I Don’t Have Time

Matthew 17:5
And while he (Peter) was still speaking, behold, a shining cloud overshadowed them. And behold, there was a voice from the cloud, saying: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.”

Luke 9:35 And a voice came from the cloud, saying: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”

These two gospel readings record the words of God the Father and what He said about Jesus. “Listen to him.” Does this sound like a suggestion to you? To me it sounds like a command: “Listen to him.”

Many of us have bibles in which Jesus’s words are in red. Those words in red are the most important words to which we should listen. Read them. There aren’t many. Between Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts there are slightly over 2000 words. However, many of the events are covered in multiple accounts using slightly different words. If you combine those accounts you end with a little over 1000 words. An average reader could read 2000 words in about 7 minutes! A slow reader should be able to read the entirety of Luke (the longest gospel) in around three hours. The average person spends that much time watching TV.

For the sake of your immortal soul, could you take the time to read the most important words ever spoken?

Prayer
Lord, we truly are busy. The things of this world pull us in so many directions. However, we know in our hearts that we always make time for what is important. Forgive us for not making time with your word a high priority.
Amen.

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©2020 Thomas E Williams

The 23rd Psalm Revisited

1.  The Lord is my shepherd. Isaiah 30:21 “and when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way. Walk in it.”

2.  I shall not want. Philippians 4:19 “And may my God fulfill all your desires, according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

3.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures. Matthew 11:29 “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.

4.  He leads me beside the still waters. Jeremiah 31:25 “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” 

5.  He restores my soul. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think over you, says the Lord: thoughts of peace and not of affliction, so that I may give you patience and an end.

6.  He leads me in the paths of righteousness.
Psalm 16:11 “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”

7.  for His name’s sake. 1 John 3:2b Most beloved, we are now the sons of God.


8.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. Isaiah 41:10 Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not turn away, for I am your God. I have strengthened you, and I have assisted you, and the right hand of my just one has upheld you.

9.  for You are with me.

Matthew 28: 20b “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

10. Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Ephesians 6:10-18 “the full armor of God … belt of Truth … breastplate of righteousness … the gospel of peace … shield of faith … the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
11.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. Romans 8:38 & 39 “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present not the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

12. You anoint my head with oil. 1 John 2:27 “But as for you, let the Anointing that you have received from him abide in you. And so, you have no need of anyone to teach you. For his Anointing teaches you about everything, and it is the truth, and it is not a lie. And just as his Anointing has taught you, abide in him.”

13.  My cup runs over. 2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make every grace abound in you, so that, always having what you need in all things, you may abound unto every good work,”

14.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. Romans 7:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

15.  I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” 

Prayer
Thank you, Lord, for your presence with us in the past, in the present, for the future, and for life eternal.
Amen

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  • All content (except quotations) ©2020 Thomas E. Williams

40 Hours of Reflection

The following was not written by me.  It was written by my mother-in-law.  It was recently read at her funeral.  I hope that when my time comes, I’ll have something as profound and meaningful to leave for my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. It will be of help when picturing these events to understand that this woman was about five foot in every direction.

  Tom Williams 

40 Hours of Reflection

by Darlene Wilson

A church service is 2 hours long. The Titanic movie 3 hours long. Watching 40 episodes of the Friends TV program back to back would take 20 hours. 40 hours is a full work week.

I spent the longest and most challenging 40 hours of my life trapped in a bathtub. I was not trying to set a world record for the longest bath for 77 year old woman, it was an accident. I’m telling you this only to glorify God, because God is my strength.

My story begins on Tuesday, December 15, 2003, shortly before 10 p.m. I had spent several hours handing out oranges at the food pantry and doing errands and was incredibly tired. I raced through the front door my mobile home without even locking it behind me as I really needed to get to the bathroom! I was so exhausted I fell asleep sitting on the stool. When I finally woke and stood up, my right foot and leg were numb and I lost my balance.

The stool was near the tub and the shower. The tub had a hard plastic folding shower door with a soft blue cloth shower curtain covering it. I fell against the folding door and into my empty four foot long bathtub with a crumpled shower door underneath me. I faintly remember removing pieces of the shower door, then assessing my situation. I was fully closed, but without my shoes. I was wearing my glasses and watch. The light was on.

