Musick

by Joe Becker
 

Too young to be marked by the ‘flowers and powers’ of the 60s, our young minds got ‘blown away’ by riding Schwinn bikes through any pasture or water, allured by the promise of pan fish over a campfire. Those days we carried transistor radios tuned to AM stations all day long, then we’d turn to Orioles Baseball in the cool of the evening. By the end of “The Summer of Love”, 1967, I was still a ten-year-old centerfielder in pinstripes and stirrups of Heidelberg blue. Today, all this stuff gets termed “vintage” somehow—like a pinot noir.

Back then there was little regard for the Byrds or Woodstock. But, four summer vacations later, the flip of a switch, literally, offered us the new venue of Starview, WRHY on the FM dial. Happily, when it first aired in 1972, its format included a good measure of folk music.

During that same year, Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul and Mary fame, would release “Greenwood”, perhaps the most poignant song I had ever heard. The chorus comes from the Gospel of Luke.

“…if we do these things in the greenwood,
What will happen in the dry?”

These are the recorded words of Christ in Luke 23:31. Nowhere else in Scripture is there another reference to it. Yet here I believe God, with His most serious Face, is still speaking to us today. “…As His Message was being rejected when He was physically present, how much more it would be rejected in the coming years.” (NIV commentary).

Until Today, within this dear season of Lent, our focus on the Lord’s devotion to us has never been more vital to me. For I know the women along the Via Dolorosa (sorrowful way) were supposed to be weeping for us, as the Lord was sure of His appointment with His final work on the cross. These days, current events remind me of how needful our world is.

“It’s you and me and we must make the choice now, and not destroy the life we’re living for…” (Yarrow, Peter. “Greenwood”)

May we be ever inclined to prayer, that our children’s children grow to understand just how dry the wood is.


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Misrepresenting God

by Deb Seibert
 

God in His perfection cannot allow us as Christians to misrepresent Him, His Word, or His ways in any way. As a righteous, Holy, pure God, He has to bring discipline or judgment if we do this. The story of Moses in the Old Testament is one from which we can learn.

When the people lacked water in the wilderness, God told Moses to strike the rock and He would bring forth water. 1
Corinthians 10:4 tells us, “All drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them, and the rock was Christ.” But it happened a second time that the people complained, needing water. This time, God told Moses to speak to the rock, but, out of anger, He struck the rock. God could not allow Moses to misrepresent Him to His people, so Moses was rebuked by God and was not allowed to go into the Promised Land. This was a sad day for Moses! His words cut to the heart in Deuteronomy 3:26, “But the Lord was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me. So the Lord said to me, ‘Enough of that! Speak no more to me of this matter.’” It’s hard to imagine how it felt for Moses to hear these words from God.

As Christians, we are ambassadors of Christ, representing Him in a lost world. We have to be careful of our words and
actions by tapping into the Rock and being led by His Spirit. We need His help daily to do this; He is our supply.

When Jesus ministered on this earth, he explained, “‘…I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what He sees the father doing.’” And in John 12:49 Jesus says, “‘I don’t speak on my own authority. The father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it.’” If Jesus relied on the Father to this extent, we would be wise to do the same.

Thank you, God, for this example of Jesus, the Perfect Lamb of God, tapping into Your wisdom and power. Thank you, that as ambassadors for you, You give us Your Word and Your Spirit to help us, so we do not misrepresent you. Thank you that one day You will take us into our promised land of Heaven!


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Do You Believe

by Pastor Joshua Trojak
 

Anybody feel scarred by this past year? I can say I physically will probably have an actual lifelong scar because of 2020. That sounds ominous, but it really isn’t that bad. One of my 2020 moments was having to run down a problem with our sanctuary projector setup. While crawling around in the attic of the sanctuary, I cut my wrist on a metal joist bracket. I didn’t think much of it at the time but I can still see it on my wrist today. It got me to thinking about the lasting affect that 2020 will have on our lives, whether we like it or not. There were plenty of things this past year that we would like to forget. But in the midst of the painful scars, there were times of God’s presence, provision, and healing that we must not forget.

