Blog: Forest Lake Talks

December 18 Advent Devotional

December 18, 2020

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 John 3:16 is a verse we usually associate with Easter. But, when I read this verse, it fills me with an immense sense of hope. And isn’t that what Advent is all about, hope? If God loves us THIS MUCH, he must really care about us! That is what I cling to during these troubling times. God has made us a part of His family through the gift of His Son, Jesus.…

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December 17 Advent Devotional

December 17, 2020

“Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.” James 1:21 “….word that has the power to save your souls.” What a wonderful and mighty promise! The word made flesh is Christ and as we prepare our hearts and minds and wait during this advent season, James 1:21 reminds us to remove our sin, which does not reflect Christ, to enable us to hear and receive what the Lord is telling us through his word. I recently spent several days at Mepkin Abbey…

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December 16 Advent Devotional

December 16, 2020

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” – Isaiah 9:2 I don’t think we can find many of us that will disagree that 2020 has been a strange and difficult time to say the least. I know that in my lifetime I have never lived through a time such as this. Its been a year when even the healthy have been quarantined at times. Most of us have known someone who has struggled with the coronavirus and many of us have lost family or…

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December 15 Advent Devotional

December 15, 2020

We all find ourselves in a difficult time. Though we are blessed beyond measure, these days are difficult. The Coronavirus pandemic rages on, our mental and emotional health is stretched to the max, our democracy is being tested, racial strife consumes our streets, and the changing climate challenges our daily lives. Unease is near ubiquitous, and it is sometimes hard to face each day. During advent we are reminded that difficult times are not unique to the 21st Century. Imagine traveling on foot or donkey back miles and miles while in advanced pregnancy to a town far away to be…

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December 14 Advent Devotional

December 14, 2020

My Soul Cries Out with a Joyful Shout – Hymn No. 100 My soul cries out with a joyful shout that the God of my heart is great, And my spirit sings of the wondrous things that you bring to the ones who wait. You fixed your sight on your servant’s plight, and my weakness you did not spurn, So from east to west shall my name be blest. Could the world be about to turn? My heart shall sing of the day you bring. Let the fires of your justice burn. Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws…

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December 13 Advent Devotional

December 13, 2020

What a gift for Advent! Today’s devotion comes via video from our PC(USA) mission co-worker Shelvis Smith-Mather. Please take a moment to watch. Submitted by: Shelvis Smith-Mather

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December 12 Advent Devotional

December 12, 2020

“Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” Isaiah 40:1-2 Sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving every year, I pull out a trusty old double CD that lives in my car and start listening. It is the full recording of Handel’s Messiah – conducted by composer and conductor John Rutter and performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Cambridge Singers. It is glorious. Most of us are familiar…

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December 11 Advent Devotional

December 11, 2020

“When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife…;” – Matthew 1:24 The ‘angel of the Lord’ spoke to Joseph about Mary, to whom he was engaged, and pregnant with a child. Everyone dreams in their sleep. Some of us ‘day dream.’ During my childhood, an uncle, who preached, disclosed to his congregation…’An angel appeared to me saying God called me to preach.’ How might I respond if an ‘angel of the Lord’ appeared to tell me God called me to preach? That image left an indelible impression…

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December 10 Advent Devotional

December 10, 2020

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7 As I sit here thinking and writing about Joy, nine months into a pandemic that has forced me to limit many of the things that bring Joy to my life, I am forced to look beyond what…

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December 9 Advent Devotional

December 9, 2020

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 This scripture was a letter by Jeremiah written to those carried into exile from Jerusalem into Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. All these many years later, we may not have been sent into exile by a King,…

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A Message from Ellen

December 9, 2020

December 9, 2020 Dear Friends, Henry David Thoreau is reported to have said, “It is not what we look at that is important, but what we see.”  And if that was ever true, it has been true of 2020.  But it is also a profound call to those of us who see life through the lens of a belief in God.  Because we believe in the God we see fully revealed in Jesus Christ we are not without hope, not crushed, not in despair.  We are ADVENT people.  That means that we believe that God will come. John Hudgens came…

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December 8 Advent Devotional

December 8, 2020

“Do nothing out of self ambition or vein conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 In his letter to the Philippians, Paul instructs the people of Philippi to value others above yourselves. He also says to do nothing out of self ambition. Too many times, we merge from these teachings to serve ourselves rather than the needs of others. We are naturally selfish people and want to fill our own needs before we can fill the needs of others. Paul asks us to do the opposite. Jesus came to earth in human form to serve us rather…

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December 7 Advent Devotional

December 7, 2020

As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God.” – Psalm 40:17 I picked the last verse of this particular psalm because it forms a powerful conclusion. In the preceding verse, the psalmist reminds the hearer to “rejoice” and “be glad,” but in the next verse, the psalmist is needy. How can the psalmist be glad in the midst of being “poor and needy?” I believe the psalmist is able to distinguish between current state and an enduring, steadfast state. The…

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December 6 Advent Devotional

December 6, 2020

“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.”  –Isaiah 40:1 Isaiah first spoke these words into a situation of desolation and despair.  Jerusalem had fallen to the Babylonians, much of its leadership deported, and the rest of the people living under the rule of a foreign power that did not know nor respect their God. We celebrate Advent in a time of darkness, both literally as the days grow shorter, but also figuratively as we are seemingly dividing up more in more into our religious, social and political clans unable to recognize the humanity of and divine image in one another…

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December 5 Advent Devotional

December 5, 2020

“And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” – Luke 2:16 KJV One of my favorite Christmas memories is when my son, Cole, was in preschool, and we were setting up our creche. I unwrapped the carefully packed figurines and handed them to Cole to arrange in and around the stable. After handing him the last figurine, I stepped back to admire his handiwork. Though all of us are big animal lovers, I was surprised to see only the animals in the stable with the baby, and all the humans relegated…

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