Phil 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.
One of the biggest problem I believe we face today in this nation is the pessimistic outlook and negative imagination. How often do you find your whole attitude is set in a wrong direction by your imagining what could or would or might happen in a situation, so that when you actually come to it you are so frustrated and flustered by what you have been thinking that you are unable to handle the problem. Now I am not talking about simply making a choice to think positive, I am talking about discovering a positive life, the life of Christ.
The passage above is telling us to think about whatever is true. To take things as they are, not as they might be or could be. Whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise. Think of these things. The writer is exhorting us to make a deliberate choice of the will to refuse to think about the negative, but to think of the positive in any situation, or about any person. Then the God of peace will be with you. If you set you mind to this, the God who dwells within, the Holy Spirit, will express himself in terms of peace, confidence and hope rather than strife and confusion.
When you read scripture have you notice that Jesus does not talk to people about religion. He talked to them about life. How they lived, thought and acted, about what they say and how they got along with their neighbors. He did not talk about theological problems, interpersonal demands in life, or existential relations. He came to talk to them about the way they were living, and to show them what life is. He showed them that the secret is a person who dwells within, whose life may be manifested in terms of our personalities, and that everything is designed to drive us back to that. Back to God our creator. Honestly, what do you think about?
Are we prayerfully aligning our thinking to be based on the reality of Christ alive within us, and confident in the good and perfect outcome of God at work in all of life's circumstances?
PRAYER: Almighty God, my Father in heaven, continue to teach me Lord that you are in control and you are adequate to meet any need or challenge that I face. Continue Lord, to remind me that a faith filled optimism is not rooted in my own strength but in the wisdom of your teachings and You. Lord, may I align my thinking to be based on the reality of the Holy Spirit dwelling within me. That Christ is alive within me and He wants the good and positive outcome in all of life's challenges. Father, forgive me of my sins as I forgive those who sin against me. May I Lord, remember that you created all people and you love all people. May I grow to love in this way. Lord I pray for those in need on this day through and in the name of Your Son Jesus. Amen
Revelation 22:1-2, 5 (CEB) Then the angel showed me the river of life-giving water, shining like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb through the middle of the city’s main street. On each side of the river is the tree of life, which produces twelve crops of fruit, bearing its fruit each month. The tree’s leaves are for the healing of the nations…Night will be no more. They won’t need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will shine on them, and they will rule forever and always.
(Proverbs 16-24) Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy to the body.
I remember after my father's death a friend sent me a note that meant the world to me. It picked me up when I needed it most. Then a few business hurdles presented themselves and tough decisions had to be made. Again, I received a note from an unlikely person reminding me of me. These moments have happened many times in my life. In fact one was from Bob after a tough week I came into the office to find this note, "just a note of thanks. You are amazing, kind, and 'real'. I am honored to know you."
As I look back at these moments I see God's love through these people shining on me. These little notes remind me daily the power of our words in this life.. They have immense value, yet they cost nothing to give away. They can build people up, they can encourage, and they can provide hope. Kind words can create actual change in the hearts and lives of the people around us. Our family and friends need hope, joy, and love right now. How are you using your words to spread hope?
Heavenly Father, You have built a community here at EOCC. You know we all need Your inspired words of encouragement and hope, and we need words of encouragement and hope from each other. Father, Bless our hearts and tongues with words that bless those around us. Bless our hearts so that when others say kind words about us, we absorb that kindness and allow it to build us up. May I pass this power on to others. Father, I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.
18 I believe that the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that is going to be revealed to us. 19 The whole creation waits breathless with anticipation for the revelation of God’s sons and daughters. 20 Creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice—it was the choice of the one who subjected it—but in the hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from slavery to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of God’s children. 22 We know that the whole creation is groaning together and suffering labor pains up until now. 23 And it’s not only the creation. We ourselves who have the Spirit as the first crop of the harvest also groan inside as we wait to be adopted and for our bodies to be set free. 24 We were saved in hope. If we see what we hope for, that isn’t hope. Who hopes for what they already see? 25 But if we hope for what we don’t see, we wait for it with patience.
For those who have traveled with Paul we know suffering became a regular part of Paul life as an Apostle. Thinking about Paul and his life I am not sure how he did not become bitter, defeated or hopeless. In the reading above it tells us why. The apostle understood that “the essential quality of hope is that it is oriented to something in the future that one expects but does not yet possess (Rom 8:24–25).”* He knew real hope grew, not from human resolve or strength, but from the sustaining presence of God’s Holy Spirit.
This hope Paul speaks of is available to each of us today. It is not a wish or a thing, the hope Paul speaks of comes in the form of a person, Jesus Christ. We have been blessed with the means to better know God through Jesus. To know this hope through the study of scripture and each other. Jesus himself said He would never leave us orphaned and gave us the Holy Spirit, the mighty Counselor, to remind us of this hope, peace, joy and love that came through His life to us. Grab your Bible and read. There are so many beautiful lessons that will help in your relationship with God. Amen...
