Devotions

Lay Pastors Weekly 01-24-16

Make My Will Thy Will!!!
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor…to proclaim liberty to the captives. Luke 4:18
 
I recommend reading Luke 4.
 
George Matheson III inherited a mind for business from his father and the gift of song from his mother. From both parents, he received a rich and traditional theology and the love of the Lord. George attended Glasgow University and received his masters. He had poor vision and was declared blind. He entered the ministry. He had a phenomenal memory, optimism, spirit and inspiring personality. People flocked to hear him preach at St. Bernard’s in Edinburgh. Queen Victoria came to hear him. He was a prolific author and hymnist. He wrote the hymn “Make Me a Captive, Lord” in 1890, which speaks to the paradox pf Christianity—that surrender to Christ brings victory to life. He also wrote the hymn “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.”
 
My prayer for the week:
Dear Lord, Thank you for helping us to learn to serve You by helping us to spring into action for the weak and the poor. Help us to show others ways to learn of Your love and guidance through reading the Bible. Praise God for Your love, light and fire of spirit. Amen


Lay Pastors Weekly 02-07-16

We Will Be Blessed When We Serve the Poor!!!
 
But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you shall be blessed, because they cannot repay you: for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just. Luke 14:13-14
 
I recommend reading Luke 14.
 
John Mason Neal, an Anglican minister, sought to return church music to its medieval roots. He gave us the Christmas carols, “Good Christian Men Rejoice” &“O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” He also gave us “All Glory, Laud, and Honor.” John wrote the poem “Good King Wenceslas” in 1854 to honor King Wenceslas, a Christian who ruled Czechoslovakia in the 900’s. King Wenceslas built churches and showed concern for the poor. His pagan brother murdered him while he was leaving church. Today Wenceslas is the patron saint of Czechoslovakia.
 
My prayer for the week:
Dear Lord, You give to us our divine assignments each day. One of our assignments is to care for the poor. We can learn our assignments by reading the Bible. When we feed our spirit, we grow spiritually. When we till our soul and cultivate God’s blessing we grow in joy and hope. In Your Holy name we pray. Amen


Lay Pastors Weekly 02-14-16

Live Wisely and Love God Wholly!
 
Likewise, I say to you, there are you in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.  Luke 15:10
 
I recommend reading Luke 15.
 
Eighteen of Monica Doddridge’s nineteen children died in infancy. When number twenty arrived he too appeared stillborn. But Philip cried out. Monica determined then to raise him for the Lord. He sat at her knees at a fireplace lined with Delft tiles illustrating the stories of the Bible. Philip was then orphaned and destitute. There seemed no way for him to afford an education. While praying, a postman arrived with a letter from a wealthy benefactor offering to finance his training. At age 27 Philip became head of the seminary in Northampton, England. He trained students and wrote books. The Rise and Progress of Region in the Soul is his most remembered book published posthumously in 1755. It contained 400 hymns of which “O Happy Day, That fixed My Choice.”
 
My prayer for the week:
Dear Lord, when our spirits are weary, You are with us. You give us energy and joy everyday. We are never alone because You walk with us. Thank you, Lord. Amen


Lay Pastors Weekly 02-21-16

Glory! Glory! How the Freedom Sang!
This was the first lone of Root’s chorus.
 
…I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Luke 15:10
 
I recommend reading Luke 15 again.
 
Civil War musician George Root wrote the song entitled, “Glory! Glory! (The Little Octoroon).” The word “octoroon” was a term defining a person of one-eighth African ancestry. Some time later, Christian hymnist William Cushing, hearing it, determined to claim the tune for gospel music. He used the tune for his hymn “Ring the Bells of Heaven.” George Root also wrote gospel songs. He was pleased with Cushing’s changes and published it in his music book, Chapel Gems for Sunday School in 1966.
 
My prayer for the week:
Dear Lord, thank you for being the source of our daily strength. You set us free from our sins so we can serve as You call us to serve You. We are blessed with Your love and light. Help us to bring the knowledge of Your Holy word from the Bible and Your love for each of us to others. Praise the Lord. Amen


Lay Pastors Weekly 02-28-16

The Power of Faith!
This was the original title of the hymn.
 
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, “Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” Luke 17:5-6
 
I recommend reading Luke 17.
 
William Bathurst grew up in a privileged environment. His father, Charles, was a member of Parliament. After graduating from Oxford, he became an Anglican minister in Leeds, England. He wrote over 200 hymns with the best known being “O For A Faith That Will Not Shrink.” He wrote in 1831 after studying the above Bible verse. William resigned his pulpit because he grew uncomfortable with the Anglican church’s baptism and burial practices.
 
My prayer for the week:
Dear Lord, Our faith begins with You as you are there for all of mankind. When we feel our efforts at goodness disappearing, we look to You, Lord, for the small things that help us succeed in doing Your will. God we trust You will help us on our quest. In Your name we pray. Amen


Lay Pastors Weekly 03-13-16

Praise, Love and Glory to God!
 
