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Posts tagged ‘God is still speaking’

The Big and the Small -a Stillspeaking Devotional

The Big and the Small

Amos 9:8-15 
The eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the face of the earth—except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, says the Lord. For lo, I will command, and shake the house of Israel among all the nations as one shakes with a sieve, but no pebble shall fall to the ground. All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, who say, “Evil shall not overtake or meet us.” 

On that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen, and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; in order that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name, says the Lord who does this. The time is surely coming, says the Lord, when the one who plows shall overtake the one who reaps, and the treader of grapes the one who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it. I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant them upon their land, and they shall never again be plucked up out of the land that I have given them, says the Lord your God.

Reflection by Donna Schaper 

If you have ever had a pebble in your shoe, you know what harassment is. You have to stop, take off your shoe, potentially your sock as well, and get that pebble out. It is in your way. It may be small but it is still significant. God appears not to be harassed by the small. God appears not to know how not to pay attention to the little things or the little ones. 

This is good news for the small and bad news for the bigs. My kids always called us parents “the bigs.” We can go if the bigs say yes. We can get the ice cream if the bigs say yes. I always wondered how much they hated us for our power. Children are both protected and annoyed by what adults do to them. Never ignore a child who is telling you “I am a BIG girl.” She may be defensive but she means it. 

So what is it about God and Israel? It was small and God protected it. Does God preferentially care for the small and the powerless? The children? The ones who have to be shaken with a sieve to even be seen?

I think yes. I think the evidence from widow’s mite to shaken sieve is abundant. If you are small God is likely to be with you. If you are big, whoops. Israel as a nation surely must understand now that its smallness has become so big, or at least so pivotal. The rich surely understand, now that they fear the poor and gate themselves when not sitting in the walled protection of first class. 

No pebble shall fall to the ground. But what about the boulders? Who can care for them? I mean us. Is God large enough to shake and save both big and small? 

Prayer 
O God, whether we are big or small, boulder or pebble, enlighten us and show us how much you care. Help us to turn towards the small, especially as we get big. And keep the Bigs from being too large to fail. And protect the pebbles. Amen.

My YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/Ninure

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

Sometimes Spirits Need Shelters – a Stillspeaking Devotional

Sometimes Spirits Need Shelters

Excerpt from 1 Thessalonians 5:12-20
“Do not quench the Spirit.

Reflection by Maren C. Tirabassi

Ellie adapted and adjusted to limitations caused by aging, redefining loss as opportunity.

“I can’t stay at home – how exciting to meet new folks in the assisted living facility. My children live in other states – isn’t Skype awesome? My pastor retired, but the interim (when plied with pumpkin bread) has amazing stories. My part-time job requires more vision than I have, but I can volunteer. When Fickle, my Jack Russell terrier, died, I found the perfect volunteer job walking dogs and cleaning small animal cages at the SPCA.”

For five years Ellie was settled. She avoided bingo and gossip at Plymouth Grove, but the new pastor was acceptable, and Ellie was indispensable at the SPCA. She was a model of “Thessalonian” life that Paul commends—never idle, full of contagious joy, prayerful and thankful. Then the “quencher” happened. Ellie lost the use of her legs and suddenly discovered how much of her life was based on mobility.

Then the SPCA director asked Ellie if she would be willing to sit on a small chair inside four of the shelter cages where new dogs were so timid and traumatized that they were virtually non-adoptable. Not walk. Just sit. For an hour visit with each one, Ellie sits and talks and scratches ears, if the dog is willing to approach her. Four hours a day, six days a week, she, in the words of Paul’s letter, “encourages the fainthearted, helps the weak, is patient with all of them.”

Prayer

God, thank you for all the small and precious stories of unquenchable spirits. Help me recognize them, share them and live into my own. Amen.

About the Author
Maren C. Tirabassi is Pastor of Union Congregational UCC of Madbury, NH. An updated version of Touch Holiness: Resources for Worship has just been published by The Pilgrim Press.

FAIR USE NOTICE:

This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc.

This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

This material is distributed without profit


Every 3.6 seconds a real person dies from hunger somewhere in the world!!!
Feed a hungry person today:
http://www.hungersite.com

My YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/Ninure

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

The Cleaning Lady

Have you ever visited/belong tp a church like the one in this story? Your friendly Hippie is afreaid she has. But guess what? Jesus can be found there too!

