Daily Devotional


Rev. Dr. Steven Sunghwan Cho, Pastor​
11023 Liberty Road 
Randallstown, Maryland 21133

410-922-6556    Email: WardsChapel@verizon.net

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Serving Baltimore, Carroll, and Howard Counties. We are conveniently located on the corner of Liberty Rd and Wards Chapel Rd in Baltimore County, just a short drive from Carroll County and Howard County.​

Daily Devotional

12/26 Saturday

by WCUMC Member on 12/26/20

Today’s Bible verse:
Luke 1:68-69
68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David."

Reflection:
With these words, Zechariah affirmed that the prophecies from long ago would come true. A Savior, A Messiah, A Shepherd, A Teacher, The Lamb of God, The Light of the World,...All of these descriptions for one Man. We call him, Jesus. Only God alone could foresee the power that this Man has. Two Thousand years later, millions of people, celebrate His Birth, His Life, His Death, and the fact that He Arose again. He fulfilled so many promises. He performed so many miracles. He healed so many people. He restored so many souls. He is still at work for each and every one of us. May his work be a blessing for us all.
Pray with us:
Lord, We thank you for sending us a Savior who lived with us, died for us, and who now sits beside You to speak for us all the days of our lives. We ask that we may be worthy of His Sacrifice. Guide Us and Direct Us that we may share your Love for us with our fellow man. In His Name we pray. AMEN.

(Reflection & Prayer by Myron Horn)

12/25 - Christmas

by WCUMC Member on 12/25/20

Today’s Bible verse:
Luke 2:10-12
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Reflection:
Today is Christmas. We celebrate the birth of Jesus together. As we have meditated, the most important image of the Christmas season is the image of ‘a baby.’ The Son of God was sent to this world and his son clothed the body of a baby. The most vulnerable being of the world. Then a question follows, ‘can a baby save the world?’
However, what faithful people found out from this image, the baby Jesus was the most powerful and also provocative message. Jesus transforms this world, not by violent power or cutting-edge weapons. Jesus did not use powerful politicians or the well-educated leaders of the community. Jesus changed the life of normal people, and he touched the heart of ordinary people. Then they began spreading the love of God to the world and did not hesitate to sacrifice to shine the light of God to the world.
Still, we have a lot of questions, asking ‘Can our faith can change this world?’ and ‘How we can spread the message of God?’ But the Christmas lesson is that we have to go back to the message of God. A baby touched us, and it is the most valuable lesson. It is love, from our Father. God sent his Son to save us, and the baby teaches us about the pure and most precious love of God. So, think about the way that God has changed this world. God ignited the heart of the ordinary people and they proved the love of God in their lives. This Christmas season, learn a lesson from the baby Jesus, and have a time of meditation on Christmas lesson today.
Pray with us:
Lord, you came to us and sacrificed everything. Now we know your love and your endurance. Even when we did not listen to you, you have faithfully stayed with us and guided us the right way. Lord, give us your wisdom and help us to grow every day in your faithfulness. We will listen to you and learn the lesson of Christmas. You sent your son, and the son sacrificed everything for us. This is the most powerful evidence that you love us. Thank you for your love. We pray in your name.

(Reflection & Prayer by Pastor Steven Cho)

12/24 Thursday - Advent Season

by WCUMC Member on 12/24/20

Carol:
Silent Night
You may have heard the story behind this carol before. “Silent Night” (or “Stille Nacht” in German) was first performed in 1818 on Christmas Eve in a small village in the Austrian Empire. The poem had been written two years earlier by Father Joseph Mohr. On that Christmas Eve, the organ in the village church had been damaged by flooding. So in order to have some music for the evening mass, Joseph Mohr brought his poem to the organist, Franz Gruber, who composed a melody and a guitar accompaniment. It is a beautiful story and this charming film from 1953 tells it well.


Today’s Bible verse:
Luke 2:6-7
6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Reflection:
Christmas is the time to exalt in Jesus’ miraculous incarnation, then the Word became flesh and lived among us. Our Lord identified with mankind to the ultimate extent, by becoming a man and He became a resident of our world. Don’t let the familiarity of the event of this astonishing miracle dull its effect on you. Recognize that Jesus is the Gift above all gifts, and rejoice with Him.
As we celebrate the wonder of His birth in Bethlehem, celebrate also, your rebirth into eternal life. This everlasting gift was the sole purpose of Jesus entering our sin-filled world. Take time to explore the mass dimensions of His love. Allow thankfulness to flow freely from our hearts in response to this glorious gift. Let the Peace of Jesus Christ rule in our hearts, and be thankful.

