The Helpers

I cannot imagine going through life without helpers. I am blessed to be married to a man who knows how to fix things, how to cook amazing dinners, and he always remembers where I left my shoes. Not everyone is so lucky … after all, he’s married to me.

There is an interconnectedness of life that was intentional in God’s design. We were made to live in community. God’s plan was for harmony in his creation, so when discord breaks out, it truly grieves him. We are given to one another in order to help, support, build up, and encourage. Families, groups, churches, sports teams, institutions…every basic unit of life functions better when acceptance is given, help is available, individuals are lifted up by the group, and the strong look out for the weak. None of us is meant to go it alone. This is why twelve step groups like AA, NA, and Al Anon are so successful.

Everyone needs a helper.

Our need for others was built into us from the very beginning:

Genesis 2 (New International Version)

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

Is God telling you to offer help to someone today? Or has he shown you that you need to reach out to a friend and ask for help? This is a game where we all take turns. Sometimes you give help, and sometimes you need help. When we participate in a community of helpers, we experience the genius and the blessing of God’s creation.

A friend has recently been going through a very hard time and she has been emailing me through the process. I can see in her emails that the act of talking through things and then listening to my supportive responses is helping her. What she may not know is that it is helping me, too. To come alongside someone in a challenging life-moment is a blessing that is shared. As I see her making good decisions and moving on with her life, I am relieved to know that my friend is going to be okay. When we both look back at this time, we will be able to celebrate how much stronger our friendship became through this adversity. A burden shared is a burden halved.

And it’s really not that hard to be someone’s helper. I sent my friend a meme that said “Trust your hard work. It’s unlocking doors you can’t see yet.” A few weeks later she sent me a picture of her work computer. She had printed out the meme and taped it to her monitor as a daily reminder. It took me less than a minute to send it to her, and it is giving her encouragement every day. God works through the helpers!

Sometimes all a person needs is a kind text, a quick phone call, a casserole to be delivered, or a lovely card to be sent. You know how it feels to be on the receiving end of such kindness … so let us be about helping someone today.

God said it is not good for us to be alone. Be somebody’s somebody today.

The Birds in the Sky by Michelle Robertson

Why (Not) Me?

Many years ago, I sat by my daughter’s hospital bed waiting for her to wake up from surgery. It was my job to tell her that the ”fibroid” that had just been removed turned out to be a malignant tumor. When I delivered this news, she shed a single tear, and then asked one question: was her roommate Maritsa still in the waiting room, and could she come see her now? I still marvel at that moment. She didn’t ask a thousand questions. She didn’t yell ”Why me?” She didn’t cry hysterically….she was ready to get on with it and tell her friend she was okay.

Throughout her cancer treatments, Sarah never once asked the why me? question. I finally asked her about that, and she shrugged. ”Why not me?” was her response. Her faith as a 20-year-old was strong enough to believe that since God had brought her to this moment, he would bring her through it. And he did.

Anyone who has undergone cancer surgeries and chemo treatments can probably relate to Job a little. In fact, anyone who has battled severe illness can find themselves somewhere in his story. Certainly those who have battled COVID and come out the other side must feel as though they had been sitting on an ash-heap covered in pain, with friends and family unable to relate to what they are going through.

There are many things in life that put us on an ash heap. Job loss, unfaithful spouses, belligerent kids, family members succumbing to addiction…we all have suffered in some way. The challenge is this: will your suffering cause you to cry out against God? Do you love him in the good times and curse him in the disasters?

Let’s look at Job today.

Job 2 (Contemporary English Version)

2 When the angels gathered around the Lord again, Satan was there with them, and the Lord asked, “Satan, where have you been?”

Satan replied, “I have been going all over the earth.”

Then the Lord asked, “What do you think of my servant Job? No one on earth is like him—he is a truly good person, who respects me and refuses to do evil. And he hasn’t changed, even though you persuaded me to destroy him for no reason.”

Satan answered, “There’s no pain like your own. People will do anything to stay alive. Try striking Job’s own body with pain, and he will curse you to your face.”

