10-31-14 Daily E-Votional

Posted October 30, 2014 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

Friday, Oct. 31

Nehemiah 2:1-20

It’s time for some housekeeping. To have a fresh start on our prayer list, I will begin a new list on November 3rd. If you would like to have a particular person remain on the list, please zip me a line and I’ll be sure to add the person’s name to the list.

So, here’s the deal. In the story I’m going to tell you, I’ll just call the guy Bart. Bart made his way into our company headquarters in no uncertain terms. I remember how he was flanked by a group of folks who weren’t “from our parts”, as the saying goes. We were alerted that Bart, our new CEO, would be arriving at some point, but that announcement came a two weeks before he made his grand debut. Our most recent newsletter had a front-page article recognizing our outgoing CEO who retired after years and years of hard and diligent work for the company. The middle section of the newsletter held a rather lengthy article about Bart, our incoming CEO. The article boasted of his great successes in this company and that company and how he was just the right person for us. He had very big plans for our company, but no time to get to know any of us. Our company worked as a large family. We worked together. We took pride in our company and we took pride in our work.

His entrance occurred after the whole home office staff, all 250 of us, gathered round him in the large atrium. The first words the man spoke to us were these, “Where I come from, we like rodeos. I heard I was going to be riding a big o’ bull here. So, where’s the bull?” I almost raised my hand to answer his question, but I thought better of it. I didn’t really know the guy and I thought I should at least wait and see how things would turn out. Do I need to say that Mr. Rodeo was gone in two short months. Yee-Haw!

I’ve often remembered that situation. I think Mr. Rodeo was probably an okay guy. It’s just that he really needed to take the time to come in and hear the story of our family.

I can’t say enough about the importance of waiting, praying, explaining and preparing. To jump ahead to the “do” part too soon is just looking for doodoo/trouble.

2:1 It was the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king. At the hour for serving wine I brought it in and gave it to the king. I had never been hangdog in his presence before, 2 so he asked me, “Why the long face? You’re not sick are you? Or are you depressed?” 

 That made me all the more agitated.  3 I said, “Long live the king! And why shouldn’t I be depressed when the city, the city where all my family is buried, is in ruins and the city gates have been reduced to cinders?” 

4 The king then asked me, “So what do you want?” 

 Praying under my breath to the God-of-Heaven, 5 I said, “If it please the king, and if the king thinks well of me, send me to Judah, to the city where my family is buried, so that I can rebuild it.” 

6 The king, with the queen sitting alongside him, said, “How long will your work take and when would you expect to return?” 

 I gave him a time, and the king gave his approval to send me. 

7 Then I said, “If it please the king, provide me with letters to the governors across the Euphrates that authorize my travel through to Judah; 8 and also an order to Asaph, keeper of the king’s forest, to supply me with timber for the beams of The Temple fortress, the wall of the city, and the house where I’ll be living.” 

The generous hand of my God was with me in this and the king gave them to me.  9 When I met the governors across The River (the Euphrates) I showed them the king’s letters. The king even sent along a cavalry escort. 

10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about this, they were very upset, angry that anyone would come to look after the interests of the People of Israel. 

11 And so I arrived in Jerusalem. After I had been there three days, 12 I got up in the middle of the night, I and a few men who were with me. I hadn’t told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. The only animal with us was the one I was riding. 

13 Under cover of night I went past the Valley Gate toward the Dragon’s Fountain to the Dung Gate looking over the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken through and whose gates had been burned up. 14 I then crossed to the Fountain Gate and headed for the King’s Pool but there wasn’t enough room for the donkey I was riding to get through. 15 So I went up the valley in the dark continuing my inspection of the wall. I came back in through the Valley Gate.  16 The local officials had no idea where I’d gone or what I was doing—I hadn’t breathed a word to the Jews, priests, nobles, local officials, or anyone else who would be working on the job. 

17 Then I gave them my report: “Face it: we’re in a bad way here. Jerusalem is a wreck; its gates are burned up. Come—let’s build the wall of Jerusalem and not live with this disgrace any longer.”  18 I told them how God was supporting me and how the king was backing me up. 

 They said, “We’re with you. Let’s get started.” They rolled up their sleeves, ready for the good work. 

19   When Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they laughed at us, mocking, “Ha! What do you think you’re doing? Do you think you can cross the king?” 

20   I shot back, “The God-of-Heaven will make sure we succeed. We’re his servants and we’re going to work, rebuilding. You can keep your nose out of it. You get no say in this—Jerusalem’s none of your business!” 

Nehemiah was grieving over the conditions in Jerusalem. After praying and faithfully working for the king, he finally approached the king. Nehemiah asked the king for permission to go to Jerusalem, for letters to ensure his safe passage (passport), and for provisions to get the job done. The king granted what Nehemiah requested.

When have you felt like you worked for someone rather than with someone? How do people generally respond when they are told to do something rather than asked to do something? What are some of the top skills you believe leaders should possess?  Have a Day!