Pray with us:
Gracious Father God, This time of year is so precious. We celebrate your birth and anticipate your return to us. Let us open our hearts to the wonder of Your entrance into human history, and our rebirth in your love. Lord, please help us open ourselves to you so that we may give you our burdens, and have you lift them from our aching shoulders. Let us hear Him whispering to us “I am with you” and rejoice in the strength that we gain by spending time with you. In Your wonderful and glorious Son we pray. Amen

(Reflection & Prayer by Kathy Ryan)

12/23 Wednesday - Advent Season

by WCUMC Member on 12/23/20

Carol:
Mary Had a Baby This is an African-American spiritual style carol. The lyrics are probably from the 18th century and the song was likely sung at religious revival camp meetings. The song is in a call-and-response style which was popular at the time and may have been used to unify the congregation in worship. The arranger of this song was William L. Dawson, a renowned African American composer, and arranger of many African American spirituals. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUp_G2HeOno

Today’s Bible verse:
Galatians 4:4-5
4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.

Reflection:
Perfect Timing
Timing is crucial! It can come down to the split second, making the difference in who wins or loses, if something is a success or failure, if a plan works or fails. Whether it’s planning a major event, cooking a meal, planting a garden or God sending His only Son to save us of our sins, timing is crucial. God’s timing is perfect! When the set time had fully come, God sent his Son. God arranged all of history for this moment and time. He arranged everything so that it happened at just the right time, just as the prophecy had said, everything happened just so. His timing is flawless.
Yet as his perfect plan unfolded, how many must have felt his time was off. Do you think the Jewish were happy that Rome had conquered them and was using Herod to rule over them? Or think of Joseph and Mary when they heard that decree from Caesar Augustus about having to go back to your home to be counted and taxed. Can you imagine Joseph throwing up his hands in frustration? Mary is about to have a baby, this is no time to travel. The timing could not be worse. But God’s timing is always best.
To carry out His mission, the almighty Son of God lowered himself and entered into this world under the most lowly circumstances. When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth his Son, made from a woman, made under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive adoption as sons.
And His timing not only worked 2000 years ago in Bethlehem, but also in your life. And as a child of God through faith in Jesus, you are also an heir. You have an inheritance with Him in heaven. All because of God’s perfect timing.
So when the timing in your life seems to be going wrong, when you want to throw up your hands in frustration shouting why is this happening to me, remember God’s timing! God’s timing is not our timing, God’s timing is perfect!

Pray with us:
Thank you Father for sending Jesus into the world at the right time. Thank you that Jesus fulfilled all the righteous requirements of the law so that we may be forgiven. Help me to rely on my faith and trust in your timing, even when things appear to be going wrong. Remembering your timing is perfect! Amen.

(Reflection & Prayer by Melinda Dettmer)

12/22 Tuesday - Advent Season

by WCUMC Member on 12/22/20

Carol:
God Rest You Merry Gentlemen This is an old carol from around the 16th century and its age is reflected in its somewhat archaic language. The word “rest” in the first line/title is used to mean “to keep” or “to remain”. Thus the phrase “God rest you merry, gentlemen” would mean something like “may God grant you peace and happiness”. This carol always makes me think of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and Victorian carolers, so enjoy this Victorian style caroling group singing a rendition of this carol. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MshveTyqFyg

Today’s Bible verse:
Luke 1:68
68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.

Reflection:
Today's verse is the beginning of Zechariah's song of praise. Zechariah, John the Baptist's father, was speaking as if the Lord had already arrived on the Earth and had saved the people of Israel. Zechariah believes that God has remained faithful to his promises made through prophets of old. John is only eight days old when his father sings the praises of the Lord and the Lord has yet to come. He sings of salvation for his people and as he waits, we look ahead to the one who is coming! How amazing it is to see the faith of Zechariah. We know how the story unfolds and yet, sometimes we are caught up in the wrappings of the season and forget that the story does not end with Christmas. May we too praise the Lord during this season of waiting and remember that the story continues and the end is salvation for all people!

