Love Does Not Envy

This is a hard one – especially these days with social media. Anywhere we look it seems something is in our face telling us what we need, what we should look like, and how we should live. We feel like unless we have what someone else has we’re missing out and incomplete.

Its so easy to get caught up in a material world that makes you feel inferior without the latest trend or newest gadget. And when we see someone else with a bigger house, newer car, nicer clothes, prettier hair, better (insert item here), instead of being happy for them and sharing in their joy we get jealous. We complain and say “I want that!” and “I need that!” and “Why not me, God?!”

But love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t compare. It doesn’t get jealous or want what others have.

Love celebrates with others. Love rejoices in the blessings God has given to our friends and family. Love shares in the joy of others.

When we are free from the grip of comparisons and the societal burden of have-nots we can freely give thanks for all things. We can be happy with what we have as well as what others have, even when they are not the same.

I think back to a few of our past mission teams sharing about the happiness and joy of those they’ve served in the D.R. Those who have comparatively less than us perhaps have greater joy than we know. Instead of complaining about what they don’t have and the hardships they face, they rejoice in the Lord and sing of His goodness.

Perhaps we need to remember that as we scroll through our social media this week. Let us be content in the blessings God has given us, and let us rejoice and share in the joyful praise of others for the good things He has given them as well.

Because when we all are united in love we share in each other’s blessings, and sin and temptation and the evils of this world can seem to fade away.

 

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves…Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Romans 12:9-10, 21
 

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8


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Love Is Summer Reading Guide

1 Corinthians 13 gives us a very detailed definition of LOVE. Some of the Biblical narratives listed below illustrate examples of our
human responses. Use the theme for each week to think deeper about how we can better exemplify love in these instances and in our own lives.
 
Week of: June 6-12
Theme: Patient
Scripture References: Luke 2:25-40 (Simeon & Anna), 2 Peter 3:8-9, Galatians 5:22
 
Week of: June 13-19
Theme: Kind
Scripture References: John 8:1-11 (Jesus & the Woman Caught in Adultery), Proverbs 11:16-17, Proverbs 12:25, Romans 2:4, Colossians 3:12, Galatians 5:22
 
Week of: June 20-26
Theme: Does Not Envy
Scripture References: 1 Kings 11:45-12:24 (Rehoboam Brings a Split to the Nation), Proverbs 14:30, Ecclesiastes 4:4-6, Philippians 1:12-18, James 3:13-18
 
Week of: June 27-July 3
Theme: Does Not Boast/Is Not Proud
Scripture References: Daniel 4 (Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream), Proverbs 8:13, 11:2, 13:10, 16:18, 21:23, Philippians 3:4-11
 
Week of: July 4-10
Theme: Does Not Dishonor Others
Scripture References: 1 Samuel 24 & 26 (David vs. Saul), Acts 10:23-48
 
Week of: July 11-17
Theme: Is Not Self-Seeking
Scripture References: Acts 5 (Ananias & Sapphira), Luke 12:13-21
 
Week of: July 18-24
Theme: Is Not Easily Angered
Scripture References: Genesis 4:1-12 (Cain), 1 Samuel 25 (Nabal & Abigail), Ephesians 4:26
 
Week of: July 25-31
Theme: Keeps No Record of Wrongs
Scripture References: Matthew 18:21-35 (Jesus 7×70 & Unforgiving Servant), Psalm 103:8-18, Genesis 45 (Joseph)
 
Week of: August 1-7
Theme: Does Not Delight In Evil/Rejoices in Truth
Scripture References: Jonah, 2 Samuel 12:1-25 (Nathan Confronts David’s Sin)
 
Week of: August 8-14
Theme: Always Protects
Scripture References: Ruth, Acts 27:27-44 (Paul’s Shipwreck)
 
Week of: August 15-21
Theme: Always Trusts
Scripture References: 1 Kings 17:7-24 (Elijah Asks a Woman to Make Bread), Proverbs 3:5-6
 
Week of: August 22-28
Theme: Always Hopes
Scripture References: Romans 5:1-5, Romans 15:13, Acts 16:16-40 (Paul & Silas Sing Praises in Jail)
 
Week of: August 29-September 4
Theme: Always Perseveres
Scripture References: 1 Peter 1:5-9, Luke 22: 54-62 & John 21:15-24, Genesis 32:22-32 (Jacob Wrestles With an Angel), Hebrews 12:1-2

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Love is Patient

In this world or instantaneousness, we have little time for patience. Drive-thru windows everywhere, curbside and  in-store pick up options in even greater abundance after Covid, being able to instantly Google or “Hey Siri” any question we have and have an immediate answer (example: “Hey Siri, what’s an Encyclopedia for?”).

So when we talk to God we expect the same response. An immediate answer to prayer. An instantaneous sign for the next step we are to take. But as we heard in church just a few weeks ago, God’s answer can sometimes be, “No, not right now.” Or those dreaded words, “Just wait.”

We hate the words waiting and patience. I think for many of us we automatically picture sitting in a line at the DMV (although that is probably more quickly paced these days too). We don’t want to wait. We don’t like not knowing. We don’t want to practice being patient.

You wanna talk about patience… how about 400 years of waiting?! God’s people waited 400 years for a Messiah and Savior to come. This time period is often called the “400 Years of Silence”.

But just because we don’t hear God (or sometimes we may just think we don’t hear Him), doesn’t mean we are alone or that He is not working. He does not move slowly; He moves perfectly. He works all things out for the good and He is walking alongside us all the while.

