11-22-17 Daily E-Votional

Posted November 21, 2017 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

Wednesday, Nov. 22

Matthew 17:22-27

What do you think?

Seems like a pretty easy question, right? Like it’s pretty obvious that there is something going on in your mind most of the time and you would have an opinion when asked that question. When someone stops and asks you what you think, it seems like it would be easy to replay the internal tape a few seconds and then respond to the question. Should be easy.

Here’s the deal. It’s not always easy to answer that question flat out. It’s complicated at times. There are considerations about the person asking the question. There are considerations about the ramifications in answering one way or the other. The answer you give might be a test of comprehension and that might have a grade connected with your answer. The answer you give might be the make or break deciding factor in a person liking, or not liking, you as a person. In middle school, the answer you give to that one simple question can put you in a whole different category depending on how you answer. It’s complicated.

There are times when you might not know how to respond for fear of answering in a way that would not be a welcomed answer to the one asking the question. At other times you may feel incredibly free in saying exactly what you think to the person asking you the question.

As we come to the text today, imagine that it’s not a random person asking you the question. Nope, it is Jesus who is asking you, “what do you think?” You may have to crank out your Bible or your Bible app and read the story and the verses leading up to the question. Before you get too worried about how you might answer the question, consider that questions are what Jesus used to teach. The rabbinical way is to question and question and question so you’ve got it worked out until the next question.

25 Peter said, “Of course.” But as soon as they were in the house, Jesus confronted him. “Simon, what do you think? When a king levies taxes, who pays—his children or his subjects?”
26 He answered, “His subjects.”  Jesus said, “Then the children get off free, right? 27 But so we don’t upset them needlessly, go down to the lake, cast a hook, and pull in the first fish that bites. Open its mouth and you’ll find a coin. Take it and give it to the tax men. It will be enough for both of us.”

Every Jewish male over 20 years of age had to pay an annual tax to the Temple which was the equivalent of two days wages. The tax men approached Peter and asked him if Jesus, his leader, needed to pay taxes. Peter quickly responded yes to the question, but Jesus later instructed Peter. Thru the fish and coin imagery, Jesus was basically telling Peter that in his day’s work (fishing) he would get what he needed to pay his way.

What things have you learned in life about knowing when to say whatever and knowing when to zip it? How would other people who know you observe the way you usually respond to things? Is what they notice something that makes you proud or something you hope people will understand at a later date? Have a day!

In Conversation with a child today: Ask a child to tell you what it means to be honest with others

Prayers for Healing in our world: Sutherland Springs, TX, Puerto Rico, Wildfires, Las Vegas victims, Victims of recent hurricanes and earthquakes, racism, actions of violence, global warming, homelessness, oppression, abuse 

Remember in Prayer: Livy, Jaclyn, Carla, Jeremy, Sheri, Deana, John, James, Vivian, Claire, Mark, Anna, Heidi S. Sue, Mary Lynne, Bones, Nan, Jean, Analea, Frank

And those experiencing loss – family and friends of: Rev. Jose Luis Torres Milan, Joanne, Peggy, Logan, Dave, Jane, Mason 

Prayer: Holy God, we thank you so much for the gift of this day. Our hope would be that we will honor you in all that we do and say. Silence our lips from speaking when it is time to refrain. Give us the chutzpah we need when we are called to speak up against injustices. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

©2017 Lucia Oerter

 

 

All rights reserve

The Message Bible

A ministry at Central Presbyterian Church, 31 N 7th Street, Lafayette, IN

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11-21-17 Daily E-Votional

Posted November 20, 2017 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

Tuesday, Nov. 21

Matthew 17:14-21

Finding myself in the fog at the bottom of the mountain.

If another person looked out the same rear view mirror at the same time I was looking, they may have seen the barely detectable skyline of the downtown area and some open fields. They would have missed what I was seeing in that same rear view mirror.