In Conversation with a child:    Ask a child to tell you who would make a good president

Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country: Nick Steele, Sgt. Zach Fessler, Peter Davidson

Remember in Prayer: Mark, Jacob, Judy, Jay, Nilkanti, Earl, Bonnie, Becky, Kelly, Marj, Dan, Tama, Jan & family, Gene, John G., RZ & family, Bill’s family, Christina, Earl, Gillian, Loretta & family, Friend of Julie, Sue, Roger & family, Tanner, Pattie, Frank & Jean & family, Ginger, Todd & family, Carol, Judith, Lynn, Bonnie, Alan, Al’s family, Carol M., Diane’s family, Linda, Vivian, Ron, Sue, Janine, Leigh, Kristen, Summer, Graham, Kevin, Karen

And those experiencing loss – family & friends of: Karen, Bill, Dee, Cindy, Bernadette, Alice, Tom, Tony, Al, David Dale, Sr., Mary Scott, Don, Jim, Diane, David, Herm, Helen, Father Billy, Joe, Brian, Clarence, Mackenzie, Nate, Gertrude, Dion, Marshall

Prayer:    We love you, O God, and we thank you for this day. We thank you for your leaders who have led by good example. Help us to learn from each other and help nurture each other in your ways. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

© 2014 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserved

Email Lucia

The Message Bible – contemporary translation

A ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Brandon, Florida providing for your daily walk with Christ!

10-30-14 Daily E-Votional

Posted October 29, 2014 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

DSC_3268Thursday, Oct. 30

Nehemiah 1:1-11

On mission trips, you learn many things about yourself and about others.

Some years back, I took a group of young people from our church on a mission trip to California. I knew that it wouldn’t be difficult to find students who wanted to go along. A destination with California written all over it congers up all sorts of images in the minds of youth from the Midwest.

The work we would be doing on an Indian reservation was a variety of fix-up and cleanup tasks around the church and around the community. To make the best use of our helping 20-ish sets of hands, we broke into smaller groups to attend to what we might call the mission group honey-do list. Some youth went and planted seeds for the fall harvest festival. Another group painted the fence on the church property. There was some cleanup work in the church kitchen and lots of other cleaning type tasks around the church.

One glitch we ran into had to do with a shower that either had only cold water or no water at all. That was not a happy thing to hear, especially for the style conscious young ladies in our group. After spending the night in sleeping bags on the church floor, a nice warm shower would have helped alleviate some of the aches.

While it is wonderful to go on mission trips and help others, it is really fun to get to know people in a whole new way. Being with the youth, and adults, in a whole different living situation than what they were used to leads to lots of life lessons. We learned about the people who were not cheery in the morning when they first woke up. We learned that some people have a need for alone time while others seem to work better with others around. What was most profound for me was the way God uses the whole to accomplish what God needs. I love the energy of working together and growing with each other.

1:1   The memoirs of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah. 

 It was the month of Kislev in the twentieth year. At the time I was in the palace complex at Susa. 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, had just arrived from Judah with some fellow Jews. I asked them about the conditions among the Jews there who had survived the exile, and about Jerusalem. 

3  They told me, “The exile survivors who are left there in the province are in bad shape. Conditions are appalling. The wall of Jerusalem is still rubble; the city gates are still cinders.” 

4  When I heard this, I sat down and wept. I mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God-of-Heaven. 

5   I said, “GOD, God-of-Heaven, the great and awesome God, loyal to his covenant and faithful to those who love him and obey his commands:  6 Look at me, listen to me. Pay attention to this prayer of your servant that I’m praying day and night in intercession for your servants, the People of Israel, confessing the sins of the People of Israel. And I’m including myself, I and my ancestors, among those who have sinned against you. 

7  “We’ve treated you like dirt: We haven’t done what you told us, haven’t followed your commands, and haven’t respected the decisions you gave to Moses your servant.  8 All the same, remember the warning you posted to your servant Moses: ‘If you betray me, I’ll scatter you to the four winds,  9 but if you come back to me and do what I tell you, I’ll gather up all these scattered peoples from wherever they ended up and put them back in the place I chose to mark with my Name.’ 

10   “Well, there they are—your servants, your people whom you so powerfully and impressively redeemed.  11 O Master, listen to me, listen to your servant’s prayer—and yes, to all your servants who delight in honoring you—and make me successful today so that I get what I want from the king.” 

 I was cupbearer to the king. 

This book of Nehemiah is principally the story of gifted leadership in the person of Nehemiah. Facing criticism and opposition, Nehemiah led the small Israelite community as they rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem for its physical protection. By demanding that the Israelites obey God’s law, Nehemiah pursued their spiritual as well as their physical welfare.

When have you worked on a project with a group of people? Did you feel that you grew in your relationship? What sort of things have you learned about other people by your working together on a project? When have you been very aware of God’s presence with you when you worked in a group? Have a Day!

