April 29

When I was a little girl, my aunt had in her yard what she called a rock garden.  It was in the shade under several maple trees.  It fascinated me because she called it a garden.  There were indeed many rocks which she had placed in an appealing pattern.  There were also usually several dirt patches and a few hardy green plants.  My mother pointed out that only here, in this one place in the yard, did the Lily of the Valley flowers flourish.  They bloom for a short time and their delicate bell flowers emit a beautiful perfume.

Thank you, Lord God, for the beauty which you put in unexpected  places.  Thank you for the people in our lives who help beauty and life to grow in hard places.  Help me to be someone who encourages people to bloom even in the difficult places of life.  In Jesus' name, Amen.


April 27

In the past few months, I have been engaged in conversations with friends who are facing difficult and challenging situations.  Quickly I can feel the exhaustion and despair they are experiencing.  In these times we can lose sight of God and his power to help us through. The following poem, “When We Let Him Have Control”, offers a series of actions we can practice in giving our burdens to God.
When We Let Him Have Control
Why is it as though
We struggle so much
And live in constant despair?
We don’t need to carry
Such burdensome loads
But should go to God in prayer

Give Him your burdens
And all of your hurts,
Just lay them at His feet
He’s such a big God
He can handle it all
And watches over His sheep

He cares so much more
Than we’ll ever know
And just wants the best for our lives
Each one of his children
Has so much potential
If we’ll only begin to rise

To be all that God
Has intended us to be,
To walk through His open doors
We need to stay focused
And open to God
And put our trust in the Lord

For when we all come
To realize God’s love,
Our hurts will not have a hold
For God’s love will cover
And free us from fear
As we give Him total control.

©      By B.S.Lowdes

In summary, the poem directs us to…give ALL of our burdens and hurts to Godopen yourself to God… walk through his doors….focus on Himtrust in his solution….realize he will act in love for us…and give Him total control. When you are in the middle of a challenge and fixing it is not in your capacity, remember he will provide what you need because as the poem says, he is a big God.


April 25

If you ever have days when you feel that you are not loved, that no one cares for you, remember Jesus’s sacrifice for you. God looked upon our sinful world and saw us as blind, lost. He saw us as desperately in need, because we were not living for the goodness he created us for. And he saw us at risk of dying eternally separated from him, never to gain eternal life. God showed his incredible love for humanity when he sent Jesus Christ to take the punishment that we deserve for our sins. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”(John 15:13).

Jesus also said, “…so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me…” Remember how much you are loved.


April 23

Dear Father,
   I am sitting by the ocean today and I am thinking of You.  I am filled with awe and gratitude for            Your creation.  This is a place where You often meet me and where I have grown closer to You.
   I wonder, did You create the ocean to reveal more of Your nature to me?
   I listen to the ever present sounds of the vast surf and I think of You, so vast and ever present in my      life (Yahweh).
   I watch the waves as they rise and fall and I think of your power and strength (Elohim).
   I look out at the horizon and am overwhelmed by the might of all this ocean can do, and I think of        You, Father, the Almighty (El Shaddai).
   I am overflowing with gratitude that You have always been and always will be (El-olam).
Thank you, Father, for wanting to reveal more of Yourself to me by leading me to Your oceanside. I pray that I will always be open to receive all that You have for me here and everywhere.
In Your name,



April 21

I sometimes feel guilty when I call a customer service number and am unable to understand the person on the other end of the line. It lengthens the call and causes confusion.  I wish that I could easily understand anyone who speaks with me!

I think of the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit caused Jesus' followers to speak in languages they had never learned so that their listeners would understand the good news of Jesus.

Lord, please help me to better understand the people around me.  Help me to see in them the beloved child created in your image whom you see.  Thank you for understanding me.  Amen.


April 19

On the surface, water is not a very exciting substance. It’s so common, after all, that we take it for granted. But as with so many other things in life, there’s more to water than meets the eye. For all its apparent blandness, water is a very powerful substance. It can erode coastlines and mountains, create majestic waterfalls, or merge to make gigantic oceans.
            It sustains all of life; indeed, water’s very common-ness makes it unquestionably essential for life. Bacteria, whales, and many things in between, make their homes in the water. While we humans don’t live in the ocean, we too need water to keep us going.
            But there’s a balance required here: Too little water, and we’ll dehydrate; too much water, and essential minerals may leach out of our bodies; too much water in our lungs, and we’ll drown; get it just right, and we not only survive, but thrive.
            On Earth, water exists naturally in three forms: solid, liquid, and vapor. It’s an inexact analogy, but many people have used water as an illustration of the Trinity: three different forms of water, three different manifestations of God. Indeed, there are some important things they have in common: if we’re not getting enough of either, eventually we’ll feel it; both are very common; and we take its universality for granted many times.

            The big difference, though, is that while we can have too much water, we can’t have too much of the Trinity. The important thing for us is to realize when we have not had enough of the Living Water, to go to the Well of Life, and drink deeply.


April 17

Generous Lord, thank you for the many blessings which you have given to me.  Thank you for food and a home. Thank you for my family and my health.  Thank you for our car and my job.  Thank you for the clothes in my closet, and thank you that I have a closet.

