National Day of Prayer

This Thursday, May 2 is the National Day of Prayer.
 
As Christians, we know that prayer is an incredible gift enabling us to talk to our Heavenly Father; as humans we know that prayer can sometimes be pushed aside as we get caught up in our busy days.
 
So this Thursday we are challenging and encouraging YOU to join us for intentional time devoted to prayer throughout the day.
 
Prayer prompts for our state, country and world will be posted via social media:
 
We invite you to stop by the church if you are available to spend some intentional time in peace, quiet, and before the feet of God. Our church pastors will also be available if you would like someone to pray with you or for you. The church will be open from 9:00am to 2:00pm in observance of the National Day of Prayer.
 
The National Day of Prayer organization will be live streaming at 7:30pm. Click here to view
 
But no matter how you spend your day, we encourage you to take the extra moments to spend time before our mighty Lord and Savior, to remember his love and mercies, and to pray for those around you.

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What’s Your Legacy?

by Pastor Josh Trojak
I can be a sentimental man. I hold onto stuff longer than I should. One example of this are the t-shirts that I have received from the many different teams, musicals, groups, and trips of which I have been a part since high school. As growing up and growing out catches up to me, I am not able to fit into any of those shirts from high school, or sadly even college. However, I can’t part with these mementos of good times of many kinds.
 
Many years ago, my grandmother took my high school shirts and created a beautiful quilt to make my shirts, that were useless to me, become useful again. She later made one from my college shirts and this past Christmas my wife commissioned Heidi Bortner to turn our old camp shirts into a blanket as well. I hadn’t given these quilts much thought until we moved into our new house in Spring Grove just a couple of months ago. With new bedroom assignments and beds to go with them, we needed to use these blankets that I have acquired. That first blanket from high school is now one of the covers on my son’s bed to help keep him warm on our chilly nights.
I never would have thought the swimming or musical shirts I got while in school would someday help keep my kids warm. Judson finds the different patches of shirts interesting, but they simply don’t mean to him what they mean to me. What it made me think about is the legacy that those shirts have and the ability to adapt to a new purpose.
 
We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. (Psalm 78:4, NIV)
 
We don’t know what effect the works of our labors will have on the next generation. This view of the past affecting the present gives me more of a reminder to make sure I am investing in things that will have a lasting impact long after I am gone. I don’t want my kids just to know about my school adventures. Those blankets will eventually be thrown away. The legacy Jesus can have on their lives and the lives of those they share Him with will last forever. What legacy are you leaving behind?

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Words

by Don Abbey
But I tell you that men will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12: 36-37)
 
We have all heard this childhood rant, “Sticks and stones can break my bones but names will never hurt me.” As adults, we all know that this is not a truth. Most of us can recall past comments by others about us that have cut to the core of our soul. As Joanne Lowe (Living Connections Ministries) states, “Have you ever seen a balloon that has been punctured by a fingernail or other object? It only takes a little hole in the balloon to deflate it. It may take a while to completely deflate but eventually all the air goes out. You may try to patch it with something and it might help for a while but it doesn’t last.” That is what discouraging words and sarcastic remarks can do to each of our hearts. Our hearts can be slowly deflated and then patched but never quite restored. People can try to encourage us and tell us not to listen to those who put us down, but the hole is already there. Just remember, Jesus is the only one who can reach down and completely make our hearts new.
 
So what is it that we should know about words? Jesus spoke a lot about words and the effects that words can have on each of us. As the scripture above (Matthew 12: 36-37) proclaims, we will all be held accountable for our words on the Day of Judgment. We should make sure our words are encouraging and helpful for building each other up. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians states: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29) It seems clear to me that God wants us to think very carefully before we use our words. He will judge us on what we have said to others. Read what the Bible has to say about words in Proverbs 15: 1-2, Proverbs 16: 24, Proverbs 17: 27-28, Proverbs 18: 20-21 and Proverbs 21: 23. The list can go on and on!
 
Another aspect of the use of words is our reaction to them, particularly words that wound our heart. What did Jesus have to say about these kinds of words? In Matthew 5: 11-12 Jesus says, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Additionally in Luke 6: 27-28, He says: “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” It is our job as Christians to pray for those who mistreat us and forgive those who have done us harm.
In other words, Jesus calls us to love. In Matthew 22: 37-39 Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he made it clear that love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5: 22). So if we are truly born again Christians, we have the capacity to love. So how do we love? In his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 13: 4-13), Paul gives us a guideline for how to love. Go back and read it for yourself and put it into practice.
 
