won’t arrive until early March. There was no pressure to move forward … except there was … by me. So I dreamed and fretted most of the night about how I was going to get Pastor Craig and Bonnie their new badges in time for church Sunday morning. I actually had a nightmare! Needless to say, this worry got me nowhere other than a very restless night.
Without Worry’ in James Bryan Smith’s The Good and Beautiful Life. James goes to great lengths to distinguish between caution and worry. ‘Despite their similarity, worry is not the same as being cautious or careful’. He goes on to write ‘Worry is a disproportionate level of concern based on an inappropriate measure of fear’. So how do we get there … regularly to an inappropriate measure of fear? That’s certainly what I experienced last night and it did nothing but rob me of a good night’s sleep.
So this morning I asked myself why I didn’t take a deep breath and pray?
Paul writes in Philippians 4:6-7: ‘Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises chase your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.’
Chase me into prayer and settle me down, Lord.
In His Name, Janet
2 Timothy 1:7, “For I have not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind.” There were days when I would say this verse out loud each time fear tried to take control so I could find the courage to face the fear and win.
A few things that still cause me fear are heights, going fast, and going fast on a curve. Nothing combines all of these better than skiing. Where else can you choose to sit on something as wide as a popsicle stick and dangle high in the air as you are taken up a mountain? Then the only way down that mountain is to do a series of movements that make you go fast, using curve maneuvers on two more popsicle sticks. Yet I love snow and being outside and I wanted to try something new that I had a feeling I would really like. So a few weeks ago, at the age of 45, I decided to take a ski lesson during a trip with friends to a ski resort in Montana.
downhill. I started telling myself I could do it as I curved to the left and then the right. I gained speed and leaned into the fear with more determination, and I told myself I was not a prisoner anymore. I was skiing, and I was full of joy!
I made it to the bottom of that mountain, threw my hands up in the air and shouted in triumph! I did not care who heard me, I could care less what I looked like; I had just won a round with my most-hated enemy! All of the battles against fear came to mind and the reminder that never once did I fight one of those battles alone. God had been with me every time. Fear ran away from my mind like the rat that it is, and I started crying and saying, “Thank you, Father!” God had lovingly met me at the top of that mountain. While fear had been saying hateful things to me, God lovingly reminded of His word and gave me courage to win once more.
Fear can be a devastating foe that attacks our mind, body, relationships, and faith. Fear won’t stop at one thing; it wants all that we are. God has given each of us what we need to fight this enemy. He gives us an abundance of scriptures to lean on. He gives us His Spirit so we don’t have to fight alone. He gives all of this out of love, because He loves us as His precious children.
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’.” Romans 8:15
In His Name,
buildings. So, seeing not only most of the lights ON, but also…PEOPLE!!! And Lots of Them!...inside was so very uplifting!
The activity started with many of our church volunteers scrambling around to clear space for the incoming folks. That entailed volunteers from Building & Grounds, Children & Families, Deacons, Session members, staff and spouses (and more!) moving furniture and materials into other rooms for our continued use or storage for a few months. Also, mission partner St. Vincent de Paul was gifted with extraneous items or items no longer used so that they could utilize them for their own outreach in Christ’s name.
Then, cleaning by Jester’s Services and staff came next. The Christians who run this business are wonderful to work with!
NIC Children’s Center staff then hauled in boxes of book shelves, student cubbies, material carts, etc. to Krueger Hall where they immediately set to work constructing them. (Oh, how I was impressed—okay, jealous!—when those young folks sat and kneeled so agilely on the carpet to scoot around on the floor assembling those pieces! Ah, I remember when….) Back when their Center was damaged by the falling trees in the windstorm and resulting flooding, professional movers quickly packed as much as they could for them and placed it into storage. (Those movers even carefully bubble-wrapped a large, well-used and full paintbrush! Oh my…)
Of course, the next step was hauling items from storage in the U-Haul step-vans and transporting it into the church. It was so incredible and heart-warming to see those empty book shelves and carts filling up with items from the emptied boxes! Yes, it’s getting close…!
And, best of all: children to enjoy our wonderful church! The staff are already tickled with the facilities they get to use: newly decorated Children’s rooms upstairs in the Hunter Building, the nursery for the littlest ones, Krueger Hall for gathering times, the huge gym, our big kitchen and refrigerators for their meals and snacks, and Lakeside Room. Oh! I almost forgot our washer and dryer! What a blessing it is to share these amazing spaces with our friends at North Idaho College!
When Chris and I complete the church activity schedules, there is always this line at the bottom of the page:
Our Mission: LOVE1st “We love because He first loved us. 1John 4:19.”
It seems to me that we are able to pass along that love to our friends in need because we are so overflowing with the gift of His love first given to us. Let’s keep that gift flowing out by welcoming them in His love.
Your friend in Christ,
This facility is so important to Coeur d’Alene and to the surrounding communities! Quality childcare is provided for students and faculty alike. If you have young children, you have probably experienced the lack of quality care in our area. This is a huge issue for our community. As a parent, I can imagine the stress and anxiety that the families have felt while NIC has scrambled to find a location to serve their children.
I’ll admit it, I was pretty hesitant about this notion when it was first brought to my attention by Bonnie. Perhaps you have felt the same way, too? I mean, we all have so much pride in the newly renovated spaces. We’ve worked so hard to make these spaces just right for our purposes. So instead of my mind spiraling out of control thinking of all the hard work that would need to take place to allow NIC to have access to our spaces, or the “what if’s” of what might go wrong, I turned to God and to His Word. Here is what God showed me through his Word:
God has provided a wonderful facility for us to use to do HIS good work. Let’s bountifully sow seeds of love, compassion, and caring for the families in our community who need our help. Sure, we may even have to sacrifice a little bit, but the wonderful news is that God rejoices when we share what we have with a cheerful heart. So I don’t know about you, but as we prepare to share the campus with our community members, I for one will be sharing what God has provided with a heart filled with love and joy. We have no idea what the next few months are going to be like, but one thing I know is that God is working through our facility, staff, and church family for His purposes. I am excited to be a part of that, and I hope you are, too!
In love and joy,
your days. I always thought that was a great way to remember how I should think about each day and what God has in plan for you every day. I continue to try and use this during the week and find new ways to bring joy into the world.
First thing that comes to mind is the question "What can we do for Jesus?" What does he want us to do for him? I believe one of the most important things God wants for us is to live like him. 1 John 2:6 "Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked." As Christians it is our mission to share the gospel, act like him, and shine his light in the world. Each morning, start out by thinking about things you can do for Jesus each day as he continues to do so many amazing things in our lives. Philippians 2:5 "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus."
Next question is "What can we do for others." What are some ways you can do something for others? Help them out with something. Even little things like making someone coffee or warming up their car in the morning. Send someone a message asking how you can pray for them. Plan times to gather together for coffee, bible study, worship together, fellowship. Send a message or leave a note with uplifting words to build others up. Those are some things that came to mind when thinking about what I can do that day for others. John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
The last question to have each day is "What can we do for ourselves?" What are things that we need to do each day to achieve Joy in our lives? In the mornings, some things we can do for ourselves is spend time in prayer, devotion, and worship. We need to stay righteous with our thoughts, what we watch, what we say, and how we act. 1 John 3:7 "Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous." Also, what we can do for ourselves is eat healthy, exercise, and give ourself mental breaks when needed. Things I like to do for myself is practice some of my hobbies, gifts, talents, and express them.
Each day when you wake up think about doing things in the order of Jesus, others, and yourself to bring you the joy that God has in store for you each day. This week, I Pray that God will protect us and keep us safe, that he will keep our minds and hearts focused on him, and I Pray for an abundance of Joy in our lives. Have a blessed week, First Presbyterian Family.
In His name,
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
waiting an entire lifetime to even get the promise in the first place.
