Ronceverte Charge of the United Methodist Church: Elizabeth Chapel & Trinity
Friday, September 18, 2020

Living the Scriptures

 

 From the Desk of Rev. Dr. Felica Wooten Williams     

             
09112020
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.
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09092020
WHAT DO YOU DO?
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.
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PRAYER AND PRAISE FOR 09042020
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.
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JESUS IS MY ROCK!
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.
 
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08302020
I CAN HEAR MY SAVIOR CALLING!
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.
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KEEP PRESSING FORWARD IN JESUS NAME!
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.
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THE LORD IS ON OUR SIDE!
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.
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THE PATH TO HAPPINESS
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.
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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.
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UNITED WE STAND!
[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.
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ONE LORD OF ALL
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 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OUT OF THE DEEP!
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.
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GOD’S GRACE IS SUFFICIENT!
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.
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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.
Refrain:
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.
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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.
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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.
Prayer:
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.
 
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I DID NOT KNOW
[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.
 
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WHEN YOU PRAY: A BRIEF MEDITATION FOR FRIDAY, JULY 17, 2020.
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.
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KEEP YOUR CHIN UP!
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.
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REST FOR THE WEARY
(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.
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FREE INDEED!
[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.
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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: