Ronceverte Charge of the United Methodist Church: Elizabeth Chapel & Trinity
Sunday, December 05, 2021

Living the Scriptures



 From the Desk of Rev. Dr. Felica Wooten Williams     

“Be careful that you don’t practice your religion in front of people to draw their attention. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Whenever you give to the poor, don’t blow your trumpet as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets so that they may get praise from people. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get. But when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that you may give to the poor in secret. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you (Matthew 6:1-4).”
This is the Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
Meditate on Matthew 6:1-4 and read Jeremiah 5:1-9; Romans 2:25-3:18; and, John 5:30-47. Be sure to pray for your congregation and say a special prayer for Richlands UMC in the Greenbrier District. Pray for:
Your family and friends;
Your pastor;
Those preparing for baptism and reaffirmation;
Those serving through leadership;
Those looking for forgiveness;
Those misled by the false gods of this present age; and,
All who are hungry.
Let us pray:
“Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost;
to fight and not to heed the wounds;
to toil and not to seek for rest;
to labor and not to seek for any reward,
save that of knowing that we do your will.
Amen. (Ignatius of Loyola, 1556).”
Friends, it’s time to pray. When you engage in diligent prayer, you will not have time for the mayhem that’s trying to make a mockery of your faith in Jesus Christ. So, have you prayed for your family today? Pray for your spouse, your children, your parents, your extended family, your friends and your loved ones. Pray also for:
Those preparing for baptism and reaffirmation;
Those serving through leadership;
Those looking for forgiveness;
Those misled by the false gods of this present age; and,
All who are hungry.
Read John 5:19-29. Be sure to pray for your congregation and also say a special prayer for Bethel-Durbin UMC in the Greenbrier District.
“Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost;
to fight and not to heed the wounds;
to toil and not to seek for rest;
to labor and not to seek for any reward,
save that of knowing that we do your will.
Amen. (Ignatius of Loyola, 1556).”
Today is yours my friend,
To beautify or to mar.
You can paint a lovely picture
Or leave an ugly scar.
Today is yours, emerging still
With opportunities new.
Just how you make the most of them
Of course is up to you.
Today is yours, to work, to mold
Employing all your skill.
No matter what design you choose,
Today awaits your will.
Today is yours, each fleeting hour
That steals across your way,
Has sixty precious minutes--
Live graciously today
Today is yours, use it
Now is the time, this is the place. [now is the time and place]
The world needs inspiration.
Today is the day, we face.
Meditate on James Chapter 4. Also read Jeremiah 3:6-18; Romans 1:28-2:11; and John 5:1-18. Be sure to pray for your congregation and also say a special prayer for Simms Memorial UMC in the Greenbrier District.
Let’s Pray:
God of life and love, thank you for granting this beautiful day to us. Let us experience today with joy and laughter because tomorrow is not promised to anyone. We ask these blessings in the matchless name of Jesus. Amen.
Stop, take a deep breath and see the goodness of the Lord. Go outside and breathe in a breath of fresh air. Breathe in the Holy Spirit. Listen to the birds chirping and cooing. See the flowers budding. Be encouraged my brothers and sisters, because spring is on the way. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t be a source of discouragement. Again I say, be encouraged. Moreover, be encouraging to others. In the seasons of life, we find renewal. Stop whatever you’re doing, take a deep breath, see the goodness of God, and vow to be a spiritual breath of fresh air in the world.
Today, please read Jeremiah 2:1-13; Romans 1:16-25; and John 4:43-54. Also, pray for Camden-Cowen Craigsville UMC in the Greenbrier District.
Let’s Pray:
O God our Deliverer, you led your people of old through the wilderness and brought them to the promised land. Guide now the people of your church, that, following our Savior, we may walk through the wilderness of this world toward the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen.
“I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the world. For God, whom I serve with my spirit by announcing the gospel of his Son, is my witness that without ceasing I remember you always in my prayers, asking that by God’s will I may somehow at last succeed in coming to you. For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as I have among the rest of the Gentiles. I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish —hence my eagerness to proclaim the gospel to you also who are in Rome.”
The Word of God for the People of God. Thanks be to God.
Read Jeremiah 1:11-19; Romans 1:1-15; and John 4:27-42. Please pray for Bethel, Forest Hill and Wayside United Methodist churches.
Let us pray for Renewal of the Church (UMH 574):
“Renew your church, Lord, your people in this land. Save us from cheap words and self-deception in your service. In the power of your Spirit transform us and shape us by your cross. Amen.”
Pray without ceasing and rejoice forever. We must always pray in full view of Christ the soul-winner as we consider our own imperfections!
Let’s join the Greenbrier District Lead Team in praying for each other. During Lent, each day is dedicated to prayer for specific congregations. Today, we pray for Blue Sulphur UMC. Also, read Deuteronomy 11:18-28; Hebrews 5:1-10; and John 4:1-26.
I invite you to pray:
Gracious God, we thank you for the treasure you have given us through the Church’s mission in the Greenbrier District. You have blessed us with warm and caring people; concerned and dedicated leaders, and a passion for reaching out in our communities. As we seek to partner with You, please continue to guide us by your Holy Spirit so that we may imagine and work toward a better future as we seek to grow your kingdom and bring honor and glory to your name. We open ourselves to you; let us become a blessing to others. Amen.
Let’s join the Greenbrier District Lead Team in praying for each other. During Lent, each day is dedicated to prayer for specific congregations. Today, we pray for Lewisburg UMC. Also, read Jeremiah 31:27-34; Romans 11:25-36; and, John 11:28-44.
I invite you to pray:
Gracious God, we thank you for the treasure you have given us through the churches’ mission in the Greenbrier District. You have blessed us with warm and caring people; concerned and dedicated leaders, and a spirit for reaching out in our communities. As we seek to partner with You, please continue to guide us by your Holy Spirit so that we may imagine and work toward a better future as we seek to grow your kingdoms and bring honor and glory to your name. We open ourselves to you; let us become a blessing to others. Amen.
Avoid these pitfalls like the plague: haste, depravity, backsliding, stubbornness, self-righteousness, rebellion, and idol worship. Instead, be thankful for God’s universal love as you seek to serve God with your whole heart. Recall the goodness of creation in its original righteousness; then, pray for God’s divine favor to prevail in your life and in the lives of all people.
In this season of Lent, we will pray for a specific congregation each day. Today, let’s pray for the Hominy Falls Charge in the Greenbrier District of The United Methodist Church. Also, please pray for those who grieve the loss of loved ones.
As you read Deuteronomy 9:12-10:15; Hebrews 4:1-10; and John 3:16-21, recall that we are united by faith in our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ the righteous One.
Let us pray for Renewal of the Church (UMH 574):
“Renew your church, Lord, your people in this land. Save us from cheap words and self-deception in your service. In the power of your Spirit transform us and shape us by your cross. Amen.”
Psalm 25:1-10
“Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.”
This is the Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
As you read Psalm 25:1-10, may it be well with your soul.
I invite you to pray:
“To you, O Lord, we lift up our souls. We trust you; so, please do not let us be put to shame; do not let our enemies exult over us. Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame; let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. Make us to know your ways, O Lord; teach us your paths. Lead us in your truth, and teach us, for you are the God of our salvation; we wait for you all day long. O Lord, please be mindful of your infinite mercy and of your steadfast love when you deal with us.” We ask for these blessings in the bold and bountiful name of Jesus. Amen.
02/17/2021 - ASH WEDNESDAY
Let’s pray through Psalm 51:
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.
Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.
You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:1-17).” AMEN.

“Great Is Thy Faithfulness”* was written in 1923 by Thomas P. Chisholm and William M. Runyan. Undoubtedly, they were thankful that by the grace of God, they survived the Great Pandemic of their era. God’s grace and mercy carried them through each season as they chased survival on the horizon. God’s faithfulness prevailed. He did it before, he will do it again. This great hymn of faith reminds us that God’s compassion never fails and each day is a new opportunity to watch his mercies unfold.
“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations of Jeremiah 3:22-23.)”
This is the Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
May you find God’s peace, mercy, strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow as you meditate on Lamentations 3:22-23.
New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors, and to devote each day to your Son, Our Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord. AMEN.
*(Great Is Thy Faithfulness; UMH 140; Thomas P Chisholm, 1923; and, music by William M. Runyan, 1923).