For me, the rear view mirror was full of life touchstones. I was leaving the place where two of my three children had been born. All three had learned to walk in that place. My oldest started Preschool and Kindergarten there and the younger two achieved most of their firsts there. It was the place where I was ordained a deacon and where I was incredibly connected with the people in the church. I worked with the youth at the church, was active in leading women’s circles, attended all sorts of church workshops and attended national gatherings. It was a city that had nurtured me along in finding a voice for myself.

When I drove into the new town with my three children in tow, I did not recognize the scene in the rear view mirror. I did not recognize the scene out my front window. It was time to be in a new place and new experiences.

When I arrived at the session meeting to be welcomed in as a new member at a small Presbyterian church, I was extended the welcoming handshake. Along with that welcome, I was invited to accept the part time paid position of Christian Educator and Youth Director and was asked if I would serve as an Elder. All in one fell swoop. What was missing was a conversation. No one asked me about my spiritual journey or how I got from my past to the present moment. The church needed a warm body to serve.

While I was standing in the midst of doing new and exciting things, I wanted to go back to the familiar and what I knew. I wanted to crawl back into the rear view mirror and find that time that had been filled with all sorts of nurturing experiences. It took some time for me to find my footing in my new place.

17:14  At the bottom of the mountain, they were met by a crowd of waiting people. As they approached, a man came out of the crowd and fell to his knees begging, 15 “Master, have mercy on my son. He goes out of his mind and suffers terribly, falling into seizures. Frequently he is pitched into the fire, other times into the river. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could do nothing for him.”

Jesus gave his disciples power to cast out demons, but their unbelief and lack of prayer robbed them of the power they needed. We cannot stay on the mountain forever. The valley will appear.

When have you experienced a mountaintop experience? What made it a mountaintop experience for you? How long would you say the mountaintop feeling lasted? When could you tell that you were in the valley? What have you learned from mountaintop experiences? What have you learned from the valley experiences? What are some reasons that it is good to have both mountaintop and valley times in life? Have a day!

In Conversation with a child today: Ask a child to tell you which they like better; going to sleep or waking up

Prayers for Healing in our world: Sutherland Springs, TX, Puerto Rico, Wildfires, Las Vegas victims, Victims of recent hurricanes and earthquakes, racism, actions of violence, global warming, homelessness, oppression, abuse 

Remember in Prayer: Livy, Jaclyn, Carla, Jeremy, Sheri, Deana, John, James, Vivian, Claire, Mark, Anna, Heidi S. Sue, Mary Lynne, Bones, Nan, Jean, Analea, Frank

Prayer Update:  Rev. Jose Luis Torres Milan died. Please keep his family and his church community in your prayers.

And those experiencing loss – family and friends of: Rev. Jose Luis Torres Milan, Joanne, Peggy, Logan, Dave, Jane, Mason 

Prayer: For this day and for your love, we thank you, O God. We thank you for the times when we feel so very close to you. Be with us in this day and bless the work we are able to accomplish. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

©2017 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserve

The Message Bible

A ministry at Central Presbyterian Church, 31 N 7th Street, Lafayette, IN

11-20-17 Daily E-Votional

Posted November 19, 2017 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

Monday, Nov. 20

Matthew 17:1-13

In middle school, when I was in the Confirmation class, we participated in a scavenger hunt throughout the church. Before that time I hadn’t really thought about the bell tower or the Custodians closet or pictures and relics and the woodwork in the chancel area. I hadn’t noticed many of the pictures and signs and symbols all over the church.

Before that activity I hadn’t paid attention to the people and the scenes within the stained glass windows. Being dropped off at church on a sporadic basis through my childhood meant that there were many pieces of the Bible stories that hadn’t really connected with me. It was like walking into a house and I didn’t know who the people were in the framed pictures.

