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Take Comfort in the Day of Your Distress

By: Lindsay Tedder

“The Lord is good, a stronghold in a day of distress: He cares for those who take refuge in Him.” Nahum 1:7

After a week of pure parenting torture, I hit my limit. It was a solid week of tantrums, defiance, meltdowns, hitting, kicking, screaming, refusing to sit in a time out, teachers telling me that his behavior was poor in school that day. I reached the precipice of Mount Overwhelmed, when I had to carry him out of Christmas play practice because he was sobbing in the front row of the church.

He had hit his limit.

The next day was the worst day of parenting I have ever experienced. Everything above happened in rapid-fire sequence in a matter of minutes. My husband and I tried everything to calm the chaos, literally everything. You name it, we did it and none of it worked. When my husband took our son for a “car ride” that we hoped would turn into a nap, I broke.

I began wandering around my house aimlessly. It was a disaster. I had to step over toys strewn all over the floor in order to clean up the art supplies and activities that were on every single surface. Puzzle pieces peppered the floor in the living room. It felt like the playroom had sneezed and my house was the tissue.

I had to capitalize on my alone time and make some semblance of normalcy in my home. As I meandered from room to room, I began to stare off in the distance. I knew I wasn’t ok. This week had done me in, and I had nothing left to give. I tried to do the housework. I tried to clean up the toys, but I just couldn’t do it. I felt as if I was about to walk out the front door and never return. I knew that was not possible. I knew I could never run away, despite how desperately I didn’t want to exist in that moment.

I grabbed my Bible. I begged God to reveal the truth to me. I pleaded and petitioned. With one hand on my Bible and the other on my tear-soaked face, I flipped open to the place where my finger had naturally gravitated. Nahum. Great, I thought. This should be really good, God. Can’t wait. Despite my sarcasm, I continued to read.

I will admit, Nahum has never been on my must-read list. In fact, I don’t recall ever reading it in the past. But that sorrowful day, Nahum became my sanity, my comfort. As my fingers spread across the words on the page, I felt like my Daddy was giving me a big squeezy hug. “The Lord is good.” Yes, He is. I know that. This is a truth that I can hang on to right now. He is a “stronghold in the day of distress.” Ok, Dad. You’re talking about today, my day of distress. “He cares for those who take refuge in Him.” Ahh…I see what ya did there, God. Today, I am taking refuge in You because it is my day of distress.

The conversation swirled through my mind. After reading and processing the words, my tears began to dry up, my shoulders began to feel lighter, and my mind was able to stop racing. The Lord, who is good, became my stronghold in that day of distress.

Did you know that Nahum in Hebrew means “comfort?” Wow. It is so incredible to me that my Father knew that Nahum’s words would reach me, thousands of years later, during my day of distress. As I reflect on this day and the way my Dad stepped in and showed me such limitless love and comfort, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude, but my heart can’t help but wonder why it took me getting to the place of debilitating desperation to take refuge in Him. What could my week have looked like if on day one, I turned to Him? Why do I wait? Why do I try to figure it out by myself first? The glory of God is that He wants me to seek Him FIRST. Not as a last resort. Not when the thought of abandoning the beautiful life He gave me is at the forefront of my brain. First.

Are you in a day of distress? Seek Him. Petition Him. Beg Him to reveal truth and comfort to you. And after He does, stop taking the weight of the world on your shoulders, girlfriend. Stop feeling the need to do it yourself first. We serve a God who tells us that isn’t necessary and it’s time we believe Him.

The Corinthian Creedby Shawn McEvoy

Be on your guard, stand firm in faith, be men of courage, be strong; do everything in love. –  1 Corinthians 16:13-14

********While this devotional is geared towards men, I felt like there were a some good thoughts for everyone, not just men.***********

Today’s verse hangs on a board on the wall of my son. But years ago, long before my son was even an inkling, I came across that verse as I was sending my own father one of many letters I composed over the years to share with him the importance of salvation, and the value of life in Christ. My sister, mother, and I came to know the Lord in 1980, but it took another 17 years, seven months, and 26 days worth of praying, heart softening, and brokenness for Dan McEvoy to surrender.

