Weekly devotional for 3/18/19

Walking with Jesus
Rev. Sue Beall
When I was a pre-school child we lived in a small town in Texas where everyone knew everyone, and everyone looked out for their neighbor’s child. My mom often sent me on my tricycle to the local mercantile store to pick up thread, zippers, and various needs for her sewing endeavors. I rode my tricycle down the sidewalks of that small town like they were part of our back yard. Being sent on an errand by my mother was something I looked forward to because I got to meet people on the street and in the stores. I never feared the traffic, because people looked out for me. I never feared a stranger because that little town was a safe environment. It was not at all like our world today. No parent would dare send their child to the store on their tricycle today because of the danger.
When God sent his Son into our world, even though he was born in the small town of Bethlehem, it was not a safe place either. It was filled with evil just as our world is today. There was no doubt that Jesus life was in danger from the very beginning. Herod the Great would have killed him as an infant if his parents had not escaped with him to Egypt through the advice of an angel. Yet, in all, that danger and evil Jesus came to bring the love of God to this world, and share our human condition by bringing God’s love to us.
As he prayed to God the Father just prior to his death on the cross he prayed for his disciples who he was sending into the world with that same love to share with others. He sends us on this mission also. And each day we have many opportunities as sent ones to share God’s love. So as we begin our day let us ask ourselves, “How will I share God’s love today?”
Pray for God to guide you to someone to whom you can share God’s love. It may be a simple act of kindness, generosity, a smile for someone who needs an uplift in their spirit, or giving a helping hand to someone in need. It may be words of encouragement or comfort that someone needs to hear. If we let God guide us through the Holy Spirit we will find a way to let Christ send us with the Good News of God’s love. Pray for God’s guidance, because Jesus sends you to share this news with others.

Happy New Year!!!

 

Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep an open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

                                                                                                    Matthew 5:16 MSG

 

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

NLS Board

 

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Can you believe it’s almost here? Does that make you feel excited?

Nostalgic?

Anxious?

In the busyness of the holiday season, it’s easy to find ourselves distracted from the reason we’re celebrating: the gift of Immanuel, “God with us.”  

Advent is simply a season of expectant waiting and preparation

We do still have time to reflect on something truly awesome: the miracle of God choosing to enter the world in human form!

Take the time to open your heart to discover God’s intricate plan to save the world from sin and the promises fulfilled in the birth of His Son.

Wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas – filled with His joy and peace.

Wendy Showalter, NLS Board Preside

Third Sunday of Advent

Third Sunday of Advent
When Mary learned that she was to bear the Messiah, her heart overflowed with praise for the
God of Israel. As we prepare to celebrate the Savior’s birth, our hearts overflow as well.
Sometimes our hearts and prayers do not overflow with joyful praise – but with busy concerns
of the day or pleas for help.
Let us remember that Jesus was born among us to save us and pour His love upon us.
We can have hearts overflowing in grateful praise as we join with Mary during this Advent
season and rejoice in the miracle birth.
 
Wendy Showalter, NLS Board President

 

Second Sunday of Advent

As we journey this season of Advent, it is our Savior’s light that is shining in our hearts.  This light is for all nations.  How sad it is to see many nations sinking into darkness.

 

Let us pray for all the world – that people will be drawn to His light of love and peace.  Enable all Christians to rise and shine – and draw many to the brightness our Lord.

That one Light.

 

Wendy Showalter, NLS Board President

Don’t Skip Over Advent!

Are you as shocked as many others are at how we rush into Christmas?  When I entered a store on Tuesday, September 4 (the day after Labor Day), I didn’t expect to see aisles of Christmas products, but there they were!  Wait a minute!  What about Halloween/Reformation Day, All Saints Day, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving?  In our rush to get to Christmas, are we going to skip all those special days?
Even more tragic, are we going to skip right over the Advent Season–those special weeks for getting spiritually ready for Christmas and the miracle of God being born in a manger just so he could die on a cross for us?  May that miracle of love never be taken lightly nor become routine for any of us.
I hate shopping, but I confess I joined over a thousand shoppers on a chilly Black Friday morning, standing in line hoping to grab a special bargain (and I did).  But as I waited and looked at the line–long before I got there and becoming blocks long as time went on–I was reminded of a recent, haunting Christmas song by Becky Kelley:  ‘Where’s the line to see Jesus?’  That’s the question she was asked by her 4-year-old nephew, Spencer, as he saw the long line waiting to see Santa Claus.
Maybe like me, you also have and will spend time standing in some long lines. but are we standing in the long line of saints waiting to see Jesus?  The greatest gift isn’t in the mall (real or virtual)–the real Gift is in the manger–and He is God’s Gift for every sinner.  As we get ready to celebrate His first coming, may we also prepare for His second coming.
Martin Luther wrote a beautiful Christmas hymn, ‘From Heaven Above to Earth I Come’ and one verse can be our Advent prayer:  ‘Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child, make Thee a bed, soft, undefiled, within my heart, that it may be a quiet chamber kept for Thee.’
As Mary, amid all the excitement of that first Christmas, found time to ‘ponder all these things in her heart.’ may we also, amid all the chaos and confusion of this Christmas, find some quiet time and place to think about, to meditate, to marvel at God’s great love for us in sending His only Son to be our only Beautiful Savior.
May God bless your Advent so He can better bless your Christmas!
God Loves You & So Do I
Pastor Bob

First Sunday of Advent

First Sunday of Advent

We often find ourselves overwhelmed during the busy Christmas season.  We spend endless hours shopping and baking and decorating.  There are choir concerts and special worship services to attend.  We invite guests into our homes.  Do we have to say “yes” to everything and everyone?

