Reply to All

by Melissa Myers
 
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)
 
A few months ago, an email was sent out by a corporate employee at my company. The email was mistakenly sent to everyone; being a global organization, that meant tens of thousands of contacts. The email asked for a response if you wished not to be included in the ensuing correspondence. Immediately there was a rapid fire of return emails using the “reply all” option. You could hear the constant pings of incoming email alerts throughout the office. Our work was interrupted, our mailboxes jammed, and many necessary applications began to fail.
 
I found it quite interesting to see how differently people reacted to the situation. I have the “quick view” option on my email so I saw replies without opening anything. Many misunderstood the obvious error and asked to be removed from the list. Some replied angrily in all caps asking people to stop using the “reply all” option, while they themselves obviously used it. Others were politely attempting to inform others of what was happening. Some took an instructional approach, adding screen shots to redirect. There were many that found humor in it, writing things like “oh the humanity” and “please, think of the children”. Some blamed our administrators, voicing threatening complaints, and some shared their wisdom with technical work-arounds.
 
The split-second “send” required a few hours to correct because of a lack of unity and insight as to how to respond. Had we all taken a moment and simply not replied, there would have been no issue. The company and all of its independent franchises lost time and revenue across the world.
 
It brought to mind the Church as the Body of Christ and how uniquely each member processes information and responds to crises. What a challenge to find unity and a focused resolve! Satan is quick to send costly messages that generate confusion and disharmony. However, God “replied to all” before any issues evolved and equipped us with the focused direction we need. He has already addressed any crisis we may endure as a body and as individuals. We are not called to judge or demean the diverse interpretations and methods of others. He instead instructs us to obediently “reply” only to Him using our gifts in our own unique ways. In doing so, our contributions will build up the Church and reap spiritual maturity.
 
Father God, let your Holy Spirit move in me to use what you have given to me individually and to seek only to encourage others as they do the same.

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Morning

by Joe Becker
 
These days, in the early course of our retirement, Vicki and I are instantly made available to the propriety of our grandchildren. No more am I preoccupied with all the time and thought once required of the workplace. We are now blessed to a much better call, and a much greater joy.
 
Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. (Proverbs 17:6)
 
Recently, while en route to babysit grandchildren,we drove east into the dawn and marveled while watching a splendid sunrise. There it occurred to me that for so long I had turned west in the mornings to the paper mill, only to rush to a time clock and all manner of noise, far too often missing morning devotions. Later that morning I would be led to the context of Isaiah 59:19. How sweet to be given rest from all that, and to revel in the promise of God: to endure for as long as the sun shall rise.
 
As I considered these things with thanksgiving, there came the familiar sound of Vicki’s cell phone. In a most profound and glorious way, mixed with all wonder, there stepped into our morning an additional blessing. The photograph with text sent to us was from a very dear and faithful friend. It was, of all things, the colorful image of the very same sunrise we were all watching!
 
The message attached to the photo read:
 
“Who can deny this majesty so glorious? Be filled, friends, with His Love today.” ~Bonnie
 
With her benediction of sorts, this all served to affirm me in our like faith and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. May we be renewed each morning with mercy and love.
 
Psalm 136

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The Soul of a Church

by Terry and Bev Hess
 
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)
 
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26)
 
The dictionary describes the word “soul” as the spiritual part of a person as distinct from the physical, and regarded as the source of thought, feelings and actions. Since the church is the people, this definition is the people of the church building.
 
January 7, 2019, we lost our precious grandson, Benjamin. For almost 25 years he had no control over his body, but that day he was set free to be with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Knowing that Benjamin is whole, and being who he was intended to be, makes his death bearable.
 
Our church family responded with love, prayers, cards and food. Their love for us also made getting through the process of funeral arrangements, the viewing and the memorial service more bearable. Some in this church family are going through trials of their own, but still took time to grieve with us.
 
As a family, we would like to thank the many people who were involved. It is times like these that show the true heart and soul of a church family.
 
We thank God for each one of you.

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I Am a Child of God

by Greg Gross
Hi, my name is Greg. In the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, I say my name is Greg and I am an alcoholic. But that does not define who I am—I am a child of God.
 
I made the choice to put alcohol and drugs in my body, starting when I was 14 in the early 70’s. After getting out of high school by the skin of my teeth, I worked for my Dad and my Grandpa at Lauer & Gross in West York.
 
