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NORTH GARRETT UNITED METHODIST PARISH

Called to make Disciples for Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World

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Uniting the United Methodist Churches in Northern Garrett County for Ministry


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KnowYour Enemy

The Scriptures share many passages about who we should be aware of who wants to separate us from God. Sometimes it is an outside force, sometimes it is within us.  How do you see your relationship with God?

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour

1 Peter 5:8 KJV

The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

Revelation 12:9 NIV

No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

2 Corinthians 11:14, 15 NASB

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

James 4:7 RSV

Let this be our prayer

Thanks be unto God for His wonderful gift: Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God is the object of our faith; the only faith that saves is faith in Him.  Create in me a clean heart Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

Psalm 51:10-15 NIV

Called To Righteousness

But now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight--not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago. We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done.

Scripture:

"I, the LORD, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness. I will guard and support you, for I have given you to my people as the personal confirmation of my covenant with them. And you will be a light to guide all nations to me. You will open the eyes of the blind and free the captives from prison. You will release those who sit in dark dungeons.

Isaiah 42:6,7 NLT

Fulfilling Our Duty to God: By Repentance from Dead Works

"But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live. Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?"

Ezekiel 18:21-23 NIV

Depart from evil and do good, and dwell forevermore.

Psalm 37:27 KJV

If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored; If you remove unrighteousness far from your tent.

Job 22:23 NASB

Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?

Jeremiah 4:14 KJV

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts.

Malachi 3:7 NASB

Thanks be unto God for His wonderful gift: Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God is the object of our faith; the only faith that saves is faith in Him.

Trust in the Living God...Not Riches!

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 NKJV

You are right, O GOD, and you set things right. I can't argue with that. But I do have some questions: Why do bad people have it so good? Why do con artists make it big? You planted them and they put down roots. They flourished and produced fruit. They talk as if they're old friends with you, but they couldn't care less about you.

Jeremiah 12:1,2 MSG

I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a green tree in its native soil, but he soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him, he could not be found. Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace. But all sinners will be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be cut off.

Psalm 37:35-38 NIV

We need a Savior because we are sinners, and the wages of sin is death...

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift: Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God is the object of our faith; the only faith that saves is faith in Him.

Happiness Immediately After Death

Future Blessings Are Ours: Happiness Immediately After Death What a wonderful, wonderful God we serve... _______________

For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.

Philippians 1:21,23 KJV

Ye are come unto mount Zion, unto the heavenly Jerusalem, and to God the Judge of all men, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.

Hebrews 12:22,23

Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.

Revelation 14:13 KJV

Thanks be unto God for His wonderful gift: Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God is the object of our faith; the only faith that saves is faith in Him.

Scripture: Genesis 1:1-2:4a
If you are a man, think about the first time that you drove your date to the prom. If you are like my husband, I imagine that you paid special attention to the car. You made sure that it was spotless, perhaps waxed, swept inside. The car needed to look perfect. Now imagine if you did all of that work – paid all of that attention to the car – and then forgot to pick up your date.

Years ago, I was in a bible study class. One of the guidelines we were taught to follow as we explored the Bible was to think of it as a cart carrying cargo. God’s message – the cargo – is much more important than the cart which carries it. The prom date is (hopefully) more important than the car.
Consider our Scripture – Genesis 1:1-2:4a. It’s the first creation story in the Bible. Our society often gets trapped in arguing about the cart. We engage in court action to make sure that intelligent design is taught in our schools. We argue over the existence of dinosaurs and the age of the earth. We buy bumper stickers which portray a large Christian fish eating a small Darwin fish. We debate the validity of evolution.

But none of that is God’s message. Concentrate on the message, because the message will change your life.
In the beginning, God – The first four words of the Bible are hugely humbling. “In the beginning, God…” tells us that we are NOT God. God existed before anything else. When I consider all the ways in life that I attempt to be God, I find enormous relief in the truth that I AM NOT GOD, and neither are you.

God created – What more do we really need to know? God created. He imagined the world and spoke it into being. His methods are the cart. His action of creation is the message –the cargo. God created the world and everything in it. It is His. We are His.

God created humankind in his own image – We are not God, but we are His children, created in His own image. Has anyone ever said to you, “I knew your parents before you were a twinkle in your father’s eye”? When God breathed life into the first man and woman, you became a twinkle in his eye. When Eve’s heart started beating, God could hear the echo of your heartbeat in his mind. When Adam stood in the garden, staring at awesome wonder at all that God had created, God took joy in it, and dreamed of the day that you and He would stand together, as you held your daughter for the first time, amazed at her existence.

You are a child of God, created in His image, and loved beyond description by the God who dreamed you into existence. Don’t miss the message, because it will change your life.
I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses
And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known. (Austin Miles)
Prayer:
Dear God, by the Power of Your Holy Spirit, create us anew. Give us the breath to sing your praises and the faith to soar with you. Give us power to discern what you call us to be and to do. Come Holy Spirit, come!  Amen

Song of Praise
The chorus of praise began
With the angels
Their song a gentle melody
Whispered on the breeze
The notes pure tones
Of majestic glory.
Flawless in its simplicity
Nothing could compare
To its greatness.

