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Pinnacle Presbyterian Church

Daily Devotions

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

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Star Bright

Written by Rev. Kelsy Brown
Associate Pastor for Membership & Mission

Have you ever spent an evening staring up at the stars? When I was a little girl I was obsessed with stars and constellations, especially when we were camping deep in the woods. The stars always come out in the darkness. Sometimes the darkness would be so overpowering that you couldn’t see the hand in front of your face. But when you would look up, the whole sky was filled with tiny dots.

I was captivated by these stars who were shining their light from so far away. Thousands of light years away from us they brought light in the darkness. I would spend hours with my head turned toward the heavens looking for the Big Dipper, Orion, The Big Dog, and Aquarius.

In the darkness trees, rock and even my own hand was not discernable in the immense darkness. That is until I held my hand up to the stars. The tiny lights shown around my hand outlining my fingers and palm.

Sometimes we need to look into Christ’s light in the midst of darkness in order to see our own outline. To know that we belong there with the warm light of comfort shining on our backs. Just to see the outline of who God called us to be when He sent His Son on Christmas day.

Prayer: Lord of Light, shine Your light on me so that I might once again know who You have called me to be. Amen.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

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Friday Night Lights

Written by Hillary Mackowski
Director of Children’s Ministries

One of my most favorite seasons is Fall, and a big reason for that is football season. The high school football season has been so much fun and has come to an end for our oldest son Ethan. The lights of the Friday night fever is something we will cherish forever. The feeling of community, the bonds of his teammates, and the friendship within the parents is something I will have in my heart forever.

As the lights come on, the crowd roars and the boys take the field; it’s an amazing feeling! We are on our feet, ready for both team’s hard work to pay off. The whistle blows and we begin the battle for the victory. Sharing this love for the game, cheering on safe play, and enjoying a true champion at the end of the 4 quarters is a gift we enjoy week after week.

Cheering for Christ, sharing His love, and knowing He is the champion of our eternity is also worthy of this same energy! We know that with Him we will be winners, forever. It is time for us to prepare, compete with the hate, and win each day as we cheer on others to live for Him!

Prayer: Lord, we pray that today we remember the beautiful idea of competition, and hard work can encourage us to play for Your team. We should share that, through You, we can all be winners! Let us have the enthusiasm for sharing Your grace and love as much as we do for cheering for our favorite football teams. In Your name, Amen

Monday, December 10, 2018

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Hearing the Light

Written by Dr. Michael Hegeman
Consulting Theologian

When I think of the light we celebrate in Advent, two choral anthems (based on ancient hymns) come to mind. The first is an old Latin prayer that begins O nata lux de lumine, Jesu redemptor saeculi, which is translated “O Light born of Light, Jesus, Redeemer of the world.” I have always been drawn to the first three words “O nata lux,” which speak of Jesus as “birthed light.” The infant Jesus is the true light, born of the Light, birthed into our dark and alienating world. Jesus is living breathing light, in the flesh, who is to us redeemer, liberator, deliverer, rescuer, and savior. The name of Jesus itself comes from an old Hebrew name, Yehoshua, which means, “God is salvation.”

The other choral piece I think of is a Russian hymn that speaks of the birth of Jesus as the moment when “Salvation is created in the midst of the earth.” When Jesus was born, he became for us birthed light and salvation itself, found in human likeness. As we wait for Jesus’ coming in his fullness, let us remember that light and salvation have already come…and they come to us every day. If you’ve ever held a newborn child, you know the miracle of life that you embraced. Wrap your arms around the light that is born to us. And the Light embraces you in return.

Prayer: O Christ, light for the world, be born in our hearts. Foster in us Your loving kindness. Amen

You can listen online to these hymns that celebrate the birth of Christ:
O Nata Lux – Morten Lauridsen
Salvation is Created – Chesnokov

Sunday, December 9, 2018

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Speed of Light

Written by Rev. Pam Fischer
Pre-Med Hospice Coordinator

In ’light’, inaccessible, hid from our eyes”…speaking of a light that conceals God from human eyes.**

Yet, I have reason to suspect with many others that there truly are ‘thin places’ where Heaven and Earth seem to touch, ever so briefly. I once heard that if matter is accelerated to nearly the speed of light, we can no longer see it. One source suggested it may involve the actual slowing down of time. For me it makes invisible Heavenly realms/ angels/ cloud of witnesses all the more plausible.