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12).” May the light of Jesus shine in your heart as you read and meditate on John 8:12. Also sing “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light” (Kathleen Thomerson, 1966; UMH 206).
That this evening may be holy, good and peaceful, let us pray with one heart and mind.
Let’s Pray:
Blessed are you, Lord God, creator of day and night:
to you be praise and glory forever.
As darkness falls you renew your promise
to reveal among us the light of your presence.
By the light of Christ, your living Word,
dispel the darkness of our hearts
that we may walk as children of light
and sing your praise throughout the world.
Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God forever.
As our evening prayer rises before you, O God,
so may your mercy come down upon us
to cleanse our hearts
and set us free to sing your praise
now and forever.
How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. The Lord sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground. Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
The Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
As you read Psalm 147, may you find peace for your soul.
Loving Lord Jesus, thank you for covering us and providing our every need. You know that our hearts are broken in this perilous time. Please send healing and please sustain us. We ask you to guard our minds and comfort our hearts. We ask these blessings in your holy and righteous name. Amen.
In the Canticle of Simeon, we find these words: “Save us, O Lord, while waking, and guard us while sleeping, that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep may rest in peace. Now, master, let your servant go in peace according to your word, because my eyes have seen your salvation. You prepared this salvation in the presence of all peoples. It’s a light for revelation to the Gentiles and a glory for your people Israel. (Luke 2:29-32).”
This is the Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
Glory to the Father and to the Son; and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and will be forever. Amen.
As you meditate on Luke 2:29-32, may it be well with your soul.
King of kings and Lord of lords,
making the true light to shine:
lighten our darkness now and evermore
that with our lips and in our lives
we may praise you;
for you are our God, now and forever.
We will lie down and fall asleep in peace
because you alone, Lord, let us live in safety.
Abide with us, Lord Jesus,
for the night is at hand and the day is now past.
As the night watch looks for the morning,
so do we look for you, O Christ.
May the living waters of Christ cleanse us,
may the Spirit descend upon us,
and the blessing of God be with us
this night and always.
Receive the Word of God:
“Praise the Lord.
I will extol the Lord with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.
Great are the works of the Lord;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
He has shown his people the power of his works. (Psalm 11:1-6a).”
This is the Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
Glorify the Lord as you read Psalm 111; Deuteronomy 12:28-32; Revelation 2:12-17.
Let’s Pray:
Wise and powerful God, for far too long people have sought inspiration from many sources. By your power and might, please cause us to be inspired by your Word. Make us seek wisdom from you. In the matchless and mighty name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
We are living in a time when troubles swell like mighty ocean waves in a tsunami. In times like these, know that the confidence of the Church is in God. God is our divine refuge. Our refuge in God cannot be shaken or troubled by the forces of nature or the forces of man. In fact, God tames raging waters and he will tame raging people. Our strength and fearlessness comes from God. In God’s divine presence, we find security and stability. Trust in God, our divine helper.
As you read Psalm 46; Proverbs 8:1-21; Mark 3:13-19a, may it be well with your soul.
I invite you to pray with me:
“O God of all the nations, you manifested your love by sending your only Son into the world that all might live through him. Pour your Spirit on your
Church, that it may fulfill his command to preach the gospel everywhere; send laborers into your harvest; defend them in all dangers and temptations; give them grace to bear faithful witness to you; endure them with zeal and love, that they may turn many to righteousness through the same your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (UM-BOW 314).”
“Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers. Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?” Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:1-8).”
This is the Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God!
As you read Hebrews 13, may it be well with your soul.
Let’s pray:
“Father of earth and heaven,
Thy hungry children feed,
Thy grace be to our spirits given,
That true immortal bread.
Grant us and all our race
In Jesus Christ to prove
The sweetness of thy pardoning grace,
The manna of thy love. AMEN. (A Prayer by Charles Wesley).”
How do you pray? What do you say to God? Sometimes we are at a loss for words. Sometimes we do not know what to say in our prayers and some people hesitate to pray aloud. Be honest when you pray because God already knows. He knows your heart. Remember that prayer is a conversation with God. You speak and He listens. Likewise, when He speaks, you must listen. When words elude you, pray like David did.
“Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. (Psalm 27:7-9).”
This is God’s Word for God’s people.
Today, as you meditate on Psalm 27 and Numbers 6:21 through 7:4, may it be well with your soul. God loves you and so do I!
Let’s pray:
God of grace and God of glory. Teach us your will and your way. Teach us how to pray. In the holy name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
The Blessing:
The Lord bless you, and keep you:
The Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you:
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord. (Psalm 27:4-6).”
This is the Word of God for God’s people.
Today, read Psalm 27 and be encouraged.
Let’s pray:
“Lord, I want to be more holy in my heart. Here is the citadel of all my desiring, where my hopes are born and all the deep resolutions of my spirit take wings. In this center, my fears are nourished, and all my hates are nurtured. Here my loves are cherished, and all the deep hungers of my spirit are honored without quivering and without shock. In my heart, above all else, let love and integrity envelop me until my love is perfected and the last vestige of my desiring is no longer in conflict with thy Spirit. Lord, I want to be more holy in my heart. Amen.”
[For Holiness of Heart. UMH 401. Howard Thurman, USA, 20th cent.
By permission of Anne Thurman]

Psalm 46
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.”
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and will be forever. Amen.
As you meditate on Psalm 46, may it be well with your soul.
Let’s pray:
God of Jacob, when the earth shakes and the nations are in uproar, speak, and let the storm be still; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Visit the Methodist Prayer website for the full devotional).
“Christ Jesus was revealed as a human
and declared righteous by the Spirit.
He was seen by angels
and preached throughout the nations.
Believed in around the world,
he was taken up in glory.
The timing of this appearance is revealed by God alone,
who is the blessed and only master,
the King of kings and Lord of lords.
He alone has immortality
and lives in light that no one can come near.
Honor and eternal power belong to him. Amen.”
1 Timothy 3:16; 6:15,16).
As you read 1 Timothy 3:16 and 6:15-16, may it be well with your soul.
Let’s Pray:
“Lord our God, supreme over all things,
look upon the humble and lowly
and put new strength into our souls
to complete your purpose for us
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
(Visit the Methodist Prayer website for the full midday devotional).
Happy New Year! It’s January 1st of 2021. Throughout this glorious new year, let’s make it our business to focus on the goal of Christianity which is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. What is a disciple? A disciple is a student or learner. A disciple seeks to learn about Jesus Christ to follow his path for life. We seek spiritual formation, spiritual development and spiritual discipline as we are all learners in the spiritual college of life. Jesus Christ is the preceptor, dean and chancellor. Each day, our assignment is to intentionally learn Christ’s way of living, loving and leading. Therefore, go and make disciples of Jesus Christ beginning with yourself. THEREFORE GO! That’s our theme for 2021.
Today, Read Matthew 28:18-20 and Philippians Chapter 3 focusing on verses 13 and 14.
I invite you to pray with me now:
“Thanks be to thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits which thou has given us; for all the pains and insults which thou hast borne for us. O most merciful Redeemer, friend, and brother, may we know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly, for thine own sake. Amen. (Richard of Chichester, England, 13th cent., UMH #493)”
“Beloved children of God: you are blessed with grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother and your mother and now, I am sure, lives in you. For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline (Paraphrase from Second Timothy 1).”
Read Second Timothy 1:1-7 and repeat this affirmation: “God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Let’s pray.
“We will lie down and fall asleep in peace
because you alone, Lord, let us live in safety.
Abide with us, Lord Jesus,
for the night is at hand and the day is now past.
As the night watch looks for the morning,
so do we look for you, O Christ.
May the love of the Word made flesh enfold us,
his joy fill our lives,
his peace be in our hearts;
and the blessing of God be with us
this night and always.
Amen.” (Tonight’s prayer from the Methodist Prayer website).
Click on the link below to open a playlist of videos for our time of worship featuring children singing, praying and praising the divinely-human baby Jesus on the first Sunday after Christmas of 2020. December 27th is the first Sunday after Christmas in the Christian Calendar year. It is also the last Sunday in 2020. We started this year on a spiritual high as we celebrated with young people in our Winter Praise Festival back in January 2020. So much has happened since then, it seems like a lifetime ago. While it has been an extremely challenging year; our children and youth persisted as our inspiration. Baptizing young people in 2020 inspired me. Then, Mason inspired me when Carrie Kirby mentioned that he told Ethan that they should go through their toys to find things to give to other children. Our infants, children and youth inspired today’s worship service. And so, as we celebrate the divinely-human baby Jesus, I pray that you will hear the Lord through the voices of children from around the world. Come, let us worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Today, read Isaiah 61:10-62:3, Psalm 148, Galatians 4:4-7; and Luke 2:22-40.