If you are feeling like you are stuck waiting, if you feel like your prayers are not being answered, if you feel like God is silent… open your Bible. Open His word and see how He works and how He is faithful in all He promises. If He has promised it, He will not fail or forget or withhold the good things He has planned for you.

But He may ask you to wait.

But in that waiting He is orchestrating, moving, shaping, and preparing the way for you. I read this verse from Exodus and it reminds me of His power and work behind the scenes:

“I will not drive them out before you in a single year; otherwise the land would become desolate and wild animals would multiply against you. Little by little I will drive them out ahead of you, until you become fruitful and possess the land.” (Exodus 23:29-30)

Don’t give up or assume your prayers are not heard because you don’t see the answer you want right when you want it. Trust in the Lord. Wait upon the Lord. And be patient for His perfect timing to bring about greater answers than you could ever even ask.

Because love is patient.


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Dear Class of 2021

YOU DID IT!
 
Congratulations to all graduates and fellow Class of 2021 celebrators! You graduated! You have spent the last (insert number here) years learning, growing, working and striving to achieve your hopes, goals and dreams. For some of you, it was hard. For others… it was really hard. But you all are now here, together, and have completed a great achievement!
 
You now face a new stage of your life: Will you go to college? A tech school? Enter the workforce? Travel abroad? There is no right and wrong choice (though if you weren’t very good at math in high school we’d encourage you to think some more before becoming a math major in college).
 
The most important choice you make, however, is if you will continue to allow God to speak into your life. Will you listen to His guiding and follow his direction? Will you pray to Him for clarity and help when you don’t know what to do? And will you continue to tell others about His goodness and faithfulness wherever He leads you?
 
There is no iPhone app, GPS device, road map or manual to show you all the steps and turns you need to make in your journey. But there is a Good Book that will help you find all the answers you need. It is our hope and prayer that you will carry that with you wherever you go, and trust in the God who walks alongside you.
 
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
 
If you are reading this, please join us as we pray for each of these graduates: for their future, their hopes, their dreams and their aspirations; and for God’s Word to guide their steps along the way. 
 
 
High School Graduates
 
Ashley Barstow
Graduating from: Bermudian Springs High School
Date of Graduation: June 4, 2021
Future Plans: Attending Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA for a Bachelors Degree in Nursing. Hopefully one day becoming a leader on an Intensive Care floor or Trauma floor.
 
Breanna Barstow
Graduating from: Bermudian Springs High School
Date of Graduation: June 4, 2021
Future Plans: Attending Liberty University to study Forensic Science and grow in my faith. My goal is to become a Forensic Scientist in the FBI or another federal agency.
 
Micah Freeman
Graduating from: South Western High School
Date of Graduation: January 16, 2021
Future Plans: Attending Lancaster Bible College with a dual major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Biblical Studies
 
Grace Slenker
Graduating from: Spring Grove High School
Date of Graduation: May 27, 2021
Future Plans: I will be attending Thomas College in Waterville, Maine to play for their field hockey team and major in Criminal Justice Homeland Security with a focus in Criminology in an accelerated program to get my Master’s in four years. After college, I will hopefully obtain a job with the federal government.
 
Cody Walker
Graduating from: Spring Grove High School
Date of Graduation: May 24, 2021
Future Plans: Working on the Dairy Farm at Walk-le Farms.
 
 
Congratulations Class of 2021!

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Scripture Focus: The Easter Story

The Last Supper

“When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, ‘Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, ‘Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?’ Jesus replied, ‘The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.’ Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, ‘Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?’”

“Jesus answered, ‘You have said so.’ While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.’ When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”

(Matthew 26:20-30)

 

The Death of Jesus

“It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last. The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, ‘Surely this was a righteous man.’ When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.”

(Luke 23: 44-49)

 

Jesus Has Risen

“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are
looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.’” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. ‘Greetings,’ he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’”

(Matthew 28:1-10)


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In the Morning and the Evening

by Laura Enslen
 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Amen.

Earlier this year, as we spent many more nights around the dinner table together as a family, we began singing this song for our prayer before the meal. These words are titled “The Doxology” and originate as the closing stanza to a collection of three hymns that Anglican Bishop Thomas Ken charged the church to sing “in the morning and the evening” when they were composed in 1709.

In the morning and the evening….
I had a conversation recently with a friend about prayer. We processed through the “why should we pray?” and the “what to do when God doesn’t answer like I want?” It occurred to both of us that we often come to prayer as a means of last
resort and often with a specific request that we want answered a specific way. Can you relate? As we discussed it though, we realized that often it gives us comfort to bring our requests to Him, to let Him minister to us, to make time in our day to invite Him in.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

In the morning and the evening. Pray continually.
We recently started a family prayer circle. There is no specific time of day…if it works in the morning, we can meet then. Maybe before bed works best one day. We light a candle and read a prayer to start and then take turns praying aloud. It was so awkward at first! No one really knew what to say, or whose turn it was, or why we were even doing this. Like He
always does, the Holy Spirit met us there though and prayers of peace, comfort, thankfulness and requests for His help have been prayed over during that time.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Romans 8:26 & 27

In the morning and the evening. Pray continually. The Spirit helps us.

Lord, I thank you that you have made a way for us to talk to you. Help us to reach out to you more in prayer. You hear us in the quick one- or two-word prayers, in the times when we have a lot to say, and in the times when words do not even come. Thank you for sending your Spirit to intercede for us and thank you for all the ways you answer our prayers. We trust you and we love you Lord. Amen.


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