MERCY – Episode 8

Retracing the steps of Jesus during Holy Week requires considerable soul-searching and a willingness to get in touch with the darkness of the Season of Lent. Most of us would much rather jump immediately into a joyful Easter; however, it is the crucial season leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection that teaches us the…

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MERCY – Episode 7

Retracing the steps of Jesus during Holy Week requires considerable soul-searching and a willingness to get in touch with the darkness of the Season of Lent. Most of us would much rather jump immediately into a joyful Easter; however, it is the crucial season leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection that teaches us the…

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MERCY – Episode 6

Retracing the steps of Jesus during Holy Week requires considerable soul-searching and a willingness to get in touch with the darkness of the Season of Lent. Most of us would much rather jump immediately into a joyful Easter; however, it is the crucial season leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection that teaches us the…

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MERCY – Episode 5

Retracing the steps of Jesus during Holy Week requires considerable soul-searching and a willingness to get in touch with the darkness of the Season of Lent. Most of us would much rather jump immediately into a joyful Easter; however, it is the crucial season leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection that teaches us the…

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MERCY – Episode 4

Retracing the steps of Jesus during Holy Week requires considerable soul-searching and a willingness to get in touch with the darkness of the Season of Lent. Most of us would much rather jump immediately into a joyful Easter; however, it is the crucial season leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection that teaches us the…

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MERCY – Episode 3

Retracing the steps of Jesus during Holy Week requires considerable soul-searching and a willingness to get in touch with the darkness of the Season of Lent. Most of us would much rather jump immediately into a joyful Easter; however, it is the crucial season leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection that teaches us the…

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MERCY – Episode 2

Retracing the steps of Jesus during Holy Week requires considerable soul-searching and a willingness to get in touch with the darkness of the Season of Lent. Most of us would much rather jump immediately into a joyful Easter; however, it is the crucial season leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection that teaches us the…

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MERCY – Episode 1

Retracing the steps of Jesus during Holy Week requires considerable soul-searching and a willingness to get in touch with the darkness of the Season of Lent. Most of us would much rather jump immediately into a joyful Easter; however, it is the crucial season leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection that teaches us the…

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Mercy Promo

Retracing the steps of Jesus during Holy Week requires considerable soul-searching and a willingness to get in touch with the darkness of the Season of Lent. Most of us would much rather jump immediately into a joyful Easter; however, it is the crucial season leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection that teaches us the…

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Silent Night art. Colorful, patchwork hills with a starry night sky.

A Word of Love

Garrett Vickrey Sunday, December 20, 2020 Advent I Homily Psalm 89 Psalm 89 seems to be an effusive description of God’s covenantal love and blessings on King David, but if we read this whole psalm we read a testimony of the shocking experience of God not keeping those covenantal promises. The Psalm goes on to say:…

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Silent Night art. Colorful, patchwork hills with a starry night sky.

A Word of Joy

Garrett Vickrey Sunday, December 13, 2020 Advent I Homily Psalm 126 To say that my mom has had a tough last decade would not be an overstatement. As many of you know my dad died of Alzheimer’s disease earlier this year. My mom was his main care taker for about 14 years. Part of that…

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Silent Night art. Colorful, patchwork hills with a starry night sky.

A Word of Peace

Garrett Vickrey Sunday, December 6, 2020 Advent I Homily Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13 Psalm 85 is a reflection on God’s covenantal faithfulness. It’s a call for restoration and forgiveness. It’s a call to covenant. Don’t forget us. Show us your faithfulness. And the end turns to images of Steadfast love and faithfulness meeting; righteousness and peace…

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Silent Night art. Colorful, patchwork hills with a starry night sky.

A Word of Hope

Garrett Vickrey Sunday, November 29, 2020 Advent I Homily Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 Advent begins in the dark. It begins on the pages of newspapers and on local newscasts where we read and hear about all that is wrong. It doesn’t take much searching to find terrible news— news of people doing terrible things to others.…

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Devotions Based on Psalms: Psalm 82

St. John’s University, Collegivelle, MN, 56231 2006 Wednesday, June 17 By Diana Bridges Psalm 82 God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods. How long will you judge unjustly, And show partiality to the wicked? Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand…

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Devotions Based on Psalms: Psalm 46

St. John’s University, Collegivelle, MN, 56231 2006 Saturday, June 13 PSALM 46  Derlene Williams 1God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. 4There is a…

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Devotions Based on Psalms: Psalm 3

St. John’s University, Collegivelle, MN, 56231 2006 June 2, 2020 What do you do when life falls apart? Psalms 3 from The Message translation 1-2 Look! Enemies past counting! Enemies sprouting like mushrooms, Mobs of them all around me, roaring their mockery: “Hah! No help for him from God!” 3-4 But you, God, shield me on all sides; You ground…

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Sign Language: John’s Perception of the Messiah: “…second sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee”

The Saint John’s Bible, John Frontispiece: The Word Made Flesh. Donald Jackson, 2002 Sunday, May 17th Then Jesus came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went…

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Sign Language: John’s Perception of the Messiah: “the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory;”

The Saint John’s Bible, John Frontispiece: The Word Made Flesh. Donald Jackson, 2002 Saturday, May 16th On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.  Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him,…

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The Parables and The Pandemic: “Two men went up to the temple to pray…”

The Sower, Vincent van Gogh Copyright: www.bridgemanart.com Original: https://krollermuller.nl/en/vincent-van-gogh-the-sower Wednesday, May 13th He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God,…

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The Parables and The Pandemic: “…their need to pray always and to lose heart.”

The Sower, Vincent van Gogh Copyright: www.bridgemanart.com Original: https://krollermuller.nl/en/vincent-van-gogh-the-sower Tuesday, May 12th Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him…

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The Sower, Vincent van Gogh Copyright: www.bridgemanart.com Original: https://krollermuller.nl/en/vincent-van-gogh-the-sower Monday, May 11th The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. Who among you would say to…

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The Parables and The Pandemic: Sharing

The Sower, Vincent van Gogh Copyright: www.bridgemanart.com Original: https://krollermuller.nl/en/vincent-van-gogh-the-sower Sunday, May 10th “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even…

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The Parable and The Pandemic: “The most puzzling parable Jesus ever spoke…”

The Sower, Vincent van Gogh Copyright: www.bridgemanart.com Original: https://krollermuller.nl/en/vincent-van-gogh-the-sower Saturday, May 9th Then Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an…

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The Parables and The Pandemic: “I’ve been waiting for you.”

The Sower, Vincent van Gogh Copyright: www.bridgemanart.com Original: https://krollermuller.nl/en/vincent-van-gogh-the-sower Friday, May 8th Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them.  A few days later the younger son…

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The Parables and the Pandemic: “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

The Sower, Vincent van Gogh Copyright: www.bridgemanart.com Original: https://krollermuller.nl/en/vincent-van-gogh-the-sower Thursday, May 7th Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep…

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The Pandemic and The Parables: God is at work during the most difficult times.

The Sower, Vincent van Gogh Copyright: www.bridgemanart.com Original: https://krollermuller.nl/en/vincent-van-gogh-the-sower Tuesday, May 5th At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell…

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The Parables and The Pandemic: So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.

