23 May A Message from Pastor Cherie
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7
My dear friends in Christ,
It is with a sense of bowing to the inevitable that we become ‘used to’ how our life is structured these days. They say that it only takes 21 days to create a new habit and well, we are into day 2,856,521 of this pandemic…or at least it feels that way, so I guess this is our new habit. But there are some good habits that have developed that I see. Wonderful new practices such as thanking the people working on our behalf, reaching out and calling folks on a regular basis, smiling at people we meet as we walk…just walking!! All good things to carry with us.
The other joy-filled thing that I observe is our reaching out to the Lord and relying on Him more fully. Paul tells us in Philippians to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” It may have been that we found that harder to do as we entered into this pandemic crisis, but in these new routines we have adopted, I am seeing the rejoicing, the joy that comes from our dependence on God. And I can’t help but think that is a good thing!
This week we have a delightful treat to look forward to on Sunday. Our worship will be brought to you from the shores of Lake Huron! Camp Kintail has put together an absolutely lovely service with songs and scripture and we will be using that as our worship this week. I will post a short introduction just prior to this on Facebook and you can still tune in at 10 to watch together.
Session will meet this week to talk about our next steps as a congregation, but I am certain that we will not be meeting in person for some time yet. I hope that you will continue to keep in contact with one another, and offer support and encouragement to one another. We truly are blessed to have such a wonderful faith family.
Remember that I am with you in this. I’m as close as a phone call or text (905-401-7641) or an email (email@example.com). Or call your Elder if you need some support or if you have something we can help you with.
Be well, be safe, you are beloved,
Sharing Church, Being Church, Together
To give you a fuller experience of worship and connecting, I am including a prayer for you, the scripture reading for this week, and a devotion for your day.
Jesus, we love You… Help us to follow the biblical pattern of prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving keeping our eyes laser-focused on You when troubles seem to overwhelm us and anxiety threatens to steal our peace. Our problems around the world are great, but you are Greater. Because You have overcome the world! Lord, as we walk through this week and the unknown future, we want to be anxious for nothing as Paul teaches. We want to find calm in You. Lord, help us to get through this day by day and to trust that you are sovereign and in control. We love You. Amen.
Scripture: Psalm 145:8-20
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you.
They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.
The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.
The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
Devotional for this week:
from Max Lucado, author of Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World
Anxiety is a meteor shower of what-ifs. The sky is falling, and it’s falling disproportionately on you. Anxiety ain’t fun! One would think Christians would be exempt from worry but we are not. It’s enough to make us wonder if the apostle Paul was out of touch with reality when he wrote in Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing.”
If anyone had a reason to be anxious it was the apostle Paul! Envision an old man as he gazes out the window of a Roman prison. Half-blind, squinting just to read, and awaiting trial before the Roman emperor. His future is as gloomy as his jail cell.
Yet to read his words, you would think he’d just arrived at a Jamaican beach hotel. His letter to the Philippians bears not a word of fear or complaint. Not one! Instead, he lifts his thanks to God and calls on his readers to do the same. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).
Paul’s challenge is a decision deeply rooted in the confidence that God exists, that He is in control, and that He is good. Rejoice in the Lord—always! You can’t run the world but you can entrust it to God!
Is that what he meant? Not exactly. He wrote the phrase in the present active tense—implying an ongoing state. “Don’t let anything in life leave you perpetually breathless and in angst.” The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional. Could you use some calm? Of course you could. We all could! We all could use a word of comfort and God is ready to give it.
Questions to consider:
What are you feeling anxious about today?
How does the world teach us to cope with anxiety?
How does the world’s solution for anxiety differ from God’s solution?
How does trusting in God’s sovereignty affect the way you perceive life’s trials?
How can you live into God’s encouragement to “be anxious for nothing”?
I invite you to pray today…you might use words like this…Calming God, I reach into myself this day and offer to you what I am feeling anxious about. God, I am feeling stressed about ________________. I want to give this to you because I know that you are in control and you can handle this better than I ever could. I pray Lord, that in return, you may give me your peace, peace that the world can never offer. I pray in the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, my Saviour. Amen.