And it goes on, Joseph waited 13 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Moses waited 40 years to be called by God. Paul waited in prison and even Jesus waited 30 years to begin His ministry, though He was well equipped long before. If God asked even Jesus to wait, why do I think he should speed up my process?
What I love most about the Great Waiters of the Bible is that they were flawed. They were people just like me: working on pleasing God but falling short. Some of them got it, but...most didn’t, which comforts me since I usually don’t get it either. The Great Waiters were no better at waiting than I am.
So, what do the Bible stories of the Great Waiters show me about waiting? How did they occupy themselves while they waited?
While Noah waited for the rain, he got busy with what he had; a lot of wood and some specific measurements. As Daniel waited, he remained faithful in prayer and firm in his convictions. While Joseph waited in prison, he didn’t waste his energy on the question, “Why?” Instead, I get the sense he focused his sights on, “What should I do now?” He did his best with each small task given him, and he stayed close to God. His situation began to turn around; he was ready for every opportunity because he had not wasted his time. Likewise, Job, David, Paul and even Jesus waited patiently.
And the moral of these stories? There is always work to be done while waiting. Sometimes the work is hands-on or physical and other times it is a solitary journey of soul-searching. Or it can be a discipline of noticing, a practice of being alert and aware. Sometimes it is about being patient, loving and present. If we choose to surrender to the moment, to believe the moment is part of a larger story and we embrace the longing, the waited is never wasted.
Inspired by the author Tricia Lott Willford
Again, here I am again! While 2020 caused me to put my trust and hope in Christ more than any other time in my life, I find that I still need daily renewal. I have to say I am more aware of when I am changing my focus from where it should be. I am quicker to seek His face and get back on course. I don’t ever want to get to a point where I lose hope.
Hope. Have you ever really meditated on what that word means? Hope is commonly used to mean a wish: its strength is the strength of the person's desire. If my “hope” solely relied on something I wish would happen, I would be miserable, because things often do not happen as I would like.
But in the Bible hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness.
Because Christ is my savior, I can tell Him all my desires and fears and know that He cares. My hope is knowing that as His child, I can rely on His promises and that He is faithful to fulfill them. I’m thankful that I can place my hope on the One who knows my future so that I can have peace in the present.
Your friend in Christ,
My goal: This year I want to be more like Jesus. I know; that goal is so huge that I'm not sure how I even begin to wrap my arms around it. But this post I found online should help, so I'm going to adopt this Christian's strategy:
So, this is my New Year's resolution for 2021. I'll have to wait awhile to implement at least one of the strategies; after all, it's not quite boating weather on Lake Coeur d'Alene. Here's hoping as I shoot for the stars that I get a little closer to hitting the moon.
In His Service,
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him, all creatures here below.
Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
I pray that we can all be mindful of the blessings we have and to praise God, extending them to those we know and those we meet in 2021.
In His Name, Janet
started his rise to power. Which means that for most of Joseph’s life there was political turmoil in Europe, followed by war. No wonder a walk home on a quiet night inspired this young priest to praise God with song. It was one of those precious and rare moments when looking out over his village all was calm.
Over the years, I’ve studied more on the history of this beloved song. The version we sing here in the U.S. is only three verses long, but the original song had six verses and was performed for the first time with just a guitar and a few voices. Like most hymns or worship songs, the author tries to convey some attribute of God in each verse, which I have highlighted here in a simple list.
This song was not just about one peaceful night, but about the Lord of Peace. That little baby born in a stable was holy, our Savior, Lord, salvation for all. He came to embrace us and fulfill a promise from God for peace.
I’ve come to realize that although Joseph was inspired by a peaceful night in his Austrian village, what he sang to his congregation was a song of true peace. Peace that comes from God - not circumstances. So often we live surrounded by some form of trouble. Our peace is shattered or stolen, there is no calm, and the future seems bleak. Yet if God has declared goodwill toward us, if He saw fit to promise us peace, and then fulfill that promise with Jesus, then truly all can be calm and bright.
This Christmas, I pray we all remember that special night when a baby was given to us and the angels declared “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:14
In His Name, Bonnie