“All right!” the Lord replied. “Make Job suffer as much as you want, but just don’t kill him.” Satan left and caused painful sores to break out all over Job’s body—from head to toe.

Then Job sat on the ash-heap to show his sorrow. And while he was scraping his sores with a broken piece of pottery, his wife asked, “Why do you still trust God? Why don’t you curse him and die?”

10 Job replied, “Don’t talk like a fool! If we accept blessings from God, we must accept trouble as well.” In all that happened, Job never once said anything against God.

As you may remember, things get much, much worse for Job from this point on. But even after losing everything, he still refused to curse God. This is a lesson for us today. It is a reminder that even when things go very, very wrong, God is still in control. Things always happen for a reason, just like our mamas told us … even when we can’t fathom what that reason might be.

Are you sitting on an ash heap today? Take heart. God is with you in your suffering. If he brought you to this moment, he is guaranteed to bring you through it. So what are you meant to learn from it? Ponder that, and ask God to help you understand.

In all things, God is able. He is present in your suffering, and you do not walk alone. Remember that with him, all things are possible. Let that be your hope today.

Hope Flows by Nancy Bealer

Good News/Other News

That dichotomy is usually set up as Good News/Bad News, but today, there is no bad news … just other news.

The good news is that I am in final edits on a book called ”ADVENTuring to the Manger,” which is a collection of 25 devotionals for Christmas. It will be available on Amazon, hopefully as early as next week. While it was written for personal devotional use, it could also be a resource for small groups or bible study classes. In order for that to be easy on the leaders, I have decided to write a free, downloadable Leader’s Guide.

My other good news is that I have been hired by Cokesbury (the United Methodist Publishing House) to write an Adult Bible Study book that will be published in the summer of 2023. I have until next April to finish that manuscript, but even with the long deadline, attending to my church work and family has made all of this wonderfulness become somewhat of a juggling act. As someone who regularly drops things while unloading the dishwasher, I am not at all skilled at juggling. But thanks be to God for all these amazing opportunities to continue a ministry of writing!

So here is the other news. I need to take a step back from writing devotionals every day for At Water’s Edge. It will be a small step for now, as I intend to continue to publish two or three days per week.

I have cherished knowing that many of you are reading this EVERY DAY. As of this morning, I have published 618 devotionals in a row. Some of you have actually read all 618 of them. Bless you! My singular desire for this adventure was to get people immersed in scripture every day, and together, we have done that! Thank you, thank you! So while it is my intention to return to that at some point in the future, for now, please watch for devotionals two or three times a week.

Paul beautifully expresses how I feel about each one of you:

Philippians 1 (Common English Version)

I thank my God every time I mention you in my prayers. I’m thankful for all of you every time I pray, and it’s always a prayer full of joy. I’m glad because of the way you have been my partners in the ministry of the gospel from the time you first believed it until now. I’m sure about this: the one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus. I have good reason to think this way about all of you because I keep you in my heart. You are all my partners in God’s grace, both during my time in prison and in the defense and support of the gospel. God is my witness that I feel affection for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.

This is my prayer: that your love might become even more and more rich with knowledge and all kinds of insight. 10 I pray this so that you will be able to decide what really matters and so you will be sincere and blameless on the day of Christ. 11 I pray that you will then be filled with the fruit of righteousness, which comes from Jesus Christ, in order to give glory and praise to God.

Thank you for being my partner in God’s grace.


A New Day Dawns by Michelle Robertson

From the Mouths of Babes

Last week I received prayer concerns for several babies who had been born too early. A clergy friend asked for prayer for her granddaughter, who was born by emergency C-section at 33 weeks. A church member asked for prayer for a cousin’s baby, who was born weighing just over five pounds and requires surgery. Seeing pictures of newborns fully hooked up in the neonatal intensive care unit brought back memories of my twin grandchildren, who spent the first two weeks of their lives in a NICU. Today, they are thriving, healthy, ORNERY four-year-olds and I pray that every baby on our prayer list ends up just like them. Please Lord, make it so!

