Pastor Steve’s Blog October 14, 2018 One of the small treasures I have in my possession is a copy of the “Strength for Service to God and Country” devotional book presented to my Uncle by First United Methodist Church of Clarksburg, WV on December 25, 1943. This edition of Strength for Service was written during WWII and given to him for strength and inspiration during his tour of duty overseas. It is funny how timeless the Gospel is. It is interesting to read something written back in time so many decades ago. Yet, some of it sounds like it could have been written this week. I hope this blesses you as much as it did me. I was reading the daily devotion for June 14, 1943 and it was entitled: “The Things That Last” written by Talmage C. Johnson, First Baptist Church, Kinston, NC. The Scriptures for the day were I Corinthians 13 and Hebrews 12:27. The highlighted Scripture was I Corinthians 13:13: “Thus, faith and hope and love last on, these three, but the greatest of all is love.” (Moffatt Translation). Johnson’s devotion reads: “The dizzy pace of current events can upset us tremendously. Things are happening around us and to us so rapidly that some of us have begun to think that nothing will last. Would it not be wise for us, then, to snatch whatever satisfaction the present moment offers? Why let any thought of yesterday or tomorrow affect our conduct now? Why not lay aside all scruples, bid conscience cease to speak, and discard religion altogether? If Edgar Allan Poe was right in saying that life is a tragedy whose hero is ‘the conquering Worm,’ then life if futile and morality foolish. But this philosophy of life is a lie. There are enduring values. As Paul puts it, ‘faith and hope and love last on.’ Yes, even in wartime these things last on. Because they are permanent realities they are worth giving ourselves to. Because Christianity is based upon these abiding things it is now more necessary for us than ever before. It alone gives meaning to all life. Dostoevski tells of a thief and a harlot waiting together for the end in a dark room. By the light of their last candle they read a tattered Gospel someone has left behind. They come to the story of Lazarus, and they begin to say to each other: ‘He raised Lazarus from the dead; he can raise us.’ That’s it; ‘faith and hope and love last on’ and even death cannot entomb them.’” Prayer: “Grant, O God, that I may give myself not to the things which are passing but to the eternal. Help me to keep my faith in man and God. Let not hope die within me. May I, remembering that Thou dost love me, never lose my capacity for loving others and loving Thee. Abide with me through all of life’s changes. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
October 14th 2018
May 26, 2019
Pastor Steve’s Blog May 26, 2019 Memorial Day When we have special days, such as Memorial Day, I like to turn to my Uncle’s “Strength for Service to God and Country” which he received during his time in the military during WWII. It was given to him by The First Methodist Church of Clarksburg, WV dated December 25, 1943. As someone who likes history, I find it fascinating to look back and see what and how people were thinking in an earlier time. You will notice that this devotion was influenced during a time of great national stress caused by our participation in WWII. Here is the devotion for Memorial Day dated for May 30 by William Everett Roberts, Community Presbyterian Church, Beverly Hills, CA. “Memorials and Their Meaning. ‘This day shall be unto you a memorial.’ Exodus 12:14. The memorial idea has prevailed among all kinds of people from the earliest times. The Old Testament contains the record of many memorials. The greatest of these was the day set apart to commemorate the safety of the people of Israel from the destroying angel and their deliverance from bondage to the oppressor. Year by year, generation by generation, this occasion was ordered set apart as a time of joyous gratitude to God. We too have a Memorial Day. We as a people are also summoned to remember. Ours is not primarily a religious institution, yet is has for us a profound spiritual significance. While we separate the functions of church and state, we do not separate religion from the total life of the nation. As a people we have reason to be profoundly grateful to the Father of nations because we have been delivered from fear and oppression and been given opportunity for the freest life any citizens have ever known. Now we are engaged once again in a struggle to set our planet free from bondage to an order of life intolerable to free spirits. Once again the making of history is upon us. Under God and with faith in the ultimate triumph of righteousness we can make the days to come memorable beyond all comparison; for our aim is not the release of a single people, but of the whole race of men. For such a cause we need the full devotion of the entire nation and full trust in God who has made and kept us as a nation. Prayer: Father of Eternity, we come to Thee in Thy greatness; we look to Thee for strength in this time of overwhelming need. Grant us the power to accept and to stand up to all our tasks. Give us wisdom to plan with clear mind and understanding heart. Beyond our sense of power may we have the spirit of righteousness and love. We ask it in Christ’s Name. Amen.”
May 19, 2019
Pastor Steve’s Blog May 19, 2019 I read this devotion this week and it struck me how true this devotion is when we get recordings stuck in our heads and they seem to play over and over. And “only if” is one of those. Let’s take this Scripture to heart and head and change the script and music when it becomes redundant…in a not so good way. Blessings! “If Only I Had…” by Lysa TerKeurst “There’s a simple, yet incredibly dangerous little script many of us play in our minds. It might even be one of the biggest things holds us back from feeling fulfilled in our relationship with God. It’s a script tangled in a lie that typically goes something like this: I could really be happy and fulfilled if only I had… …a skinnier body …more money …a better personality …a baby I don’t know what your ‘If only I had’ statements are, but I do know this: none of them will bring fulfillment. They might bring temporary moments of happiness, but not true fulfillment. Apart from a thriving relationship with God, even if we got everything on our list, there would still be a hollow gap in our soul. So instead of saying, ‘If only I had’ and filling in the blank with some person, possession, or position, we must make the choice to replace that statement with God’s truth. Psalm 19:7-8 confirms just how powerful and beneficial the truth of God’s word is: ‘The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.’” (Lysa TerKeust. “Embraced: 100 Devotions to Know God Is Holding You Close.”)
May 12, 2019
Happy Mothers Day!