Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love


Weather. We spend a lot of time talking about the weather and the weather is really the one thing that we have absolutely no control over.
We spend a lot of time stressing over the weather - we have weather apps on our cell phone (I actually have mine set so I can tell you the weather of the places where everyone in my family lives - I’m not sure why but it is pretty interesting and if I would happen to be called to go see them or babysit or help out in some way shape or form I would know what to wear - see, realistically pretty smart!).
I actually stay up every night and watch the news so I can see all the crime in Charlotte but also so I can learn the weather for the following day however by the time the news comes on at 11pm I’m usually so sleepy I don’t remember what they said and I have to look it up on the app on my phone the next day anyway.
There are actually 2 TV channels on my Direct TV that are dedicated to the weather. One really famous TV weather channel that is on in a a lot of doctor’s offices and restaurants and airports and another weather channel that is less well known but actually has the weather all the time because the well known weather channel often veers off into other things beside just telling us the weather and if you want to know the weather right now the really famous one is often veering into shows about tornados 10 years ago…. The less well known weather channel has weather all the time and you can know the weather where you are or you can learn about the weather 1000 miles away and they even have moment where they tell you the weather in Europe and other corners of the earth! So this lesser known weather channel is the channel we turn to when for some reason we don’t want to use the app on our phones to learn the weather so we can plan and dress accordingly. But it seems we do spend an awfully lot of time watching the TV channel about weather when there is nothing we can do about the weather - but I guess it helps us to plan our day so we know whether to put on shorts and a short sleeved shirt or to put on those long pants and socks and a sweater!
Even though we can’t change the weather we can adapt to the weather - we can take off or put on more clothes depending on the temperature; we can put on a rain coat or carry an umbrella if it is raining (or just walk real fast from the car to the store or the car to the house because you have left the umbrella in the last place you were and that is not where you need it….) or sometimes I just walk really fast through the rain because I don’t want to fool with a wet umbrella when I go into the store and I think that if I walk fast enough into the store the raindrops won’t really land on me and I won’t get all that wet!
We can turn on the heat in the house if it is cold or have a nice toasty roaring fire in the fireplace that not only makes our body feel warm but a nice roaring fire just makes us feel warm and toasty inside as well - what a peaceful feeling curled up in front of that blaze…..
In the summer we have air conditioning where we can cool off when the temperatures soar outside. It is pretty ironic isn’t it that we are stuck inside whether the temperature is hot or cold cause we always want to be the opposite of what the temperature is outside….
Weather is also a great conversation starter… You are in an elevator and if you feel the need to talk you can say, “It’s really hot outside today” and the conversation begins. You are sitting with a group of people and you can say, “I am really tired of all this rain” and everyone chimes in….. and once that weather conversation begins it can go on and on as the present weather conversation turns into stories of last years weather or the ‘remember when’ weather from a lot of years ago and we always seem to bring up the extremes of the weather like those days it snowed 50+ feet and we still had to walk to school up hill both ways or the time when it was so cold everything froze for weeks or it was so hot for so long we about melted and our lawns dried up and we felt like we lived in the amazon.….
Weather is everywhere - literally - as part of our life and part of our conversation and part of our personal history as we recall how our lives were affected by various forms of weather (and usually the weather gets a little bit worse every time we tell a story of a wether event we have experienced!)
So here we have spent all this time reading this little blurb about the weather and we still have come to the conclusion that the weather exists and even though we study it and stress over it and adapt to it, there is nothing at all we can do about it. If it is going to rain, it will rain and if it is going to snow it will snow and if it is going to be a wonderfully nice day it will be a wonderfully nice day.
As much as I dislike the saying, “It is what it is” when we talk about the weather all we can say is, “It is what it is”.
So if we spend all this time and energy and conversation on something we can’t do anything about, why are we so reluctant to spend all this time and energy and conversation on something that is eternally more important and has more impact on the choices in our daily lives…. Yes we still have to think about whether to wear a coat or not, but don’t we intentionally have to think about if we are going to spend the day glorifying and serving God?
And aren’t we taught that if we do spend our day glorifying and serving God then we will be able to make a difference unlike any impact we can have on the weather? Isn't a conversation about God more impactful on our lives and the lives of those around us that what the weather was 5 years ago when it was pretty cold...
And yes, unlike any change we can make in the weather, you can make a difference in the world around you; if you spend your day intentionally talking about God and making choices honoring God; if you make God as important in your everyday thinking as the weather - with God’s help we can make a true dent in the people around us! We can't say "It is what it is" when we talk about God, but with God "It is" with God can become a pivotal moment in someone's life! Amen

