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The posts below were submitted and curated by members of our congregation as part of the Lenten Devotional 2021.  Each week, the entries focus on one particular spiritual discipline (i.e. prayer, fasting, worship, etc.) that we are trying to live into and practice more faithfully as a community of imperfect Christians.  May these ponderings be...

The posts below were submitted and curated by members of our congregation as part of the Lenten Devotional 2021.  Each week, the entries focus on one particular spiritual discipline (i.e. prayer, fasting, worship, etc.) that we are trying to live into and practice more faithfully as a community of imperfect Christians.  May these ponderings be a source of inspiration to you as you journey on the path that leads to life.  Subscribe by clicking the mail icon above. 

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Peace Amidst the Pain

Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. – James 4:8

Photo of a Rainbow by Matthew & Sarah Hammack

I've been a Christian for a long time, and I know that Jesus loves me and died to save me, but I still find myself wondering why hard stuff has to be so painful. Is God really being good through all of it? I think C.S. Lewis says it best: "We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be." And it's at this point that Romans 8:28 queues up in my mind and heart: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." That verse helps shed some light on the reality that even if something doesn't feel good, God can still work good from it. And verses 5 and 6 from Romans chapter 8 give us another layer of assurance: "Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace."

What doesn't feel good in my flesh won't make sense in my flesh. But if I have the Holy Spirit in me, my spirit is different because God is there--His indwelling presence with me. He speaks reassurances in the spirit. He speaks comfort in the spirit. He reminds me that He is right there with me in the spirit. People and circumstances might disappoint me, but God never will. It's all about maintaining my prayer life and relationship with our living, loving Lord. Therefore, I have to keep my mind focused on what the Holy Spirit whispers, not what my flesh screams. And in my spirit I know God is good to me.

Dear Lord, thank you for your goodness to me. When I am in pain, please help me to remember all the times You've been faithful and praise you in spite of my circumstances. In the strong and faithful name of Your Son I pray, amen.

About Julie Bailey
Blessed wife of 29 years to Perry, mom of Madeleine, Jack and Susannah, American Heritage Girl leader, devoted West Virginia Mountaineer fan.

Time Alone with God

Happy Birthday Manamana! Read the bible every day and you will have courage to save your kids at work. I like to start my day with a prayer. I pray before I get out of bed. Admittedly, I have considered this may be a stall tactic to avoid getting up. I am thankful for a new day and for all of the blessings in my life. I ask God to point me in the direction of whatever He would have me do this day. After feeding our dogs, I like to settle in for a cup of tea and a devotional. Again, I thought of a way to relish a slow start to the day.

Recently, my sister sent me a devotional that changed the way I think about my morning routine. Steve Scholer at Creighton University pointed out the importance of spending time alone with God. Jesus often spent time alone with God in prayer. Time alone with God not only nurtures and deepens our relationship with God, but it can develop “a wellspring of grit and compassion” we can use to deal with the hardships of life on earth. Now I know the time I spend in prayer and the time I spend alone with God every morning gives me the resources I need for the day ahead. 

After I wrote this devotional, I came across a birthday card our grandson, Donovan, gave me in 2016. It would seem that he had it all figured out years before me! Our strength comes from spending time with God.

About Cary McMahon
My husband, Rick, and I are long-time members of STUMC. I am a recently retired pediatric nurse practitioner. Together with our children, their spouses and our grandchildren, we run a family farm winery.

We're So Excited!

Our Lenten Journey is set to begin this Wednesday, February 17 at 7 am.  We hope that as you read each day's devotional, written by one of our members, that you will be drawn closer to Christ.  We have set up this Lenten Devotional Blog to live on our website under the "Nourish" tab because we believe that the Word of God, Prayer, and our stories help our faith to be nourished and to grow!  Each time there is a new post, all those who are subscribed to our blog will receive an email.  

May the Holy Spirit lift you up and challenge you to engage the spiritual disciplines of paryer, study, fasting, silence and solidtude, service and submission, and confession, worship, and celebration more deeply this Lent!

Worship

We offer both in-person and livestream services on Sundays at 9 am (Traditional) and 11 am (Contemporary)  Please join livestream worship here: Worship Livestream Event 

Contact

St. Thomas UMC
8899 Sudley Road
Manassas, VA 20110
703-368-5161
info@stthomasumc.org 

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