I had just finished praying for these babies when I read today’s lectionary passage from the book of Psalms. Look for David’s reference to babies:

Psalm 8 (New King James Version)

O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!

Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength,
Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants, God has ordained strength. What a wonderful concept! Can you imagine these tiny babies singing praises to God as they receive the tender care and ministrations of well-trained intensive care nurses and doctors? The beauty of this passage takes my breath away. As they lie there with their eyes taped shut, ventilators helping them breath, feeding tubes down their noses providing sustenance, and multiple monitors strapped to their little chests, they are busy singing praises to their God as they wait. Oh, my, yes!

David continues his own words of praise as he contemplates God’s creation:

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

As we wait through life’s trials and tribulations, we can sing praises to God regardless of the situation, hardship, challenge, or threat that we face. We are ordained with strength! God has made us just a little lower than the angels. All life is precious in God’s sight, and we are crowned with glory and honor.

This undeserved status is a gift from the One who told the stars and the moon where to sit. We are so loved by God.

You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen—
Even the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.

And with this crowning of glory comes responsibility for the works of God’s hand. We must care for God’s creatures. We must care for God’s earth. We must do everything we can to ensure that the tiny babies have clean air, unpolluted seas, and a healthy planet to raise their own babies. It is our job to take care of the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. How are we doing?

How will you respond to this today? Will you pray for the tiny babies? Will you change your habits to ensure a healthy world? Will you support your local SPCA?

God’s name is over all of the earth, from the smallest baby to the biggest whale in the sea. May all life rise up and sing praises to his name!

O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth!

The Paths of the Seas by Michelle Robertson


Deception. Revenge. A double-cross. A beautiful queen. A wrathful king. Political intrigue. A nation hanging in the balance.

Believe it or not, this is not a description of the latest Netflix series or an update on the Harry and Meghan story. No, this twisting plot is from the Old Testament, and is found in a book that never mentions God once.


Esther was a beautiful jewess who was given to the Persian King Xerxes after she won a beauty pageant that was held to find a new queen. Her benefactor and older cousin Mordecai received a position in the palace as well, infuriating a jealous and insecure man named Haman. Haman then plotted to annihilate the jews in order to rid himself of this competition. But the plot backfired when Esther, now the queen, leveraged the king’s favor and asked him to save her people:

Esther 7 (Contemporary English Version)

7 The king and Haman were dining with Esther and drinking wine during the second dinner, when the king again said, “Esther, what can I do for you? Just ask, and I will give you as much as half of my kingdom!”

Esther answered, “Your Majesty, if you really care for me and are willing to help, you can save me and my people. That’s what I really want, because a reward has been promised to anyone who kills my people. Your Majesty, if we were merely going to be sold as slaves, I would not have bothered you.”

“Who would dare to do such a thing?” the king asked.

Esther replied, “That evil Haman is the one out to get us!”

Haman was terrified, as he looked at the king and the queen.

In a beautiful twist of events, Haman’s scheme to hang Mordecai is used against him:

Then Harbona, one of the king’s personal servants, said, “Your Majesty, Haman built a tower seventy-five feet high beside his house, so he could hang Mordecai on it. And Mordecai is the very one who spoke up and saved your life.”

Earlier, Mordecai had uncovered a plot to assassinate the king, and acted quickly enough to save the king’s life. Xerxes is infuriated to learn that Haman is now plotting to execute Mordecai.

“Hang Haman from his own tower!” the king commanded. 10 Right away, Haman was hanged on the tower he had built to hang Mordecai, and the king calmed down.

20 Mordecai wrote down everything that had happened. Then he sent letters to the Jews everywhere in the provinces 21 and told them:

Each year you must celebrate on both the fourteenth and the fifteenth of Adar, 22 the days when we Jews defeated our enemies. Remember this month as a time when our sorrow was turned to joy, and celebration took the place of crying. Celebrate by having parties and by giving to the poor and by sharing gifts of food with each other.

And thus began the celebration known as Purim, which commemorates this turn of events that saved a nation, and celebrates the woman who used her influence to bring it all about. Esther understood that she had been brought into the kingdom ”for such a time as this,” and trusted that the time would come when she could save her people. And so she did.

