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Pinnacle Presbyterian Church

Daily Devotions

Saturday, March 23, 2019

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Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 103:1-5
Written by  |  Joseph Sidoti, Confirmand

While I was reading the passage assigned to me, the part that stood out to me the most was verse 3 when it said: “who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.” What can symbolize more of a renewal than the Lord forgiving your sins? Whenever you do something wrong, if you are truly repentant in your heart, you can ask the Lord for forgiveness. In that way, you are renewed by and through the Lord. When it says He can heal all your diseases, I think it’s symbolic for your sins. Sins, in my view, can be looked at as diseases. You are plagued by them and they can overcome you. Your disease, or sin, can be cured through God.

I think lying is a good example of that. The more lies you tell, the harder it is to keep track of all of them. One lie leads to another lie, which leads to another lie, and so on. Lying can consume you and destroy relationships with relatives, friends and loved ones, just like diseases can. However, you can always come clean and tell the truth and ask for forgiveness. Your relatives, friends, and loved ones may or may not forgive you, but the Lord always will. Once forgiven, you have a clean slate, a renewal. This is what I think of when I read Psalm 103 verse 1-5.

Prayer: Dear God, help me to tell the truth and ask for forgiveness when I really need it. Amen.

 

 

Friday, March 22, 2019

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Scripture Reading  |  Galatians 6:1
Written by  |  Linda Argue, Stephen Minister

In this letter to the Galatians, Paul reminds us to forgive another’s sins and thus help restore that person. When we restore another, we must do so with kindness and gentleness. We must not think of ourselves as better than the person caught in the sin, because we too can easily fall to temptation.

When restoring someone by forgiving their sin, we are following Jesus’ teaching. Just as we sin and seek forgiveness, we are called to forgive others for their sins. The act of forgiving and restoring a relationship can bring us peace and that is what we must do as followers of Jesus.

Prayer: Dear God, help us remember to forgive others with kindness and gentleness as You forgive us for our sins. Help us to follow your teaching. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

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Scripture Reading  |  2 Corinthians 4:16
Written by  |  Merry Cole Bender, Elder - Membership Development

When we think of the word “renewal”, we can think of replacing or repairing something that is worn out, tired, broken down. We have all had times where we can relate to worn out, tired, broken down!! In those times, it can be too exhausting to then think about “RENEWAL”!! These are periods of oppression that can affect us mentally and spiritually. It calls for time to become unencumbered from the schedules, the hassles, the ugliness that can be a part of our world. It calls for retreat to a place where we can RE knit our relationship with God and RE new all that is promised.

I was just in Sedona with some high school friends. One of my dear friends has been taken up by the thought of positive energy through crystals, vortexes and the like. I too believe in a positive force and energy, but less in the crystals, more in my God. When I seek God, it does though require setting my own frame of mind and control it towards God. It is remembering that it is Christ who provides a place for renewal with a positive energy that is far stronger than anything else we can seek. Christ beckons us to renew our minds, bodies, souls simply by remembering that we belong.

Prayer: Heavenly Creator, force of all that is good, help us to give up control, breathe in, remember all that is promised, and in that, may we be renewed by the Spirit. Amen.

 

 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

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Scripture Reading  |  Jeremiah 29:11
Written by  |  Jenni Eisel, Deacon

A couple of years ago I was planning for my retirement. I was ready to read by the fire, join a hiking club, travel and take guitar or photography lessons. However, God had a plan for me I would have never guessed.

I had angst over something outside of my control. I had such passion for making a change that I knew I couldn’t stand idly by and do nothing.

So, one evening, I gathered a group of friends and neighbors in my family room and we came up with a plan. This group blossomed into an organization with more than 600 people all working to help the cause I feel so deeply about.

The organization has taken over other parts of my life. I’m now faced with the challenge of work and life balance. I pray for God’s guidance on this.

This is a far cry from the retirement I was planning. But, I wouldn’t trade this experience, the work I’m doing, or the people that I’ve met on this journey for anything.

I wonder what’s next? What’s in store for you in your life?

Prayer: Dear God, I thought I had a plan. I’m working harder than I’ve ever worked. I’m joyful, but exhausted with this work. Once again, I’ve learned that I’m not in control. I know You will care for me on this new road and take care of me when I feel overwhelmed. Amen.

 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

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Scripture Reading  |  Jeremiah 31:31-34
Written by  | Susan Brown, Elder - Worship & the Arts

In this passage, the Lord declares that He will make a new covenant with Israel.

God promises to be their God and they will be God’s people. It would no longer be the “old covenant,” written on tablets of stone, but a “new covenant” written on their hearts and in their minds. Hebrews 9:15 tells us that Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant.

This new covenant applies to us today. The Lord is our God and we are God’s people. We belong to God.

