Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love

Devotion January 23, 2019

Greetings All!
Went on a trip today. Long trip. Foggy trip. I started not to go because the weather forecast looked rather bleak. Icy, rainy and foggy. No fun to drive.
And the forecast regarding the weather turned out to be pretty accurate.
Started out the journey by taking a load of items to the car where I had to break some ice off the handle of the door and I thought to myself ‘this was an ominous sign’ but I knew I needed to go and I looked around and saw cars driving as normal down the road in front of my house and figured that if they could go so easily down the street then my driving should be OK - that is after I scraped off the ice from the car and made sure the wipers were unlodged cause there was a mist of rain falling and I was pretty sure that during this trip I was going to have to avail myself of the windshield wipers as I began my trek.
Car loaded, deep breath taken as I climbed into the car and headed down the road. Most of the driving is interstate driving so I figured that enough traffic had motored down the road to have cleared the pavement from any remaining frozen patches. And it all started out pretty well….
Turns out what I had to worry about was not the ice crystals that possible were adorning the road that impeded my progress, but trucks.
I do not know why on a random Wednesday morning there seemed to be a convoy (remember that Convoy song from 1975 - that just popped into my head and I am sure will remain there the rest of the day!) of large trucks - but there was. Not just 18 wheelers but log trucks and dump trucks and lowboys (I use to be a job counselor for a while and I learned all those ‘trucky’ words). You name the truck and for whatever reason it was on the road this icy, misty, foggy Wednesday morning. These trucks were not the least bit interested in sharing the road with anyone. Every time a hill loomed ahead where in my mind I thought I can get around this truck, another truck would pull into the passing lane and then there were two slow moving trucks blocking both lanes so I wasn’t going anywhere other than behind the truck!
I even came to the place where there are three lanes and trucks aren’t suppose to travel in the far left lane so they don’t clog up the road and some truck driver who obviously felt the rules were written for everyone else decided defiantly to add his truck to the third lane and now there were 3 large trucks blocking passage…..
Did you ever feel like something was blocking your way forward as you continue down the path of your life? Ever look up and ask God why there were so many roadblocks in front of you…. maybe even ask God to move those roadblocks away so you can continue on with your journey in the direction you wanted to go at the speed you think you need to go?
Well the moral of the truck story is that even though I may not have gone at the speed I wanted I still ended up at my destination.
And even though the journey of our life doesn’t go at the speed we would like, we can be assured God is right there with us and we are going at the speed God knows is best for our life and best for what he knows we need to do and learn.
Don’t get frustrated if things aren’t going how you want. Don’t worry if things aren’t working out how you want or when you want but have faith that you are going exactly how God knows is best.

Amen!!