This story is a great reminder to us today to celebrate the victories that come in the midst of hardship. It is important to acknowledge even small steps forward when you are in the midst of a trying time. Every kindness shown to you, every good health report, a child getting all A’s on their report card, the completion of one more chemo … celebrating these moments center your faith on the One who provides them. Purim is a Jewish feast designed to remember when a time of sorrow had turned to joy, and celebrants are encouraged to share that joy by giving to the poor and sharing gifts of food. Perhaps we also could give a gift of generosity when we receive a small triumph.

Do you have something to celebrate today? Can you recall a time when God put you in a place of influence to do something good for someone? God’s invitation is to pause and remember … and mark your joy with a gift of generosity. We give thanks to God in ALL things! He is our provider, our sustainer, and our rescuer.

Joy by Michelle Robertson


I recently flew on Southwest Airlines and discovered the world’s smallest airplane lavatory. I’m talking really, really small. I’m not a large person, and I banged my shoulders on the walls as I tried to maneuver around. As I washed my hands, I had to breathe deeply, move fast, and concentrate on what I was doing to hold my claustrophobia at bay.

Claustrophobia is not just a fear of small spaces, it is a fear of getting trapped. As I reached for the door handle, the inevitable thought flashed though my mind: what if it doesn’t open? What if I get stuck in here? What if panic takes over?

We get trapped in all kinds of places and situations by all kinds of things and people. I have a friend who is trapped in a bad relationship and can’t find her way out. Another is trapped by addiction. A third is trapped in his credit card debt. Our world is trapped by a pandemic that caught us by its teeth and won’t let go as it shakes us back and forth in an effort to snap our collective neck. Bad choices, bad luck, bad friends, and bad timing can make us feel immobilized and helpless.

What can you do when you feel trapped?

Our psalm today addresses this issue, and reminds us that the Lord is FOR us. This concept is so important, the psalmist repeats it twice:

Psalm 124 (Common English Bible)

If the Lord hadn’t been for us—
    let Israel now repeat!—
    if the Lord hadn’t been for us,
        when those people attacked us
then they would have swallowed us up whole
        with their rage burning against us!

Remembering that the Lord is for you is crucial when it comes to finding the strength to pry open the steel jaws of what has you trapped. God can overcome the raging waters and the enemies’ teeth when we are too weak to help ourselves.

Then the waters would have drowned us;
    the torrent would have come over our necks;
    then the raging waters would have come over our necks!

Bless the Lord
    because he didn’t hand us over
    like food for our enemies’ teeth!

What has you trapped today? Your help comes in the name of the Lord. He made heaven and earth! He surely can reach down and release you from the hunters’ snare. All you need to do is ASK. Prayer makes all the difference in an imprisoned life.

We escaped like a bird from the hunters’ trap;
    the trap was broken so we escaped!

There is nothing in life that you can’t escape if you turn yourself over to the Lord. In fact, there is nothing in death that you can’t escape either. When Jesus was crucified, died, was buried, and then on the third day arose from the dead, he opened up an escape hatch that can never be shut. Do you believe that? I do.

So no matter what has you by the teeth, cry out to the Lord of all creation and ask for freedom. It will be hard. You will have to do your part and make the difficult and exhausting changes that are required. But the good news is, God has come to deliver you, and he will walk beside you toward your freedom. You are never alone.

He is the Truth, and the truth will set you free.

Our help is in the name of the Lord,
    the maker of heaven and earth.

Thanks be to God.

Freedom Awaits by Michelle Robertson


I remember my first healing service like it was yesterday. I was a very young pastor, fresh out of seminary, and the prayer ministry had asked the pastoral leadership to do a healing service for the church. There is a service in our United Methodist Book of Worship that involves prayer, the laying on of hands, and the anointing with oil.

I had never experienced a healing service growing up in the Methodist church as a child, and I was very curious about what would happen and how we would proceed. Visions of dramatic and overblown ”healings” from pentecostal television filled my imagination, and I tried to reconcile those images with how we methodical/Anglican-based Methodists would do such a service.

