Friday 15 February 2019
– The Faith Builder will resume on Monday 25 February.
 
13 The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.” – 2 Chronicles 5:13a
 
The dedication of the Temple King Solomon builds for the Lord is a musical extravaganza. At the celebration’s center is a song declaring, “God is good; His love endures forever.” God’s love is eternal, and God’s love endures forever. No person nor any power can ever end God’s love. God’s love for us never fails. God’s love for us never ends. God’s love for us can never be conquered. God’s love for us endures forever. No matter what happens in life, God’s love is with you enabling you to endure difficult days and enjoy strength and goodness in Jesus Christ forever.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 14 February 2019
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
 
God is Love. Love is another name for God. Jesus is Love in human form. God’s character is beautifully described by Paul in his letter to the Corinthians. When we invite Jesus to live His life through us, we love ourselves and others as Christ loves us. As Jesus’ presence grows within us, we become increasingly patient, kind, content, humble, selfless, forgiving, good, caring, trusting, hopeful and tenacious. Today, Jesus Christ, who loves you, is filling you with His presence so that you may more fully enjoy God’s love, and more faithfully love others as Jesus loves us.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 13 February 2019
10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours? – 2 Chronicles 1:10
 
Upon becoming King of Israel, Solomon asks God to give him wisdom and knowledge. With this request, Solomon humbles himself by acknowledging that there is much he does not know, much for him to learn, and lots of listening to do (listening to God, history and others). When we accept that there is much we do not know and much for us to learn, we become better listeners who are open to learning from God, learning from history and learning from others. Our education begins when we humble ourselves by asking God to give us wisdom and knowledge, that we may lead lives of joyous faithfulness to God, ourselves and others.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 12 February 2019
17 I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you. – I Chronicles 29:17
 
These words are King David’s prayer after he and the Israelites give gifts for building the Lord’s Temple. God, who is pleased with integrity, offers us countless opportunities to show our truthfulness. Integrity opportunities most often occur in everyday decisions we make: Not leaving the grocery store knowing that the cashier did not charge us for an item; not pocketing money we find on the floor of our home, diner, or doctor’s office; choosing honesty when a white lie would be easier to speak. When we live lives of integrity, we show others God’s grace, love and integrity.
 
Affectionately,
Pastor Ric
 
Monday 11 February 2019
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:6-7
 
The Apostle Peter who writes these words, knows well how much trouble he experiences when choosing not to cast all his anxiety on God. Each time Peter chooses not to give God his anxieties his fears and worries control his life. The results are always disappointing: Denying three times that he was one of Jesus’ followers; deserting Jesus; caving in to the pressures of the circumcision party. Peter also knows that each time he cast his anxieties on God, he receives God’s guidance, courage, wisdom and joy. What anxieties are burdening you on this Monday? Cast your anxieties on God, who lifts you and strengthens you with the loving care of Jesus.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 9 February 2019
22 Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. – Psalm 55:22            
 
David the shepherd, David the second King of Israel, David the warrior is David the Israelite who demonstrates his trust in God by casting all his cares upon God. When derided as a nobody by his brothers, David casts his care on God. When confronted by Goliath, David casts his care on God. When working to defeat armies seeking to destroy Israel, David casts his cares on the Lord. David who assures us that when we cast our cares on the Lord, our Great and Mighty God, who rose from the dead, will strengthen us and bring us peace. We do not know what will happen today. But we do know that whatever happens, Jesus is with us, and that He is making all things well in us, through us and for us.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 8 February 2019
27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. – Genesis 1:27, 31
 
We love Fridays. On Fridays there seems to be a spring in our step, a happiness in our heart, a sense of optimism that we don’t experience from Monday through Thursday. We usually think that this is because Friday is the beginning of the weekend. But in Genesis 1:27, 31 we discover that we love Fridays for a deeper reason: God creates humankind on a Friday. We love Fridays because Fridays connect the deep places of our minds, our hearts and our spirits with God who created humankind on the first Friday (the sixth day). Thank God for Friday!
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 7 February 2019
11 I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine. – Psalm 50:11
 
Each morning around 6:10, I step through the back door of my garage with a container of birdseed. Carefully I place the seed in about twenty small piles. Next, I set out ten small mounds of sunflower seed. Through the darkness, I hear the delicate chirp of a cardinal. By 6:45, cardinals, sparrows, juncos, morning doves and squirrels are enjoying breakfast. On Tuesday morning at 6:50, a racoon decided to stop by for breakfast. God knows each animal that stops by my backyard for breakfast. No creature is too small to escape God’s loving knowledge. Likewise, no matter how small or insignificant we may feel, God knows us. We matter to God, who loves us with a love that holds us forever.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 6 February 2019
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. – Psalm 139:13-14
 
From the moment you were knit together in your Mom’s womb Jesus has known you and loved you. From that magnificent moment until this very point in time, Jesus has been with you, whispering to the deep places of your mind and spirit that you are one of God’s great creations. Never let anyone or anything lead you to believe otherwise. Jesus created you in His image. You are His priceless treasure.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 

Tuesday 5 February 2019

10 Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. – I Corinthians 1:10

 

In 1968 when the Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren Church, we combined the two names and became the United Methodist Church. The “united” of United Methodist Church assures us that we are one in Jesus. Our church’s diversity is enormous. At the same time our unity in Jesus is extraordinary. We are united in our commitment to worshiping, loving, serving and sharing Jesus. It’s all about Jesus! When we are one in Jesus, our diversity is never divisive. When we are commonly committed to Christ, our diversity becomes the means by which Jesus becomes all things to all people so that by all means He can share His saving love with all the world.

 

Affectionately,

Ric
 
Monday 4 February 2019
Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? – Isaiah 58:6
 
For years I thought fasting meant going without food. But in Isaiah, God shows us that fasting is much more. Faithful fasts get us outside of ourselves so we can love God, by seeing and meeting the needs of others. God appreciates fasting that looks like giving up some free time so we can be with someone who needs companionship; giving up a night at a restaurant and giving the money to a food pantry; giving up an empty afternoon to make someone’s home safer, drier and warmer. God loves fasting that brings the loving care of Jesus to others.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 2 February 2019
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. – John 6:35
 
Bethlehem (the place of Jesus’ birth) means “house of bread”. Jesus satisfies our deepest hunger for belonging. Jesus quenches our deepest thirst for abundant life that does not end. Possessions, positions and people are essential to life, but only Jesus can satisfy the deep thirst and hunger that live in the center of our spirits. The closing verse of “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree”, assures us that when we come to Jesus, we are satisfied and strengthened. “This fruit doth make my soul to thrive, It keeps my dying faith alive; Which makes my soul in haste to be With Jesus Christ the apple tree.”
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 1 February 2019
I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:5
 
From the first time I received the Lord’s Supper, during my confirmation in 1981, to the present, Communion has always been very special to me. Receiving Christ’s body and lifeblood through the bread and grape juice unites us with Jesus. Through Communion Jesus fills our bodies, cleanses our souls, and restores our joy. Communion keeps us close to Jesus. Verse five of “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree,” captures the joy of being united to Jesus in Communion. “I’ll sit and eat this truth divine, It cheers my heart like spiritual wine; And now this fruit is sweet to me, That grows on Christ the apple tree.”
 
Affectionately,
Pastor Ric