Reading: Proverbs 3:5-6
I have been an educator for over 20 years. Most of my teaching skills have come from experience, but I have also had my share of meaningful teacher-training courses. One of the most valuable courses I've ever had was entitled “STAR Power—Successful Teaching for the Acceptance of Responsibility.” As an introduction to the course, the participants were asked to write a list of three things we could not do. (I remember writing, “I can't speak Japanese.”) When all of our lists were complete, the instructor told us, “Now change the beginning of each entry to “I choose not to...” As I rewrote my list, the proverbial light bulb of understanding went on for me. Like most people (including my students!) if I really and truly chose to, I could probably accomplish almost anything I set my mind to!
God has given us a remarkable gift in the ability to make choices for ourselves. We have the free will to respond and react however we choose in any given situation. And no matter what, God is always there to help guide our decision-making process. --Christine Conz Moll, former Mount Luther camper
Watch this video in which Oprah Winfrey and her guests remind us that we always have a choice.
Help us to always know that no matter what happens, we always have a choice. Remind us that you will always be there to guide us as we make those choices. Amen.
Reading: Matthew 5: 10-12
When Jesus' disciples began spreading the good news following the resurrection, many faced persecution. Paul, the writer of the Epistles, was jailed for telling about Christ. What risks these early believers took to let people know about the risen Lord!
Throughout history many have been persecuted for their religious beliefs. They had such great faith that they endured the persecution because they knew the truth. As this verse in Matthew says, the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
We, too, often take persecution for our beliefs. When we try to spread the gospel or lead a godly life, we can take heat for our actions. We may also be held to higher standards and when we do something "un-Christian" we may be persecuted to greater degrees.
Despite this treatment, we must continue to do God's work and try to live a Christ-like life. It may be hard to take the comments of others, but we must pray about it and ask for guidance in our lives to overcome it. Because the kingdom of God will belong to us, as well, if we continue to do what God requires! --Chad Hershberger, Camp Mount Luther Director
Read Matthew 5: 1-12, the complete text of the beatitudes. As you read it, pray the words to God, asking for strength in times of persecution.
Reading: Isaiah 40:31
This verse always reminds me of the fact that I am an Eagle Scout. It took many hours of hard work, but I achieved the ultimate goal in Boy Scouting and earned the highest honor a scout can obtain.
I can thank a lot of people for helping me get my Eagle Scout Award but I would have to thank my mom the most. Because if it wouldn't be for her, I would not have become a scout in the first place.
Seems I signed up to be a scout when I attended an informational session at school when I was in third grade. I thought I was signing up for more information on scouting but a few weeks later when the den mother in my neighborhood called my house, she informed my mother that I indeed had signed up for Cub Scouts.
When the first meeting day came, I didn't want to go. In fact, I refused. But my mother dragged me out of the house, kicking and screaming, and took me across the street to the meeting. She said I had committed to being a scout and I wasn't going to back out now.
An hour or so later I came home. My mom asked me how I liked it. I reluctantly admitted that I had enjoyed the meeting and couldn't wait to go back the following Saturday.
About ten years later I received my Eagle Scout Award. I had soared to the top of the scouting ranks. Thank goodness for a little push out of the nest from mom! --Chad Hershberger, Camp Mount Luther Director
Closing: Watch this video of the song, "On Eagle's Wings."
Reading: Psalm 105:41
It was a Saturday afternoon. I was in my high school gymnasium, practicing with the percussion ensemble that I was part of. We were getting ready for an upcoming competition. Suddenly, we heard the sound of rushing water. It was almost like a monsoon. We looked out the doors of the gym and it was raining heavily-- inside our school. For some reason, the sprinkler system had turned on and the hallway outside of the gym was getting soaked by the water from above.
A call was made to someone who came to turn off the sprinkler. It took several days for the carpet to dry and numerous ceiling tiles to be replaced. In addition, a new floor had to be put in the gym since water warped the hardwood floor.
It was strange to see it raining inside that day. We were glad that we were there for practice. Otherwise, who knows when the sprinkler activation would have been discovered and what other damage it would have done.
Water can be destructive, but it is also a necessity of life. We need it to live. However, it is also something I think people take for granted. I often thought it times of drought what would happen if we ran out of water. What would we do? I'm sure that would never happen because I'm confident God would provide for us, but it is something to think about.
Don't take water for granted. Appreciate it and conserve it whenever you can. --Chad Hershberger, Camp Mount Luther Director
Closing: Pray the following, which is the baptism prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship.
We give you thanks, O God, for in the beginning your Spirit moved over the waters and by your Word you created the world, calling forth life in which you took delight. Through the waters of the flood, you delivered Noah and his family, and through the sea you led your people Israel from slavery into freedom. At the river your Son was baptized by John and anointed with the Holy Spirit. By the baptism of Jesus' death and resurrection you set us free from the power of sin and death and raise us up to live in you.
Pour out your Holy Spirit, the power of your living Word, that those who are washed in the waters of baptism may be given new life. To you be given honor and praise through Jesus Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
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