"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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Deb Kenes

Prayer Team Leader

This Week's Devotional


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SPIRITUAL REFLECTION FOR YOUR DEVOTIONAL LIFE – May 25, 2022

CHANGE IN DEVOTIONAL DISTRIBUTION – NO MORE WEEKLY DEVOTIONS

To folks who look for and appreciate these devotional readings to be a source of inspiration, please note the change that has been instituted. The change comes before you because I will not be offering devotions after this month ends. This devotional time has been offered throughout the pandemic. Things and leadership are in transition. Your new Pastor, Rev. Judi Herrold, cannot be expected to do certain things just because it had been done before. She might choose to participate, but we make this change to relieve her from this task, in light of all the things she will have to learn.

Our Prayer Team facilitator, Deb Kenes will continue to offer devotional readings to have you draw closer to our Lord. The approach will be periodic and spontaneous in nature. As the Holy Spirit inspires her to compose a devotion, she will formulate the devotion that will be posted for your benefit. Therefore, it will not be weekly, rather the devotions will be offered as the Spirit moves. You will know it by the title - “Spiritual reflection for your devotion Life.”

SPIRITUAL REFLECTION FOR YOUR DEVOTIONAL LIFE

“The Names of God, Part Two” by Pastor Liddick

INTRODUCTION

In my last devotion, I mentioned Pastor Tony Evans and his book, The Names of God. Evans work was on knowing God through His names. The theme was learning to know God by His names, opens up the door to knowing God’s character more fully and experiencing his power more deeply. I move on from his interesting writing and have us look deeper into this theme.

COMMENTARY

Consider some of the names associated with the divine being we identify as God in Old Testament –

Elohim – the more generic name for the God of power and might Genesis 1:1; Ps 19:1

Adonai – identity as Lord; referencing the lordship of God Malachi 1:6

Jehovah – in Hebrew rendered as Yahweh, name of God that the Hebrew did not repeat.

Jehovah-Rapha – meaning the Lord my shepherd; the healer Exodus 16:26

Jehovah-Nissi – the Lord our banner; Lord of victory Exodus 17:15

Jehovah-Jireh – the Lord will provide; God as our provider Genesis 22:13-14

Jehovah-Shammah – the Lord who is present; omnipresent Ezekiel 48:35

Jehovah-Shalom – the Lord of peace; our God offers well-being Judges 6:24

El-Shaddai – God of the mountains; God almighty Genesis 17:1; Psalm 91:1

I Am – the answer to Moses from the God of his fathers; I Am who I Am Exodus 3:14

These are special names for God in the New Testament –

Father – Jesus introduced us to ‘abba’, meaning ‘daddy’ John 14:16

Heavenly Father – Intimate expression of God who watches over us Matthew 6:9

Emmanuel – God with us; God is no longer distant, identity in the Son Matthew 1:23

The Word – John’s gospel teaches that God is the Word John 1:1

Some of the names for God are familiar and some not the case. This select grouping of names reveals the majesty, praise and presence of God to us. For me and hopefully for you, they engender awe and mystery, remembering that this wonderful God is beyond description and unlimited.

DEVOTIONAL REFLECTION

Enter God’s presence with reverence. Recognize that in our limitations, we dare not limit God. That is to say, our naming has the potential to give a more narrow understanding of who this divine source for life and being is in our minds. Our intellect cannot fathom the power, presence and knowledge of God. It is by our faith that we embrace the fullness of God. Even with that, we grasp only a portion of the vastness of our great God. When from the heart we reverence and honor our Lord, we accept that as mere humans, we live into and walk through life in trust that God is in control.

Holy and wholly other is the God of creation. When we consider what is known and what is unknowable, the Lord our God knows the depth, breath and height of all things. But more, this same God knows us so intimately that our days of life and the number of hairs on our heads is known by God. How reassuring that when we do not have answers, there is a wise, gracious and loving God who is in control and brings understanding to us.

CLOSING PRAYER

Eternal and gracious God, we have so many names for you, but if they are only names and not embraced by our faith, we are merely name dropping. To say holy is your name and truly believe, we have life abundant, life eternal, and life in you. As I pray before you in this moment, I am in awe and worship you, but I also seek to know more of you so that I might be a child of yours, growing in my understanding of who you are to me. With thanks and praise on my lips, in gratitude, I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen




MIDWEEK MEDITATION BY DEBRA KENES – MAY 18, 2022


As I get older, I use a lot of post it notes! My mom was a creator of lists. She used them as reminders and guides and I am following in her footsteps. My short term memory is not what it use to be so they are an important part of my day. I think God uses post it notes too. Not because He can’t remember but as pointers for us. I read a daily devotional recently (a post it note from HIM?) that talked about His glory and how we miss seeing it. In Romans 1:20, we are reminded of this…. Since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. To glorify God is to make Him easy to see. We become God’s Post-It Notes to the world! Wow! I decided to take a day and do my best to see God’s notes to me.

