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Daily Encouragement - July 23

Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world.  Philippians 2:14-15

Therefore, consider whether the light in you is not darkness.  If your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.  Luke 11:35-36

When I was in MYF, back when the world was young, and there was no “U” in MYF, my beloved MYF leader, Mr. Lane (in those days youth did not call their leaders by first names), looked at me one Sunday evening and said, “Rachel, you sure do like to argue.  You should be a corporate lawyer!”   I was stunned.  I really thought my remarks were well-thought out and not at all argumentative.  Since that time I have tried, with varying amounts of success, to put a lid on arguing.  After all, Paul tells us to “Do all things without…arguing…”  I truly still like to skip over the “Do all things without murmuring,” however.  “Murmuring” is another way of saying complaining.  And if I do say so myself, I have raised complaining practically to an art form.  I have always been good at complaining, but conditions in the pandemic have caused me to hone my skills even further.  There is so much about which to complain!  

I continue in Massachusetts with the beloved grandchild and without any way to get home.    (The car is still up here with Rick’s favorite golf clubs in it, but that is another story).   Plus, I am still needed for child care.  But I fret that by the end of August I will have missed peach season, sweet corn season, homegrown tomato season, watermelon season, butterbean season… I miss my friends and my Bible study group.  I grumble that my hair is unruly and needs a cut and that due to a combination of arthritic knees and a fat belly I have trouble doing my own toenails and so I really need a pedicure, and my fingernails are now at the point that their length interferes with typing.  I grouse that my son is concerned about my welfare (since, as he gently points out, I am old) and does not allow me to go into stores.  I object to the fact that for the last few days the temperature here has been hotter than the temperature in eastern North Carolina.  I do not think Paul would be pleased with me of late.  Not only am I complaining, but the things of which I complain by and large are not consequential, especially when I pause to think about people who are suffering from illnesses (covid and otherwise), and people who have lost jobs and homes and loved ones during this time.     I am afraid I am not shining “like a star in the world.”

But the good news is that we have a Savior who understands our vexations and annoyances.  And he forgives us those times when we give in to the temptation to whine and “murmur.”  In those times when Jesus himself was tired and perhaps frustrated with things Jesus went off by himself to be alone with the Father.  To pray and to listen.  Perhaps that would be a good thing for us all to do.  Maybe in that way we can be rays of light in the world, shining like stars.  Isn’t that what we, as followers of Jesus Christ, are meant to be?

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine,

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine,

this little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine,

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

Dear Lord, you have showed us by word an example how to live lives of grace and goodness even in the midst of troubles.  When the world threatens to overwhelm us with circumstances we cannot control and do not like, draw us nearer to your presence and your love, so that in your light we may see light and reflect it into the dark places of the world.  Amen.

Pastor Rachel Moser

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