The service began, and after a homily, people were invited to come forward to kneel at the altar and be anointed with simple olive oil from a bowl. The pastors made a sign of the cross on the foreheads of those who came, and offered a prayer for each. As I laid hands on the people who were directed to me by the ushers, I felt the power of God in the words and the anointing as they knelt and received. There are very few moments in a worship setting that can be as powerful as a healing service.

James 5 (Common English Bible)

13 If any of you are suffering, they should pray. If any of you are happy, they should sing. 14 If any of you are sick, they should call for the elders of the church, and the elders should pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. 

This is where churches receive authority to offer healing services. James lays it right out: Call out the leaders. Pray. Anoint. Do it in God’s name.

15 Prayer that comes from faith will heal the sick, for the Lord will restore them to health. And if they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 For this reason, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous person is powerful in what it can achieve. 

So here was my conundrum. If we all gathered and prayed from our collaborative faith for healing, surely the Lord will restore the person to health. That’s what it says, right? So what happens if healing doesn’t happen after a healing service?

My thoughts were immediately put to the test as a woman in her final days of terminal cancer was brought over to my side. Her husband pushed her wheelchair to the altar, and as I leaned over to anoint her and lay hands on her head, I realized she was wearing a wig. Of course she was. Chemo had stolen her hair many months before that. But that detail has remained in my memory for decades. I can still feel the surprise of that false hair under my fingers and palms.

Two days after the healing service, she died.

So what did that mean? Why wasn’t she healed? What happened to her anointing? Did our prayers not work?

A few days later, her husband sent us a note to thank us for the healing service. He said it was the first time his wife had been out of the house in over a year, and her first time back in the sanctuary since her diagnosis. He went on to thank us for allowing her to receive healing that night. When she got home that evening, she was filled with joy, peace, and hope in ways that she hadn’t felt in years. Her appetite was back and they shared a late night supper. She had confessed her sins at the altar, and knew exactly where she was going the minute the oil touched her forehead. Right before she passed two days later, she told her husband that she was finally healed.

Prayer had healed her. Hope had healed her. Jesus had healed her. Death had healed her.

17 Elijah was a person just like us. When he earnestly prayed that it wouldn’t rain, no rain fell for three and a half years. 18 He prayed again, God sent rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

I am glad that this happened early in my ministry, as it taught me to never be afraid to boldly ask for healing in the name of Jesus from that point on. It also taught me that Jesus will ALWAYS heal….and it may not look anything like what you were expecting.

What aspect of your life needs healing? Remember that the prayer of the righteous person is POWERFUL.

Just Pray by Michelle Robertson

Handling Truth

Sometimes in life, you just have to speak the truth. Nobody does this better than children. They will tell you point-blank to your face things you don’t want to hear, like your elbow wrinkles look funny, or that you are old. Case in point: we were asking the four-year-old twins what they want to be when they grow up. Ryan immediately said he wants to be a paleontologist…which he slowly and carefully pronounced PAY-LEEE-ON-TOL-OH-GIST. He will make an excellent one….he teaches me something new every day. Nora at first said she wanted to be a princess, then changed her mind for something ”more real.” She chose to be a unicorn.

I’m with her. I want to be a unicorn, too. So I said, ”Oh, that sounds great! Do you think Nana could be a unicorn when she grows up, too?” She instantly replied, ”Noooooo, Nana! You’re too old! You’re already growed up.”


Well, maybe it’s a good thing that Ryan wants to be a paleontologist, since apparently his Nana is a dinosaur.

Our passage from Mark today is in two parts. In the first, Jesus explains to his disciples that anyone who is for them cannot be against them, so a man who was exorcising demons in Jesus’ name was an ally:

Mark 9 (The Message)

38 John spoke up, “Teacher, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn’t in our group.”

39-41 Jesus wasn’t pleased. “Don’t stop him. No one can use my name to do something good and powerful, and in the next breath slam me. If he’s not an enemy, he’s an ally. Why, anyone by just giving you a cup of water in my name is on our side. Count on it that God will notice.