Even though I had passed by a large painting of the Last Supper many times in the church, I hadn’t noticed that in that particular painting, one of the disciples had 6 toes on one foot. Up until yesterday, I thought that it was Jesus who had the six toes. I’m deeply indebted to Jill O’Banyel for snapping this photo on Sunday. After careful examination, I think it’s the third disciple from the right in the picture who is the one with eleven toes. For some years I wondered if I had missed another Bible story that shared the significance of the 11 toes. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Maybe the painting was given to the church or maybe it was sold at a reduced price. I digress. What was the artist thinking? Was the artist even aware?

That scavenger hunt many years ago opened my eyes to the way I picture things and the way I take pictures of things. Especially as I walk into ministry in a church, I look around for cues or ways I might reflect the church back to the members of the church.

17:1   Six days later, three of them saw that glory. Jesus took Peter and the brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain.  2 His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes. Sunlight poured from his face. His clothes were filled with light.  3 Then they realized that Moses and Elijah were also there in deep conversation with him.

The transfiguration. This event was the picture of the coming kingdom and a proof that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of the living God. The Law (Moses) and prophets (Elijah) all converge in and thru him. But the thing Peter remembered most was the emphasis on the unchanging word of God.

When have you looked at something and you saw things in a whole new light? How do you find the words to explain that occurrence to another person? When have stood in a place and you were very sure you were standing in a holy moment? Have a day!

In Conversation with a child today: Ask a child to tell you about something strange that has happened to them

Prayers for Healing in our world: Sutherland Springs, TX, Puerto Rico, Wildfires, Las Vegas victims, Victims of recent hurricanes and earthquakes, racism, actions of violence, global warming, homelessness, oppression, abuse 

Remember in Prayer: Rev. Jose Luis Torres Milan, Livy, Jaclyn, Carla, Jeremy, Sheri, Deana, John, James, Vivian, Claire, Mark, Anna, Heidi S. Sue, Mary Lynne, Bones, Nan, Jean, Analea, Frank

And those experiencing loss – family and friends of: Joanne, Peggy, Logan, Dave, Jane, Mason 

Prayer: Gracious God, we love you and we thank you so much for your love. There are many things that are difficult to understand. Help our hearts this day, O God. In those places of loss, bring healing. In those things we don’t understand, bring calm. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

©2017 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserve

The Message Bible

A ministry at Central Presbyterian Church, 31 N 7th Street, Lafayette, IN

 

11-19-17 Daily E-Votional

Posted November 18, 2017 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

Sunday, Nov. 19

Luke 16:1-13

It’s when the squirrel shows up.

I assumption that squirrels and rabbits will be out there. Midnight assumes that they will be out there somewhere. There’s an anticipation and expectation that they are there.

That’s how our walks begin. Midnight (my black lab) knows when the last click of her harness is fastened and the door opens, the squirrels need to be afraid, very afraid. Her fortitude and confidence lead her out. She’s on it. Her first instinct is to bolt out of the door in hot pursuit of squirrel. That’s the moment when her training has the opportunity to show up. It’s a moment of opportunity each and every time.

Midnight is also mindful that I am attached to end of her lead and that she must stop right outside the door so I have a moment to lock the door. She has been trained, or I’d like to believe she’s been trained, that she is not on a seek-and-destroy mission the moment the door opens. Hence the moment is upon us.

Let me just say that we all have “squirrel and rabbit” in our lives. There is a “squirrel or rabbit” something that lures us, taunts us, entices us, and seeks our attention. While we have been trained, or we would hope we’ve been trained, the opportunity affords itself at any given moment. Hence the moment is also upon us.

At that very moment for Midnight, she has to decide to whom she will answer. She is acting in a way that will show the “who” she has decided to serve.

At that very moment when the squirrel or rabbit becomes an opportunity, we choose whom we will serve.

13 No worker can serve two bosses: He’ll either hate the first and love the second Or adore the first and despise the second. You can’t serve both God and the Bank.

Nobody can serve two masters. A person can be completely loyal to only one master. It is ridiculous to believe that a person can worship money and worship God at the same time. Just not happening.

