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Fruitfulness – My Psalm 28 Story

Fruitfulness Devotional

Lenten greetings of peace, love and joy! Today is a special day! It is the 13th day of Lent. It is also the day that my devotion entry has been published by #PictureLent. I will include the link to it below so that you may see my contribution as well as the contributions of the other authors all the way up through Easter. I’ve also included the text here, because what are our personal blogs for it not to showcase the gifts and talents God has blessed us with??? Make sure you let me know what you think of what you read, and how God is blessing you through this look at Psalm 128.

Gardens, Children and Ministry

“How joyful are those who fear the Lord — all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be!” ‭‭ (Psalms‬ ‭128:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬)
https://www.bible.com/bible/116/psa.128.1-2.nlt

Walking this journey to the Cross with Christ is often demanding, rigorous and disorienting. I pray that you also experience Lent as hope-filled, energizing, and life-giving. On this, the 13th day of Lent, let us take a moment to breathe in that hope and life God provides as we breathe out the struggle and disorientation life sometimes offers. As the Psalmist prays for abundant blessings on Israel, I pray for abundant blessings upon you, your family and community.

As we walk, work, eat and drink, play and love, we seek to find the balance most pleasing to God. If we have children, we hold their hands so that they remain close to us and close to Christ. Scripture says we are blessed if we walk in the way of the righteous. So, I implore you to persevere on this journey to the Cross.

The Psalmist confidently asserts that all who fear/revere/respect and obey the Lord will be abundantly blessed. For Israel, if a person had fruitful lands and many sons, these were signs of God’s favor. Thus, the man blessed with a wife who bore many children who in turn worked the land and bore more children would have been seen as most highly favored.

Today, bearing numerous children and working the fields and vineyards may not be the symbols of fruitfulness in our culture. However, many of us, myself included, find happiness and blessing through our relationships with others, including our spouses, children, family, and friends. Lent is an ideal time to ponder the gifts God has given and still has in store for us. Now may be an ideal time to identify the gifts and talents we possess and how God is calling us to employ them for the journey.

Even today, we identify with the blessing of fruitful soil. Many of us live in urban areas where we are fortunate if we have small gardens where we may plant flowers, cucumbers, squash and potatoes. Yet, when we look around, we see the land bearing fruit. Down the street from my apartment, there is a family who grows oranges and another who grows grapefruit. Thank God for this fruitfulness.

Every summer, the children who participate in Saint Mark United Methodist Church, Los Angeles’ summer enrichment program work in the garden. We provide cups/containers and they plant and water their projects. At summer’s end, they take home the fruits of their labor. The children also help tend the garden and sometimes take home vegetables if they are ripe. God’s ministry through us is bearing much good fruit: literal crops planted, harvested and eaten; children and families who have the means to plant and eat healthy food; and a church and community better able to appreciate the amazingness of God’s creation and the vitality of our service as stewards. Inthese endeavors and others, only God truly knows how fruitful our prayers, plantings and plucking-up will be. Lord, bless your faithful people with fruitfulness.

Let Us Pray

Lord, take our stumbling, sometimes grudging and often uncertain steps, infuse them with your grace and assurance, and remind us that you are the source of our blessings and fruitfulness. You have given us Scripture to make straight and give light to our path. We give you thanks. Bless us, O Lord, as we scatter the seeds you have entrusted to us. May they bear fruit for your Kingdom for generations to come. Amen!

Let Us Do

Fruitfulness Bag: Put together at least one non perishable food bag to give away to a person in need. Please include applesauce or some other non perishable fruit cup, and if you include a juice pouch or box, please make sure it is 100% fruit juice. Preparing one bag for each household member or group member (if you are participating as part of a group or household) would be ideal.

Let Us Reflect

  1. In which ways has your life been fruitful (children, spouse, ministry, acts of kindness, answers to prayers, etc.)?
  2. How is your observance of Lent pruning you for greater fruitfulness for God?
  3. Discuss Holy and fruitful fear vs. debilitating and counterproductive fear. Which fear does God desire of us, and how does our understanding of fear impact our understanding of and relationship with God?

Website https://mailchi.mp/riotexas/picturelent-march-11-fruitfulness?e=e87b03a3e3

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Give Up Scapegoating for Lent

This passage has always made me sad. It’s just a for shadowing of the sadness I felt at reading of Jesus on the cross or experiencing the lamb who is the only one who could open the seven seals. We are to repent! And mean it!

https://www.bible.com/bible/111/lev.16.20-22.niv““When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness.”