Then he goes on to deliver hard truths and harsh words against anyone who would be a stumbling block for any of God’s children to come to know Jesus. In essence, he says that if you mess with them you mess with me…and there will be consequences that you won’t survive:

42 “On the other hand, if you give one of these simple, childlike believers a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck.

43-48 “If your hand or your foot gets in God’s way, chop it off and throw it away. You’re better off maimed or lame and alive than the proud owner of two hands and two feet, godless in a furnace of eternal fire. And if your eye distracts you from God, pull it out and throw it away. You’re better off one-eyed and alive than exercising your twenty-twenty vision from inside the fire of hell.

Yikes! Jesus is not playing. This invites us to stop and take an internal inventory. Is there anything in our attitude or behavior that might be a negative witness to the power of Jesus in our lives? People are watching. People are reading our posts. People are observing our actions. This passage is a call to wake up and be aware.

49-50 “Everyone’s going through a refining fire sooner or later, but you’ll be well-preserved, protected from the eternal flames. Be preservatives yourselves. Preserve the peace.”

Jesus’ call is clear: preserve the peace. Only by following him closely will we survive the refining fire. Remember that with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can be Christ’s ally in this world and not a stumbling block to his kingdom.

Do you need to clean up your act?

Refiner’s Fire Sky by Michelle Robertson


Football season is well underway, and after a year of COVID closures, college games are back in full swing. The coach from my Alma Mater made an interesting comment after the first game of the season. We beat a team that was ranked higher than ours and was expected to win. All of the pundits had called the game for the other team, yet our team pulled off an upset. The coach gave credit to all the fans. He stated that the level of audible and visible support for the team that came from the stands made all the difference. The cliche for this is ”teamwork makes the dream work.” Like most cliches, it is true.

In our passage from the book of Numbers today, we see Moses hitting a wall of oncoming linebackers and feeling overwhelmed, defenseless, and alone. But God reminded him that he, too, was surrounded by a team, even in the bleak desert of nothingness:

Numbers 2 (The Message)

10 Moses heard the whining, all those families whining in front of their tents. God’s anger blazed up. Moses saw that things were in a bad way.

11-15 Moses said to God, “Why are you treating me this way? What did I ever do to you to deserve this? Did I conceive them? Was I their mother? So why dump the responsibility of this people on me? Why tell me to carry them around like a nursing mother, carry them all the way to the land you promised to their ancestors? Where am I supposed to get meat for all these people who are whining to me, ‘Give us meat; we want meat.’ I can’t do this by myself—it’s too much, all these people. If this is how you intend to treat me, do me a favor and kill me. I’ve seen enough; I’ve had enough. Let me out of here.”

Have you ever been so frustrated, exhausted, and overwhelmed that you wanted to just run away? I know I have. Sometimes work, home, illness, family, the pandemic, and even the larger political system that we all living under can suddenly overwhelm us to the point of paralysis. We can find ourselves so tired of it all we just want to drop the ball and walk off the field. Luckily for Moses, God had another play to call from his playbook:

16-17 God said to Moses, “Gather together seventy men from among the leaders of Israel, men whom you know to be respected and responsible. Take them to the Tent of Meeting. I’ll meet you there. I’ll come down and speak with you. I’ll take some of the Spirit that is on you and place it on them; they’ll then be able to take some of the load of this people—you won’t have to carry the whole thing alone.

You won’t have to carry the whole thing alone.

This burden of responsibility, this grief, this tragedy, this unexpected death of a loved one, this failed marriage, this out-of-control teenager, this job loss….YOU WON’T HAVE TO CARRY THE WHOLE THING ALONE. Can you find comfort in those words today?

24-25 So Moses went out and told the people what God had said. He called together seventy of the leaders and had them stand around the Tent. God came down in a cloud and spoke to Moses and took some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy leaders. When the Spirit rested on them they prophesied. But they didn’t continue; it was a onetime event.