In Conversation with a child:    Ask a child to tell you what things they like to work on with others

Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country: Nick Steele, Sgt. Zach Fessler, Peter Davidson

Remember in Prayer: Mark, Jacob, Judy, Jay, Nilkanti, Earl, Bonnie, Becky, Kelly, Marj, Dan, Tama, Jan & family, Gene, John G., RZ & family, Bill’s family, Christina, Earl, Gillian, Loretta & family, Friend of Julie, Sue, Roger & family, Tanner, Pattie, Frank & Jean & family, Ginger, Todd & family, Carol, Judith, Lynn, Bonnie, Alan, Al’s family, Carol M., Diane’s family, Linda, Vivian, Ron, Sue, Janine, Leigh, Kristen, Summer, Graham, Kevin, Karen

And those experiencing loss – family & friends of: Karen, Bill, Dee, Cindy, Bernadette, Alice, Tom, Tony, Al, David Dale, Sr., Mary Scott, Don, Jim, Diane, David, Herm, Helen, Father Billy, Joe, Brian, Clarence, Mackenzie, Nate, Gertrude, Dion, Marshall

Prayer:    O God, we love you so much. We thank you for the gift of work and for working with others. Thank you for the things we learn each day about ourselves, about others, and about you. What a blessing you have given. May our day be lived in thanks for all you have done. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

© 2014 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserved

Email Lucia

The Message Bible – contemporary translation

A ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Brandon, Florida providing for your daily walk with Christ!

10-29-14 Daily E-Votional

Posted October 28, 2014 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

Jamaica Day 5 Pics 2 1178Wednesday, Oct. 29

Ezra 6:1-22

There were a lot of rules at the Children’s Home in Jamaica. You can imagine the kind of control or rules a retired married couple would need to run a home with 40-45 children ranging in age from 2-17 years-of-age. There were a few women from the community who lived at the home and they were paid to help in the kitchen, to get the children ready for the day, and then get the children ready for bed. It was a very busy place.

The retired couple, the proprietors of the home ran a tight ship and they didn’t give in one little bit to any of the children. They explained to us that the children would resort back to their previous ways of living if they found a loophole. These children were survivors. Before the children’s home they lived in the most desperate of desperate of situations; many of them panhandling, begging, and scrounging in a dumpster for their next meal. Upon arriving at the home, they were told to follow the rules or be sent on to the next children’s facility. We visited one of the lesser children’s homes and it had a stench that is still alive in my memory. The difference in care, nurture, and provision for the children at these places was huge.

At the end of our mission trip, our group was spending time debriefing our past week. Before packing up and going to bed, we stepped outside our cinderblock cottage and sat on the grass facing the girl’s dorm. We watched the sunset and listened to the sounds coming from the girl’s room. Up on the little balcony of the girl’s dorm, one of the high school girls stepped outside and thanked us for coming to visit. She blew kisses and then quickly went back inside.

The next morning we packed up and sat at the breakfast table while “Daddy” opened our devotion time and evaluated the Bible memorization of the child assigned to that day. Daddy announced that the girl who was on the balcony the previous night would not be allowed to join us for breakfast or to say her goodbyes to us. He said that was the price she had to pay for breaking a rule. I did not understand. I didn’t know how we would be able to fully celebrate our time with one important one not in attendance. Forty-four children were there to give us their goodbyes, but it’s the one that was not there that kept me from fully celebrating.

6:1   So King Darius ordered a search through the records in the archives in Babylon.  2 Eventually a scroll was turned up in the fortress of Ecbatana over in the province of Media, with this writing on it:         Memorandum  

3   In his first year as king, Cyrus issued an official decree regarding The Temple of God in Jerusalem, as follows: 

 The Temple where sacrifices are offered is to be rebuilt on new foundations. It is to be ninety feet high and ninety feet wide 4 with three courses of large stones topped with one course of timber. The cost is to be paid from the royal bank.  5 The gold and silver vessels from The Temple of God that Nebuchadnezzar carried to Babylon are to be returned to The Temple at Jerusalem, each to its proper place; place them in The Temple of God. 

6  Now listen, Tattenai governor of the land beyond the Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai, associates, and all officials of that land: Stay out of their way.  7 Leave the governor and leaders of the Jews alone so they can work on that Temple of God as they rebuild it. 

8   I hereby give official orders on how you are to help the leaders of the Jews in the rebuilding of that Temple of God:

       1. All construction costs are to be paid to these men from the royal bank out of the taxes coming in from the land beyond the Euphrates. And pay them on time, without delays. 

9   2. Whatever is required for their worship—young bulls, rams, and lambs for Whole-Burnt-Offerings to the God-of-Heaven; and whatever wheat, salt, wine, and anointing oil the priests of Jerusalem request—is to be given to them daily without delay 10 so that they may make sacrifices to the God-of-Heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons. 

11    I’ve issued an official decree that anyone who violates this order is to be impaled on a timber torn out of his own house, and the house itself made a manure pit.  12 And may the God who put his Name on that place wipe out any king or people who dares to defy this decree and destroy The Temple of God at Jerusalem. 

                             I, Darius, have issued an official decree. Carry it out precisely and promptly. 