And it wasn’t this letter or the above verse that pushed him into it. No, this letter I was writing simply to tell him how blessed I was to have begun dating a woman (who eventually became my wife) for whom faith came first, and I was giving God all the glory and credit and all that good stuff, and probably telling him how God delights in blessing those who trust in Him.

With the letter I enclosed a quick-and-dirty page of graphic art involving the aforementioned verse from Corinthians in some fancy font, with a clip-art picture of a sailboat, kind of as a visual aid to my letter, indicating, I suppose, what it was like for the man of God to live in this world under the Captaincy of Christ.

Well, so. After he died in 2001, I found that letter and piece of “art” in my father’s desk, looking as if it had been read and glanced at often. Something in me knew then that if I were ever to have a son, I’d commit to raising him to manhood under these same five principles:

  • Be on your guard. Be ready, be alert. Expect God to be involved, expect Satan to attack. Let the wonder of creation still catch your eye.
  • Stand firm in faith. Be unmoved because you know intimately that of which you believe in. Become biblically literate.
  • Be a man of courage. Fear is not from God (2 Timothy 1:7), so go your way boldly. The worst that can happen – even death – still ends in victory and glory for the Christian.
  • Be strong. Physically, yes, let’s take care of ourselves, and present our bodies as holy. But remember that the Lord is the strength of the strong (Ephesians 6:10), and that “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
  • Do everything in love. Here’s your motivation, because he that doesn’t love doesn’t know God (1 John 4:8), and the world shall know you by your love (John 13:35).

So when Jordan was born, and we had the dedication service at our church, that’s the verse we selected to have read. When he was about two-and-a-half, he started reciting it by memory and making up arm/hand motions to go with it. We call it our “Man-Creed.” 

But here’s the secret: these couple verses from the closing of Paul’s first letter to Corinth aren’t first-and-foremost for Jordan… they’re for me.

When I first realized that, it caught me, ironically enough, “off my guard.” I had been more than happy to tell my own father how to “be a man,” and was perfectly willing to raise my son to be one according to the Word. How, I wonder, did I intend to do so without living out the credo, making it my own?

The Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible comments upon the 1 Corinthians passage thusly: “[Paul] shows that they ought to make their hopes of salvation to depend not on Apollos or any other teacher; that it rests with themselves.” Yes, and on how I am willing to live, or better, whether I am willing to let my life be of greater worth than my words.

I don’t know about the other guys out there, but it definitely helps me to have something to live by, to recite, to write on my heart, ponder the meaning of, and connect to other scriptures as I strive to be a man after God’s own heart. And it doesn’t hurt that this creed I now try to follow is affecting its third generation in my family.

Happiness Isn’t Required to Rejoice

By: Meg Bucher

“This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24 ESV

“Don’t draw from the pile when there’s a wild card in your hand.” My husband repeated the proper UNO rules to my nine-year-old, as our oldest drained all the hot water for her shower.

“Mom… it’s your turn.”

Life is transitioning from when bedtime was a pretty reliable staple to an era where our kids stay up later than we can. Change can tempt us to assume something is wrong. Our youngest needs to move until her head hits the pillow, which pushes every parental button trying to decompress at the end of the day. Instead of battling her behavior, we play UNO. We celebrate who she is alongside her, and peace prevails.

Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (ESV) Not tomorrow. Not yesterday. This is the day. Though change can be challenging and transition trying and tiring, we are to rejoice and be glad in it. So often we pray for it to end, or for things to return to what we once knew. But life keeps moving. For those of us who love and follow Jesus, we’re always growing in maturity towards a heart like His. It sounds as beautiful as it is, but the everyday reality of growth pushes us out of our comfort zones.

Rejoice” in the original Hebrew, means to rejoice, exult, be glad, but also to tremble in fear. We can be fearful or uncomfortable without losing our joy. When we rejoice in the Lord, knowing our joy is rooted in Jesus, we are glad. It reminds us He’s got us. He has a plan, a purpose, sits sovereign overall and loves each of us.

Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” (ESV) Always, including in times of suffering (NIVSB), “rejoice always.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16) The verb in these verses could be used as a salutation, or at the beginning of letters. Imagine if we greeted each other with “Rejoice!” Why shouldn’t we be glad? We have a Savior who has conquered death so we may live a full life here on earth, and on to eternity with Him in heaven.

When the daily grind turns everyday joys into mundane annoyances or change and transition threaten to rip up the roots of peace amidst uncomfortable circumstances …rejoice! Rejoice, not to minimize hard times and tragic pain, but to re-center our souls on the hope of Jesus.

Life will constantly shift, banking around sharp curves and sneaking up on us with challenging seasons. But God remains the same. Jesus walks through it all with us. Our rejoicing doesn’t have to look like a worship concert. It doesn’t even have to don a smile. The life-giving stirring of our souls comes from simply recalling what we know. There’s nothing extraordinary about playing Uno on the couch while we watch tv, but it reminds us peace doesn’t have to look organized or make sense. We just have to remember to pause and let it reign over our circumstances and solutions.


Meg Bucher writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. She stepped out of her comfort zone, and her Marketing career, to obey God’s call to stay home and be “Mom” in 2011. From that step of obedience her blog, Sunny&80, was born, a way to retain the funny everyday moments of motherhood. Meg is also a freelance writer and author of “Friends with Everyone.”  She loves teaching God’s Word and leading Bible study, being a mom, distance running, photography, and the Cleveland Browns. Meg resides in Northern Ohio with her husband, two daughters, and Golden-Doodle.

The Stir

By: Lysa Tuerkerst

You know what my favorite part of the Easter miracle is? It’s hard to choose a favorite, but I have one.

It’s the stir.

The stir no one saw.

That first second Jesus twitched beneath the burial clothes and death lost its sting. Hope, glorious hope rose in that second when the world still felt the weight of death. Hope twitched. Hope moved. Hope stirred. And Jesus arose.

God reminds us of the stir in so many ways.

A branch looks dead and yet a stir is happening in places we can’t see. Places that soon burst forth green life.

A drought threatens to dry out the life of everything planted and yet a stir is happening in places we can’t see. A wind shifts, a cloud bursts, and heaven pours forth.

A woman is told her womb will not and yet a stir is happening in places we can’t see. Her baby will come through a stranger’s womb and in an instant her arms are filled.

The stir no one saw.

The stir we so often miss.

The stir we so desperately need to remember.

The stir was.

The stir is.

The stir will forever be.

Even when we can’t see it.

He is risen, my friend. And because He is risen we can know there is a stir happening behind whatever tomb threatens to close over our hope today.

Yes, there is a stir happening in places we can’t see. He is risen indeed.

What I Value about United Methodism: Intellectual Evangelicalism

As we are hearing more and more about the United Methodist Church and the divisions that are among them, Adam Hamilton has graciously written several posts talking about what as United Methodists we believe. These posts are for those who are remaining United Methodist, and not moving to the Global Methodist Church. If you have questions regarding these posts, please reach out to Pastor Earl and he will assist you the best he can. Click on the link below for the first article.

shutterstock 1215985498

 

Source: What I Value about United Methodism: Intellectual Evangelicalism

The Easy Way To Rest When You’re Exhausted

by: Asheritah Ciuciu

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

I eyed the bright numbers on the clock telling me I’d be lucky to get four hours of sleep that night. Hitting “send” on my paper, I stumbled into bed, murmuring, “Once I graduate, then I’ll be able to rest.”

But over the years that followed, that midnight promise morphed to match new seasons:

“Once I meet this work deadline, then I’ll be able to rest.”
“Once our baby sleeps through the night, then I’ll be able to rest.”
“Once the children are in school, then I’ll be able to rest.”

Those refrains pushed me out of bed every morning and kept me working late into the night, until one day I found myself at our kitchen table, head in my hands and sobbing the words “I can’t do this anymore.”

