First Steps – July 6, 2020

Sometimes the best devotional is not something that one reads but what one does.  Therefore, for today, I hope that you will spend some time in reflection of the many freedoms that have been provided for you.  At the same time, I hope that you will spend time in prayer, giving thanks for what others have provided, secured, and continually give so that others can be free.

On a cosmic level, that is what Jesus did for every soul and circumstance.  John’s Gospel reminds us, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).  “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:34-36).
Give thanks for freedom and liberty in whatever forms they are presented to you.


This Week’s Readings:

  • Monday – Revelation 2
  • Tuesday – Revelation 3
  • Wednesday – Revelation 4
  • Thursday – Revelation 5
  • Friday – Revelation 6

Please Pray for:

  • Our ministers and their families.
  • Those who are unwillingly absent.
  • The United Methodist Church family.
  • Our nation and our leaders.
  • The World.
  • The Lost.
  • The lives of those touched by the Coronavirus.

First Steps – June 29, 2020

One of the reasons why I appreciate church history is because it gives examples of different people who lived and breathed their faith.  It is one thing to know or believe, it is something else to faithfully live in times of ease or persecution.  Apollonius the Apologist was one such person who faithfully lived as a follower of Christ regardless of his situation.

He was a philosopher and a member of the Roman Senate.  He was denounced as a “secret” Christian by fellow senators.  Naturally, he was brought before the senate for his belief because it was illegal to be a Christian.  The account of his trial was marked with civility.  Both Apollonius and his accusers treated each other with respect and courtesy.  Though he lived in the 2nd Century, the way he treated his accusers is a lesson for the modern person.

Even in disagreement, one can treat another with respect.  For Apollonius, to treat another otherwise, would be to discredit the God he worshipped.  I wonder what would happen if followers of Christ treated every single person the same way they would treat Jesus Christ.  How effective would the witness be!  Give it a try this week.  Imagine every person around you is Jesus and let that image dictate your actions.


This Week’s Readings:

  • Monday – 1 John 5
  • Tuesday – 2 John 1:1-13
  • Wednesday – 3 John 1:1-15
  • Thursday – Jude 1:1-25
  • Friday – Revelation 1

Please Pray for:

  • Our ministers and their families.
  • Those who are unwillingly absent.
  • The United Methodist Church family.
  • Our nation and our leaders.
  • The World.
  • The Lost.
  • The lives of those touched by the Coronavirus.

First Steps – June 8, 2020

Recently I read an article in Wall Street Journal (May 12) titled: The Science of Prayer. Being a pastor, naturally I was curious what the article was going to say.  Here are a few quotes to consider:

“Since [the] pandemic, the practice of prayer has increased. Amy Wachholtz, Associate Professor and Clinical Health Psychology Director at University of Colorado—’It [Prayer] lets you put down your burden and mentally rest for a bit.’  Different studies have revealed that it can calm your nervous system, shutting down your fight or flight responses.  It can make you less reactive to negative emotions and less angry.”

“Focusing on a higher power (article’s term) is better than just meditation. Imagine carrying a backpack for hours and then when it becomes too heavy, you give it to someone else—this is what prayer can do.  But not all prayer is created equal, experts say.  A 2004 study on religious coping methods in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people who approach God as a partner, or collaborator, in their life had better mental and physical health outcomes, and people who are angry at God—who feel punished or abandoned—or who relinquish responsibility and defer to God for solutions had worse outcomes.”

“Florida State University research has found that people who pray for their spouse when they feel a negative emotion have more satisfaction in their marriage. “

If you are not a praying person, consider becoming one.  If you are, continue the discipline and trust God to carry your burdens.

Remember Jesus’ words: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” Matthew 11:28-30.




This Week’s Readings:

  • Monday –  James 3
  • Tuesday –  James 4
  • Wednesday –  James 5
  • Thursday – 1 Peter 1
  • Friday  – 1 Peter 2

Please Pray for:

  • Our ministers and their families.
  • Those who are unwillingly absent.
  • The United Methodist Church family.
  • Our nation and our leaders.
  • The World.
  • The Lost.
  • The lives of those touched by the Coronavirus.