I saw my deceased mother, for only a split second, in our home a year ago. You will never convince me otherwise. And then there was a very powerful, God moment for me in Oklahoma about 15 years ago. I was walking down the lane to our barn midday, late summer (hearing birds & loud locusts chirping). Suddenly, everything went silent…as if I was struck deaf. I stopped; felt the warm sun and great peace. Scanning around me, I literally saw each blade of grass ‘breathing’. A large rock further away was also visibly ‘breathing’. And then, the ‘moment’ was gone. But NOT ever forgotten!! I now see God-created ‘life’ even in seemingly lifeless stones. And, I feel like a grain of sand in an eternal cosmos.

During my chaplaincy residency, I had a former RN from my hospital, now riddled with cancer, but still inexplicably alive, command that I really “hear” her near death experiences, which were several. You can imagine where my mind went when she described the “amazing colors of the flowers, more than we know on earth….and how every blade of grass is perfect…”. I just can’t take grass for granted anymore!!

As a Chaplain, I have had the honor and blessing of hearing similar ‘Odd or God’ stories. I truly believe we should share these experiences…bring them to LIGHT.

Prayer: Creator, Show me the thin places that help me to know You more clearly. Amen.

**[Immortal, Invisible, God only Wise hymn by Walter Smith 1867]

Saturday, December 8, 2018

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Green Light

Written by Lea Reinke
Business Administrator

I was getting the grandkiddos ready to take them home after dinner. It was the usual routine: let’s put away toys, find your shoes, say bye-bye to Grandpa Mark. As we were nearly out the door, my husband rather casually said, “You should take Union Hills”. You see, there are two routes I could use - the freeway or surface streets. During non-rush hour, I use the freeway which was my plan that evening.

Backing out of the driveway, I thought about his words. It’s not his nature to dictate my commute, plus his comment seemed to come out of the blue. We’ve all heard stories about someone having a feeling about a situation, and if heeded, a calamity was averted. Perhaps there was a reason for his unsolicited advice.

I approached the turn lane for the freeway. The stop light at the intersection was green, and I decided not to turn and continued on the street. The light at the next intersection was green as well, a lucky break, I thought. But so was the next one and the one after that, on and on until I had reached my destination.

I don’t know if we escaped a mishap by taking that course. What I do know is I experienced a rare occurrence in this large city: going from point A to point B with green lights the entire way – thirteen in all!

The unfolding of your words gives light…Psalm 119:130a

Prayer: Loving God, may my heart and mind be open to Your message and ever thankful for Your blessing of grace. Amen.

Friday, December 7, 2018

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Waiting for Light

Written by Calvin Brown
Pinnacle Office Mascot and Hall Monitor

Every morning I have to practice waiting. I am an early riser and enjoy the quiet of the morning. It always takes a few minutes for my eyes to adjust but eventually I can see just a little bit, but I wonder if that is because I already know where my comfy bed is in relationship to everything else in the room; the chair next to my bed where I do my best thinking, and the bathroom with its very cold tile floor.

Faith is a little bit like that. Sometimes we wait in the darkness when things don’t seem to be going the right way. When people we love die. When we find out bad news from the doctor. When we are extra stressed.

It is darkness that surrounds all the things we already know. We know that God is with us through everything. We know that eventually we will get through this season. We know that we have friends and family who will support us. But all we see in the darkness is the shapes.

Every morning as I wait in the darkness I anticipate the living room light, which is set on a timer, to go on. Suddenly a warm glow of light puts everything into perspective. Christmas is like the light going on each morning. (Plus that means we can go for a walk, get breakfast and hope that this day will have more light in it than darkness.) I hope you have a great day filled with light!

Prayer: Jesus, help me in the darkness and guide me towards the light. Amen.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

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Star Light

Written by Dr. Tina Campbell
Assisting Pastor for Senior Adult Ministries

In his book All I Really Want, Quinn G. Caldwell talks about how things seem much scarier at night. Things that wouldn’t bother us a bit seem to be big and huge and frightening in the middle of the night. Those of us who live in relatively safe houses can become fearful at night, but those who spend the night on subway grates or in cardboard, in fear of attack or invasion experience paralyzing fear. Perhaps we just feel more vulnerable at night.

Jesus promises that the night will end and the morning star will rise and then the sun will appear.

Quinn suggests that we “hang a star in your room this Advent, a light-up Christmas star from Target, a glow- in- the- dark star stuck on the ceiling, or a starry night light. You can call it a Christmas decoration so your friends don’t think you’re weird, if you want. But don’t forget what it really is: a promise.

Prayer: Lord, I don’t know how long this night is going to be. But with You, I know it’s going to end. Come Morning Star, come. Amen.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

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Seeing the Light

Written by Daniel Chaney
Audio Visual Technician & Interim Lead Maintenance

When I came to Pinnacle Presbyterian Church last December, I got to experience what Christmas means to this congregation. I saw something special that I wanted to be a part of. I found something that wasn’t just a job but a way to truly help others. I didn’t get the feeling I was around strangers, but more like family members. So as we come into this Christmas season I’m excited to share the light that I was seeking to grow as I have gone from the outside looking in to the inside glowing out.