The Sower, Vincent van Gogh Copyright: www.bridgemanart.com Original: https://krollermuller.nl/en/vincent-van-gogh-the-sower Monday, May 4th Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against…

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The Parables and The Pandemic: “Lord, teach us to pray…”

The Sower, Vincent van Gogh Copyright: www.bridgemanart.com Original: https://krollermuller.nl/en/vincent-van-gogh-the-sower Sunday, May 3rd He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say:      Father, hallowed be your name.      Your kingdom…

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The Parables and The Pandemic: Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?

The Sower, Vincent van Gogh Copyright: www.bridgemanart.com Original: https://krollermuller.nl/en/vincent-van-gogh-the-sower Saturday, May 2nd Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,…

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The Parables and The Pandemic: The start of Luke’s parables!

The Sower, Vincent van Gogh Copyright: www.bridgemanart.com Original: https://krollermuller.nl/en/vincent-van-gogh-the-sower Friday, May 1st * Editor’s Note: Today we move to examining Luke’s parables. I find it interesting that there must have been many stories that Jesus told, but that the individual Gospel writers chose just some of those to illustrate their perspectives of Jesus. Of course, that brings up…

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The Parables and The Pandemic: “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”

The Sower, Vincent van Gogh Copyright: www.bridgemanart.com Original: https://krollermuller.nl/en/vincent-van-gogh-the-sower Thursday, April 30th “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the…

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The Parables and The Pandemic: A man on a journey entrusted his property to his slaves

The Sower, Vincent van Gogh Copyright: www.bridgemanart.com Original: https://krollermuller.nl/en/vincent-van-gogh-the-sower Wednesday, April 29th “For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received…

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The Parables and The Pandemic: Matthew 25:1-13

The Sower, Vincent van Gogh Copyright: www.bridgemanart.com Original: https://krollermuller.nl/en/vincent-van-gogh-the-sower Tuesday, April 28th Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with…

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The Parables and The Pandemic: The kingdome of heaven may compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son.

The Sower, Vincent van Gogh Copyright: www.bridgemanart.com Original: https://krollermuller.nl/en/vincent-van-gogh-the-sower Monday, April 27th Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son.  He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come.  Again…

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The Parables and The Pandemic:The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone

The Sower, Vincent van Gogh Copyright: www.bridgemanart.com Original: https://krollermuller.nl/en/vincent-van-gogh-the-sower Sunday, April 26th “Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country.  When the harvest time had come, he…

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The Parables and the Pandemic: Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?

The Sower, Vincent van Gogh Copyright: www.bridgemanart.com Original: https://krollermuller.nl/en/vincent-van-gogh-the-sower Saturday, April 25 When Jesus entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you…

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The Parables and Pandemic: How many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me?

Thursday, April 23rd Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.  As he…

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Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said, “When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive;  he gave gifts to his people.” (When it says, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the…

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Good Friday

Good Friday, April 10, 2020 So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood, see to it yourselves.” Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us…

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Maundy Thursday Meditation

Maundy Thursday Meditation And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’…

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Wednesday Holy Week

April 8th, Wednesday Holy Week Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed…

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Tuesday Meditation

Tuesday Meditation When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer,…

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Holy Week: Monday

Holy Week: Monday Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves; and he would not allow anyone to carry anything…

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Palm Sunday

When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just…

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Do Not Worry

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is…

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When You Fast

When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting,…

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When You Pray

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who…

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Do not refuse anyone

You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also;  and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well;  and…

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simply Yes or No

Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem,…

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It was also said

It was also said, “Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.” But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. –Matthew 5:31-32 In the 1980s I went to a…

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Rejoice

Emily Delgado Romans 12:9-12 Be joyful, rejoicing, because you have hope. Rejoice! Rejoice! Do not forget, for hope is always around the corner. Be patient in suffering; in affliction; in tribulation. Be patient when the troubles come, endure in distress. For you are faithful in prayer. Continuing, persevering, persisting at all times. You have devoted…

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God Comes to His People

David Bridges John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (NRSV) The Gospel – the Good News – of Jesus Christ, all in one verse.  The incarnation – God coming to…

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Shout

Alexis Kennedy Psalm 98:4-9 When something brings excitement to children or overwhelms them with joy, what do they do? They shout, they scream, they squeal with delight! They express it by making a loud and joyful noise! They certainly don’t whisper or sit and reflect on it quietly. And hearing their unrestrained reaction brings others…

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Just As You Are

Jeni and Ray Cook Furr Luke 2:8-10 8 That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. 9 All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the brightness of the Lord’s glory flashed around them. The shepherds were frightened. 10 But the angel said, “Don’t be…

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My Soul Glorifies the Lord

Carol Hagler Luke 1:46-48 As puzzled as a virginal teenaged Mary must have been by the angel’s announcement in Luke 1:30-33, she readily accepts her role as expectant mother of the long-awaited Messiah.  In Luke 1:46-48, she pours out her song of joy, praise, and gratitude to God in the beautiful Magnificat. When given this…

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Darkness

Mary Johns Nichols Isaiah 9:2-3 2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the…

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Trust God

Mark Noblitt Luke 2:11-14  (NIV) 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host…

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Remember

Emily Yeager Psalm 136:1-9, 23-26 Memory. Remembering. How many times a day do we comment about our memory or the things we need to remember? We hear comments like, “I’d forget my head if it wasn’t screwed on!” or “I don’t have a good memory for peoples’ names.” I laugh at comments like these and…

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Behold: The Peace of Worship

Norman Dugas Isaiah 43:1-3 There’s not a lot of peace in our modern, daily lives. Pressures abound. Cell phones ringing. Email pinging. Obligations tugging at our shirttails. Maybe that’s why I so look forward to the worship hour at Woodland each Sunday. Daniel chimes the hour, and I begin to feel at peace. I hear…

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The Gift of Peace

Mary Russell John 14:27 “Peace, this I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”   John 14:27 Oh, what comforting words to live by knowing that, in all situations one encounters, all…

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What a Wonderful World

Lisa Shinkins WBC Minister to Children Isaiah 11:6-9 As I read the Scripture assigned for this day, I could not help but think about the song by Louis Armstrong, “What a Wonderful World.” I love how this song brings a message of peace, love and acceptance to all through a “wonderful world.”  I feel too…

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Prepare for Christmas

Grayson Hanchey (age 10 years) Philippians 4:4-7 What Philippians 4:4-7 means to me is that you should not worry about anything else than God and you should not be afraid. I also think it wants you to know that you should show respect to God and Jesus and others around you. In preparing for Christmas,…

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Waiting in Community

Diana Bridges Psalm 62:1-2, 5-7 As you read these words, I’m about 745 miles northeast of Woodland, at The Dwelling Place, a Franciscan prayer center deep in rural east Mississippi. This is the twenty-fifth year I’ve spent a portion of Advent there, always waiting, always hoping, always in the company of good friends —- and…

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Hope Dangerously

Edie Dutton Romans 8:18-25 The New Testament in Modern English paraphrases verse 19 as “the whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the people of God coming into their own.” What an exciting image!  But too often I forget that sometimes the hope these verses describe is produced by persevering through…

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A Full Panoramic View

Paul Gagné Isaiah 40:11 Cameras offered on newer smartphones can be overwhelming. Many choices are provided like Night, Professional, Panoramic, Live Focus, etc. Furthermore, each option presents many levels of complexity. 99.9% of the time, I do not use any of these options. My goal is just to snap a quick picture. After all, I…

