Devotions

Lay Pastors Weekly 05-08-16

The Lord Cometh!!!
 
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12
 
I recommend reading John 8.
 
William Cushing was born into a Unitarian home in Massachusetts. He served twenty years as a pastor in the Disciples of Christ churches in several New York cities and towns. When his wife died he was forty seven years old and his own health broke. He suffered paralysis that affected his voice and he could no longer preach. He fell into depression. He prayed “Lord, give me something to do for Thee.” He began writing hymns, especially for children. His hymn “Jewels” became a popular children’s hymn.  He wrote more than three hundred hymns. He wrote the hymn, “Follow On” in 1878 with prayer and hope that others would be led to Christ. He also wrote the hymn “Under His Wings.”
 
 
My prayer for the week: 
Dear Lord, Thank you for loving us Your children. We want to do Your will and bring others to know of Your love for all of Your children. Help us to listen to You when we are praying. You give strength and the light for us to be useful in our service to You. Praise God for His goodness. Amen


Lay Pastors Weekly 05-15-16

Answer the Call of the Lord!!!
 
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch out of My hand. John 10:28
 
I recommend reading John 10.
 
Thomas Chisholm was born in a log cabin in Franklin, Kentucky. His education was sparse, yet at age sixteen he began teaching in the one-room schoolhouse he attended as a child. Four years later the newspaper, The Franklin Advocate offered him a job. At age twenty-seven Thomas found Christ. At age thirty seven he applied for ordination in the Methodist Church and he pastured a church in Scottsville, Kentucky for a year until his health collapsed. He wrote poems for personal therapy. He could not read music. He wrote the hymn “Living for Jesus” at C. Harold Lowden’s request. He also wrote the hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” He lived in the Methodist Home for the Aged in his sunset years and remained honest and shy. 
 
My prayer for the week:
Dear Lord, Help us to answer Your call to be in Your service. We are not worthy but Your Holy Spirit leading us so we able to bring others to know and serve You. Praise God. Amen


Lay Pastors Weekly 05-22-16

The Lord, Our Rock of Salvation!!!
 
My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. John 10:29
 
I recommend reading John 10.
 
Augustus Toplady’s father died in the war and his mother spoiled him. His relatives disliked him and friends thought him “sick and neurotic.” He became interested in the Lord at age eleven. At age 12 he was preaching sermons and at age 14 he began writing hymns. At the age 16 he converted to Christ. He was ordained an Anglican priest at age 22. He was a staunch Calvinist.  In 1776 he wrote an article about God’s  forgiveness which ended with the poem “Rock of Ages.” This poem went on to be one of the best loved hymns in the English language. Augustus died at the age 38.
 
My prayer for the week:
Dear Lord, nourish our weary spirits so we can bring humor and courage to our relationships with friends and family. We respect and celebrate our families and friends. The joy and comfort of our families and friends give us a special bond.  Thank you for the blessings of family and friends. Amen


Lay Pastors Weekly 05-29-16

When the Roll Is Called May I Respond!!!
 
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. John 11:25 
 
I recommend reading John 11.
 
James Black wrote the hymn “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder” in 1893. This old favorite hymn was inspired by a disappointment. James was calling the roll for a youth meeting at his Methodist Church in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and young Bessie, the daughter of an alcoholic, did not answer. Returning home, a thought struck him while opening the gate. Upon entering the house, he went to the piano and wrote the words and music effortlessly for this hymn.
 
My prayer for the week:
Dear God, You are with us every moment of each day. We give our burdens to You. When we have heavy sorrows, You help our spirits rise. You help us shine because You light the way. Praise God! Amen.


His Wonders to Perform

Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” John 13:7
 
I recommend reading John 13.
 
William Cowper devoted his energy to secular poetry rather than spiritual hymns, earning him a prominent place in English literature. “The Task” made him famous in England. “Pity for Poor Africans” appeared in 1877 and contributed to efforts to abolish slavery. Shortly before his death he wrote “The Castaway” in which he describes himself as a sailor swept overboard into the Atlantic Ocean to perish. One of his lesser known poems gave us the words to the hymn, “God Moves in a Mysterious Ways” written in 1773.
 
My prayer for the week:
Dear Lord, Give us the tools for building peace by giving us kind hearts, sturdy hands and the faith to accomplish this task. Shake hands and pass on God’s love to those around you. Thank you Lord for standing with us in sharing Your love in bringing Your love and peace to others . Amen


Jesus’ Love is Sweeter!