13   Tattenai governor of the land across the Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai, and their associates did it: They carried out the decree of Darius precisely and promptly. 

14   So the leaders of the Jews continued to build; the work went well under the preaching of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo. They completed the rebuilding under orders of the God of Israel and authorization by Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia.  15 The Temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. 

16   And then the Israelites celebrated—priests, Levites, every last exile, exuberantly celebrated the dedication of The Temple of God.  17 At the dedication of this Temple of God they sacrificed a hundred bulls, two hundred rams, and four hundred lambs—and, as an Absolution-Offering for all Israel, twelve he-goats, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel.  18 They placed the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their places for the service of God at Jerusalem—all as written out in the Book of Moses. 

19   On the fourteenth day of the first month, the exiles celebrated the Passover. 

20   All the priests and Levites had purified themselves—all, no exceptions. They were all ritually clean. The Levites slaughtered the Passover lamb for the exiles, their brother priests, and themselves. 

21   Then the Israelites who had returned from exile, along with everyone who had removed themselves from the defilements of the nations to join them and seek GOD, the God of Israel, ate the Passover.  22 With great joy they celebrated the Feast of Unraised Bread for seven days. GOD had plunged them into a sea of joy; he had changed the mind of the king of Assyria to back them in rebuilding The Temple of God, the God of Israel. 

Darius I was friendly towards the Jew, in his second year work on the temple was resumed with the encouragement of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. Shortly after that came the decree from Darius for the temple to be completed. Within four years it was completed and dedicated amid great rejoicing.

When have you really celebrated an accomplishment? When have you felt like you missed having a celebration? When have you had a celebration when you felt like you didn’t have the celebration in you? What things do you really like to celebrate?    Have a Day!

In Conversation with a child:    Ask a child to tell you what things they like to celebrate

Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country: Nick Steele, Sgt. Zach Fessler, Peter Davidson

Remember in Prayer: Mark, Jacob, Judy, Jay, Nilkanti, Earl, Bonnie, Becky, Kelly, Marj, Dan, Tama, Jan & family, Gene, John G., RZ & family, Bill’s family, Christina, Earl, Gillian, Loretta & family, Friend of Julie, Sue, Roger & family, Tanner, Pattie, Frank & Jean & family, Ginger, Todd & family, Carol, Judith, Lynn, Bonnie, Alan, Al’s family, Carol M., Diane’s family, Linda, Vivian, Ron, Sue, Janine, Leigh, Kristen, Summer, Graham, Kevin, Karen

And those experiencing loss – family & friends of: Karen, Bill, Dee, Cindy, Bernadette, Alice, Tom, Tony, Al, David Dale, Sr., Mary Scott, Don, Jim, Diane, David, Herm, Helen, Father Billy, Joe, Brian, Clarence, Mackenzie, Nate, Gertrude, Dion, Marshall

Prayer:    O God, you have gifted us with each breath we are given. Give you thanks for each thing you are able to accomplish thru us. Build us up to be ready to serve you every chance we can.  Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

© 2014 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserved

Email Lucia

The Message Bible – contemporary translation

A ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Brandon, Florida providing for your daily walk with Christ!

10-28-14 Blog E-Votional

Posted October 27, 2014 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

church_kitchen_cooking_areaTues., Oct. 28

Ezra 5:1-17

In each church I serve, there’s a story that connects with me. The story says something to me about the church, it’s history and how it operates. There’s usually a history book or notebook or something that has recorded the years in some way. I would much rather hear the story that has been passed down thru the ages.

So, when I toured thru First Presbyterian Church in Pontiac, I found it a little odd that there were two kitchens across the dining room from one another. In other churches I have seen a kitchen upstairs or at the other end of the church. Usually in those situations the extra kitchen is for functions that made it just too much work to cart all of the food and the serving things to a totally different location in the church. That makes sense to me and I could see how there would be a great need in having two kitchens.

At FPC in Pontiac, Illinois the smaller kitchen of the two, has room to generate a small meal, but that’s about it. Oh, and there’s another thing. The bigger kitchen has the dishes and the silverware and the smaller kitchen has the coffee cups and glasses. Still not sure I ever figured out why there was a need for two kitchens.

One person suggested that maybe two women got into a fight and the only way to keep things civil was to build a kitchen for each. It seems like it’s chopped up in a way that ends up with a positive outcome. Both kitchens have to be in full use when the church hosts it’s Spring and Fall meals for the community.

Most of the folks thought that I got fixated on the two kitchens issue. I don’t know about fixated. I think I just wanted to know what the great-great-grandmother told her daughter and her daughter and so on. That’s the good stuff.

5:1   Meanwhile the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo were preaching to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the authority of the God of Israel who ruled them.  2 And so Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak started again, rebuilding The Temple of God in Jerusalem. The prophets of God were right there helping them. 

3   Tattenai was governor of the land beyond the Euphrates at this time. Tattenai, Shethar-Bozenai, and their associates came to the Israelites and asked, “Who issued you a permit to rebuild this Temple and restore it to use?”  4 Then we told them the names of the men responsible for this construction work. 