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Plans for Shalom

Lance Mayes Jeremiah 29:11-13 Have you ever thought something will never happen? You can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel? You have hope, but it is becoming wishful thinking? We were in the system to adopt for a long time (years) before we adopted Nicholas. Seeing our friends having babies and adopting…

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Refuge & Confidence

Lisa Massar Psalm 63:1-8 Today’s scripture, the first eight verses of the 63rd Psalm, beautifully reflect David’s ability to find refuge and confidence in God even when he was in the wilderness of Judah, fleeing from those who sought his life. Last May a group of Woodlanders under Randy Edwards’ direction trekked the circumference of…

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God is Our Hope

Daniel Zamora Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” This ancient prophecy was given to Ahaz, king of Judah, while Jerusalem was surrounded by the armies of Aram and Israel, its ally, commanded by their bullying…

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Advent Calendars

Ashley Allen Isaiah 40:1-5 “Prepare for God’s arrival. Jerusalem has served her sentence. All sins have been taken care of…Make the road straight and smooth…Then God’s bright glory will shine and everyone will see it. “ (The Message) Advent calendars are always welcomed in our house (especially the ones with chocolate in them). Over the…

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Dawntreading: Dr. Nora O. Lozano

Dawn Treading: A Monthly Blog Dedicated to New Experiences and Practices in Faith Development Editor’s Note: In the coming months we will post a blog each month in hopes of deepening our experiences in Christian education and faith development. We will seek to share insights on how one might grow in her/his relationship with Christ.…

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God Says, Yes

Week of Love We give thanks for the perfect love of your Son, so that we may, with grateful hearts, love one another.  Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By Garrett Vickrey John 3:16-17 This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why:…

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Celebrate

Week of Love We give thanks for the perfect love of your Son, so that we may, with grateful hearts, love one another.  Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By Sandy Peters Luke 2:11-14 Hmmm! Reverence and celebration! Wow! I’m looking at the two Advent themes for this year surrounded by the two prevailing themes…

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God with Us

Week of Love We give thanks for the perfect love of your Son, so that we may, with grateful hearts, love one another.  Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By Curtis Peterson John 6:33 “For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”   At…

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True Joy

The Week of Joy At the birth of your Son, you whisper to our hearts, Father, as you fill us with the joy of our salvation. We thank you. Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By Tina McCartney Psalm 40:16 When you are going through the worst experience of your life, a life-changing…

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Love in Action

The Week of Joy At the birth of your Son, you whisper to our hearts, Father, as you fill us with the joy of our salvation. We thank you. Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By Debby Murphy Romans 12:9-12 When God called Mike and me to move to San Antonio two years…

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The Greatest Gift

The Week of Joy At the birth of your Son, you whisper to our hearts, Father, as you fill us with the joy of our salvation. We thank you. Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By Kay Dabney John 1:14 “The Word became human and lived here on earth among us. He was…

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Wired to Love Music

The Week of Joy At the birth of your Son, you whisper to our hearts, Father, as you fill us with the joy of our salvation. We thank you. Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By Patty Villarreal Psalm 98:4-9 “Tell everyone on this earth to sing happy songs in praise of the…

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Entrusted with a Treasure

The Week of Joy At the birth of your Son, you whisper to our hearts, Father, as you fill us with the joy of our salvation. We thank you. Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By Diana Bridges Luke 2:8-10 Shepherds in first-century Palestine understood their status in society. It was low and…

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Promises

The Week of Joy At the birth of your Son, you whisper to our hearts, Father, as you fill us with the joy of our salvation. We thank you. Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By Jerome Malek Luke 1:46-48 Then Mary said, “My heart is overflowing with praise of my Lord, my…

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Christmas Music

The Week of Joy At the birth of your Son, you whisper to our hearts, Father, as you fill us with the joy of our salvation. We thank you. Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By Jason Hanchey Isaiah 9:2-3 I love Christmas. I should say I need Christmas. I get a of…

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True and Perfect Peace

The Week of Peace As your peace rules in our hearts, we give thanks to you, Lord, and rejoice in the birth of the Prince of Peace.  Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By Sue Koning Luke 2:11-14 Because of my love for music and how it influences my life and faith witness,…

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What Truly Brings Peace

The Week of Peace As your peace rules in our hearts, we give thanks to you, Lord, and rejoice in the birth of the Prince of Peace.  Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By Kay Myers John 16:33 As His final days on this earth were closing in on Him, Jesus gave much…

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With Us

The Week of Peace As your peace rules in our hearts, we give thanks to you, Lord, and rejoice in the birth of the Prince of Peace.  Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By Shirley Cowden Isaiah 43:1-3 One summer during my high school years I had the opportunity to canoe in the…

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Peace Means Waiting

The Week of Peace As your peace rules in our hearts, we give thanks to you, Lord, and rejoice in the birth of the Prince of Peace.  Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By Finley Vickrey (8 ½) John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do…

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Garden of Eden Peace

The Week of Peace As your peace rules in our hearts, we give thanks to you, Lord, and rejoice in the birth of the Prince of Peace.  Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By Lance Mayes Isaiah 11:6-9 “The wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the…

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Rejoice Always?

The Week of Peace As your peace rules in our hearts, we give thanks to you, Lord, and rejoice in the birth of the Prince of Peace.  Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By Matt Allen Philippians 4:4-7 The slaughtering of 11 souls at the Tree of Life synagogue. The devastation of the…

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A Lot of Hope

The Week of Hope You are our living hope, Lord, as we celebrate your promises for our present and our future on your birthday. We are your grateful people.  Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By Ken Williams Romans 8:18-25 My New Testament of the Jerusalem Bible entitles chapter 8 as “The life…

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Like a Shepherd

The Week of Hope You are our living hope, Lord, as we celebrate your promises for our present and our future on your birthday. We are your grateful people.  Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By Betty Claire Jackson Isaiah 40:11 “He tends his flock like a shepherd; He gathers his lambs in…

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Look Everywhere

The Week of Hope You are our living hope, Lord, as we celebrate your promises for our present and our future on your birthday. We are your grateful people.  Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By David Goree Jeremiah 29:11-13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all…

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Fill Others Up

The Week of Hope You are our living hope, Lord, as we celebrate your promises for our present and our future on your birthday. We are your grateful people.  Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By Jennie Mayes Psalm 63:1-8 The Message 1 God—you’re my God!  I can’t get enough of you! I’ve…

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God With Us

The Week of Hope You are our living hope, Lord, as we celebrate your promises for our present and our future on your birthday. We are your grateful people.  Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By Lisa Shinkins Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will…

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Pelican Belief

The Week of Hope You are our living hope, Lord, as we celebrate your promises for our present and our future on your birthday. We are your grateful people.  Amen Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson By Mike Massar Isaiah 40:1-5 The pelican was an important religious symbol for the early church, because in…

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Advent

By Garrett Vickrey Advent is a season of preparation for Christmas that dates back to the fourth century A.D. It has been celebrated or revered in various ways throughout the history of the church. Today we mark Advent as a season that includes the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. We light candles each week…

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Dawn Treading: Dr. Jill Y. Crainshaw

