• ReadFebruary 27
    First Week of Lent

    Begin: 

    Spend a minute or two in silence. Put your hand over your heart and listen for the Lord to call your name.

     

    Pray: 

    "Blessed are they who observe His decrees, who seek Him with all their heart." - Psalm 119:3

     

    Listen: 

    Read Matthew 5:43-48


    "I sat to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you." -Matthew 5:44


    Beware of Hate


    Erica Chernofsky, a video journalist for the BBC, recorded the story of Max Eisen, an Auschwitz survivor. Max arrived at the death camp in 1944 at the age of fifteen. He is haunted by the memory of being separated at the camp "selection point" from his mother, who was carrying his baby sister in her arms and had his two little brothers in tow. Max has returned to the camp every year for the past two decades to tell his story. He joins the March of the Living, in memory of those forced on "death marches" from Auschwitz to the adjoining Birkenau camp. His message to the world is to respect each other no matter what color or religion you are. He has said, "I come back to tell people not to go down the road of hatred and intolerance. It is a warning. This place reminds you to beware of hate.


    All religious traditions condemn hate as evil. But Jesus moves it to a new level - urging His followers to love their enemies. The teaching of Jesus offers an antidote to hate. He tells His disciples to pray for their enemies - to pray blessings on them. The love of one's enemies, that is, not the emotional feeling of love but the decision to forgive evildoers and perform kind acts for those who hate us, is the pinnacle of moral conscience. It evokes the highest form of love, and it mirrors divine love. In grasping the teaching of divine love, we touch the inner core of Jesus' message.


    Hate produces more hate and can be as infectious as love. Beware of hate and choose love!


    Act: 

    Today, I will create a prayer card for someone who has offended me and place the card in my usual prayer location to remind me to pray for that person.


    Pray: 

    Merciful God, I pray for the grace not to harbor resentment against those who offend me or seek retribution if I am wronged, but rather to forgive my enemies and love them as You love me. Amen.


     

    Rickard O.P., Theresa. Daily Devotions for Lent 2021 (The Living Gospel) (pp. 20-21).

    1. ReadFebruary 26
      First Week of Lent

      Begin: 

      Spend a minute or two in silence. Put your hand over your heart and listen for the Lord to call your name.

       

      Pray: 

      "Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice."

      - Psalm 130:1

       

      Listen: 

      Read Matthew 5:20-26


      "I say to your, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment."

      -Matthew 5:22a


      Feed the Good Wolf


      There is an old Cherokee legend about a grandfather telling his grandson a story about two wolves. "A fight is going on inside me," he said. "It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil--he is anger, envy, greed, arrogance, resentment, lies, and ego." He continued, "The other is good--he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The wolves are fighting to the death." Wide-eyed, the boy asked his grandfather which wolf will win. The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

       

      On first hearing Jesus' teaching, it seems harsh. Is he really saying that being angry is the same as murder? No, but he does seem to be saying that we need to go deeper than checking off the box of each of the Ten Commandments. As followers of Jesus, we are called to go beyond obeying the rules of religion or civil law. We are to do the right thing with love and mercy--no looking for loopholes.


      Anger is not a sin, but what we do with our anger can lead to sin. The longer we hold our anger, the more it can eat us up and destroy relationships. Anger is a normal human emotion, but unchecked anger can take control of our lives and hurt others. It can lead to broken relationships, loss of a job, divorce, domestic violence, and yes, even murder.


      Both wolves live within us--the angry wolf, filled with retribution, and the merciful wolf filled with peace. Both try to dominate us. Today, choose to feed the good wolf.


      Act: 

      Today I will name a resentment I am holding onto and try to take a small step toward letting it go.


      Pray: 

      God of life and goodness, root out destructive anger from my spirit and fill me with peace, joy, and mercy. Give me the grace to let go of resentment so that my wounded spirit may be healed. Amen.


       

      Rickard O.P., Theresa. Daily Devotions for Lent 2021 (The Living Gospel) (pp. 18-19).

      1. ReadSmall Group
        Reply at dwaller@batteryoutfitters.com OR 417.847.6827 (please text)

        Greetings Green Forest UMC

        I have the honor of offering a ZOOM Small Group Bible Study over the course of the next few weeks. I have chosen a study titled “Easter Realities."


        An outline of the 4 week study is as follows:

         

        1.    The Greatest Trial Ever Held

        2.    A Crown of Thorns for the King of Kings

        3.    On the Cross

        4.    What If It's true?


        Join me as we journey together thru the small group study. We will gather on Wednesday evenings via Zoom to fellowship and discuss the 4 lessons in this study. Beginning at 6:30 we will share our concerns and victories of the last week before diving into the lesson.  


