Psalm 62:1-2, 5-8
1 Only in God do I find rest; my salvation comes from him.
2 Only God is my rock and my salvation— my stronghold!—I won’t be shaken anymore.
5 Oh, I must find rest in God only, because my hope comes from him!
6 Only God is my rock and my salvation— my stronghold!—I will not be shaken.
7 My deliverance and glory depend on God. God is my strong rock. My refuge is in God.
8 All you people: Trust in him at all times! Pour out your hearts before him! God is our refuge!
This beautiful Psalm emphasizes the critical importance that we understand there is only one God and in this one God we must set our anchor and then trust it holds. ( Verse 8) Where is your anchor attached? Paper green bills, the changing job market, your retirement, family or is it in the only One who does not change.
I have begun using this Psalm as a prayer/meditation each day. It is a wonderful reminder how easy it is to put worldly things, ever changing things before the God I call Lord. And yet even though I proclaim Yahweh as my Lord, my God, I find that at times I treat Him as a passing friend. God is and needs to be much more than that in life. Who is He for you?
Gracious Father, as I come before you at Your altar this morning help me to look honestly at who or what I anchor my life to. May Your Word echo in my mind and heart as I recommit my energy toward serving You and Your people. Father, guide me within Your church. Help me Lord, not to wander off the path of righteousness. My God, may I anchor my life in You, Your Word, Your Son and the Holy Spirit, for it is in You I can trust all. Lord, thank you for creation, the love I feel daily and the people You have brought into my life. Thank you for the knowledge and the Power in which the Spirit rules. Lord, forgive my sins as I turn and ask all things in the name of Your Son Jesus. Amen
We begin today's devotion with two scripture readings from Mark's Gospel. Mark 9:33-37: 33 They entered Capernaum. When they had come into a house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about during the journey?” 34 They didn’t respond, since on the way they had been debating with each other about who was the greatest. 35 He sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be least of all and the servant of all.” 36 Jesus reached for a little child, placed him among the Twelve, and embraced him. Then he said, 37 “Whoever welcomes one of these children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me isn’t actually welcoming me but rather the one who sent me.”
Mark 10:42-45: 42 Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the ones who are considered the rulers by the Gentiles show off their authority over them and their high-ranking officials order them around. 43 But that’s not the way it will be with you. Whoever wants to be great among you will be your servant. 44 Whoever wants to be first among you will be the slave of all, 45 for the Human One [or Son of Man] didn’t come to be served but rather to serve and to give his life to liberate many people.
I remember asking my mom and dad who was their favorite? They would answer, you are our favorite son. ( I was their only son) But I think it is natural to wonder if we are the favorite sometimes. I believe we are all born with an "ego" and inherently need to know we matter or want to be recognized as a special person or chosen one. We can see this in our work place, at home, with friends, and even at church. I once read an article of a large church that became embattle because some knew the pastor personally and some did not and it became almost a badge of honor to those who knew him and separation happened.
An acronym associated with "ego" is "edging God out." Ego by definition is a person's sense of self-esteem or self-importance. It is a part of us that can trigger feelings of fear, selfishness, and separation. When our egos are threatened, they go into overdrive telling us we are better than others. It is a protection mechanism, but if we aren’t careful, it can cost us relationships, opportunities, and separate us from God.
With the world in chaos, churches struggling I thought of this acronym in my own life and how true it is. This past week I took a couple days off and reflected. I looked at my own ego and the need for self importance or esteem. I know when I am feeling connected to God, I am less worried about my own importance and less afraid of being rejected by people. When I forget to notice God’s presence in my life, or become lax with my conversations with God, I notice that I have more of a need for recognition, achievement, and proving myself to others.
When we get caught up in ourselves, being the favorite, we may look more confident to some. We may even attract people to us but we might be edging God out. The church becomes about a youth leader, pastor or worship leader and not about God. The disciples brought this to our attention. Now it is up to us to stay aware of it and trust God’s unconditional love for every one of us. I hope you are able to join us this morning as we share in this unconditional love where everyone is welcome and the Word of God is alive.