5   But God had his eye on the leaders of the Jews, and the work wasn’t stopped until a report could reach Darius and an official reply be returned. 

6   Tattenai, governor of the land beyond the Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and his associates—the officials of that land—sent a letter to Darius the king.  7 This is what they wrote to him:   To Darius the king. Peace and blessing! 

8 We want to report to the king that we went to the province of Judah, to The Temple of the great God that is being rebuilt with large stones. Timbers are being fitted into the walls; the work is going on with great energy and in good time. 

9 We asked the leaders, “Who issued you the permit to rebuild this Temple and restore it to use?”  10 We also asked for their names so we could pass them on to you and have a record of the men at the head of the construction work. 

11 This is what they told us: “We are servants of the God of the heavens and the earth. We are rebuilding The Temple that was built a long time ago. A great king of Israel built it, the entire structure.  12 But our ancestors made the God of the heavens really angry and he turned them over to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who knocked this Temple down and took the people to Babylon in exile. 

13 “But when Cyrus became king of Babylon, in his first year he issued a building permit to rebuild this Temple of God.  14 He also gave back the gold and silver vessels of The Temple of God that Nebuchadnezzar had carted off and put in the Babylon temple. Cyrus the king removed them from the temple of Babylon and turned them over to Sheshbazzar, the man he had appointed governor.  15 He told him, ‘Take these vessels and place them in The Temple of Jerusalem and rebuild The Temple of God on its original site.’  16 And Sheshbazzar did it. He laid the foundation of The Temple of God in Jerusalem. It has been under construction ever since but it is not yet finished.” 

17 So now, if it please the king, look up the records in the royal archives in Babylon and see if it is indeed a fact that Cyrus the king issued an official building permit authorizing the rebuilding of The Temple of God in Jerusalem. And then send the king’s ruling on this matter to us. 

In today’s scripture, we pick up in a story that has already started. Basically, Tattenai indicated that he had learned a great deal from the Jews about their history and destiny including a reference to a great king, King Solomon. The  Jewish people acknowledged that Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the first temple, they traced the cause not to his power, but to their sin and ultimately to God’s judgment.

What are some questions you really wish you knew the answer to in your own family? Have you ever been told a secret in your family and then asked to never tell anyone? When people ask you about your family and there are things you really don’t want to share with anyone, what things do you say to divert their attention or get past the situation?   Have a Day!

In Conversation with a child:    Ask a child to tell you what they love about their family

Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country: Nick Steele, Sgt. Zach Fessler, Peter Davidson

Remember in Prayer: Mark, Jacob, Judy, Jay, Nilkanti, Earl, Bonnie, Becky, Kelly, Marj, Dan, Tama, Jan & family, Gene, John G., RZ & family, Bill’s family, Christina, Earl, Gillian, Loretta & family, Friend of Julie, Sue, Roger & family, Tanner, Pattie, Frank & Jean & family, Ginger, Todd & family, Carol, Judith, Lynn, Bonnie, Alan, Al’s family, Carol M., Diane’s family, Linda, Vivian, Ron, Sue, Janine, Leigh, Kristen, Summer, Graham, Kevin, Karen

And those experiencing loss – family & friends of: Karen, Bill, Dee, Cindy, Bernadette, Alice, Tom, Tony, Al, David Dale, Sr., Mary Scott, Don, Jim, Diane, David, Herm, Helen, Father Billy, Joe, Brian, Clarence, Mackenzie, Nate, Gertrude, Dion, Marshall

Prayer:    O God, we begin this day in you. We know that you know everything about us and our families and all people in all time. Help us remember that there are opportunities to grow and change no matter what our past has been. May we share your love abundantly. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

© 2014 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserved

Email Lucia

The Message Bible – contemporary translation

A ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Brandon, Florida providing for your daily walk with Christ!

10-27-14 Daily E-Votional

Posted October 26, 2014 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

jenniferJones_1545900cMonday, Oct. 27

Zechariah 1:7-17

I remember watching the movie, “The Song of Bernadette,” as a child. It was easy to see that Bernadette was a holy person because the light shone on her face in a special way. I know, and you know, that Hollywood helped a lot with that lighting. But I’m guessing that was the way they wanted to portray Bernadette.

I was taken by her seeing things that other people did not see. When something like that happens, it’s not a surprise that others look upon with suspicion. The bystanders must have thought she was out of her mind. I didn’t like that the bystanders and government officials thought she was crazy. I didn’t have an explanation for what she was seeing or not seeing, but I was willing to get caught up in her story and let it play out.

After watching the movie, I wondered if Mary, Joseph, Jesus, or God could show up in anyone’s life at any time. I was pretty sure that there would be more doubters than believers if I saw any of them. While I wanted to have that sort of thing happen to me, I also knew people would not believe me.

