Fridays with Beulah

 So we can better seek, share, and serve with God.

July 21, 2017

Trusting

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

 

A few years ago, my three daughters and I took off on an adventure to New England for the Thanksgiving weekend. Our destination was the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The journey there was peaceful and relatively uneventful until Mother (that would be me) began to argue with the GPS of the driver.    It was not a wise move, and much lively–if agitated–conversation ensued.  In the end, my driver daughter and her GPS were correct, and I needed to chill out.

There was a lesson to be learned there.  Trusting my daughter to do the job she was obviously doing quite well was difficult for me somehow.  Her careful driving and her GPS had brought us safely and accurately for seven hours.  All of a sudden, she and it were wrong?  It was a classic case of foot-in-mouth disease, and I was clearly out of line.

At times I have the same difficulty trusting my heavenly Father.  I am so sure that my way is correct, and so very often I am entirely wrong.  Learning to trust is an on-going process for me.  Thankfully, the Lord (and my daughter) have not given up on me yet!

July 14, 2014

Sing a New Song

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How have you seen God today? In the rising sun, a gentle breeze, a sturdy and strong tree, the voice of a loved one, the purring of a beloved pet? All these things are ways of watching for and seeing God! As Disciples of Christ we are to be continually watching for and seeing God. Looking for God in the ordinary things of life is what prepares us for corporate worship – our gathering together on Sundays, Fridays, or Wednesday evenings. Sadly, if we wait until corporate worship to fill our spiritual tanks, to experience the power and presence of God, we will find that we may leave with tanks half full. We should prepare throughout the week, watching for and seeing God, and then, as a response, gather to respond by offering God our worship.

 

 

In Psalm 96:1-3, David reminds us of this incredible opportunity:

 

“Sing to the Lord a new song;

sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Sing to the Lord, praise his name;

Proclaim his salvation day after day.

Declare his glory among the nations,

his marvelous deeds among all peoples.”

 

If we do so, we come to corporate worship filled with the wonder of God’s goodness and we can then celebrate together; it is in this celebration that the Holy Spirit of God moves! I pray that you are looking for and seeing God in this day!

July 07, 2017

Transforming

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 “So our faces are not covered.

They show the bright glory of the Lord,

as the Lord’s Spirit makes us more

and more like our glorious Lord.”

2 Corinthians 3:18

 

Hello all and blessings!  What kinds of changes are taking place in your life, in your physical body and spirit?  Sometimes we laughingly say, “getting old isn’t for the weak or faint of heart,” or, “I’m falling apart,” or, “I have half-timers; I remember half of what I should know.”  All these, as painful as it is to admit, are realities of our human condition.  We are changing, every day we are changing.  Paul invites us to remember that we are not to only account for the ways we are failing, however, we are encouraged to give an account of how we are growing, being transformed, becoming more like our glorious Lord!

 

Paul, in 2 Corinthians 3, is reminding his readers of Moses’s encounter with God.  Moses’s face was covered, after encountering God on Mt. Sinai, and yet we are reminded that, “when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD.” Exodus 34:29.  As a result of beholding God and communing with him, our faces uncovered, we are “being transformed”, “being changed”, even our appearance is being changed.  Paul reminds us, as he did those at Corinth, that we have a new and improved appearance, spirit, and outlook.   So, we are not weak, we are not falling apart, however we are growing, being transformed, taking on a new image, a new identity.  That’s how I want to present “what’s happening with me.”  How ‘bout you?

June 30, 2017

Welcoming A New Pastor

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Beulah UMC received a wonderful gift this week – a new senior pastor!  Reverend Don Gibson and his family have come to our community in North Chesterfield to share laughter, leadership and love with our congregation and the surrounding neighborhood.

 

You have a major part in welcoming this wonderful family into the life of BUMC.  There are so many things you can do to infuse this transition with warmth and caring.

~ View our new pastor as a GIFT, not a “change.”

~ Open your hearts and decide that you are going to love this precious new family.

~ Begin praying daily for Pastor Don and his family, even as you continue to pray for Pastor Keith in his retirement.