  • The early morning sun shining on my face after what seems like a thousand days of rain. The sun is always there – just sometimes hidden from view.

  • The smell of coffee that reinforces the fact that I am lucky enough to have another day to experience.

  • The lilting notes of a song bird greeting the new day.

  • A trip to the gym to take better care of the body God gave me.

  • Praising God that he has allowed Darryl to loose weight, cut back on medicine, engage in the activities he loves, build his character through his medical trials.

  • A home that shelters me from physical storms, mental storms, spiritual storms and just plain weather.

  • Email invitation from new friends to engage and share a meal.

  • As annoying as the political season can be, it is good to have choices and ways to research what each candidate represents.

  • My puppy dog chasing frisbees – making incredible catches. She also “doggy smiles” at me each time I come through the door. So cute!

  • A wedding invitation from our next door neighbor’s daughter whom we have watched grow up. How the time flies!

  • Lunch served on a new counter top. How does God create such magnificent stone for our use and admiration?

  • A dryer full of clothes – too many clothes! I used to help my mom with a wringer type washer. At one point, I am sure she thought it was a miracle in itself. Someone is always coming up with new inventions. Thank you God for inspiration!

  • The smell and feel of dirt as I nest plants into their summer home. Sweet little flower faces flooding my sight with their color and fragrance and characteristics.

  • Some down time to read. I love when God shares with me through this my favorite pastime.

  • Watching my grandbabies play ball on this soft spring evening. The other team didn’t show up so the coach had the girls practice their skills. He even allowed the team siblings to play too! Thank you Lord for using us to teach others about sharing and team work and discipline and humor.

  • A new tree we planted in our daughter’s yard is birthing its tender new leaves – so soft.

  • I haven’t seen the evening stars so bright and sparkly for quite a while. King of kings, we can never out do your canvas and creation!

  • My husband loving me.

Amazing, right? Why not do this yourself tomorrow or the next day? Take time to see what God is trying to show you. Write down a list (or post it note) and share it with me. Let’s make a day-in-the life-of-Shepherdstown GLORY list. YES!


Father God, how can we praise you enough for all that you give to us? We miss many of the love notes you send to us. Help us to be better at noticing them, retrieving them, using them. Fill our hearts with an overflowing love so that we are not able to hold it all in….and we share. Thank you for your grace, mercy, kindness and the flood of never ending love. Hugs to you, Lord! Amen.



MIDWEEK MEDITATION BY PASTOR LIDDICK

SPIRITUAL REFLECTION FOR YOUR DEVOTIONAL LIFE – May 11, 2022

CHANGE IN DEVOTIONAL DISTRIBUTION – To folks who look for and appreciate these devotional readings to be a source of inspiration, please note the change in how this will be offered from this point forward. The change comes before you because I will not be offering devotions after this month ends. This devotional time has been offered throughout the pandemic. Things and leadership are in transition. Your new Pastor, Judi Herrold, cannot be expected to do certain things just because it had been done before. She might choose to participate, but we make this change to relieve her from this task, in light of all the things she will have to learn.

Our Prayer Team facilitator, Deb Kenes will continue to offer devotional readings to have you draw closer to our Lord. The approach will be periodic and spontaneous in nature. As the Holy Spirit inspires her to compose a devotion, she will formulate the devotion that will be posted for your benefit. Therefore, it will not be weekly, rather the devotions will be offered as the Spirit moves. You will know it by the title - “Spiritual reflection for your devotion Life.”

Now to - A MINDFUL MEDITATION BY PASTOR LIDDICK

“The Names of God”

INTRODUCTION

A number of years ago, I became acquainted with a writing by Pastor Tony Evans. His book, The Names of God. Evans work was on knowing God through His names. The theme was learning to know God by His names, opens up the door to knowing God’s character more fully and experiencing his power more deeply.

Another book of interest that I came across was titled, Book of Bible Lists, by H. L. Wilmington. His book was a compilation of lists, names and themes that would have a scripture text to cite where the term was in God’s Word, the Bible.

