Surprised by God

This was the title of our Pastor’s sermon last Sunday. His closing remark was, “Let’s pray that we might be surprised by God once again.  Amen.

I almost always close my morning devotion time with an added prayer that God will send me a pleasant surprise that day. Upon occasion the prayer is answered.

Recently, I wanted to give a friend a book I remembered reading a long time ago, “Become a Better You” by Joel Osteen, Pastor and author. My friend has enjoyed watching Joel’s TV ministry, and I knew the book would make her feel better about some problems she is facing at this time.

In the retirement residence where I live we often get book donations for our library. It is my pleasure to help arrange the books on shelves at these times.

Before I could get out to buy “Become a Better You” for my friend, it came my way via donation. You can imagine my surprise to find this book in my hands without having to take a step out of the building, or a penny out of my pocket.

Pastor Duncan’s sermon last Sunday reminded me of how much I love being surprised by God.

Happy Tuesday.

More Powerful Words

Our pastor recently mentioned a quote by Winston Churchill which made me think of the battle we are fighting in today’s world.

Never was so much owed by so many to so few” was a wartime speech made by the British prime minister, Winston Churchill, in August 1940. He was referring to the pilots of the Royal Air Force, who fought so fiercely in the Battle of Britain. They were sorely outnumbered.

To me, this applies to all the front line workers who are too few for the too many who are suffering from the corona virus. Doctors, nurses, all medical and scientific personnel waging war against the battle of Covid, to save lives while risking their own.

As the RAF crews experienced victory in the past, may those on this new frontier experience the same victorious outcome as new battling words are spoken: “Mask up, keep a distance, wash your hands.”

Never was so much owed by so many to so few.”


The Power of Words

When I hear or read the words of those who speak from the heart as well as the intellect, it always gives me pause to ponder and reflect. Following are words spoken by a President, a Civil Rights Leader, and a Poet. Each put their thoughts forward for the rest of us to think about. Pastor Duncan’s Sunday sermon included reference to these people and the power of their words and I can’t help but share it.

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” John F. Kennedy, U.S. President

“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.” Martin Luther King Jr. Minister and Social Rights activist.

“We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another” Amanda Gordon, Poet. Amanda recited these stirring words at President Biden’s inauguration.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Jesus in Sermon on the Mount

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1

Today I am going to delve deeper into the power of words.

God Has a Sense of Humor

And so should we, even on Sunday. Proverbs 17:22 says A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

*One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex standing in the foyer of the church staring up at a large plaque. It was covered with names with small American flags mounted on either side of it.

The seven-year-old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor stood by the little boy and said, “Good morning, Alex.” “Good morning, Pastor,” he replied still focused on the plaque.

“Pastor, what is this?” he asked.

“Well, son, it’s a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service.”

Soberly they stood together staring at the large plaque when finally Alex, his voice barely audible and trembling with fear, asked, “Which service was it, the 9:45 or the 11:15?”

*Found on the internet 7/4/2016.

Happy Sunday.



Hung Up on a Word

Some people get hung up on the word, “repent”. It seems to automatically ring a ‘religion’ bell in their head and they are turned off  probably because of Acts 2:38 where Peter tells the people, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…”

In this regard repent means to be sorry for living in ways that dishonor God.

However,  Professor Robert Wall, Professor of Scripture and Wesleyan Studies, adds that it is “the internal and intellectual act of exchanging old beliefs for new ones.”

To me, this explanation is much more digestible and may appeal to those outside of religion as well as to the religious.

The internal and intellectual act of exchanging old beliefs for new ones…it makes me happy that I got hung up on a word. 

This post was prompted by a blog from Matthew Ruttan’s devotional, UP, on April 29th.

Out of the Pages

For the last three Sundays, our church, St. Andrew’s Scarborough, has had the privilege of meeting Biblical folk practically face to face.

First it was Peter. He stepped out of the pages of the Bible and spoke to us through Pastor Duncan. He told of his life as a disciple of Jesus and what it was like to be in the company of this amazing man for the three years of his ministry on earth.

The following Sunday we met Mary Magdalene, speaking to us through Pastor Monica. She also told us about how much she had learned and profited from knowing Jesus.

Then, we met Lazarus. What a story he had to tell…what it was like to die and then be called back to life by his best friend, this very same Jesus.

Today we meet the High Priest, Caiaphas. Caiaphas presided over the Sanhedrin, the highest court of the Jewish people, and organized the plot to kill Jesus. I’m looking forward to hearing what he has to say for himself. Happy Sunday


Sharing the Blessings

Yesterday we shared the grief of the residents of Humboldt and surrounding areas. People around the world have poured out their support in many various ways and continue to do so.

Likewise, there are many ways of sharing our spiritual blessings and I believe my blog and my book, both titled My Precious Life, are the ways God has provided me with this kind of sharing. I don’t know about you, but I appreciate the ways people share their blessings with me and I’m thankful to all of you who do so.

