First Steps – July 22, 2019

Luke 14:15 says, “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet, he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready’.”

A person lost to history once wrote this in reflection to the above passage:

“A King puts a poor man in charge of his treasury. The individual who receives this responsibility does not think that the wealth belongs to him. It remains the king’s. Because he needs the job, he is careful to protect the royal treasury. He wastes nothing. He oversees it carefully.

“Anyone who has been given God’s grace is in a similar situation. With humility we can admit our poverty. We can understand that our king has given us the responsibility for something valuable. If we begin to think of it as our own and become arrogant and proud…We will remain spiritually poor.

“Remember, then what God is doing for you.  Let’s continue to think through our illustration.  What if the king finds a very sick poor person by the roadside? He would be glad to treat his injuries with the best royal medicines available. He might bring the person to his castle, dress him in royal clothing, and feed him at his own table. This is exactly the way Christ came to us, found us sick, and healed us. He invites us to be companions at his table. He does not twist our arms in order to force this upon us. He invites us with great dignity and appeal.”

There is much to remember from this reflection:
1.    God has given us more than we can imagine.
2.    Our response is one of gratitude.
3.    Gratitude is a constant state of being.

As you begin this week, remember what you have been given by God and be grateful.      
 


This week’s reading:
  • Monday –  Luke 1
  • Tuesday – Luke 2
  • Wednesday – Luke 3
  • Thursday – Luke 4
  • Friday –  Luke 5

 
Please Pray for:
  • The St. Paul Church family.
  • Those who are unwillingly absent.
  • Those who are grieving and depressed.
  • Ongoing Building Renovations, Modifications.
  • The United Methodist Church.
  • Our nation and our leaders.

First Steps – July 15, 2019

During these Dog Days of summer as the sun beats down on us all, the words of François de Fénelon come to mind:

“There is a spiritual sun that illumines the soul with an even greater intensity than the physical sun illumines a body on earth.  This spiritual sun casts no shadows and never leaves half of the earth in darkness.  It is as bright at night as it is in the day.  It exists within us.  No one can block any of its light.  There is no place we can go to escape it.  It never sets.  The only clouds that can obscure it are our emotions.  It is a glorious day.  It shines on a primitive person in a dark cave.  Even a blind person can walk its light.”

This summer, when the heat from the sun becomes too much, think of the light from the Son.  Bask in His light.


      

 



This week’s reading:

  • Monday –  Rev. 1, Rev. 2, Rev. 3, Rev. 4
  • Tuesday – Rev. 5, Rev. 6, Rev. 7, Rev. 8, Rev. 9
  • Wednesday – Rev. 10, Rev. 11, Rev. 12, Rev. 13, Rev. 14
  • Thursday – Rev. 15, Rev. 16, Rev. 17, Rev. 18
  • Friday –  Rev. 19, Rev. 20, Rev. 21, Rev. 22


Please Pray for:

  • The St. Paul Church family.
  • Those who are unwillingly absent.
  • Those who are grieving and depressed.
  • Ongoing Building Renovations, Modifications.
  • The United Methodist Church.
  • Our nation and our leaders.

First Steps – July 8, 2019

In the aftermath of July 4th, the thoughts of freedom still loom in the air. Freedom is a topic much discussed in the New Testament. Below are a few examples:

John 8:36
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Romans 6:22
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

1 Corinthians 6:12
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.

2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Galatians 5:13-14
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Galatians 5:1
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Ephesians 3:12
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

The Bible assumes people are slaves — bound to sin, but the work of Christ sets one free from the hold of sin on a life. This doesn’t mean absolute moral perfection, as if to say a person will never sin again. It means that the propensity or desire to want to sin is broken. At the same time, freedom from God is meant to be shared in service to others.

Freedom in all forms is valued and stems from the heart of God. As you continue to reflect on the many freedoms you enjoy, I hope that you will offer prayers of thanksgiving to God for the gifts that are given.

      

 


This week’s reading:

  • Monday –  John 11, John 13, John 14
  • Tuesday – John 15, John 16, John 17, John 18
  • Wednesday – John 19, John 20, John 21
  • Thursday – 1 John 1,  1 John 2, 1 John 3, 1 John 4, 1 John 5
  • Friday –  2 John, 3 John

Please Pray for:

  • St. Paul children and youth ministries.
  • The Ukraine Mission Team.
  • Ongoing Building Renovations, Modifications.
  • Our families, homes, workplace, church, and community.
  • Those who are unwillingly absent.
  • Those who are grieving and depressed.
  • The United Methodist Church.
  • Our nation and our leaders.