Pray with us:
Heavenly Father, May we remember that this season of waiting is a time of praise not only for your coming but what is to come. Help us to give the Grace to others that we have been given by you even as we hurry and busy ourselves to meet the deadline of Christmas. Let us continue to have the Faith of Zechariah by remembering the promises God has given us. Amen

(Reflection & Prayer by Wendy Miller)

12/21 Monday - Advent Season

by WCUMC Member on 12/21/20

Today’s Bible verse:
Luke 1: 32-33
32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.

Reflection:
I will never forget the moment when I first held my oldest newborn son. It had been a long and expectant wait and the delivery had some challenges, but here he was - healthy, beautiful, and perfect. It was more wonderful than I had imagined. In the days that followed, we introduced our new child to excited family and friends. I remember clearly that my favorite moments were when I presented my son to both mine and my wife’s parents. As I watched my father hold his new grandson, I could see his joy. As my father was an only child and I his only son, I knew that he was proud and happy that the legacy of our name would continue.

When Mary heard the words of the angel, she was likely overwhelmed by his proclamation. In these two verses, the fulfillment of all that had God had promised to the patriarchs of Israel came to fruition. A Savior from the line of David would come to rule His chosen people and His kingdom would last forever. The many years of Israel’s pregnancy had been filled with both hope and suffering, but the arrival of the Messiah as prophesized by the prophets was imminent. The legacy of the nation was ensured, a legacy that would last forever.

Pray with us:
Father of Covenants, As you promised your servant Abraham, we are heirs of Your promise of a great nation. At the head of the chosen nation is Your blessed Son Jesus Christ. Let us mark the arrival of our perfect Savior and share with the world the Good News of His triumphant birth.

“For a child is born unto us, a son hath been given unto us, and the government is placed on his shoulders; and his name is called, Wonderful, Counsellor of the mighty God, of the everlasting Father, the prince of peace” (Isaiah 9:6)

Prayer Focus: Expectant New Mothers

(Reflection & Prayer by Ron Weller)

12/19 Saturday - Advent Season

by WCUMC Member on 12/19/20

Carol:

Ding Dong Merrily on High

The tune for this carol was originally a secular French dance song from the 16th century. English composer George Ratcliffe Woodward wrote the lyrics in 1924, likely influenced by his interest in church bells. In the second verse, you may hear the line “And ‘Io, io, io!’ / By priest and people sungen.” The word “Io” is a Latin interjection meaning something like “huzzah” or “hooray”. 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pPFWAkrcU0


Today’s Bible verse:
Isaiah 49:13
13 Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

Reflection:
Each morning as the sun bursts on the horizon, we have a glimpse of how great our God is. In this passage, we are reminded that if nature shouts for joy and bursts into song each day we too should be doing that. We know that the Lord comforts us and has compassion for us every day in a thousand little ways. We just have to stop and recognize those times. Then we will be able and willing to rejoice and burst into song and to share the Good News with everyone we meet.

Pray with us:
Dear Heavenly Father, We thank you for your compassion for us each day. You give us peace to face our trials. We thank you for the many gifts you send us each day and we are grateful. We thank you for nature that reminds us of how awesome you are each day. Help us to spread your love to those we meet today as we rejoice in your love. Amen

(Reflection & Prayer by Carol Parker)

12/18 Friday - Advent Season

by WCUMC Member on 12/18/20

Carol: On This Day Earth Shall Ring This Christmas carol is what is known as a macaronic hymn, or a hymn written in two languages. In this case, most of the hymn is in English but the refrain contains the Latin phrase “Ideo, Gloria in Excelsis Deo” which can be translated to “Therefore we sing, ‘Glory to God in the Highest.’” It is an adaptation of a 16th century Latin hymn. The first English lyrics were published in 1924. The setting published in our hymnal was arranged by Gustav Holst, whom you may recognize as the composer for the orchestral suite “The Planets”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZPRMvozqYI

Today's Bible verse:
Isiah 25:9
9 In that day they will say,
“Surely this is our God;
we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the LORD, we trusted in him;
let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

