What’s Your God Story?

God is active in our lives every day, which means we all have a story to share.

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God is active in our lives every day, which means we all have a story to share. God stories don’t have to be big, monumental events. God is present in the small things too. Sharing your God stories is a way of spreading hope and love to others. What’s your God story? Each we will feature God stories on our weekly announcement page and other social media. Please send your God stories to Debbie LaFontaine.

A God story from Holy Trinity Member Paul Stratton:

This past week, God blessed us with a new grandson as well as saving older brother from serious injury in a car accident – and both events happened at almost the exact same time. Our new grandson, born to a 46 year old mother, is beautiful – ten fingers, ten toes, healthy in every way. Our 19 year old grandson is ready to move forward after his accident – open to learning from his mistake and thankful no one was seriously injured. God gave us much reason to celebrate this week as we felt his protecting arms around our family. Praise be to God!

Lent 1 – Sand

Jesus went into the desert for 40 days to be “tested”. The desert is a dangerous place and Jesus was hungry, cold and tired. He was also tempted and tormented, but he didn’t give up.

The “tests” that Jesus faced in the desert can be equated as the temptation to power, to pride and to possessions. Lent has traditionally been understood as a “desert time,” in which we seek the grace to confront sin and overcome temptation in ourselves and the world around us.

Questions for Discussion and Reflection:

  • When things get tough, how do you remember God is always there for you?
  • What constitutes the wilderness in your life?
  • What have you learned there? What might you learn there?
  • When are you tempted toward pride, power and possession?
  • When is it hardest for you to resist temptation? easiest?

This week, be mindful of the ways you experience and resist temptation.

Words from Scripture:

Read the story of Jesus wandering in the desert – Luke 4; Matthew 4; Mark 1.

Touch the sand and think about what it was like for Jesus in the wilderness.

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.” (Luke 4:1-2a)

“Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:14-15)

“Blessed is anyone who endures temptation… No one, when tempted, should say, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. But one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it; then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death. Do not be deceived, my beloved.” (James 1:12-16)

 

In the Wilderness – Trust in the Lord Always

“Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments.” Deuteronomy 8:2

The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 long years. They were lost. They didn’t like it. They complained. They felt helpless.

Was this wandering some sort of punishment by God for unbelief? No, God wanted to see what was in their hearts. Would they doubt God’s promises of or would they stay true the Lord?

Fast forward to today. There are many times when we feel just like the Israelites – helpless, lost, wandering in circles. Is this punishment from God? Not at all. They are meant to help you discover where you are in the Lord. The true nature of your relationship with God is revealed during the tough times.

Now, what about the good times? The more we have and the better things go for us, the harder it is for us to fully trust God. But that’s what God wants us to do. The Israelites knew what God had done for them but it is easy to forget God when you have it all. Putting your trust in God during the good times is training for when the times may not be so good.

 “Do not say to yourself, “My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.”” Deuteronomy 8:17

God asks us to trust him always – and he will make our paths straight. That’s His word!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Questions to Ponder:

  • Describe a “wilderness” time when you forgot to trust God. What was the outcome? How did you feel? What prevented you from trusting God?
  • Describe a “wilderness” time when you put your trust in God. What was the outcome? How did you feel? How were you able to trust God?

 Pray: Heavenly God, you are a God of love. Thank you for adverse and troublesome times; thank you for good times. Help me to always put my trust in you, especially in the difficult times. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Verse of the week: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Blessing:  (name), child of God, may you put your trust in the Lord in good times and bad.

Wilderness

trees-grow-in-utah-wilderness 

May the dust of the wilderness hold your footprints
lovingly
shaped as they are by your hurt
for dust remembers

May the journey into wilderness unfold
honestly
for honesty is the gift
your soul recognises as you

May your time in this wilderness
be shaped by space
rather than minutes
so there is time enough for all of you

May the stones in this wilderness
cry out your name loudly
that your spirit recognises the voice
that has been calling you always

And may you know this wilderness
has been expecting you
and you find between the stones
a promise growing

via newkilpatrickblog.typepad.com

 

Ash Wednesday – Dust and Ashes

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday when we are marked with the cross of Christ and hear “You are dust and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:19)

Lent makes us mindful that our bodies are fragile but our souls can be made strong. Lent gives us a new chance to nourish our souls and discipline our bodies.

Questions for Discussion and Reflection:

  • Are you giving up something in order to discipline your body?
  • Are you taking something on in order to nourish your soul?
  • This Lent, how will you receive the gift of eternal life?

Words from Scripture and Book of Common Prayer:

“We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”  (Romans 6:9-11)

“Discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore, lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.”  (Hebrews 12:11-12)

“You only are immortal, the creator and maker of mankind; and we are mortal, formed of the earth, and to earth shall we return. For so did you ordain when you created me, saying, “You are dust, and to dust you shall return.” All of us go down to dust; yet even at the grave we make our song: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.” (Book of Common Prayer, page 499)

Lent in a Bag

Visual props for Reflection during Lent

Lent is a season when many of us make a special focus on enhancing our relationship with God. It is a journey – through ups and downs just as Jesus experienced during his time on earth. We remember Jesus’ life, ministry and death during this season.  It is a time to think about how God is with us all the time. It is also a time to look at our own lives and draw closer to God. We do this through prayer, meditation, reading, exploring nature, fellowship, outreach – anything that connects you to God is a great practice.

Lent in a Bag equips you with symbols of the season of Lent to help you have prayer and/or conversation at home. Each week we will give you a devotion that focuses on one of the symbols in the bag.

Questions are intended to start conversation. Use whatever version of the bible passages you like. Use these props and devotions during your weekly Lenten meditation as you journey with Jesus to the cross.

Check back here weekly for the devotions or come to worship on the weekend to pick up a copy.

Click here to download the PDF file with weekly devotions.