Almighty God, Lord Jesus, in your kingdom you tell us, the last are first—and you know I hate to be last. Turn my values right side up, that I may truly be all in as a citizen of your kingdom. Father, I pray for this nation in the same way. May I get my attention off individuals and myself and instead place it on You and Your teachings for me in this life and the next.Lord Jesus, I thank you for the reminder you blessed me with this week as I fall before you in humbleness and gratitude. Father, I lift this to You in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Philippians 4:4-12 4 Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad! 5 Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. 6 Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. 7 Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus. 8 From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise. 9 Practice these things: whatever you learned, received, heard, or saw in us. The God of peace will be with you. 10 I was very glad in the Lord because now at last you have shown concern for me again. (Of course you were always concerned but had no way to show it.) 11 I’m not saying this because I need anything, for I have learned how to be content in any circumstance. 12 I know the experience of being in need and of having more than enough; I have learned the secret to being content in any and every circumstance, whether full or hungry or whether having plenty or being poor.
Thoughts: How would we define peace? The Apostle Paul said that God's peace exceeds all human understanding. This statement makes sense when we realize he is writing this from the darkness, musty, dreary, uncomfortable, unfriendly and loud prison cell. Even here Paul tells of God's peace that he carried with him. He also shared the key to his dwelling in God's peace; to talk to God in prayer about anything and everything that might worry him.
As I think of what brings me peace my first answer would be a peace that allows me to escape. Looking out a window at an incredible view, laying in a hammock, simply holding hands with my wife to name a few. It is a peace that takes us away from trouble or facing something. The peace Jesus offers us and Paul tells of, is a peace of victory or conquest. A conquest that life cannot take away, or sorrow diminish. It is a peace independent of outward circumstances. And my favorite part of this verse, I highlighted in bold, is Paul was not born with this understanding it was a learned condition. He discovered this peace through the Word of God and the teachings of Jesus. " I have learned how to be content in any circumstance." ” In what conditions, good or bad, do you find it a struggle to remain in God’s peace? What examples or experiences have helped you learn to make choices and take actions that lead you toward accepting God’s gift of peace? In and through God He has given us everything we need. Have a peaceful week and I hope to see you in church.
Gracious God, Father of creation I seek you in my life everyday. From my waking moment until I rest my head may my heart be seeking Your wisdom. Lord I thank you for yesterday and the fun, love and laughter that was displayed for those who blessed us here at EOCC with their presence. Thank you for those who served in so many ways, from organizing the entire event to serving delicious food Your people gathered to serve the greater community. Lord, I pray for those who are hurting, those who are lost or being deceived. I pray for those who have left this fellowship and are worshipping else where. Lord, bless us all.
Father, as families prepare for a new school year may I also prepare to seek you at a deeper level. May my commitment grow as I walk with you. Lord forgive me of my sinfulness, forgive me when I turn away from serving for selfish reasons. Lord, I pray for the church I serve, for its health and growth. Lord, show me thy ways as I pray this and all in the name of Your Son Jesus. Amen
I have lived a blessed life. Yes I have seen my share of troubles, deaths and challenges to last a few lifetimes but through it all I have felt the joy of God. As I have pondered this recently I have come to realize I better appreciate all of this because I am coming to accept the love of God, the way God wants to love me in all situations. Sometimes it is through health issues, successes, financial worries or wealth moments. I start my day with praying that God's will be done but at times it is hard to say honestly and graciously that I accept everything, His will being done in my life. Yet when I truly believe that God is love, all His actions is out of love then it becomes easier to see His love in all things and it is possible to feel this love in my heart.A joy the world cannot take.
As many of you know I will pray the same prayer for months at a time. A while back I camE across one written by Charles de Foucauld that expresses where I want my journey with Christ to lead. I hope you feel the power of this prayer as much as I have. Let us pray:
Father, I abandon myself into your hands, do with me what you will. Whatever you may do, I thank you; I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord. Into your hands I commend my soul; I offer it to you with all the love of my heart, for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands without reserve, and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father. (and I add) I come to you through your Son Jesus, Amen.
When I pray this prayer I know that I can never make this prayer come true by my own desires and efforts. But the Holy Spirit left to me me through Jesus can help it grow to fruition. I am coming to realize in a much deeper way that my inner peace, contentment and hope depends on my, with the Holy Spirits help, making this prayer my own. I hope I see you this morning as we tackle Luke 12:13-21.
Meet the pastor
Rev. Pastor Carl Schreiber has been serving East Orrington Congregational Church (EOCC) since March 12, 2006