Reflection:
As I think about the word TRUST today, it seems one of negativity. We appear to be living in a time when we are taught to not trust anyone. With today’s technology those who wish to “steal our information, goods, and money” seem to have an upper hand. There are constant warnings to make passwords as difficult as possible, Don’t open suspicious e-mails, don’t answer the phone if you don’t know the number, install video devices to watch your home while you are away, and so on. Even our police have come to be mistrusted as misusing their authority in the ways of force and violence (I remember growing up being taught that if I ever needed help call a police officer – you can always trust them).
So what about trusting the Lord? The entire Bible is filled with stories of how God does not change; He loves us and keeps his promises. We can trust Him. It’s easy to trust and rejoice when we have had a prayer answered in our favor. Trusting on a daily basis, when things are not quite so “perfect” can become somewhat more sketchy. I know I have those times. When I’m experiencing that time of question I remember the Bible stories, tell God I really don’t know what he’s up to, but…, recall all the opportunities and blessing he provided even when I did not ask, and stop to take a look about me at all the things God created and how wonderful they are – yes even mosquitoes in the summer as they feed frogs and bats. God keeps his promises, even when we do not understand. He promised to reconcile us to Him and Sent his Son as our Salvation. Certainly Trust in God is for real. Doesn’t it feel good to know there is someone you can trust in our distrusting world?

Pray with us:
Dear God, As we continue in this Advent season preparing, once again to welcome your Son, let us rejoice in the promises you keep. Let us truly trust you no matter what comes our way. Let us welcome the baby in the manger as our Salvation and reconciliation to you. Through our celebrations, may we touch others that they may also believe and trust in you. We pray in Jesus’ name, AMEN

(Reflection & Prayer by Cindy Chambers)

12/17 Thursday - Advent Season

by WCUMC Member on 12/17/20

Carol:
O Little Town of Bethlehem
The lyrics for “O Little Town of Bethlehem” were written in 1868 by Phillips Brooks, an Episcopal priest, inspired by a visit to Jerusalem. The tune was written by his organist Lewis Reddner who tells the story of its composition:
“As Christmas of 1868 approached, Mr. Brooks told me that he had written a simple little carol for the Christmas Sunday-school service, and he asked me to write the tune to it. The simple music was written in great haste and under great pressure. We were to practice it on the following Sunday. Mr. Brooks came to me on Friday, and said, ‘Redner, have you ground out that music yet to "O Little Town of Bethlehem"? I replied, 'No,' but that he should have it by Sunday. On the Saturday night, previous my brain was all confused about the tune. I thought more about my Sunday-school lesson than I did about the music. But I was roused from sleep late in the night hearing an angel-strain whispering in my ear, and seizing a piece of music paper I jotted down the treble of the tune as we now have it, and on Sunday morning before going to church I filled in the harmony. Neither Mr. Brooks nor I ever thought the carol or the music to it would live beyond that Christmas of 1868.”
Today’s Bible verse:
Micah 5:2
2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Reflection:
The prophet Micah was active during a tumultuous time in Israel’s history. He reassures the Israelites that God’s covenant with David is still secure and that they will be given a new leader out of the line of David born in Bethlehem. He will be a surprising leader not from the royal city, Jerusalem, but the tiny town of Bethlehem. He will be a shepherd like David and will lead with peace and love.
Consistently, throughout the Bible, God delights in upsetting human expectations. He is full of surprises for us but steadfast in His covenant promises. Micah speaks in a turbulent world much like ours today. It is important that we see through the turbulence to look for God’s presence where we least expect it. Bethlehem was an insignificant, unassuming little town that held the greatest miracle of all time. Micah invites us to look for God’s presence everywhere even in unexpected, supposedly unimportant places.

Pray with us:
Our Heavenly Father, open our eyes that we may see the important promises in your covenant with us. Help us look into the corners of life and insignificant places of existence for your insights. There is no place or person unimportant to you. Tiny Bethlehem was blessed with the birth of your Son. And we, too, are blessed each day with your love and protection. Help us to put aside our worries and rest in the fulfillment of your eternal covenant with us. Amen.