Help me to remember the millions of people, all made in your image just as I am, who have little or none of those blessings.  Help me to know how to help and to act on that knowledge.  Soften my heart as your heart is soft.  In the name of Jesus our Savior.  Amen.


April 15

April 15th is the usual deadline to file federal income taxes in the United States.  This year, the deadline is extended until April 18th because of a holiday.  Whew!  A reprieve, unexpected and wonderful.  This sort of thing doesn't happen often, but how marvelous when it does.  Don't you feel great when the teacher says that the test is delayed so you have the weekend to study?  How delightful when the presentation is extended a couple days.  Suddenly, we have extra time to prepare for what may be a hard experience.  It is a gift of time.

Of course, every day is a gift of time- a gift from God.

May we use the gift of time as God would want us to use it!

Enjoy the weekend!!


April 13

I renewed my driver's license and felt sorry for the MVA workers. Some of the people who are there to get a license or get a title transferred or whatever may not have the best attitude.  We expect long waits, confusing paperwork, and perhaps rude workers.  I actually have experienced all those things, but not often, and certainly not only at the MVA. Most of the workers I have encountered were helpful and patient, sometimes with a delightful sense of humor.  Yet, the customers approach them with belligerent or defensive attitudes. I think that we should keep the MVA workers in our prayers!

Loving God, thank you for your patience with us when we are less than patient.  Please help us to be loving and generous of heart.  Please be with persons who serve in difficult roles: MVA workers, tollbooth workers, cashiers in convenience stores and grocery stores, wait staff and others who must bear the brunt of our annoyance and even anger.  Strengthen them and give them the patience and humor to deal with difficult people. In Jesus' name,  Amen.


April 11

We recently had a blood drive at our church.  It is so important that we provide blood to those in desperate need of it.  What a miracle that we have the ability to collect blood from healthy individuals and store it and then give it to those in need.  How amazing that God has given us the wisdom to save lives like that.

Thank you, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, that you have given us the skills and knowledge and technologies that we have in this modern medical era.  Thank you for the lives saved, the lives made easier by donated blood.  Thank you for those who are willing to donate of themselves- literally- in this way.  Thank you for your blood poured out for us to bring us eternal life.  Amen.


April 9

When family and friends ask for your advice, what do you do first?
Do you just offer them some advice, or do you pray about it first? I believe God wants us to ask Him for guidance before we do anything else. Sometimes I try to help that person without praying about it first. I have discovered that I am not very effective at times when I do this. I would have been more helpful to that person, if I would have prayed first and asked for God's guidance before offering advice. Sometimes God surprises us with answers that we would not have considered on our own without his guidance.

Father, Please help me to remember to come to you first when others ask for my advice.


April 7

Seven is a significant number in biblical terms.  It is a number of completion or perfection.  Multiples of seven were also meaningful.  Symbols are important for us: packing a big meaning into a small thing. What would symbolize perfection for you?  Does our culture have certain standards of perfection, certain things that are "perfect" or whole or complete?  Or do we constantly search for more, for better?
John Wesley told us that we could be perfect in this life, and he meant perfect in love.  We are to strive to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, strength, and to love others as we love ourselves.  Only with the help of the Spirit can we even hope to love like that!

It's not that I have already reached this goal or have already been perfected, but I pursue it, so that I may grab hold of it because Christ grabbed hold of me for just this purpose.  Brothers and sisters, I myself don't think I've reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me.  The goal I pursue is the prize of God's upward call in Christ Jesus.               Philippians 3: 12-14


April 5

I know Holy Week is behind us and we are supposed to be focusing on the Risen Christ, spring flowers, warmer weather, you know, happy things.  

I took this picture of the cross at our evening Good Friday service with my phone.  The cross was laying flat on a table and everyone at the service took a candle, lit it, and placed it on the cross.  Wow.  Thoughtful reflections were spoken by those surrounding the cross, both audibly as well as not.  Then we sung, "Were you there?"

Today, when I look at this picture I am reminded of Jesus' suffering for us and then think about those who are being killed around the world because they are Christian.  Because they choose love.

Dear Lord, wasn't your sacrifice enough? You must cry, too, when someone else is tortured or killed because of you.


April 3

            I had just returned from a few days away---had visited with family, traveling some great country-side during the decline of winter and the faint emerging spring; a new season had been evident.  I felt refreshed and hopeful.  Then the morning news came crashing down—there had been a terrorist attack!  It was far away, but far away is not far enough in our tiny world anymore.  Words of fear, and hate, and anger, and pain, and insult filled the air. 

            It was not a satisfying day that day.  But finally I settled down to think about it, and to reach out for thoughts to carry me beyond the present violence and feelings of helplessness.  The words of the first chapter of The Gospel of John came to mind.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….And the Word became flesh and lived among us and we have seen his glory…full of grace and truth.”  Not a word there about power and might, about retribution and dominance---but of so much more,  about grace and truth.  At the heart of this universe is not strife and violence and explosive, destructive power.  At the heart of it is love, and goodness, and saving grace.  At the heart of it is a God like Jesus!

            Take heart.  Not in the world’s latest news, but that in Christ is revealed the ultimate.  “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son…who has made him known.”