A few years ago, I received a serious medical diagnosis. After an appointment with the doctor, my head was swirling with medical terms, diagnostic tests, and treatment plans. Fear and confusion overwhelmed me. Two days later, I went to church. The sermon title was “Remember Whose You Are.” It was a service to remember our baptisms. We were able to go forward and be anointed with oil and receive a blessing. The minister said to me, “Susan, you are a child of God. You are beloved.” I was instantly filled with God’s love and peace. I was strengthened in the knowledge that I was God’s child. Nothing else really mattered.

The next day my husband gave me a beautiful cross necklace. He said that in the difficult days ahead I needed to remember “whose I was.” Remembering that I was a child of God, loved and cared for by Almighty God, strengthened and encouraged me and enabled me to persevere. It still does today.

Prayer: Jesus, I am Your child. You call me beloved. Thank you. Amen.

 

 

Monday, March 18, 2019

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Scripture Reading  |  Romans 12:2
Written by  |  L. A. Kowal, Deacon

I find it easy to not conform with the world when I am in church, a Bible study or fellowship with other Christians. But, most of our time is spent in the fallen world and our minds are on earthly things. Whatever occupies our mind can become our idol or god.

For me I am more prepared for my day by starting it with Our Lord. I read a devotional every morning while enjoying my first cup of tea. (Thank you, Frank Harmon, for that inspiration). It is a lovely habit now. I try and recall what I have read throughout my day, and it renews my mind so I am open to hear God’s will for me.

Prayer: Dear God, please renew my mind daily so I know Your will for me. Amen.

 

Sunday, March 17, 2019

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Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 23:1-6
Written by  |  Dawn Riolo, Deacon

When I was not close to You, You were still with me.
Yet, something felt amiss.
I think I heard your whispers guide me.
Yet, something felt amiss.
In time, I heard you shout to me.
Loud. Louder.
Was it I that was amiss?

It was You I felt close to me.
I heard Your guiding whispers.
I listened when You called me loudly.
I am back in Your home for good.
And nothing is amiss.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for always being by my side. With You, I have nothing to fear. Amen.

 

 

Saturday, March 16, 2019

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Scripture Reading  |  Ephesians 4:22-24
Written by  |  Jake Haugen, Confirmand

These verses are about changing who you once were and becoming someone new. You were once a bad person with a horrible attitude and had corrupted and deceitful desires. Now you become someone new and change the way of achieving something. This is true for my life because I used to be a timid basketball player that usually just sat in the corner waiting for the ball. I was not very good at playing basketball during this time in my life. These kids on my team named Eric, Garrett, and Connor always got the ball and I didn’t. I played on their team because I was a grade above them, but they were the same age and Garrett was older than me. Then, the organization started organizing the teams by grade. I got moved up to the 6th grade team, while they stayed on the 5th grade team. I usually had a very bad attitude on their team because I rarely got the ball, and when I did, I frequently turned it over. I became the point guard on the 6th grade team because I was the smallest player. It forced me to become a better ball handler and an overall better player. I started getting a better attitude, and I felt confident. I was starting to become a pretty good basketball player. I was more comfortable on the court and had less turnovers. I was realizing my potential. I thank God for letting me grow and become a better person. This was my devotion and how my attitude changed.

Prayer: Dear God, thank You for helping me become a better person. Amen.

Friday, March 15, 2019

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Scripture Reading  |  Proverbs 3:5-6
Written by  |  Rick Hess, Elder - Stewardship

The path of life is indeed a long and winding road. Some of the twists and turns are not of our own making, illnesses come to mind. We ask for God’s strength as we get through them. There are other times when I think back on my life I recognize times when my path took me to a place that I had no desire to go. In all of these cases I used my own free will to make the poor decisions. Short term benefits got in my way.

When I remember how I got back on a straight path, it was when I gave up on the belief that I alone could solve my challenges. When I asked God to show the way forward, He showed me the way.

As I sit in church each Sunday I sometimes am filled with gratitude for the blessings I have received. Other weeks I am a requestor, asking help in dealing with my life’s challenges.

In either case Pinnacle is a great place to be.

Prayer: Lord, lead me on Your path. Amen.

 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

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Scripture Reading  |  Ezekiel 11:19
Written by  |  Phil Bianco, Deacon

Ezekiel 11:19 reads: “I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, as I deepen my faith and trust in You, please continue to open my heart and fill it with love, kindness and compassion. Guide me to a higher tolerance and understanding of people and things that challenge my beliefs. Amen.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

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Scripture Reading  |  Isaiah 40:31
Written by  |  Ruth O’Brien, Stephen Minister

This verse speaks about trust in the Lord; confidence that is born of faith. I see this faith at work every day as I watch those I love bravely deal with and even thrive in the midst of grief, illness, setbacks and especially in the joys of life. The loving wives who have lost husbands and children missing their fathers, finding gratitude in a life well lived. The cancer patients who manage day after day to accept the difficult treatments and fight back to regain the life they love. The children dealing with a new world order living in two households due to divorce, managing uncertainty but able to create a new happiness. The confidence and joy of new parents managing to balance work and family. It is inspiring to see my family, friends and to feel this confidence myself, to not just manage life, but thrive and soar to new heights in our lives and support others in the journey to their best life. God is present, God is good.

