Thursday 24 May2018

There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and showed us generous hospitality for three days. – Acts 28:7

 

The smell of roast beef and gravy filled the air. Sitting down to dinner with Lisa (now my wife) and her parents for the first time was a delicious experience! Even more wonderful was the welcome Lisa’s dad gave me each time I came to see Lisa or showed up for work (as his carpenter’s apprentice). “Hello Richie!” he’d say with a big smile and warm enthusiasm. Warm heartfelt welcomes make us feel special. After suffering a shipwreck on Malta, the Apostle Paul experiences the warm welcome of Publius. Sincere, heartfelt welcomes transform the worst of days into good days. Who blesses you with warm welcomes? Please offer warm welcomes today so that lives will be brightened with the love of Jesus.

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric

 

Wednesday 23 May 2018

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say…” – Acts 2:14

 

During Jesus’ trial, Peter denies three times that he knows Jesus. When Jesus is on the cross, a fearful Peter is nowhere to be seen. After Jesus’ body is placed in the tomb, Peter goes back to fishing. Fifty days after Easter, Peter and Jesus’ followers are locked in a room when the Holy Spirit comes through closed doors, filling all present with the presence and power of Jesus. Peter, the disciple who denied Jesus now stands before thousands of people, explaining that Jesus is the Savior of the world. What in your life makes you afraid? Offer that place to the Holy Spirit. Feel the Holy Spirit filling that place in you with the courageous presence of Jesus, who is bringing you the same transformation He brought to Peter.

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric

 
Tuesday 22 May 2018

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them. – Acts 2:1, 4

 

Jesus loves us so much that He goes to the cross for us – taking upon Himself all our wrongdoing. We matter so much to Jesus that He rises from the dead to bring us life that lasts forever. The Lord values His relationship with us so deeply that He promises to send us the Holy Spirit. Fifty days after the first Easter, the Disciples are filled with the Holy Spirit. As Jesus comes alive within the Disciples, they are filled with Christ’s presence, power and love. Today, take a moment to place your palms up and feel the Holy Spirit filling you, and making Jesus come alive in you in ways that will bring strength to your heart, joy to your spirit and vitality to your life.

 

Affectionately,
Pastor Ric

 

Monday 21 May 2018

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:3-6

 

Yesterday, 20 June, when seven young people stood before their First United Methodist Church, Meriden Family and gave their lives to Jesus, God began a good work in them. The good work God began in them is being in a growing relationship with Jesus; enjoying Jesus’ love for them; desiring to share Jesus’ love with others through kind and joyous service and living good and faithful lives. When did God begin this good work in you? For me it was in 1981. Because Jesus begins this work in us, He will carry it on to completion. All we need to do is daily receive Christ’s presence and enjoy His love. Jesus is doing the rest.

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric

 

Saturday 19 May 2018

 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. – 2 Timothy 1:5

 

Experiencing the presence and love of Jesus through his Grandmother and Mom, leads Timothy to Faith in Jesus. Tomorrow a group of young people will give their lives to Jesus and join First United Methodist Church, Meriden. Our commitment to loving Jesus is the key to nurturing their Faith and keeping them within the joy, guidance and love of their Church Family. All of us have a Lois and a Eunice in our lives – women who led us to Faith in Jesus and nurtured our commitment to Jesus. God calls us to be people who live the love of Jesus in ways that lead younger generations to see our Faith and place their trust in Jesus. Whether we are women or men, there is some Lois and Eunice in all of us!

 

Affectionately,
Pastor Ric

 

Friday 18 May 2018

36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet. – Acts 4:36-37

 

Hearing the good news of God’s love in Jesus fills a faithful Israelite with such joy that he sells his field and gives the money to First Church, Jerusalem. Joseph is so joyous and helpful that the Apostles give him the nickname Barnabas – son of encouragement. Barnabas is one of my favorite Bible people. After answering the call to love and serve Jesus, Barnabas gives generously, mentors the Apostle Paul (Paul would not be who he was without Barnabas), and he gives a young Christian named John Mark a second chance when Paul refuses. When Jesus lives in us, He fills us with encouragement that brings us strength, joy and gracious lovingkindness.