DEVOTION JANUARY 16, 2018

Greetings!
Went to the beach over the holidays.  My husband lived at the beach for several years and for a while this became a tradition.  The kids and I still lived in WV and the husband would travel back and forth every couple weekends to visit but when holidays came I would pack up the kids and we would drive to see him at the beach....It was thoroughly enjoyable and exciting to know that whenever a school break came up we could go to the beach!
The ‘poor thing’ (my husband) lived in an efficiency hotel room with a balcony overlooking the beach where he would sit in the evenings, watching the waves and hearing the ocean sounds and all those wonderful moments associated with being at the beach. I called him 'the poor thing' because he occasionally would call me having the audacity to say something like "I'm siting on the balcony watching the waves' and would whine -  while I was at home with three teenagers and a foot of snow on the ground…. Well you can guess how that whining went over!
Anyway, when holidays came the kids and I packed up the car and motored off to the beach to stay with the husband for as long as we could!  Of course one of these holidays at the beach included the time between Christmas and New Years - so there were many years of New Years Eves at the beach.  It was wonderful.
After the husband found employment closer to home, we continued the tradition of New Years Eve week at the beach but as the kids got older and life got a little more complicated that particular tradition unfortunately went the way of the preverbal dinosaur.  
Oh, we have been to the beach some since then but generally to different beaches closer to where we now live and it was never quite the same.  This year, the husband and I decided that it would work out and we could go to ‘our’ beach once again. Amazingly enough when we got there it was like we had never left.  Pretty much everything looked the same, felt the same.  Even though it had been many years, many years, since we had been there, we remembered where everything was; we drove around like natives! We visited places we had been, even going to the Harris Teeter where we did most of our grocery shopping when the husband lived there.  (OK, that may have been a little strange but even the store was the same!)
And we did a lot of that, driving around drinking in the familiar places where we had fond memories.  We did a lot of beach walking as well, altho we are older now and there was more boardwalk along the beach walking than actual on the beach walking!  However it was on the beach itself where most of the changes had taken place.  
On the beach were now many things that hadn’t been there before.  To my amazement there was an actual horse corral filled with horses and for most of my family fortune I could ‘rent’ a horse to ride up and down the beach.  Even more to my amazement they were doing a lot of business…..
More my speed the beach was dotted with playgrounds for different age kids.  Playgrounds for the wee ones and playgrounds for the little older children and even a playground for the older teen crowd.  But other than that it was the same ole beach we knew....
The exciting thing for us was to find our old favorite Irish Pub and entering it and finding out it had not changed one bit.  We were seated right by the fire place where we could enjoy that ambiance with a good vantage point to remember a lot of moments in our history that had happened in this place.  The food was still delicious and it was such a great evening the first night we went we ended up going back another night of our vacation!
This beach week was  a great visit filled with the nostalgia of the familiar; filled with the warm feelings of remembering years past when we visited; memories of my husband who reminisced about people he worked with and places he went.
Made me think of church.  For me church is that place where I go to get that same feeling of warmth and familiar and the knowledge that no matter where I am, the sanctuary is just that - a sanctuary where I can feel at home; where I know what to expect; where I am served a good ‘meal’ in the bread and wine;  And yes, sometimes there is a new element, but that only adds to the knowledge that God sometimes likes to help us see the benefit of the new and the fresh. 
Haven’t been to a church in a while - come back and visit.  Just sit in the sanctuary and breath in the familiar; let the knowledge of God’s presence wash over you and give you a moment of peace.  Let what is the same as you remember give you a feeling of comfort and security; and let the new give you the understanding of a God who comes to us in ever reinvigorated ways to open our eyes and our hearts.
Coming to church just might be like a vacation that renews and regenerates you to spend time in a place where not only you know you should be, but a place where you feel at home. 
Amen!

Devotion

Greetings!
What we affectionally refer to as ‘the holidays’ are over.  Some say this is a sad thing and some people say this is a good thing….. I think I fall into the later category.  Not because the holidays weren’t a good thing, but because the holidays are, well, the holidays and nothing is routine about those days!
The ‘holidays’ start with Thanksgiving which is a lot of fun because the whole family gets together and the guys do guy things and the girls flitter through the kitchen and prepare food.  Except for the one son-on-law who is the family biscuit maker and he has his moment in the kitchen…. We have done this for enough years we are getting to the point where everyone knows what they are doing and bringing and sitting around the table… However there are enough small children that chaos is the rule of the day and that is Ok cause we are all together and the din of laughing/screaming/singing children pervades the background accompanied of course by the voices of the football announcers.
So after Thanksgiving we are immediately approached by the season of Advent for whom everyone begins to get overly busy. I always think that for those of in the church profession Advent is busier than other people but I am not sure that is the case.  These weeks before Christmas are filled regardless who you may be or where you may work or even if you are of the retired persuasion.  We cook and party and go to extra church things and buy and wrap and mail and all those get ready for Christmas activities that seem to inundate all our lives regardless of what profession we are in - altho being in the church profession I still think that we are the busiest but I bet any of you could give me a good argument otherwise…..
And then Christmas is over and there is the week before New Years which for many is a week off but that week off is often filled with recovery efforts from the weeks leading up to Christmas and often filled with ‘this is my only week off in a while so I need to get the following things done……” and so it isn’t really a week off at all but a week that is just as busy as the others just filled with different business activities than the previous weeks.
And then there is New Years with various levels of partying and gathering and doing and then Bam! comes January 2 and it is time to get back to the ordinary.  
While I enjoyed all the activities during ‘the holidays’ - even though I am a church worker and there is an element of enjoyment in the whining associated with that (which will return with the season of Lent I am sure) there is much rejoicing in my head as I settled back down to my desk and my list and my computer and the surrounding flurry of items in my office, I feel a sigh of ‘back to the ordinary’, back to the routines, back to being able to do the things that I do every day, back to my lists which are pretty similar week-to-week….
But I feel like I am in good company because as you read scripture you get the feeling that we worship a God of order as well.  There was order in the creation; there was order when God outlined the seasons; there was order in the law and in the establishment of the feasts and festivals; there is order in our days and our years; there is order in our worship.  
God knows that for his creation, order is alike a comforting mother holding her small baby in her arms and rocking back and forth, a rhythm of comfort for that child and God  for each of us creates a rhythm of comfort to sooth us and give us the security of knowing his presence. 
Amen!