From Rev Sue Ann Yarbrough
Blessings to you all. The first day of summer is close at hand. I pray all of you can spend some relaxing and healing time in the sun. Yes, too much time in the sun is not good for us, but just a little can be just right. Do take your Sabbath time when you can. God always offers us rest and rejuvenation, but at times we get too busy to notice. Please take good care, and let us know if we can be of help. You are in our prayers.
Scripture: Matthew 10: 26b-27, 31
"Nothing hidden will not be revealed, and nothing secret won't be brought out in the open. What I say to you in the darkness, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, announce from the rooftops...Therefore, everyone who acknowledges me before people, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven."
We don't need to know, and can't know everything. Yet, we can be confident that what we need to know will not be hidden from us. God does not try to trick us.
Yes, living honestly takes trust. Learning to trust is a valuable spiritual practice. Sometimes, we need to trust a situation even when we feel uncomfortable. Fortunately, we can always pray to God to show us the path of truth, of how to get from Point A (where we are today) to Point B (where we want to go). However, in this scripture we hear Jesus reminding us that we need to acknowledge God's presence and guidance. Truthfully, I think all of us know that there are times when where we want to go is not where we need to be. It takes a loving and confident heart to acknowledge that God may be leading us in another direction. It takes courage, prayer, and patience to say, "God, where you lead, I will follow, for truly there is nowhere else I want to be." We may not be able to declare that from the rooftops, but we can announce it in our hearts. God is there and will hear. Heaven is that close. Blessed be.
Holy and Ever Steadfast God, we thank you for your guidance that is ever being revealed to us through the love of Jesus Christ. Forgive us when we forget to trust your path, but rather want to go our own way. Forgive our impatience. Today, we acknowledge your love and guidance in our hearts, and we recommit ourselves to living your loving, honest ways every day. Help us to encourage and inspire one another on this path of trust. Help us to remember that if we claim to trust the teachings of Jesus, we must be willing to live in that trust. We know that in that trust, you will bring out the best in us, and this is what the world needs.
In Jesus' name and love we gratefully pray, Amen
Rev. Sue Ann Yarbrough
Associate Pastor, San Lorenzo Community Church, United Church of Christ
SpiritCare Ministry to Seniors
From Rev Dr Tom Nibbe
Good morning, Sunshine! Friends and Fellow Companions in the Journey!
Be blessed this very day and the upcoming days which follow with the divine sense of the Lord's unconditional love and undeserved provision in your life! Let go and let God!
Lord, today, help me let go of my need to be perfect and to unreasonably insist that others be perfect. I won't use this to tolerate or accept abuse or mistreatment, but to achieve appropriate, balanced expectation. I want to, and I will create a healthy atmosphere of love, acceptance, and nurturing around and within me. I will expect that this attitude will bring out the very best in other people and in me, also. In Jesus' name. Amen
As the years have passed by--more and more--it has been my experience increasingly to accept myself, my shortcomings, and as well, my idiosyncrasies. Laughing at myself gets me a lot further that "picking on myself" in my attempt to make myself perfect. Trust me, I've been there!
How about you? It seems to me nowadays true prosperity in life is this:
It isn't rocket-science. Happily, you do the best you can, but put an end to expecting perfection from yourself, and also from those around you.
People make mistakes. People do much better in life if they can live with a sense of knowing that they are not expected to be perfect - less anxious and less intimidated.
So what are we supposed to do when it comes to having standards in our lives? Can we just goof off and have people tolerate us? Can we just allow others to use excuses when it comes to having standards and producing things and services of quality?
I think a Biblical standard for accomplishment, excellence, and as well, quality in the affairs of everyday life would definitely include this notion. Striving for excellence, working together to create things of beauty and practicality - the very best we have to offer - just doesn't happen within a negative, fear-producing atmosphere of overseers expecting perfection. The good things of life --- the really excellent things of life --- come from the joy and peace of knowing you are doing something outstanding and well.
Some of the best pottery in the world comes from Japan. The most expensive, the most outstanding pottery made in Japan is made in such a way that there are cracks and crevices in the final products. This very pottery is the most envied and expensive. I'd like to think that the most outstanding, productive and precious human beings that are with us in the world are a little bit "cracked" themselves...I would hope this would be true.
