Devotions

Wednesday, November 23, 2022 – “Peppermint” from Upper Room Daily Devotions

The kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:21

   As I read again the parable of the mustard seed this morning, I am reminded of the time I spent in my garden last
week planting seeds. The peppermint seeds were the smallest of the bunch. But because peppermint grows and
spreads quickly, I know these little seeds will eventually take over my garden.

   The kingdom of God works in a similar way. When we receive Jesus into our hearts, we wake up to a whole new
way of loving God, ourselves, and others. The seed of this transformation is small at the beginning, but as we follow
Jesus day by day, it grows roots, gains strength, and spreads everywhere. And just like a garden, the seed of the
kingdom of God also needs to be nurtured. We can do this by reading the Bible, praying, and practicing faithful
obedience to God.

   Now every time I look at my peppermint plant and water it, I will remember that my soul also needs spiritual
watering so that the kingdom of God will grow roots and spread — in me and through me to the world.

 

Saturday, November 19, 2022 – “Rainy Gifts” by Peggy Williams

Rainy Cloudy Cold Wet days
Sometimes I really appreciate those days

I can be Lazy... or Watch An Old Movie on TV
I can Keep on My Sweats and Slippers

God Seems to Come Along With this
Kind of Day… Just When I Need it Most

Maybe You Want to Read a Book
Might Study or Plan a Trip or Just Be Quiet

Do You Even Just Sit down and Day Dream?
About How God ever Came Up With All These Ideas

All the Many Kinds of Weather?
Can You Just Imagine Him Shaking His head

Then… All of a Sudden Jumping Up
And Shouting “I’ve Got It! We’ll Call it Snow.”

I Know it Sounds Silly But I always
Think He Must have Loved Us Sooo Much!

To Create So Many Wonderful Things
Like a Cloudy Cold Wet Day

What Wonders We See

Hallelujah

 

Saturday November 12, 2022 – Writing by Ralph Waldo Emerson

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics;
and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.

 

Wednesday, November 9, 2022 – “God’s Word in Our Hearts” – Upper Room Daily Devotions

Psalm 119:11 – I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

   My friend once encouraged me to memorize Bible verses — one beginning with each letter of the alphabet. I took
up the challenge and carefully chose 26 passages of scripture. These memorized verses have grown to be an essen-
tial part of my faith journey.

   I’ve found that God’s word is powerful. It is the truth. As Proverbs 4:22 says, it brings life and healing. When I fill my
heart and mind with scripture, it brings me peace and encourages me to worship. If I lie awake at night and can’t get
back to sleep, I recite these memorized verses to focus my thoughts. If I am anxious during a medical procedure, I
think through these verses to calm myself. I have discovered that worship and worry cannot inhabit me at the same time.

   Following Jesus’ example, we can use scripture to speak truth against temptation, include it in our prayers, or say it
as a blessing over the lives of those we love. This is all so much easier when we have God’s word memorized, living in
our hearts. It is a spiritual discipline that I have found to be very helpful and encouraging.

 

Saturday, November 5, 2022 – “Dear Friends” by Peggy Williams

Oh What A Day
Lunch With a Good Friend

Saw and Spoke to Several Friends
Folks I haven’t Seen in a While

What a Blessing Friends Can Be
We talked of Church… a bit about Voting

We talked of Weather… Beautiful trees
Great Grandchildren and Just about Life

Some friends We See a lot
Others only Once in a While

No Matter How Often… They Still
Hold a Piece of Our Heart

So today… Thank God for Your Friends
Old… New… Or In between

Thankful for friends… Like I am thankful for Each of You.

Thankful to God…

God Bless Each of You, My Dear Friends

 

Wednesday, November 2, 2022 - Do Not Be Anxious – Upper Room Daily Devotions

Matthew 10:29 – Aren’t two sparrows sold for a small coin? But not one of them will fall to the ground without your
Father knowing about it already.

   As a young married couple, we had a tight budget. When an emergency home repair left us without grocery money,
I was sick with worry. I sat on our farmhouse stoop and numbly watched our two young children play in the yard with-
out a care. I tried to imagine how I could stretch the meager contents of our pantry to feed my family until the next
payday, but I knew it wouldn’t be enough.

   Suddenly a car turned in to our driveway, and the horn sounded. A woman got out and greeted me. She explained
to me that years earlier the previous homeowner had let her pick scuppernong grapes on the property, and she asked
if she could pick some again.

   I had never seen this woman before, and I never saw her again. But after she had picked grapes, she gave me some
money in thanks — more than enough to buy groceries. It felt like a miracle.

   I have recalled this unexpected blessing many times over the years. Time and again the providence of God has
taught me the power of replacing worry with trust. We all can hold on to joy even in uncertain circumstances.

 

Saturday, October 29, 2022 – “What to Say” by Peggy Williams

What can I say When You
Lose Sometime You Love?

I am So Sorry…

If there is Anything I can do, let me know

Do You Need Food? Drinks?

What Can I say that Gives Us Both Comfort?

I Know these Examples are kinda
Hollow Sounding… But Know they
Come From Deep down

My Words are Not Empty
They are full of my feelings

They come from My Heart
In hopes they will fill Yours with Peace

To Ease Your Sorrow and help You
Get through Another Day

So… if You Are ever On The Receiving
End of these Words From Me

Know that I really Care…
That I am Praying for You

That I Know God Will Care for You
And Bring You Peace

That He knows the Way to Soothe Your Soul
Most especially When Words Fail me

For Grief is Powered by Love
And God Will Bring You Joy Again.