Almighty God, my Lord Jesus, I don’t like this pandemic time. I don’t like it when I or someone I love is sick, or unemployed, or sad and disappointed.Yet, I’m truly thankful that even in these times, especially in these times, you are with me every moment. Lord, may good come from this time of uncertainty. May it draw us closer to You and to each other. Lord, bless this nation, bless the church I serve and each soul. May unity in this time become our strength and help us get through this crisis. Father, forgive me of my sins as I look to forgive people in my life. I pray this in Your Son's name. Amen
Matthew 8:23-34 23 When Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him. 24 A huge storm arose on the lake so that waves were sloshing over the boat. But Jesus was asleep. 25 They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, rescue us! We’re going to drown!”
26 He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you people of weak faith?” Then he got up and gave orders to the winds and the lake, and there was a great calm.
27 The people were amazed and said, “What kind of person is this? Even the winds and the lake obey him!”
28 When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake in the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed came from among the tombs to meet him. They were so violent that nobody could travel on that road. 29 They cried out, “What are you going to do with us, Son of God? Have you come to torture us before the time of judgment?” 30 Far off in the distance a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons pleaded with him, “If you throw us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
32 Then he said to the demons, “Go away,” and they came out and went into the pigs. The whole herd rushed down the cliff into the lake and drowned. 33 Those who tended the pigs ran into the city and told everything that had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whole city came out and met Jesus. When they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.
DEVOTION: In the Book of Jeremiah 5 God reminds the Hebrew people that He made the sea, the waves and the boundaries. These disciples, fishermen, would know that storms could rise in a moments notice on this inland lake and in their belief they believed only God could restrain stormy seas. In a storm, Jesus slept in the boat. Awakened, he amazed the disciples by calming the storm. Landing, they met two terribly strong, unstable men. (Note: Mark and Luke only wrote about one man in this story.) Jesus reordered their disordered lives by calming their inner storms, just as he had the sea.
Sometimes we forget God has the power to calm the storms inward as well as outward. As you face this stormy life season, have you had any sense Jesus is “in the boat” with you? Scott Krippayne sang, “Sometimes He calms the storm, And other times He calms His child.”* In which of those ways has Jesus most been with you in this storm?
Talking to many of you and listening to your stories these questions came ot my mind in this time of uncertainty, storm of life. However much longer this goes on, how can you trust God to bring new order out of the disorder of this difficult time? Has the outer crisis created any inner storms for you, perhaps giving you insight into feelings and attitudes for which you’d value healing and hope? Do you believe Jesus' power is available for you, directly or through human instruments, as it was for the men in today’s story? Are there any ways God is calling you to become a channel of hope to others facing life’s storms?
Think about this passage, the questions it may bring to mind in your life. See you at 10, pastor Carl
Lord God, I am grateful for the ways you have loved me through my mother and those who have filled the role of mothers in my life. I thank you for the ways I have seen you in them. I pray for all the mothers around me; help me to show them my love and appreciation so that they may also see you in me. I pray for those mothers who have lost children or those who long to be mothers, and I pray for those who are experiencing Mother’s Day without their mothers – give them the peace that only you can provide.
Help me. Lord, to remember how you love me in a motherly way so I might love others the same. Lord Jesus, sometimes my emotions feel like one of the snowstorms that blow through our area. Thank you for always offering me peace, and help and healing if the storm threatens to last. Father I lift this and all things up to you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
DEVOTION Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. – Psalm 9:10
How are you doing? For the most part the people I have spoken to seem to be doing well They have all said that they miss the church family and getting together but overall they are well. Praise our Lord.
I have also noticed that many people I have talked with have s a wonderful spiritual outlook.We all know that in uncertain times anxiety and stress can raise. It often times leaves us with questions and even doubts. The Bible tells us it is in these times that we need to look to the one we can trust, someone who will speak truth. We look for someone who will tell us how to go forward. These are the times to refocus on God. To let the Holy Spirit remind us of God's love for us through Jesus Christ. He is our security. He is our source of wisdom. He asks you and me to commit ourselves and our future into His hands. God, does not fail the one who looks to Him. We need to trust Him to lead us forward? During these times of separation reconnect with the One who has blessed us in the past and will continue forever more.
EOCC, my family, please continue to reach out to each other and help those who need help, pray for those who ask, pray for this pastor, our leadership teams and this great State and nation. We all can be doing something in these crazy times. A big thank you to those who have been able to give so generously in this time of uncertainty.
Almighty God, I know you will see us through this time of fear, frustration and opportunity. Lord I pray for those who are having financial difficulty. May you Father, touch the hearts of those who may be able ot help. Lord, I pray for those who have lost loved ones recently, those who have lost jobs and especially those who have lost hope. Lord Jesus, led them our way so we can show them your love through our families gifts. Lead them our way for prayer or a meal. Whatever it is Lord, I believe we stand ready to help. I thank you God for the love the church I serve has shown in these difficult times. From feeding the hungry to offering a hot shower. Lord, forgive me of my sins as I forgive those who have cause me harm. Lord, I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen
Meet the pastor
Rev. Pastor Carl Schreiber has been serving East Orrington Congregational Church (EOCC) since March 12, 2006