Union Ridge Church

Thursday, December 17, 2020

by Reverend Dan on December 17, 2020

"There is a time for everything."

                                                            Ecclesiastes 3:1


The times, they are a-changing”, Bob Dylan wrote and sang.


John Mayer sings that he is, “Waiting on the world to change.”


The Impressions, a R&B group from the 60’s, sang out, “People get ready, there’s a change a coming.”


Change is a part of life. And if you’re a reader of this devotional (and I assume since you’re reading this you are), then you’re about to experience a change. You see, starting in January, we’ll be moving from a daily devotional to a thrice weekly one sent out on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.


“You’re getting lazy, Rev. Dan.” Probably but I’m old and I’m burning way too many brain cells and at my age I just don’t that have many left! I’ve been writing a daily devotional all year while at the same time writing Bible Studies and writing a sermon every week. Plus, I want to redirect my focus a little this coming year and get deeper into God’s Word.


I already have two Bible studies planned – one is just about done,(in the oven with a few minutes left to cook) and the other one is still marinating. The first will be sent out on Tuesdays and Thursdays in January, and it will be a light-hearted look at some of the harder to understand passages in scripture – the ones that make you shake your head and say, “Wait, what?!” We’ll put them in the context of the original writers and hearers, and then see if we can’t find their meaning for us today. The topics will be:

Jesus Gets Hangry                  Mark 11:12-14

Eating Your Words                 Ezekiel 3:1-3

Male Pattern Baldness           2 Kings 2:23-24

That Sounds Fishy                  Matthew 17:24-27

Preaching Them Asleep          Acts 20:7-12

King of the Cows                    Daniel 4

Talking Smack                        1 Kings 18:27


The second one will be Tuesdays and Thursdays in March and is a look at seven of the most important battles in the Bible. Some are very famous (The Battle of Jericho, Gideon’s War, David and Goliath, Armageddon) while others are lesser known (the Philistines capturing the Ark of the Covenant, Saul vs. the Amalekites, The Battle of Ai).


We’ll start the study with a session on what the Bible says about war (doesn’t it say, “Thou shalt not kill”? We’ll reconcile that in this session. Maybe.)  After that, we’ll look at how those seven battles affected the people of Israel. It is encouraging to read of the many victories that God’s people won in the Bible, especially those won against great odds. Sadly, however, not all the battles Israel fought ended in victory. Sometimes they won, but sometimes it was the Philistines. And occasionally, even when Israel won the battle, there was sin in their camp that caused future defeats. We’ll learn that it was only when the people of God obeyed the Lord and trusted in God that they emerged victorious.


The reason I selected this topic for our Lenten study is that the greatest battle of all – the one between Jesus and death – will be celebrated on Easter at the end of Lent. From Thursday’s betrayal in the garden, to Friday’s scourging and crucifixion, to Jesus’ descent into hell to defeat death once and for all, to the empty tomb of Easter, the battle that Jesus fought on our behalf is one that will never be matched.


I invite you to sign up for these studies. They are not going to be posted on our website because I’ve found if I email things, they are usually opened and read. If I have them posted on the website, people say, “I’ll get to it when I have time” (which is never.) Just send me an email at urcpastor@gmail.com and ask to be added to the study, and you’ll begin receiving them on day one.


Looking forward to having you in class!


"Father, Thank you for Your Word, and the history, wisdom, grace and mercy found there.  In Jesus' name, AMEN."



Christmas Bonus:

Kissing under the mistletoe came from an old Norse and Celtic religion. Mistletoe was believed by druids (tree worshippers) to be a sign of fertility, so unmarried people would stand under it believing it gave them the power to attract a spouse. Soon, the reason for standing under it became to let others know you were available. From that, kissing was the next logical step. What most people don’t know, however, is that the origins of the word mistletoe mean “dung twig”, because birds would land on it to eat its berries and the parasites which lived on the plant. While they ate, they left a special present on the twig that gave it its name.