Blog: Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen – Jan 20, 2021

January 20, 2021

Dear Friends, As I write this, the inauguration of our new President and Vice-President are about to get underway.  With the events of the last few months behind us, I am sure that you join me in praying for a peaceful transfer of power and that our nation might not split into irreconcilable camps, but instead find a way forward that allows us to be unified for the common good even if we disagree on much. I am praying for peace. I am praying that cool heads will prevail, and that both parties will give up the past practice of…

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A Message from Ellen

January 6, 2021

January 6, 2021 Dear Friends, As we have all watched the virus infection numbers and positive tests rocket upward, and as we hear about virus mutations, it can be difficult to keep feeling hopeful.  What we thought was a light at the end of the tunnel seems to be receding.  But then again, we don’t know what will happen.  Everything we plan seems to be contingent on many things that we cannot control. A couple of weeks ago, as I was leaving church after a particularly “interesting day” of renegotiating and rethinking how we do everything, I was bragging to…

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December 25 Advent Devotional

December 25, 2020

In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists.  This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria.  Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled.  Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea.  He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant.  While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby.  She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son,…

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December 24 Advent Devotional

December 24, 2020

Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? -Isaiah 58:7 When we think of hospitality, this what we imagine. Giving to those in need, welcoming guests into our home, and being friendly to those around us. This are truly good and noble things to do, but with the tumult that has happened so far this year, I think we can look at hospitality in another way, in a way that is…

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December 23 Advent Devotional

December 23, 2020

Why Bethlehem? “And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)” “To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.” “And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.” And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” – Luke 2: 4-7 (KJV)…

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December 22 Advent Devotional

December 22, 2020

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” – Luke 6:36 Be merciful. It’s not a suggestion. Or a request. Or a plea. It’s a command. And commands should be taken seriously. Yet, why do we pass the homeless as if they do not exist? Why do we assume the beggar at the intersection is operating a scam? Why do we think the person in front of us in the checkout line using food stamps has enough money to buy anything in the store? Why do we assume the skinny dog is someone else’s problem? And why do we assume…

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December 21 Advent Devotional

December 21, 2020

“Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other.” – Romans 12:10 “Contribute to the needs of God’s people, and welcome strangers into your home. ” – Romans 12:13 “Keep loving each other like family. Don’t neglect to open up your homes to guests, because by doing this some have been hosts to angels without knowing it.” – Hebrews 13:1-2 “Above all, show sincere love to each other, because love brings about the forgiveness of many sins. Open your homes to each other without complaining. And serve each other according to…

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December 20 Advent Devotional

December 20, 2020

“Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also ought…

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December 19 Advent Devotional

December 19, 2020

Then the father[a] said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’” – Luke 15:31-32 After receiving a significant inheritance, Person Y spent his twenties at home with his wealthy family living modestly and disciplined with a focus on family, forgiveness, generosity, and compassion – all the while working for little wages at the family business. Person X placed all value on other ideals such as material…

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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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