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Posts tagged ‘united church of christ’

Say Uncle – a Still speaking Devotional

Say “Uncle”

1 Kings 19:4-6
[Elijah] came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”

Dwight Lee Wolter

As the youngest child in my family, all three of my siblings could easily overpower me. I always put up a good fight, but the outcome was never in question. The struggles usually ended with me being pinned against the floor and my siblings demanding, “Say Uncle!” Only then would they let me go.

Today, many years later, I looked out the window of my soul and softly said, “Uncle.” This has been a difficult winter in many parts of the country, with environmental crises such as horrendous hurricanes, blinding blizzards and crippling drought. And there have been many excruciating crises of human origin such as the slaughter of innocent children and adults in Newtown, Connecticut. Enough already! On the count of three let’s all say, “Uncle!”

Many are quick to remind me that things could be much worse; that we should hold fast to an attitude of gratitude; and that God never gives you more than you can handle—but sometimes I wonder. While I am pleased and proud of what many have mobilized and accomplished in the aftermath of these and other tragedies, sometimes I allow myself to hunker down under the broom bush in my soul and surrender to the sweet agony of grief.

Eventually, when I have had enough, some angel comes along and tells me it is time to get up and eat. Nourished by bread and grief, I find strength to return to my quest of being a useful advocate once again.

Prayer
God of many names including Mother, Father and Uncle—wherever we are on our spiritual journey, be with us as we avail ourselves of the heights and depths of your creation.

About the Author
Dwight Lee Wolter is the author of Forgiving Our Parents, Freedom Through Forgiving (a workbook), and Forgiving Our Grownup Children. He is pastor of the Congregational Church of Patchogue on Long Island, New York.

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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/

Grief – a Stillspeaking Devotional

Grief
Bible Excerpt from Genesis 37:29-36

All his sons and all his daughters sought to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.

Reflection by Quinn G. Caldwell

Jacob has been tricked into believing that his son Joseph is dead. His grief is huge. He cannot be comforted; he wishes he himself were dead.

Any who have lost a child will relate. They say that there is no worse pain in the world. There is something so terribly wrong, so out of order about a child dying before a parent. The pain doesn’t fade with time, they say, and you never get over it. You simply hope to find a way to learn to live with it.

God also knows what it’s like. “For God so loved the world that God gave God’s only-begotten son . . . . ” God lost a child, too.

It is a strange thing, but it may be that the ones who know best the depth of God’s love for us, the only ones who really know what God sacrificed in Jesus’ death, are those who have lost children of their own. For they are the only ones who know the depth of the pain that God experienced in order to bring us home.

Prayer

Great God of all mystery, before we felt the pain, you suffered it; before the burden came upon us, your strength lifted it; before sorrow darkened our hearts, you were grieved. As you walk in the valley of every shadow, be our good shepherd and sustain us while we walk with you, lest in weakness we falter.*  Amen.

* Book of Worship, United Church of Christ, p. 364. New York: United Church of Christ Office for Church Life and Leadership, 1986.

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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/

Pure Satisfaction – a Stillspeaking Devotional

Pure Satisfaction
Psalm 131

Bible Excerpt
I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time on and forevermore.

Reflection
by Ron Buford

Is there anything more beautiful than the sense of contentment and satisfaction of a baby whose hungry cry is satisfied with its mother’s milk? So it is with us. And we wonder why we get irritable and cranky when we fill our minds and our lives with the things that do not produce love, peace, satisfaction, and justice.

The pure milk of God’s word is revealed to us as we read the scriptures, pray, listen for God, and sing God’s praises–especially in community. But that is only the beginning. God’s truth and contentment are most realized as we move into the world, trusting God to guide us, burning the spiritual calories we have been fed by God, growing to be healthy and life-giving.

Prayer
Gracious God, thank you for the moments I feel the satisfaction of being in your presence. Help me to remember this feeling and how it satisfies. O God, I am prone to wander, often seeking unfulfilling substitutes. Thank you, God. You always draw me back to you, no matter how often I wander. Thanks! Amen!

About the Author
Ron Buford is Director of Development, Northern California Nevada Conference, United Church of Christ.
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Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.

===================

“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/

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