I invite you to pray with me now:
Light of the world, shine in our lives this day. As we hear your Word and live for you, help us grow in the strength and wisdom of your love. Bless us with the faith of Simeon and the hope of Anna, that we may find your miraculous presence in our worship and in our world. In the matchless and holy name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Let earth receive her King! Today, read John 1:1-14 and pray for all people to know Jesus as Savior and Lord.
“May our gracious God,
whose light shines in the darkness of our lives,
the One who formed creation,
now hear the prayers we offer this day for all people.
Let us pray:
God of glory,
your splendor shines from a manger in Bethlehem,
where the Light of the world is humbly born
into the darkness of human night.
Open our eyes to Christ's presence in the shadows of our world,
so that we, like him, may become beacons of your justice,
and defenders of all for whom there is no room. Amen.
Light of life, you came in flesh,
born into human pain and joy,
and gave us power to be your children.
Grant us faith, O Christ, to see your presence among us,
so that all of creation may sing new songs of gladness
and walk in the way of peace. Amen. “
[Reproduced from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers © 2002].
Celebrating the Nativity of Jesus Christ
On Christmas Eve (12/24/2020)
Worship the Lord with this collection of videos (my Christmas Eve playlist) from my YouTube channel. Click on the link below to go to the playlist; then, click on "Play All" to watch the videos in sequence. [NOTE: I wanted to have a Facebook Watch Party; however, I had technical problems with uploading the videos. So, I used YouTube for our Christmas Eve service this evening in the parking lot at Trinity. I hope you will watch it and enjoy! Merry Christmas to all!]
We spend way too much time thinking about other folk and blaming them for everything. When you find yourself focusing on another person, challenge yourself to concentrate on God instead. So, who is God to you? Do you know who God is? In 1979, James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir said it this way (and I paraphrase):
“God is my protection.
God Is my light in darkness.
God is my joy in the time of sorrow.
God is my today and my tomorrow.
God is the joy and the strength of my life.
He removes all pain misery and strife.
He promised to keep me never to leave me.
He'll never ever come short of His Word.
I've got to fast and pray, stay in that narrow way.
Keep my life clean every day.
I want to go with him when He comes back.
I've come too far and I'll never turn back.
God is my all and all!”
Is God your all and all? I pray that He is. Read 1 John Chapter 4 and reflect on who God is to you. Think about scriptures and songs that describe who God is to you.
Let’s pray:
Faithful God, thank you for being all that we need. You are the source of our joy and strength. You are the solution to every problem. Help us to see you in every situation. In the matchless name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Everyone should know that “There Is A Balm in Gilead.” This is more than just a a song that we sing. In our hymnals, we find an African American spiritual that speaks God’s healing, deliverance and reviving power into our wounded, discouraged and sin-sick souls. Similarly, Richard Smallwood & Vision produced an album in 1999 called “Healing: Live in Detroit.” The featured song says:
“Don't be discouraged
Joy comes in the morning
Know that God is nigh
Stand still and look up
God is going to show up
He is standing by
There's healing for your sorrow
Healing for your pain
Healing for your spirit
There's shelter from the rain
Lord send the healing
For this we know
There is a balm in Gilead
For there's a balm in Gilead
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the soul
Healing for the soul.”
Read Jeremiah 8 and focus on verse 22. In response to the Word, repeat this affirmation: The balm, our spiritual remedy, is salvation through Jesus Christ.
Let’s pray:
Jehovah Rophe, thank you for healing us through the blood of Jesus Christ whose divine covering shields us from hurt, harm and danger. Please send your anointing by the power of the Holy Spirit as you guard our minds and comfort our hearts, in the matchless name of Jesus the Christ we pray. Amen.
Jesus came to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners of sin. He came to proclaim the Lord’s favor, and the vengeance of our God. Jesus came to comfort all who mourn and to provide for those who mourn to give them a garland instead of ashes. Jesus gives the oil of gladness instead of mourning and the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. Jesus came to restore us back to a right relationship with God. What should we do when God restores? We should rejoice! Be filled with laughter and shouts of praise. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Read Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; Psalm 126; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; and, John 1:6-8, 19-28.
Let’s pray:
God of Dreams, from times of old, you have done great things for your people. Awaken us to the dawn of your glory. Fill our mouths with laughter, our tongues with shouts of joy. Anoint us with your oil of gladness and give us a garland instead of ashes. May we be known among all people as oaks of righteousness, the plantings of the Lord. Amen.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 12/11/2020
Life in contemporary society is worrisome. Living one day at a time may sound like a sad proposition; however, that’s what God wants us to do. Day by day we learn to rely on God our Jehovah Jireh because He is our Great Provider. Don’t worry or be anxious; instead pray and trust God to help you. Be thankful for God’s faithfulness and all that he has provided.
As you read Matthew 6:25-34 and Philippians 4:4-9, may it be well with your soul.
Let’s pray as Reinhold Niebuhr prayed in the midst of the Great Depression:
“God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.”
“You know what time it is. The hour has already come for you to wake up from your sleep. Now our salvation is nearer than when we first had faith. The night is almost over, and the day is near. So let’s get rid of the actions that belong to the darkness and put on the weapons of light. Let’s behave appropriately as people who live in the day (ROMANS 13:11-14).”
“Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness,
because they will be fed until they are full (Matthew 5:6).”
Please read Romans 13:11-14 and Matthew 5:6. Also, pray for the church, the leaders of the church, the nations, those who are working for justice in the world, and the broken that they may find God’s healing.
Let’s PRAY:
“Keep us, O Lord, while we tarry on this earth, seriously seeking after you,
and affectionately walking with you, every day of our lives; that when you come, we may be found not hiding our talent, nor serving the flesh, nor yet asleep with our lamp unfurnished, but waiting and longing for you, our Lord and our glorious God forever. Amen. [Richard Baxter (1691)]”
Receive the Word of God coming from Isaiah Chapter 26 Verses 3 and 4 which reads: “Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace— in peace because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.”
This is the Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God!
We sing, “I woke up this morning with my mind stayed on Jesus. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.” Did you wake up this morning in a peaceful state? Did you wake up this morning thinking about the goodness of Jesus? When you keep your mind fixed on the things of God and the ways of the Lord Jesus Christ, you will find peace. Don’t waiver back and forth, don’t straddle the fence between God and worldly ways; rather be steadfast in your faith in Jesus. Trust Him in all situations. Put your hand in God’s hand and live to fulfill His will and purpose. Make up your mind right now and say “I will trust in the Lord forever.” Say it again, “I will trust in the Lord forever.”
Trust in the Lord and do good. May the Lord give strength to the people!
Read Isaiah 26 and put your trust in God.
Let’s pray:
“Grant, O Lord, that what has been said with our lips we may believe in our hearts, and that what we believe in our hearts we may practice in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (JOHN HUNTER, SCOTLAND, 19TH CENT., ALT.)”
Psalm 125 says:
The people who trust in the Lord
are like Mount Zion:
never shaken, lasting forever.
Mountains surround Jerusalem.
That’s how the Lord surrounds his people
from now until forever from now!
The wicked rod won’t remain
in the land given to the righteous
so that they don’t use their hands to do anything wrong.
Lord, do good to people who are good,
to people whose hearts are right.
But as for those people who turn to their own twisted ways—
may the Lord march them off with other evildoers!
Peace be on Israel!
May the Lord add a blessing to the reading of His Word.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and will be forever. Amen.
Read Psalm 125. Trust in God and don’t be afraid.
I invite you to pray with me now.
God of power, you are strong to save and you never fail those who trust in you; keep us under your protection and spread abroad your reign of peace through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ THIS IS THE DAY!