In that dark life of drinking and drugging, my body was breaking down. I thought if I could find a female, I would change. I found “the one” on a job in Dover. My love went to her instead of alcohol and drugs. It didn’t take long to marry her and have a kid on the way.
After my dad passed away, I started to drink again and we sold the store in West York. I got another job at Pfaltzgraff in Dover and I started drugs again. At the new job, I was the main operator in the kiln area and a coworker gave me a pill to help keep me going. After one accident, I was moved into a loader/unloader position. This was a second shift job and it was the party shift. I had a second accident and I had to go for a drug and alcohol test.
 
That is when I found the rooms of AA. That was January 3, 1994. I am now 25 years clean and sober. My wife and I had our ups and downs, but we always stayed together. On July 31, 2018, at 5:10 in the morning, she passed away from cancer. I lived in the hospital with her until the end. She was my first and only love.
 
I could not have gotten through my addiction and the loss of Leisa without Jesus. And He is still getting me through it. After coming to CABC in 2014, I found a strong love for Jesus. When I was baptized by Pastor Todd, he gave me a verse:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your path straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
 
Because I am a child of God, I know that I am forgiven and my sins are gone and I am white as snow. Anyone that comes to Jesus can be the same.There is hope!
 

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God Winks

by Janet Coddington
As I was pondering what to write about for this year’s devotional, I felt the Lord telling me to share some of the times I felt Him speaking to me through different ways.
 
One time is very vivid in my mind. Pastor and I were being interviewed for a new pastorate; it was a whole morning of questions and a break in the afternoon and then dinner with the congregation that evening and ending with Bob preaching the following morning. Well, after the questions in the morning, we were given the afternoon on our own. We went to a nearby McDondald’s and sat down with our lunch. After praying for the food, we started discussing the morning’s events and all the concerns we had. The big question was, there was no parsonage…which meant we would either have to buy a home or rent. Could we afford this??? As we were talking, a little wren flew down beside our window and from SOMEWHERE a piece of bread fell beside the bird, which he quickly ate!! I BELIEVE IT WAS GOD; yep, a “God Wink”, telling us everything would work out.
 
What happened after that? God was saving us a home just three houses away from the church! And that is not all. The lady who was selling the home had had it on the market for a long time and she really wanted to sell. She went to a meeting that night and was asked if she had any prayer requests. She remarked that she wanted to sell her house. Well, you can imagine her surprise when she got home and heard our realtor telling her of our offer. I truly believe God had that all planned.
 
Another time is so vivid in my mind. I had been struggling with depression and anxiety for days. One Sunday while heading to church, on the Hanover Brands marquee, there was this sign:
 
Some One Knows Some One Cares Some One Whispered Your Name in Prayer
 
What do you think? A God Wink?? These are only two of the many, many times I believe God has sent me winks. What about you? Watch for your “God Winks” every day.
 
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their cry. (Psalm 34:15)
 
Dear Heavenly Father, please help us each day to see the many “God Winks” you give us. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

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Don’t Let Your Paintbrush Get Dry

by Barry Myers
 
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? (Matthew 5:43-48)
 
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
 
Those words, “don’t let your paintbrush get dry!” were spoken to me in anger years ago, by someone that I did not like. I was in my mid-20s and an infant Christian. I was unmarried and had purchased my first home. To help with household bills, I invited a friend of mine, Ed, to move in. Shortly afterward, Ed began dating Sue (not their real names). At first she was pleasant, but it soon became apparent that these two as a couple were like mixing fire with gasoline; it was a very volatile relationship.
 
As time passed, the fights began to take place on the property or in the house when I wasn’t present. The evidence of damage made it clear. Even after Sue took a baseball bat to the fenders of Ed’s VW bug, they continued the relationship.
 
One day Sue showed up on a Saturday when Ed was not home; I was outside painting. I said very few words to her, remaining focused on my work. She wanted to talk and I made it obvious that I did not. As she quickly turned on her heels to leave she said angrily, “Well, don’t let your paintbrush get dry!”
 
God burned those words into my memory to teach me a necessary lesson. Had I offered a sympathetic ear and put her needs above my own concerns, perhaps God could have changed the course for her that day. It was a missed opportunity to be Christ for someone that was hurting.
 
Every day I now pray that I will be a light to those people I meet. I pray that the way I speak and act will ultimately be a reflection of God’s compassionate love.

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