Ronceverte Charge of the United Methodist Church: Elizabeth Chapel & Trinity
Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Living the Scriptures

 

 From the Desk of Rev. Dr. Felica Wooten Williams     

             
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)
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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. 
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LIVING FOR JESUS
[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.
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[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.
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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)
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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.
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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).”
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DON’T GIVE UP!

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
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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.

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