The Cleaning Lady

There was a little old cleaning Lady who went to a local church. When the invitation was given at the end of the service, she went forward wanting to become a member. The pastor listened as she told him how she had accepted Jesus and wanted to be baptized and become a member of the church.

The pastor thought to himself, “oh my, she is so unkempt, even smells a little, and her fingernails are not clean. She picks up garbage, cleans toilets – what would the members think of her.” He told her that she needed to go home and pray about it and then decide.

The following week, here she came again. She told the pastor that she had prayed about itand still wanted to be baptized. “I have passed this church for so long. It is so beautiful, and I truly want to become a member.”

Again the pastor told her to go home and pray some more.

A few weeks later while out eating at the restaurant, the pastor saw the little old lady. He did not want her to think that he was ignoring her so he approached her and said, “I have not seen you for a while. Is everything all right?”

“Oh, yes,” she said. “I talked with Jesus, and He told me not to worry about becoming a member of your church.”

“He did?” said the pastor.

“Oh, yes” she replied. “Jesus said he’s been trying to get into your church for years, and even HE can’t get in!”

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FAIR USE NOTICE:

This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc.

This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

This material is distributed without profit

>
Every 3.6 seconds a real person dies from hunger somewhere in the world!!!
Feed a hungry person today:
http://www.hungersite.com

My YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/Ninure

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

One Prayer at a Time = a Stillspeaking Devotional

One Prayer at a Time

Excerpt from 1 Samuel 1:21-28

“And [Hannah] said, ‘Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord.’

Reflection by Maren C. Tirabassi

My best communities of faith are recovery groups. Some of them have “anonymous” in their title and others do not. These communities teach me how to live one day at a time, how to simply take others at the one day they are having without judgment, how to tell my story and listen to the stories of others and how to pray really hard!

When it comes to addiction the world is full of misunderstanding. Hannah was praying her longing for a child and Eli said, “How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself?” Did he make an assumption because he knew Hannah from her annual visits, or because that was his go-to criticism of women? We don’t know.

Hannah didn’t become defensive. She shared her story and asked for his help, which shook the holier-than-thou right out of him. Eli was willing to sponsor her in prayer before God. He rejoiced with her years later when she came with her boy Samuel to show him how her life was changed. And Samuel never drank.

God changes lives. In spite of all the ways we can misunderstand, enable, judge, or expect the worst of one another, every day is an opportunity to re-make relationships and recover hope.

Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept everyone as they are, the courage to tell my own story, and the wisdom to trust God to take care of the rest. Amen.

Maren C. Tirabassi is Pastor of Union Congregational UCC of Madbury, NH. An updated version of Touch Holiness: Resources for Worship has just been published by The Pilgrim Press.

Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.

“The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; [the Lord] upholds the orphan and the widow.”
– Psalm 146:7-9

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“I trace the rainbow through the rain and see the promise is not in vain.”

My YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/Ninure

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

Hippie Poem: I see, I hear.

Something I read in another Blog sent me off on a weird tangent.

I found myself writing this thing.…part of it was a response to what I read..a few lines that I keft on the Blog as a response..sorta.

I call this a poem for lack of a better term.

I see, I hear.

I don’t understand what you said, but I think I know what you meant.

I AM LISTENING

Even if I don’t agree.

It seems there’s too much background noise..its blurred my inner vision
Confused my mission.
Made moot my decision.

Yet I do see…..

Yoi wear sorrow like a towel, but the towel is too wet.

I hope its only water…and not fear,
That way you can throw it to the floor

Is this a poem?
It doesn’t rhyme
It won’t rhyme
And I am not sure I would want it to.

I’d rather give you my time.

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Every 3.6 seconds a real person dies from hunger somewhere in the world!!!
Feed a hungry person today:
http://www.hungersite.com

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

The Power of Negative Thinking – a Stillspeaking Devotional

Stillspeaking Daily Devotional

The Power of Negative Thinking

Ecclesiastes 1: 13 – 14
“With the help of wisdom I have been at pains to study all that is done under heaven; oh, what a weary task God has given humankind to labor at! I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and what vanity it all is . . .”