Would you say that you feel like you have control of the things you do in the day or do the activities of the day tend to control you and your schedule? If you had to guess, how many places would you say you stop to shop during the day (including the internet)? What are the squirrels that call out to you to follow? What are some of the things that really catch your attention and beg you to buy them? How do you believe people most succeed at following God with all of their heart? Have a day!

In Conversation with a child today: Ask a child to tell you if God needs money to buy anything

Prayers for Healing in our world: Sutherland Springs, TX, Puerto Rico, Wildfires, Las Vegas victims, Victims of recent hurricanes and earthquakes, racism, actions of violence, global warming, homelessness, oppression, abuse 

Remember in Prayer: Rev. Jose Luis Torres Milan, Livy, Jaclyn, Carla, Jeremy, Sheri, Deana, John, James, Vivian, Claire, Mark, Anna, Heidi S. Sue, Mary Lynne, Bones, Nan, Jean, Analea, Frank

And those experiencing loss – family and friends of: Joanne, Peggy, Logan, Dave, Jane, Mason 

Prayer: Holy God, it is truly wonderful to begin this day in you. Thank you for the gift of this day and the gift of your love. Thank you for drawing us in to you in love. May we go out and love others and help us to be focused on you. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

©2017 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserve

The Message Bible

A ministry at Central Presbyterian Church, 31 N 7th Street, Lafayette, IN

 

 

11-18-17 Daily E-Votional

Posted November 17, 2017 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

Saturday, Nov. 18

Matthew 16:21-28

It’s just a given that the oldest child is the one who gets to lead the way for any other siblings in a family. I experienced that on many different levels.

My older cousins identified with my older brother as they were closer to him in age. Being the first grandson on my father’s side meant that he couldn’t really do anything wrong. It’s just one of the perks of being the firstborn.

Occasionally our family visited the local amusement park where there were cars children could drive and adults didn’t have to ride along. My brother got to be in the drivers seat. My brother got to push the gas peddle and steer the wheel. I was probably too short as there was a requirement that you had to be tall enough so your foot could reach the gas peddle. His did. Mine did not. I road shotgun. It was a most exhilarating and frightful ride.

A few years later at the amusement park, I was the one in the drivers seat and I was pretty frightened. It looked pretty easy when I was over in the riders seat observing my brother. The reality of being behind the wheel was a whole different experience. I drove like I was an accident waiting to happen. Lots of zipping forward then remembering to steer, then back to the peddle and back to the steering wheel. I was afraid I was going to run the car off the road.

It seemed unbelievable to me that adults would let children drive a car. Even more unbelievable was the moment when I was standing at the amusement park and realized that there were metal guards on each side of the road and right down the middle of the road. And on the bottom of the cars we could drive, there was a device that kept the car in a very contained lane. It would have been possible for me to drive that car maybe a foot to the left or right, but there were safeguards in place.

I really felt like I knew how to drive to drive a real car in the real world. Then I found out that even when I thought I was in the driver’s seat, I was not.

Then Jesus made it clear to his disciples that it was now necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, submit to an ordeal of suffering at the hands of the religious leaders, be killed, and then on the third day be raised up alive. Peter took him in hand, protesting, “Impossible, Master! That can never be!”

23 But Jesus didn’t swerve. “Peter, get out of my way. Satan, get lost. You have no idea how God works.”

24-26 Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?

27-28 “Don’t be in such a hurry to go into business for yourself. Before you know it the Son of Man will arrive with all the splendor of his Father, accompanied by an army of angels. You’ll get everything you have coming to you, a personal gift. This isn’t pie in the sky by and by. Some of you standing here are going to see it take place, see the Son of Man in kingdom glory.”

When Jesus told the disciples that he would suffer and die, Peter could not believe that such a death could be in God’s purpose for his Son. Peter began to say these things but Jesus interrupted him. If Jesus were to follow Peter’s advice, it would completely ruin God’s plan to save his people. Peter wanted his way, but Jesus reminded him that God was in charge.