Dawn Treading A Monthly Blog Dedicated to New Experiences and Practices in Faith Development Editor’s Note: In the coming months we will post a blog each month in hopes of deepening our experiences in Christian education and faith development. We will seek to share insights on how one might grow in her/his relationship with Christ.…

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Dawn Treading

A Monthly Blog Dedicated to New Experiences and Practices in Faith Development Editor’s Note: In the coming months we will post a blog each month in hopes of deepening our experiences in Christian education and faith development. We will seek to share insights on how one might grow in her/his relationship with Christ. We will…

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You Are Loved

By Garrett Vickrey Luke 2:11-14 On a side street just off of South Congress in Austin there is a mint green wall with a message written on it. Scrawled across the wall in cursive red spray paint are the simple words, “I love you so much”. Every day hundreds of people come from all over to…

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Life, Love, and Joy

By Marilyn Gladson John 6:33 “The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Today is a special day for me. My father was born on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1926. Once, when I was a child, I asked him if he got combined Christmas/Birthday gifts…

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Choose Joy

By Elizabeth Pruitt Psalm 40:16 Choose joy!! Have you seen this advice on social media or received it from a well-meaning friend? Sometimes when I hear those words, I think “Really, you don’t understand what I am going through. Seems too easy. Seems a little trite.” Psalm 40 verse 16 says, “But all who seek you…

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A Moment of Silence

By Cameron Taylor Romans 12:9-12 “Please remain standing for a moment of silence.” As an elementary school teacher, the above words are spoken after the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of our morning announcements. For me, this is a set time during the school day where I can stop, take a pause from the busy…

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The Birth that Changed the World

By Becky Miller John 1:14 “The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” John 1:14 The birth that changed the world must change us also. Many years ago our family attended a small country church on Easter Sunday.  I remember nothing of the sermon, but I have not forgotten the old gospel anthem that…

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Joyful Sounds

By Jerome Malek Psalm 98:4-9 “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” Psalm 98:4 From the beginning of time God’s creation has manifested the glory of God. The mystery and splendor of the universe cries out in joyful sounds and majestic beauty testifying to…

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Our Worth

By Rubye Box Luke 2:8-10 The Son of God came to earth as an infant altogether human and yet, altogether God. The shepherds, whose job it was to watch over a flock of sheep, were not considered as very important nor were they very high on the pay scale. They were just common men doing the…

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Ready for Joy

By Gina Garrison Luke 1:46-48 One of my favorite folk songs, recorded by Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem, is titled “Ready for Joy.” The song expresses the dark places in our lives, when we feel downtrodden, tied to the ground, or surrounded by midnight. Throughout these hardships, the lyricist speaks enthusiastically of his or her anticipation…

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Gifts of Light

By Daniel Zamora Isaiah 9:2-3 Increase your Joy and Rejoice! Have you ever tried to walk in the darkness, at least a few steps to reach the closest light switch or perhaps when the power is out during a big storm, and are trying to reach your cell phone or any other source of light? We…

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Peacebuilders

By Mark Noblitt Luke 2:11-14 In 20 centuries of Christianity, it is counterintuitive that a faith centered on peace has been used as the excuse for so much war and violence. I’ve often wondered what the earliest Christians – or indeed the Prince of Peace himself – would think of our modern Christianity. What does it…

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The Bread of God

By Cindy Twedt John 6:33 “For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Our dreams are said to reflect our waking lives, so it is no surprise that my dream reflected my life while working at American Airlines reservations office. In my dream, my colleagues and…

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I Am with You

By Glo Parchman Isaiah 43:1-3 This passage of scripture was unknown to me. I was eleven years old and living in Nevada during World War II. I was a new Christian. I did know the prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep…” and had memorized the 23rd Psalm in V. B. S. Mother and Daddy were…

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Don’t Be Afraid

By Kirsten Hancock John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” There is much to be afraid of in our troubled world. Reckless drivers. Drug and alcohol addiction. People who do not…

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How Long Lord?

By Conrad Navarro Isaiah 11:6-9 As I sit writing this devotional I’m still feeling sick, still shedding tears, and still praying for the survivors and the family members of our brothers and sisters of this week’s massacre in Sutherland Springs. King Ahaz, facing an attack from Israel and Syria, asked Assyria for help. Assyria saved Judah…

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The Peace of God

By Barbara Higdon Philippians 4:4-7 There is a pervasive theology called the “prosperity gospel” or the “name it–claim it” gospel which says that wealth and physical well-being are what God wants for us.  All we need is faith to believe it, positive speech to claim it, and we’re going to get it.  It sort of…

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Make Room

By Dan Jean Isaiah 9:6-7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. There would be no room for the family tonight even if Mary seemed ready to give birth. The innkeeper who turned Joseph and Mary away was just doing his job. There were no empty rooms. There was…

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We are a People of Hope

By Lance Mayes Psalm 62:1-2, 5-7 I really love our mission statement: “We are a people of hope seeking to proclaim the love of Christ.” Hope is one of my favorite words. I’ve known too many people who had no hope. They felt they had nowhere to turn, nowhere to go. They thought that no…

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Hoping and Waiting

By Lee Weems Romans 8:18-25 The typical scenario at the Malls for many families is to stand in the long line with children and/or grandchildren. There each person waits, seemingly forever, for a child to sit on the lap of a white-bearded Santa. Then, in a deep voice, Santa asks THE question, “What do you…

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Parenting is Hard

By Eastin Kandt Isaiah 40:11 “He will take care of his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs together and carry them in his arms; he will gently lead their mothers.” Isaiah 40:11 GNB It is hard being a parent. Of course, I don’t have any experience except from watching my parents parent…

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With All Your Heart

By Matt Allen Jeremiah 29:11-13 Craig Courtney composed a beautiful choral anthem based on Jeremiah 29:11-13 (“If You Search With All Your Hearts”). It was a “sugar stick” for my high school youth choir and served as the theme for the choir during my senior year. More than that, it eventually became my theme. A few…

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Light in the Darkness

By Dena Dalton Psalm 63:1-8 “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you…” I am partial to Christmas Eve. We attend church. We have our Christmas dinner. We stay up late watching old movies, listening to music and wrapping last minute gifts. We celebrate European traditions and sneak around putting candy outside each other’s…

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I Saw Santa, Maybe

By Bob Flynn Isaiah 7:14 We were a farm family in West Texas. We made our Santa Claus list from catalogs—Sears Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, Bella Hess. There was no TV or Santas in stores. Santa came to our two-room school house once. He scared us so that he was never invited back. My brother, sister and…

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Alongside

By Karen Calhoun Isaiah 40:1-5 My dad pastored small Texas Baptist churches. When I was eight, I had already lived in Brownwood, Fort Worth, Big Spring, Cohoma, Hico, Stephenville, Talpa and Bangs. Making and keeping friends was impossible — we were always moving! In third grade at Bangs, Donna asked me to come and swing with…

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Hurricane Harvey: How to Help

Updated: Sunday, October 29 Here in San Antonio, we watched in relief and horror Hurricane Harvey unleash its fury on the Texas coast. Rain amounts in the worst hit areas reaching 50″. San Antonio was spared by just 30 miles. What now? What can we do? Here at Woodland, we are planning at least two…

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Recycling — 5 – Polypropylene (PP), 6- Polystyrene (PS), and 7 – Other

