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Lenten Devotional 4/8/19

April 8, 2019                           Psalm 121

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

Mary Oliver
Wild Geese

Lenten Devotional 4/7/19

April 7, 2019                   Mark 8:31-9:1                   Tegan Counihan Ratliff

Listen and reflect with these questions and the lyrics of the song Oceans by Hillsong

When do we save our life from sin?  When do we lose our life to sin?

When do you find it easy to follow Jesus?  When is it hard to follow Jesus ?

Have you ever suffered because you are a Christian?

Have you ever been tempted with the ability unto avoid suffering?

How does this passage encourage you to keep going?

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

Lenten Devotional 4/6/19

April 6, 2019                         Psalm 31:3                               Dena Roper

You are indeed my rock and my fortress;

   for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,

Song 275 from the purple hymnal.   The words are by Martin Luther. 

A Mighty Fortress is Our God.

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.

Our Helper he, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.

For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe.

His craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our our striving would be losing,

Were not the right man on our side the man of God’s own choosing.

Dost ask who that may be?  Christ Jesus it is he.

Lord Sabaoth his name, from age to age the same and he must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,

we will not fear, for God hath willed his truth to triumph through us.

The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him.

His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure.  One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abide them.

The Spirit and the gifts are ours through him who with us sideth.

Let goods and kindred go, the mortal life also.

The body they may kill, truth abiding still.  His kingdom is forever.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for music and expression of your Word and for reminders that you are always with us.

Lenten Devotional 4/5/19

April 5, 2019                          Romans 8:28-39                            Joe Bradshaw

In these verses Paul speaks of God in terms of all his wonderful works, “God works for the good of those who love him”,  “we have been created in his image, to be conformed to the image of his son that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters “, (this speaks to our inheritance) “ that Christ Jesus died for our sins that we might be justified through him.  Because of these things there is none who can separate us from the love of Christ “(to faith and reassurance) “for I am convinced that neither death nor life neither angels nor demons neither the present nor the future nor any powers neither height nor death nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord “. 

Prayer: Dear Father,  you have revealed yourself to us  through  your son, in love, grace, and sacrifice, your infinite bounty is visible as expressed through the life and death of your son Jesus Christ. This is our constant reminder of your unfailing and inexhaustible love for us. Thank you Father, blessed be your name forever and ever, amen.   

Lenten Devotional 4/4/19

April 4, 2019                           Psalm 27                               Rich Weithop

  Jeremiah 22:13-23

REFLECTION

The scripture talks about having faith in God and dwelling in the house of the Lord. Be patient. Wait for the blessings of God. The scripture also talks about injustice regarding one of Josiah’s son, Jehoiakim, who constructs his palace at the expense of others.

God is with us through good and bad times. Follow God, and you will be saved and lead a life of purpose.

Times change but God does not change. During some times of my life, life was not going well. The times involved major changes in my work career, and major changes in my life, retirement. God was always with me, and over time life became better. Be patient. Life with get better. Material things are nice, but your biggest reward will be following God and helping others. Regardless of your age, by following God you will be rewarded with peace and happiness. You will also have purpose in life and a reason to look forward to each and every day.

PRAY

Thank you, God, for always being with us. Help those who are in need of your word. Remind us to do your will. AMEN

Lenten Devotional 4/2/19

April 2,2019                            John 6:16-27                              Anne Stoltz

When I first read the gospel reading for today, Jesus walking on the water stood out, I think because it is such a familiar story.  Upon reflection I was drawn to verse 27, Jesus the bread of life.  I need to be reminded to remember what is important in our life.  We all think we need more and more things, but we really need more faith.

Dear Lord, thank you for this beautiful day.  Help us to recognize what is important in this life.  Amen

Lenten Devotional 4/1/19

April 1 , 2019                             John 6: 1-15                   Heather MacArthur

“Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” …. Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.”

A few months ago our Oak Hill family sat in the basement after lunch one Sunday and dreamed of what we could do with our church building; a building that that has served our congregation, and the neighborhood, for more than several generations. We could have dreamed small, nobody would have been surprised or criticized us, after all we are a small congregation and our resources are limited. Instead we embraced the spirit of abundance rather than scarcity. Take some time to read some of the ideas we wrote down, and go ahead and add some more!

The reading today from John’s gospel is a very familiar one -The Feeding of the Five Thousand. It is so familiar that most of us could probably re-tell it from memory, but reading it anew really helps to illustrate how to live faithfully. Jesus asks Philip how to feed the 5000 strong crowd and Philip replies, quite rationally, that 6 months wages wouldn’t be enough to meet their needs. Seriously Jesus we’re talking about 5000 hungry people, not a regular church luncheon! Then Andrew finds the boy with the five loaves and two fish, which seems even more ridiculous…BUT WAIT, not only are the people fed and satisfied, there are 12 baskets full of leftovers. It’s almost like Jesus is overdoing this miracle a bit. Or as author Anne Lamott often says, “God is such a show-off!”

It has been said that this is a miracle of sharing, rather than one of literally multiplying food …and indeed sharing may be a greater miracle in a world where we hoard so much for ourselves, and clamor for walls and bans to keep people out. But I think it may also be that Jesus is teaching the disciples (and us) that the extravagant good news he brings to the World is one of abundance, not scarcity. There is not just enough for all, there is more than enough for all. When we submit to our fear of scarcity we are tempted to scale back our dreams and hoard what we have.  As people of faith we should boldly dream and when the time comes to reflect back on what God does with our dreams, we will realize that, not only did we have enough, we had leftovers in abundance!

PrayerLord, inspire our dreams to be big, bold, and extravagant. Help us to live in a spirit of abundance and not scarcity, holding on to the promise that with you all things are indeed possible. Amen.

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