I was exhausted.

And from talking with older women, I knew they were repeating the same worn refrain, merely aged to match their own challenges:

“Once we pay off the mortgage …”
“Once the kids leave for college …”
“Once we retire from our jobs …”

Women of all ages and stages are chasing rest, but that coveted rest eludes us all.

In a moment of clarity, I realized that rest won’t arrive on the other side of “someday” because, no matter how much we get done, there’s always more left to do.

Wiping my tears, I cried out: “God, I need You. I can’t do this anymore.” And in His kindness, God reminded me that we’re not the first generation to struggle with such things, nor are we alone.

In fact, 2,000 years ago, Jesus looked at a crowd of women and men just as exhausted as you and me, and He said:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV).

Jesus doesn’t tell us to wake up early and go to bed late in order to hustle our way into His Kingdom. Quite the opposite. He invites us to lay down our heavy burdens and find rest in Him.

What does that look like in real life? I developed an easy-to-remember R.E.S.T. acronym to guide me toward Jesus when I feel overwhelmed, and you can use it too:

  • R: Recite God’s goodness. The next time we find ourselves hustling, let’s pause to praise God for who He is and what He’s already doing (see Psalm 103:1-2). What can we thank Him for? Let’s start there.
  • E: Express your neediness. Then we get honest with God about our struggles and sins, casting our burdens on Him because He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7)
  • S: Seek His stillness. Next, we take time to “be still, and know” that He is God (Psalm 46:10a, ESV). We quiet our hearts to listen to His still, small voice. Is there anything He wants to say to us? Are there any burdens or to-dos He’s asking us to lay down?
  • T: Trust His faithfulness. Finally, we declare our confidence that our good God, who began a good work in us, will be faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6)

We don’t have to wait for that elusive “someday” to experience God’s rest. The gentle and humble Jesus opens wide His arms, and He says, “Come.” Today, just as you are, come.

Is God Your Source of Encouragement?

By Victoria Riollano

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

En·cour·age- to give support, confidence, or hope to someone.

Many of us are looking to be encouraged or supported.

We look to family.
We look to pastors.
We look to our friends.
We look to self-help books.
We look to influencers.

We look to man to give us that boost that will change our lives and perspective. However, at some point your friend will decline your call, your books will get lost, and your pastor will disappoint. This is the sad reality of life. Eventually, you will have to dig deep and find your encouragement from someone who cannot fail you… EVER!

In 2017, I learned very quickly that our source of encouragement must come from the Lord. The year started off seemingly normal. However, just three weeks in, my father-in-law passed away. Following this, my husband became severely ill as well. Thus, the person who was typically my source of encouragement was grieving and in need of physical and emotional support. Even more so, many of my personal relationships with friends had started to fade. I found myself in need of someone who could encourage me. Being a military spouse far away from home only added to this frustration of needing someone to stand alongside me. Amid all the trials, I was isolated and had very little strength to continue. 

It was during this time of my life, I realized how much I relied on other people to be my source of hope and encouragement. When all was stripped away, and I had no family, friends, or the support of my husband, I realized how I had not leaned on God as much I had pretended to for so many years. This took me on a journey of asking, “What would it look like to depend on God for my encouragement?” In other words, what would happen if God was the source of my hope and joy? I learned day by day that if I could shift my perspective on who God is and allow Him to be what keeps me going, I could get through the most difficult times of my life.

Let’s reconsider the word encourage. Encourage…or IN-courage! The truth is when someone “encourages you” they are really giving you that extra needed push to walk “in courage.” They are helping you to be fearless and keep going when you want to give up. In order to move forward and be successful, you have to learn that true encouragement comes from withIN! This is where God comes in to shake things up.

He says… Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

In other words, your courage comes from knowing that He will never leave you or forsake you. Your courage comes from knowing that everything that happens will work out in the end (Romans 8:28). YOUR courage comes from knowing that no matter what you are going through the Lord has a plan (Jeremiah 29:11). Your inner courage comes from knowing that the Lord is on your side.