By Jim Gladson Recycling — 5 – Polypropylene (PP) Caps, disks, syrup bottles, yogurt tubs, straws, toothpaste, & film packaging. Recycling — 6 – Polystyrene (PS) Meat trays, egg cartons, plates, cutlery, carry-out containers, cups, clear trays, & bowls. Recycling — 7 – Other Includes resins not previously mentioned or combinations of plastics.   [Note: Jim has a passion…

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Recycling — 1 – Polyethylene Terephalate Ethylene (PETE) and 2 – High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

By Jim Gladson   Recycling — 1 – Polyethylene Terephalate Ethylene (PETE) Soft drinks, juice, water, pill bottle, & cleaner bottles. Also for cooking & peanut butter container. Recycling — 2 – High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Milk & water jugs, bleach bottles, detergent & shampoo containers. Plastic bags & grocery sacks, motor oil bottles, household cleaners & butter tubs. Some…

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Recycling – Glass

By Jim Gladson Recycling – Glass The four categories of Recycling are:  Glass, Aluminum, Plastic, & Paper or GAPP. Our first categories is Glass, which was first developed by man around 5,000 years ago. About 1,000 years later glass was used as a food container.  Items in the grocery story that were in glass containers…

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Recycling

By Jim Gladson Garbage, Recycling, & Organics Recycling Re-cyc-ling means processing a thing again until it emerges as something else. After using 4 Blue Carts for four years, WBC now does recycling through Republic Services [RS].  We collect our recycling in 34 small blue containers & then transfer it to the RS. At home, use…

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World Water Day

Water is necessary to sustain life. All life (plants and animals) must have water to survive. It is something we take for granted. We can just turn on a faucet and out comes water. We can shower with hot water. We swim in cool pools during hot summer months. Not everyone has this same access.…

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Cuban Refugees

Cuban Immigration Situation in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. 3-1-17 Their story started over 9 months ago. Cubans by the hundreds left their native land searching for what they considered the promise land — USA. The journey took them through 11 countries with plane, boat, train, and by foot the necessary ways of travel. It took everything…

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Garbage

By Jim Gladson Garbage – Recycling – Organics Garbage Some call it “trash.” Other refer to it as “clutter.” Or, perhaps some just say “junk.” But, no matter what you call it, the official name is Garbage! At Woodland, we have almost 50 small garbage cans. They all eventually get bagged & placed in the…

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Ash Wednesday

By Lance Mayes I spent yesterday learning about advocacy — how to give a voice to the voiceless and marginalized. I specifically learned about immigration, the child welfare system, and general advocacy. Today I get to talk with my representative and senator about what I’ve learned and what I think about bills that have been…

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Putting the Decorations Away

by Dan Jean “The whole assembly then agreed to celebrate the festival seven more days; so for another seven days they celebrated joyfully.”  2 Chronicles 30:23 The anticipation of the big day is a memory. The gifts have all been unwrapped. The guests have gone home. It is time to take down those decorations. The…

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In Need of Rest

By Aaron Tyler John 3:16 For God so loved the world Seven days He rested. Good He saw, but restless Pursuit of a broken Image quickly ensued. For God so loved the world I ran.  Without rest, He Watched for my return, Hoping to Embrace. For God so loved the world Wrestling Jacob He Discovered Israel…

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God’s Present

By Sandra Peters Jude 1:24-25 Hallelujah, it’s Christmas Eve and we are celebrating the Present of presents! King of kings!  Lord of lords! Yes! Jesus Christ!! The ultimate Present from God!!! Thanks be to God!!!! Think about all that has happened in 2016. God through His Beloved Son Jesus has granted us gifts of Hope,…

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Sing a New Song

By John Tompson Psalm 98:1-3 Psalm 98:1 begins with the admonition to “Sing to the Lord a new song.”  I believe this new song is a song of praise, of adoration, of awe, of love. Too often when I pray, it is not a new song. I find myself using the same old tired phrases.…

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Making Space for Love

By Roy Myers 1 Corinthians 13 Our holiday decorations have become one part of the way we create space for celebration and a way to proclaim our love for God and each other during the holiday. Dana and Peter, particularly, love to decorate. Of course we have a tree and other traditional trimmings. We also…

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Longest Night Service

Advent is filled with joy and celebration, but it can also be difficult. The holidays sometimes bring up powerful feelings of grief, loneliness, and sorrow. If you’re feeling blue this Christmas, we invite you to join us for the Longest Night Service on Wednesday, December 21, at 6:30 p.m. We will acknowledge the darkness and…

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Love One Another

By Becky Upchurch John 13:34 The setting for today’s text is the Upper Room where Jesus and his disciples have their last meal together. Judas has left to do his traitorous work. Jesus first tells his disciples that He will be glorified and God will be glorified through Him. Then He tells them that where…

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Christmas Concert Offering

The offering this evening will support the work of Francis and Missy Angalla with Restoring Voices Ministry in Kampala, Uganda. The purpose of Restoring Voices is to nurture and develop musical and artistic abilities in refugees in Uganda, so they experience God’s restorative hope and grow into their full potential. Restoring Voices Ministry is a…

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Offering for Global Missions – 4

On the leading edge of the modern missionary movement, Baptists have been forming together, making disciples of all nations through long-term presence and commitment to serve the most forgotten and forsaken people around the world. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship engages in three primary contexts: Global Poverty, Global Migration, and the Global Church, spreading the love…

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Song of Praise

By Lori Tyler Luke 1:46b-55 I don’t know about you, but I love Christmas carols. They are what make the Christmas season so special and memorable. They remind me of growing up, singing these very same songs at the candlelight service with my family. Can you imagine Christmas without Christmas carols? Wouldn’t it be a tragedy if…

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Joy, Hope, and Rest

By Nora O. Lozano Psalm 40:16 Psalm 40 is full of contrasts. On the one hand, the Psalmist writes about his own difficult experiences: Being in a desolate pit, and a miry bog (verse 1) For evils have encompassed me without number; my iniquities have overtaken me…; they are more than the hairs of my…

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Love Flowing

By Dan Jean Romans 12:9-12 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. If you…

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Moving into Calling

By Lance Mayes John 1:14 The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. John 1:14 The Message Moving. It is an overwhelming task and most of the time…

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Music in Our Hearts

By Bob Morrison Psalm 98:4-9 Who can really sing? Well, at first thought, I was not the best choice for this scripture or so I thought. That rascally Randy Edwards picked me for this verse knowing it was a challenge for me. But even with my untrained screeching, I know a good voice when I…

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Fear Not

By Jennie Mayes Luke 2:8-10 “There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody,…

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Tiny Living

By Linda Mason Luke 1:46-48 If we are truthful, it’s not always easy to be joyful. Mary found herself in a less than desirable situation, and yet, she embraced her circumstances because she realized it was going to result in good for the entire world. Many things can bring us happiness; joy is internal and…

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Offering for Global Missions – 3

On the leading edge of the modern missionary movement, Baptists have been forming together, making disciples of all nations through long-term presence and commitment to serve the most forgotten and forsaken people around the world. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship engages in three primary contexts: Global Poverty, Global Migration, and the Global Church, spreading the love…

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The Practice of Celebration

By Christyn Baer Isaiah 9:2-3 “Joy” might be my favorite Christmas word; I can’t think of another that produces such a deep and overflowing feeling of excitement. In The Life You’ve Always Wanted, John Ortberg addresses “The Practice of Celebration.” He reminds us that Joy is at the heart of God’s plan for us, for…