In 1943, Leslie Norman Garrett was born in Matamata on the North Island of New Zealand. He dedicated his life to rejoicing in our Savior. He is a world-renowned minister who taught the Word of God at various venues around the world. In 1967, he composed the metrical version of Psalm 118:24. This familiar Bible verse is directly quoted in the now famous hymn which Garrett entitled “This Is the Day.” The hymn celebrates the redeeming power of God through Jesus Christ our Lord and it commemorates Sunday, the Lord’s Day. It reminds us to set aside Sunday to worship God and to reflect on the goodness of the Lord. Yes, we should make time for that each day. Start now and prepare to rejoice in the Lord. It’s Wednesday, but Sunday’s coming!
Today, read Psalm 118, meditate on verse 24 and be filled repeatedly with joy. Rejoice!
Let’s pray:
“With all our heart, we take refuge in God most high,
Who created all things,
The merciful Father, Source of all goodness.
With all our heart, we take refuge in Christ,
The Redeemer from sin,
Who restores our true nature,
The perfect and mysterious Word.
With all our heart, we take refuge in the One who embraces the universe,
Who at all times and in all places responds to our needs,
The pure and tranquil Holy Spirit. Amen
(K. L. Reichelt, 20th Century).”
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and do not forget all God’s benefits.
Who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases?
Who redeems your life from the pit;
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy?
Who satisfies you with good as long as you live
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s?
The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
This is the Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
Meditate on Psalm 103 and be grateful.
Let’s Pray:
Heavenly Lord, teach us the importance of thanksgiving. Forgive our tunnel vision that focuses on our problems instead of our blessings. Give us a widening dimension of understanding that shows us your grace in a new light. Remind us of your sacrificial life and your command to take up our cross daily. Help us to see that life with you is not for cowards but for the courageous. Thank you again for the hope that wells up within us when we consider your compassion for all of creation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Psalm 96 (Excerpt)
Sing to the Lord a new song; all the earth. Sing and bless his name; tell of his salvation each day. Declare his glory among the nations and his marvelous works among all people. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be revered above all gods. For all the gods of the people are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Honor, majesty, strength and beauty are His. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name. Worship the Lord in holy splendor; tremble before him, all the earth. Tell everybody that “The Lord is king! The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved. He will judge the peoples with equity.” Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord; for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and will be forever. Amen.
Read Psalm 96 and glorify the Lord.
Let’s pray:
Lord God, you draw us by your beauty and transform us by your holiness; let our worship echo all creation’s praise and declare your glory to the nations; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Today we celebrate All Saints’ Day. On this day we remember all saints who have passed on from this life to the life eternal. When we accept God’s love through Jesus Christ, we are called “children of God” or saints. Being a saint is a work in progress and “what we will be has not yet been revealed.” As we strive to become more and more like Christ, we become reflections of God just like those who have already entered the Church Triumphant. Perhaps they died during this past year or some time ago. Let’s honor the memory of more than 230,000 Americans who unnecessarily lost their lives to COVID-19. Honor the memory of people across the world who succumbed to the coronavirus. Honor the lives of all saints. Pray for their families, friends, and loved ones. As you travel this road of life, striving to be what God wants you to be, know that you are not alone. Standing along that path is a great cloud of witnesses and they are cheering you on. May we all persevere until the day when we see Jesus and our loved ones face-to-face.
Today, read 1 John 3:1-3 and be grateful.
Let us pray:
O God of all the saints, bless us as we humbly worship you in our daily living. Help us to join with the saints in praise and adoration. Remind us of the cloud of witnesses who gather with us this day and every day. May we be numbered among the saints and join our voices with theirs before your heavenly throne. Amen.
(adapted from N. Epler, 2010).
Brothers and sisters, our covenant relationship with God is sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
“Now may the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. ... Grace be with you all. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20, 21 and 25).”
This is the Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
Read Hebrews 13 and focus on verses 20, 21, and 25. Also, research and contemplate the blood of the everlasting covenant.
Let us recite the Wesleyan Covenant Prayer (Modern version):
“I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.
Hello, good people! This is Dr. Felica Wooten Williams on Wednesday, October 21st.
Let’s focus on Matthew Chapter 9 where we find Jesus ministering and healing people in the Galilee district. “As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, crying loudly, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you.” And their eyes were opened. Then Jesus sternly ordered them, “See that no one knows of this.” 31But they went away and spread the news about him throughout that district (Matthew 9:27-31).”
“Some people see but do not perceive, and hear but do not listen, nor do they understand. But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear (see Matthew 13:13-16).”
This is the Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
Today, please read Matthew 9:27-31 and Matthew 13:10-20.
Let’s pray:
Jehovah-Rophe, you are the Lord, our Physician. You are able to heal us. Please make us to look with our eyes, and listen with our ears, and understand with our heart and turn, knowing that you will heal us. We trust you for physical and spiritual healing. We ask these blessings in the awesome and powerful name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Receive the Word of God. “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:28-31).
This is the Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
As you contemplate Isaiah 40:28-31, may it be well with your soul.
I invite you to pray with me now:
Eternal God, we reverence and adore you for you are powerful yet understanding and compassionate. We acknowledge that we spend too much time running with turkeys when you have empowered us to soar like eagles. When we feel tired and weary, please strengthen us in body, mind and spirit. Give us the spiritual zeal that we had when first proclaimed faith in you, our Savior and Lord. We ask these blessings in the matchless name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Ephesians 2:13-22
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.”
Today, please read Ephesians 2 and be thankful.
Let’s pray:
God of peace, we thank you for breaking down the dividing wall. Yet we constantly succumb to divisions that the enemy uses to distract us from your grace. Please constantly remind us that you have conquered hostility. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
[A Two Minute Summary of the Message in Today’s Praise and Prayer].
Our task is to develop relationships with other people for the up-building of God’s kingdom. As we seek to build relationships together, let’s take our cues from God. In Psalm 8, we find that:
God created us. God stills, or stops, our enemies. God is mindful of us. God crowns us. And, God empowers us. Therefore, to build relationships together, we must treat people with the respect that God’s creation deserves. Protect others from our enemies and from spiritual wickedness in the world. Don’t be an enemy; rather, be mindful of other people. Crown people with glory and honor. Empower others to live their dreams and to have a closer walk with God.
Today, as you read Psalm 8, may it be well with your soul.
I invite you to pray with me:
O Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth! Lord our God you are supreme over all things yet you look upon the needs of humble and lowly people. When we feel small and insignificant, please remind us that you made us in your image and gave us dominion over your creation. Please grant us new strength to complete your purpose for us. In the matchless and perfect name of Jesus Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.
Psalm 4 records David’s prayer to God. You can sense his distress in the beginning of his plea. Then he pauses to consider the situation and his tone begins to change in verse three. As he talks to God, he finds himself in a place of safety in the comfort of God’s care. David wrote:
Answer me when I call, O God of my right! You gave me room when I was in distress. Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.
How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame? How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies? Selah
But know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.
When you are disturbed, do not sin; ponder it on your beds, and be silent. Selah
Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.
There are many who say, “O that we might see some good! Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!”
You have put gladness in my heart more than when their grain and wine abound.
I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.
We give thanks for the Word of God.
As you read Psalm 4, make a note of the words that speak comfort to your soul.
Let’s pray:
Most holy and gracious God, thank you for setting us apart as your faithful children. In stressful times, please remind us to find gladness, peace and safe sanctuary in you. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen
PSALM 3 (A Brief Meditation for September 23, 2020)
King David wrote Psalm 3 when his life took a downward turn. It begins as a lament but quickly becomes a song of praise as David acknowledges that God will sustain him and deliver him from evil. David wrote:
“O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me;
many are saying to me, “There is no help for you in God.” Selah
But you, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.
I cry aloud to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy hill. Selah
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, for the Lord sustains me.
I am not afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.
Rise up, O Lord! Deliver me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.
Deliverance belongs to the Lord; may your blessing be on your people! Selah. (Psalm 3).”
May the Lord add a blessing to the reading of his Word.
As you read Psalm 3, may it resonate within your soul. I invite you to pray with me:
Precious Lord, thank you for always helping us. Thank you for being our shield, our protector, our glory and the one who lifts our heads. Like David, please give us a song to sing even when the going gets tough. We reverence you for you have the power to deliver us and to sustain us. We glorify you, we magnify you and we adore you on this day and forever more. Amen.
Receive the Word of God coming from Psalm 2 in the New Revised Standard Version.
Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and his anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord has them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.”
I will tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear, with trembling
kiss his feet, or he will be angry, and you will perish in the way; for his wrath is quickly kindled. Happy are all who take refuge in him.