I have and you can do similar searches on the internet, as we Google our way through life. But there is something about a book and its author that engages me. For example, I had witnessed Tony Even’s preaching in person on two occasions. In a way, when I read something of his, it is as though I am picking up on his preaching or maybe even a more intimate conversation, since I know who he is and am familiar with his linguistic style. And so, this theme of names given for Jesus was instigated by my familiarity with the authors mentioned and their list of names for our Lord.

COMMENTARY

This devotional reflection takes on an entirely different approach from my usual presentation of devotions here. These authors triggered for me spiritual insight that I seek to share with you. According to H. L. Wilmington, there are 117 scriptural names for Christ. From there I went on a tangent. I wrote down the “I am” sayings of Jesus, as found in the Gospel of John. I have used those names for a sermon series a few years back. But here let me just list them and the meaning found in each teaching –

I am the Good Shepherd – we start with an I am saying for this church! John 10:7-18

I am the Living Bread – never hunger again! John 6:28-59

I am the True Vine – No disconnect; we are tied to the source. John 15:1-11

I am the Light of the World – constant light; no brownouts with true light. John 8:12-20

I am the Resurrection – words of assurance as Lazarus is raised up! John 11:17-27

I am the way, & the truth, & the life – Jesus is the path to the Father. John 14:1-14

I am the Living Water – never thirst again as you draw from endless well! John 4:1-28

DEVOTIONAL REFLECTION

There are seven “I am” sayings. Don’t think it coincidence that the number seven is used. It is the number for perfection as used in scripture. The first citing of that number was in the beginning, as found in Genesis. God is recorded as having created the earth in six days, declaring it as ‘very good’ and on the seventh day God rested. Seven is perfection. Jesus is the perfect one who came to live among the people, died to intervene and defeat sin and death in us, and raised in victory over the forces of evil, bringing forth life eternal. The seven citing’s describe the perfect one, his ministry and the meaning found through his identity.

Let these seven “I Am” sayings be, as it were, mega metaphors for us. Through these seven descriptions of Jesus Christ, we come to a faith understanding that brings us to a deeper level of belief in our spiritual journey. As God said creation was very good, in Jesus we discover a seven-fold goodness. This goodness brings about the restoration of God’s design for us and that is truly good! The “I am” sayings speak of God’s goodness in the grace given unto us through the Good Shepherd who offers water, bread and connects us as the true vine, leading us by his light to the way, the truth and the life.

CLOSING PRAYER

Eternal and gracious God, in your Son and our Savior, we have life abundant, life eternal, and life in you. I pray that the seven images of Jesus may be etched upon my heart and remind me that in Jesus Christ we have every need met, and direction for our living now and in eternity. With thanks and praise on my lips, in gratitude, I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.



MIDWEEK MEDITATION BY DEBRA KENES – MAY 4, 2022

Remember your favorite actors/singers from your teenage years? You watched all their TV shows or movies, read the low down in magazines on who they were dating or marrying. Kept track of their tours. I use to write a letter to my faves and request an autographed picture. I usually got them and pinned their faces to a bulletin board I had in my bedroom. I KNEW them.

Really…….I knew them? I might have known their favorite color or food. I might have known their shade of lipstick or what their dog looked like. However, I didn’t KNOW them. Isn’t it the same as our relationship with God? We say we know him but do we? Do you know as many details about God as you do your best friend? He is always with us but we don’t seem to see him. Think about those drabs days when the clouds obscure the sun. It seems like the sun is not there at all but we know that is not true. It is behind the clouds waiting to shine – just like our Father God. How do we keep God in front of us and get to know him as our best friend? We need to practice keeping our thoughts on God beyond what is standing right in front of us. We must internalize that our daily agenda probably is not HIS. Allowing him to orchestrate our purpose will go a long way to knowing him better. Isaiah 26:3 tells us “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” I want that perfect peace, don’t you?

Heavenly Father, we want to know you better. Let us see proof of your existence in every corner of our lives. We want to

participate in your individual and corporate purpose for us each day. Help us to not be distracted by the ways of the world.