…the whole multitude of disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for the mighty works they had seen. Luke 19:37
 
I recommend reading Luke 19.
 
On the first anniversary of his conversion to Christ, Charles Wesley wrote an 18 stanza hymn describing his praise to the Lord It was titled “For the Anniversary Day of One’s Conversion” in 1939 based on the above verse. Charles found a fruitful ministry in the Newgate Prison. He allowed himself to be looked up with condemned men on the nights before their executions. He witnessed to them and brought them comfort in their final hours. Verse seven began with O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing.” John Wesley compiled his Collection of Hymns in 1780 he chose this hymn “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” for the first hymn in the book. Congregations today usually sing verses seven, eight, nine and ten.
 
My prayer for the week:
Dear Lord we often concentrate on our faults and weaknesses. Help each of us to let Your love work from inside our soul. Your love helps us to kneel and pray to help a friend thus helping us to stand tall in our faith. Praise God. Amen


Lay Pastors Weekly 03-20-16

Praise the Lord!!!
 
I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.  Luke 19:40
 
I recommend reading Luke 19 again. St. Francis of Assisi was born in 1182 in Italy, the son of a rich merchant. After a scanty education he joined the army and was captured. He came to know Christ after his release, renounced his wealth and traveled the countryside preaching the gospel. He loved nature. Once as he hiked through Italy’s Spolito Valley he came upon a flock of birds. He began preaching to them a sermon when they did not fly away. Francis composed the “Song of Brother Sun” in 1225 which exhorts all creation to worship God. It did not appear in English until 1919 when it was used by William Dryser for a worship children’s festival in Leeds, England as the hymn, “All Creatures of Our God and King.”
 
My prayer for the week:
Dear God, You put the potential for goodness in each of us. Thank you for helping us by lighting our way and giving us a variety of ways to serve you every day. In You Holy name we pray. Amen


03-27-16

Say No to Temptation!!!
 
…He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter Into temptation. Luke 22:40 recommend reading Luke 22.  Horatio Palmer was one of New York City’s favorite musicians. Horatio grew up in a musical family. He joined the church choir conducted by his father when he was seven. He attended Rushville Academy. He stayed after graduation to become music professor and worked there for ten years. He also served as the choir director for the local Baptist Church. After further training in Europe, he moved to Chicago, where he wrote theory books, edited a musical journal, and developed choral unions and music festivals. He then moved back to New York. He organized a massive church choral union that eventually grew to twenty thousand singers. He worked young people and wrote several hymns on temptation. He wrote the hymn, “Yield Not to Temptation” in 1868. My prayer for the week: Dear Lord, along the highway of like we meet with many temptations and we are excited because we know you are with us. You give us the courage to say no to our daily temptations. Thank you Lord for being with us at all times. Amen Happy Easter!!!


Lay Pastors Weekly 04-10-16

Christ Rose So That We My Live!!!
 
He is not here, but is risen! Luke 24:6
 
I recommend reading Luke 24.
 
Robert Lowry was born in Pennsylvania in 1826. After his conversion at age seventeen, he joinedBaptist church. He enrolled in the University of Lewisburg (now Bucknell University). He pastored churches in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He also taught at Bucknell and also served as its chancellor. He gained a reputation for keen biblical scholarship and powerful, picturesque preaching. Lowery is best known for his personal gospel songs. He wrote the hymn, “Christ Arose!” in 1874 during Easter season. Some of his other hymns are “Nothing but the Blood,” “Shall We Gather at the River” and “Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight?”
 
My prayer for the week:
Dear Lord, thank you for being with us every moment of every day. Your love never ends. Your uplifting arms give us strength to face and meet the demands of our daily challenges. We enjoy serving You and  bringing others to know You. We sing and jump for joy in knowing You are with us at all times. Amen


Lay Pastors Weekly 04-17-16

The Meaning of Redemption!
 
For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should no perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
 
I recommend reading John 3.
 
George Bennard was born in Youngstown, Ohio. His father, a coal miner, moved the family to Iowa, after the end of the Civil War. George came to know Christ through the ministry of the Salvation Army. George’s father passed away when he was sixteen. He worked to support his mother and sisters during the day. He moved to Chicago, married and began ministry with the Salvation Army. Later, he was ordained by the Methodist Episcopal Church and was a traveling evangelist. In 1913 while reading John 3:16 the words to the hymn, “The Old Rugged Cross” came to him. Friends were so moved they helped pay the fees to have the hymn printed. He was a distinguished man, short and slight of built with glasses with beautiful long, white hair.
 
My prayer for the week: 
Dear God, the cross is the symbol of Your boundless love. If we want to feel blessed, we look skyward. If we want to feel happy, we look inward for every blessing we have received from You Lord. Thus we find there are many chances for us to give help, serve and love each other. Praise God. Amen