Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love

Devotion January 31, 2018

Greetings!
I realize this is the wrong time of year to talk about this… I mean walk outside today and it is cold, and the wind is cold, and the chill just sets into your bones when you go outside.
So thinking about doing things outdoors is not what would normally come to mind…. but even with the cold temperatures and the blowing wind, the sun is out and the sky is blue and I felt this wave of desire to be weeding..
Weeding? you say. Why would anyone have this desire to be weeding? Especially on a cold winter day - even if the sun is out.
But, for me, weeding is relaxing. There is just something therapeutic about gathering up all the weeding supplies (which isn’t much - just a bucket and those clunky weeding scissors which probably have a real name but I have always just called them weeding scissors and then I usually have a little hand shovel which I don’t use often but it is part of the supply kit) and finding a spot that needs weeding, very ungracefully getting down to weed level, knowing it will be a while before I just as ungracefully get back up….
And then you dig in - literally. I personally prefer the just grabbing the weeds and tugging and pulling and ripping those roots out of the ground and then putting them in the bucket. Just think about the how beneficial to ones frustrations to picture those frustrations as these weeds that you are jerking out of the ground….
You think about whatever and then grab a weed and with some force give it a strong tug and out comes that weed and with it a thin layer of a particular vexation of the last couple days. You grab another handful of weeds and the annoyances of the past week/month/several months/year begin to wane a little as your discontentments and disappointments and irritations seem to take on the face of these weeds.
And after an hour or so of pulling weeds, there is a calm that seems to have invaded the tenseness that existed before the weeding experience…..
Now I don’t think that there are any great annoyances that I’m wanting to abate today, but as I walked out of the door of my home and I looked at the beds around the foundation which currently don’t have any weeds because it is the middle of winter, but I envisioned warm evenings, sitting on the ground, pulling the weeds and enjoying the now cleaned out, prettier beds around the house, that feeling of accomplishment - accomplishment that you can actually see!
Now, what you know in the back of your head as you sit back and look at the nicely weeded bed with the plants that are suppose to be there able to breathe and flourish…. what you know is that next week you will be back at this same location pulling more weeds…. maybe not so many but still more weeds and so more pulling and still more pretty cheap therapy….
It made me think about the peace that Paul talks about when he tells us about how with God we can have a ‘peace that passes all understanding’. Now to get the peace from the irritations that have a tendency to weigh us down, I have to get down and get dirty and expend energy and sweat and use my supplies and take time and eventually go through all the effort of trying to get back up again….
But God says, if you just trust in me I can give you peace as well and you don’t have to go through all those gyrations of getting down and pulling weeds to get that peace… you just have to trust.
Now I realize that trusting can be just as hard for some as doing all that work to jerk out weeds firmly affixed to the soil…
But it is a free offer, no strings attached, no work required…. peace from God - just believe it!
Amen!

Joanne


If you are new to this weekly devotion, it began many years ago to give us a boost during the week to help us continue in our walk with God! Please feel free to share it with those you know!…

Devotion January 17, 2018

Greetings!

I have a friend, a guy.  Known him for a very long, long time.  He was a steadfast bachelor.  Declared he would always be a bachelor.  Wasn’t going to get tied down.  Didn’t want to be responsible to anyone.  Wasn’t any way he was ever going to get married.  Oh, he had girlfriends.  He dated, sometimes almost seriously but he was pretty up front with those he dated that he was never going to ‘get serious’ and it was never going to ‘amount to anything’.  
We talked and I assured him that he was pretty mistaken - that being in a relationship was not a hardship but a blessing.  He said I was just using trite words and he was probably right but I’ve been married almost 40 years so it is hard to describe marriage to someone who is perpetually single.  
He lived in a plain small house - a modular house.  No offense to the men out there but it looked like - especially from the outside - a house a single man would live in.  There were a couple untrimmed bushes by the front porch and a tree outside and a sidewalk to the graveled parking area.  Pretty plain.  He kept the grass cut and the little bit of string trimming that needed done was done sporadically…..
And then it happened - to him the unthinkable.  He met her.  Her being the one who was going to change his way of life; her who was going to soften that resolve to forever remain single; her that helped him to understand the joy of being in a long-term relationship with someone you cared about…. he fell in love.  He was smitten.  Gone was that adamant declaration that he was going to forever remain single.
What is kind of funny about all this is that he didn’t come out and tell me…. He didn’t really tell any of his friends because I am sure he knew we would taunt him - not that we weren’t happy for him but you have to tease him a little after all those years of “No one is ever going to get me…..” .  
How I realized what was going on was looking at his house.  All of a sudden I noticed that there was this beautiful border of mulch around the bushes in front of his house.  Then came a small, elegant little flower bed with one of those little garden flags in the middle.  Next thing I knew there was a border of flowers along the sidewalk from the front of the house to the parking area.  A pretty little bird feeder hung in the tree and a sturdy, but nice, bird bath was evident at the corner of the house - surrounded by some great hosta.  The front porch was swept, the mail box was painted and the bushes were trimmed.  
Yes, I know this is a sexist remark, but the front of his house now had a ‘woman’s touch’.  It was transformed from this plain and functional modular house on a plain and functional lot - to a nicely decorated and landscaped homey looking residence.  And it was then I knew - he had lost the battle with independence - but it was a battle well worth losing and he had a glow about him and the beautifully transformed front yard to prove it!
That is what God does with us.  We come to God these plain, independent, selfish people adamant about our dependence on no one.  And God just takes us and turns us around and and we become these beautifully transformed children of God!  Just like the front of my friends house, we become new and different; cleaned up and spruced up and as beautiful to God as a newly landscaped flower bed!  And when we are filled with God we become so changed that people around us just know that there is something different and wonderful.  
Now the big difference is that my friend is eventually going to very reluctantly, I’m sure, tell me about this new found girl-friend.  But when we are made new by God we want to shout it from the mountaintops - “Look what God has done for me!  I am a new creation.  The old me is gone and a new me has emerged!”   What a great work God can do!
Amen! 

These devotions began in 2006 as a way to give us a midweek boost as we live out our lives as the people of God!  Feel free to share them if you wish.