Saturday, March 18, 2023 – “On the Couch” by Peggy Williams

   As church Attendance numbers fade across the nation and on-line services become very convenient its important
to Remember why church attendance for You and Your family matters so much.

   You can’t serve from Your Sofa. You can’t have Community of faith on your Sofa. You can’t experience the Power
of a Room full of Believers Worshiping Together on Your Sofa.

   Christians aren’t Consumers. We are contributors. We don’t Watch. We Engage. We Give. We Sacrifice. We En-
courage. We Pray By Laying Hands on the Hurting. We Do Life Together.

The Church Needs You. And You Need the Church.

The presence of God is in Mount Pleasant. Especially when we worship together.

When We Gather Together

Not on the Sofa.


Wednesday, March 15, 2023 – Jesus Rejects No One – Asheritah Ciuciu

Luke 5:17-26

   Throughout the Gospels, we see all kinds of people coming to Jesus: some with great faith and some, like today’s
paralytic man, with great fear.

   Unlike others who approached Jesus, this man doesn’t even have the courage to believe – he’s overcome by fear,
knowing the many sins that mar him.

   But his friends insist that this new teacher in town can help him. They believe even when he doesn’t. And when
they can’t squeeze into the packed house, they carry him to the roof and start hacking at the packed mud and branches
to make an opening.

   As a hush falls over the crowd, Jesus looks at the man on the mat, glances up at the friends peering through the
hole in the ceiling and back down at the man.

   “Take heart, son,” He says [Matt. 9:2]. Take heart. Be of good cheer. Jesus cares about the man’s fears, and he
ovingly starts by addressing those fears. Jesus rejects no one who come to Him sincerely, though they be fearful.

   So Jesus looks at him, recognizes his fear, encourages him, and then pronounces what no one expected: “Your sins
are forgiven.” That’s not what his friends expected, and it’s certainly not what the gathered teachers of the law wanted
to hear.

   So He offers this man forgiveness and offers the crowd a special insight: Jesus is much more than just a miracle-
worker; He is God with us.

   But some still didn’t believe. Words are cheap, they reasoned. Anyone foolish enough to be accused of blasphemy
could say what Jesus said. But to demonstrate His spiritual authority to forgive sins, Jesus pronounces healing; and
the man gets up, rolls up his mat, and walks out the door as the crowds who wouldn’t let him in part to let him out.

   The man walks away with a lightness in his step and praise on his lips, for in one encounter with Jesus, he receives
both the healing he wanted and the forgiveness he desperately needed but didn’t know how to ask for.


Saturday, March 11, 2023 – “Written By an 11 Year Old Boy”

I Am a Boy who loves reptiles and origami
I wonder of the Universe at Night
I hear Nature’s lovely Serenades
I See a World of Dreams Up in the Sky
I Want So Badly to touch it
I Am a Boy who loves reptiles and origami

I pretend that Magic Really Does Exist
I feel that This World Could Use Some
I touch a Rock and Feel So Much More
I Worry the World Will never Notice Little Things
I cry because of Their ignorance.
I Am a Boy who loves reptiles and origami

I Understand that there is an End to All Roads
I Say Never Turn Your Back on Your Goals
I Dream of Making This World a Better Place
I Try to Make this Dream a Reality
I Hope someday that it Will All Pay Off
I Am a Boy who loves reptiles and origami


Wednesday, March 8, 2023 - Jesus is Kind – Asheritah Ciuciu

Good morning from Mount Pleasant on Wednesday, March 8.  

This story comes to us from Mark chapter 1 verses 29-34.

   News of Jesus spread quickly and people were bringing their loved ones who were sick and demon-possessed,
hoping that finally they would find relief. And here comes a man with leprosy—an untouchable in Jewish society.
It’s likely he hadn’t felt a human touch in years.

   Can you imagine? The shame, the loneliness, and the isolation must have been devastating. But this man hears
there’s a certain Jesus who’s been travelling around towns healing people. So he gathers his courage and makes
his way toward Jesus and falls on his knees.

   “If you are willing, you can make me clean,” the leper says. And then we see Jesus’ generosity that goes beyond
what is expected. He did the unthinkable: He reached out and touched the man.

   There are no words to describe what the man must have felt. The warm touch of another human’s hand on his skin,
the first voluntary contact since his diagnosis, the touch of God Himself.

   “I am willing,” Jesus said. And He didn’t just say it. He showed it. “Be clean!” He exclaimed and immediately the
leprosy left the man and his skin was clean.

   Jesus didn’t have to do it that way. But His love compelled Him to kindness, to reach beyond the man’s body and
heal his heart with the kindness of a human’s touch.

