reflected and read again I kept getting a nudge to consider what the words; “Call” and “Call out” might mean in the original context and for followers of Christ today.

When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was coming down the road, he “called out” in a loud voice; “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me”! He knew who Jesus really was and that he had the ability to heal him. Not sure why, but many in the crowd tried to keep this guy quiet. Didn’t he have a right to be healed by Jesus? Of course he did, but the others around him either felt they were more entitled to hear from Jesus, or maybe, they just wrote Bartimaeus off as a lost cause. I can’t really verify this insight with any deep theology, but I can say, it is making a difference for me and I hope it will for you as well.

We are living in a world that is becoming more and more divided and more and more violent in the divisions. I am being reminded that there are people calling out with a loud voice that are being ignored. The world needs healing, and yet, do we obey Christ when he says to his followers; “Call them”. And if we call, do we chastise them or do we extend the invitation like the folks did in verse 49 of the reading today; “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you”.

There is so much more that can be gleaned from this reading in Mark chapter 10, so I invite you to take a few minutes this week and read it for yourself. Perhaps you will find yourself calling out to the Lord, and then hear Him calling you. I have an old hymn playing in my mind; “Open my eyes that I may see, visions of what thou hast for me. I hold in my hand the wonderful key that shall unclasp and set me free…”

Amen!


 

The Sun Shines Bright

Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
October 4, 2023
1 Corinthians 13:12-13

I often hear others and myself declare “I just don’t understand” when something heart wrenching happens. Sometimes it is an event in nature that brings destruction and one might ask “Where was God in all of this”? Sometimes it is a diagnosis of a disease that no specialist seems to be able to identify let alone cure. Sometimes it is a careless act by someone they loved. Whatever the situation, the fact is that there is much in this life we will never understand. But what about God? How can you and I understand His plan? How is it that He loves us unconditionally when we as a human race have been so faithless?

Here is a word of hope my husband read to me this morning from 1 Corinthians 13:12-13, and I will quote from The Message Bible; “We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly; love extravagantly. And the best of these is love”.

Amen!


 

Help is on the way!

Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
September 27, 2023
John 15:9-12

Jesus has a marvelous way of teaching. He invites all who choose to follow him to do just that, to follow him. This manner of teaching, or leading by example, is indeed a high standard to follow. In the passage I have chosen for today, Jesus is teaching his followers to abide in his love. The word abide means to remain, or sojourn. It is a picture of sticking with the plan; “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now, abide in my love. If you obey my commands, you will abide in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

Recently I was exposed to some great examples of this kind of love. Friends and family gathered around to help a young family during a most difficult time. They sacrificed their own family time and resources to stay close and provide for this hurting family all through an extended illness and even more sacrifices were made during the final week before their loved one passed on. It’s one thing to say we love someone, it’s quite another to show it consistently and without conditions. That’s what Jesus taught, that’s what Jesus did and all the more as he sacrificed his own life for a lost world of hurting people.

The end of our passage for today tells us that when we love the way Jesus loved, we will have joy. This is where the “sojourn” part of the definition of the word “abide” comes into play. We will experience joy in this journey of faith as we trust in and abide in the Father’s love, even in the most difficult times. Hold on, Help is on the way!

Amen!