In conclusion, we need to practice the discipline of being impeccable with our words, making sure they are above reproach. We need to steer clear of words that tear down (gossip) and do not build up others. We need to love others as ourselves. Are we an encourager? We need to think about how we have used words in the past to hurt people. Did we ask for forgiveness? We need to think about how others have healed or wounded us by their words. What was our response to them? Remember our goal is the transformation of our lives to become more like Jesus! Amen.
 
Precious heavenly Father, I continue to celebrate your will in my life. I pray that the words that I speak daily would be pleasing to You. I pray that these words would build others up and not tear them down. Please guide me, Father, during each day to listen more than I speak. Allow my words to reflect Your light in this fallen world. Please encourage me to forgive others who have spoken untruths about me and not hold grudges. Please continue to transform me to be more like You each day. Allow my love for you and others to shine through in my daily walk. In Your precious, holy name I pray. Amen.

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Doing What’s Right

by Melissa Myers
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. (Romans 12:17)
 
As a young Christian, I had lots of questions and was frequently confused by the wording of certain scriptures. I prayed for spiritual direction, but it still took time for me gain proper perspective.
 
One evening my women’s study group leader challenged us to select a scripture that was difficult for us to interpret and then meditate on it until God revealed its whole meaning to us. It didn’t take long to find one.
 
Romans 12:17 not only confused me, but it made me a bit angry. The part about not returning evil for evil was easy to digest, but the rest of it made no sense. “Do what is right in the eyes of everyone,” seriously?! This was a time when I was getting a lot of advice from family and friends that did not know Christ. I was also getting advice from some fellow believers that didn’t fully understand my circumstances. They all certainly meant well, but the direction they gave was so clearly wrong that I couldn’t give credence to it. Yet here is this scripture, I thought, instructing me to do what these people are telling me to do. I prayed intently for understanding. I fussed over the concept for a few days. Finally, I went into prayer and boldly told God that I was not getting up from prayer until He gave me clarity on this scripture. It was then that He spoke to me in plain, elementary terms. I was compelled to repeat the scripture enunciating every word slowly. When I got to the word “eyes”, it all became clear. We are not called to do right in the thoughts or opinions of others, but to let others SEE us doing right. I felt like God and I had a good chuckle over my misunderstanding.
 
It is wise to consider the counsel of other believers and certainly to keep the peace with everyone as much as possible. However, God determines the right/wrong part, not us, not our friends, and not our families. As long as others witness us doing the right Godly thing, regardless of whether they agree or not, God can use that obedient example for the greater good.
 
Father God, help me to move in a right direction today, allowing that obedience to bear witness to your eternal goodness. Amen.

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Journey

by Joni Ray
I’m sure we all have a journey we can share. This journey is mine.
 
Our church has many members. In this story, I am talking about a family I feel is an inspiration to me. I have admired and watched them as they have gone through their journey. I then had the benefit of attending a support group started by them at our church. On the last Tuesday of the month at 1:30 here at CABC, we have a dementia support group with co-leaders Jen from Cross Keys and Barb from our congregation.
 
All of our lives are busy and, if you are like me, you sometimes think, “I don’t have time for one more meeting!” Or you are more introverted and walking into a group for the first time can be intimidating. You are nervous about the unexpected, or, even worse, of others seeing your world.
 
I had a father who lived next to us who was starting with dementia and a mother-in-law who moved in with us who was further in the process. I couldn’t understand how someone could ask the same questions so many times or why someone could be so confused. How do you keep from losing your patience with people?
 
This class was and is so very important to us. It is educational, emotional, caring, and loving, with leaders and students who care and help you understand this horrible disease. Barb and Jen get answers for you and give many ways to help get you through this process.
I want to thank Jen for choosing a career in which she exceeds, above and beyond most professionals. I thank Barb for loving her husband as much as she does and for being a sponge, educating herself so she can educate us. I thank Our Lord and CABC for giving us a facility in which to meet, filled with the presence and love of our Lord.

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Peace and Rest

by Vicki Becker
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (Matthew 6:27)
 
I babysit my granddaughters on a regular basis. When the four-year-old is up to something, she often says to me, “Don’t worry Grammie, I got this.” That usually means, “althought what I’m doing may look dangerous to you Grammie, have faith in me. I have this under control.”
 
It makes me think of all the times I let worry take over my life, and God is saying to me, “Don’t worry, Vicki, I got this. Just give it to me.”
You cannot add one day to your life by worrying, so why not give it over to the One that can give you rest? He does not want you to carry this or any burden alone.
 
Perhaps the answer may come through sharing with a fellow follower, my Home group, the prayer chain­—or maybe via a daily devotional.
 
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
 

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