Leviticus 16:20-22 NIV

Lord Jesus, I thank you for inviting us on this journey. I thank you that those of us who have made it this far or at least this committed to the journey and we thank you for the power we know you will give us to go all the way with you to the cross and glory. Thank you for being the ultimate scapegoat, sacrifice and atonement for our sins. May we be better and may we become more like you. In Jesus precious and holy name we pray, by the power and the gift of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon us by God the father, amen!

Just A Closer Walk

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Saturdays are for sleeping in and lazy mornings! Well, not today. Since I did have to wake up early, I can hardly think of a better way to spend the morning than supporting future leaders! Marlon, my husband, and I attended Saint Mark LA’s 28th annual scholarship fundraiser prayer breakfast. The guest speaker was dynamic and inspiring. The testimony from the college graduate who had received a scholarship in the past was heartwarming and a prayer stations were perfect. The food was awesome, but what else can you expect! The black church always could do food!

One of the activities they encouraged at this breakfast was to write notes on index cards, which would be sent to scholarship recipients away at college. You know how homesickness works. So the index cards were on the table and we could write messages. This is crucial considering how many of our young people go away to college and how few of them return to our or even other churches. Remember to let your 20 somethings young Adults and your teams know they are not alone and wherever they go or however far they travel, God is with them and so are we.

And this reminded me of a quote I read yesterday in Max Lakato Be Anxious for Nothing:

“What you have in Christ is greater than anything you don’t have in life.” (Max Lucado AFN Ch. 7)

let us remember as we journey through light so that we can remind our children, youth and young adults, that no matter how challenging and rocky life gets, life with God is better than life or death without God. Let us be that presence of Christ in a broken and hurting world today and every day. Amen!

Blogging to Easter: My intro to Blogging

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I am, as you are, part of God’s great story. Writing is my way of putting voice to the chapters of my story. I wrote my first little story in Braille in elementary and have loved writing poetry, articles, short stories and even newsletters ever since. I have always had the feeling I should write a book, but no idea has quite solidified yet. Should I write an autobiography, creative nonfiction, the first Systematic Theology Text by a Black female Methodist? What?? Time to try my hand at blogging!

So, as you know by now, my name is Christy! I am a mother to Shaun, who is 11. I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have a Terrior Puppy! All of us are life-long Californians!

Vocationallly, I am Minister Of Children, Youth & Young Families with Saint Mar, Los Angeles. Concurrently, I am working toward ordination in the United Methodist Church as an Ordained Deacon, called to word, service, justice and compassion ministries. As our children, youth and families grow in faith and receive the vital nurture they need to thrive, they will take their stories out into the street and be the bridge to Christ for a broken world who so strongly needs hope, love and healing. My Master’s In Divinity (M.Div.) from Fuller Theological Seminary (2015) and B.A. in Collaborative Health, Human Services and Public Policy/Social Work reflect my conviction that the Child Welfare System and policies of our nation must be overhauled and our children must be protected and defended and the church has a key role in making sure this work is done.

Much of my childhood was spent in foster care, and so I am dedicated to being the light especially for at-risk youth and young adult populations, but also for all of those whom God sends my way. In 1985 at the age of three, I lost my vision and I’m to this day partially sighted, so I also have a special need to serve as a light for those with physical disabilities who the world often pities and/or shuns. We give lip service to justice for all, including children, the disabled, people o( all sexual orientations and races, but this is not the reality in many cases. So, the fight is going strong for social, political economic and all other forms of justice in the world.

For this, my first blogging attempt, I will journey through Lent with you. Starting Wednesday, which is Ash Wednesday, and leading up to Easter, which falls on April 21 this year, I will post daily on my journey to the cross with Christ and you all. I post pretty regularly on Facebook and Instagram anyway and figure it is time to try my hand at blogging. This is also a spiritual discipline and a way to hold myself accountable to daily reflection on journeying with Christ. My goal is to provide you with solidarity, resources, which will help you along your journey and have a lot of fun in the process. I hope to hear from you as to what you think, what would be more helpful for you, and any prayer requests you may have. May God bless you today and always. Shalom!