Friday, May 3, 2019 4:15 PM

Friday, May 3, 2019 4:15 PM
Friday, May 3, 2019 4:15 PM

When we moved to our new home in Chattanooga, I put out three birdfeeders in our backyard. Throughout this past year, I have seen many variety of birds visit my feeders. There have been bluebirds, eastern towhee, chickadees, cardinals, robins, European starling, brown-headed cowbirds, catbirds, red-wing blackbirds, a common grackle, an Indigo bunting, yellow finches, a downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, and red-bellied woodpecker.

I might mention there have been rabbits, chipmunks, opossums, raccoons, and of course squirrels, that have also gathered for a meal at the Gooden feeders. Judy and I had a red tailed hawk stop by for a few moments. The other critters were not too pleased by his presence.
I was on the porch the other evening, enjoying these variety of birds coming and going from the feeders and I was reminded of what Jesus said: “If you decide for God, living a life of God worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at meal-times or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, or to your outer appearance, than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds...Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now. Don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matthew 6:25-26,34 The Message)
Disconnect a while! Take time today to enjoy God’s wonderful and beautiful creation. If God cares so much for these creatures, how much more God cares for you!

Oh, guess what just flew by? A bald-headed eagle. Amazing! Simply amazing!

Blessings on your day! – Mark Gooden

Friday, April 26, 2019 8:26 AM

Transforming

Friday, April 26, 2019 8:26 AM
Friday, April 26, 2019 8:26 AM

If we were Jewish people, we would still be in the middle of the Passover celebration.

Passover is an eight-day festival and it is the celebration that we Christians have come to call Easter. Although Easter is always on a Sunday for us, and we celebrate with a Holy Week that begins on Palm Sunday, Passover is set by the phase of the moon. Passover this year began on Friday, April 19 and will end on Saturday, April 27. The two days at the beginning of Passover and the two days at the end are very holy days. No work is to be done on these four days.

The first Passover brought the ultimate freedom of Israel – freedom out of bondage in Egypt. They look upon the Passover as the nation of Israel receiving a new beginning or new birth. Life was transformed for them. Things would never be the same for them as long as they followed God who saved them. That is what God did for us through Christ during that Passover Festival a little over 2000 years ago. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, he set us free and gave us a new beginning, a transformation from sin to life in Christ.

Brennan Manning puts it this way: “The Christian lives in Christ and Christ in the Christian through the Holy Spirit. We are empowered to live new lives where sin has no place. If we do not, we frustrate the power of the paschal mystery by our refusal of faith in the power. How often are Christians unwilling to believe that they have been transformed.”
Passover/Easter is the event where God has brought freedom from slavery, transformed sinner to saint and brought life from death. At Easter time this year lets ask, “Are we Christians really living into this transforming power of God?” If so, “how are our lives transformed?” And, “how are we transforming the world?”
     Geaux Tigers, Barry

Thursday, April 18, 2019 2:43 PM

RE - Affirming Our Faith

Thursday, April 18, 2019 2:43 PM
Thursday, April 18, 2019 2:43 PM

RE - Affirming Our Faith

A recent discussion about the Apostles’ Creed reminded me of a church member’s stated resistance towards reciting the creed. His concerns were over the words, “we believe in the holy catholic church…” The sincerity of this brother was clear as he said, “I honestly struggle with those words and cannot (in good conscience) say that I believe in {the holy catholic church}.”

I expressed gratitude for such honest, contemplative sharing of his observations. We agreed that reciting with others, the words of the creed, was a time of reaffirming and giving substance to our faith. Further prayerful discussion led us beyond the creed’s affirmations about God and the identity of believers, and allowed us to focus on the community of the people of God. I noted that the word “catholic” was not capitalized, nor meant to signify the name of the church.

Rather, the emphasis was/is placed on the nature of the Body of Christ as being holy and universal – We are part of the family of God who shares an unbroken line of communion…

Together, let us continue to strongly affirm our faith. Whenever there is a deficient view of the Church, may God resolve questions within our minds with divine answers in our hearts!

– Linda I. McDaniel

Friday, April 12, 2019 1:02 PM

The Worst Thing...

Friday, April 12, 2019 1:02 PM
Friday, April 12, 2019 1:02 PM

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
What is the worst day of your life?
What is your greatest failure?

One of the things that I love about Simon Peter is how often he messes up! Not because I am rooting for him to fail but because of how he is able to respond to his failures through the grace of God. The next two weeks in the life of the church include some of the worst days of Peter’s life and some of his biggest mistakes. But just like Peter it is not mistakes that define us but what happens on Easter Sunday!

In Adam Hamilton’s book, Simon Peter, we are reminded “Peter’s story shows us that we need not be defined by our failures. God does not define us by the worst thing we ever did. Jesus makes amazing use of flawed disciples. He continually invites us back, forgives us, and restores us. Sometimes he uses us even more profoundly, not merely in spite of our flaws and failures but because of them. Jesus is the Lord of the second chance. If the disciple who denied knowing Jesus could become the Rock on which the church was built, there is hope for us too.” (p 105)
Frederick Buechner encourages us as Resurrection people. “Resurrection reminds us that the worst thing is never the last thing.” As we journey towards the cross and ultimately towards resurrection, remember that the worst thing you’ve ever done, the worst day of your life, or your greatest failure do not define who you are! You are a beloved child of God and I can’t wait to celebrate resurrection with you.

In Christ, Will

Thursday, March 28, 2019 4:01 PM

Our Soul’s Response

Thursday, March 28, 2019 4:01 PM
Thursday, March 28, 2019 4:01 PM

One of today’s devotionals reminded me of ways in which we respond to heartaches and trials. Though some may choose to weep in silence, others may groan as the agonies of the soul weigh heavily upon their hearts. Each has a different way of handling pressure, and we express ourselves, accordingly.

These powerful words stood out: “It is said that springs of sweet, fresh water pool up amid the saltiness of the oceans, that the fairest Alpine flowers bloom in the wildest and most rugged passes, and that the most magnificent psalms arose from the most profound agonies of the soul. May it continue to be! Therefore, amid a multitude of trials, souls who love God will discover reasons for boundless leaping joy. Even though ‘deep calls to deep’ (Psalm 42.7), the clear cadence of the Lord’s song will be heard.”

I do believe that during the most difficult hours that could ever enter a human life, it will be possible to bless the Lord at all times. God’s Spirit continues to share the Lenten journey ahead as we remember the path that Jesus walked, for us, all the way to Calvary and beyond…

As the deer pants for
streams of water, so my
soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for
the living God. Psalm 42:1-2a

– Dr. Linda I. McDaniel

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