I tried many times to get out of the tub without success. Since my knee replacements, I couldn’t kneel, so that made it difficult. As a diabetic, I needed medicine and food. I began praying for God to be with me and for him to do a miracle. I asked God if I was being punished or had done something wrong. He assured me that I wasn’t being punished; it was an accident. “Forgive me for thinking that. Devil get behind me, I belong to Jesus Christ and you can have none of me.” I bound the devil and kept chanting Jesus, Jesus, and Jesus.

Eventually my family would come looking for me, however, I have no idea how long I would be confined to the tub. I did know I needed depend on Him for survival tactics. I am week, but he is strong. I needed to keep focused and listen to him.

There was no one to talk to other than God. I pray and read my bible every morning, but this was closer communion for a longer period of time than I had ever experienced. These were some of the things He told me:

  • He was there for me and would never leave me or forsake me

  • He was not the cause, but the answer to my problem

  • I must move my feet and legs and do ankle pops. I must do some exercises to keep my body moving.

  • I needed to breathe deeply and cough so I wouldn’t get hypostatic pneumonia. I didn’t even know what that was!

  • I needed liquid to survive

  • I needed to sleep, if possible

I thanked God the bathroom door was open, the heat was a at 70º and I was warm … most of the time.

I tried to turn on water, but the faucets were high up on the wall. I finally got the cold water on a bit. It dripped on my feet. I cupped my hand to get a few teaspoonfuls of water so I could get a drink. The water dripped on my blouse and chilled me as I brought my hand to my mouth. After drinking a little water, I worked to shut it off. Many times over the coming hours I repeated the steps to keep from dehydrating.

The muscle spasms were intense starting at my groin and spreading down my legs. I prayed through them. They kept coming and I kept praying. I was uncomfortable in other ways. Let’s just say I know why a baby cries when their pants are wet. God was there for me spiritually, physically and emotionally. His staff ministered to me at all times keeping me from feeling sorry for myself and helping me control my thoughts and emotions.

I sang hymns and childhood songs, recited the books of the Bible, praised God, prayed in tongues and recited poems I had learned in grade school. Occasionally, I slept. I kept remembering events from my life as I thought about my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I reminisced about my husband, Darrell, and good times we had in our life together and about my parents, four brothers and four sisters.

I thought about my extremely hard of hearing grandmother, Hattie Teter, and what a strong influence she had on my life. She was the spiritual leader of our family reading the Bible to us, taking us to church every Sunday and setting a good example. She reflected the love of God.

One thing she taught me was not to worry. She said worry with a lack of faith in God. If you had faith in God, you gave your problems to him and it was up to him to solve them.

I laughed at some memories I realize I had never even told my children. We attended a small country church with a potbellied stove. There was no water, no inside toilet, just a path out behind, but God was there and so was I. At age 10, sermons could be rather dull. Sitting next to the minister’s daughter, I played a game during the sermon. She opened the song book and explained that to every song title we added the words “under the bed.”

Jesus loves me… under the bed. Amazing grace … under the bed. Joy to the world … under the bed. What a friend we have in … Jesus under the bed. We began giggling uncontrollably. Her mother came over and took the song look away from us. We knew better than to try that again, at least not in church!

I remember how happy we were when our first daughter, Becky, was born. We were married 5 years and 1 day when she arrived. I can still see the little pink toes and fingers as I cuddled her cheek. The memory was a happy one, yet brought tears to my eyes. This was the first time we experienced God’s miracle of birth. We felt this joy three more times when Linda, Shelley and Janet were born.

I had a flashback to Becky’s kindergarten days. Our wedding anniversary with February 27th and her birthday was February 28th. She came home from school on her birthday telling me she had announced to the teacher that her parents were married one day and she was born the next. I quickly ask if you had explained we had been married 5 years and 1 day before she was born. “No,” was her response, “she didn’t ask!”

God kept my mind busy and I didn’t dwell on my situation. Even in the bathtub I had peace and joy. He reminded me of the times He had already saved my life. At 5 I took my 4 year old brother, Gene and our dog to the creek. The dog kept me from drowning that day. To avoid a severe seat warming, I never told my parents.

At 12 I had measles with an extremely high fever and was delirious for three days. During the depression you didn’t have a doctor come in for search minor ailments. I survived, although my hair began to grey from that day forward.

At age 64 I was in a car accident that left me pinned in my vehicle while it was turned on its side with the engine still running. The emergency squad broke my back window, turned off the ignition, and cut my seatbelt so they could free me with the jaws of life. I walked away with only bruises. God protected me, once again.