Rev. Matthew Ruttan of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Barrie, Ontario is responsible for this new life lesson this morning. He can be found at  

God Has a Sense of Humor

God has a sense of humor…or at least some of his clergy do. We had a guest speaker for our men’s day service yesterday. This pastor also happens to be a wonderful saxophone player who often plays in the contemporary music part of our services. He did not play his sax yesterday but did make reference to human saxuality and sax appeal. You would wonder how that fit into a sermon but it did, much to the congregation’s delight…or at least most of us.

The choir was a special men’s group consisting of twenty-six gents of various ages including three youth, the youngest being twelve, our regular pastor, the guest pastor, and a trumpet player. The music was superb and a solo performed by one of our regular tenors was flawless, moving a couple of our ladies to tears.

Whether or not we believe God has a sense of humor we need only look at Psalm 126:2 Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy to describe our congregation yesterday.

God obviously has endowed our (dare I say saxy?) guest preacher with the gift of laughter and the ability to share it.



A Family Day Prayer

Sometimes certain prayers will resonate with us more than others. Our associate pastor, Monica McClure, gave such a prayer yesterday and I’d like to share it with you, with her permission. It not only touches on Family Day but our world issues which certainly need much prayer.

 Prayers of the People

Abba Father,  As a people who dwell in the shelter of the Most high, we praise you for being our refuge. Lord, there is safety for us in the shelter of your wings. We thank you for our mountain top experiences of your grace which have strengthened our faith and given us hope for the future.

As we continue to walk with you on life’s journeys…through the valleys as well as on the mountain tops…draw near to us so that that we might dwell forever in your presence.

Generous God, you have blessed us with life. You have placed us in families giving us a place to call home.

On this family day weekend we think about our own families. We thank you for our parents who gave us life, our family members who have shared and enriched our lives and with whom we share many memories…

We thank you Heavenly Father for setting the solitary in families. But, we are also mindful that for some of us the word “Family” brings mixed emotions or heartache…some of us have experienced much pain within our family relationships…People who should have loved us and cared for us have failed us…Some of us feel the pain of abandonment, of abuse, of neglect…of heartbreaking loss, the pain of disappointed hopes and missed expectations, the pain of alienation from loved ones. Have mercy on us Lord, and minister to us your healing grace even in the messiness of our family relationships.

Father, today we pray for those who long to be married and have their own children…for childless couples who long to be parents…hear and answer the desires and prayers of their hearts. We pray for those that are in the midst of parenting infants, children, and young people.   Give them wisdom, courage and stamina in raising their children to be well-adjusted citizens of the world, with a real desire to love and serve you.

We thank you for our St. Andrew’s church family today…another family to which we belong…one branch of the body of Christ…with almost 200 years of family history!  Remind us of our commitment as a church to provide for and participate in the spiritual nurture of our children and young people. Continue to bless us, encourage us and keep us faithful to your call to share the good news of Jesus with everyone.

Prince of Peace, we continue to lift up the needs of our own broken world in the turmoil that surrounds us…We ask you to give wisdom, discernment and courage to elected representatives in government. We pray for people who are very anxious about what the future holds for them. For those who feel powerless to effect decisions that will have a direct impact on their lives. Remind us,  that although we do not know what the future holds we know that you hold the future…and give us your peace. In Jesus’ name we pray.  AMEN

 Pastor Monica McClure

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Scarborough

February 19th, 2017




Be My Guests

Today we are to “feature a guest” as #everydayinspiration nineteen. Ideally this guest should be one from the participants of these assignments, but I am choosing to invite all readers as my guests, and instead, feature two people from my favorite church in the world, St. Andrew’s Scarborough. (Everyone has their favorite.)

The first is our Pastor Duncan. Wow! This man uplifts me week after week, and has been the inspiration for many of my writing topics, today’s included. Lately he’s been talking about Jonah and how God got his attention by allowing him to spend three days and three nights in the belly of a big fish. Most people think of a whale as being the only fish big enough to swallow a whole man. Now, you’re thinking what’s so inspirational about that? The crux of the story is that Jonah, as a man of God, was supposed to warn the City of Ninevah to change their disobedient ways or their city would be destroyed in forty days. Jonah didn’t want to have anything to do with saving the sinful city and so refused God’s instructions. Hence the time out in the whale’s gut.

So, what’s that got to do with you and me? Only one thing. We are here to uphold God’s will for a perfect world, and if it means going to our own Ninevah to try to instill some sense into those whose intentional or unintentional behavior takes the lives of others, either physically or emotionally, then so be it. Those are our marching orders. I learned on Sunday that I either start to march or face the fate that Jonah did. God, help me!

The second person to uplift me that day was a soloist from our choir. “I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free, His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.” The words were sung with strength, clarity, power and joy. Our singer has recently seen the inside of a whale’s gut…that place of dark unknown. Just two weeks ago she spent three days in hospital when some unknown malady robbed her of her speaking voice, let alone singing voice. She could have begged off Sunday’s commitment citing that episode, but despite her visible nervousness, she got up there and inspired the whole congregation. Wow!

So whether you are face to face with a huge fish or waiting for God to reel you in for His own purposes, I’m delighted that you took this time out to be my guests. I hope you had a whale of a time. oops 🙂