God Bless Each of You

 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022 – Poem seen on Facebook

A woman was asked by a co-worker, “What is it like to be a Christian?”

The Co-worker replied:  “It’s like being a pumpkin.

God picks you from the patch, brings you inside and washes all the dirt off of you. Then He cuts off the top and
scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, and greed. Then He carves you out a new
smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see.”

 

Saturday, October 22, 2022 – “What is That I Smell!” – Peggy Williams

Have You Ever thought about
The Things You Love to Smell?

New Mowed Grass… Fresh turned Soil
The Fresh Smell after You Clean House

Maybe the Smell of Cookies Baking
Or Red Sauce simmering all afternoon.

How about a Cake Coming out of the Oven?
Or Banana Bread… Or Fresh Sliced Cucumbers in Vinegar

A New Car or A Clean Baby
Daffodils and Honeysuckle in the Spring

Maybe Warm Clothes Just from the Dryer
Or BETTER Still… Just brought in from the Clothes line

Coffee Steaming in my Cup
Most Anything Baking Made With Cinnamon

I’ve Made Quite a List… Now think of Yours
Each One a Gift… the Power of Smell.

The Amazing Power of God’s Gifts
The NOSE and The FLOWER!

God Bless Each One of You.  Amen

 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022 – “Grief and Worship” – Upper Room Devotions

Job 1:20 – Job arose, tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell on the ground and worshiped.

   The entire two and a half years of my son’s life have been filled with health problems. We have dealt with a heart
that stopped beating, lungs that stopped breathing, and a body that stopped growing. We have seen him struggle
to crawl, walk, and talk. Now, we are in the middle of more evaluations. I can relate to the difficulties Job faced.

   However, there is one part of Job’s experience that I do not understand. When his property was stolen, servants
murdered, and children killed, Job grieved and then worshiped. Needless to say, worship is not at the top of my mind
when the doctor calls. Heartbreak? Of course. Anger? Usually. Bitterness? Sometimes. Never worship.

   But what if it were? When my son inevitably receives his next diagnosis, what if my initial moments of grief could
be followed by worship? At some of the worst moments of my life, what if I turned to God? Maybe that could make all
the difference, helping to comfort heartbreak, turn anger to peace, and transform bitterness into hope.

   God never promises an easy life. We all nod along when the pastor says this, but maybe it’s time for me to really
start accepting it. If I wake up every day and worship God, then maybe, just maybe, the bad days won’t feel so bad.

 

Saturday, October 15, 2022 – Excerpt from “Jesus Calling”

   I love you with an everlasting love. The human mind cannot comprehend My constancy. Your emotions flicker
and falter in the face of varying circumstances, and you tend to project your fickle feeling onto Me. Thus you do
not benefit fully from My unfailing Love.

   You need to look beyond the flux of circumstances and discover Me gazing lovingly back at you. This awareness
of My Presence strengthens you as you receive and respond to My Love. I am the same yesterday, today, and forever!
Let My Love flow into you continually. Your need for Me is as constant as the outflow of My Love to you.

 

Thursday, October 13, 2022 – “Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me”

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee;
Let the water and the blood, from thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure; save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labors of my hands can fulfill thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone; thou must save, and thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to thee for dress; helpless, look to thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly; wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath, when mine eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown, see thee on thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee.

 

Saturday, October 8, 2022 – “It’s Fall Y’all” by Peggy Williams

Oh the colors… they draw me in
Not all done… they are just beginning

Go Round a Curve Right Now
And You Might see a Yellow tree

Red comes with Poison Ivy and Dogwoods
Later the Maple trees turn Bright and Brilliant

I get out My Sweaters and Long Sleeves
Lightweight Coats We Already Need

The Brisk Winds Clean Out my Mind
Bring New Thoughts for Another Season

Soon You Will be able to smell a fireplace
Smoke trickling out the Chimney

We in NC are Blessed to have 4 Seasons
Now Summer We leave... to Pick Up Next Year

A change of Season – Opportunity Knocks
It seems to Urge Us to Pay Attention

Watch for God’s Presence Every Day
In Nature… In People… In every little thing

God’s Presence… You Can See it in the trees
Feel it When the breeze touches Your Face.

Crisp… Colder… Colorful
      The Hand of God

 

Wednesday, October 5, 2022 “Confident and Satisfied” from Weavings

He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul.

   These familiar words paint somewhat illogical pictures. Normally sheep don’t lie down in green pastures but stand
up on all four feet, eating. It may have taken all day to walk to that green pasture and the sheep is hungry. The
psalmist’s radically different picture of a sheep lying down works only if the sheep is fully satisfied and no longer
hungry. It can rest contentedly only when it trusts the shepherd to fend off wolves or coyotes. Sometimes when I lie
down to sleep, I see myself as this satisfied sheep, able to rest peacefully because the shepherd has led me and
fed me.

   The next phrase is similar: The sheep isn’t going down to the water to drink, but is led “beside” still waters. There’s
no need to lap water because there’s no thirst. This sheep is perfectly satisfied. The soul is restored.

 

Saturday, October 1, 2022 – “Life” by Roger Lee

Life
Isn’t easy
But every day you get
A chance to make
A difference.

Be thankful for what
You already have
And work hard for
The things you
Want because
Every breath you
Take is a
Blessing.