        I would love to schedule participants for the study prior to our start date of  WEDNESDAY March 10th, at 6:30 p.m. The study guides are in pdf form and can be obtained in the church office or they can be emailed to you.

         

        All are welcome, lets gather and journey together towards Easter!


        Blessings,

         

        Dave

        1. ReadFebruary 25
          First Week of Lent

          Begin: 

          Spend a minute or two in silence. Put your hand over your heart and listen for the Lord to call your name.

           

          Pray: 

          "When I called You answered me; You built up strength within me."

          - Psalm 138:3

           

          Listen: 

          Read Matthew 7:7-12.


          "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

          -Matthew 7:7

           

          Knocking on the Door of Mercy.


          In his book All Things Are Possible through Prayer, Charles Allen tells the story of a man who each night before going to bed places

          his keys in one of his shoes. Each morning, he takes them out of his shoe and offers a prayer. His prayer simply asks God to help him remember every time he opens a door that there is a key to every situation and a solution to every problem: "May I never surrender to one of life's locked doors. Instead may I use the key on the key ring of prayer until I find the right key and the door will be opened."


          During the Year of Mercy in 2015-2016, Pope Francis invited us to contemplate the notion of a holy door, "a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters experiences the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope." Knocking on the door of mercy is a Jewish expression for prayer. Prayer is a doorway into a relationship with our merciful God; no one is locked out. Thus, asking, seeking, and knocking are not three separate actions but instead three expressions of prayer.


          In the gospel passage, Jesus encourages us to pray--to bring our needs to God. However, the purpose is not to inform or persuade God, but rather to express our relationship to God. We acknowledge our reliance on God and place our needs into God's hands. We entrust all to God's will. Prayer is the key to the door of mercy: cross the threshold and enter the presence of our waiting God.


          Lent is a forty-day retreat and one of the Lenten practices is to pray not necessarily more but with a clearer focus on deepening our relationship with God. Prayer is knocking on the door of mercy and knowing God will open the door and sit with us. Prayer is entrusting to God all of life's situations, the closed doors we encounter, knowing that prayer is the key.


          Act: 

          I will place my keys in one of my shoes before I go to bed tonight. When I wake up, I will take the keys out of the shoe, praying, "Lord, as I enter a door or doors today--crossing the threshold of my home, car, or office--make me aware that you are with me."


          Pray: 

          Good and gracious God, I come into your presence knocking on the door or mercy. Deepen my relationship with you and help me to place my life in your hands. Amen.

           

          Rickard O.P., Theresa. Daily Devotions for Lent 2021 (The Living Gospel) (pp. 16-17).

          1. ReadGFUMC NEWS
            February 24, 2021
            Please Pray For

            Rachel Petree

            Jimmie & Karen Davis

            Bob Theim Family

            Luke Gordon

            JD Standlee

            Eddie Dillon and family

            Lanny and Doris Fausett

            John Battis

            Kim Messinger

            Dwayne Davis Family

            Mary Kuster

            Ruby Fry

            Wanda Crone

            Wade Williams Family

            Robbie Bell Family

            Pete Gatche & Family

            Linda Wheeler

            Charlie Long Family

            Patty LaCour

            Bob Thiem

            John David Martin

            Brenda Smith & brother

            Joy Fultz

            Kenneth Ward 

            Karen Salsman

            Jeff Miller

            Pam and David Wood

            Crystal Trusty

            Mrs. Keener

            Spencer Halley

            Charlize Wesley

            Michelle & Jeff Wesley

            Trinity Godfrey

            Charles Donaldson

            Evie Grace Steeneck - (5 yrs. Old)

            Linda Hutchison

            Allison Gatlin

            Rayma King

            Darlene Clark

            Brett Yarbrough

            Lora Jackson

            Brenda Steppe


            *These people have life-threatening illnesses or long-term situations.

             

            Alex Carpenter*

            Autumn Wright*

            Alison Wright*

            Benny Hefner*

            Bruno Jeraminas & Family*

            Byron Russ*

            Carol Stilwell*

            Colton Wallace*

            Darlene McEntyre*

            D. J. Smoker*

            Donna & Terry Wright*

            Evelyn Griggs*

            Glen Carrell*

            Harvey Blume*

            Jackie Roper*

            Jerry Bohlke*

            Jim Lenderman

            Krystin Hall*

            Larry Elder and Family*

            Lisa Vargas*

            Mark Stiffel*

            Melba Norman*

            Mitchell Webb*

            Nu Stanfield*

            Richard Wilson*

            Robert & Kim VanTassel*

            Roger McKay*

            Sharon Weiser*

            Sherma Clark*

            Steve Davis*

            Sue Reno*

            Wayne Thomason*

            1. published a newsletter

              ReadFebruary 24
              First Week of Lent

              Begin: 

              Spend a minute or two in silence. Put your hand over your heart and listen for the Lord to call your name.

               

              Pray: 

              "A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me.

              --Psalm 51-12

               

              Listen: 

              Read Jonah 3:1-10.


              "The people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on a sackcloth"

              --Jonah 3:4-5

               

              Lent: A Forty-Day Challenge

               

              Three years ago, I joined "The MAX Challenge," a fitness program that includes healthy eating, five days each week of cardio and strength training, motivational talks, and, most importantly, a community of people with the same goal and a desire to help each other reach that goal. The challenge starts with completing ten weeks of working toward your weight and fitness goals. After the ten weeks, you have a choice to make: Will you continue with the program beyond those fifty days and make it a part of your daily routine?


              A few years before joining the MAX, I would start the new year with a resolution to lose ten pounds, then twenty-five. Like most people, by February, I was on my way to gaining back whatever I had lost. Becoming part of the MAX challenge was a transformative experience for me--transforming my mind, body, and spirit. I think it is working for me because of the daily 7:00 a.m. exercise with my group, support from the trainers, and an eating plan. One of the reasons the MAX works is that I am doing it with others. One of the surprises about the MAX is the strong sense of community--people helping people and working together for a common purpose.


              In today's first reading, the people of Nineveh responded quickly to Jonah's message to turn from their sinful ways and get back on the sacred path. The scripture passage tells us that all, young and old together, fasted and were wearing sackcloth. They were transformed as a people--one helping another to get back on God's path now and into the future.


              If you are struggling with keeping your Lenten promises, find someone to do it with you. Support each other and cheer one another on to become your best selves for God during this forty-day challenge and beyond. Restart today, and if you stumble, let another pick you up and start again.



              1. ReadFebruary 23
                First Week of Lent

                Begin: 

                Spend a minute or two in silence. Put your hand over your heart and listen for the Lord to call your name.

                 

                Pray: 

                "i sought the LORD, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears."

                - Psalm 34:5

                 

                Listen: 

                Read Matthew 6:7-15.


                "You Father knows what you need before you ask Him."

                -Matthew 6:8

                 

                Looking for God.

                 

                In Elie Wiesel's book Somewhere a Master: Hasidic Portraits and Legends, he tells the story of a young boy who often ran away from Jewish school. One day the teacher followed him into the forest and heard the boy shout out to God the traditional Jewish Shema prayer: "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God. The LORD is One." The teacher was touched by the boy's action and told the boy's father. The father asked the boy, "Why are you wasting your time in the forest? Why do you go there?" The boy responded, "I am looking for God." The father replied, "Son, isn't God present everywhere?"

                The child replied, "Yes, but I am not."


                Prayer is not about the right words or the amount of prayers we say. The heart of prayer is being in the presence of God. God is always present and our struggle, like that of the little boy in our story, is that we are not always present to God. Contemplative or silent prayer is a helpful way to embrace the presence of God. I struggle with silent prayer because I am often distracted. Sometimes, I consciously give the distraction to God and then let it go. Another technique I use is focusing on a word like "Jesus" or "peace" to bring my mind back to God's presence. I often pray the "Jesus prayer," which is popular in the Orthodox tradition: "LORD Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me."


                Recently, at a retreat, the presenter invited us to quiet prayer. She instructed us to place our hands on our hearts and simply say, "Here I am LORD. I am present." If our minds started to wander, she said, "Simply say your name" - as a way of hearing God call us personally into His presence.


                Spending time quietly in God's presence and listening to His voice in prayer will prepare us to be more attuned to God's presence in the ordinary moments of our days.


                Act: 

                I will spend five minutes today in a quiet place and ask God for the grace to be aware of His presence.


                Pray: 

                God, deepen my prayer life and help me to be more aware of Your presence everywhere. Help me to pay attention to Your "showings" as I wait in traffic, walk in nature, or look around my kitchen table. Amen.

                 

                Rickard O.P., Theresa. Daily Devotions for Lent 2021 (The Living Gospel) (pp. 13-14).