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric

 

Thursday 17  May 2018

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” …Then he said to him, “Follow me!” – John 21:17, 19b

 

When my children were young and my career was new I thought, “When they are older, life will calm down.” Wrong! Life happens. We get busy. Really busy. As busyness, disappointment and stress pile up, Jesus’ place in our life sometimes diminishes. This is what happens to Peter. This inner-circle disciple gets stressed out by Jesus’ death and decides to go his own way. But Jesus will not let Peter go. He loves Peter too much. “Follow me,” Jesus says again to Peter, just as He did years earlier. Whenever busyness, stress and disappointment fill our lives, Jesus comes to us, and says to us once again, “Follow me.” Whatever is happening in life Jesus loves you too much to let you go.

 

Affectionately,
Pastor Ric

 

Wednesday 16 May 2018

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” – John 11:43-44

 

Trudging through life’s trials brings us to places where our strength, our hope, our joy dies. All seems cold, dark and lonely. We are living but we do not feel alive. When Jesus arrives in Bethany, His dear friend Lazarus is four days in the grave. Standing at Lazarus’ burial cave, Jesus says, “Lazarus, come out!” Lazarus rises from the dead. When we feel like dead people walking, Jesus comes to us and calls us from our tombs of sorrow, despair, hopelessness and loneliness. Jesus calls us, and with His life-restoring power Jesus resurrects our strength, our hope, and our joy. Whatever life’s trials, we will always hear Jesus calling us and bringing us new life.

 

Affectionately,
Pastor Ric

 

Tuesday 15 May 2018

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. – Luke 5:8-11

 

It’s the end of a frustrating workday for Peter, James and John when they meet Jesus. While cleaning their fishing nets after catching nothing, these fishermen hear Jesus saying to them, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” The only thing keeping them from telling Jesus to get lost is the fact that he is a Rabbi. Out of dutiful respect they do what Jesus asks. The catch is huge. Suddenly they feel unworthy. Jesus’ response is, “From now on you will fish for people.” Jesus comes to us when we least expect Him, often when we are tired or frustrated and He invites us to follow Him, not because we are righteous but because He knows we need His loving, restoring and guiding presence.

 

Affectionately,
Pastor Ric

 

Monday 14 May 2018

After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. – 1 Corinthians 15:6

 

On the first Easter Sunday, the risen Jesus shows Himself to the women who came to His tomb to prepare His body for burial. Throughout Easter Sunday and for thirty-nine days after, Jesus appears before His followers – teaching them, eating with them, encouraging them. When Jesus ascends physically into heaven, he has spent time with 500 people. Five hundred people see the risen Jesus. Jesus wants the world to know that He really is alive. On those days when you feel weary, blue, overwhelmed or alone, please remember that Jesus is alive, He is with You, He is taking care of you, and He is working through everything in your life to bring you to a place of joy.

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric

 

Saturday 12 May 2018

One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. – Acts 16:14-15

 

Lydia is a savvy business woman whose company specializes in high end purple cloth. Purple was a luxurious color because it was very rare. The “Color Matters” website says that in ancient times it took 12,000 shellfish to make 1.5 grams of pure purple dye. Lydia brought her wise tenacity to her faith. After the Apostle Paul leads Lydia to place her trust in Jesus, this wonderful businesswoman convinces Paul and his colleagues to stay at her home. Lydia’s financial and business support make it possible for Paul to start the Philippian church, which becomes the most faithful, joyous and loving church in the ancient world! And it’s all thanks to Lydia. Praise God for the women whose tenacity and business savvy make life better in the name of Jesus for so many around the world!