Devotion October 4, 2017

I’m from West Virginia.  When you are in another state, you learn that West Virginia is known for a lot of things….  people who don’t wear shoes (I still haven’t quite figured out where this came from but I have run into this notion many times over my life when I am somewhere else), poverty, coal mines, being mistaken for Virginia, burning couches, and mountains.  We are the 'Mountain State' after all!
Well the mountains thing pleases me because of all the things West Virginia might be known for mountains is one that is not only true but a great part about the state.  
The mountains are beautiful and it doesn’t matter what time of year it is.  During the Fall there is a plethora of beautiful colors everywhere you look, during winter there are evergreens that bring some color to the the white snow covered landscape, in the spring there are those beautiful light green new leaves and dots of purple and red color everywhere, and in the summer the full green leaves just make everything a joy…..
Now I know that West Virginia is not the only state with wonderful mountains and beautiful trees but it is home and it is nice to be from a place that is known for its beautiful heights and glorious summits.
However, I will be honest and mention a couple of the down sides to living in a state that is pretty much covered throughout with hills and mountains.
One is driving… There are skills to driving in the mountains.  One of those skills is patience.  Not only do you have to drive slower because you just can’t go around many of those curves at 55 mph or you will join the trees that border all the roads; and if you get behind a slower car or a log truck or a gravel truck or a coal truck who have real issues traversing the hills, then behind these trucks you are just going to go slow because passing is not an option in most places and often the trucks are so big you can’t see around them anyway…. And I won’t even mention driving in the mountain when it is snowing.
So the other down side to living and driving in the mountains is cell phone service.  Now I am sure there are many people who can tell you the ins and outs of how cell phone service works and I’ll be honest, I am not really concerned about that… but I do get concerned about the fact that in many (if not most) of these mountainous areas your cell phone does not work. 
I say to myself, ‘what did you do all those years before cell phone service’ and I answer myself, ‘that is really not relevant now because we do have cell service now..’ but not in the mountains.  
So you head into the mountains and that hysterical part of you checks your messages and emails and Facebook and all that social media stuff and you take a big gulp because you know you are going to be ‘off grid’ for a while and can you or the world stand that….
And in reality one does because we are use to the fact that if there was a problem with you or the car or whatever you are always just a couple push buttons away from help and when you in are this cell phone free zone that help is not so quickly available.
But what I do think is pretty funny is that when you drive through the mountains and you come out somewhere at the bottom in some type of civilization, all of a sudden you start hearing all this buzzing and dinging and beeping and you realize that your cell phone has just come back on line and you are getting all the messages and emails and Facebook notifications that have been waiting for you while you were up in the mountains! Ding, buzz, beep, buzz…. the world has now found you and there is a part of you that sighs a bit of relief!
But you know, there are no mountains isolated enough or tall enough to separate you from God. There are no curves too tight to pull you off track and away from the one who loves and created you.  You never have to worry about driving into a ‘God free zone’ like you do a ‘cell phone free zone’ because there are no God free zones.  God truly is everywhere, God is with you every moment - and even if you feel like you are on a pinnacle or deep in a valley we are assured of the loving arms of our God.  
Since we know that the Almighty powerful God is there, we can do without our cells for a couple minutes…..