Prayer: Magnificent God, thank You for the strength and courage to tackle all of life. Help me to be open to Your renewing love every day. Amen.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

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Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 1:3
Written by  |  Rev. Frank Harmon, Assoc. Pastor Youth & General Ministries

When I was in seminary, I had the chance to go to Israel on an archeological dig. While there we had the opportunity to take an excursion to the Dead Sea area. It isn’t just the Dead Sea that doesn’t have life. The area around it is dry and barren. However, not too far from the Dead Sea is a place called Ein Gedi where water flows and trees grow. It was there that David, before he was king, hid from King Saul while he was trying to kill him. It was a place where David sought refuge in a time of need.

It was after walking through a barren desert and arriving at the base of an amazing life-giving waterfall, that I was reminded of the source of life we have in Jesus. After walking through the hot, dusty desert, feeling the cool breeze and the mist in the air instantly brought life back into us and renewed our spirits. Often when we find ourselves in a barren and desolate place, we must remember that for those who know and love Jesus, life is just around the corner.

Prayer: Lord, You are the source of all life. When I feel alone, fill me up. Amen.

 

Monday, March 11, 2019

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Scripture Reading  |  Acts 3:19-21
Written by  |  James Lipscomb, Elder - Finance Committee

Luke tells us about Peter’s sermon to the Jews concerning their role in killing the author of life - Jesus Christ. His suffering was part of the fulfillment of the prophets. Peter calls upon the Jews to repent and accept the God they tried to kill out of ignorance so that their sins may be wiped away and they can begin a new life with Jesus as their Lord and Savior as they await His return. The Scriptures are proleptic in that they speak not only at the time created, but also for all generations that follow. To that end, as believers, we patiently await the return of Christ. During this period, we are told by Peter to repent of our sins and to embrace Jesus Christ so that we might know the joy of being believers in Christ - His fulfillment of everlasting life with the Lord.

Repentance offers every Christian hope for everlasting life. It is God’s acknowledgment that we are a sinful people who can only be saved by His grace and His love for us. Yet, there remains a requirement that our repentance be genuine in order that we might be present among the faithful when Christ returns to implement a new order as promised.

The passage reminds me of the gospel song “I Surrender All” - “All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live.”

Prayer: Dear God, help me to surrender all to You. To live in Your presence daily. Amen.

 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

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Scripture Reading  |  Phillipians 3:13
Written by  |  Fred Brown, Deacon

The apostle Paul stated that one important lesson he was trying to learn in life was to let go of the past and press toward all that lies ahead.

On our journey of life, when things don’t go according to plan, we sometimes feel very disappointed, upset with ourselves and feel overwhelmed.

Daily, in both our personal lives and our professional lives, we are confronted with many obstacles that stand in the way of allowing us to succeed with our plans.

When we are faced with life’s disappointments, we need to let things go. We need to refocus and look towards the future by making and achieving new goals. God is always there to listen and to gently guide us.

As good Christians, we need to approach everyday with an open mind. We need to let go of yesterday’s disappointments, as apostle Paul tried to do. We will continue to make mistakes, but we learn by our mistakes. Apostle Paul states,”Don’t look back at failures but look forward to your new successes.” We need to cherish each day as a new beginning. God will always be there for us.

Prayer: God of love, give me patience to trust in Your plan and not to focus on the past but what lies ahead. Amen.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

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Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 121
Written by  |  Hillary Mackowski, Director of Children’s & Family Ministries

I rejoice in the idea of being renewed. As a parent & teacher, each day I feel the joy and terror of assisting my children and students to fix their eyes to the hills, focus on heaven and earth and do all I can to not let their feet slip from underneath them. But, we all know, that is just not that easy to do. We must rest, we must take a breath, we must know that God is the one overseeing their every move. He has renewed us with His words that this is not our job, rather, His.

We spend so much time on making decisions as families on what is acceptable and what is not. We draw lines in the sand and share specific expectations and consequences. Our family built some specific rules; no sleepovers until 1st grade, no ear piercing until 3rd grade, no job until 15…the list goes on. Not one of our kids missed any of these highly anticipated dates; rather had them precisely planned with details of the time, date and locations. Knowing what is expected and how they stay safe is crucial to their development. We set these boundaries and guide them each day, but we know the lines in the sand fade. Life begins, we set examples and do our best to live the lives we want our kids to learn and know.

