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April 1st- April 15th
“Winter Grace Senior Ministries, Inc. invites you to our FREE Virtual 50+ Resource Fair from April 1st-April 15th. From the comfort of your own home, please visit with Authors, Wellness Experts, participate in Workshops, view “Ask the Expert” Panels, and meet 25+ Community Resources. Also receive a daily dose of inspiration from pastors from across the region and the country. www.ResourceFair.WinterGrace.org. Please contact Rev. Debbie Burgio at 443-832-3805 or email@example.com with any questions. Register for Live events at https://bit.ly/3uzyNHP Most events are available 24/7. Only LIVE events require registration.”
Do you ever feel parched? Not just parched from a thirst that a cool glass of water can relieve, but parched in your soul. You feel weary, worn out, out of what we call “oomph” around my house. You are tired, unenthused about anything, perhaps discouraged? When I read the words “scorched earth” in this verse from Isaiah, these are the feelings that are brought to mind.
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.Isaiah 58:11
What might your needs be in a sun-scorched land? Water to wet your mouth and shelter from the sun come immediately to mind. Can’t you just feel the sun beating down on you? It’s hot and you are weary from your travels. No air-conditioning, no shade, hot, hot, hot.
Our daughter was born in Connecticut in October of 1995. By then it was lovely and cool outside, but that summer was one of the hottest Connecticut had on record. Navy base housing did not have air conditioning. I will admit to being spoiled by AC. My parents installed AC in the house the year I was born. That was another scorcher, or so I hear. At any rate, it was hot and I was pregnant, and I was hot. Did I mention it was hot? There were a couple of nights I sat in a cool tub just to have a little relief. One night I even told my husband I was taking our son, just a baby himself, to a hotel and we were going to cool off. I didn’t really go, but I was desperate.
The heat concerns of that summer cannot really compare to what Isaiah is talking about here. It wasn’t really a scorched earth summer. He was talking about a scorched earth season of the soul. Have you felt that way? Chances are you have and may not have put this description to it, but the feelings most likely were there. Drained, exhausted, empty, devoid of any (wait for the technical word), as I said earlier, oomph!
What do we do when we feel as though our lives are in a season in the desert? We turn our hearts and our attention to the One who loved us first, loves us now, and always will. We turn our heart to God!
What if you are so frustrated and empty and feel that God does not even notice you anymore? Turn your eyes upon Jesus! You may say that is easier said than done. I can understand why you might feel that way. It is at this time we need, more than ever, to turn our eyes and heart to Our Creator. God chose to create us in His image. We were chosen, put here by God because He desired us to be. He simply desires us to be. Not be here, do this job, do this task, do anything. He chose us to be. A human being, not a human doing. Rest in that thought for a moment. We are here simply because God chose us to be.
He doesn’t need us to do a job for Him. The Creator of everything doesn’t need us. But He chose to create us. We are chosen by God for a unique and magnificent purpose. That purpose is to be in relationship with God. We bring God glory by being.
Now once we realize the gift of life that God has given us in Christ Jesus, a gift given freely by grace, we are transformed. We are a new creation. Not only did God give us life on earth, He sent Jesus that we might have life eternal with Him in heaven forever. We are transformed into someone who desires to do. We each are given gifts and talents to pursue the plans God has for us. We seek to live in God’s will, fulfilling His plan for us. That transformation leads us to share God with others in countless ways that reflect the gifts given to us.
This verse of Isaiah tells us that this life may at times feel like we live in a sun-scorched land, but we will be strengthened, like a well-watered garden, a spring whose waters never fail. How incredibly refreshing. Not just to cool us, but a refreshment that only comes from the living water of Jesus Christ. We are refreshed from within with the generous gift of the Holy Spirit filling us as a spring.