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Birth Announcement

By Mark Hart Luke 2:11-14 Don’t people appreciate how busy I am? Good grief, I have these committee meetings to go to and chair, I have to get these reports in by the end of the month, we’re learning a new computer system at work that’s just eating our lunch. That’s just at work. Don’t…

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Bread of Life

By Cameron Vickrey John 6:33 Jesus had just gotten through feeding the five thousand with 5 loaves and 2 fish. The disciples had been looking for him the next day, hoping for more miraculous food. They remembered that in the wilderness with Moses, God provided manna from heaven. Naturally, they assumed this is the next…

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Christmas in the Barrio

A one day mission trip on Saturday, December 10. Be at the church at 9:00 am. We should be back around 8:30 pm. We will join our partner church Iglesia Bautista Emanuel (Emanuel) in their outreach to the Villa del Rio Apartments. They will give service pizza and drinks, have a pinata, give away gifts…

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A Word from Our Creator

By Daniel Zamora Isaiah 43:1-3 Many of those who make or do something for others like to offer words of thankfulness, promise, affirmation, compromise, service and warranty to their customers. In Isaiah 43: 1-3, the Creator of Earth and the entire universe has a very specific message for all of us: “Fear not… you are…

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How Jesus Gives

By Ellen Di Giosia John 14:27 Here is how the world gives: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” This is how Jesus gives: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith.” Here is how the world gives: “The world belongs to the energetic.” This is how Jesus gives: “Blessed are…

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When Will This Be?

By Lee Weems Isaiah 11:6-9 Already busy shoppers rush about and bump into one another. Still others cut in front of others to grasp that gift away. Perhaps a brief, “I’m sorry but I was here first,” takes place but not often.The competitive spirit demands the most and the best in order to look good…

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Control Enthusiast

By Edie Dutton Philippians 4:4-7 I think someone is trying to tell me something, I thought as received my Advent devotional  assignment. This is the second time I have been given Philippians 4:4-7 duty. Now Philippians is my favorite book in the Bible and for a very good reason…I need to hear it! Who has…

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Offering for Global Missions – 2

On the leading edge of the modern missionary movement, Baptists have been forming together, making disciples of all nations through long-term presence and commitment to serve the most forgotten and forsaken people around the world. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship engages in three primary contexts: Global Poverty, Global Migration, and the Global Church, spreading the love…

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The Prince of Peace

By Conrad Navarro Isaiah 9:6-7 Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace! What incredibly comforting titles of their future king to the people of Judah! What incredible words of hope and true future peace! What a contrast to their present King Ahaz and his reign of war, distress, uncertainty, doom and gloom! As…

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The Blessing of Waiting

By Rubye Box Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 There is a reason for everything including waiting. Here is an example about today’s verse…

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The Gift of Presence

By Randy Blanton Jeremiah 29:11-13 I am often puzzled by those who misuse human suffering as a litmus test to question the reality of God’s love. “If God is love,” some would query, “then why does he permit suffering in the world?” As I have pondered the difficulties encountered in 2016, a more appropriate question…

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The Well that Never Runs Dry

By Barbara Higdon Psalm 63:1-8 “All day I’ve faced a barren waste/Without a taste of water,” sang the Sons of the Pioneers. “Old Dan and I with throats burnt dry/And souls that cry for water. Cool, clear water.” Those of us who live in South Texas know well the thirst-provoking landscape that Bob Nolan’s lyrics…

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My Hope

By Erica Hanchey Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.  Isaiah 7:14 NIV Isaiah’s words to Ahaz, King of Judah, prophesy the conception and birth of Immanuel,
God with us, as a sign of Hope for the king and his…

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Offering for Global Missions – 1

On the leading edge of the modern missionary movement, Baptists have been forming together, making disciples of all nations through long-term presence and commitment to serve the most forgotten and forsaken people around the world. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship engages in three primary contexts: Global Poverty, Global Migration, and the Global Church, spreading the love…

Read more

Election Day Communion

By Ellen Di Giosia During the course of this election season, the airwaves have been filled with divisive rhetoric, accusations of illegal and immoral behavior, and a shocking coarsening of political discourse. At times, it has felt like America has completely abandoned civility. If you like to peruse Facebook for cute pictures of babies and…

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Praise the Lord! | A Psalm

During our weekly Youth Gathering on August 7, we concluded our study of the book of Psalms by writing our own Psalms to God. Some students wrote their own words, some pieced together verses from the Psalms in our text. It was a prayerful and meaningful experience, so we thought it would be good to…

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With Me Everywhere | A Psalm

During our weekly Youth Gathering on August 7, we concluded our study of the book of Psalms by writing our own Psalms to God. Some students wrote their own words, some pieced together verses from the Psalms in our text. It was a prayerful and meaningful experience, so we thought it would be good to…

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Enduring Grace, Mercy and Love

By Lee Weems Psalm 118 The boom of the thunder awakened us. Pounding rain was falling on the roof and we were thankful to be inside. In the dark night, the winds whipped the rain around while we experienced another March storm. Memories of severe storms and flooding from last year stirred thoughts of Wimberley…

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Sowing Seeds and Waiting for the Harvest

By Barbara Higdon Psalm 126 We appear to be a nation depressed and angry. We cry out to God to “restore our fortunes.” We rail against the failures of our leaders in whom we placed our trust. Greed, corruption and power-lust have invaded many of our political offices. Many are voting in anger and disgust…

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Living Water

By Barbara Higdon Psalm 63:1-8 “All day I’ve faced a barren waste/Without a taste of water,” sang the Sons of the Pioneers.  “Old Dan and I with throats burnt dry/And souls that cry for water.  Cool, clear water.” Those of us who live in South Texas know well the thirst that Bob Nolan’s lyrics describe. …

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We were hacked!

By Lance Mayes A few days ago woodlandbc.org was hacked. Malware was put on many pages on our site. It took a couple of days of some experts working on it, but they got it clean. Thanks to Gordon Atkinson (consafo.com) and his team of techs! Here are a few things we learned. All websites,…

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Amazing Signs of Lent

By Edgar Twedt Psalm 63:1-8 It’s amazing how the signs of Lent jump out at us daily, and even more amazing how easily we can miss them. This beautiful psalm is a wonderful reminder of the amazing signs of Lent which are all around us. This is especially true when we realize that the true…

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Be Alert

By Eastin Kandt, Nicholas Mayes, & Leslie Kandt Psalm 105:1-15, 42 Keep your eyes open for GOD, watch for his works; be alert for signs of his presence. Psalm 105:3-4 (The Message) Where do we see God today? in art being alone and quite praying to God taking walks in nature bacon music in people…

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Strength Through God

By Bridgette Langford Psalm 150 Chapter 150 of Psalms verses 1-5 reminds us to always give thanks to God, sing unto to Him, and to rejoice always for the wonderful works of His hands. Knowing His  judgment is  Seeking His Glory, His strength and His face always. As I am about to close a chapter…

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Thanks, Praise and Good News

By Lance Mayes Psalm 105 The first two verses in Psalm 105 encourage us to give thanks and sing praises to God and let the whole world know the wonderful things God does. Thanks, praise and Good News. We can do that! It is easy for us to give thanks and praise to God when…