This is the Word of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God!
Read Psalm 2 in at least two versions of the Bible and let it resonate in your living. May it be well with your soul.
Following the doxology, let us go into the world with a song on our lips and a praise in our hearts.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen. Amen.
THE BATTLE IS NOT YOURS (What Do You Do: Part 2)
In 2 Chronicles 20:1-13, Jehoshaphat reminds us to seek the Lord and pray when troubles confront us. But what shall we do in the midst of a full blown fight with the enemy? Jehoshaphat’s saga continues in 2 Chronicles 20:14-19. When the battle ensues, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed at this great multitude; for the battle is not yours but God’s (v.15).” Do not be tempted to fight with your own power and might. Instead, bow in reverence to God, worship the Lord, and praise him with a loud voice. Go where the Lord leads, knowing that “This battle is not for you to fight; take your position, stand still, and see the victory of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you (v.17).”
Read 2 Chronicles 20:14-19 and watch God win the victory. He will do it!
And now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy; to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.
In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat gives us a shining example of what to do in times of trouble. When a multitude of problems come against you, seek the Lord. Know that he is our God in heaven who rules all nations and kingdoms. In his hands are power and might. If disaster comes upon us, we will stand because God’s name is upon us. Cry to the Lord in your distress and he will hear you and save you. Admit that “we are powerless against the great multitude that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” In the midst of trouble keep your eyes on Jesus and stand before the Lord. Know that nothing shall separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Today, read 2 Chronicles 20:1-13 and Romans 8:31-39. May it be well with your soul.
And now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you
faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy; to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.
Psalm 34: “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed. This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord, and was saved from every trouble.”
This is the Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
I invite you to pray with me now.
Almighty God, thank you for saving us from the troubles of this world. We thank you for deliverance. Oh Lord, you deserve all the glory, and honor, and praise that proceeds from our mouths. There is no one else like you and for that we are thankful. We reverence you. We adore you. And, we magnify you. Be magnified in our lives today and forever. We pray in the matchless and holy name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 08232020
In Matthew 16, Jesus questioned his disciples about his own identity. Some people thought that Jesus was John the Baptist, perhaps because he taught with holy boldness. Others thought that he was Elijah, another spokesperson for God (Malachi 4:4). Jesus asked, “but who do you say that I am?” Peter said, “ you are the Son of the Living God.” In response, Jesus said, “Peter, you are the rock, and on this rock I build my church.” The Greek name for Peter is “rock,” or petra. But who or what is this rock? Let’s cut to the chase. The rock is the truth that Peter spoke when he identified Jesus as the Son of the Living God. The church is built on the foundation or fundamental truth that Jesus is the Son of God. This truth is solid as a rock. The title “Rock” connotes all that is ultimately strong, secure, and safe about the person of God. When we say that Jesus is our Rock, God’s people affirm our trust in him in situations of dire need and trauma.
You might ask, “how is this relevant to me in 2020?” Jesus is a sure foundation in a world filled with uncertainties. Ruth C. Jones said it this way: “In times like these you need a Savior. In times like these you need an anchor. Be very sure, be very sure your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock.”
Read Matthew 16:13-20 and allow God to speak to your heart.
I invite you to pray:
Precious Lord, thank you for being the great hope of new covenant believers. You are our ultimate hope, salvation, security, and refuge. Wherever we go, help us to proclaim that you are our Rock. Help us to invite our neighbors into the safety of our Spiritual Rock, in the sustaining presence of Jesus the Christ. Amen.
As a disciple of Jesus Christ, you must deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow him. But what does that mean? Here’s an illustration. In 1890, Ernest Blandy wrote the lyrics to “Where He Leads Me” and John Norris composed the music for the song. Blandy was an officer in the Salvation Army who had accepted the call to serve in a destitute area of New York known as Hell’s Kitchen. The song says “I can hear my Savior calling, “Take thy cross and follow, follow me. Where he leads me I will follow. ... I’ll go with him, with him all the way.” Mr. Blandy knew that God called him to serve his people and he was willing to go into a difficult situation. He denied himself the luxuries in favor of taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to people you desperately needed the hope of glory. He knew that his work was possible with God’s help. So, he went forward as the Lord led him. Can you hear the Savior calling you to a place of self-denial? Is he calling you to do all the good that you can while you have time? Have you made a decision to follow Jesus all the way? I pray that you have.
Read Romans 12:9-21 and Matthew 16:21-28. As you read, listen to God’s voice.
Let’s pray:
Dear Lord, thank you for telling us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow you. While some days will be like a walk in a garden, other days may feel like we are deep in the valley. Through it all, we know that you are with us. We love you and adore you on this day and forevermore. In your holy name we pray. Amen.
Have you ever watched a dog wallowing around in the grass? A dog can have a good old time just rolling around, kicking and yelping. But the dog could be allergic to the grass. A skunk could have sprayed the spot or it could be the place where another animal made a mess. Better yet, the dog could have instinctively gone back to their favorite place for messes. Then the dog looks at you with big sad eyes as if to say, “Oops, look at the mess I made!” Well, sometimes people do the same thing. We immerse ourselves in things that are harmful to us. We get into other people’s messes and make them our own. We can even find ourselves back in things that God removed from us. In this regard Paul wrote, “I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the prize of the high calling of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Like Paul each of us can say, I don’t know it all and I have not attained perfection but I am going to set a goal to reach new heights of excellence through Jesus Christ. You can’t go back and wallow in that which you’ve forgotten. Keep pressing forward in Jesus’s name!
Read Philippians 3 and focus on verse 12. May it be well with your soul.
Let’s pray.
Oh Lord, we thank you for this day and we thank you for your Word. We give thanks to you for helping us to move forward and to let go of the past. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
Psalm 124 says:
“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side—
let Israel now say—
if it had not been the Lord who was on our side
when people rose up against us,
then they would have swallowed us up alive,
when their anger was kindled against us;
then the flood would have swept us away,
the torrent would have gone over us;
then over us would have gone
the raging waters.
Blessed be the Lord,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth!
We have escaped like a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
and we have escaped!
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.”
This is the word of God for the people of God. Give God thanks and praise for his Holy Word!
Read Psalm 124 from two different translations of the Bible.
Let us pray;
Almighty God, we give you thanks for being on our side. Though our enemies seek to rise against us like the raging waters of a hurricane, we trust you to help us. Please conquer the angry and hate-filled hearts of war and grant us all hearts of peace. In the holy name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Do you want to be happy? The key to happiness is found in Psalm 1 which says: “Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked or the ungodly will perish.” This is the Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
Read Psalm 1 in at least two different versions. As you meditate on those six short verses, may it be well with you soul.
I invite you to pray with me now.
Gracious and loving God, thank you for showing us the path to happiness. We give you thanks for making us strong people. Let us find delight in studying your Word throughout all the days of our lives. May our work produce fruit for the Kingdom of heaven. In the holy and righteous name of Jesus we pray. AMEN.
NEW BEGINNINGS: God Is Doing A New Thing!
Consider today as a new beginning because God is doing a new thing!
Isaiah 43:18-19 says: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
Yesterday is done. Our past mistakes are just that; in the past. Today is a new opportunity to conduct our lives as best we can. Today is an opportunity to see something new that God is doing in our world. God is doing a new thing and he works in ways that exceed human perception. But with God’s help, we will perceive God’s handiwork just as he intended. God will make a way out of no way. He gives us clear streams of mercy in what appears to be a swamp. God is making a way or a pathway to better relationships and deeper experiences. God will strengthen your faith, your family, and your finances. God will open doors that you cannot see. Because of God, a dream came true and I’m looking at a miraculous blessing today. I hope you are too.
Read Isaiah Chapter 43 and focus on verses 18 and 19. May the Lord add a blessing to the reading of his Word.
Let us pray:
Awesome God, thank you for doing a new thing in this old world. Help us to be more like you and do a new thing in our approach to life. On this day, let us use the gifts and graces to reverence you, to adore you and to inspire your people. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit we pray. Amen.
[Here’s a two-minute summary of worship with the Ronceverte Charge of The United Methodist Church on 08162020. We hope you will watch the full video or replay the watch party.]