When I walked outside in the backyard I began looking for the whatever it was out there that was a possible sighting of a holy person. I was scared to death of ghosts and the ghostlike kind of occurrences in the movie sure seemed like ghosts to me. I reasoned that what was possible for the peasant girl could also be possible for me. I also knew that I did not want to be spooked by something or someone all of a sudden appearing in my space.

Having a vision is kind of out there.

1:7   On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month in the second year of the reign of Darius, the Message of GOD was given to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah, son of Iddo: 

8   One night I looked out and saw a man astride a red horse. He was in the shadows in a grove of birches. Behind him were more horses—a red, a chestnut, and a white. 

9   I said, “Sir, what are these horses doing here? What’s the meaning of this?” 

 The Angel-Messenger said, “Let me show you.” 

10   Then the rider in the birch grove spoke up, “These are the riders that GOD sent to check things out on earth.” 

11   They reported their findings to the Angel of GOD in the birch grove: “We have looked over the whole earth and all is well. Everything’s under control.” 

12   The Angel of GOD reported back, “O GOD of-the-Angel-Armies, how long are you going to stay angry with Jerusalem and the cities of Judah? When are you going to let up? Isn’t seventy years long enough?” 

13   GOD reassured the Angel-Messenger—good words, comforting words—  14 who then addressed me: “Tell them this. Tell them that GOD of-the-Angel-Armies has spoken. This is GOD’S Message: ‘I care deeply for Jerusalem and Zion. I feel very possessive of them.  15 But I’m thoroughly angry with the godless nations that act as if they own the whole world. I was only moderately angry earlier, but now they’ve gone too far. I’m going into action.

16    “‘I’ve come back to Jerusalem, but with compassion this time.’

              This is GOD speaking.

       ‘I’ll see to it that my Temple is rebuilt.’

              A Decree of GOD of-the-Angel-Armies!

       ‘The rebuilding operation is already staked out.’ 

17 Say it again—a Decree of GOD of-the-Angel-Armies:

       ‘My cities will prosper again,

       GOD will comfort Zion again,

       Jerusalem will be back in my favor again.’”

The prophet overhears a conversation between the Angel of the Lord and God. This may be a conversation between the pre-incarnate Jesus and the first person of the Trinity, God the Gather. It is certainly an allusion to Jesus’ role as Intercessor.

Have you ever had anything close to a vision? Have you tried to explain what you saw to someone else? Would you be open to a holy someone visiting you? Do you believe that you would immediately be afraid if you were seeing someone others were not seeing? What do you believe is the purpose of a vision? Have a Day!

In Conversation with a child:    Ask a child to tell you what they hope for their future

Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country: Nick Steele, Sgt. Zach Fessler, Peter Davidson

Remember in Prayer: Mark, Jacob, Judy, Jay, Nilkanti, Earl, Bonnie, Becky, Kelly, Marj, Dan, Tama, Jan & family, Gene, John G., RZ & family, Bill’s family, Christina, Earl, Gillian, Loretta & family, Friend of Julie, Sue, Roger & family, Tanner, Pattie, Frank & Jean & family, Ginger, Todd & family, Carol, Judith, Lynn, Bonnie, Alan, Al’s family, Carol M., Diane’s family, Linda, Vivian, Ron, Sue, Janine, Leigh, Kristen, Summer, Graham, Kevin, Karen

And those experiencing loss – family & friends of: Karen, Bill, Dee, Cindy, Bernadette, Alice, Tom, Tony, Al, David Dale, Sr., Mary Scott, Don, Jim, Diane, David, Herm, Helen, Father Billy, Joe, Brian, Clarence, Mackenzie, Nate, Gertrude, Dion, Marshall

Prayer:    O God, we thank you for the gift of life. We thank you for the nurturing guides you have granted us in life. Thank you for each and every way you raise us up into being exactly what you need us to be. Help us to find a way to be present in those young one’s lives. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

© 2014 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserved

Email Lucia

The Message Bible – contemporary translation

A ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Brandon, Florida providing for your daily walk with Christ!

10-26-14 Daily E-Votional

Posted October 25, 2014 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

being_happy_at_workSunday, Oct. 26

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

When I got my foot in the door of the working world, I wasn’t sure that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to work and all, but I wasn’t sure about the people I’d be working with in the offices. When you’re the new person in the office it seems like everyone seems to be watching to see how you’ll do. Breaking into an established group of folks is not the easiest thing to do.

The seasoned woman sitting at the desk next to me would turn her head toward me whenever my phone rang. She would move her glasses down farther on her nose, listen intently, and then move her glasses back up her nose and turn back to her work when my phone call concluded. The girls who were sitting two desk rows in front of me would look back and me and then look at each other before snickering. Break time was always agony for me, but at lunchtime, I could get out of the building and out among other downtown workers.

Betty, the boss’ right-hand assistant was always looking for gossip and that seemed to buy her points with our boss. I was always cautious around her. When the boss was away, Betty was in charge, even if the boss was gone for only part of the day. She invariably would try out her power by calling each one of us to her desk and asking us if we were experiencing any difficulty with our tasks.

One day the manager of Personnel came back into our department. Our boss saw him come into the department and he stood as if to greet him, but the Personnel manager walked right past his desk and back to mine. I knew I must have been in trouble for something or they were going to lay me off. The manager asked me if I had time to come and speak with him and I said, “Of course.” The manager stopped to tell my boss he would speaking with me for a bit and would that be a problem. “Why no,” my boss said.

Once we were in the Personnel department, the manager asked me if I would like to transfer into the Personnel department. He said that he went back to my application and found my references and called them and asked them about my skills, my personality, and my dependability as a worker. When he told me about the position, I was so excited. I would be reporting to one person, my salary was doubled, and the office staff in Personnel consisted of seven.

After I was in the department a week or so, the Personnel manager came back to my desk and asked me to tell him about my high school youth group at church. I told him some about it and he said that my references spoke so highly of me and of the group as a whole and that he just wanted to know more about it.

That was the first of many occasions where we talked about our church family being a foundational piece of our lives. The folks in my previous department were angry at me because most people got promotions after they had proved themselves. I was just so happy to be in a place where I could have some space to be myself and learn and grow and relate to other employees. That was one of the best working experiences in my life.

2:1   So, friends, it’s obvious that our visit to you was no waste of time.  2 We had just been given rough treatment in Philippi, as you know, but that didn’t slow us down. We were sure of ourselves in God, and went right ahead and said our piece, presenting God’s Message to you, defiant of the opposition. 

3   God tested us thoroughly to make sure we were qualified to be trusted with this Message.  4 Be assured that when we speak to you we’re not after crowd approval—only God approval. Since we’ve been put through that battery of tests, you’re guaranteed that both we and the Message are free of error, mixed motives, or hidden agendas.  5 We never used words to butter you up. No one knows that better than you. And God knows we never used words as a smoke screen to take advantage of you. 

6   Even though we had some standing as Christ’s apostles, we never threw our weight around or tried to come across as important, with you or anyone else.  7 We weren’t aloof with you. We took you just as you were. We were never patronizing, never condescending, but we cared for you the way a mother cares for her children.  8 We loved you dearly. Not content to just pass on the Message, we wanted to give you our hearts. And we did. 

This chapter is mainly Paul’s vindication of his conduct in Thessalonica. The language gives the impression that the enemies who were so bitterly persecuting the Thessalonica Christians were also militantly engaged in a campaign to destroy Paul’s character.

Other than political candidates, whose character do you see people trying to destroy? When have you taken a hit at someone else’s character? Has anyone ever tried to destroy your character? When have you spoken up for someone so they could have a chance for advancement? Have a Day!

In Conversation with a child:    Ask a child to tell you what they like about each of their friends

Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country: Nick Steele, Sgt. Zach Fessler, Peter Davidson

Remember in Prayer: Mark, Jacob, Judy, Jay, Nilkanti, Earl, Bonnie, Becky, Kelly, Marj, Dan, Tama, Jan & family, Gene, John G., RZ & family, Bill’s family, Christina, Earl, Gillian, Loretta & family, Friend of Julie, Sue, Roger & family, Tanner, Pattie, Frank & Jean & family, Ginger, Todd & family, Carol, Judith, Lynn, Bonnie, Alan, Al’s family, Carol M., Diane’s family, Linda, Vivian, Ron, Sue, Janine, Leigh, Kristen, Summer, Graham, Kevin, Karen

And those experiencing loss – family & friends of: Karen, Bill, Dee, Cindy, Bernadette, Alice, Tom, Tony, Al, David Dale, Sr., Mary Scott, Don, Jim, Diane, David, Herm, Helen, Father Billy, Joe, Brian, Clarence, Mackenzie, Nate, Gertrude, Dion, Marshall

Prayer:    O God, we thank you for the beauty and the gift of this day. Thank you for wanting the best in us to show up. Help us to support the others around us. May we bring words of encouragement and hope to others.  Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

© 2014 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserved

Email Lucia

The Message Bible – contemporary translation

A ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Brandon, Florida providing for your daily walk with Christ!

10-25-14 Daily E-Votional

Posted October 24, 2014 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

ApplicationSaturday, Oct. 25

Happy Birthday, Heidi!

Philemon

When I filled out my first job application, it asked for a few references and that was a few too many. As it as my very first job, I didn’t have a bunch of people I could list as references. I was going to list my neighbor as a reference because I was her babysitter. The only problem was that I pretty much stopped babysitting for her and everybody because I wanted to be available on weekends to be with friends. I couldn’t very well use her on my references if she was still a bit miffed that I wasn’t going to babysit anymore. There’s a lot of thinking to do when choosing a reference.

I asked my pastor for suggestions on job references. He told me that he would be a reference for me. I reminded him that I had never worked for him and he reminded me that I had worked as a dishwasher in the kitchen for some of the larger meals we had at church. My first reference was someone from church.

