March 28

            Consider for a moment your feet. Without them, we would not be able to do basic tasks such as walk, kick, or drive a car. Our feet are very useful parts of the body, yet we often take them for granted, noticing only when they hurt – and when they do, we know that it’s time to get off them as soon as possible.
            The Bible has quite a selection of verses about feet. For example, Isaiah 52:7 says (paraphrased in Romans 10:15), “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” We are also often called to lay ourselves down at Jesus’s feet, and to be His hands and feet in the world.
            Jesus walked all over Judea and Galilee, delivering His message to any and all who came. And when, at long last, the time came for Jesus to be crucified, His feet had to support not just His body, but also the cross on which He would die. I can only imagine how much His feet hurt by the time He got to Calvary, but He knew what this would accomplish, so I can also imagine He knew the suffering would be worth it to save the world. May we honor His act of sacrifice by being the feet (and hands) this world desperately needs.

March 21

     Giving thanks when things don’t go as we planned may be a challenge. Sometimes God puts others people in our lives to help us learn to do so. A few weeks ago, our Women’s Retreat was scheduled on a weekend that was rainy and very foggy up in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Some people talked negatively about how the fog was affecting the weekend. A few days after the retreat, a wise friend shared that as she thought back over the weekend, she said she realized she was thankful for the rain and fog. The reason being that she thought the women on the retreat spent more time together in the large meeting room enjoying talking with each other. If the weather would have been sunny and warm, many people would have gone outside and not spent as much time together. My friend was able to be thankful even when the weather conditions were not what we had hoped they would be. I pray that I can be one of those people who can give thanks in all circumstances.

Father, teach us to be thankful in all circumstances.

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
                                                                                                    Thess. 5:18

March 14

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps
Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

I recently attended my uncle’s memorial service. I was close to him when I was a teenager and young adult. As the years went on, he   remarried a woman who turned out to be the love of his life. When he remarried, his new family seem to literally swallow him up, and I felt some resentment that he was taken away from “my” family. He and I were never that close again. 
As I sat there at his service and listened to person after person from his “new” family speak from their hearts about what a positive role model he was, what an influence he had on them, and how loved and supported they felt by him, I had an epiphany. God’s plan for my uncle was to be there for them, not us. My sister had the exact same epiphany during the service. Somehow, acknowledging that this was God’s plan brought us some peace and understanding. This was not our plan, but it was God’s plan and purpose for my uncle.
He was a man of faith most of his life, but like many of us, his faith grew stronger as he got older. He was an artist, and the picture above is from one of his drawings of the church where he was baptized and grew up in Cincinnati. He felt a special connection to the church and sometimes returned there when he came in town to visit. Living out his faith and beliefs were what his new family experienced when they were around him. 
Isn’t this what we all hope will be said about us? Are we living our faith, loving and supporting others on their faith journeys, even when it isn’t our plan, but God’s plan?
Loving God, Thank You for revealing Your plan to us to help us understand and give us the courage and strength to continue on our earthly journeys.  Amen.