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Put Your Trust in God

By Nate Newell Psalm 27 King David writes in Psalm 27 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, oh whom shall I be afraid?” When people remember King David they often remember his great feats, and his courageous faith, but no one…

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Follow and Trust

By Mike Elliot Psalm 27 I think that one of the most powerful verses in Psalm 27 is verse 14. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Often in my life I can get impatient. I have all these plans for college, finances, friends, and family. Several times…

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The Lord is My Light

[youtube height=”425″ width=”800″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-bMniVioPA[/youtube]   By Lance Mayes Psalm 27 It is easy to be afraid; we have so much to be afraid of — at least that’s what they tell us. We need to be afraid of North Korea. We need to be afraid of ISIS. We need to be afraid of foreign and domestic…

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The S-L-S of Worship

By Erica Hanchey Psalm 27 In Psalm 27, David calls upon his experiences of strife, war, and fear in the face of his enemies. He expresses, through prayer and song, his heartfelt desire to worship, even in the midst of war, personal battles, and fear. It isn’t just David’s experience.  It is the experience of…

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The Joy of Schadenfreude

By Ellen Di Giosia Psalm 17 “As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.” Psalm 17:15 The other day I turned the car radio to the news – can you guess what was on? Election coverage. Election coverage. For an…

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God’s Protection

By Leslie Kandt Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16 “The Lord says, ‘If someone trusts me, I will save them. I will protect my followers who call to me for help.’” (Psalm 91:14) These words seem so simple, yet so deep and meaningful, right? It brings a sense of comfort and love to the individual reading; at least…

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Living in the Shelter

By Diana Bridges Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16 The first image that comes to my mind when reading these words is that of a superhero, impervious to the frailties of mortal life. Whether by an otherworldly constitution like Superman, a nifty manufactured suit like Iron Man, or by Spidey Senses like Spider-Man, the one who trusts in…

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Is It That Simple?

By Jason Hanchey Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16 On the surface, this passage makes it so simple. I believe, therefore I am granted all these protections? Where do I sign? This euphoria is short lived. As I read this again and again, I feel the guilt run deeper and deeper. I don’t deserve all these protections! I…

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The Problem of Sin

  By Lance Mayes Psalm 51:1-17 Lent. Growing up Baptist, I was not too familiar with this practice. My Catholic friends would give up caffeine or chocolate, but I was never really sure why. I knew it had something to do with the weeks leading up to Easter. I know a little more now. I…

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The Gift is Here

  By Garrett Vickrey John 3:16 It’s here. Christmas. Joy to the world! The Lord is Come! What will we see now? We have been keeping watch for so long. Have our eyes grown red at the moment it is time to enjoy the fruits of their labor? Christ is come. Watch. And see. Franciscans…

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Happy Christmas to All

By Dan Jean Galatians 5:22‐23 “‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” I would be surprised if you haven’t heard these words already this season. They come from a beloved poem by Clement Clarke Moore and paint a romantic portrait of the power…

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The Ultimate Gift

By Rubye Box I Corinthians 13 The 13th chapter of I Corinthians is known as the love chapter. Many wedding ceremonies include this chapter because it is a perfect picture of what love should be. The final verse is a summary of the entire chapter. “But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the…

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Teach Us to Love

By Leo Parchman John 13:34 We use the word “love” in many different ways. It can describe a feeling of compatibility among friends, or a “moonlight and roses” feeling of romance. It can also describe a feeling of enjoyment as in “I love apple pie”, or an expression of approval as in “I love your…

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Actions of Love

By James Higdon 1 Peter 1:8 Today’s devotional passage focuses on an aspect of love that we don’t often consider, although it is something of which we are certainly conscious and aware. None of us has “seen God” like we see our friends and acquaintances at work, at social gatherings, at church, etc. Nor do…

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Magnificat

By Daniel Zamora Luke 1:46b‐55 Today’s passage is known as the Song of Mary, the “Magnificat,” a spontaneous hymn identified through the centuries as the first canticle recorded in the New Testament. It contains the praises that Mary expressed while being with her relative Elizabeth, once the angel had told her about some strange and…

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Pain, Hope, Transformation

By Chris Langford Psalm 40:16 Where do we place our hope when others cause us pain? This is a question I often seem to ponder and perhaps one that King David reflected on. Our human nature many times may drive us to lash out at those that try to hurt us, furthering a vicious interpersonal…

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Be the Light of Joy

By Bridgette Langford Romans 12:9‐12 What does it mean to have Joy? Christ shares with us that in order for us to truly seek Joyfulness, our love must be genuine, we must hate evil, and should be devoted to loving one another above ourselves. We must have great energy and keep our spiritual passion for…

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Joy in My Heart

By Emily Delgado Psalm 98:4‐9 I have had to sit with this Advent devotion for a long me. As much as I love the Christmas season, I have felt unable to capture the Spirit in my writing, and, as a result, have found myself feeling more and more like Scrooge. It seems that everywhere I…

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Know Joy

By April Smith-Koebel Luke 1:46‐48 Reading Luke’s message I am reminded of the many blessings the Lord has for his children. Blessed to have the love and promises he holds for all. It is through Jesus’ love that we know joy. I am blessed to have the opportunity to change lives daily through my work.…

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We Rejoice Together

By Lance Mayes Joy seems elusive at times; sometimes non-existent for long stretches of me. Such is the case for Israel. These were dark times. No joy. No hope. No way out of the mess they were in. Captivity was no fun for God’s chosen people. Where are you, God? Many of us today can…

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Wonderful Gift

Gina Garrison Luke 2:11‐14 What a spectacle those shepherds witnessed the night Jesus was born! Picture them out on the hills, minding the flock, perhaps chatting among themselves. Suddenly the entire sky was filled with light! The light of heaven, the glory of God, blazed down on them. Maybe they stood in astonishment, looking at…

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The Bread of God

By Brad Dutton John 6:33 I have a problem. Actually several problems if you ask my close friends and family. The particular problem I’m thinking about now began 15 years ago. It was about the time we started the new millennium that I became a bread snob. Store bought breads just didn’t seem to meet…

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Good Shepherd

By Benjamin Tyler Isaiah 43:1‐3 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flames shall…

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And, Until Then?