And yet, the praise was not complete.
The sun, the moon, the sky, the stars,
Added to the symphony.
Darkness and light,
An antiphonal response.
The ocean rose against the sand
Clapping God’s honor.
Even the rocks contributed their stony silence
Created in perfection
And yet, the praise was not complete.
Trees, reaching toward heaven
Arms outstretched.
The flowers joined in the hymn
Heads nodding in assent.
All sang of his glory.
Bright colors, dancing rainbows
Seeds flew on the wind
Extolling God with their potential.
And yet, the praise was not complete.
Rhythm was added to the song
As the crickets chirped
And the bullfrogs joined in the percussion.
Glory had a voice
In the singing of the birds,
And the howling of the wolves.
The song finally had body and strength,
As elephants trumpeted,
And joy, as hyenas laughed.
And yet, the praise was not complete.
For one moment, one small break in time
He came to teach his children how to sing.
“This,” he said, “Is how you do it.”
And he stretched out his arms,
As a conductor, directing them into songs of love.
His dying breath a note of silence.
Creation brought to its knees
As the song of praise ended.
Angels shocked into pause.
And all waited to see if the song would begin again.
Haltingly, faltering, the children began
Their notes discordant,
Never perfect, far from complete.
But they did sing,
And creation picked up their tune.
Urging them along
Encouraging, helping,
Harmony at its finest.
And finally, the praise was music to God’s ears
.

Poem inspired by a line from one of Rev.  Suzanne's Ellis’ sermons -- On Holy Ground -- in which she said, "And the praise was not complete."
 

Sabbath, What is it?

Can I Do Busy Better?

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” Genesis 2:2 (NIV) There’s an old adage that says, “If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.” Clearly, the person who wrote this — and the people who repeat it — believe being busy is very wrong. But what if God is actually pleased with the right kind of busy? Could the problem be our definition of busy? Maybe what we really mean instead of busy is frantic, overwhelmed or too busy. The dictionary defines busy as something quite pleasant: “actively and attentively engaged in work or a pastime.” That sounds great! Yet, it’s too easy to look at our chaotic lives, cluttered homes and fractured relationships and think the problem must surely be that we are busy. But how can being attentive and engaged cause those problems? Unfortunately, sin has distorted God’s gift of work. Too many of us are working more than we should, or we are busy with the wrong things, things that aren’t ours to do. Consequently, we are experiencing levels of emotional and physical exhaustion that impact our ability to enjoy God’s gift of rest. God designed work to be a healthy part of our lives, not drive us into the ground. It’s how we live out our God-given design and use our gifts and talents. God even opened the entire Bible with an example of work. But He also made sure to model rest as well. Our key verse shows us the importance of both: “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work” (Genesis 2:2). Yet sin leaves us wounded in every area of life, and work is no exception. Sin broke the divine work/rest rhythm God established, so it’s not surprising we don’t have a healthy view of how these two major components of our lives should complement each other. There are so many lies that prod us to work more than we should, but each one has the same root Satan used on Adam and Eve: We are our own providers, and we know better than God. When we feel that our safety, security and significance depend on us, we will not know when to stop working. 

We will push ourselves beyond capacity. And we will take on more than we can handle. The alternative is so simple, yet so hard. It’s what God wanted all along. He wants us to trust Him. Trust Him with our daily needs. Trust Him to open doors of opportunity. Trust Him to define our identity. If we truly trusted God, we would not look for work to supply our needs. God would be our provider and work would be our calling. And rest would be a gift, not something we resent because it keeps us from working. For so many years, I thought I could manage my over-busy life with smarter productivity tips alone. Those worked for a while, but I always got myself back into chaos, because I never addressed the root cause of why I tend to be too busy. This is the journey God has had me on for the past few years. He’s been trying to teach me that His plan for work was never intended as a burden. And that His gift of rest is one I shouldn’t reject. When I started to really honor the Sabbath, to understand rest as God meant it, the Lord removed the chains to over-work that I could never shake off. God has wired me to work, and I need to accept it. But I’m also created to work best when I submit to God’s plan, which involves rest. I’m learning that it’s OK to be busy, so long as I do it God’s way.
 Lord, thank You for helping me understand Your plan for work and rest. I don’t want to be so busy that I miss what You want to teach me through rest. Help me trust that You alone are my provider. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY: Psalm 127:2, “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat — for he grants sleep to those he loves.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES: Glynnis Whitwer’s newest book. If you are worn out from being too busy and long for God’s gift of rest, you’ll enjoy Doing Busy Better: Enjoying God’s Gifts of Work and Rest. In it, Glynnis explores what leads us to become too busy, and how to find the soul rest God really wants for us. CONNECT: Visit Glynnis’ blog for a special release day giveaway of her book, Doing Busy Better, her favorite planner and weekly to-do list notepad. REFLECT AND RESPOND: Glynnis wrote that Satan uses lies to get us to be too busy. Can you identify a lie that has prompted you to be over-busy? What would you need to do this week so you could take a full day of rest on the Sabbath?

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