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Reflections

Welcome to the JCPC Daily Reflections Blog. Reflections are daily devotionals authored by JCPC pastors, staff and members and provide insight, guidance and comfort to help you make it through each day. If you’d like to receive Reflections each day via email,  provide your email address.

Friday, 19 May 2017

We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done.  -Psalm 78:4

A phrase on many parenting websites says, "Prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child."  Instead of trying to remove all obstacles and pave the way for our children in our life, we should instead equip them to deal with the difficulties they encounter on the road ahead.  The psalmist wrote, "We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done.  He decreed statutes..., which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them...and they in turn would tell their children" (Psalm 78:4-6).  The goal is that "they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands" (verse 7).

Think of the powerful spiritual impact others had on us through what they said and how they lived.  Their conversation and demonstration captured our attention and kindled a fire in us to follow Jesus just as they did.

It's a wonderful privilege and responsibility to share God's Word and His plan for our lives with the next generation and the generations to come. No matter what lies ahead on their road through life, we want them to be prepared and equipped to face it in the strength of the Lord.          

Prayer for Today

Father in heaven, we seek Your wisdom and guidance to prepare the children we know and love to walk with You in faith.  Amen.

Posted by: Our Daily Bread AT 07:46 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, 18 May 2017

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
-Hebrews 13:16

Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
-Philippians 2:4
 
Twelve dollars and seventy cents. I pondered at the postage. Airmail? As a college freshman at the University of North Carolina, I seldom received mail, and far less often got a package. I couldn't imagine who spent what I considered so much money to airmail me a package from my hometown. This had to be something important and time sensitive. 

I was even more surprised when I opened the package and discovered cookies. Homemade. Chocolate chip. Cookies. There was a note from my best friend's mother, a woman of modest means, a quiet voice, a fashion that reminded me of Little House on the Prairie, several daughters and one son. 

Hours in her living room, garage, and especially her kitchen with her boy, had made me family, but her hours listening, feeding, and sharing her vinyl record collection with me had made me a son. 

As I read her note, she wrote that she had baked cookies and wanted them to arrive fresh, so she had sprung for rush delivery. Someone cared for me enough to send me love... freshly baked. Many people sent me mail and encouragement in college, including my own parents and church, but those airmail cookies were the most memorable.

I spent many hours in that family's kitchen around their table and cooking meals. Those cookies said that I was missed in that place and I could always come back. I think that ever since that moment at my mailbox in my freshman dorm, I have believed love is to be missed when we are gone and to know someone hopes you will always come back. And that freshly baked cookies are magical.
 
I hope each of you will look for ways to make our recently graduated, and graduating, young people feel missed, loved, welcomed home, and encouraged to make their home in new places where their hearts and faith are nurtured.

Prayer for Today

Lord, help me to look for the people I can love in small ways to make them feel appreciated, missed, encouraged... to feel like family.  Amen.

Posted by: Rev. Brian Daoust AT 07:45 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, 17 May 2017

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." 
- Jeremiah 29:11, NIV

This weekend we will be heading up to Pennsylvania to watch our youngest daughter, Maggie, graduate from Lehigh University next Monday. As I was thinking about a verse of scripture appropriate for such an occasion, Jeremiah 29:11 came to mind. These words are familiar to many of us and will no doubt find their way on to a graduation card or two.
 
However, when I did a little research on the meaning of the verse, I found out it really doesn't mean what a lot of us might think it means. When it talks about God prospering you -- the Hebrew word for "you" is plural, not singular. God is not making promises to an individual, but to a nation. God is promising to prosper a whole group of people - but, they are in exile when these words are spoken. It will take a long time for this to happen - 70 years! How many of us would consider it a blessing to know we would have to wait for it 70 years? Talk about a lot of patience and perseverance in the mean time!
 
Yet, God's promise remains - even if it doesn't fit in with "our" plans to be successful in a very short period of time. God will eventually bring about what God wants in our lives - but God's promise is a group project rather than a personal achievement. Now those individual, personal achievements may happen - but this promise is about God doing something bigger than that.
 
As we attend graduations this time of year, we will all probably be celebrating an individual we know - and that is fine. But I hope we will also be thinking about the bigger picture - how God is at work in our world making it God's kind of place for everyone, and how might God be asking us to be part of that bigger plan. A plan that could take longer than we might have imagined - but one which will eventually change the whole world!

Prayer ​for Today

Thank you, God, for all who are graduating this time of year and the growth this achievement represents. Open our eyes to see how you call us to be part of something bigger than ourselves. We pray this in the strong name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.

Posted by: Rev. Dr. C. Gray Norsworthy AT 07:44 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
 

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