By Bettie Reddick Isaiah 11:6‐9 The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw…

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Inward Preparation

By Karen Calhoun Philippians 4:4‐7 Advent is a season of inward preparation. Advent is the work of the soul. Paul gives us the instructions in Philippians 4:4-7. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but…

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Peace and Wholeness

By Ellen Di Giosia Isaiah 9:6‐7 Whenever I read this passage, I immediately start singing: “FOR unto US a child is BO-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-O- o-o-o-o-[this part goes on and on]-o-o-o-ORN!” I love Handel’s Messiah, but every singer knows that this can get really old – so old that the text itself seems to lose its luster. (This…

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Hints of Advent

By Edgar Twedt Psalm 62:1‐2, 5‐7 1. For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. 2. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken. 5. For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him. 6. He alone is…

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Because of Suffering

By Patty Villareal Romans 8:18‐25 “I am sure that what we are suffering now cannot compare with the glory that will be shown to us.” (v. 18) Suffering comes in many forms, relative to the person who is suffering. It may be a physical pain as simple as stubbing your toe on the side of…

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Christmas in China

By Cyndi Levesque Isaiah 40:31 Christmas in China was a special experience. Marc and I lived in Nanning, China, for four years, and would always remain there at Christmas because the Chinese New Year holiday wasn’t until late January to early February. We would smile as we walked through shopping malls hearing Christmas carols in…

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Defining Moment

By Randy Blanton Jeremiah 29:11‐13 I’ve had the unpleasant experiences of wondering how I came to be in difficult and distressing circumstances. I had never planned for such to occur, but I found myself in such situations nonetheless. Such experiences are typically overwhelming and appear to be all encompassing. Similarly, these circumstances leave me wondering…

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First-World Problems

By Randy Edwards Psalm 63:1‐8 I cannot hear this passage without also hearing in my head and heart an extraordinary solo written with this very text by Dan Goeller. The melodic line, sung by a mezzo soprano, is deeply rich and utterly passionate. “O Lord, You are my God, how I long for You! How…

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The One Who Loves Us

By Diana Bridges Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. In Isaiah 7:14, God gives embattled King Ahaz a sign of hope, whether he wants one or not. As followers of Jesus, we see in these…

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Delayed Gratification

By Garrett Vickrey Isaiah 40:1-5 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness…

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A New Song

By Christopher Langford Psalm 98 Psalm 98 begins with the verse “O sing unto the Lord a new song”. This simplistic statement is profound. It is so short and easy to read that we may be tempted to quickly move on from it without giving it further consideration. Alternatively, some of us may be unsure…

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God Never Lets Us Down

By Christyn Baer Psalm 22:25-31 Psalm 22 begins with a line familiar to us all, being five weeks into Eastertide… “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” David begins his anguished prayer with the same words that Jesus laments on the cross. As I sit here reading this psalm on Saturday night, I’m…

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I Am Not a Theologian

By Lucas Newell Psalm 23 I am not a Theologian. Nor am I a philosopher. Neither am I a half-decent devotional writer. So when I was asked to write a devotional, I freaked out. I hadn’t planned it, I wasn’t ready for it, and I didn’t really want to do it. However, it doesn’t seem…

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First Day

By Garrett Vickrey Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 My calendar is wrong. Typically, weekly calendars start with Sunday at the left margin and move to Saturday at the far right. But, I’m a preacher. And my week leads up to Sunday. My calendar begins with Monday and ends with Sunday so that I can organize my week…

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All About Me

By Lori Tyler Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16 David was a man after God’s own heart. David was called by God. He worshiped Him with all his being. His Psalms praise God as King of Creation, Lord of All, and Light of the World. David knew his place. God was God, and he was not. But I…

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Pain, Fears and Doubts

By David Goree Psalm 22 Years ago I was in a play at Manor Baptist Church. The play had two characters: Simon Peter and Judas Iscariot. I played Judas. The play portrayed the two disciples meeting after they had each betrayed the Lord in their own ways. Let me tell you: it was difficult for…

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Serve and Remember

By Bridgette Langford Psalm 116 :1-2, 12-19 On this Thursday before Easter known at Maundy Thursday, we are to remember the importance of the commandments that Jesus instructed his disciples to obey at the Last Supper. They were to love with humility by serving one another and to remember his sacrifice. As we reflect on…

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Quickly!

By Jennie Mayes Psalm 70 Psalm 70 is an almost exact replica to Psalm 40: 13-17 and Psalm 35:4,21,26,& 27 and Biblical scholars say the repetition through the Psalms served as a reminder to David, who often experienced enemies and needed to hear this message again. Hmmm….Biblical Characters are just like us? David, whom we…

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Spoiler Alert

By Christie Goodman Psalm 71:1-14 What would it be like to hear the story of the original Holy Week without knowing what comes next? Here, in that first part of the week, we might be still chattering about seeing Jesus arrive a few days earlier in crowd of excitement. After learning about that angry scene…

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Do You Love Me?

  By Daniel Zamora Psalm 36:5-11 During our lifetime, we are confronted with the question “do you love me?” either initiated by ourselves or someone else. This is a way to affirm and reassure anyone our deep feelings and thoughts about that person. When asked it to children, after their first positive answer, it is…

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Save Us!

By Diana Bridges Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 This week I heard the story of a woman who became alienated from the faith of her childhood. She realized she no longer believed and shared that information with a trusted friend. That friend listened sympathetically and pointed her toward a book she’d never before seen. She found it…

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Connectivity Issues

By Garrett Vickrey Psalm 118: 1-2, 19-29 The cord is coming out of the ground. Or, maybe it was never really in the ground. I had to call AT&T this week to get them to come bury our internet line. The soil is too rocky for it to stay buried. They could never get the…

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Worth the Work

By Lori Tyler Psalm 119:9-16 I’ve always loved the changing of seasons, and spring is my favorite time of the year. We took on a huge gardening project this winter hoping to transform our front yard. We decided to put in four or five new flower beds. Now it’s March, and as I look out…

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Bible Drill to Promise

By Ellen Di Giosia Psalm 119:9-16 Like many Baptist children of my era, I was devoted to Bible Drill. While living in Mississippi, I studied each week and reveled in the opportunity to show my stuff. “Attention!” (Standing straight, Bible by my left side.) “Present swords!” (Bring Bible front and center, flat in my left…

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The Spirit of the Law

  By David Goree Psalm 119:9-16 My cousin Brian is a judge on the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals, which is one step below the Oklahoma Supreme Court.  (Please pardon the bragging in my blogging.) Last week, Brian gave me a tour of the appellate courtroom and offices and explained the process by which the…

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Hidden Treasures

By Lance Mayes Psalm 119:9-16 If you grew up going to church, you probably memorized several Bible verses or passages. I know several people who have memorized the book of James. It seems we’ve lost this discipline in most churches. I wonder why? Scripture that is memorized is a precious treasure that does not remain…

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Beautiful Mess

By Jennie Mayes Psalm 51:1-12 Often, we want God to perform a “gut job” on us. We want to discard all that is ugly and messy of our lives. We want to be perfectly clean and shiny again. Just like a contractor could come in and tear down an old home and build a brand…

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Prayerful Plea

By Christie Goodman Psalm 51 One of the seven traditional Psalms for the Lenten season is Psalm 51. It comes with an editor’s note explaining that David wrote it after Nathan had come to confront him about his adultery with Bathsheba. When we go back and look at 2 Samuel, we see that Nathan’s indictment…

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Help!

By Daniel Zamora Psalm 107:1-16 “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.” Everyday there is at least one news portraying people who live in darkness, depression, prison, chains, bitter labor, helpless, trouble and distress. Although these terrible conditions sound like far away, many may experience some…

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St. Patrick’s Day

By Diana Bridges Psalm 107:1-16 This psalm is an ideal reading for St. Patrick’s Day. It speaks of wanderers and prisoners in need of deliverance.  Patrick certainly falls into those categories. Born in Britain, he was kidnapped as a young man and forced into slavery in Ireland. By the time he’d been a slave for…

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God’s Steadfast Love

By Ed Twedt Psalm 107:1-16 Reading recently about the history of Lent, it appears that there is no agreement among scholars about the exact origin and development of Lent, but there is agreement about what it means to us today.  It is a time of fasting, reflection on who and what we are and getting…