   Jesus allowed His emotions to move Him to action, and we now are called to be His hands and feet, showing His
love in real ways.

   Jesus, I want to be part of that love in action. Make me part of Your resounding “yes” in someone’s life today.


Saturday, March 4, 2023 – Thoughts from Janes Doe

   There was a farmer who grew excellent quality corn. Every year he won the award for the best grown corn. One
year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter
discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors. “How can you afford to share your best seed
corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.

   “Why sir,” said the farmer, “Didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field
to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow
good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”

   So it is with our lives… Those who want to live meaningfully and well must help enrich the lives of others, for the
value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others find happiness,
for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all…


Wednesday, March 1, 2023 – Jesus Invites Us Close – Asheritah Ciuciu

   As creator of the universe, Jesus could have chosen any number of ways to establish His kingdom. Of all the
possible options, one-on-one relationships seem to be the most inefficient method.

   But personal relationships with messy people is the way of love.

   Jesus chose twelve men not just to learn His doctrine but to experience His perfect love, because love changes
people. Jesus bestowed on them honor and dignity that exceeded their merit, station, and education, even calling
them His friends.

   Jesus gathered these twelve men to be with Him. He invited them behind closed doors to witness private miracles.
He explained hard teachings to them. He answered their questions.

   Time with Jesus up close and personal changes us.

   As humans we are limited by time and space in giving our time to people we love. Being fully human, Jesus also
limited this invitation to His twelve disciples during His public ministry on earth. But through His death, resurrection,
and ascension to His Father, Jesus invites each of us to experience the love of His presence through the gift of His
Holy Spirit within us.

   Oh what grace! Oh what love! Take care and God bless.


Saturday, February 25, 2023 – “Let’s Go” by Peggy Williams

This has been an Up and Down Week
Rain and No Rain
Hot and Cold
Windy and Calm
Unsettling at Best

Because I think We All Like a Schedule
Like: Going to the Grocery Store
Picking up the DryCleaning
Visiting Friends
Going for a Daily Walk

Not Fancy… But Life Scheduled.
I like Getting Up and Having Coffee with God
Checking the Weather Report
Reading Upper Room
Thanking God first thing Every Morning
That I am Here… awake… healthy
I always tell God that
I will Pedal… if
He Will Steer

And He hears… I know He does
I feel the Signs in my life
A son home from a long Drive…
“Sleep Well… (Heart emoji)

My daughter calls:
“Hi Mom”… Charlie went to the Groomer…
“I miss You, Mom”
“I miss you, too, Marty” (Heart emoji)

Schedules… Phone Calls, Work Hours
Weekly Sunday School… Bible Study
Re-connect time… Rest time
Relax and close Your Eyes
            Let Go
       God is Steering
And We Are All Pedaling!

God Bless You, Each One.   Amen


Wednesday, February 22, 2023 – Ash Wednesday – excerpt from “The Lives We Actually Live”

God, today my finitude is rubbed on my forehead.
The reality of my limits, my fragile body,
Spoken over me like a curse;
From dust I was made…
   to dust I will return.

Some days I need to be reminded
that I am not the perfectibility project
I set out to be.
I am full of bounce and brimming with hope.
All woes, solvable. All problems, a distant whisper.
When I don’t feel like dust,
Bless me, oh God,
In the ways I trick myself into believing
that my life is something I’ve made,
that all my accomplishments and successes
and mastered mornings
add up to something independent of you.

But on days like today, when my head hangs low,
sunk with the grief of my neediness,
Bless me, oh God.
When my joints don’t work like they should,
when I grow sick or turn gray too soon,
when my body betrays me…
or perhaps it is doing exactly
what it is supposed to do.

Tell me again
exactly how you made me:
    From dust to dust.

Blessed are we, a mess of contradictions,
in our delusions and deep hopes,
in our fragility and finitude.


Saturday, February 18, 2023 – “Mother Nature” by Peggy Williams

Rain Rain… You Came Again
Not a Single Flake on my Roof of Tin

I think You Could at Least Give Us One Snow
One tiny little 3” Snow.

So Grady and Charlie Jo Can Make a Snowman.
So Myles and Magdalene Can Make Snow Cream!
So all the Kids Can Have FUN!