 

Affectionately,
Pastor Ric

 

Friday 11 May 2018

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. – Matthew 15:21-28

 

From the beginning of Israel’s existence, the Canaanites worked to wipe Israel from the earth. But this Canaanite Mom is different. Jesus tests her faith by saying that He has come only for the children of Israel. Knowing with all her heart that Jesus has come for everyone, this woman of Faith answers Jesus’ seemingly heartless pronouncement with words that show her deep trust in Jesus. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs…” All she needs is a little bit of God’s grace to heal her daughter. Her huge faith leads her to say that a tiny bit of grace will be sufficient. This woman’s great trust in Jesus brings healing to her daughter. There are women in our lives whose great faith in Jesus brings God’s healing to us and others!

 

Affectionately,
Pastor Ric

 

Thursday 10 May 2018

36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them [Mary, Joseph and Jesus] at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. – Luke 2:36-38

 

Anna loved the Lord with everything in her, and spent her life enjoying God’s love. Elated to see her infant Savior at the Temple, Anna shares the great news of God’s entrance into the world with everyone. Anna’s love for God fills her with a joy that brightens the lives of all who spend time with her. God blesses us with women whose deep joy brightens our lives and strengthens our spirits. My Great Grammy Hanse showed me the joy of Jesus. Her deep love for Jesus and beautiful smile radiated the joy of the Lord. Praise God for the “Annas” in our lives, whose joy in the Lord brings us strength.

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric

 
Wednesday 9 May 2018

Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided. – Judges 4:4-5

 

After Moses and Joshua, and before the kings, Israel was led by rulers called judges. Deborah is one of Israel’s great judges. Deborah is a woman of wisdom and a great military strategist. When the Canaanites sought to wipe Israel from the world, Deborah shares a strategy with General Barak that will defeat the Canaanites. Barak depends on Deborah for confidence and success. Who are the wise women in your life whose strategies guide you to places of confidence and success? These women are gifts from God. Their wisdom and confidence are rooted in their relationship with Jesus. Whether living in this world or God’s Kingdom these great women of God are continually guiding us.

 

Affectionately,
Pastor Ric

 

Tuesday 8 May 2018

Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. – Exodus 2:5

 

Refusing to abandon her baby brother, Miriam runs along the riverbank following the basket until it comes to rest in a reed bank. Seeing the Princess of Egypt cooing over her newfound treasure, Miriam bravely approaches her asking, “Shall I get one of the Hebrew women to nurse your baby?” “Yes.” Miriam returns with Moses’ mother! The Princess pays Jochebed to nurse Moses until he’s old enough to live with her in the palace. Miriam’s courageous commitment to her brother’s wellbeing is inspiring. Sisters are gifts from God who can be real lifesavers! Some sisters are members of our families. Many more of our sisters are women in our Church Families. Who is that special sister in Christ who has courageously worked for your wellbeing? Give thanks to God for her! And be sure to thank her as well.

 

Affectionately,
Pastor Ric

 

P.S. – The laryngitis continues. I am still your voiceless Rev. Praise God for email and text messaging!

 

Monday 7 May 2018

59 the name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed, a descendant of Levi, who was born to the Levites in Egypt. To Amram she bore Aaron, Moses and their sister Miriam. – Numbers 26:59

 

This week we’ll celebrate faithful women who show us the love of Jesus. Let’s spend today with Moses’ Mom Jochebed – a clever woman of courage. The king of Egypt has issued a decree that any boy born to a Hebrew woman be thrown into the Nile River to drown. After giving birth to Moses, Jochebed hides him for as long as possible. When she can no longer conceal her baby, Jochebed weaves a basket, waterproofs it with pitch, places the boy in the mini ark and sets the precious cargo adrift on the Nile river. Jochebed’s courageous cleverness gives Moses a chance at survival. While thinking about Jochebed today, let’s celebrate the women in our lives whose clever courage has blessed us.