Well, yes, we must say “yes” to at least one invitation – that one invitation from our Lord, the Child of Bethlehem.

He quietly asks to trust his Word and his promises – so that through faith in his name, we will bear the fruit of love and service that brings glory to the Heavenly Father.

So, even in this very busy and exciting season, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to say “yes” and reflect his love in our lives each day.

Enjoy this Season of Waiting!

Wendy Showalter, NLS Board President.

Thanksgiving greetings from Pastor Bob

Psalm 107:1 is a great guide for our Thanksgiving celebrations.  It begins with ‘give thanks.’  Surely not just on one day, but every day we have much for which to be thankful (God’s blessings on the good days and the presence of God and His people on the bad days).  It continues ‘to the Lord.’  We don’t pat ourselves on the back and take credit for our blessings, but our Thanksgiving is directed to God, the source of all blessings.

 

The psalmist continues by giving us the reason we give thanks to the Lord: ‘for He is good.’  Throughout another year God has preserved, provided for and protected His people on earth; pouring out His gifts for sinners who have neither earned nor deserved any of them.  After urging us to look back with thanksgiving over the past year filled with good gifts from God, the verse ends by inviting us to look to the future with hope, joy, and faith: ‘His love endures forever.’

 

Perhaps some things came to an end in this past year, but God and His love for us will never end.  As we say and hear on our weekends:  there is nothing you can do to make God love you any less than He does and there is nothing you have to do to make God love you any more than He already does.

 

We look back to the past, we look at the present and we look ahead to the future and give thanks that neither God nor His love for us will ever change.

 

Take a moment this Thanksgiving to look back, look around and look ahead–not just to next year but for all of eternity–and thank our great God for His everlasting goodness and love.

 

God loves you & so do I!
Pastor Bob

Thanksgiving Message from Wendy Showalter National VdC Board President

Consider how giving thanks to God daily will positively impact our lives.  When we pause to acknowledge His blessings, we can live in a state of spiritual peace.

I pray that this week will spark an attitude of gratitude in each of our hearts.  Let us embrace God’s never-ending love, inexhaustible grace and always-accessible presence in our lives.

Have a blessed and thankful Thanksgiving.

Wendy Showalter

National VdC Board President

July 30, 2018 — IGNITE

(Via de Cristo members, please see note at the end of this message.)

So I just finished at a fantastic National Gathering of fellow members of Via de Cristo in Palm Beach, Florida. What a powerful time! People from all over the U.S. were there. As the Spiritual Director for the ministry I worked closely with those in charge of the worship services. What a great group, ranging from those reading the Word, to leading the service, assisting in communion and those leading the worship and bringing the Word. Awesome is definitely a word that comes to my mind.

I had a couple of opportunities to share the Word and lead people into prayer. For those of you who know me, you know for some I really push the ticket. I mean I encourage people to rise up and live the abundant life in Jesus name. Some sit back and take it all in – others jump into the deep end of the pool, if you know what I mean.

After the last service, I had opportunity to talk with two of the women who sang on the Praise team. One apologetically asked me, since I talk of faith so much, have I ever had any failures? I had to tell her the truth – more than I can number! As a matter of fact, I told her of a time my bride and I actually sat down and wrote out a list of 150 attempts in ministries that never panned out… flopped… busted… washed out!

I’m sharing this with you because I need you to understand that when you can’t understand it… when you want to stop believing in it… when you’re struggling and hurting through it… it’s God working. I wholeheartedly believe that!

You see, someone is facing even harder obstacles and yet it seems easier for you to just wave the white flag of surrender, or throw in the towel. Somebody opened an email and it was another denial. Somebody sorted the mail and the check didn’t show up. Somebody’s going back to the doctor with no good news. Somebody’s depending on others and they’re not showing up.

You may be frustrated but don’t lose your faith. You may be discouraged but don’t you dare give in. You may get depressed but don’t discard your deliverance.

Because like my bride and I, you’ve got to believe something greater is headed your way. That’s right, after counting 150 failures, we made some more, but kept right on going. We believe that if the enemy is trying so hard, it’s only because God has already signed the order of protection over our lives.

So, although we can get frustrated, we’re going to stand on the battlefield and fight. You can be frustrated, but don’t fall. If you get knocked down, get into the infirmary so you can get back to the infantry. Even in our frustration we still need to be faithful and fearless!

Read this…
“But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.” 2 Chronicles 15:7

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: What might seem like a failure in your eyes, is really triumphant in God’s eyes, because you haven’t given up yet!

Father,
I will not lose my courage. I am looking for my reward. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

PS (VdC). I want to thank everyone in Via de Cristo in allowing me to invade your lives with this word of encouragement the last two years. Not being on the Board of Directors anymore, this will be the last Ignite 2018 you will receive from VdC. However, I will still be writing these words of encouragement Monday through Friday and if you would like to continue to receive them, please email me (mmmarxhausen@gmail.com) and I will be glad to include you on my contact list and send it to you. God loves you and so do I!