Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Refrigerator Prayer from Linda Millermon

This prayer is posted on Linda's fridge, and she tells us why:

We all want to be in charge of our lives, but control does not belong to us.

I found this short but uplifting prayer when my parents first had health problems. This prayer has seen me through personal as well as every day life struggles we all have in our lives.

I hope you gain peace from this reminder that we aren’t in charge and God will take care of us if we let him.  


Saturday, March 28, 2020

"Wisdom from a Favorite Hymn" by Julie Hanlon-Johnson

This is My Father's World

1 This is my Father's world,
And to my listening ears
All nature sings, and 'round me rings
The music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world;
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas--
His hand the wonders wrought.

2 This is my Father's world;
The birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white,
Declare their Maker's praise.
This is my Father's world;
He shines in all that's fair; 
In the rustling grass, I hear Him pass,
He speaks to me everywhere.

3 This is my Father's world;
O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father's world;
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King: let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let earth be glad!

I love the lyrics to this old hymn, and I find them especially reassuring during this perplexing season. This hymn is full of images of basic elements in our world, uncomplicated and familiar. At this time of uncertainty and social distancing, we are all getting reacquainted with the basics. The basics like being home with our families instead of running to practice, meetings, or classes. Like cooking meals together. Like actually taking the time to read. Like having conversations in person with our household members. Like enjoying your outdoor spaces again. Like realizing the little things are the big things.

I love this hymn's strong subject of nature. Rocks, trees, skies, seas, birds, morning light, white lilies, rustling grass. When I need to clear my head, be sad, make a tough decision, or pray I find myself craving to be with nature, even if it's a simple as watching the stars on my back step. Many of us like outdoor sports because there's just something about natural surroundings that fills our souls and allows us to feel God. "In the rustling grass, I hear Him pass, He speaks to me everywhere."

I find reassurance in the references to God being in charge. "Let me never forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet." Yes, our world has been rocked with COVID-19 but God is still in the driver's seat. Virus-fighting precautions, mandates from our government, information overload, and sudden changes of any kind add to our uneasiness. Although they affect our days, those things are not in control of us.

The hymn ends with a call to happiness. "Why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King: let the heavens ring! God reigns; let earth be glad!" What a joyous message! Not only is God managing things as always, we and the whole of nature can have joy in knowing that He gifted us with an amazing world full of plants, animals, relationships, music, feelings, and astounding variety.

Despite the strangeness of our current situation these beautiful pieces still exist.

Yes, it is a strange world we are living in now. Let's take care of ourselves. Take care of our neighbors. Find joy in the basics. Pray. Meditate. Find beauty in our Father's world. And if you are inclined to sing or hum...try out my favorite hymn. 



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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

"The Seven Fights I Will Win in These Challenging Times" Spark from Jackie Waalen

I hope all is well with the First Lutheran Family and sending comforting thoughts to all. I provide a devotion to my staff everyday for uplifting strength- here is one we had recently:

The Seven Fights I Will Win in These Challenging Times:

I will fight to WORSHIP, 
instead of WORRY.

I will fight to FUEL FAITH, 
instead of FREAK OUT.

I will fight to ENCOURAGE, 
instead of ESCALATE within the stress.

I will fight to COME to JESUS, 
instead of CONDEMN what He’s allowing in our world.

I will fight to be ACTIVE, 
instead of APATHETIC.

I will fight to OVERFLOW, 
instead of being OVERWHELMED.

I will fight to MEDITATE on God’s WORD 
instead of MINIMIZE its POWER.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.  From the end of the earth, I will cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. (Psalm 61:2)

Sending love and peace during this time—God is with us always!

Stay Well!

Jackie 😊


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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Welcome to Sparks!

Dear Church Family-

We are putting our heads together on how we can stay connected despite our physical distance in this uncertain time. We thought it would be a wonderful idea to share "sparks"--little flickers of light and hope every few days directly from our First Lutheran Family.

What we'd like from you is to email the church (flchurchamery@yahoo.com) with a favorite Bible verse or devotion (one you've found or one you've created) and why it gives you hope or how you find it meaningful. Then, once we have compiled a bunch of these "sparks", will share them with the rest of our church family in the coming weeks. We'd love to share who these sparks came from, but if you prefer to be anonymous we will certainly respect that. You can certainly submit more than one spark! We'd love as many as possible.

We will post these sparks on our social media, website blog, and app. We've actually created a notification group called "Sparks" in our app; go into your app settings and turn the toggle switch on for that group (more detailed instructions can be found here). That way we can send sparks straight to your phone via our app!

(If you ever need help with operating our app, please contact us!)

Be the light,
Liz, Karen, & Pr. Tim