(Reflection & Prayer by Barb Charnock)

12/16 Wednesday - Advent Season

by WCUMC Member on 12/16/20

Carol:

Away in a Manger

This classic children’s carol was once thought to have been composed by Martin Luther. With modern research, we now know it was not and likely originated in America. The tune that we sing this carol to today was first published by James R. Murray in his collection Dainty Songs for Little Lads and Lasses (1887). The English use a different tune written by American composer William J. Kirkpatrick and published in 1895. Enjoy both versions with these videos!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tLUqbqFUPQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4l05A4c0bZA

Today’s Bible verse:
Isaiah 9:6
6 "For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Reflection:
Isaiah's prophecy raised the hope of the enslaved and beaten down of the Jewish nation. A Messiah would come. They expected a wonderful counselor like Solomon. To me, it's the counsel of Paul to the churches of Asia Minor found in Philippians 4:4-8. They were looking for a mighty God, like mighty King David. To me, it means the miracles of Christ on or near the Sea of Galilee. They were looking for an almighty God to carry out the covenant of God through Abraham. It also means to me, eternal life through the death of Christ on the Cross. They were looking for a Prince of peace who would end enslavement and warfare. To me, it's the peace of mind to meet each day with its challenges to those of faith.

Pray with us:
Incarnate God, hear our prayer. We thank you for sending your son and giving us the wisdom through the Holy Scriptures, the mightiness through your miracles, and our eternal life through the sacrifice of your son on the cross and peace everlasting. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.

(Reflection & Prayer by Wayne Reisberg)

12/15 Tuesday - Advent Season

by WCUMC Member on 12/15/20

Today’s Bible verse:
Jeremiah 23:5-6
5 "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteous Savior."

Reflection:
The Lord made many promises to his people. What is a promise? I remember when I was a kid and someone would say, "Will you promise to be my best friend forever and ever. Cross your heart and hope to die?" You really believed that would be forever. A promise is a reason to expect something, it's a pledge. You anticipate that it will happen. You put your trust in that promise. When we promised our parents that we would do our chores, they trusted us to do that. We trusted them when they said they would always love us.
In these verses, the Lord speaks through Jeremiah of the prophecy of the coming Messiah and his characteristics. The people anticipated and trusted in the Lord's promise, not knowing it was in the far-off future. We have the privilege of knowing that the Messiah did come. This has given us many opportunities not only to develop a personal relationship with him but also to serve him.

Pray with us:
Dear Heavenly Father, we give you thanks and praise for promising us a Savior and fulfilling that promise through the birth of a babe in the manger. May we anticipate his birth again during this Advent season and what that will mean to all people. Give us the confidence to keep our promise to love and serve others making this world a better place. In Jesus name. Amen.

(Reflection & Prayer by Pauline Reisberg)

12/14 Monday - Advent Season

by WCUMC Member on 12/14/20

Today’s Bible verse:
Matthew 28:18-20
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, "I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Reflection:
When I was young, I heard a sermon about the Israelites being the chosen people. My first reaction was why are they so special? Why would God choose them over me? Perhaps many of the early Gentiles felt the same way. This God is only for the Jews. All others need not apply. Jesus, in his own words, tells us this is not true. "Go and make disciples of all the Nations." That is why Paul was specifically sent out among the Gentiles. So that he could take the message to all the people. Don't ever think that you are unworthy.

Pray with us:
Precious Lord, Help us to realize that you are always there for us. You are not just the Lord of the Israelite people. You are there for all the Nations and for all Time. Bless you, for keeping watch over us as a Shepherd watches His Sheep. Help us learn to be your disciples. In Jesus Name, AMEN.
(Reflection & Prayer by Myron Horn)

12/12 Saturday - Advent Season

by WCUMC Member on 12/12/20

Carol:
Mary Did You Know
The lyrics to this well known Christmas song were written in 1984 by Mark Lowry. They contemplate the nature of the relationship between Mary and her baby Jesus. Mark Lowry said, “I just tried to put into words the unfathomable. I started thinking of the questions I would have for her if I were to sit down & have coffee with Mary. You know, ‘What was it like raising God?’ ‘What did you know?’ ‘What didn't you know?’”.