So, indeed, especially as people of faith, we might present themselves as productive workers, but be ready at times to fall short of the goal, and being gentle with ourselves, we may be gentle with others.We need to have and set boundaries. We need to have reasonable expectations. We need to strive to do our best. We need to encourage others to do the same. As we do this, we know that we and others will make mistakes. We need to understand that we will have learning experiences, that is, things we go through, and being reasonable, we will overcome. We will be successful. It will involve pleasant though challenging times.
Sometimes the flaws and imperfections in ourselves, like the Japanese pottery, will determine our uniqueness, and in some cases, pleasantly surprise us by not being a mistake after all. It will give rise to us to relish our imperfection --- to see that God is at work in our efforts to bring about true art or something new and useful. Rather than bringing self-condemnation, we will be able to find humor our in human efforts. As we embrace both sides of our human nature, to strive for excellence--or--to find ourselves in a situation of personal shortcoming...we embrace our circumstances and our most fundamental humanity. God will be there to bring eventual blessing to each situation.
In process, we encourage others - having embraced our own humanity - and we do the very best we can ourselves. With the love of God firmly implanted upon our hearts we discover we are lovable and worthy of love, though flawed. We nurture ourselves and others for being who and what we are, creatures of God's own making, acceptable.
It is then that we realize that we are not merely human. We affirm heart, soul and mind that we are intended and created to be human:
From Rev Sue Ann Yarbrough
Hello everyone, please know you are being held in prayer by many. If you have other needs, do let us know. I think of you all so often, and it is indeed with deep gratitude.
The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”
“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”
I have always loved this well-know scripture of Abraham and Sarah extending hospitality in the desert. There is, of course, more to these "three men" than is first apparent, for one of them announces to their hosts that they will bear a son. Abraham and Sarah are reluctant to believe this bit of news because of their advanced age (in fact, Sarah, who was a distance away actually laughed out loud), they would indeed give birth to Isaac.
This story reminds us that everyone has something vital to offer. Abraham and Sarah offer food, water, some shade. The travelers share a message from God. We all have a role to live in this life, and we all have something to give, and something to receive. Sometimes all we have to offer are prayers and love. That is more than enough for we can depend on God to give us what we need. Learning to trust that we will be provided for is part of all our journeys. Let us always encourage one another for we know we journey together. Amen.
Holy God, you have called us on this journey, and we know that wherever we are, you are with us. Help us to treat one another, and ourselves, with love and encouragement. You know sometimes the journey does get difficult. We thank you for the good traveling companions you have given us. May we not take you, or them, for granted, but rather offer the hospitality of our hearts. May we always rest comfortably in the company of one another and in your care. Amen.
"Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:2
Rev. Sue Ann Yarbrough, Associate Pastor, San Lorenzo Community Church, United Church of Christ
SpiritCare Ministry to Seniors
P.S. Read Sue Ann's Blog www.hearthpsalms.blogspot.com
From Rev Sue Ann Yarbrough
Scripture: Psalm 46: 1-3, 10 (NIV)
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah
... Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
I believe Jesus might have heard this tender message in the Garden of Gethsemane. He wanted the cup he was about to receive to pass him by. That was not to be, but a wondrous story unfolded then, and it continues to do so today. Let us remember that Christ is always guiding us. "Shh...Listen" God is telling us to sit in the silence and know that He is everywhere. God is asking us to be willing to trust and be patient. Let's let God be God, because we cannot. Yet, what we can do is pray, knowing that God is always with us, right where we are. Isn't that good news? Let us give thanks.
Our prayer today comes from the beautiful hymn, Be Still My Soul"
Be still my soul; for God is on your side,
bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Trust in your God, your savior and your guide,
who through all changes faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; your best, your heavenly friend
through thorny ways leads to a peaceful end.
Words written by Katharina von Schlegel, 1752
Here's a video to share with your friends, family and care community residents.
It was made by a brother, Nate, and sister, Noel, who hope you enjoy the antics of their family pet, Cody. Let them know your reaction by commenting below.
Cody loves to snuggle. He can make his own bed and loves to nap in the sun. A ball of joy, he loves to run in the yard and tear up paper towels.
Nate and Noel end with a prayer to you all.