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric

 

Saturday 5 May 2018

36 Then the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. 37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. – Isaiah 37:36-37

 

Faced with the annihilation of his people, and seeing no other nation coming to his aid, King Hezekiah begs God to protect his beloved nation of Judah. God, who has a special place in His heart for the persecuted and oppressed, sends an angel of the Lord into the Syrian army camp, and in a single night, one angel kills 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. Bad things happen to us, and we do not understand why, but Jesus is always with us, holding us, protecting us, giving us a life that lasts long after we leave this world. Whenever you feel trapped and all seems hopeless do not fear because God will make a way.

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric

 

Friday 4 May 2018

18 “It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. 19 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. 20 Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are the only God. – Isaiah 37:18-20

 

After receiving word that Sennacherib of Assyria is planning to destroy Jerusalem a fearful King Hezekiah begs God to protect his beloved nation. Rather than turning to his generals, Hezekiah turns to God. Who and do we turn to when we are filled with desperate anguish? Do we turn to Jesus? The hymn declares, “What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear…” When life is difficult please turn to Jesus. Please give your fears, your anger, your sorrow, your anguish to Jesus. Jesus loves you, He is with you (whether or not you feel Him) and He is taking care of you. Jesus has brought me through the terrible times and I know He is doing the same for you.

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric

 

Thursday 3 May 2018

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. – Mark 12:28-29

 

God is perfect unity. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are so perfectly united that they are one. Unity is life. Unity is joy. Unity is health. When all of the parts of our bodies enjoy unity, we are healthy. When our families at home and at church enjoy unity, there is a wonderful love we have for one another – a love that grows health and life. Disunity in our bodies brings disease. Disunity in our families brings dysfunction. But disunity is never stronger than unity.  Because God is perfect unity, God is working to bring the health and life that are found in unity. What within your life needs unity? Please offer it to God who is One and who is restoring unity in, to and for you.

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric

 

Wednesday 2 May 2018

Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. – Isaiah 35:1c-2

 

The bloodroots are blooming in my back yard. Henry and Madelyn Woods who built and enjoyed the home Lisa and I now call home planted these wonderful flowers. During the cool cloudiness of Monday, the bloodroots did not open. But the sunny warmth of Tuesday caused them to burst into bloom. One of my favorite hymns declares, “Joyful, joyful we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love. Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.” Through the bright beauty of springtime’s bursting blooms feel the love of Jesus shining on upon you and melting the clouds of sin and sadness as your heart opens to God the Son who loves you.

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric

Bloodroot Flowers

 

Tuesday 1 May 2018

The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. – Isaiah 35:1-2a

 

Desert days. From time to time we experience periods in life when our spirits are dry, our hearts feel weary, and we are worn out. God feels far away, and we wonder if we really do have a Friend in Jesus. During these dry spells when enjoying God’s love does not come easily, we must choose to love Jesus and talk with Jesus – even though we don’t think He’s listening. During these desert periods we need to do the work of believing – not because we feel Jesus, but because we know that regardless of how dry we feel, Jesus is with us, Jesus is holding us, Jesus is loving us. During those desert days please know that Jesus loves you and He is bringing you to a place refreshment, peace and healing.

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric

 

Monday 30 April 2018

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. – James 1:5

 

Most of us believe that we must have it all together if we want to be successful in life. When we take this conventional “wisdom” to heart we go through life working to keep control over our lives. Don’t you find this exhausting? Eventually we come to the place where we are unable to keep it all together. How wonderful it is to serve a God who does not expect us to have it all together. Through Faith, God lovingly shows that it is impossible for us to have it all together – to be perfect. True wisdom is accepting our limitations and allowing Jesus to come into every place of our lives that is out of sorts, so we can receive Christ’s healing, renewing, strengthening love which always leads us to places of peaceful joy, no matter the circumstances.

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric

 

Saturday 28 April 2018

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

 

Think of the many ways God has been good to you. God has blessed you with: Wonderful memories of times enjoyed with family and friends; days of health and strength; food to enjoy; friends with whom to enjoy life; perseverance that brings you through trying times; a home in which to live; skills; creative outlets for your passions. Please take some time to think of the ways in which you have experienced God’s goodness. When we think of the ways God has been good to us our hearts fill with joyful songs of praise to God.