Reflection by Anthony B. Robinson

The author of Ecclesiastes, Qoheleth, apparently missed the memo about being upbeat, cheery, positive, and salting every other sentence with the word “Awesome.”

Like other significant stretches of Scripture — say Job, Lamentations, many of the Psalms, as well as major chunks of the Prophets and the Gospels — Ecclesiastes is more scathing than sweet. Qoheleth often finds his fellow human beings more dismaying than inspiring.

While this sort of Eeyore-ish perspective can definitely be overdone, so too can the mandate of “positive thinking” be taken to an extreme.

So I’m grateful for Oscar the Grouch-like Qoheleth. Even more, I’m grateful that there’s honesty in Scripture and the Christian faith about the reality of loss, disappointment, bewilderment and discouragement. Good Friday is as important as Easter, even if the crowds are smaller.

In a recent New York Times column on positive-thinking firewalking (from which I borrowed my title) the writer remarks, “The relentless cheer of positive thinking begins to seem less like an expression of joy and more like a stressful effort to stamp out any trace of negativity. And telling yourself that everything must work out is poor preparation for those times when they don’t. You can try, if you insist, to follow the famous self-help advice to eliminate the word “failure” from your vocabulary — but then you’ll just have an inadequate vocabulary when failure strikes.”

Christian faith not only gives us an adequate and a truthful vocabulary, it does far more. It declares unexpected, even scandalous, news: in Christ God came for the sinful and lost, which is the most inclusive category of all.

Prayer
Grant us grace to live this day in hope, a hope that is honest. Amen.
Anthony Robinson 2011

Disclaimer: Pursuant to the UCC (Uniform Comedy Code), all depictions of events and persons on this site are more real than reality itself, and therefore any resemblance to reality is not really real.

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FAIR USE NOTICE:

This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc.

This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

This material is distributed without profit

IMPORTANT NOTICE

You may have noticed the increased amount of notices for you to notice. Some of our notices have not been noticed. This is very noticeable. It has been noticed that the responses to the notices have been noticeably unnoticed. This notice is to remind you to notice the notices and respond to the notices, because we do not want the notices to go unnoticed.

“I trace the rainbow through the rain and see the promise is not in vain.”</i


Every 3.6 seconds a real person dies from hunger somewhere in the world!!!
Feed a hungry person today:
http://www.hungersite.com

My YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/Ninure

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

On to Jerusalem – a Stillspeaking Devotional

On to Jerusalem

Acts 21:7-15
We had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais; and we greeted the believers and stayed with them for one day. The next day we left and came to Caesarea; and we went into the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the seven, and stayed with him. He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy. While we were staying there for several days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. He came to us and took Paul’s belt, bound his own feet and hands with it, and said, ‘Thus says the Holy Spirit, “This is the way the Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.” ’ When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, ‘What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’ Since he would not be persuaded, we remained silent except to say, ‘The Lord’s will be done.’ 

After these days we got ready and started to go up to Jerusalem.

Reflection by Anthony B. Robinson

Paul was making a kind of farewell tour en route to Jerusalem. He knew, and so apparently did everyone else, that he would not be well-received in Jerusalem. To go there would be to put himself in danger. Why go?

All along the way, different warning signs flashed one after another. Here, some guy named Agabus tied himself up, hand and foot, to show Paul what lay ahead for him in Jerusalem. Despite Agabus’s object lesson, Paul was determined to go.

Have you ever known someone like that? I know a young woman who was determined to go and work among the poor in the most violent city in the world, Johannesburg. I read of a man who insisted on seeking survivors in the wreckage of New York’s Twin Towers, though one would collapse upon him. I know quite a number of people who keep on going places that aren’t easy to go to, and are even in some ways dangerous for them. Why go? Because they have been called. Called to serve. Called to give. Called to go.

In the end, God does not care most of all about our safety or about our comfort. God cares that we live lives that matter, that we live our lives for Christ’s sake. “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and the sake of the gospel, will save it.” (Mark 8: 35)

Prayer
May I live this day so as to lose myself in Christ and his way, and so be truly found. Amen.

  Join us on i.ucc.org for prayer and conversation.

Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.
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My YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/Ninure

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

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