Just a Little Snow… To Add Some Sparkle
And Reflect Moonlight at Night

I hate to Complain About Your Decision
But for Pity Sake! Bring a little Snow

White Stuff! I have had My Fill of Rain

We have All been Shut in By A Virus!
How about Shut in By Snow!
I’m Ready to “Bundle Up”

Put on 3 layers and My Down Jacket
Ear Muffs… A Wooly Scarf… Gloves

Waterproof Boots With Wool Socks
Oh how I miss Getting “Bundled Up”

Going Outside to take Pictures
Of the House… Of the Yard

Pictures of the Trees… Especially
If the Snow Sticks to the Hardwoods!

Love the Rim Ice too… Sooo Beautiful
And So dangerous… Stay in With Hot Chocolate and Cookies

Come On! Just one little Snow
For Us All! Even Me!


Wednesday, February 15, 2023 – Reading from “Streams in the Desert”

Philippians 4:4 – Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, Rejoice!

   It is a good thing to “rejoice in the Lord”. Perhaps you have tried it but seemed to fail at first. Don’t give it a second
thought, and forge ahead. Even when you cannot feel any joy, there is no spring in your step, nor any comfort or
encouragement in your life, continue to rejoice and “consider it pure joy” (James 1:2). “Whenever you face trials of
many kinds”, regard it as joy, delight in it, and God will reward your faith. Do you believe that your heavenly Father
will let you carry the banner of His victory and joy to the very front of the battle, only to calmly withdraw to see you
captured or beaten back by the enemy? NEVER! His Holy Spirit will sustain you in your bold advance and fill your
heart with gladness and praise. You will find that your heart is exhilarated and refreshed by the fullness therein.

Lord, teach me to rejoice in You, to “be joyful always!”


Saturday, February 11, 2023 – Poem by Peggy Williams

Sometimes I forget How Rich I Am
My Hot Water Heater Works on a Dime

My Air Conditioning and Heat Work When I need them to
I Can Go to Any Grocery Story and Purchase what I please to eat.

I Have a Clean Kitchen to Cook In
I have a Clean Shower to Bathe In

I forget that I am Beyond Blessed.

Dear God,

Please help Us Appreciate Our Many Blessings
And to Pass On Prayers for those less fortunate.



Wednesday, February 8, 2023 - “My Focus” from Upper Room Daily Devotions

   Some days everything seems wrong, and everywhere I go appears dismal. I notice dirt on the floor, smudges on
the windowpanes, a new gray hair, and an endless list of stressors. While driving, traffic lights take too long to change,
drivers are aggressive, and I have to avoid potholes.

   When I meditate on today’s scripture verse, I realize that the real problem may be my focus. If I focus on what’s
wrong, that’s what I’ll see. But if I focus on what is lovely, pure, and just, that’s what I’ll find. The world is full of both
good and bad, and God tells us to meditate on and fill our hearts and minds with the good. In this way we can exhibit
the peace that draws others to Christ.

   When we change our focus, we are sure to find God in every part of creation. When I notice the amazing aroma
of coffee, the birdsong outside my window, or the stunning colors of a sunrise, my problems fade into the background.
When my day is interrupted, I can pause to enjoy a few deep breaths and remind myself of my blessings. May we
focus on what is lovely, pure, and just as we observe the world around us today.


Saturday, February 4, 2023 – Reading from a book of devotions

   Keep your focus on Me. I have gifted you with amazing freedom, including the ability to choose the focal point of
your mind. Only the crown of My creation has such remarkable capability; this is a sign of being made in My image.

   Let the goal of this day be to bring every thought captive to Me. Whenever your mind wanders, lasso those thoughts
and bring them into My Presence. In My radiant Light, anxious thoughts shrink and shrivel away. Judgmental thoughts
are unmasked as you bask in My unconditional Love. Confused ideas are untangled while you rest in the simplicity of
My Peace. I will guard you and keep you in constant Peace, as you focus your mind on Me.


Wednesday, February 1, 2023 – “Beautiful Melodies” from Upper Room Devotions

   I have been playing the guitar for more than 50 years. I especially enjoy playing alone on a Sunday afternoon. It
is almost like praying with my fingers. But every three months or so, no matter how much I tune them, the strings
begin to sound tired and flat. Then I must do one of my least favorite tasks: change the guitar strings. I slowly unwind
and throw away the old strings. I painstakingly tighten the new ones to their proper tension, adjusting them until they
are properly tuned. It’s a lot of trouble, but with new strings even the plainest melody rings with beauty.

   I have discovered that sometimes God works in me the same way. When my life has gotten out of tune, God sits
me down and starts changing my strings. God unwinds my attitudes and goals that have a selfish sharp sound and
gently leads me to repentance. Next, God puts on the new strings, tightening them until the grace notes of Jesus Christ
can be heard again in my heart. When the Great Musician sits down to play the beautiful melodies of life in me again —
oh, what joy!



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