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric

 

Friday 27 April 2018

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? – Psalm 13:2 

 

Thoughts flood our mind all day, every day, day after day. Thoughts that don’t get thought out during the day work themselves out as dreams in the night. Our thoughts are a great mixture of good, bad, happy, morose, peaceful, anxious, selfless, wrong and righteous. Some thoughts we would happily share with others. Other thoughts we would prefer God not know. Have you ever wrestled with your thoughts? Living a life of faith involves wrestling with our thoughts. Whatever our thoughts are, when we invite Jesus to be present in them we do not have to wrestle with our thoughts on your own. Jesus will be with us to redeem, renew and work through our thoughts.

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric

 

Thursday 26 April 2018

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. – Hebrews 12:1-2a

 

“Happy Birthday Philip!” I exclaimed on 2 April while speaking with my brother. “Thanks Bro! I am finally buying a Cadillac! I figured that I’d get one for my 49th birthday.” I was thrilled. Wonderful memories of riding with my Pops Mercaldi in his De Ville’s filled my mind. “Philip, the last time a ‘Phil’ in our family had a Cadillac was in 1975,” I said with tears in my eyes. When our call ended, I realized in a new way that the people who showed us Jesus’ and His love while they lived in this world are now cheering us on from the Kingdom of Heaven. Please know that each and everyday Jesus surrounds us with people who are cheering us on from heaven. Look up, feel their encouragement, and keep persevering!

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric

 

Wednesday 25 April 2018

The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. – Psalm 33:5

 

Human anger, hatred, bitterness and greed scar the world in which we live. Sometimes we are saddened, overwhelmed and even depressed by the bad that surrounds us. Whenever such darkness encroaches please remember verse three of “This Is My Father’s World”. “This is my Father’s world, O let me ne’er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father’s world: why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!” Jesus returns human hatred with God’s extraordinary, life-restoring love when on the cross, He prays for those who persecute Him unto death saying, “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.” Our God Jesus Christ, rules in love. Love and life always triumph!

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric

 

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. – Luke 12:6-7

 

One of God’s blessings in spring is the wonderful symphony of birdsong that greets us each morning. God’s songbirds remind us that the Lord who treasures the seemingly most insignificant of birds (sparrows) treasures us far more.  Through the singing of the sparrows, the tweets of the cardinals and the calls of the blue jays God assures us of His great love for us.  As Maltbie Babcock declares, “This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise, the morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise. This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair; in the rustling grass I hear Him pass; He speaks to me everywhere.” Enjoy God’s conversation with you today!

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric

 

Monday 23 April 2018

12 If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it. – Psalm 50:12

 

This verse is one of several Scriptures that inspired Maltbie Davenport Babcock’s famous song, “This Is My Father’s World”.  When the Presbyterian pastor lived “in Lockport, he took frequent walks along the Niagara Escarpment to enjoy the overlook’s panoramic vista of upstate New York scenery and Lake Ontario, telling his wife he was “going out to see the Father’s world.” (Wikipedia)  Please enjoy verse one as you enjoy God’s gift of Springtime.  “This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.  This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; His hand the wonders wrought.” 

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric

 

Saturday 21 April 2018

Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name.For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. – Psalm 30:4-5

 

We all experience times of weeping in our lives. These are the difficult days, weeks, months, years, when the trials of life make us feel small, inadequate, ineffective, sad, overwhelmed, lost and lonely. When we are in the thick of these dark times we feel like we’ll never see the light of better times. But darkness is never permanent. Morning always arrives. Looking back at the terrible trials I have experienced in my life, I see clearly that morning does come, and with the daylight of new beginnings there is always healing, there is always rejoicing. Joy comes in the morning! Back in 1982 a new musical group called “Glad” recorded a great song based on Psalm 30. “Joy Comes In The Morning” always assures me that there is far more rejoicing in our lives than there is sorrow. During your dark days, please remember that a day of rejoicing is coming for you!