When have you most enjoyed someone else taking the lead? When did you not enjoy someone else being in charge? When have you wanted to be in the driver’s seat in a life situation? When have you least liked being in the driver’s seat?

In Conversation with a child: Ask a child where they would go today if they could drive

Prayers for Healing in our world: Sutherland Springs, TX, Puerto Rico, Wildfires, Las Vegas victims, Victims of recent hurricanes and earthquakes, racism, actions of violence, global warming, homelessness, oppression, abuse 

Remember in Prayer: Rev. Jose Luis Torres Milan, Livy, Jaclyn, Carla, Jeremy, Sheri, Deana, John, James, Vivian, Claire, Mark, Anna, Heidi S. Sue, Mary Lynne, Bones, Nan, Jean, Analea, Frank

And those experiencing loss – family and friends of: Joanne, Peggy, Logan, Dave, Jane, Mason 

Prayer: O God, we thank you for the gift of this day. At times we may believe that we have a better plan than anyone else, maybe even a better than your plan. Help us to follow you and your ways. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

©2017 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserve

The Message Bible

A ministry at Central Presbyterian Church, 31 N 7th Street, Lafayette, IN

11-17-17 Daily E-Votional

Posted November 16, 2017 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

Friday, Nov. 17

Matthew 16:13-20

Children and Youth play a game called Who Am I. All of the group lines up. A person who is not playing the game attaches a piece of paper to the back of the person’s shirt. On that paper is written a person, place or thing. The group lines up and receives the instructions.

Each person gets about 20 “yes or no” questions to find out who he (or she) is. (example he (or she) can ask, “Am I a cartoon?” “Am I a girl?” “Am I dead?” “Was I in a movie?” and questions like that. Just yes and no questions with no multiple choice questions allowed like “Am I male or female?” The players can receive one answer from each person so they have to walk around the room to ask other people the questions.

More often than not, there is a deep lesson learned about finding one’s identity as they move through the years. Often it is our friends and colleagues who help us see ourselves and our calling in life.

13Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Jesus and the disciples entered a new area and Jesus asked his disciples what the people were saying about the identity of Jesus. The disciples gave some of the responses they had heard from those in the community. Then Jesus asked them who they believed him to be. Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, Son of the Living God” and Jesus said that upon that declaration, Jesus’ church would have it’s foundation.

What are some things you have learned about yourself through the eyes of your friends or family or colleagues? Who do people say you are? What are the things they notice about you? How would you answer Jesus if he asked you, who you say that he is in your life? Have a day!

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

Prayers for Healing in our world: Sutherland Springs, TX, Puerto Rico, Wildfires, Las Vegas victims, Victims of recent hurricanes and earthquakes, racism, actions of violence, global warming, homelessness, oppression, abuse 

Remember in Prayer: Rev. Jose Luis Torres Milan, Livy, Jaclyn, Carla, Jeremy, Sheri, Deana, John, James, Vivian, Claire, Mark, Anna, Heidi S. Sue, Mary Lynne, Bones, Nan, Jean, Analea, Frank

Prayer Request:  Please lift up Rev. Jose Luis Torres Milan in your prayers. He is in Puerto Rico and has had a stroke. Please pray for him, his family, and his church family.

Prayer Request: Continued prayers for Livy. Livy is still hospitalized and is being treated for pneumonia.

And those experiencing loss – family and friends of: Joanne, Peggy, Logan, Dave, Jane, Mason 

Prayer: O God, you know everything there is to know about each of us. You designed us in a particular and unique way. Help us to affirm others this day and reflect to each other your gifting in us. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

©2017 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserve

The Message Bible

A ministry at Central Presbyterian Church, 31 N 7th Street, Lafayette, IN

11-16-17 Daily E-Votional

Posted November 15, 2017 by luciaoerter
Categories: God Stuff

Thursday, Nov. 16

Matthew 16:1-12

We are experiencing some beautiful late Fall weather here in the Midwest. The trees have turned their beautiful colors and many leaves have jumped ship. It’s exactly the kind of weather I remember at this time of year in Indiana.