Try to imagine the most lush garden you can. See in your mind’s eye the life all around you. Healthy, robust, and at the same time tranquil and soothing. Feel the freshness, the palpable rejuvenation from being completely refreshed. The temperature is perfect. The humidity is perfect. The sounds of water running are relaxing. This never ending spring flows within us in the gift of the Holy Spirit.
This is the gift of God, a well of love and refreshment that never runs dry. We will go through valleys. We will suffer loss and experience difficult times, but God, the God who created us to be in relationship with Him, will never leave nor fore sake us.
We are given gifts and talents for fulfilling our God-given purpose. But sometimes, we merely need to spend time being in God’s presence, being that well-watered garden, and rejuvenating from that spring whose waters never run dry.
We are so excited to introduce our upcoming “The Life of Christ in Art: The Annunciation”. This is the first in a series of programs tracing the life of Jesus from the Annunciation to the Ascension. Here is a quick introduction:
Coming March 1, 2021!
The full course includes an in-depth Bible Study of Luke 1:26-38, 20+ artworks, an insight into the lives of the artists, and so much more. We hope you will join us.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care….. Oh right, that’s the Night Before Christmas, not the week before. There is just one week until we celebrate the birth of Christ. We are busy buying and wrapping gifts, assuming they have actually been delivered. We are contemplating the menu. This year, we are wondering who we can actually have to our homes for the celebration. Every year is a year unlike any other, but 2020 has taken this reality to a whole new level.
I am wondering if we need a little Christmas right this very moment. When I was in 9th grade, my school performed Mame for our musical. I was fortunate enough to be in the chorus. It turns out when it comes to singing solo, no sound comes out of my mouth. However, the chorus was the place for me. The song sung about needing a little Christmas comes to my mind on the occasion of thees challenging times. Mame, Angela Lansbury on stage, was looking for something to lift her and her family and “needed a little Christmas right that very moment. Candles in the window, carols on the Spinet.”Continue reading “One Week Until Christmas”
Do your feelings follow your actions or do your actions follow your feelings? It is really easy for us to allow our actions to follow our feelings. We think something, it produces a feeling, and then we spring into action. This process can go one of two ways. We have a great thought, it invigorates us, and then we act on it with excitement and happiness. Or, we have a negative thought, a soul-sucking thought, it depresses or angers us, and then we act in that direction.
Or we can decide our actions in advance. We can make a plan for our day, week, etc., go through with our actions, and reap the rewards of faithful completion, or at least progress in our work, think positively on our actions, and feel accordingly. This path requires discipline, planning, and training. It is definitely a more difficult pattern to get into, but one with many rewards.
Do we want to be tossed around like a small sailboat in a fierce storm, or an ocean liner on a well-thought out, ever vigilant voyage? Yes, rogue waves can occur, but they are rare.
Just recently I wrote about taking our thoughts captive unto Christ. This was to be an encouragement to change your thinking, especially when the day begins. Use what you say to yourself first to build yourself up and rely on Christ. Look at it as an experiment, if you will, that you can perform, for free, on yourself. Evidently, continuing this theme shares what thoughts I am having lately. It is a desire to be obedient to God.
I read these words from 1 Peter this morning:Continue reading “Praise, Mercy, & Hope”
I asked my friends on Facebook this morning what 3 words would have described them and their state of mind when they first woke up this morning. There are no responses yet. I asked because if I had to answer this morning, they wouldn’t have been words that I would like to share. They were not necessarily sunshine and happiness, the picture we frequently like to give to the outside world through social media.
We live in a time when some of us, me included, share a lot with the outside world. Perhaps we overshare. Perhaps we share thoughts best kept to ourselves or in a discussion with a close friend or even more, in prayer. Words between us and Jesus.
What words do you think the Older Adults among us would share as their first words when they wake up? I would imagine the range of thoughts and feelings from our more experienced friends are as wide ranging as they are for anyone. Are those words more hopeful? More thoughtful? More wise? More words of woe or words of gratitude and expectancy?Continue reading “What Were Your 3 Words This Morning?”