Sunday, March 31, 2013


Daily Readings for Sunday, March 31, 2013


1   The LORD is king, he is robed in majesty;
          the LORD is robed, he is girded with strength.
     He has established the world; it shall never be moved;
2        your throne is established from of old;
          you are from everlasting.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Holy Week

Stations of the Cross
Artist:  Charles Long

Daily Readings for Saturday, March 30, 2013

1   Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause 
          against an ungodly people; 
     from those who are deceitful and unjust 
          deliver me! 
2   For you are the God in whom I take refuge; 
          why have you cast me off? 
     Why must I walk about mournfully 
          because of the oppression of the enemy?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday

Daily Readings for Friday, March 29, 2013

1   My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? 
          Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? 
2   O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; 
          and by night, but find no rest.

3   Yet you are holy, 
          enthroned on the praises of Israel. 
4   In you our ancestors trusted; 
          they trusted, and you delivered them. 
5   To you they cried, and were saved; 
          in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Maundy Thursday

Daily Readings for Thursday, March 28, 2013

1   The LORD is my light and my salvation;
          whom shall I fear?
     The LORD is the stronghold of my life;
          of whom shall I be afraid?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Calls For Help

It was Maundy Thursday, 1996.  One minute I was on the highway, and the next thing I knew I was waking up looking at two deflated airbags hanging from my dash.  I had no windows on the passenger's side and the trunk lid was laying in my back seat.  My attempts to call for help were futile.  I cried a lot and prayed incessantly that someone would find me in this 40 foot ravine under Interstate 70.  Luck was certainly not on my side, had God abandoned me too?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

This is My Body

"This is my body, which is given for you." Luke 22:19
Action Tuesday Suggestion:

Jesus enacted his faith and prayers in physical ways.  This week we will be observing the ultimate act in Jesus giving his body to the cross for our forgiveness and salvation. We too, have been blessed with a body, a body that can become an enacted expression of our faith and prayers.

Go through this day, thinking of your body, not only as a precious, fragile gift, but also as it relates to the God who also took on human flesh for your good.  As you bathe, feed, and clothe your body this day, think of some way that body can be given in Christ's service.

It might mean setting aside our preoccupations on our comforts in order to serve someone else in this world that God so loved.  You might choose to fast, or keep food to its essentials, and give what you would normally spend to the hungry.  What is the cross you choose to take, not just the one that comes normally through the circumstances of living.  This is my body, too, how can I give it back to Christ?

This was from the 2002 St. Mark Presbyterian Lenten Devotional.  Comment below on how you took action today.

Monday, March 25, 2013

On Being a Sow and Sow

Luke 8 4-15

The first seed catalog arrived.  I got pretty excited-not jump up and down excited, but I kept turning the pages.  I couldn't put it down, thinking about what I might try new this year in our garden along with the standbys of green beans, tomatoes, peppers, squash and broccoli.

The enthusiasm I have for growing vegetables keeps me in touch with my roots.  Not only does this mean my boyhood gardening, it speaks of my relationship to God.  The word enthusiasm comes from the Greek meaning "to be inspired."  This can be traced to en + theos (god).  To be enthusiastic is to be inspired by God.  It is to have passion or feeling on behalf of a cause or a subject.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Saturday, March 23, 2013

God's Gifts

Psalm 18: 30 "As for God, His way is perfect."
An empty white canvas...her brushes nearby,
"I want to paint God's love, " she said.  "At least try."
A portrait of Jesus might be the way
but how to get started was so hard to say.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Tiny Bundle of Joy and Happiness

Romans 5:1-2
I have long been an empty nester and am elderly in years.  Awhile back, my daughter, concerned about my situation, urged me to get a pet--preferably a small dog--to be a companion and to make life happier and healthier for me and my husband.

I was willing, but it needed to be small enough and old enough--not a puppy--for me to take care of since my husband, Norm, wasn't really interested.  My daughter assured me that if crippling arthritis made it impossible for me to take care of a pet she would take it.  I visited pet shelters and pet adoption agencies.  I found nothing small enough to meet my requirements.  So I decided to wait, hoping to find that perfect ad in the paper that would describe the pet of my dreams.

Then it happened!  There was the perfect ad!  It described a two and a half year old, 6 pound Papillon dog that was up for adoption.  When I saw her, we bonded immediately, and this small loving creature immediately became a member of our household.  She brought joy to our sometimes lonely lives.  I named her Mimi.

Chesterfield, MO - Papillon. Meet PINTO a Dog for Adoption.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Jay-Bird The Cancer Fighter

Psalm 28:7

At the age of ten, my grandson Jay was diagnosed with T-Cell Lymphoma in 1991. He underwent a variety of treatment protocols over the next two years, which brought about many difficult side effects.  Jay weathered the treatments and his doctors and nurses soon discovered that he was his own person.  He would tell them when he was ready for the spinal taps, IV's and so on.  It seemed that he would go into a zone of his own and when he was ready, he'd say OK!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hope for Our Future

Genesis 9:12  "This is the sign of the covenant that I make between Me and you. . .

One Sunday in August, I was teaching the middle school group and decided to evoke some responses to the scripture verse on a poster in the classroom.  We had been talking about how sometimes we get down and find it easy to forget that we can have hope for our futures.  So I asked each student to respond to the scripture verse and tell me what they hoped for themselves and for others at home and at school and in other places.  These are some of their thoughtful responses that they gave me permission to share:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Who is my neighbor?

"You should love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."  Luke 10: 27

Action Tuesday

Who is my neighbor?  Our idea of that is broadened by Jesus parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 29-37).  Neighbor still includes the people next door.  How well do you know them?  Is there some way you can connect with someone in your neighborhood you don't know very well?

One idea: "I was at the Bread Company today and the rolls smelled so fresh and good, I thought you might enjoy some."

Or: "I baked some bread today, and there is no way we can eat it all.  I thought you might enjoy some while it is still warm."

This is from the St. Mark Presbyterian Lenten Devotional 2002.  Perhaps you could invite a neighbor to worship with us on Sundays, also.  Please write in the comments below other ways we can be good neighbors.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sin and Anger

"Be ye angry and sin not; let not the sun go down on your wrath"  Ephesians 4:26

It is easy to be angry.  It happens more times than we like for most of us.  Fortunately, some anger is necessary; we wouldn't be human if we didn't have anger.  The real trick, however, is to see where our anger leads us.  Sometimes our anger builds up until finally there is an explosion---sometimes hurting those who are not even remotely related to the cause of our anger.  An older introductory psychology textbook which was used by me as a student described that process as "kicking the cat" displacing anger against another different object or person instead of the object or person with which we are truly angry.  That happens a lot, unfortuately, as we all find ways of venting anger.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Lectionary Readings March 17

Daily Readings for Sunday, March 17, 2013

Worship Services at St.Mark Presbyterian Church are 8:30 and 10:30 AM (5:00 on Saturday).  Please join us for worship.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Gardener

Luke 13: 2-3, 6-9
Jesus replied to them, "Do you think that this happened to them because they were more sinful than other people from Galilee?  No! I can guarantee that they weren't.  But if you don't turn to God and change the way you think and act, then you, too, will all die. Then Jesus used this illustration:  'A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard.  He went to look for fruit on the tree but didn't find any.  He said to the gardener, "For the last three years I've come to look for figs on this fig tree but haven't found any.  Cut it down! Why should it use up good soil?" The gardener replied, "Sir, let it stand for one more year.  I'll dig around it and fertilize it.  Maybe next year it'll have figs.  But if not, then cut it down.'" 

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Legacy of "The Congressors"

Ephesians 3: 16-18

An anonymous quote says, "Some people come into our lives and quickly go...some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same."

