Thursday, April 23, 2020 Daily Devotional for NPC from Yvonne Harmon and Charlie Campbell
Good afternoon! As you can see above, today's devotional is from both Yvonne Harmon and Charlie Campbell. It looks like there are a lot of words, but reading them will be much less arduous than you might imagine ...
This is Charlie
It's 11:45 AM. I just sat down to write these words.
I went to the grocery store this morning. I left the house at 8:00 AM. I got home at 11:30. With four adults in the house and trips to the grocery store happening every 10 days or so, it takes a long time to shop. Especially for me. With luck I will recover from sticker shock by dinnertime, at which time I’ll probably encourage my wife and daughters to exercise some portion control unless they want volunteer to go to the grocery store next time, which is ridiculous. I went to the grocery store because I’m the one who makes most of the groceries disappear.
When I was in elementary school I’d accompany my mother to the grocery store. It was recreational. I’d wait for an opening. Mom would pause to compare prices. I’d grab the cart, get a quick running start, hop on back and haul down the aisle, practicing selective deafness to my mom’s objections for as long as possible.
Today the grocery store was not recreational. My grocery cart served as a device for calculating appropriate social distance. I had a list in Tracy’s handwriting composed largely of produce items. I don’t know how much time I spent trying to get those membrane-thin plastic produce bags to open, but it was a lot. My usual technique of licking my fingers to get some traction on the plastic was out of the question, and I assumed that touching random lettuce leaves to dampen my thumb and forefinger was also taboo. I'm pretty sure there was someone staring at me through a security camera, laughing.
1 ½ full grocery carts later, I approached the cashier line and realized I’d neglected to bring my wallet. I was struck by a wave of weariness. Mostly this sheltering in place business has been manageable. Today, I'm less sanguine.
God bless our new elder and erstwhile preacher Yvonne Harmon! She has repeatedly offered to create some of these devotions, and I have been too scattered to take her up on her very welcome and needed offer. In her wisdom she didn’t wait for me to say, “Thank you, yes please.” She went ahead and sent me today’s devotional material. What a relief. And what a blessing.
This is Yvonne:
Matthew 8:23-26 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing !” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm.
This is a much loved text in the bible. Jesus and his disciples got in a boat to go to the other side. And we all love the picture of Jesus being woken from sleep, he rebukes the winds and the waves and the storm. He rebukes his disciples by saying to them: “Why are you afraid, you of little faith? “ I find often when I am challenged, fear takes over and my faith in Jesus seems to waver. It is these same words that eventually stops me in my “pity party”, and says to me where is your faith?
Yet, I can’t help but notice the disciples was in the storm surrounded by people on the ship. The disciples had seen Jesus perform so many miracles; the feeding of 5000, the feeding of 4000, healing the blind, the lame and the lepers; yet they allowed this challenge the wind and waves, the rocking and the reeling of the boat to cause them to forget who was in the boat with them. Fear gripped them and they wondered would they survive.
Just like me they too allowed fear to cause them to forget all that they were walking with Jesus, the one who had performed so many miracles before them and maybe he too can calm the storm. It makes me think that this is a part of the human experience. We all feel fear but Jesus tell us All things works together for the good” (Romans 8:28). It is in times like these I hear Jesus saying to me “Where is your faith”.
In this season we are in with its uncertainty and confusing messages, it feels so strange and foreign. We have never passed this way before and not sure what to expect. We seek for normalcy and what we are used to. Let us begin each day asking God for direction, to find peace in this and to navigate this new normal in our life.
I received this from my cousin and I would like to share it with you:
Same Storm, Different Boat
WE ARE NOT IN THE SAME BOAT….. I heard that we are all in the same boat, but it’s not like that. We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. Your ship could be shipwrecked and mine might not be. Or vice versa
For some, quarantine is optimal. A moment of reflection, or re-connection, easy in flip flops, with a cocktail or coffee. or others, this is a desperate financial & family crisis.
For some that live alone, they’re facing endless loneliness. While for others it is peace, rest & time with their mother, father, sons & daughters.
With the $600 weekly increase in unemployment some are bringing in more money to their households than when they were working. Others are working more hours for less money, due to pay cuts or loss in sales.
Some families of 4 just received $3400 from the stimulus, while other families of 4 saw $0. Some were concerned about getting a certain candy for Easter, While others were concerned if there would be enough bread, milk and eggs for the weekend.
Some want to go back to work because they don’t qualify for unemployment, and are running out of money. Others want to kill those who break the quarantine.
Some are home spending 2-3 hours/day helping their child with online schooling, while others are spending 2-3 hours/day to educate their children, on top of a 10-12 hour workday.
Some have experienced the near death of the virus, Some have already lost someone from it, and some are not sure if their loved ones are going to make it. Others don’t believe this is a big deal.
Some have faith in God and expect miracles during this 2020. Others say the worst is yet to come.
So, friends, we are NOT in the same boat. We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are completely different.
Each of us will emerge, in our own way, from this storm. It is very important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. Not just looking, actually seeing.
We are all different ships during this storm experiencing a very different journey. ~ Unknown Author
This is Charlie again:
Yvonne’s observations and the Unknown Author’s words are just plain true. What are we to do with these realities? What might we Christians do in these days, things being what they are, things being decidedly different depending upon who we are and where we are?
Wondering about this, the scripture, weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice, occurred to me. After searching for a disconcertingly long time, I found weep with those who weep ... in Romans 12 (where I assume it has always been).
Looking at the rest of Romans 12, I discovered that the entire chapter is a good answer to my questions. And other questions raised by our circumstances are answered in chapter 13. Here is the passage:
Romans 12:5 – 13:14
We, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written,
“Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience.
For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing. Pay to all what is due them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Paul says we aren’t all the same. We’re gifted differently, we serve the church and one another differently. And we are to manage these apparently God sanctioned differences this way: Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.
Meet others where they are. Extend yourself (Paul’s word, not mine). Do your job (my words, not Paul’s), which is to do whatever you can do to create peace between you and everyone else. When others frustrate your efforts, let that be God’s problem. In what seems to me to be a funny aside, Paul says that it’s okay to enjoy imagine God settling the score. Just don’t forget that score-settling is God’s prerogative, not yours. You and I, we are to keep on doing our job.
We will revisit these scriptures soon.
Thank you Yvonne!!
Northminster Presbyterian Church 400 Rancheria Road | Diamond Bar, CA 91765 | PH: (909)861-4715