First Steps – September 14, 2020

When Saint Basil came to the monastery one day, he said to the abbot, ‘Do you have someone here who is obedient?’ The other replied, ‘They are all your servants, master, and strive for their salvation.’ But he repeated, ‘Do you have someone who is really obedient?’ Then the abbot led a brother to him, and Saint Basil used him to serve during the meal. When the meal ended, the brother brought him some water for rinsing his hands. Saint Basil said to him, ‘Come here, so I may also offer water to you.’ The brother allowed the bishop to pour the water. Then Saint Basil said to him, ‘When I enter the sanctuary, come, so that I may ordain you deacon.’ When this was done, he ordained him priest and took him with him to the bishop’s palace because of his obedience. (The Wisdom of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, pages 97-98).

Often when we think of humility, we think of serving others. Seldom do we associate having obedience and the ability to be served with humility. Humility is born first out of obedience. If we are first obedient, then serving or allowing others the opportunity to serve will take care of itself. Focus on obedience. If you do so, you will naturally be a servant.


This Week’s Readings:
  • Monday – Acts 7
  • Tuesday – Acts 8
  • Wednesday – Acts 9
  • Thursday – Acts 10
  • Friday – Acts 11
Please Pray for:
  • Our ministers and their families.
  • Friends and family members battling illness.
  • Those seeking to find their way.
  • Teachers and students as they transition.
  • The United Methodist Church family.
  • The Covid-19 Pandemic.
  • Our nation and our leaders.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.” – Philippians 4:6

First Steps – September 7, 2020

“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace” (Col 1:3-6a).

Paul highlights three particular traits in the Colossian believers:  Faith, Love, and Hope.  Wherever we see these traits, like Paul, we should give thanks to God.  It is noteworthy that Paul informs the reader that faith and love arise, spring out of hope (see italics).  The gospel promises a certain hope and that hope transforms.

I mention this today, because of the increased conflict, anger, and despair due to a pandemic, so that we will be reminded on the hope of heaven. Setting our hope on heaven puts everything in a proper perspective. Jonathan Edwards, the great Puritan preacher, called heaven “a world of love.”  Our heavenly hope inspires us to see as God sees, to love as Jesus loves, and to know that this too shall pass.  This week, fix your gaze on God’s gift of heaven and allow His presence to saturate you with peace.


This Week’s Readings:
  • Monday – Acts 2
  • Tuesday – Acts 3
  • Wednesday – Acts 4
  • Thursday – Acts 5
  • Friday – Acts 6
Please Pray for:
  • Our ministers and their families.
  • Friends and family members battling illness.
  • Those seeking to find their way.
  • Teachers and students as they transition.
  • The United Methodist Church family.
  • The Covid-19 Pandemic.
  • Our nation and our leaders.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.” – Philippians 4:6

First Steps – August 31, 2020

While running errands a few days ago, I dropped by a friend’s office and saw a poem displayed on a desk.  It turns out the author of the poem was Mother Teresa.

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone may destroy overnight; Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God; It was never between you and them anyway. 

We live for an audience of one – God.  If we can remember this, our relationships will take care of themselves.  Give it a try.  You will not be disappointed.


This Week’s Readings:
  • Monday – Luke 21
  • Tuesday – Luke 22
  • Wednesday – Luke 23
  • Thursday – Luke 24
  • Friday – Acts 1
Please Pray for:
  • Our ministers and their families.
  • Friends and family members battling illness.
  • Those seeking to find their way.
  • Teachers and students as they transition.
  • The United Methodist Church family.
  • The Covid-19 Pandemic.
  • Our nation and our leaders.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.” – Philippians 4:6