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for people to dwell together in unity! It is an anointing or like being slathered with precious oil. Unity is like dew on the mountains of Zion where the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. The message of divine truth is that we must press our way towards unity; for united we stand and divided we fall. Christ unifies; Satan divides. Unity comes from God. Division comes through spiritual wickedness. But God is in control. Say that with me: BUT GOD IS IN CONTROL! The Lord expects us to accept different people just as he accepted the Canaanite woman. God delights in unity among his people. Unity is like life-giving water flowing from a high place. Unity gives life. Unity is refreshing. God anoints our unity. We are stronger together. We are better together.
Let God speak to your heart as you read Genesis 45:1-15, Psalm 133, Romans 11:1-2, 29-32; and, Matthew 15:10-28.
Let us pray for the Unity of the Body of Christ (adapted from UMH 850 and 564):
Unite us Lord Jesus. Unite us by your everlasting love. Help each of us, gracious God, to live in such restraint that, you, the Head of the church may find our living to be good and pleasant forever more. In you holy name we pray. Amen.
Salvation through Jesus Christ is the topic of Romans 10. “But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!’ (Romans 10:8-15; NKJV).
This, my brothers and sisters, is the Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God!
Read Romans 10:8-15 in at least two additional versions of the Bible and let it become your Gospel reality.
Let us pray:
Holy Lord, thank you for reminding us that you are One Lord of All. Make us go with joy as we share the gospel of peace and spread your good news. In the matchless name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------HOLD ON TO YOUR DREAMS
Are you a dreamer? Do you have dreams? By the grace of God, we are visionaries. We have dreams and visions of the future that God has planned for us. While your dreams may differ from my dreams, we should help each other to achieve new heights of excellence for the Kingdom of God. Be forewarned that other people may not appreciate the dreams that God planted within us. In fact, some people may even try to harm you to prevent you from realizing your dreams. This truth is illustrated in the story of Joseph and his brothers in the Book of Genesis chapters 37 through 47. Joseph’s brothers did not like him because he was his father’s favorite son. His coat of many colors and his dream that he would someday rule them further angered his brothers. Despite their efforts to ruin his life, his dream became his reality because God had a plan for his life. Likewise, people may try to thwart your progress but with God’s help you will excel. Never let your dreams go away. Always pursue the dreams that God has birthed within you. What God has for you, it is for you. Repeat this: what God has for me, it is for me. May it be so, in the name of Jesus.
Read Genesis Chapters 37-47. May it be well with your soul.
I ask you to pray with me now:
Holy God, you are our vision and the source of our dreams of a hope-filled future. Allow us to wake up from worldly slumber with a new zeal for life as you have allowed us to see in our dreams. We ask you to bless us as we pursue your will and purpose in our lives. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit we pray. Amen ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
August 9, 2020
Jesus is calling us into the boat, into the Kingdom of God. Yes, Jesus has gone to a high place and is seated at the right hand of God the Father. He’s there interceding for you and for me. Hallelujah! He gave us instructions about what to do while we wait for his return. He has not forgotten about us. Jesus will come to us. Meanwhile, do not be afraid. We may find ourselves in some tough situations, but Jesus is near. He is here to help us throughout the journey of faith. Sometimes, we want to do our own thing. We want to have our “look at me” moment. Look at what I am doing for God’s kingdom. It might be a moment when you take a leap of faith to handle things to the best of your ability. But how many times does God tell us what to do, but we want to do something different? We want to do it our way. We can get ourselves out there in some deep situations. We might even let other people push us into a deep pit of despair. We might find ourselves in the deep darkness of sin. But God. Say it with me. BUT GOD has provided a way of escape. Jesus will pull us out of the deep. Jesus will take you by the hand and pull you out of the deep.
As you read Matthew 14:22-33, may it be well with your soul.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; 25the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; 26the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace (Numbers 6:24-26).” AMEN.
I’m thinking about an old gospel song about God’s grace. I don’t know the actual origin of the song but I think that it was recorded by the Roberta Martin Singers around 1958. The song says:
Grace, Grace
God's Grace
His Grace is sufficient for me
Grace, Grace
God's Grace
His Grace will give you the victory
Grace woke me up this morning
Grace started me on my way
Grace will make you love your enemies
His grace, will give you, the victory. [or: Grace will brighten up your day]
The Apostle Paul recorded a message from God saying “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:9).”
Read 2 Corinthians 12:1-14. May it be well with your soul.
Let us pray:
*God, of your goodness give me yourself; for you are sufficient for me. I cannot properly ask anything less, to be worthy of you. If I were to ask less, I should always be in want. In you alone do I have all. Amen.
HOLD TO GOD’S UNCHANGING HANDS: A Brief Meditation for August 5th.
Mary Jane Bain Wilson was born in 1858. Throughout most of her life, she suffered from complications with typhoid fever. Despite her physical limitations, she became a noted hymn writer. In 1905, under the pen name of Jennie B. Wilson, she wrote the lyrics to Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand and F. H. Eiland composed the tune. It was published in 1906. Jennie endured many changes in her 57 years on earth. Fast forward to the 1960s and beyond to picture glory at Hilltop WV with Jeanne Pollard leading the State Chorus in singing the song with Carl Miller at the organ. It was a glorious time! [OK, that's my memory. Perhaps you remember singing it at Diamond Hill, or Ebenezer, or Mt. Zion, or Bethel, or New Hope, or St. James, or Shady Grove. Wherever you have had the opportunity to sing Hold to God's Unchanging Hand, it was a glorious time!]. Since that time, you might have endured some changes and difficulties. BUT GOD! God does not change. Times change, but God does not change. People change, but God does not change. Situations change, but God does not change. As the song says:
Time is filled with swift transition,
Naught of earth unmoved can stand,
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand.
Hold to God’s unchanging hand,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand;
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand.
Trust in Him who will not leave you,
Whatsoever years may bring,
If by earthly friends forsaken
Still more closely to Him cling.
Covet not this world’s vain riches
That so rapidly decay,
Seek to gain the heavenly treasures,
They will never pass away.
When your journey is completed,
If to God you have been true,
Fair and bright the home in glory
Your enraptured soul will view.
Read Psalm 102:25-27; Malachi 3:6; and Psalm 27. May it be well with your soul.
I invite you to pray:
Holy Lord, thank you for being our constant and eternal hope. We live in a world that’s rapidly changing. We need stability. Help us to hold on to your unchanging hand now and forever. In the matchless name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
NO SLIPPING! (A Meditation for Monday, August 3rd)
How do you study the Word of God? You could read, contemplate, meditate and apply it to daily living. That’s what I did with Psalm 17. Verse 5 stood out to me. It is part of David’s prayerful petition which says,”Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not (KJV).” “My steps have held to your path; my feet have not slipped (NIV).” This verse had a direct application to the happenings in my life. Yesterday during our Service of Baptismal Covenant at the Greenbrier River, I was concerned about falling because wet rocks can be particularly slippery. So, I decided to take off my sandals and walk on the rocks to maintain my balance. Know that my feet are not tough at all. I endured the pain of walking on the rocks and pebbles while the guys just walked right into the water with their socks and shoes on. They were not afraid of falling. Through this situation and his Word, God reminded me that he will not let us fall or fail when we pursue his path.
I invite you to read Psalm 17 and Jude verses 24 and 25. May it be well with your soul.
And now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.
Hello! Here’s a brief meditation for 07/24/2020.
Do you really trust God? Do you really love the Lord? I know that you do. So, don’t be discouraged for “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).” Not just some things, but ALL things work in our favor. Whatever the enemy meant for bad, God will turn it into good. This truth may be difficult to see in the clouds of tribulations, distress, peril, persecution, and earthly troubles. But “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:34-39).”
As you read Romans 8:26-39, may it be well with your soul.
Dear Lord Jesus, we love you and we thank you for interceding for us daily. Help us to see the silver lining in every cloud. We can overcome the tough problems as conquerors with you. We claim the victory in your holy name. We ask you to bless us now in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
[Here’s a two minute summary of the sermon for 07192020].
Our scripture lessons for today include Genesis 28:10-19, Psalm 139, Romans 8:12-25 and Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. Taken together, they represent a confluence of the divine and the earthly. These passages reveal God’s Kingdom expanding into the cosmos. In addition to us, God uses angels and whatever he chooses to build the kingdom of heaven. The problem in the text is that the Lord’s disciples don’t readily understand what Jesus was telling them (us). We don’t always know what God is doing. Disciples, at the very least, need to admit that they don’t understand. Ask Jesus to explain or declare the Word to you.
