This morning I am introducing a new Thursday feature to the Praise2worship blog called the Sunshine Newsletter. As some of my followers know I have had the privilege to be involved in nursing home ministry for about thirty years. About three years ago I began printing out a devotional newsletter for the residents to give them something to read between weekly visits. When Covid-19 shut down all the communities I visited, I began to include a bit more in the newsletter and was able to get it to the residents by sending it to the activities directors of the various facilities. Fast forwarding a year – two wonderful friends, Pastor Janice Burnett and Rob Keller came on board and helped with the writing and editing of Sunshine Newsletter replete with new formatting and images. Sadly I have not yet found a way to directly upload our format to WordPress but you will be seeing the content of our publication along with the best photos I can find each Thursday. What you may find surprising in a Nursing Home Devotional newsletter is that, while now and then there is some news or a brief mention of nursing homes, its focus is rather to encourage the residents. They face many of the same issues we all do, so after receiving permission to use their material I present to you today a recent installment. Have a blessed day all!
I Call You Friends by Pastor Janice Burnett
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15 NIV
Did you ever have a job where you didn’t know much about the business? Perhaps it was your very first job as a gas station attendant or a waitress. If you were pumping gas, you might have known just enough about which gas to put into the car or the truck, then take the money and make sure it got into the cash register. It might have been the same if you were working in a restaurant – you waited on the customer, served them the food, took their money and handed it over to the cashier. Maybe over time you stayed working there long enough to know more about how the business was run. In fact, you might have ended up managing or even owning it! But, that didn’t happen overnight did it?
One of my first jobs was behind the counter at a snack bar at a W.T. Grants Department Store – remember them? I knew just enough to do my job, but I didn’t know my manager’s responsibilities, and I certainly didn’t know anything about running the entire store! Jesus knew something about this and talked about it and our relationship to Him in John Chapter 15 when he called us “Friends” – Wow! When you think about a relationship with Jesus, do YOU usually think of HIM as a friend? Many times in our lives, we have been rightly taught to respect and obey Him. I want to do that, don’t you? But Jesus is telling His disciples – and us – that He calls us friends. We are not just servants who get ordered around and from whom He keeps secrets. As a parent how many times did you reassure your child or grandchild of your love even though you told them what to do? Did you only say it once? No! You repeated it time after time just like Jesus! He tells us to remain in His love and so love each other, and then He calls us friends! He is so loving, patient and kind! Just as the song says, “Oh – What A Friend we Have in Jesus” Have you made friends with Jesus by opening your heart to Him? It is never too late to begin that friendship. He is waiting to hear from you today!
Circle of His Friends by Peter Caligiuri No need to knock on Jesus’ door It’s open all the time But He will always knock on ours When He is passing by He looks in through our windowpane To see the empty spot That at our kitchen table sits With our dinner fresh and hot Won’t you ask for Him to enter in And forgive your sins and more? We join the circle of His friends Once He’s come in our door!
When Joseph Scriven wrote the words of his now famous hymn, they were actually a poem he sent to comfort his mother who was very sick and missing him terribly back in Ireland. Several years previously, Scriven had lost the love of his life just week’s before they were to be married and in his time of grief he dedicated his life to God and there found great joy and peace. Hearing word of his mother’s ill health he sent these words of the hope he had found. Today they are still sung on job sites by brick layers and in corn fields by farmers. People lying in hospital rooms as well as standing in the largest cathedrals have been encouraged to know that no matter how important others think we are or how much money we have in the bank, there is nothing we could ever have that compare to the riches and power of a life lived as one of the friends of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
What a friend we have in Jesus All our sins and griefs to bear What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer! Joseph Scriven 1855
Prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God – Teresa of Avila