Bible verse:
Isaiah 7:14
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Reflection:
In general, there are 3 types of signs mentioned in the Bible.
First, there are times in history God has chosen to create “Signs & Wonders” to send a message, warning, or to mark the fulfillment of a promise. These types of “signs” are clearly biblical. These are rare, God chooses to use these types of signs for special purposes and reasons, but not something we should seek after.
Second, Signs that are evidence for what God wants you to do in your life”. This is biblical and as Christians, we should always be looking for so we can fulfill God’s specific will for our life.
Third, horoscopes and superstitions. This category is not biblical and should not be sought after by Christians.
This pandemic has been hard on everyone. But through it, all God has been there giving us individual signs. Earlier this year my quiet time alone with God was starting to once again become compromised by “my” daily schedule of tasks. I remember during one of my prayers, apologizing and saying I just keep running out of time. Then the world became paralyzed by the pandemic and we became quarantined! Suddenly I had plenty of time! I was quickly reminded, the alone time with God is vitally important to a personal relationship with Him. Now, I am not saying He created the pandemic to give “me” time, but He was using the pandemic to get a message to me. Your messages will be different, as they apply to you and your life.
During this Advent season as we focus on the Sign of Wonder and prepare to celebrate the Virgin birth. Let us not get so busy in our preparations and celebrations that we fail to see the signs God is giving us so we may fulfill His specific will for our life.
Pray with us:
Dear Lord, you speak clearly through the Bible, through the Holy Spirit’s impressions on our hearts, and through circumstances in our lives. Help us rightly interpret the “signs” in our lives by showing us how to rightly apply biblical wisdom to the situations and relationships we experience in life.

(Reflection and Prayer by Melinda Dettmer)

12/11 Friday - Advent Season

by WCUMC Member on 12/11/20

Carol:
Welcome to Our World
This song was released in 1997 by singer-songwriter Chris Rice. The lyrics speak of the newborn infant Christ being born into an imperfect world. The line “But long-awaited Holy stranger make yourself at home” echoes the sentiment in John 1:10 that the world did not recognize Jesus when he was born on Earth.


Bible verse:
John 1:9-10
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
Reflection:
I think my favorite part of Christmas has to be the lights! They make everything brighter, merrier, and more twinkly if that’s a word. When my kids were little, we took the time to drive around to look at lights and talk about what we liked about the displays. The lights brought us joy and a way to spend family time together.
In the Bible, Light has always been the symbol of life, of knowledge, and of goodness. The Message proclaims “ The Life-Light was the real thing: Every person entering Life he brings into Light” (John 1:9). What an amazing promise, the True light was coming in the form of Jesus. The light is given to everyone, to the entire world but the world does not know it. We are challenged as Christians to bring the Light of God in a dark world. This makes me think of a beautiful quote from Corrie Ten Boom, Dutch author of The Hiding Place and Holocaust survivor-- ”His light is stronger than the deepest darkness”.
May we be the Light this Advent season to all around us to fight the darkness in the world who doesn’t even notice the God-given light of Jesus Christ!
Pray with us:
Merciful God, whose light penetrates the darkness, help us to shine in this world and be a beacon for others this holiday season. Just as the sun rises each day to chase away the darkness, may we seek your word and guidance daily. As you present us with challenges that may seem to overwhelm us, give us the support to become stronger and a brighter light for Your glory. Thank you, Lord, for our church family. Bring your blessing to all of us so that we may bless others. In your name, we pray, Amen.

(Reflection and Prayer by Wendy Miller)

12/10 Thursday - Advent Season

by WCUMC Member on 12/10/20

Carol:
Wonder of Wonders
Wonder of Wonders was released in 2019 by Jonathan Cain, perhaps better known as the keyboardist for the band Journey. Jonathan says of the song, "We knew we wanted to write a Christmas song that really emphasized the incredible miracle of Jesus's birth.”


Bible verse:
John 1:1-3
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

Reflection:
Advent is a time of anticipating the coming of Jesus as a baby for Christmas, and a time when we look forward to the second coming of Christ. This passage of John 1:1-3 is one of my favorite passages. John wanted to give us proof that Jesus was the Christ. Think about the fact that Jesus was the Word and was with God all the time. Think about the anticipation of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as they began creation and the human race. They knew what we would be like, but they created us anyway. It is so amazing to me that there was nothing but God in the trinity, and they were always together. Everything had to have been nice and peaceful, without turmoil or sadness. Then, we were created and allowed in their circle. God wants us to come to Him with a teachable spirit, so we can learn and grow. If we love God and confess our sins, and ask that we may enter their kingdom, they are ready for us. Jesus prepared a place for us in His Father’s house, anticipating us being with them in their Holy Place. How amazing is that!

