Beautiful Gardens

A reflection on Isaiah 17:10-11

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Isaiah

I have to admit that I often skim and flip through the 17th chapter of Isaiah because it is part of a long and often repetitive list of judgment oracles that spans several chapters. In my reading today, however, I paused on this passage for some reflective thinking about why we do the work that we do.

Top Three Reasons People Do Not Go to Church

Report lists top three reasons people do not go to church in Alabama-West Florida.


The Alabama – West Florida Conference has a contract with Mission Insite, a demographic company, to help us understand our ministry area, and one of the reports lists reasons people do not go to church. Here are the top three with some reflections on each.

#3. Don’t trust religious leaders.

How do we distinguish between ministries of the church and ministries that belong to individuals who happen to go to our church?

Stephan W. Ross
Leadership and Organization for Fruitful Congregations (Portland: Oregon-Idaho Conference UMC, 2014), 113

A Thanksgiving that Falls Short

Examining the Thanksgiving of 1 Corinthians
This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series 1 Corinthians

This is a scripture reflection on 1 Corinthians 1:4-10. Paul is writing to the church in Corinth which is experiencing division over its leadership and Paul’s concern shows even in the thanksgiving of his letter.

With the exception of Galatians, Paul includes a thanksgiving to God at the beginning of all his epistles. In these thanksgivings, Paul commonly cites being thankful for how they live out faith, love, and do good works. The thanksgiving that Paul writes to the Corinthians is a little different from these thanksgivings, though. Paul’s thanksgiving to the Corinthians falls short of a full thanksgiving like the other churches receive.

Stewardship Devotion: What’s in Your Wallet


In Matthew 6:21, we learn “21 …where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” There are many ways to reflect on this verse, but after seeing a credit card commercial asking, “What’s in Your Wallet?” I have realized that our wallets are like modern-day treasure chests and point to where our hearts are. Let’s open up our wallets and prayerfully reflect on the things we find inside. I will use my wallet as an example.

In my wallet, I have some cash (and a debit card that links to stored cash). Money represents the fruit of our labors. Give thanks for our abundance, and ask for help in our financial needs. Let us lift up our work, and our investments to God.