God renews us today with the promise that we can rest. We must rest. He will not. He promises us to be our shade, watch over our life, and forever, watches over our, rather His, children.

Prayer: Lord, we know that You do not need rest, but we do. We rest knowing that You are watching over our flock, and we rejoice and renew our spirit knowing that we can rest and we can breathe. We set boundaries and define expectations, knowing You are in control. In Your mighty name; Amen.

Friday, March 8, 2019

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Scripture Reading  |  Isaiah 43:18-19
Written by  |  Gary Glava, Stephen Minister

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” Isaiah 43:18

It’s not the future people are afraid of; it’s making the same mistakes they have in the past. We want to move on, but change requires risk and risk equals fear. There are two main reasons for this fear: they are past failures and the comfort bubble. Past failures are like strapping lead weights to our legs. They prevent us from moving forward. Don’t dwell on the past. Ask God for help. Move on!

The second reason for fear, is that our current situation, whether it’s our career or a relationship, has become so easy and non-challenging that we have enclosed ourselves in a comfort zone or bubble that we don’t want to venture from. Don’t dwell on the past. Ask for God’s help. Move on!

“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.” Isaiah 43:19

What can I do to stop dwelling on the past? Quit procrastinating! Procrastination is one of the most common road blocks to the future. You know what you really want to do. Take the next step, the first step. Move on and have faith in yourself. Ask for God’s help. Move on!

Change your thinking. Be who you were created to be and you can set the world on fire. Ask for God’s help. Move on!

Prayer: Dear God, take my hand and lead me to the future. Help me to move on so I can make a difference in your world. Amen.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

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Scripture Reading  |  Lamentations 3:22-23
Written by  |  Bev Roselieb, Deacon

Shortly after I said I would write a Lenten devotion and Pastor Kelsy sent me the verse I should reflect on, I got sick and was put on an antibiotic. When I finished that antibiotic, I was feeling even weaker and given a different antibiotic, which fortunately as I write this seems to be making me feel better! Why do I share this with you in a devotional? Because for me it is a reminder of how God, with the help of doctors (human) and medicine (nature), renews our bodies even from our illnesses. God uses family and friends too! During this time at home, I’ve been able to spend more time reading - seeing signs of God’s love at work in many people and in various ways - from a North Korean girl to a former First Lady and on Facebook with the work group in Haiti! The faithful love of the Lord never ends if we just open our eyes, ears, and heart to it! When I first read the verses in Lamentations, my mind immediately jumped to the hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness. When I looked the hymn up, I learned it was written by a Methodist Pastor, Thomas Chisholm, as a meditation on these very verses. I am a former Methodist who learned to sing the faith but was not always aware of where the words were actually written in the Bible!

1. Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
there is no shadow of turning with thee.
Thou changes not; thy compassions they fail not.
As thou has been thou forever wilt be.

Refrain:
Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning, new mercies I see.
All I have needed thy hand hath provided.
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

2. Summer and winter, springtime and harvest,
sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

3. Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow:
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Prayer: Great is your Faithfulness, O Lord! Amen.

 

Ash Wednesday, March 6, 2019

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Scripture Reading  |  Revelation 21:5
Written by |  Joanne McDowell, Elder - Leadership & Planning

When I reread this scripture verse, my immediate thought was of a time 16 years ago when my life changed completely. Jim and I had been dating less than a year when we decided to get married. But that meant I needed to move to Scottsdale. I spent many hours in conversation with myself and God about this upheaval/renewal of my life. I was on a walk in the preserve near my home in Colorado one day when I finally “heard” the word “Go”. Now at that point in my life I was pretty solidly planted in Colorado. I had to leave behind my home of 26 years, my job and my circle of friends and coworkers. I literally felt like I was jumping off the edge of the earth some days!

So the passage: “And the one who was seated on the throne said: See, I am making all things new”, reminded me of that leap of faith God asked me to take that day. I had to trust that He had a plan for me and that I could trust Him to renew me in ways that seemed almost impossible at that point.

Was it always easy? No, because I’d forget that I had to take each step forward in God’s power, with Jesus by my side. I’d take off thinking I knew what was to come next and find out that wasn’t part of His plan. I’ve learned through prayers and study, through reflection and meditation that this journey is much easier if I don’t try to run the show. So each morning I accept the grace God gives me, I rest and I pray with Jesus beside me. I’ve become more patient with the process of renewal and transformation. We get a new start each day, and we are then asked to write about that so others can be renewed too. The second sentence in this verse says “Write this for these words are trustworthy and true.”

God wants us to hear, to see and feel the message of renewal that He brings to us each and every single day. And He wants us to share it by word and deed. We must spread that “newness” around just as Jesus would if He were in the world today.

Prayer: Dear God, help me to accept Your help, to stay in the present moment, and to experience that feeling of renewal each and every day of my life. Amen.