Fill my eyes and heart and mind with YOU! We praise your name! Amen






MIDWEEK MEDITATION BY PASTOR LIDDICK – April 27, 2022

My child, keep my words and store up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live, keep my teachings as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers, write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 7:1-3

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

COMMENTARY

Reinhold Niebuhr, who died in 1971, was a theologian and professor at Union Theological Seminary. His influence went beyond the world of religion. He influenced the political life of his time and was one of the few who spoke against the Nazis and Hitler, during a time when most church leaders backed U.S. neutrality. I recall from study during my seminary days that he and his brother, Ronald were prolific writers. Their thinking helped to shape mainline churches concerning theological thought. While you may not have heard of him, you are no doubt familiar with his Serenity Prayer. The Serenity Prayer was circulating before 1936. Alcoholics Anonymous has used the prayer since the 1950’s and every NA or AA session uses the prayer during their meetings.

DEVOTIONAL REFLECTION

This prayer serves you and me well in our lives if we were to abide by its truth. These words offer for us a sense of balance for our lives. A proper perspective emerges from this in my thinking. To face change and not fight it is such a wise thing. This is what I gain from my reading of this prayer. So, when change comes for you, let wisdom speak to your heart and you will get through whatever comes along. Oh, and since we are people who trust in God, we know God will grant what we need according to God’s timing.

CLOSING PRAYER

Wise and gracious God, I ask that you would give me the wisdom, the discernment and serenity to deal with all situations in my life. Guide me to accept those things that come along that I am not sure how to work through. Foster within my spirit the courage to face those circumstances that I find myself in, and to know what to do and how to do it, to bring the positive change for myself and others. Hear my prayer for I want to be the better for it. This I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.





Mid Week Devotion by Debra Kenes

March 2, 2022

My husband had a MG car before we were married and loved it. Right before he met me, he traded it in for an MGB – that had a hatch. He also had a St. Bernard that traveled everywhere with him. The dog was used to riding in the passenger seat. When I came along, the dog was determined to NOT give up his seat. Often I would end up riding in the hatch back part. After we were married, we sold that car to get one with a bit more room. However, Darryl never lost his love for his first MG. He has been hunting for a replacement for about a year. After several tries, we found a ’66 in Cabot, PA. The car has been residing in a garage for quite a while. The prior owner died and his son was not interested in restoring it to its former beauty. Former beauty. Don’t we all wish we looked, moved, remembered like we used to? We’re a bit like this car – feeling rusted, worn out, sometimes unwanted - not having the steam or maneuverability we would like. If this Cabot car had feelings, I imagine, she would be so happy about going to a new home and getting a do over. We also have that ability for a do over. Every.Single.Day! God offers us a new paint job, better brakes, a quiet muffler, a motor that purrs – if we repent, if we pick a better road, if we are grateful and full of praise to Him. The scriptures tell us:

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Isaiah 40:31 But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

2 Corinthians 4:16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Yahoo, we are a new creation! Just as we hope to redo this car, we pray to renew ourselves and be better tomorrow than we were today.

Creator of all things, we give you thanks for allowing us to be new each day. Forgive us for sometimes “rusting” due to staying in place and not motoring. Move us, drive us to being refinished and refined and more like you. Amen.






PRAYER AS SURRENDER TO GOD

I Timothy 2:1-4 Instructions concerning Prayer.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercession, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

KEY VERSE: I Timothy 2:8 I desire, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument.

A COMMENTARY

The Apostle Paul writes a second letter to Timothy and his congregation at Ephesus. Recall that Timothy was Paul’s prized protégé in ministry, a spiritual son! His word of encouragement to him on prayer comes from this missionary, now prisoner in faith. It is from his imprisonment experience that we read words about a deeper spiritual walk through the dynamic of prayer.

Paul writes to have believers take before God their requests or supplications. Those are the deep desires that we are to be put before our God who is always listening. The second word in Paul’s appeal is prayer itself. The idea is that private and public prayer is that dedicated time when we, thirdly, bring our intercessions before the Lord. Intercessions are understood to be a conversation with God that opens us to lift up petitions that draw us near to God. One final word he included as part of this understanding of the spiritual life before God. Thanksgiving, rendered eucharistia in the Greek, is that word that Paul uses to speak of the divine communion we have in our Lord by giving thanks in our prayer life.

In summary, we come to God with full confidence, even boldness, into communion with our God. We pray in a conversational way so that we might experience the depth and richness in our prayer life. Paul exhorts Timothy to pray for kings and all leaders in governance over us. One is to pray for those in authority. The follower of Jesus is to live life of prayer, having our center in the stillness and unmarred restful presence. Such godly dignity is what brings us to tranquility within. This sense of reverence and holiness puts aside emotions of anger and resentment. We lift our hands as a gesture of the desire to consecrate our prayerful attitude that is pleasing to God.

