Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.
Hebrews 12:14-17 MSG
Luke 13:22-24 New International Version
22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.
While recently sitting in a public place, I witnessed something that gave me pause. I was watching a mother lovingly touch her daughter’s hair. It was a beautiful, tender thing. I was drawn to the image and touched at the sweet moment I witnessed. Then….the teenage daughter shooed her mother away. It caused a surprising reaction in me. I almost began crying as I felt that mother’s pain and my own.
Maybe it’s because I’m on the heels of my late mother’s birthday or maybe because Mother’s Day is coming up, but it has haunted me for a few weeks. There was a longing in the mom and a desire for independence in the daughter. Both are such important and intense feelings and both can bring us to our knees.
I wanted to tell the mom- fight for her. BEG her to let you play with her hair and be your little girl if only for a moment.
I wanted to tell the daughter-don’t let the opportunity for your mom’s love to go unnoticed.
I said neither of those things.
I went on with my day like I always do, but this did not leave me. I know personally this struck me as a mom and a daughter. What I didn’t think about until the weeks following was the impact it had on me spiritually.
God wants to love on us and spend time with us. He is ready whenever we are. How many times do we push Him away and say
He will not push us into a relationship with Him, but He wants one.
He wants to tenderly hold us and care for us when we are hurting.
He wants to share in our joys and our pain.
Why don’t we let Him?
Share your ideas or insights below.
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?" And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"
I’d encourage you to take time to read about the men who were walking along the road and met up with Jesus. They did not recognize him at the time. They were clearly disheartened. I love how the Passion Translation puts His words to them: Jesus said to them, “You seem to be in a deep discussion about something. What are you talking about, so sad and gloomy?”
Check the scripture out here:
In this scripture, He was not minimizing their pain, but He was asking them about it. I guess I do understand these men’s viewpoint: They had always thought the Messiah would come in Majestic form and would basically overthrow the oppressors of their people. To have Jesus crucified and buried had to have been devastating. They likely had lost hope and were walking around stunned and unable to really believe what had happened. Jesus wanted to see their reaction before He revealed Himself.
I was thinking that sometimes that is the case in my life. I see this MOUNTAIN of a problem and I cannot see that there is help available to me. If I just look past my frustration and heartbreak, it’s there. I feel like there are times that I truly do not allow God into my struggles (why? I don’t think He can help?!? I’d rather hold it all on my own?!?). I suspect I’m not the only one who does this.
Growing up, I carried my burdens myself. I wanted to let them go and talk to others about them,but that was not a tool I’d ever been taught to employ. I know that as an adult I often revert back to that practice. I have to consciously make the decision to give it to God. I remember during one very difficult time in my life with a very dear loved one, I literally pictured myself holding this person in my arms and handing them to God. I had no other recourse in this situation and I needed a very concrete visual to help me remember that I was not in charge of this situation. Some days I used that visual multiple times because it was so helpful.
God wants to know when we are gloomy and sad and He wants to walk the road with us. He will always pick up the load and walk alongside if we really look for Him.
Meghan (originally published in 2021)
1 For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken.
3 How long will you assail a person, will you batter your victim, all of you, as you would a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
4 Their only plan is to bring down a person of prominence. They take pleasure in falsehood; they bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse.
5 For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7 On God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.
9 Those of low estate are but a breath, those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath.
10 Put no confidence in extortion, and set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.
11 Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God,
12 and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. For you repay to all according to their work.
Meet My Friend: Cindy C.
There are a lot of Cindy’s in this church, but only one Cindy Christopher. She is a wonderful woman who has a heart of gold. She is a giver through and through. Many years of her life were devoted to the children of this church and her community and she still gives and gives. When she can’t give, it is uncomfortable for her because it’s her true nature.
If you had a bowl of hot Wedding Soup or another tasty treat, Cindy may be the one who shared it with you. When asked to head up Ruth’s Boutique this past year, her only question was “when do I start?” In addition, her spirit of giving comes out in her fantastic wit. She is quite funny and wants to make people smile and is very successful at this.
A true servant- She has had an injury recently that has caused her to rest from the things that she is used to and I know it’s been very difficult for her. However, she does not allow it to stop her and she continues to plan things so that everything is as smooth as can be. She is still heading up the Hannah Circle Chicken Noodle Sale as well as helping with things behind the scenes at Ruth’s Boutique.
If you have not had a chance to really get to know her, please do. Cindy is a friend through and through. As I began full-time at Girard UMC, she was one of the first to take me under her wing and make me feel welcome and supported.
Cindy’s determination and kindness is just one reason why I wanted you to meet her. You see, no one can be known in just a snippet from someone else singing their praises. We all need to get to know each other in real, life- giving ways. Thank you, Cindy for all you have done and continue to do. You are an example of a Christian servant.
1 Be gracious to me, O God, for people trample on me; all day long foes oppress me;
2 my enemies trample on me all day long, for many fight against me. O Most High,
3 when I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I am not afraid; what can flesh do to me?
5 All day long they seek to injure my cause; all their thoughts are against me for evil.
6 They stir up strife, they lurk, they watch my steps. As they hoped to have my life,
7 so repay them for their crime; in wrath cast down the peoples, O God!
8 You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your record?
9 Then my enemies will retreat in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me.
10 In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise,
11 in God I trust; I am not afraid. What can a mere mortal do to me?
12 My vows to you I must perform, O God; I will render thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered my soul from death, and my feet from falling, so that I may walk before God in the light of life.
' “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin ? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. '
' “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. '