I thought about other times God was with me. He told me this time was no different. His tremendous love provided divine protection many times throughout my life. Praise God for such a wonderful Savior who cares and protects us.

Outside the bathtub, the world was continuing on as usual. I felt like it was passing me by. I could hear the daily routine to the neighbors and my phone ringing. Was someone looking for me? I could tell daylight from dark and, of course, the time. Although I felt detached from the world, I felt a constant connection with God.

A few minutes before 2 p.m. on Wednesday, December 17, I heard a noise at my front door as someone came in. I always lock the door, but realize I forgot in my haste to get to the bathroom.

As I screamed for help a voice said, “I’m here, Grandma, it’s Alyssa.”

When I saw her white winter hat as she rushed into the bathroom, I told her she looked just like an angel. “Thank you Lord, thank you Lord, praise His name!”

Alyssa gave me a glass of water and called 911. When the police arrived they ask me some stupid questions to see if my time in the tub had affected me mentally. I told him I wasn’t any worse of mentally than I usually was! More police, and an emergency squad and an ambulance arrived to extract me form my plastic prison. I was shaking smelly and ready to be released. At the hospital I was told my sugar level was a little high, my muscles were weak, but all other tests were normal. Once again, God had his hand on my life.

I came out of this ordeal with the greater appreciation for life and God. I cherish many things that I once took for granted. I can use my arms and legs, see, hear, eat and enjoy my grandchildren. I can get a drink of water, drive my car and sleep in a comfortable bed between sheets. He said, “I come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” My life was more abundant because of my 40 hour confinement.

Don’t give up because God doesn’t answer your prayers in your time frame. God’s timing is not ours. He is neither ahead or behind: he is always on time. Although I waited 40 hours, I wasn’t mad at God. I knew God was the solution, not the problem! If anyone is wondering if God is real, have no doubt.

Did I mention my insurance policy? It covered me even when I was in the bathtub. My insurance agent is Jesus Christ. I have full coverage and it cost me nothing. He paid the premium in full over 2000 years ago when He died on the cross. If you don’t have this type of insurance policy, please consider talking to my insurance agent. His phone number is 1 800 P-R-A-Y-E-R.

Pure Joy

Romans 15:13
May God, the source of hope, fill you with joy and peace through your faith in him. Then you will overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


I love being Santa. Santa, based loosely on the real Saint Nicolas, embodies the best in us as human beings.
In my guise as Santa, I get to bring joy to children. And in return they bring such joy to me.
One of my special ministries during this season is the Caring Santa program which sets aside special times for special needs people, young and not so young. I also welcome them anytime. Some people may pity those with diminished mental abilities. I do not. I almost envy the fact that they have retained a childlike sense puff wonder and joy.

Prayer
God, the source of our hope, fill us with joy and peace through our faith in you. Let Your love fill us to overflowing with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

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  • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
  • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
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  • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
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  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
    https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
    https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
    https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
    https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
    https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
    https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
    https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
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    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
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    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
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    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
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    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams

    The Lord’s Path

    Proverbs 16:1-4 The plans of the heart belong to humans, but an answer on the tongue comes from the LORD. A person thinks all his ways are pure, but the LORD weighs motives. Entrust your efforts to the LORD, and your plans will succeed. The LORD has made everything for his own purpose, even wicked people for the day of trouble. This morning I began my prayer time by praying for our church leaders, the Bishop, district superintendent, pastors, committee chairs and members. I prayed that God’s path would be made clear to them, that they may become better followers and better leaders. Having done that, I intended to do my personal devotion study on palm 154. However, my old shaky fingers found the above passages on my digital bible. These scripture passages spoke so directly to the prayers I had just prayed. The Lord does indeed have a clear path that he has made straight and smooth for each of us. It is only to our human eyes that the road seems too be full of rough spots and curves. Prayer Lord, make your way plain to us. Give us strength and encouragement as we travel the way you have chosen for us. Amen.
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  • Fall – Forgiveness

    Fall – Forgiveness

    Ephesians 1:3-7

    Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Through Christ, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer. Before the creation of the world, he chose us through Christ to be holy and perfect in his presence. Because of his love he had already decided to adopt us through Jesus Christ. He freely chose to do this so that the kindness he had given us in his dear Son would be praised and given glory. Through the blood of his Son, we are set free from our sins. God forgives our failures because of his overflowing kindness.

    As a father, I have at times, separated myself from my children because of their disobedience. I’ve given them a “time out” or sent them to their room until they were ready to once again follow the rules of the family. At no point during this separation did I stop loving them. And a way was always made for their return.