The question is, how can we heal from those scars? I think Jesus gives us a great example. When He rose and conquered death, He wasn’t the same. His divinity was now on full display but his body still bore the marks of what happened on the cross.

“Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.” (John 20:19b-20)

His hands and side had scars of what He went through but the end result made those scars worth it.

Our scars are not on the same level as Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for us but our scars (from 2020 or any other time in life) can remind us that God can redeem anything. He hasn’t left us in the struggle and can use those scars to bring people to know His love in the future. Thomas wouldn’t believe Jesus was alive until he could physically touch those wounds on
Jesus. After doing so, he believed. We can’t touch His scars but we can rest in the promise that Jesus made just after Thomas believed.

“Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” (John 20:29)

Do you believe?


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Scripture Focus: The Greatest Commandment

The Greatest Commandment

“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’”

“Jesus replied: ‘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. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’”

(Matthew 22:34-40)


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Finding Joy

by Brooke Arney
 

The year of 2020 was a year of many ups and downs for me, as it was for all of us.

My 2020 consisted of my parents getting a divorce, Covid, helping my mother move, getting engaged, planning a
wedding, getting married, moving, and so much more. One thing 2020 has taught me though is that even when I can’t see what will happen next, I need to trust in God.

James 1:2-4 have always been some of my favorite verses because it flat out tells you life won’t be easy. I’ve read these verses many times through 2020 to remind myself that I should find joy in these times, because even if everything in my life falls apart, God is using those moments to teach me how to listen for that quite whisper of His voice. When a teacher is teaching, you have to be quite otherwise you’ll miss the lesson.

My favorite way to spend time with God and when I feel most connected with Him is by listening to worship music. Some of my favorites are “Lean Back” by Capital City Music and “Midnight” by Rita Springer. God’s Word and some amazing songs have taught me so much this year. So I challenge you to find a song and just listen to it or pour your heart out to God as it plays. God is always eager to hear from us, and the good thing is that He never gets tired of us.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)


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Remain In Him

by Mark Schumacher
 

During a recent quiet devotional time (like you are doing now), I read in John 15 where Jesus talks about the fact that He is the vine and we are the branches. In verse 4 He says, “‘Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.’”

As Christians, I suspect we all want to accomplish things for Jesus – have our lives mean something and have purpose. The word remain stuck with me after this most recent reading of that verse. What does that really mean? How can I remain in Jesus?

I can recall times I have desired to remain in a particular setting or moment – the birth of one of our children, taking in a spectacular sunset, or standing at the edge (not too far out) of the Grand Canyon. All of these moments, and others we can all remember, are times where we cannot remain. My Bible dictionary/concordance defines remain: to abide or continue unchanged; to be something yet to be shown. One thought from this is that when I remain in Christ, I do not get pulled into worldly things – not moving away from the mindset and activities God has deemed for me to ponder and to do. But that can be accomplished only through the power of the Spirit that God has placed in me and by becoming sensitive to His leading. Giving me the ability to love others as He commands. Keeping me unchanged, still redeemed and obedient to God’s call.

I also like the part of the definition that says something yet to be shown. Could that be opportunities that God has for me to experience? Can that mean He will reveal to me the person I can truly be in Christ? How can I be successful at doing that? He has provided His Word, His constant presence, His Spirit living in me, the fellowship of our church body, and a mind and heart that can decide where my mind remains.

Dear God, help me in my quest to want more of you. As the world continues to reach for my time, my heart and my mind, help me to find ways to remain in you. You desire that, I know, and you have a plan for me. A plan that can include sharing your love when I do avail myself to your will and leading. Thank for your love for me and the gift of your availability. So when I do decide at any moment, you are there for me to remain in your presence and love.

Have a blessed Easter season!


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