Pastor Mark’s Devotions, March 28

“Rosetta Stone”

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19

Can you speak in a foreign language? I took 3 years of Spanish in high school but about all I can remember is, “Esta Suzanna in casa?”, “Si, esta con una amiga.” That would not get me very far in Mexico!

Today, I heard that Amazon, Walmart and Walgreens are wanting to hire thousands of workers. I found it surprising that Rosestta Stone was also on that list. Why are they needing to hire thousands of workers? Perhaps students studying at home are using Rosetta Stone to fill their foreign language requirement. Perhaps locked down adults are using this time to learn the language they’ve longed to know. If this is the case, I think it’s awesome that people are using this time in constructive and broadening ways. I’m still hoping to dust off my guitar and develop tougher callouses.

Besides learning a language from a foreign land, maybe it’s also a time to listen more closely and learn the language of our loved ones. Listening from the heart and learning one’s love language is quite a gift.

If you have forgotten the 5 Love Languages that Gary Chapman explains, they are:                                     

1. Quality Time, 2. Words of Affirmation, 3. Acts of Service, 4 Physical Touch, and 5. Receiving Gifts.

Each of us “speak” a combination of these five languages, but there is usually one or two that prominently stand out. Perhaps over dinner tonight, you might bring up the subject of “Love Languages”. You might ask your spouse or family to talk about, discuss and discern which languages you each speak. LISTEN CLOSELY. You are about to give and receive a special gift. For those of you who don’t care about gifts, give it anyway. The key is to speak and invest in your loved one’s key language. As you become more fluent in their language, you will make incredible deposits deep into their hearts and into your relationship for a lifetime.

“Donde esta in la sala?” “No, in la cocina!”

God Bless You!   Pastor Mark

 



Pator’s Blog – Devotions March 19

“The Purpose of Pause – SELAH”

“From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.” Selah Psalm 3:8

 

Three months ago, we were scurrying around getting ready for the holidays. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in thinking, “If I only had a day to catch up on a few things.” Well, I guess the old adage is at work, “Be careful what you pray for”. Now, it looks like we will have weeks to potentially catch up on all sorts of things – if only fear and concern don’t overshadow any of those desires.

In yesterday’s devotion, I wrote about the “Power of Praise”. Today, I’d like to consider, “The Purpose of Pause.” King David wrote the Psalms that became that nation of Israel’s songbook – their hymnal if you will. There is a mysterious word woven throughout the 150 psalms. This word has been discussed for centuries. The word is, “Selah”.

“Selah” is found 71 times in 39 specific psalms. The word is also found 3 times in Habakkuk chapter 3.

It is understood to be a musical term because of its placement in the psalmody. So also, Habakkuk chapter 3 is written as a prayer in the form of a song. 

Scholars best guess is that “Selah” means “to pause” or “to reflect”. It is a word that instructs a person or community to take a break.

Listen to Psalm 3. The Psalm of David. When he fled for his life, from his son, Absalom.

            “O LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him’.”  SELAH

            “But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill.  SELAH

            “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. Arise, O LORD! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.”  SELAH

David was running for his life. He turned to God, crying out for deliverance. In the midst of his heart’s cry, three times he uses the word, “selah”. Perhaps reminding himself to pause, to reflect, to consider God greater than his circumstances.

3 months ago, we were yearning for a break. Today, we have been mandated to take a “pause”. We have been told to shut down all our activities. How does this make you feel? Perhaps this is something we need to reflect upon. Thus, SELAH!

(Not to be confused with and is quite opposite of the French term “C’est La Vie” – throwing one’s hands up into the air with a certain apathetic attitude.)

You might consider this pause, “Lent on Steroids”. The Season of Lent, is set aside to be a period of 40 days reflecting and pondering our relationship with our Lord Jesus as we approach Easter. Well, we might be given more than 40 days.

So, what kind of purpose can we find in this social mandate and scriptural directive? Certainly, one purpose of this pause is to LISTEN. What is God trying to tell you in this unprecedented upheaval? What are you to learn personally and we, corporately as we mitigate these mountainous issues? Are you listening? God is! Selah.

Another purpose in pausing, can be to REST. You might say that you are sick of being in the house and tired of watching tv. Yet are you truly “resting”. Perhaps the only thing you are doing is “resisting”. Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

You might have slept for 8 hours last night, but are you rest assured that your Heavenly Father knows what you need even before you ask him? God does! Selah.