    What a loving God we serve! Since before creation He planned for us to be his children. When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, their sin covered them so that they could no longer stand in the presence of God. God, in his justice, put a separation between himself and humankind. In His mercy he made a plan to bring his fallen children back into his loving embrace. Through Christ, He adopted us and returned us to the family.

    Prayer

    God thank you for loving us enough to correct us. Thank you for forgiving us. Thank you for making a way back to you. Thank you that we can once again call you our Father.

    Amen.

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    Choose Your Day

    Proverbs 15:15
    Every day is a terrible day for a miserable person, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast.


    Are you the type of person who wakes up and says, “Good lord, it’s morning” or do you wake and say, “Good morning, Lord”?  

    A terrible day begins within the first few minutes … and so does a great day. You have a choice to let your attitude set the tone of the day or let the day set the tone of your attitude.

    A moment spent in a prayer of thanksgiving, counting your blessings will change your day. Can’t think of anything for which to give thanks? Start with the fact that you woke up.

    Be thankful for the sleep you’ve had. Be thankful for the air you breathe, the water you drink, the ground you walk on. Once you start in an attitude of being thankful for things you have taken for granted, you will begin to open your eyes for other things over which to rejoice.

    Prayer
    Lord, give me eyes to see even the smallest of blessings. Give me a cheerful heart, Lord. Amen.

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    Holiday / Holy Day

    Hebrews 9:1-12

    The first promise had rules for the priests’ service. It also had a holy place on earth. A tent was set up. The first part of this tent was called the holy place. The lamp stand, the table, and the bread of the presence were in this part of the tent. Behind the second curtain was the part of the tent called the most holy place. It contained the gold incense burner and the ark of the Lord’s promise. The ark was completely covered with gold. In the ark were the gold jar filled with manna, Aaron’s staff that had blossomed, and the tablets on which the promise was written. Above the ark were the angels of glory with their wings overshadowing the throne of mercy. (Discussing these things in detail isn’t possible now.) That is how these two parts of the tent were set up. The priests always went into the first part of the tent to perform their duties. But only the chief priest went into the second part of the tent. Once a year he entered and brought blood that he offered for himself and for the things that the people did wrong unintentionally. The Holy Spirit used this to show that the way into the most holy place was not open while the tent was still in use. The first part of the tent is an example for the present time. The gifts and sacrifices that were brought there could not give the worshiper a clear conscience. These gifts and sacrifices were meant to be food, drink, and items used in various purification ceremonies. These ceremonies were required for the body until God would establish a new way of doing things. But Christ came as a chief priest of the good things that are now here. Christ went through a better, more perfect tent that was not made by human hands and that is not part of this created world. He used his own blood, not the blood of goats and bulls, for the sacrifice. He went into the most holy place and offered this sacrifice once and for all to free us forever.



    Chris-mus and Christ’s-mass are two of  my favorite holidays. They weren’t always.  I grew up in a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses, agnostics and atheists.  None of which celebrate the Christ’s Mass. The atheists’ and agnostics in the family did at least celebrate Chris-mus.

    You know the difference right?  For a long time I didn’t know the difference.  I didn’t even know that one was a holiday and the other a holy day.

    Chris-mus, (notice the way it is pronounced … Chris rather than Christ) is a secular holiday that celebrates gift giving, Santa, flying deer, evergreen trees and colored lights.

    Christ Mass celebrates the birth of the Christ child.  The promised savior of sinful man. The fulfillment of the promise given to Abraham that, through his decedents, all people will be blessed.

    I try to remember not to wish people a “Merry Chrismus” but to rather bless them by saying, “Have a blessed Christmas.”

    Prayer

    Father, thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus the Christ. As we enjoy this holiday season, keep is mindful out the Holy Day of his birth into human form.

    Amen.

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    Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving

    Philippians 4:4-7

    Always be joyful in the Lord! I’ll say it again: Be joyful! Let everyone know how considerate you are. The Lord is near. Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.

    Thanksgiving

    Today in the United States we celebrate Thanksgiving. For most it will be a time to gather with family and friends around a shared meal. It is a time to be thankful. For some of us (I hope the majority of us) we give Thanks to God, our Creator, Savior, and Sustainer for the myriad of blessings bestowed.

    Prayer

    I pray that God’s Holy Spirit fill our gatherings with God’s love and peace.
    Amen.

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