DEVOTIONAL REFLECTION

What triggered this devotion was the “Prayer of Surrender to God” by Thomas a Kempis. that was sent my way a few weeks ago. Thomas a Kempis was born in the Cologne region around 1380. He lived to the ripe old age of 91. He was a monk in the order of The Brothers of the Common Life. In that order he became a Canon Regular and remained as such for 72 years. The

Canon in the monastic community is one who is the chief religious cleric within the order. His teachings were recorded in The Imitation of Christ, a four-volume work. It was first issued in 1418 as an anonymous writing. Close to 25 years later his authorship was revealed. This work was written to have others focus on the teachings of devotion and prayer as spiritual exercise, allowing one to draw closer and more intimately into the presence of the Lord. Thomas a Kempis, like Paul, calls upon the believer to draw ever closer to our gracious God. Let this special prayer speak to you in your time of devotion!

PRAYER OF SURRENDER TO GOD

Lord, You know what is best; let this be done or that be done as You please. Give what You will, as much as You will, when You will.

Do with me as You know best, as will most please You, and will be for Your greater honor.

Place me where You will and deal with me freely in all things. I am in Your hand; turn me about whichever way You will.

Behold, I am Your servant, ready to obey in all things. Not for myself do I desire to live, but for You – would that I could do this worthily and perfectly! AMEN.

(The Imitation of Christ, Book 3, chapter 15)




God’s Love Is a Forever Thing!

Feb 07, 2022 | Mary Southerland


Friend to Friend

I heard the doorbell ring, but I had absolutely no desire to answer it. I was desperately trying to withdraw from my world. It was too dark and too painful. I just wanted to be left alone.

Clinical depression was sucking the life out of me. I was seeing a counselor. I was also under the care of a psychiatrist who discovered I had a chemical imbalance that required medication. But it would be a long, hard road.

The doorbell rang again. I pulled the covers over my head, determined to outlast whoever was trying to work their way into my pain. It was easier to just surrender to the darkness than it was to struggle my way to the light.

The doorbell stopped ringing. Whew! I was so glad I had dodged that bullet.

Nope.

A loud knocking ensued … followed by the voice of Michelle, my best friend declaring, “Mary, I know you are in there. I am coming in to clean your house, and I have groceries for you in my car. I don’t care what you or your house looks like, but I am coming in one way or another.” If it had been anyone else, I might have had a chance. But Michelle Johnson would bulldoze her way through the front door if necessary to get to me.

Love shows up.

Over the years Michelle has been “God with skin on” in my life so many times and in so many ways. She never has waited until I asked for help … she has just showed up to meet whatever need I have had in my life.

During the two worst years of my battle with clinical depression, Michelle did the things I could not do. She bought groceries, picked up cleaning, lined up meals, took our kids to buy soccer cleats, and just listened as I poured out my pain.

Sometimes Michelle called and invited me to walk the half-block down the street to her house. But some days that half-block might as well have been a thousand miles, so she came to me. Her friendship is and always will be a priceless gift.

Now that I think about it, some of my best friends are people who saw a need in my life and met it. In fact, the most precious friend I have saw my greatest need and met it.

Jesus looked through my sin and shame and loved me still. And oh, how He showed up!

God’s love compelled Jesus Christ to willingly exchange a throne for a manger, divinity for humanity and Heaven for Earth.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)

God’s love changes everything and everyone who receives it. God’s love protects and breathes life and purpose into every minute of every day. God’s love is a gift beyond measure that surrounds us and covers us when life falls apart.

Do not believe the lies of the enemy when he tells you that your God has forsaken you. God is with you – Emmanuel. He endured the cross, completely, and absolutely alone because He loves you. And that love endures forever.

“Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever” (Psalm 136:26 NIV).

No one can take your place in the Father’s heart. God knows your pain and He understands. God gets you. He created you and paid for your sin for one reason alone – He loves you. And true love always shows up.

Let’s Pray

Thank You for loving me, God. Honestly, I don’t understand that kind of love; a love that sent Jesus Christ to the cross so that I can live. But today, I celebrate Your gift of mercy and grace, Father. Please help me learn how to freely share Your love with the people in my world.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

What can you do to help someone experience the love of God? Decide to meet a need in their life … and then do it!

© 2022 by Mary Southerland. All rights reserved.

From Girlfriends in God and (Author’s Name). © Girlfriends In God.

Website: www.GirlfriendsInGod.com. Email: info@GirlfriendsInGod.com



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