26 Meanwhile two men, Eldad and Medad, had stayed in the camp. They were listed as leaders but they didn’t leave camp to go to the Tent. Still, the Spirit also rested on them and they prophesied in the camp.

God came to Moses’ aid and provided other people to carry the load with him. This is a good lesson for those of us who think that we are indispensable. Guess what? We’re not.

27 A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp!”

28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ right-hand man since his youth, said, “Moses, master! Stop them!”

29 But Moses said, “Are you jealous for me? Would that all God’s people were prophets. Would that God would put his Spirit on all of them.”

This is a great reminder today that God provides others to step alongside of you and help. When the burden of life becomes too great, LOOK AROUND. There are helpers everywhere. Ask God to rest his spirit on someone who can truly take a load from your shoulders and carry it with you. And when he does, let go. That might be the hardest part…letting go of control and allowing someone else to share a problem…but when you do, God is there.

What do you need to let go of today? Trust God, for he is able.

God is Able by Janet Owen

Year-End Report

It is that time in United Methodism when we produce something called the ”State of the Church” for the District Superintendent and the Bishop. A committee thoughtfully evaluates the condition of the church in terms of ministry, growth, discipleship, etc. for the last twelve months.

Think about what we have been through the last twelve months. I think the committee should submit a two-word report: ”We survived.” It is ONLY through the grace of God that we have gotten through the last year. We’ve worshipped in ball fields, front lawns, graveyards, beaches, and everywhere in-between. We’ve mastered technology….okay, that is a fib. None of us have mastered technology. But with God’s help we have continued to be a worshipping body of Christ.

As strange as these twelve months have been for us, we have nothing on God’s people in King David’s time. They wandered the wilderness for years, obediently following the Ark of the Covenant as it traveled throughout the Promised Land in a movable tent. That tent was their church.

David built a palace, and after he had made himself comfy and cozy there, he remembered that God had no home. He began to think about that.

(Hmmm. Were David’s priorities in the right order?)

2 Samuel (Contemporary English Version)

7 King David moved into his new palace, and the Lord let his kingdom be at peace. Then one day, as David was talking with Nathan the prophet, David said, “Look around! I live in a palace made of cedar, but the sacred chest has to stay in a tent.”

Nathan replied, “The Lord is with you, so do what you want!”

Sometimes even well-meaning friends give you the wrong advice. God set Nathan straight.

That night, the Lord told Nathan to go to David and give him this message:

David, you are my servant, so listen to what I say. Why should you build a temple for me? I didn’t live in a temple when I brought my people out of Egypt, and I don’t live in one now. A tent has always been my home wherever I have gone with them. I chose leaders and told them to be like shepherds for my people Israel. But did I ever say anything to even one of them about building a cedar temple for me?

David, this is what I, the Lord All-Powerful, say to you. I brought you in from the fields where you took care of sheep, and I made you the leader of my people. Wherever you went, I helped you and destroyed your enemies right in front of your eyes. I have made you one of the most famous people in the world.

10 I have given my people Israel a land of their own where they can live in peace, and they won’t have to tremble with fear any more. Evil nations won’t bother them, as they did 11 when I let judges rule my people. And I have kept your enemies from attacking you.

God is so much more than a building. He is greater than four walls and a roof. The trouble with buildings is that they need constant repair, and sometimes donors end up worshipping the structure more than the Lord. Think I’m exaggerating? Look around. How many little brass “people-plaques” do you have in your sanctuary?

God’s “building” was going to be so much greater. He looked at David and decided to build a lineage that would run straight to Jesus. And Jesus would come to build a church of love, compassion, justice, hope, and peace.

Now I promise that you and your descendants will be kings.

If we’ve learned one thing from this pandemic, it is that God is wherever his people are. That is the whole point of being the church for the world. We are charged with carrying the message of how God came to us to inhabit our world, our lives, our hearts, our hopes, and our dreams for the future.

So no matter where you gather, you must proclaim the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection everywhere to anyone who will listen. We not only survive, we thrive. Thanks be to God.

Sunrise Church by Wende Pritchard