After his willingness to be a reference, it occurred to me that I volunteered hundreds of hours at the hospital and maybe there would be someone there who would be my reference. I asked the Sister in charge of organizing the Volunteens if she would be a reference for a job I was seeking. She wanted to know all about the job and what I would be doing. I said that I was just trying to get hired by some company and get established. She told me that she thought I would be good with people because I related well with people in the hospital. She was more than willing to be a reference. So there I was with at least two references. Both the references served the church in different denominations. I wondered how bizarre this might look to a supervisor in the business field.

As it turned out, my new boss said that he was also a Christian and he very much appreciated that my references spoke highly of me in the context of service to the church. 

Philemon 1   I, Paul, am a prisoner for the sake of Christ, here with my brother Timothy. I write this letter to you, Philemon, my good friend and companion in this work—  2 also to our sister Apphia, to Archippus, a real trooper, and to the church that meets in your house.  3 God’s best to you! Christ’s blessings on you! 

4   Every time your name comes up in my prayers, I say, “Oh, thank you, God!  5 ” I keep hearing of the love and faith you have for the Master Jesus, which brims over to other Christians.  6 And I keep praying that this faith we hold in common keeps showing up in the good things we do, and that people recognize Christ in all of it.  7 Friend, you have no idea how good your love makes me feel, doubly so when I see your hospitality to fellow believers. 

8   In line with all this I have a favor to ask of you. As Christ’s ambassador and now a prisoner for him, I wouldn’t hesitate to command this if I thought it necessary,  9 but I’d rather make it a personal request. 

10   While here in jail, I’ve fathered a child, so to speak. And here he is, hand-carrying this letter—Onesimus!  11 He was useless to you before; now he’s useful to both of us.  12 I’m sending him back to you, but it feels like I’m cutting off my right arm in doing so.  13 I wanted in the worst way to keep him here as your stand-in to help out while I’m in jail for the Message.  14 But I didn’t want to do anything behind your back, make you do a good deed that you hadn’t willingly agreed to. 

15   Maybe it’s all for the best that you lost him for a while. You’re getting him back now for good—  16 and no mere slave this time, but a true Christian brother! That’s what he was to me—he’ll be even more than that to you. 

17   So if you still consider me a comrade-in-arms, welcome him back as you would me.  18 If he damaged anything or owes you anything, chalk it up to my account.  19 This is my personal signature—Paul—and I stand behind it. (I don’t need to remind you, do I, that you owe your very life to me?)  20 Do me this big favor, friend. You’ll be doing it for Christ, but it will also do my heart good. 

21   I know you well enough to know you will. You’ll probably go far beyond what I’ve written.  22 And by the way, get a room ready for me. Because of your prayers, I fully expect to be your guest again. 

23   Epaphras, my cellmate in the cause of Christ, says hello.  24 Also my coworkers Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke.  25 All the best to you from the Master, Jesus Christ! 

Four or five years after Paul left the region of Colosse, Onesimus stole some money from his master, Philemon. Onesimus ran away to Rome and found Paul (Paul was in Rome in prison at that time). While there, Onesimus became a Christian. Paul sent him back with this letter to give to Philemon. Paul wanted Philemon to forgive Onesimus and Paul said that he would even pay whatever Onesimus had stolen from him earlier.

When has someone sent a letter of recommendation for you? What was it about that particular person that you believed would represent you well? Have you had a person who has vouched for you when your credibility has ben called into question? Have you spoken in favor of a person who really needed a break to begin a fresh start?  Have a Day!

In Conversation with a child:    Ask a child to tell you about some grown ups who like them for who they are

Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country: Nick Steele, Sgt. Zach Fessler, Peter Davidson

Remember in Prayer: Mark, Jacob, Judy, Jay, Nilkanti, Earl, Bonnie, Becky, Kelly, Marj, Dan, Tama, Jan & family, Gene, John G., RZ & family, Bill’s family, Christina, Earl, Gillian, Loretta & family, Friend of Julie, Sue, Roger & family, Tanner, Pattie, Frank & Jean & family, Ginger, Todd & family, Carol, Judith, Lynn, Bonnie, Alan, Al’s family, Carol M., Diane’s family, Linda, Vivian, Ron, Sue, Janine, Leigh, Kristen, Summer, Graham, Kevin, Karen

Prayer Request:  Mark is in Japan on business and was taken to the hospital. Just out of surgery and will have to stay in Japan for two weeks. Prayers for Mark and his family and the medical staff attending to him.

And those experiencing loss – family & friends of: Karen, Bill, Dee, Cindy, Bernadette, Alice, Tom, Tony, Al, David Dale, Sr., Mary Scott, Don, Jim, Diane, David, Herm, Helen, Father Billy, Joe, Brian, Clarence, Mackenzie, Nate, Gertrude, Dion, Marshall

Prayer:    We love you, O God, and we thank you for loving us. Thank you for sending us advocates in our lives. Thank you for the times we stand up for others who just need a break. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

© 2014 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserved

Email Lucia

The Message Bible – contemporary translation

A ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Brandon, Florida providing for your daily walk with Christ!


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