 

Affectionately,
Pastor Ric

 

 

Friday 20 April 2018

16 The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert, his righteousness live in the fertile field. 17 The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever. – Isaiah 32:16-17

 

Did you know a hammer can be righteous? So can a car. A furnace can be righteous too. When hammers are used to drive nails, they are righteous. Cars that reliably get us to our destinations are righteous. Furnaces that keep us warm on these cold spring mornings (and days and nights!) are righteous. Something is righteous when it is doing what it is designed to do. God is righteous when He creates, loves, forgives, frees and sustains life. We are righteous when we enjoy God’s love. We are designed to enjoy God’s love by being in a close relationship with Jesus. When we enjoy God’s love, the presence of Jesus quiets our hearts and fills us with confidence. When we do what we are designed to do the quiet, confident peace of Jesus carries us through every situation and season of life.

 

Affectionately,
Pastor Ric

 

Thursday 19 April 2018

My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul. – Psalm 108:1

 

What is your favorite style of music? Or are you like me and enjoy many styles? I love hymns (my favorites are “O God Our Help In Ages Past”, “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”, “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee). Choral music feeds my spirit (“Simple Gifts”, “Gloria” by John Rutter). Forties popular music brightens my days (“Midnight Sun”, “Sing, Sing, Sing”). And jazz shows me the richness of God’s beauty (“Inside” and “Pent Up House” by George Shearing, “Maiden Voyage” by Bobby Hutcherson). Music is one of God’s great gifts. Music touches our souls, stirs our emotions and shows us the love of Jesus in ways no other medium can match. When we enjoy music, we are enjoying the love of Jesus, who fills us with songs of praise to our God.

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric

 

Wednesday 18 April 2018

17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17

 

Opening a new bag of coffee, I took a deep breath and enjoyed the aroma! The soothing waters of a hot shower on a cold April morning delighted my soul. Hearing the early morning songs of birds in my back yard made me smile. Enjoying a slice of pie during a good meeting with great people on Monday evening filled my heart with happiness. Listening to my son describe a story he is writing refreshes my spirit. One of my favorite songs is “Simple Gifts” Everyday God lovingly surrounds us with simple gifts. These good gifts nurture our hope, sustain our joy, strengthen our spirits, warm our hearts and put smiles on our faces. Today Jesus is pouring His love on you through simple gifts. Please be sure to enjoy them!

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric

 

Tuesday 17 April 2018

27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. – Luke 5:27
 
“Ben Hur” with Charlton Heston is one of my favorite movies. Years ago, I wanted my teenage daughters to experience “Ben Hur”. Making them watch a four-hour movie was not a good idea! Last week I asked Jonathan if he’d like to watch “Ben Hur” with me in small segments. “Sure!” he said. We watched an hour a day. “How did you like it?” I asked, when “The End” covered the screen. “I liked it!” he said. Being invitational is always best. Jesus never forces Himself on us. “Follow me,” is never a demand or a command. It is always an opportunity. Just as Judah Ben Hur’s life changes for the better when he accepts Jesus’ invitation, ours does too!
 

Affectionately,
Pastor Ric

 

Monday 16 April 2018

11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. – Psalm 16:11

 

Looking out the window before going to bed last night I was surprised to see glistening sleet covering the yard and street. While I am ready for the warmth of spring, the sleet does not dampen my spirits because it is temporary. Through this springtime sleet storm God reminds us that joy does not come from sunny days or times of ease. Joy – the deep inner happiness of Jesus – comes from the everlasting pleasures God gives us every day. The sleet may last for the day, but God’s unconditional love lasts forever. The cold may chill our happiness, but the forgiveness of Jesus is permanent. Disappointment, loneliness and sorrow may cool our happiness, but the friendship and healing we receive from Jesus and others who love God will warm us with joy that lasts. God’s eternal pleasures are strong and last forever.

 

Affectionately,

Pastor Ric