The promise in the text is that God has a plan. God knows what he’s doing. In the kingdom of heaven, God has an expressway of connected “saint-hood” and I am quoting a young man who gave me a prophetic word. He’s a prophet and doesn’t yet know it. God dispatches his angels as he sees fit. They do the work that he has charged them with doing. Angels descending, bring from above, echoes of mercy, whispers of love.... This is my story... this is my song... praising my savior all the day long. That’s our job: praising and glorifying God. Our job is to worship by showing reverence and adoration to God. Don’t make the mistake of trying to God’s job or the angels job. Do what Jesus told us to do. Jesus said: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” God said it. That settles it. So be it. Amen.
How is it with your soul? Are you willing to admit that you don’t know everything about God’s Word? Are you willing to talk to Jesus about it? Are you willing to say “I did not know” when God reveals his Word to you? I pray that you are willing.
Let’s pray:
Holy Lord, please comfort our hearts and guard our minds especially when we make faulty assumptions and misinterpret your word. Bless us now as we go forth with the confidence of the children of God. Help us to stay in our lane. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit we pray. Amen.
In 1976 and again in 2007, gospel artist Tramaine Hawkins released a song entitled “When You Pray.” The song says, “When you pray, everything will be alright. When you say everything will work out fine, just have faith. When you pray, when you need a friend, just have faith... When you call him, he will answer your prayer. In despair, I know he’ll be right there. Just have faith, when you pray.” With this in mind, I encourage you to have faith when you pray. When you need a friend, have a little talk with Jesus. He’s there interceding on your behalf. Only believe and trust in God.
Today, read Proverbs 3:5-6, Matthew 21:22, and John 15:15. Let God speak to your heart as no one else can. May it be well with your soul.
Please agree with me in prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for being a friend to the friendless. Thank you for granting us the faith and reminding us to talk to you, our adored friend. We reverence your power and authority over all the earth. Please comfort our hearts and guard our minds as we learn to trust you in all situations. Bless us now as we go forth with the confidence of the children of God. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit we pray. Amen.
Here’s my One Call Now meditation for Friday, July 10th.
In a conversation with God, David said “You, oh Lord, are my shield, my glory, and the one who lifts my head.” Like David, we need to acknowledge God as our shield and protector. He is our glory because God’s presence in our lives enables us to experience anything of importance, greatness, honour, splendour, power, and so on. God lifts us up in body, mind and spirit. Because of God, we are able to navigate life with our heads held high. God is more than able to carry you through any situation that confronts you. Keep your chin up as God lifts you up where you belong!
Know that “Salvation and deliverance belongs to the Lord; may your blessing be on your people! Selah.”
Today, read Psalm 3. As you read, look for the problems and promises in the text. What does it mean to you? How is it with your soul?
I invite you to pray with me.
Jehovah Nissi, you are our banner. Let us go forth as your envoys in the world knowing that we operate under your power and authority. As your representatives, help us to tell the world that you are the Anointed One who shields and protects us. Everything that we need is bathed in your glory. May it be so, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
(This is my One Call Now meditation and the two minute version of today’s sermon).
Hello, this is Dr. Williams on Sunday, July 5, 2020.
Jesus gave us an invitation when he said, “Come unto me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).”
The problem in the text is that people get weary. When Jesus spoke these words, people were weary from the tyranny of the Pharisees and their complex rules. It was their way or the highway and the people felt like everything they did was wrong; however, rules couldn’t change their behavior and the law cannot save anyone. People become weary from stress, depression, fear, doubt, anxiety and guilt.
But God! Say that with me: BUT GOD put a promise in the text. Jesus promised to give you rest. He promised relief from the guilt of sin. The Lord promised a break from constantly being pronounced guilty. Jesus replaced doubt with hope.
Read Matthew 11:16-30 and know that salvation is in Christ alone. Be yoked with Christ; that is, bind yourself with our good, compassionate and kind Lord of all.
I invite you to pray:
Loving Lord Jesus, thank you for inviting us to join your team. Help us to stand in agreement with you. Teach us how to live out our commitment to serve you. Please bind us together in your gentle and humble way. In the matchless name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
[This is the text of my One Call Now meditation 07032020].
Friends, this is Dr. Felica Wooten Williams on Friday, July 3, 2020. Let’s think about freedom and liberty. Jesus said: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, and to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord (Luke 4:18-19).” We may be poor, lonely, oppressed and in a state of brokenness but rest assured that “If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:36).”
A song on Myrna Summers’ (1980) “Come to Jesus” album captures our human PROBLEM with freedom and liberty. The lyrics are: “Bound in chains, a prisoner of sin. Lost in my own hopeless world, no peace within. Lonely, didn’t have a friend. My punishment was sleepless nights that never cease to end.” Then she expresses the PROMISE in the text by singing “Then I met the Savior who broke the chains that had me bound. He freed me from the shackles of sin one day and now I praise his name. He whom the Son sets free is free indeed, free indeed. The promise was made for you and for me to be free. I’m free no longer bound in satan’s sin, free indeed.”
Read Luke 4:14-21 and John 8:31-41. How is it with your soul? Are you free from the shackles of sin? I pray that you are.
I invite you to pray:
Anointed One, we give you thanks and praise for freedom and liberty. You alone have the power to heal, deliver and free. Let all people find true freedom by the blood of the everlasting covenant through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Let Go and Let God Have His Way: My Meditation for June 26, 2020
Right now, my thoughts are on the beautiful music that we made in the Charleston Area Community Choir back in the late 1970’s and 80’s.
Zelda Berkley
led a particular song that’s on my mind. “Burdens and cares get the best of you. And you shed so many tears, you don’t know what to do. I recommend the Lord, He’ll be your friend. So let go and let God have His way. Lord, your will be done, help (us) this race to run. So let go and let God have His way.” I don’t know who wrote that song, but I am glad that they did. It is a simple reminder to cast your cares on Jesus, the Good Shepherd, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).
So, what do you do when you don’t know what to do? Give it to Jesus. Let go and let God have His way.
Read 1 Peter Chapter 5 then share the good news with your family and friends.
I invite you to pray as our Lord taught us:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
(Matthew 6:9-13)
Brothers and sisters, this is Dr. Felica Wooten Williams on Wednesday, June 24, 2020.
In Romans 12:9-21 you will find these words: “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.”
This is the Word of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
Read Romans 12:1-21 for guidance on wholesome Christian living. Add it to your gospel reality.
I invite you to pray:
Loving God, thank you for teaching us to love one another. Change our minds and our hearts to be more like you. Help us to overcome evil with good. In the righteous name of Jesus we pray. Amen. 
[I use One Call Now as my analog method for reaching people who do not use the internet and therefore they do not have access to our website or to Facebook. This is the text of my One Call meditation for 06/21/2020].
Friends, this is Dr. Williams on Sunday, June 21, 2020. Happy Father’s Day!
Are you living for Jesus? We want to thrive and not just survive as we live for Jesus. Yet in your humanness, when we cry to God, we frequently fail to hear His voice. Too often when we look for God, but we fail to see Him in our lives. We know the depths of despair and the anguish of loneliness. Jesus teaches us the joy of hope fulfilled and the comfort of divine companionship. God covers us with steadfast love and showers us with His constant presence.
Our Gospel lesson gives us several pointers on how to live for Christ. As we live unto the Lord, we must endeavor to know Jesus, imitate Him, die to sin, never fear the enemy, trust God, and acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior. Jesus said, “everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33).” Our task is to witness and evangelize to compel people to follow Jesus.
Read Matthew 10:24-39 and ask yourself, “am I living for Jesus?” How is it with your soul? Really, how are you doing? Are you living for the Lord? I pray that you are.
Pray with me now.
Holy one, come to us now. Please be present in our lives and in our world, so that we may truly know that we are not alone, that you are fully in our midst, and that we need not be afraid. Hear our cries, and speak to our souls. Give us your strength, so that we may live all the days of our lives in steadfast faith and hope. In the matchless name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
[This is the text of my One Call Now meditation for 06192020].
Hello! This is Dr. Williams on June 19, 2020.
