Mid Week Devotion 8/05/2020 “Miracles”
Good morning, afternoon or evening, depending on when you are watching this mid-week version of our online church presentations. I want to extend a greeting to those of who are joining in today, however you found us, welcome! My name is Pastor Mel, I trust you find this space comforting, refreshing and safe as we continue to journey through life together.
Martha Vaché will be filling the pulpit on Sunday, Aug. 9 as I will be away for a few days. Please contact the office in case of Pastoral emergencies. The Rev. Gift Smith of Murrayville will be covering for me.
The Tuesday Morning Fellowship is back on again. Please meet at the Pavilion at 6:40 a.m. Make sure your contact Kevin Hinkle with your order by Monday evening.
I wanted to make you all aware that since MacMurray College closed, the property will be going up for auction. Before that time there is a possibility of Centenary acquiring the President’s house. We have had some internal discussions as well as having the LaMoine Location and Building Committee look into it. The Trustees have sent a recommendation to the Administrative Council to sell the current parsonage and use those funds to purchase the home and make it into the new parsonage. You will all be invited to a Charge Conference to discuss this exciting proposal.
I have a couple of prayer request updates.
Prayers of joy that the For Heaven’s Sake Circle Auction garnered almost $3,500 in donations. Thanks again to all who organized, donated or bid on items. It was a fun time.
Please pray for our area as the COVID-19 cases are going up in
Prayers of concern over the continued violence on the streets of our cities.
Mark and Debbie Belzer’s daughter, Julie, has asked that we pray for her friend, Amanda, who is in ICU on a Mayo Clinic trial, receiving plasma from someone who recovered from COVID-19. Her husband and children also have the virus and are quarantined at home, in South Carolina.
Debbie Belzer wants to thank everyone who has been praying for her brother Steve. The biopsy they did on the skin cancer he had removed from his shoulder was not malignant. Thank you for your prayers.
Bill and Kelly Latham’s Son-In-Law’s Mother has cancer.
Barbara Crouse’s brother-in-law, Curt Simmons, has passed due to complications from COVID-19. His wife, Patty, (Junior’s Sister) also has the virus and is recovering at home.
Lord, you have been faithful to gather us before you this day. Receive our prayer requests and move within the lives for those whom we pray. Quiet now our thoughts that we may together hear your word. Empty our fretful minds and fill them with the assurance of your presence. Amen.
Now, Lord, be with us as we pray the words which you have given to us;
Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on Earth As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
For ever. Amen.
SCRIPTURE – John 6:25-29
25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
May God add a blessing to the reading and hearing of the Word.
I have entitled this devotion, Miracles.
Albert Einstein was quoted, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
I like to think that everything in life is a miracle. My, “Theology in the Modern Church,” professor disagreed with me. To show how much he disagreed with me, my name was placed on the chalkboard the first day of class. That first day wasn’t the last time we would disagree over theology.
My professor’s point of view was that if we rely only on the miracles of Jesus we will remain hungry like the people on the shore. My point was exactly the same, If I rely on the miracles of God, I will remain hungry for God. There you have the makings of a theological debate that can divide churches and believers.
There was a difference in our beliefs, however. My professor did not want us to remain hungry only for the results of miracles, meaning we are always on the lookout for the next big spiritual moment in our lives. He believed we would then spend our lives wandering the beaches always looking for the next free handout of bread. That can leave us tired and unfulfilled.
I didn’t disagree with his point, that is the same point Jesus made to those who wandered the beaches searching for more free bread. My point, however, was to acknowledge that if something as ordinary as bread can be turned into the miraculous, so can anything else. To me this world is a miracle. Life is a miracle, me being a Christian and in a theology class is a miracle, I told him.
He told me that asking God for a miracle may indicate a lack of faith. Expecting God to provide an escape route every time the world gets tough is the same as looking for free bread. I countered back that I believe the sun rising and falling each day is a miracle. That doesn’t mean I expect God to do it out of a sense on entitlement. I simply acknowledge God’s hand at work in the world around me. I choose to call that work miraculous.
I believe the professor and I are we closer to agreement than disagreement. We were on opposite sides of a pendulum that kept swinging back and forth. Once that pendulum slowed we did find some common ground and my name was erased from the board.
That debate has stuck with me over the years. I suppose there are some people who cannot believe in God without a steady stream of miraculous events to support their faith. I do not expect God to win me over every day with some huge event to keep me believing.
That is why I choose to see God in every day through the seemingly uneventful moments. I do choose to see God in every blade of grass. Not so much that a blade of grass is a miracle, but the fact that I am alive and can knowledge it as a gift from God, is a miracle to me.
Jesus knew the hearts of those beach wanderers. I think the Lord’s frustration was a result of people believing more in the miracles than in the miracle worker. Perhaps that is where many Christians are today, lost in the dark clouds of the pandemic, needing a miracle from God to bolster their faith.
Sometimes the greatest act of faith is not to ask for a miracle. God searches for the ones who will believe without ever seeing. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego went into a fiery furnace without a sign, only a simple belief in God. For me the greater miracle isn’t that they were spared, but their faith that moved them trust enough to simply walk in.
Does my faith need a steady stream of miracles to sustain it? No. That doesn’t stop me from believing in them. I do not need a sign to believe, I believe in all the signs that tell me God is the master of all I see. The miracle is not when the COVID-19 vaccine is announced, the miracle is trusting right now that God is working with us to end the pandemic. Let us have faith and believe in the miracle worker.
May God’s peace be with you until we meet again, stay safe and God bless.