Prayer: God give me the strength to be humble so that I might help others the way You do, in Your name I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

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I Saw the Light

Written by Kelly McGinn
Park Center Administrator

I wandered so aimless life filled with sin
I wouldn't let my dear Savior in
Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

I saw the light I saw the light
No more darkness no more night
Now I'm so happy no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

Just like a blind man I wandered along
Worries and fears I claimed for my own
Then like the blind man that God gave back his sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

These are lyrics to “I Saw the Light” by Hank Williams, and he performed this song in 1952 at the Grand Ole Opry. I truly love the music produced by this generation of country musicians because of its grit, sincerity and simplicity. It’s just so practical. I think we can all relate to the notion of going down some path that’s just not working for us, and then all of a sudden…having what Oprah Winfrey calls “a lightbulb moment.” It’s almost like we can stop dead in our tracks and think to ourselves…“Wait, this isn’t right… why am I doing life this way?” To me, those are God-moments where He shows us the light. This light saves us and gives us a fresh perspective of a new direction like a blind man that has his sight back. I think about the clarity that this man must feel, the gratefulness and promises he must have made the moment he was able to see.

Each year during Advent, I feel like I see things clearly and make similar promises to be better, to do better. It’s the same sense of seeing life with fresh eyes and in a new light. My prayer to everyone is to stop, take time, take a deep breath, and ask God, “Show me Your light.

Prayer: Dearest God, give me moments to reflect, let me slow down so that I am open to change. Show me Your light and I will follow. Amen.

Monday, December 3, 2018

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God is Always With Me

Written by Suzanne Mitchell
Graphic Design Assistant

I was always told when I had kids, my whole world would change. It would never be the same. All this being true, I did not realize to what degree things would change and how different my life would really be. In the busy bustle of life, kids make life busier, more beautiful, and more precious. But they are also daily reminders to slow down. To take it all in. To be present and seek God, always. It is so easy for adults to forget this. To forget to seek Him, always. We think we are, and many times we might be. But busy lives don’t leave much room for quiet moments. For time to just sit and ponder. To sit and pray with Him. As I raise my kids to know and love Jesus, I am reminded one day of how very important this task is and how very precious those moments to sit and ponder are. I don’t always know if I’m teaching them well or if they’re even listening, but then they say or do something that lets me know “we heard you, mom.

One day my daughter and I were driving in the car and she says to me “I don’t like being alone, it’s not fun.” I responded, “Yea, me either. It’s more fun to be around people, do fun things and spend time with them, huh?” She responds, “Yes! But I guess I’m never really alone, because God is always with me, right?” Where I responded happily, “Right!

It was a precious moment that she stated so matter-of-factly, “God is always with me.” Yet, as an adult, I often forget that God IS always with me, through the good and the bad, He is always doing work in my life. And even though we can’t always see Him, He is always there. In this season, I hope to remember to “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened…for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9. Life is too beautiful and too precious to live it feeling alone. God is always with you.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to stop and ponder. To remember You are here, always. To sit and pray with You. And in times of struggle, to continue to seek You and Your guidance. Amen.

 

 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

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Light in the Open Spaces

Written by Dr. Wesley Avram
Pastor & Head of Staff

The title of my book, Where the Light Shines Through, is in part inspired by the cross atop the chapel at the divinity school at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Unlike solid crosses, this one is made of light. It’s a cross-shaped gap carved out of a slab of concrete, so that the cross you see is light that shines through open space. It’s a simple idea, but striking.

Doesn’t that cross tell us something about how God comes into our lives? Sometimes God waits for us to open space. But once we do . . . oh, my! The light shines through. And it shines through so clearly sometimes that we can’t not see it anymore. It’s like what happens when you look atop that Chapel for a while, as that slab of concrete looks less and less like something that has a criss-crossed gap punched out—exposed by suffering, or trauma, or just the day-to-day challenges of life. The vision begins to reverse itself, and you begin to see the solid stuff as what comes after the cross, wrapped around the light that comes before it and shines beyond it. Like our lives in faith, as we slowly let God become more than some thing in our lives, and our lives become things within God’s light. Let us allow God’s light to become the first thing, the middle thing, the next thing, and the very promise on which we shape our lives.

Prayer: Dear God, Light of all People, come into my life, shining so brightly that I can never not feel Your warmth, and can never not see my own life in Your light. Amen.