What is God’s Telephone Number?
By Joyce Pelletier
Jeremiah 33:2-3 This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it – the Lord is his name. “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
Simple! Call to me and I will answer! (The ‘Call to’ simply means, we don’t need a phone. He still hears us!) That’s what the Father says. I heard way back this question, “What is God’s telephone number?” Have you ever heard that before? I have heard it many times and in our culture of Cell Phones, we don’t need a phone, just the Bible.
I recall many nights of restlessness and no sleep. When I finally get up to break up the monotony, take out His Word and spend time reflecting, praying and then return to bed, and sleep comes. What a blessing! Every time, it works. It’s amazing how the Word at 3 in the morning, He knows what’s on my heart. His Words calms the storm going on inside of me, and next thing I know I’m waking up, refreshed with even just a couple of hours of sleep.
We hear this from many Christians. We come to realize when it happens to you, what a gift! “It’s Real!” How does God take care of all our needs? I am one, out of gazillions of people. Yet, he knows exactly where I am at and what I need and provides it when it fits into his plan.
I’m a thinker! I am comforted when God chooses to spend quality time with Him. When I focus on Him something wonderful happens. When I choose to focus on Him and not my fears or worries, peace is restored.
After service one Sunday, we decided to go to the Waterbury Flea Market. I let out a huge grumble and said to myself, “I don’t want to go! I despise driving where I’m not familiar with the roads and today’s traffic with aggressive drivers everywhere you go, it makes me less favorable to drive. I detest Interstate driving, as well.”
I got in the car and prayed, “God protect us on our journey.” As we drove along the state road, no need to get on the Interstate, it’s shorter to go on the state road. I started to notice on the road, greenery that is rare this time of year. Usually we have draught like weather, but not this year. It was a pleasant drive and I told Maurice, “Remember when we wanted to drive across America? Well, with my driving state roads and barely hitting the speed limit, we would really get to see the country with me driving.”
Somehow saying that I realized, the sermon I just heard a couple of hours before was all about focusing on God and not our challenges and struggles. Last week was a similar word. That it’s all about Worshiping God on our journey, instead of fretting every step of the way. It turned out to be a lovely journey and we were safe, because God is safe.I often realize that when I really grasp the message we get each week, a few things are going on here.
1. I need not fret!
2. I need to focus on God!
3. I know God is paying attention, because he often shows me where I am at, whether I like it or not.
4. Responding to such an amazing God, who knows my name, my heart, my fears, my woes, what more do I need to rely on.
5. Worshiping God brings back peace and joy and wonderment for such a God who loves me, NO MATTER WHAT! His Word tells us so. Our lives are inspired by the Holy Spirit. There is nothing more we need to know.
Matthew 6:33-34 “But, seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each days has enough trouble of its own.
By Mary Spence
"Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
In the parables Jesus teaches about seeds and relates the soil of our heart.
He tells us that some seeds are cast on rocky hard soil. The hard soil gets that way through years of sitting in the baking sun, it is filled with rock. Much like a heart that has endured years of harsh treatment, hard times and drought. It has been walked on and trampled; years of lacking and lovelessness. No one has cared for this soil in a very long time.
The soil filled with thorns and brambles is like a heart that has had to defend itself against attack. Cruel words and actions have produced defensive, angry responses. No one wants to go into this thorny briar patch. It could result in bruising and bleeding. There might even be even ticks in this territory. Not merely hardened, this heart seeks to defend itself always, even when it is not truly under attack. A percieved attack will result in an angry, hurtful response. This soil produces injury to those who love it.
However some hearts are well cared for soil. Watered regularly with the word. Warm from the glow of a living relationship with the Lord. Lovingly fertilized and tilled. The weeds removed and cast away.
Here is the good news: there is hope! Hope for the hard soil, the thorny briar patch too.
For the hardened rocky heart; the word of the Lord is Iike water for the thirsty ground. The tender care He has for us is medicine for that hard unloved heart. If you can let Him in, He can heal those hurts, fill the empty spaces and till the old injuries in to bring forth soft good soil buried deep down in that heart.
For in the thorny briar patch heart, there is a love that does not depend on you or your actions. He loves you right where you are, in that tangled up briar patch. With a love that you can't earn, love that doesn't injure or wound when you least expect it. Unlike the relationships you have known in your past, it is gentle, kind and unending. It is a love that you may not have experienced before and may not understand. He truly wants His best for you. Unlike human love you may have experienced in the past, this love is for you as He created you. Not for when you measure up or meet some out of reach standard of goodness, but right now, right here. Just as you are.
He loves all of us, even the ones who don't yet know Him. No matter where you have been or who you have been there is a place for you at His table. He will not let you go.
In The Potters Hands
By Mary Spence
Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Just as the potter shapes and molds the clay, the Lord shapes and molds us. If you know anything about pottery, you know that the first step is finding the clay.
Do you know where the clay is found? In the ground. Covered with dirt and impurities. Much like we are found by the Lord. Buried deep in behaviors and habits that distract us from Him and draw our attention away.
Clay develops when water or steam, and air meet. It is found in most soil, but particularly in the sediment from river beds or ocean bottoms, and where water pools.
Through a process called wet harvesting, both water and soil are added to a bucket. The soil is then stirred into the water and allowed to sit for a brief period to allow the rock, sand, and silt to settle out. The clay remains suspended in the water for longer than these other heavier components that fall to the bottom.
The clay and water mixture is then filtered through a fine cloth or sheet. What’s left after straining is a ball of smooth clay.
This process reminds me of how God separates us from things of the world that are not for us. How he brings out the purest version of ourselves by removing the pieces that are not of Him.
To form the clay into something beautiful and useful you need soft, moist, and pliable clay.
As you work with it, the clay first gets sloppier and wetter, before it begins to form in the potters skillful hands.
Slowly the potter will mold and form His clay and start bringing up the walls. The Potter knows His clay; He knows the direction the clay will want to turn on the wheel. Gently he guides and forms, pausing to reset or redirect the clay in the direction it needs to move to grow. The Potter works the clay patiently, working to avoid pressing too firmly and causing the clay to collapse. Smoothing out the rough places gently but firmly. Slowly you will see something begin to emerge from the mound of clay.
Occasionally the potter stops, letting the clay rest and dry slightly before working it again.
The final drying depends greatly on the climate you live in. It could take up to a week or more to completely dry before it's time to fire the masterpiece in the kiln. Just like when you are working on changing a pattern or behavior in yourself, it takes time to stick. And where you find yourself living each day determines how long it will take.
The firing is where the process becomes final and set. The heat is where the potter will finalize what has been made. The potters creation is revealed. Beautiful and strong. From the hands of the potter with gentle but firm direction, a true labor of love.
Thank you Father, for your patient, loving way with us. We are merely broken and lost lumps of clay, until your gentle touch begins to shape and guide us. Please continue to work in our lives and our families to move and grow, until we can reach our godly potential. You are a good and skillful potter, and we surrender our will and our ways for yours.
Please continue to mold us into the creation you made us to be.
In your precious son's name. Amen.
By Joyce Pelletier
Genesis 6:14-16 - God told Noah, “So make yourself an Ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: The Ark is to be three hundred cubits long (about 437.5 ft long); fifty cubits wide (about 72.7 ft) and thirty cubits wide in parts of the width (about 45.5 ft). Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof of 1 cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the Ark and make lower, middle and upper decks.
Have you ever decided to build something? I’ve watched Maurice build many things that filled our home. His first piece was a pine hutch. He didn’t have a manual and it didn’t come in a box with all the pieces of wood, screws, nails, hardware and plastic for the doors. He sat down and designed his piece and drew it, figured out the measurements, then built it. It’s been treasured by me for 49 years. We never refinished it and the only thing I do for it is dust it and rearrange the items in it. It’s my favorite piece.
I analyze myself as a non-manual reader. When Maurice gets new equipment for things, he reads the manual cover to cover. I failed that course in school. Recently we had to replace our dishwasher and decided to install it ourselves to save a big chunk of change to hire someone. It took us about 8 hours to do it. But we read the manual and with clear directions, pictures and his experience to rely on those directions, it was proof positive. It’s good to have a dishwasher that works.
We have a friend staying with us for a short while. We were talking one evening about a Bible study I chose to use for our Zoom group on Tuesdays. I was somewhat confused and overwhelmed by the book I chose. Not wanting to give up on it, I asked for his advice. He looked over it and after he made some suggestions, he made the conclusion that I need to read the manual.
When I have questions about God, I turn to the best Manual ever, the Bible. I find truth there that keeps me focused. Now in preparing for the Bible study it’s pretty obvious that I need to not only read the manual (the study book) but more so, God’s Word.
I decided to look in the true Manual and found the story about Noah and him building the Ark. He didn’t have the tools we have today. Didn’t even have electricity. God gave him in His “personal” Manual (the Word) directions, blueprints and whatever else he needed to be obedient in the Lord’s call to build the Ark that would make so much history for God’s creation.
God gave Noah a manual on how to build the Ark. Noah followed directions, even though he lived in the barren land. We know how that turned out.
God shares and inspires that manual just for us, too. His Manual has directions for how to live. His Holy Spirit is the guiding source for us to live in the blueprints of that intention. God is so Good! His plan is best, purposeful, and alive. Even though there are times we question things, His way is perfect!