When we have this viewpoint, we can walk confidently in any situation. We can know full well that even when everyone and everything fails, you serve a God who sees you and who has a plan. Although God has created us to be in a community, we recognize that others do not dictate our hope. Our friends now become a resource, not our source. God is the source of our encouragement. The bible is now your personal love letter and instruction book for the midst of every trial.

It took the hardest time of my life to realize this important aspect of who God MUST be in my life. However, in learning to trust God and look Him above all else, I gained such confidence. Even more so, I was able to help my husband through his low times. The key, however, is I was able to direct Him to the Lord versus just being dependent on me. I was able to remind him that his ability to get through those hard moments will be found in God’s presence. Thus, looking to the Lord for courage and directing others to do so, puts the ball in God’s court to bring peace and support. 

Truly, there is nothing more refreshing than having God lift you up! May you be encouraged in the Lord.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

UMCOR Sunday –March 27, 2022

God’s Mission, Our Mission
God’s Holy Spirit calls the Church into being for mission. The Church experiences and engages
in God’s mission as it pours itself out for others, ready to cross every boundary to call for true
human dignity among all peoples.


As Jesus said: ‘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)


UMCOR, The United Methodist Committee on Relief, takes this call to heart. As the
humanitarian relief and development arm of The United Methodist Church, UMCOR is the
hands and feet of Jesus whenever and wherever disaster strikes.


In 1940, Bishop Herbert Welch, representing the Methodist Committee for China Relief,
proposed the creation of the “Methodist Committee for Overseas Relief (MCOR),” in response to
displaced and vulnerable populations in the wake of World War II. Welch commented that
MCOR would serve as a “voice of conscience among Methodists to act in the relief of human
suffering without distinction of race, color or creed.” This mandate remains true to this day.
MCOR grew from providing necessities to refugees and displaced populations, to getting
involved in reconstruction, rehabilitation and repatriation of refugees and prisoners of war,
restoration of churches and civil operations, and reconciliation – an effort to restore peace and
goodwill.


When the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Methodist Church united into The
United Methodist Church in 1968, MCOR became UMCOR. – The United Methodist Committee
on Overseas Relief.


Later, UMCOR expanded its scope to include agricultural and community development projects,
as well as medical relief and development, and disaster risk reduction programs.
No one in 1940 could have foreseen the depths and breath of what UMCOR is today.2


UMCOR’s stated mission is: “Compelled by Christ to be a voice of conscience on behalf of the
people called United Methodist, UMCOR works globally to alleviate human suffering and
advance hope and healing.”


This transformative work is categorized into three areas:
• Humanitarian Relief/Disaster Response
• Sustainable Development
• Global Health

If you’d like to give to UMCOR Sunday, please mark your offering as such. There will be envelopes available to you on Sunday.


1 Theology of Mission, Global Ministries, https://www.umcmission.org/Learn-About-Us/About-GlobalMinistries/Theology-of-Mission 2 New World Outlook, 75 years of UMCOR. Christie House, editor.

Prayer for Ukraine, by Kayla Craig

Prayer for Ukraine, by Kayla Craig

O God of peace, our hearts are heavy
And our brains can barely keep up with the breaking news.
We don’t know what to say or what to do in a world so wounded.
So we come to you with hearts heavy for
All who sit in the crossfires of violence and acts of war.

O God of peace, be with the people of Ukraine.
With the mothers who carry babies to subway shelters.
With the fathers who hold their heads in their hands.
With the children who absorb the traumas.
Of violent acts of powerful men.

O God of peace, we don’t know the words to pray
For a warring world and all who are vulnerable in it.
We don’t pretend to know the extent of the damages
Or what tomorrow (or today) will bring.
But we know that you are a God of peace
And we can’t bomb our way to shalom.

O God of peace, comfort the crying and heal the hurt.
Tend the aching and soothe the fearful.
Make us instruments of your peace
Creating a sacred symphony where
Rhythms of grace are danced upon
And evil has lost its sting, now and forevermore.
O God of peace, hear our prayer.