Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love

Devotion November 16, 2016

What a glorious morning!

For a while all of these devotions were about that awesome summer adventure to California to watch my daughter as she competed on the TV game show Jeopardy.  In fact there were so many devotions about Jeopardy that I figured it was getting a little annoying so I even wrote a devotion about how annoying my devotions were becoming since they all had to do with the Jeopardy event - that will forever go down in the annals of one of the most spectacular events.  But since I haven’t mentioned this most wonderful occurrence for a while I decided it was time to return to the Jeopardy theme (admit it - the Jeopardy theme song is going through your head right now isn’t it…..)
When you are a contestant on Jeopardy all expenses are paid by the contestant - travel costs, hotel fees, meals.  However Jeopardy does request that you stay in a particular hotel - mainly because the van from Jeopardy shows up at this particular hotel to transport the would-be-players to the TV studio to participate in the show.  
And it was a very nice upscale hotel.  I guess to give the contestants an added incentive to win their game and make some money so as to offset the expenses that have incurred in order to be a part of this great experience on the show!
So because we are good rule followers, we stayed at the hotel we were told to stay in.  
We flew in to the LA airport and made our way to the hotel.  We were pretty disoriented from the time change but we were able to get a good night’s sleep so we could get my daughter up really early the next morning for her big TV debut.  
We made it up in the morning and wanted to make sure the daughter was well fed so she would have the nutrition necessary to give her spectacular energy to compete to her best ability.
So down to the main floor of the hotel we went and we spied the food serving area.  Now we are from the culture that stays in hotels where there is a complimentary breakfast…. and not seeing any signs or other notifications to the contrary, we assumed that this particular breakfast bar was what we were used to…..  complimentary.  
Of course we were a little taken back by the quality of the food at this particular breakfast bar and we became a little concerned when a waiter dressed in a very dressy black suit showed up at our table asking for our drink order and automatically pouring us a delicious cup of coffee…..  However this was California and we just figured things were done a little differently on the west coast.
We made a couple trips to the very delicious food bar complete with a chef with the tall hat who made ‘eggs to order’.  Admittedly it was a great breakfast and my daughter still had plenty of time before the Jeopardy van was to pick her up.  
It was then that the aforementioned waiter shows up at our table with that little black folder that waiters carry when they are bringing you the bill for your meal……
Well, our assumptions about the breakfast were not correct.  It was not a complimentary feature of the hotel and when I looked at the bill I realized that I was about to pay more for this particular breakfast than I had ever paid for any meal ever in my life…..  It was quite the surprise and with the tip I imagine it was the most I would ever pay for a meal ever - not something I had anticipated when we sat down to eat breakfast so that the daughter would be a well nourished contestant!
What a wonderful thing to know that in our relationship with God we never have to worry about being surprised at the pearly gates with a ‘bill’ for our entrance into the presence of God!  What a wonderful thing to know that the fee for our relationship with God has been paid and paid in full and we never have to fear a time when God sets us down and says - “You just thought this was free - in reality you are going to have to do this or that or pay this or that….” I think sometimes we worry about this happening, but it will not.  We can be 100% sure that every cost for our eternal association has been paid - paid once and for all - no questions asked!  
Isn’t that great?  No worry about assumptions; no worry about misunderstanding Jesus’ work for us; not ultimate concern about our eternal life.  Great news!  


Devotion November 2, 2016


Every morning (well, almost every morning cause there are often those mornings when I wake up and I just can’t get myself motivated to get out of bed or to get moving once I’m out of bed or I just plain ole’ don’t wake up early enough…..) I get up, shuffle down the hall, drink a cup of coffee, eat my container of yogurt, drink my glass of juice, shuffle back up the hall, get dressed, come back to the bench by the front door and begin to put on my tennis shoes.  (I don’t think they are called tennis shoes anymore but I’m too old to change my terminology…) It is at this point that my old dog has figured out that yes, his master has mastered the motivation coefficient and we actually are going to go on our walk.  
The mornings I don’t muster sufficient motivation he realizes quickly that his walk is not going to happen because I don’t go over and sit on the bench to put on my shoes cause everything else that happens in the morning is pretty much the same. These mornings he meanders out to his porch and lays down on his blanket and gives me the "Poor me" look and I feel pretty guilty....
The mornings all goes as planned, after the shoes are on I put on his leash, grab a bag of recycling (there is some part of my mind that thinks that if I take a grocery bag of recycling every day that somehow I am going to get caught up taking recycling - I often live in a fantasy world), and the dog and I race out to the car - racing only because the dog is in a hurry and I am on the other end of the leash - I think he thinks that if he doesn’t get me to the car somewhere along the way I am going to get sidetracked and he won’t get his walk!
Well, we made it to the car which is a real difficulty for my poor old dog but he is so determined to take his walk that he puts every ounce of determination he has into jumping up into the back seat - and you can see an ounce of pride in him as he knows what an accomplishment that is! (Although he is a little upset with me because I have my granddaughters car seat in the car and it is in  ‘his’ spot and he has to sit on the other side of the car).
This particular morning it was early - but it was bright and sunny.  Even though it was fall the sun shown down and I was able to go on my walk in just a t shirt and jeans.  I had thrown a jacket into the car but I knew it was warm enough that I wasn’t going to need it.  
But while I enjoyed the warmth of the sun, the sun was about to become a big problem…..
In the car I climbed with my dog, whose eyes I could feel boring into me because he could not sit in his normal place, and off we went to our walking location which was about 5 miles away.  
The journey to the walking place requires a stint on the local interstate which requires one of those on ramps where you are getting on the interstate at the same place that other people are getting off the interstate and most of the time this is not an issue because the road isn’t that crowded.  However at 8am in the morning when everyone is going to work,  this interstate getting on can be a little harrowing.  But this one particular morning, as I was getting onto the interstate in the midst of a large amount of going to work traffic who wanted off where I wanted on, I was headed west and as you know, the sun comes up in the east.  This means that as I was going west, the sun was coming up in the east, and reflecting off the large silver trucks speeding past the entrance ramp and reflecting off my side mirror and reflecting off my rear view mirror and essentially I didn’t have a clue where I was - I was truly blinded by the light (a reference to a Bruce Springsteen song of the ’70’s).  
Fortunately my car has those side beepers whose job it is to beep if there is a car on either side of me.  Theoretically if there is no beep, then I can merge into the lane into my left with the assurance that there is not already a car occupying that space.  And on this particular day all I could do if I was going to go anywhere at all was to trust my side mirror beeper. And hearing no beep, I in my sun coming up light blindness, in full faith that the technology was working, merged into the lane into which I needed to be.  And, lo and behold, there was no large crashing of metal or horns blowing so I know that I had successfully accomplished my goal - because I drove out in trust.
Well, you probably know where this is going but it is true.  How many times in our lives do we not have a clue as to what we are to be doing or what God wants of us and we just feel blindsided by decisions that need to be made?  It is such a terrible feeling of conflict and confusion and feeling like being blinded by sunlight on an interstate - that disorientation of knowing you need to see but can’t.
We know in our hearts that if we just sit still and wait for a minute, God will lead us - we know that.  That is who we are as people of God - people of the promise of God’s love and grace and care and guidance.  Just like side mirror beepers, we have God to open the way for us and we just have to trust… we just have to have faith in the promise we are given - promises from our God.