It’s Juneteenth; therefore, we are celebrating freedom and emancipation! It is a day to give God thanks for the fact that all Americans have rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Yet, even in 2020, our happy and liberated lives are overshadowed by literal and figurative clouds. We are under the cloud of the coronavirus. The cloud of racism continues to hang over our nation and perhaps, our world. The clouds in the sky loom over us due to a storm out over the ocean that’s moving in our direction. As the song says, if your soul is not anchored in Jesus, it will surely drift away. In these dark and dreary wilderness days, be reminded of the spiritual cloud. God guides his people through the wilderness in the pillar of a cloud. So when you see the clouds of life, look closely to see God in the midst of it all. Know that above the clouds, the SON is always shining. You are invited to be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud as Dr. Maya Angelou taught us.
Read Genesis 9:8-18, Exodus 13:16-22 and Exodus 14:1-4. Also, find and watch the video of Maya Angelou’s message about the “Rainbow in the Cloud.”
I hope you will pray with me now.
Great God of glory, thank you for going before us in the pillar of a cloud to show us the way to true life, liberty, and happiness. Please remind us of our covenant relationship with you. Cause all people, from the uttermost to the gutter-most, to honor you and to know that you are the Lord. In the matchless name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
Hello! This is Rev. Dr. Felica Wooten Williams and today’s date is Sunday, June 14, 2020.
Our Gospel lesson for today comes from Matthew 9:35-38 and continues with Matthew 10:1-8. In this passage of scripture, I hear Jesus telling us to “Get Ready, Get Set, Go!” It’s a relatively uncomplicated, straight forward message.
1. GET READY! The harvest is plentiful. There is a lot of work to be done. Not many people are willing to do this work. [Matthew 9:38]
2. GET SET! Disciples don’t have to go far to find sheep. Start at home. Find new disciples in your town. Do not overlook the people that are right in front of us. [Matthew 10:5-6]
3. GO! Gather up your holy boldness and bless the world with holy conversations. Tell somebody about the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit!
How is it with your soul? Will you find the courage to speak healing and deliverance into this dark and dying world? I pray that you will.
I invite you to pray with me now.
For Courage to Do Justice
O Lord,
open my eyes that I may see the needs of others;
open my ears that I may hear their cries;
open my heart so that they need not be without comfort;
let me not be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong,
nor afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich.
Show me where love and hope and faith are needed
and use me to bring them to those places.
And so open my eyes and my ears, that I may this coming day, be able to do some work of peace for thee. Amen. (UMH 456)
Hello, this is Dr. Williams on Sunday, June 7, 2020. It’s Trinity Sunday and the first Sunday after Pentecost. During the season after Pentecost, we examine disciple’s response to God’s mighty acts through Jesus Christ our Lord. What should we do in response to all that the Lord has done for us?
In Matthew 28, Jesus uses his authority and power (v. 18) to commission His disciples for Kingdom building action with purpose (v.19). The Lord gives His disciples ability with promise in verse 20. Yet, some people have the audacity to doubt Jesus. Some people might think that He is dead. I’m here to tell you that Jesus is alive. Like the disciples in Matthew 28, I know that He’s alive because I had a personal encounter with Jesus. Everyone should have a personal relationship with the Lord. Everyone must see Him and worship Him. When you know Jesus for yourself, GO and tell the world! TEACH the world about the Lord, Jesus Christ! BAPTIZE them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. God said it. That settles it. So be it. Amen!
Please read Psalm 8, 2 Corinthians 13:11-13 and Matthew 28:16-20.
It’s time to pray.
“Holy God, you have given us grace, by the confession of faith as your holy church. You have given us grace to acknowledge the mystery of the eternal Trinity. In the power of your divine majesty, you give us grace to worship you in unity. Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see in your eternal glory, One God, now and forever. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit we pray. Amen. [Adapted from the Book of Common Prayer, alt.; UMH 76].”
Hello! This is Dr. Williams on Sunday, May 31, 2020.
It’s Pentecost Sunday! Today we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church.
What does this mean to us today?
Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, would come. That promise still stands today. The Holy Spirit will come to you. The Holy Spirit changes things; therefore, the Holy Spirit will change your circumstances for the good. Our nation and our world will be changed by the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit, communications will change. With the Holy Spirit, people will see each other in new ways. The change in us will be noticeable to people around us. Yet, other people will think that God’s people are inebriated but we are high in the Spirit of God!
How is it with your soul? Have you received the Holy Spirit? Will you pray that the Holy Spirit will prevail in contemporary society? I hope that you will.
Today, read Acts 2:1-21. Receive the Holy Spirit and watch God change things.
It’s time to pray:
“O Great Spirit, whose breath gives life to the world, and whose voice is heard in the soft breeze: We need your strength and wisdom. Cause us to walk in beauty. Give us eyes ever to behold the red and purple sunset. Make us wise so that we may understand what you have taught us. Help us learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock. Make us always ready to come to you with clean hands and steady eyes, so when life fades, like the fading sunset, our spirits may come to you without shame. Amen. (UMH 329).”Greetings on this twenty-fifth day of May in 2020.
It’s Memorial Day. As we remember our loved ones who have joined the great cloud of witnesses, we are grateful for the gift of each person that God has shared with us. Let us remember to pray for all who grieve the loss of loved ones. Please pray as we mourn the loss of our veterans. Say a special prayer for people whose family and friends have died in the battle against the coronavirus. Remember to pray for parents who have lost children and likewise pray for children whose parents have passed away. God in your mercy, hear our prayer.
The word “mourn” or a derivative of it is mentioned at least 118 times in the Bible. Read Psalm 30:6-12 and John 16:15-25. May the Lord strengthen us as we remember our times of loss and mourn again on Memorial Day. Shout for joy as God turns your mourning into dancing.
Let us pray:
“Gracious Lord,
as your Son wept with Mary and Martha at the tomb of Lazarus,
look with compassion on all who grieve,
Grant us the assurance of your presence now
and faith in your eternal goodness,
that in them may be fulfilled the promise
that those who mourn shall be comforted;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Laurence Hull Stookey, USA, 1989 The United Methodist Publishing House; UMH 461).”
Friends, this is Dr. Williams on Wednesday, May 13, 2020.
Don’t give up. Don’t give up on God. Don’t give up on the Church. Please don’t give up on me. Don’t give up on your family and friends. Certainly, don’t give up on yourself. Life is not easy. I know, sometimes you might just want to throw your hands up and say “I quit.” That’s particularly true in this day and age. But don’t do that. The enemy wants you to stop doing good for the sake of Christ. Don’t listen to the enemy; instead, listen to the Lord Jesus Christ.
I encourage you to keep moving forward. The Apostle Paul wrote: Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.
We don’t know it all. We do not have all of the answers. We may not have it all together and it might seem like things are falling apart. But don’t give up. Never give up. Instead, keep pressing forward. Why? Because the best is yet to come!
Read Philippians Chapter 3. Focus on verses 10 through 14 and let the Lord speak to you.
What does it mean to you personally? What will you do in response to God’s Word? How is it with your soul?
Let’s pray:
Most righteous and powerful God, help us to mature in faith. Let us know you more and more each day as we hold fast to your will and purpose.  Please help us to move forward with you. We ask your blessings now and forever in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Philippians 3
Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is not troublesome to me, and for you it is a safeguard. Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh! For it is we who are the circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh—even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh. If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 
More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.
Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you. Only let us hold fast to what we have attained.
Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself.BE ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING

Friends, this is Rev. Dr. Felica Wooten Williams on Friday, May 8, 2020.

Today my message is simple. Be anxious for nothing. Repeat that with me: “Be anxious for nothing!” Say it out loud for someone to hear you. Say it out loud for you to hear yourself! LOL. 😃 Make this your affirmation for the day: “I will not be anxious about anything!”

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

This, my brothers and sisters, IS the Word of God for the People of God! Thanks be to God!

Let’s pray:
Thank you, Almighty God, for all that you do! I thank you for your Word! I thank you for your people! Thank you, Lord for the air that we breathe. Thank you for life itself! Thank you for guarding our hearts and minds. Please let our living be filled with joy over and over again as we rejoice in you! Amen.

NOTE: Join me for a Facebook live worship service on Sunday at 11:00 AM.


Living the Scriptures with Lectio Divina


Lectio Divina is Latin for sacred reading. It is a tried and true method of studying sacred texts and living the Holy Scriptures. While other steps have been added down through the ages, the basic steps are: