Blog: Forest Lake Talks

December 12 Advent Devotional

December 12, 2019

Scripture: Romans 5:1-5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. A customer was explaining her past and how she ended up jobless and without a permanent home because of a…

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December 11 Advent Devotional

December 11, 2019

Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:10-15 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give…

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December 10 Advent Devotional

December 10, 2019

Scripture: Colossians 1:11-14 (NRSV) 11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. When you rise up each day, how do you approach what is ahead of you? Whether you are headed off to…

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December 9 Advent Devotional

December 9, 2019

Scripture: Romans 8:24-26 24 For in this hope we are saved.  But hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what he already has?  25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.  26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  A few years ago I suddenly developed a rash on my hands.  They were almost like little blisters. These little blisters…

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Second Sunday of Advent – The Purple of Praise

December 8, 2019

Romans 15:4-13 Romans soars with a litany of words this week: steadfastness and encouragement, hope and harmony, glory and truth, mercy and rejoice, praise and joy. The combination of verbs and adjectives describes the Christian life. We who know the grace and goodness of God through Jesus Christ respond with lives of hope and harmony, praise and joy. As Paul admonishes earlier in Romans: Do not be conformed to this age, instead be transformed. In other words, be different than the culture that often does not relish or reveal all of these beautiful characteristics: steadfastness and encouragement, glory and truth.…

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December 7 Advent Devotional

December 7, 2019

Scripture: Ephesians 6: 10-12 (NIV) 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the powers of the dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. As a child (and teenager and college student and an adult with children of my own), my mother would always say, “Be sweet, be kind, and be careful” when I was leaving.…

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December 6 Advent Devotional

December 6, 2019

Scripture: James 1:21 (NRSV)  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. “….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…

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December 5 Advent Devotional

December 5, 2019

Scripture: Hebrews 12: 1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that cling so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Many years ago my sister recommended the book Unplug the Christmas Machine: A Complete Guide…

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December 4 Advent Devotional

December 4, 2019

Scripture: Ephesians 4:22 “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires” The Encyclopedia Britannica says that advent is “the period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ at Christmas and also of preparation for the Second Coming of Christ.” I would add a third aspect to this definition . . . preparation of our hearts to receive Christ more completely in the present so that we can more fully serve God and God’s Kingdom. For many Christians, this “preparation” primarily…

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December 3 Advent Devotional

December 3, 2019

Scripture: Ephesians 5:12-14, NRSV  12 For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; 13 but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Sleeper, awake!    Rise from the dead,and Christ will shine on you.” We commonly use “water” and “cleanse” in the same sentence, and while this is certainly appropriate, what if we additionally considered light as cleansing? Our church does a wonderful job of reminding us we are children of God, but what if we also said we are children of light? A light to illuminate our paths? Expose our flaws? Remind us we’re…

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December 2 Advent Devotional

December 2, 2019

Scripture: Matthew 1:24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife…; 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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First Sunday of Advent – The Purple of Preparation

December 1, 2019

Romans 13:11-14 Paul practically comes through the pages of this ancient text, begging his hearers to recognize what time it is. The time is at hand, he seems to shout, for those of us who follow Jesus to get it together and reflect the One on the cusp of coming to meet us. Salvation is near, nearer than when we first believed, so we best wake up, stand up, look up and get ourselves ready for this  transcendent, transformative, life-upending encounter with God. Imagine if we thought of the season of Advent in these terms. When the purple paraments adorn…

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A Message From Ellen

November 20, 2019

November 20, 2019 Dear Friends, Though you will receive this letter before Thanksgiving, I want to welcome you to the Advent Season!  You have been seeing Christmas decorations in stores since before Halloween, but the first Sunday of Advent is December 1st.  And inside this newsletter is a summary of the events, opportunities and services that will guide our preparation for the coming of the Christ Child. This year, the editor of The Presbyterian Outlook, Rev. Jill Duffield, has challenged us to think about the distinctiveness of our Christian celebration of Christmas.  We understand very well that many people think…

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A Message from Ellen

November 6, 2019

Dear Friends, I remember back when the Kid’s Garden volunteers grew potatoes in potato bins in our church garden, and they timed the harvest so that the potatoes would be ready when we held Vacation Bible School.  The children went out into the heat and were given little gloves to wear.  Then, they watched while the adult volunteers pulled the slats off of the potato bins.  The children were not certain what was going to happen and looked apprehensive.  When the adults told them to dig, I think they thought it was a joke.  But, once someone actually unearthed a…

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A Message from Ellen

October 23, 2019

Dear Friends, The evidence that we have given our hearts to God in Christ is called “fruits of the Spirit” by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Christian Church in Galatia (Galatians 5:22+).  We can evaluate our own progress in faith by evaluating our own day-to-day lives.  Are we making progress in the characteristics that mark followers of Jesus – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?  Or are our day-to-day lives marked more by anger, envy, jealousy and greed/idolatry? This year’s stewardship campaign centers on the characteristic of generosity as a marker of disciples…

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