Pray with us:
Gracious and loving Father, We cannot thank you enough for everything you do for us. From our very creation to being allowed to share your house at the resurrection time. Help us to be ready for your coming. Help us to understand and remember we are still learning. We will never be at the point where we know it all. Sometimes we grow complacent, but during this time of Advent let us anticipate you with renewed energy and hope. Help us know the Word of God as taught to us by His Son. He is the Word and has always been with you. Help us be the people you want us to be. In your Son’s name, we pray. Amen

(Reflection and Prayer by Kathy Ryan)

12/9 Wednesday - Advent Season

by WCUMC Member on 12/09/20

Carol:
Go Tell It on the Mountain
Go Tell It on the Mountain is an African-American spiritual. The first publication of this hymn was in 1907 in a book called New Jubilee Songs and Folk Songs of the American Negro compiled by John Wesley Work Jr, known as the first African-American collector of folk songs and spirituals. Although he did not write the song, he is probably responsible for preserving it and allowing it to enter the popular canon of Christmas carols. Jesus told us to go and make disciples so let’s go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born!


Bible verse:
Matthew 28:18-20
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, "I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Reflection:
When I was young, I heard a sermon about the Israelites being the chosen people. My first reaction was why are they so special? Why would God choose them over me? Perhaps many of the early Gentiles felt the same way. This God is only for the Jews. All others need not apply. Jesus, in his own words, tells us this is not true. "Go and make disciples of all the Nations." That is why Paul was specifically sent out among the Gentiles. So that he could take the message to all the people. Don't ever think that you are unworthy.   

Pray with us:
Precious Lord, Help us to realize that you are always there for us.  You are not just the Lord of the Israelite people. You are there for all the Nations and for all Time. Bless you, for keeping watch over us as a Shepherd watches His Sheep. Help us learn to be your disciples.  In Jesus Name, AMEN.

(Reflection & Prayer by Myron Horn)

12/8 Tuesday - Advent Season

by WCUMC Member on 12/08/20

Carol:
Savior of the Nations Comes
This is a hymn by Martin Luther, although it is closer to a reworking of an earlier Latin hymn than an original hymn. It echoes many of the ideas found in the Nicene Creed, emphasizing the fact that Christ came to Earth to save us from sin and death.


Bible verse:
Titus 3:4-7
4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.


Reflection:
From kindergarten through high school I was blessed to attend parochial schools. I was grateful that my parents sacrificed to give this opportunity to my sister and myself. In addition to receiving a strong academic background, I also was introduced to my foundation in faith.
The nuns and lay teachers at our school stressed the critical discipline of obedience upon my classmates and myself. We were encouraged to understand the virtue of a Christian life and how it was applied. Jesus was offered as our perfect model.
Despite my best efforts, however, I often fell short of ideal and found myself increasingly discouraged at my repeated failings. No matter how hard I tried I came to realize I couldn't achieve the life I desired.
After years of limited progress, I was blessed again. I was studying a book on the qualities of God, and there I found the answer. All these years I had focused on the results of my efforts rather than the results of Christ's efforts. I realized that being a Christian wasn't about being perfect. It was about recognizing that I wasn't.

Pray with us:
Heavenly Father, We thank you for the atoning death of our brother, Jesus Christ. His sacrifice allows us to lead a life of obedience driven by a focus on thankfulness rather than perfection. Amen

(Reflection and Prayer by Ron Weller)

12/7 Monday - Advent Season

by WCUMC Member on 12/07/20

Carol:
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
This carol was written in 1849 by Edmund Sears, a Unitarian pastor in Massachusetts. This is another carol influenced by war and troubled times as the Mexican-American war had recently ended. One verse, in particular, speaks to those facing adversity, “And ye, beneath life's crushing load/Whose forms are bending low/Who toil along the climbing way/With painful steps and slow” and tells them to watch for the angels bringing the good news of God’s love.


Bible verse:
Matthew 25:40
40 The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Reflection:
Just before Advent for many years we have had the cookie bake at Ward’s Chapel. We were preparing for something to come. As you know a majority of the funds raised has gone to support our teams participating in Camp Hope each summer. We have helped repair many homes in Western Maryland for 30 plus years.  Some of these were for the elderly and others were for families that needed some assistance. Just as important as the repairs, bonds of love were formed with individuals and families as we shared in their lives for one short week each summer. Yes, homes were repaired but also relationships were built with other campers, our own youth, and the families receiving help. As we shared together we all became “one of the least of these” in your sight. Many times we received back much more than we were there to give.