~ Send a card of welcome and encouragement (the church office has the address information).

~ Know that welcoming Pastor Don and his family in genuine and effective ways lays the groundwork for a healthy and vital relationship.

 

Prayer for Our New Pastor

 

Dear Lord, we pray that you will be with us as we receive Pastor Don into our church family. Help us to show love and understanding when things are not always as they have been. May our membership increase and our spirits be rekindled with the flame of the Holy Spirit. We pray that Pastor Don and his family will find peace and joy in their new surroundings. Show us ways of removing stumbling blocks that will make Your path easier to follow. Continue to be with us and bind us together in Christian love and service. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. AMEN.

06/23/17

UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN

 

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When you work for a church as long as I have, it is inevitable that we face the time when we must say,

Goodbye. Changes in pastoral staff are a regular part of ministry, and this year, Beulah UMC has two:

next Wednesday, our Senior Pastor for the past seven years, Keith Mottley, is retiring; and our

Director of Christian Education for the past four years, Tracey Lyons, is moving on to full-time

pastoral ministry in NOVA.

 

It is wonderful when the staff you work with are not only fellow-professionals and colleagues, but also

friends as well. To Keith, and to Tracey, we send you on to this next page of your life story with tears,

with joy, and with a great deal of love.

 

Friends

Packing up the dreams God planted in the fertile soil of you,

Can’t believe the hopes He’s granted means a chapter in your life is through.

But we’ll keep you close as always; it won’t even seem you’ve gone.

`Cause our hearts in big and small ways, will keep the love that keeps us strong.

With the faith and love God’s given, springing from the hope we know,

We will pray the joy you’ll live in gives the strength that now you show.

And we’ll keep you close as always; it won’t even seem you’ve gone.

`Cause our hearts in big and small ways, will keep the love that keeps us strong.

And friends are friends forever, when the Lord’s the Lord of them.

And a friend will not say “never,” `cause the welcome will not end.

Though it’s hard to let you go, in the Father’s hands we know

That a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends.

6/9/17

Kind

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…dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:

compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.

Colossians 3:12

I am a huge fan of Starbucks, and often stop in for an unsweetened green tea lemonade.  I love to look at their pastries and other goodies, but being gluten intolerant, it is always look but don’t touch!  Then a few years ago, I noticed they were carrying a new gluten-free snack bar – the KIND bar.  I tried a Cranberry Almond, and then a Blueberry Vanilla Cashew, and was hooked!

 

Imagine my surprise when the wrapper on one of my bars suggested that I do a KIND act for someone else.  Curious, I went on the company’s website, and discovered their Mission Statement:

 

We believe kindness has the power to change the world. That’s why we are on a mission to make the world a little kinder, one act at a time. We call this the KIND Movement! Small act or big, we encourage it. We all have the potential to make a difference each and every day. Join us!

 

How wonderful to know that there is a commercial venture that is interested in helping other people just as much as helping their bottom line. They have even developed their own KIND vocabulary:

kindaholic – someone with an uncontrollable love for spreading kindness

kinding – an unexpected act of kindness done for someone else

kindtastic – being extraordinarily kind

There are many ways to spread kindness to those around you:  writing an encouraging note, holding a door, stopping to listen, giving a smile, sharing a hug, calling the homebound, visiting the sick, letting someone else go first, giving of your time for a charity.  What act of kindness can you give the world today?

6/2/17

I Will Never Leave

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Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified…

for the Lord your God goes with you,

He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6

 

 

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has been guarded continuously since April 6, 1948.  Although a shelter was built for the guards to use in times of extreme weather, most decline to use it.  The Tomb’s honor guard comes from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).  You can read more about them at www.army.mil/oldguard.

 

There is something that strongly pulls at the heart when we see these young men continuing to guard in the pouring rain.  They are ordinary human beings like you and I, but their strength, courage and dedication go above and beyond the normal call of duty as they refuse to abandon, even for a moment, this poignant symbol of the greatness of this country and the longevity of its memory and love for its fallen heroes.

 

Ordinary men and women like you and me also have someone who stands guard:  One who never slumbers nor sleeps, and who will not leave us or forsake us, no matter what is happening in our lives.  How blessed we are to have the Creator God as our strength and shield.