Two such people in my life were Merle and Jess Hoyt, two wonderful Christian people who taught Sunday School for young people at our Presbyterian church in Kansas City [Central Presbyterian] in the late 1940's.  The class was called the Congress Class.  "Pappy" and Mrs. Hoyt considered each of us a part of their family.  They sponsored our Sunday evening devotionals and socials, and their home was always open to us.  The members of the Congress Class became a close-knit group of Christian friends.  Many romances blossomed within this class, including mine and Bob's, and we were married in that church 57 years ago.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Kenny and My Crock

 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved this all men will know that you are my disciples."  John 13: 34-35

 A small shelf hangs on our powder room wall.  On it sets a piece of hand made, kiln-fired crockery, which has the name of our home town, Emmaus, inscribed on it.  I love that crock.

My husband's brother, Kenny was coming to visit.  Each time he did, it seemed, something accidentally got broken.  This visit, I did not want that something to be my new Emmaus crock!  I took an extra step to attach the crock to the shelf with some double stick mounting tape.  That way, if the shelf got bumped, the crock would not fall off and break.  The days before Kenny's visit passed quickly, and in a flurry of last minute cleaning, the worst happened.  I bumped the shelf, knocking the whole business (shelf plus glued-on crock) to the floor.  I blew my stack as I looked at the now ruined crock, then cracked up at the irony of it all.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How Easy

"The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise."  Psalm 51:17
Art by Hannah V.

How easy it is to forget my Lord;
In the hustle of each day.
As a blind man stumbling in the dark,
I strive to make my way.

How easy it is to forget my Lord;
When I'm consumed with how I've fared.
Concentrating only on what I've accomplished,
In my own sin, ensnared.

How easy it is to forget my Lord
When I'm seeking my own will.
My savior died upon a cross;
It was He who paid my bill.

But when there is nothing more I can do;
And I've come to the end of me--
I reach out my powerless hand to God,
And touch infinity.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Least of These

"Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me." Matthew 25: 40

Action Tuesday
"People need love the most when they deserve it the least.  Hug someone you love."

This saying is on a small heart-shaped plaque in the kitchen of this writer.  As you think about and pray for your family today, try to come up with some way you might be supportive and encouraging to the one who might least deserve it.  Give them all hugs today, but in your heart give an extra squeeze to the one hurting the most.  If peacemaking and reconciliation is needed, make one positive step in that direction.

This was written anonymously for the St. Mark Presbyterian Lenten Devotional in 2002.  Write in the comments below other ideas on how we can reach out to "the least of these".

Monday, March 11, 2013

Faith Amid Suffering

Blazena or "Blanche" is on the left
She was always home.  She didn't need to express one word for me to know she was sincerely pleased I had come to visit.  Her pleasure was displayed the moment I entered her room and saw the sparkle in her eyes.  This was accompanied by a warm but slightly crooked smile, the lingering result of a previous illness.

I was fascinated by her stories of childhood life on her family's farm in Bohemia.  I remember her story of aggressive farmyard geese, and especially the repetitious attacks of a gander that would bite  the back of her leg.  I remember her vivid description of how she was able to modify the gander's behavior one day by following her father's instructions.  On that day when the gander bit her, she gathered all her courage and grabbed the attacking gander by the neck.  After briefly swinging the gander over her head and releasing him, the gander staggered away never to bother her again.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lectionary Readings March 10

St. Mark Presbyterian Church

Daily Readings for Sunday, March 10, 2013

Just a reminder from our devotional book 2002:
"Technically Sundays are not days of Lent.  They are little Easters to anticipate the coming celebration of Christ's victory of death at Easter.

Lent begins forty days prior to Easter, not counting Sundays.  During Lent [2013], you are encouraged to take Sundays as a day of worship and reflection.  Attend either the 8:30 or 10:30 Service every Sunday (or the 5:00 pm Saturday)."