And practically speaking, another purpose in pause might be to chip away at those projects at home that you never have time to deal with. Focus upon 1 small project per day. It will help to bring direction, satisfaction, and a feeling of accomplishment in a time when so much feels outside of our control.

Is there something you might tackle today? If not, pray and ask your Heavenly Father. God knows. Selah.

One reason I am writing these devotionals is that it gives me a focus for each day. I hope that it brings some encouragement and connection to our church family while we are apart.

The ultimate purpose for any pause is to remind ourselves, that the LORD, God Almighty is our rock and redeemer. As David put it, “From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.”

SELAH, Pastor Mark

 


Pastor Mark’s October Newsletter Blog

“Happiness:  Making a Few Moves”

 
This past month has brought some new moves. Jeriah has moved into her new life in New York. She has moved away from what was familiar to a brand new set of conditions – academically, socially, spiritually, physically, culturally, and if nothing else, adjusting to life without Costco. Fortunately, Trader Joe’s is only a 15 minute drive away. Simultaneously, I’ve moved back into an old house with new conditions. The loud noise of resounding quiet rings in my ears. No more daily connections around meals or meetings or work schedules. No more shared moments during sunrise or sunsets. No more spontaneous adventures wherever the wind might take us. It’s a new culture for me too. A familiar feeling that reminds me when she left for college, yet this is farther reaching, farther climbing, farther challenging. A father could not be more excited for his daughter’s new found adventure. But as I hear the familiar wind chimes ring in the distance, I also recognize that this move is something new.
 
Perhaps you are experiencing something new, and these words are ringing true for you. How are we to handle these new moving conditions?
 
This morning I read an article about finding greater happiness in life. Some of the recommendations given were to play more video games and take more selfies. This article sent me on my own pondering about…. what truly brings greater happiness in one’s life?
 
As I began to jot down a few notes, the following thoughts quickly emerged and without knowing it, an article of my own was being created. Perhaps this might be helpful to my daughter, I don’t know – but I quickly realized that I need these thoughts for myself and perhaps they might resonate with you.
 
Buried in each thought is a secret treasure that can be found in scripture – but I’ll leave that searching for you if you want to find.
 
This is not necessarily a complete list – maybe it’s a KEY list – and maybe these thoughts will provoke a few ponderings of your own to add, delete, adjust, or expand to personalize it for yourself.
 
    A Few Moves Toward Happiness:  
  1. Move to REST in a peaceful place – enjoy quiet, music, devotion.

  Rest for your inner soul. Time with God. Time with yourself.

  1. Move to ACCOMPLISH something that brings satisfaction – exercise, yard work, house work or homework, perhaps a remodel project or even paying the bills – some tangible tasks that feel good accomplishing.

  A work that is gratifying not a work that is driven by shame or guilt.

  1. Move to CONNECT with someone. Meet for coffee, a walk or a talk. Share a meal, a snack or perhaps happy hour. Personal connection with another human being – resist email or text or even phone call if possible.

  Face to face contact is always most satisfying.

  1. Move to SERVE (or encourage) someone else with an act of kindness. Shift your focus from self to others – help to meet a need.

  Helping to meet another in need will always bring meaningful satisfaction and happiness to your soul.

  1. Move to UNDERSTAND your life in a larger context. You will live more fully in the moment with the knowledge that your life is connected to a bigger picture. If a Christian, your life is lived within God’s grand design.

  From day to day, you might not see movement but understand, God is moving you toward His destiny!

Happiness is found when you are moving toward something of intrinsic value, not in your running away from something nor as you are paralyzed by fear, nor by simply treading water aimlessly.

   So, where are you headed?

   Take time to….. * listen to the birds * smell the flowers * sip the coffee * taste the wine * rest in the quiet * watch the sunrise * stir the sauce on the stove * walk the familiar path * receive from the Spirit * read the Word * return to what you know * share your inner thoughts * help a person in need * thank God for the moments you have right here, right now.

   Remember what has brought you joy in the past.

Happiness is here for us today. It will be waiting for us tomorrow. Can you see it? Can you perceive it? Let us move in these moments and receive it!   As I sip my coffee in this quiet moment, I recognize a familiar move: “Thanks Be to God!”

“And my God will supply all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”    Phil 4:19