Pray with us:
Dear God, as we prepare for this Advent help us to recognize our neighbors in need. Help us to spread the good news of your Son’s birth and your plan of salvation. Open our eyes to the needs around us that we might share some of our gifts to a hurting world. In your name, we pray. Amen

(Reflection and Prayer by Charlie Dell)

12/5 Saturday - Advent Season

by WCUMC Member on 12/05/20

12/5 Saturday - Advent Season

Carol:
O Come All Ye Faithful
This classic carol was published in 1751 and is attributed to several authors and composers, most commonly (as in our hymnal) John F. Wade. The song calls all faithful people to come and adore the newborn Christ. Although we are not able to witness Jesus in the manger, as the shepherds did, we can still adore him today in our everyday lives. This carol is an invitation to everyone across time and space to worship the Lord.


Bible verse:
2 Peter 3:10
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

Reflection:
This verse, written by the Apostle Simon Peter, warns of the last days, the end of the world when the Lord, who is Jesus Christ, returns as He promised. Why would Peter describe the long-awaited return of Jesus to Christians in such a fear-provoking manner?
The main theme of Peter’s second letter was warning Christians to stay away from false teachers. Some Christians of that time believed that, since they were saved by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, they could live immoral lives without worry, and engaged in lustful, greedy, and slanderous behavior. Other Christians of the time believed that the return of Christ was imminent, so they no longer needed to work to support themselves. Not only the Apostle Peter but also the Apostle Paul warned Christians of these misunderstandings that were spread by false teachers.
We know better. We believe that leading moral lives and showing love to others is part of our reflecting the appreciation we feel toward God from knowing we are saved. The love we feel from God we spread to all mankind. We know that Jesus Christ will return, but we just do not know when. By leading Christian lives, we are always ready.

Pray with us:
Heavenly Father, who sent Your Son to save us, we thank you for the gift of salvation, and for the guidance in Your Word written by the Apostles Peter and Paul. Please let Your Holy Spirit be within us, to guide us, and to give us patience until Your Son returns. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

(Reflection and Prayer by Bill Ellis)

12/4 Friday - Advent Season

by WCUMC Member on 12/04/20

Carol:
The Holly and the Ivy
This is a traditional British folk Christmas carol. It uses the allegory of holly and ivy, two plants that remain green through the winter, to tell about Jesus and his mother Mary. Jesus is represented by the holly and Mary by the Ivy. In each verse, the carol uses a different aspect of the holly plant to recall a part of the life and acts of Jesus.


Bible verse:
Job 40:1-2
1 The LORD said to Job: 2 “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!”

Reflection:
Today we meet Job after he has lost pretty much everything and has been suffering physically. He is trying to hold onto his faith and trust in God but also trying to figure out what he has done to deserve all this. Too often when things are going well for us we take them for granted; then when something goes awry the first question seems to be, “Why me?”
I remember my grandmother. I recall how she never appeared to be frazzled about anything. Upon hearing her life history “in a nutshell” I was quite amazed. My grandfather had died at a rather young age leaving her to raise the children. She saw two of them die due to childhood diseases and buried all but one of the remaining before she herself was called home. She also outlived a number of good friends and neighbors. At age 80+ she was “helping the older ladies on their visits to Social Security” to settle some issues. Only once did I hear her say anything against anyone. What an amazing woman; how I would like to be like her. Admittingly, I fall way short, but I still take that deep breath and look to her for inspiration.

Pray with us:
Lord, We know that you do not cause our hardships. We know that you are with us through everything life sends our way. To answer you as to why the rain falls, the sun shines, the birds sing, is impossible. While we can “bring things upon ourselves”, to believe that we are in total control is conceited, distrustful, and ridiculous. During this season of preparation, help us to focus on You as the Loving Father who created us and takes care of his children through all of life’s turmoil and pleasure; the Loving Father who sent his son to mend that relationship we broke. We pray in Jesus’ name; AMEN

(Reflection and Prayer by Cindy Chambers)

 This Sunday at 10 am we will have a Zoom and Live Streaming of the Worship Service.

Please see the order of worship and information below.
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