 

5/12/17

Reputation

 

And we know that in all things God works

for the good of those who love Him,

who have been called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28

 

I was raised in the household of a loving but silent father, and an overbearing mother with extremely conservative religious views.  By the time I reached high school age, I was ready for a little wholesale rebellion.  I was a day student at a religious boarding school across town – far removed from my mother’s presence.  I quickly joined a group of like-minded spirits with mischief on our minds.

 

My behavioral mutinies were extremely mild by today’s standards, but for my ultra-conservative educational institution, it was no less than heresy: hiding on the floorboards or in the tiny “trunk” of my friend’s 1964 T-bird convertible to escape campus for a little decent nourishment;  kissing my current flame out behind the gym or the front oleander hedge; crossing the invisible gender segregation line in the middle of campus at inappropriate times; being discovered at night on the road behind the boy’s dorm, talking through the window to the “inmates” locked inside; running out into the desert to avoid being caught; placing clear plastic film underneath the toilet seat in the teacher’s bathroom; hiking my skirt up above my knees for class, then rolling it back down before reaching the principal’s office; setting off tiny firecrackers in geometry class; leading the humming chorus during English class.  I was so bloomin’ tired of being forced to be “good,” that I loved being creatively, mildly, “bad.”

 

Many years later on the eve of my thirtieth birthday, I called back to the registrar’s office to make arrangements for a transcript to be sent for graduate school.  When the older woman who answered the phone asked for my name, her blurted response was classic:  “Oh, I’ve heard about you!”  I knew that it was useless to counter her store of gossip with tales of my now placid, non-rebellious character, so I ignored the comment and finished making arrangements.

 

The experience, however, was a rather pointed example of just how long a bad reputation can hang around.  Human nature finds tales of missteps much more interesting than toeing the line, and gossip expands silly pranks into mountainous transgressions.  Thankfully, God used all of my peccadilloes to transform me into who I am today.  He forgave me a long time ago, and that is all that really matters.

 

May 5, 2017

Prayer Before Panic

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Fear not, for I am with you…

Isaiah 41:10

 

One afternoon, I was trying to figure out how to make a side dish out of half a bag of frozen shredded potatoes when I thought of the (not so) bright idea of utilizing some of the potato soup I had in the pantry.   I opened the can (tear-off lid), tasted the contents, and immediately realized that it would not work with the shreds.  I dumped the contents into another container, grabbed my Dobie pad, filled the can with water and soap, and jammed my hand down in the can to clean it out for recycling.  I immediately felt a stab of pain in my little finger, and knew that I had cut myself on the sharp edge of the can.  Sure enough, blood was running everywhere as I surveyed a short but relatively deep cut.

 

I immediately wrapped it in a paper towel with some pressure to stop the bleeding, and reached for the hydrogen peroxide.  After thoroughly dousing my finger, I put on a bandage and sat down for a minute to catch my breath.  That’s when the thought hit me – “You need to go get a Tetanus shot!”  I had just been outside with the dog and the dirt, and I hadn’t had a Tetanus shot in at least 20 years.  I sat in that chair for quite a few minutes, arguing with myself about why I did NOT need to go get a shot.  In the end, however, my rational side prevailed, and I grabbed my keys to drive over to Patient First.

 

I wish that I could tell you that I talked with God on the trip to the clinic – verbalizing my fears and remembering His promises.  Unfortunately, I spent the 15 minute trip ramping myself up for the horrible experience of a needle – an experience that has terrified me since childhood. By the time I reached Patient First, I was rapidly becoming a basket case.  Forty minutes later when the nurse arrived to administer the shot with the tiniest needle I have ever seen on a syringe, the experience was over in the blink of an eye.  I didn’t even feel the needle, and I felt like an utter fool as the nurse said, “See?  All that anxiety over nothing!”

 

On the way home, I apologized to the Lord for my lack of faith, and for my lack of communication with Him prior to receiving the injection.  Even after all these years, I am still struggling to remember that it always works better when prayer comes before panic.