As I was driving back to Lafayette from Indianapolis on Tuesday, I was scanning the acres and acres of harvested fields. These are the months when I’m seeing much more of the bare farmland because the harvested corn has left lots of open space for the eyes to wander far off in the distance.

While taking in the beauty of the harvested fields the radio moved from the news to the weather. The voice reported that Tuesday night would be clear and Wednesday would be clear as well. I remembered looking at the weather at the beginning of the week and I thought I remembered that there was a 100% chance of rain on Wednesday. I reminded myself that I was in Indiana and weather around here can fluctuate greatly within one day. The news of a clear day on Wednesday came as good news to me.

It pretty much rained all day Wednesday. I dunno. We can only know so much.

16 1-4 Some Pharisees and Sadducees were on him again, pressing him to prove himself to them. He told them, “You have a saying that goes, ‘Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; red sky at morning, sailors take warning.’ You find it easy enough to forecast the weather—why can’t you read the signs of the times? An evil and wanton generation is always wanting signs and wonders. The only sign you’ll get is the Jonah sign.” Then he turned on his heel and walked away.

5-6 On their way to the other side of the lake, the disciples discovered they had forgotten to bring along bread. In the meantime, Jesus said to them, “Keep a sharp eye out for Pharisee-Sadducee yeast.”

7-12 Thinking he was scolding them for forgetting bread, they discussed in whispers what to do. Jesus knew what they were doing and said, “Why all these worried whispers about forgetting the bread? Runt believers! Haven’t you caught on yet? Don’t you remember the five loaves of bread and the five thousand people, and how many baskets of fragments you picked up? Or the seven loaves that fed four thousand, and how many baskets of leftovers you collected? Haven’t you realized yet that bread isn’t the problem? The problem is yeast, Pharisee-Sadducee yeast.” Then they got it: that he wasn’t concerned about eating, but teaching—the Pharisee-Sadducee kind of teaching.

The Sadducees and Pharisees wanted Jesus to give them proof/a sign that God was with him. Jesus refused to do this knowing that the proof he would give would not satisfy them. He said that they might guess well at the weather, but they would not understand what was happening in the times in which they lived.

What are some examples of experiencing weather that was very different from the weather that had been predicted? When have you walked into an event that turned out to be very different from the event you believed you would attend? What is one thing that turned out very different than you thought it would in life? In what ways has your understanding of God changed over the years? Have a day!

In Conversation with a child: Ask a child to tell you what God does and what God doesn’t do 

Prayers for Healing in our world: Sutherland Springs, TX, Puerto Rico, Wildfires, Las Vegas victims, Victims of recent hurricanes and earthquakes, racism, actions of violence, global warming, homelessness, oppression, abuse 

Remember in Prayer: Rev. Jose Luis Torres Milan, Livy, Jaclyn, Carla, Jeremy, Sheri, Deana, John, James, Vivian, Claire, Mark, Anna, Heidi S. Sue, Mary Lynne, Bones, Nan, Jean, Analea, Frank

Prayer Request:  Please lift up Rev. Jose Luis Torres Milan in your prayers. He is in Puerto Rico and has had a stroke. Please pray for him, his family, and his church family.

Prayer Request: Continued prayers for Livy. Livy is still hospitalized and is being treated for pneumonia.

And those experiencing loss – family and friends of: Joanne, Peggy, Logan, Dave, Jane, Mason 

Prayer: O God, you provide such beauty for us to take in. We give you thanks for the seasons, for the knowns and the unknowns. May be seek you in each moment and trust in you. Amen

Your E-Votional Servant

Lucia

©2017 Lucia Oerter

All rights reserve

The Message Bible

A ministry at Central Presbyterian Church, 31 N 7th Street, Lafayette, IN