Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love

Devotion July 18, 2018

Greetings All!
When I was in Junior High School back in the days when there was Junior High School which now has been reconfigured as Middle School - way back then in those days of 7th Grade when girls discover boys and boys have actually reached that place where girls don’t have cooties anymore, I had a boyfriend. We had been friends all the way through grade school and somewhere along the way came that transition where the boy who was your friend realized girls could be something other than friends and you start calling yourselves boyfriend and girlfriend!
Well, the special thing about this particular boy was not his quick wit or suave charm or his good looks but the fact that his father was the manager of the local bowling alley. The nifty thing about that was that most of our ‘dates’ consisted of my parents dropping me off at the bowling alley for the evening where because my boyfriend’s father was the manager we bowled for free all evening and on top of the free bowling we received free snacks!
It was a pretty fantastic time of dating - I wasn’t a complete mercenary only going out with this boy because of the bowling… I did enjoy his company and we did have a good time together and as a result I got pretty good at bowling! But it was pretty sweet for the boy too because dates were pretty cheap for him!
What made me remember these carefree Junior High bowling dates was a trip to the bowling alley with my granddaughters. I asked them what they wanted to do and both of them quickly responded in unison - “We want to go bowling!”
Fortunately I knew where the bowling alley was and I figured bowling would be a good family outing!
And off we went to bowling. Now it has been years since I have bowled - I have been in leagues over the years and bowled on a regular basis but that seemed like eons ago and bowling it seems is not like riding a bike because you don’t automatically return to your former ability when you go bowling after many years of neglecting said sport…
So my granddaughters and I make it to the bowling alley and rented our lane and our shoes and found our balls and we began to bowl. Remember the riding the bike thing….. I started out this bowling experience with gutter balls…. Yes. Gutter balls…. Not just one but several and eventually the balls started actually going down to lane and knocking a couple pins down and eventually there was a spare and eventually even a strike but still mixed in were those gutter balls.
I started to worry that my granddaughters were going to get a higher score than me - but then they had those bumper things on the alleys so that their ball couldn’t go into the gutter!
We had fun, I was a little disconcerted that I did so poorly after my long ago history of pretty good bowling but the real problem came the next morning when my feet hurt, my neck was stiff, my finger was swollen and there was a whole plethora of aches and pains. I wondered what had brought upon this achiness, and I remembered the bowling! All those muscles that hadn’t been used in that way in years reacted to this sudden awakening and they didn’t like it!
Just like it is when we neglect God for a while. When something within us stirs us or something outside of us prompts us to return to the presence of our heavenly father, there is a learning curve to get back into the routines of a spiritual life; of our relationship with God. And you know, just like those achey bowling muscles there might be a little discomfort involved with that re-entry into the realm of God; there might be a bit of work involved in returning to a knowledge of the presence of God.
But as you begin the process, God will be there with his hands outstretched willing to pull you along and help you regain your place with him. Like returning to bowling, it takes some practice to get back to the routines of life with God… but it is worth it!

Amen!!
Joanne!


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.

Devotion July 11, 2018

Greetings!!

Vacations are quite the conundrum. Vacations are necessary. Vacations are fun. But there are things about vacations that make you want to say, “Hmmm” (Wasn’t that a song a while back?)
I guess what spurred this on was last week when I went on vacation.
Took 4 days to pack cause we were going camping and camping requires you to take things that you wouldn't necessarily have to take if you were staying in a hotel - so lists were made, store trips were done, packing and packing and then trying to remember what you packed and remember you were going to WV where the days are hot but the nights are cold so 2 or 3 outfits each day is the norm....
The sainted husband was a volunteer for a PGA tournament and while he was sweating on the golf course in the searing heat watching grown men hit and then look for little white balls (Can’t quite understand this game where you spend as much time looking for something as you do playing the game) I remained at the camp site cause walking 2 miles in the heat to get where you needed to go after a bus ride didn't seem very vacationey....
Anyway, while he was doing what he did at the golf tournament, I was camping in the nearby state forest. (Well, I guess he was camping too it was just that he isn’t there much…..) What I experienced as I leisurely rose from a night of slumber on the first day, was this disorientation of ‘What do I do?”
Now when you spend most days getting up early and going for a walk, then coming home, eating breakfast, doing some chores around the house, going to work, coming home and fixing the sainted husband lunch, doing a couple more house things, going back to work, coming home and fixing the sainted husband dinner, cleaning the kitchen, going to a meeting or yard work or whatever the evening activity was, coming home, finishing up some work, watching some TV and going to bed so that you can wake up the next morning and doing it all again…..
Waking up in vacation land and not having to follow that routine is quite disconcerting….. There is just an uneasiness that you need to be doing something - which is why I purposely do not take work with me because if I did that would be my solution to this uneasiness, I’ll just do some work which then negates the idea of vacation since you are not really resting from what you do on a regular basis you are just changing locations for what you do on a regular basis…
So I had no work with me, there were no messages on my phone requiring me to ‘work’, and there I sat after my second cup of coffee and my breakfast and I wondered what was next. What do I do when there is literally nothing that has to be done? What an eerie feeling?
Now I had made all kinds of plans about what I was going to do on vacation. Rest, sit and not do anything while staring off into the woods, read a book, crochet, take a nap….. And all of that sounded really good and relaxing and proper vacation fare. But for the first couple days of this vacation the urge to ‘work’ was hard to shake and it made true relaxing pretty problematic.
But after time you get over what ever that "I need to work" feeling is and the relaxing nature kicked in and all was well and you are vacationing as you should!
Then you come home. And you kick into high gear as you have to unload all the paraphernalia you took with you and unpack it and put it away and do the laundry that you went through while vacationing all the while trying to catch up on all the work that has accumulated while you were gone and quickly the vacation is but a distant faded memory - a fond memory but it quickly almost seems as if it never happened. Back once again to the getting up early in the morning, taking a walk, eating breakfast, doing house chores, going to work…… And most people say, "I need a vacation from my vacation..."
But as I look back on it, the vacation did revive a bit of energy and go-gettedness that had begun to fade, so even though there were hiccups, it was a good thing.
God wants us to rest. Sometimes we think ‘rest’ is a four letter word something never to say much less do. Don’t want anyone to think we are lazy. Have to be productive. Gotta keep going/working/doing cause that is what we are suppose to do. Right?
Wrong. God says rest. Take some time. Recharge. Yea it is hard for us at first because of our rush/rush life style and our keep going mentality, but God says do it anyway.
And God knows best. God rested; Jesus rested; and we are to rest as well. It is a gift. You have permission from the highest authority and after all God is the only one we really have to listen to.
Rest. Take a day off. Go on vacation - or staycation is the latest thing - whatever you label it - Rest!
God will help you wind down and then reward you with a renewed sense of your presence with him!

Amen!

Joanne


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.