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. (John 14:1)
 
I recommend reading John 14.
 
After a Pentecost-like experience at the Methodist Camp Meeting at Mountain Lake Park, Maryland, Lelia Morris began writing hymns at her sewing machine. As she devoted more and more time to the Methodist Holiness movement, her hymns became increasingly popular. She wrote the hymn, “Let Jesus Come into Your Heart,” in 1898. She served the Lord with tireless zeal. In 1913 she began losing her eyesight. She was blind within a year. That did not stop her, at her daughter’s annual visit she dictated to her daughter the words and music of the hymns she had composed throughout the year. Her hymn, “Sweeter as the Years Go By” best described her attitude.
 
My prayer for the week:
Dear Lord, help us to open our hearts to Your love and guidance. When we turn our lives of to Your care we able to find the answers to our daily challenges by reading Your Holy word and applying them to our daily lives. Praise God for Your guidance. Amen


The Lord’s Music is Healing!

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. John 14:1
 
I recommend reading John 14 again.
 
Fish University in Nashville, Tennessee, opened its doors in 1866 by the American Missionary Association at the close of the Civil War for liberated slaves. The students and professors lived in an abandoned Union Army hospital barracks. George White, a white man, taught music. White had trouble coaxing his students to sing the plantation and slave songs he overheard them singing. Within a few years the building rotted and the Missionary Association decided to close the school. White wanted to do a series fund-raising concerts but the board refused. White decided to the tour any way and he sold his possessions to finance the tour. The trip was hard for White and his nine students, the Jubilee Singers. The singers braved threats and indignities. The African-American spiritual “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” was sung in 1872 at National Council of Congregational Churches meeting during a recess in Oberlin, Ohio.
 
My prayer for the week:
Praise God for the message of His love through all forms of music. Music moves the hearts of all who listen with an open heart. Alleluia for music. Amen


To Our Beautiful Father 07-05-2016

My Father’s house has many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)
 
I recommend reading John 14 again.
 
The hymn, “Sweet By and By” was written in less than thirty minutes in a drugstore in was filling prescriptions and sales at his drug store in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. His friend Joseph Webster, a local musician, vocalist, violinist and amateur composer, entered the store. They had written songs together occasionally. Joseph suffered with periods of depression and was unusually blue. Sanford asked “What is the matter now?” “It’s no matter,” Joseph replied, “it will be all right by and by.” An idea hit Sanford and he sat down and wrote a poem for his friend. “Here is your prescription, Joe,” he said, “I hope it works.” Joseph jotted down some notes and picked up his violin and “Sweet By and By” was song at the store.
 
My prayer for the week: Dear Lord, Your love is the power that makes a difference. Your love Lord covers the lives of all those it touches. Alleluia! Amen.


Rise from Life from Earth! 07-11-2016

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. ( John 14:3)
 
I recommend reading John 14.
 
Christians of every generation have longed for Christ to return in their lifetime. Augustine felt the Lord would return somewhere around the year 1000 A.D. John Wycliffe concluded the second coming of Christ would happen in the 1300s. John Calvin preached he would come immediately in the sixteenth century. Today his return seems closer than ever. The return of Christ has been the theme of hundreds of hymns through the ages. The hymn “What If It Were Today?” was written by Ohio homemaker, Lelia Morris. It is the most popular second coming song of the last hundred years. She also wrote the hymns, “Nearer, Still Nearer” and “Let Jesus Come into Your Heart.” John Newton also wrote the hymn “Day of Judgment! Day of Wonder!” on the second coming.
 
My prayer for the week: Dear Lord, thank you for awaking our souls. Your love forgives us for our sins when we ask You for forgiveness. You bring us to a new life of knowledge, fellowship and service with others. Praise God for opening our hearts to serving others. Amen


The Truth of our One-ness with Jesus

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither ca you, unless you abide in Me. John 15:4
 
I recommend reading John 15.
 
The hymn, “Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting” was a poem written by Jean Sophia Pigott, an Irish woman in 1876. The hymn was a favorite of the great missionary to China, Hudson Taylor. Hudson established China Inland Mission and was overwhelmed by worry, work and responsibility. Hudson’s eyes were opened when he read John 15 at the church service at the mission station. He noted “As I read, I say it all.”
 
Prayer for this week:
Dear God, the days, the hours and the minutes of our lives are guarded and observed by You. You are there to guide and lead us. You lift us. We are blessed because You abide with us at work each day. You are beside us as we tackle the mysteries of life. You are the strength in all of us. Praise the Lord. Amen