But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
4 Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you…
5 Do not fear, for I am with you; Isaiah 43:1-5
For me, moving into this new year requires a bit of courage. After a year of loss and challenge, I cannot look to the future with blind optimism, or giddy hope. And scripture never suggests such a thing! Scripture suggests that we move into the future with optimism because of God’s love and God’s care. Scripture reminds us that our hope arises from God’s abiding presence in the face of fear. Nothing this year brings will change who God is and how God redeems.
Prayer - Loving God, help me to look to you for courage and strength. Remind me again this day that you love me and stand with me. AMEN
Written by Stacy Ikard, Senior Associate Pastor at WHPC.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” Isaiah 58:6-7
This verse wakes me up! The new year is a perfect time to recognize our need for more justice and love in our nation and world. It is a time to speak up, be bold, be generous, and extend kindness to others. One of my favorite books of 2020 was Human(Kind) How Reclaiming Human Worth and Embracing Radical Kindness Will Bring Us Back Together written by Ashlee Eiland, who grew up in Houston, Texas. With real life stories, she spoke of our diversity and our divisiveness, and yet the message was loud and clear to love radically first and foremost. It is my challenge for 2021.
Prayer - Dear God, We ask you to walk along side us as we struggle to love everyone and extend justice and kindness. Help us to be generous and caring, and enter our hearts, so we may bring our world together, creating more peace and joy. Bless those who have great needs, and help us all to embrace differences we might not always understand. May we give grace to others in your holy name. Amen
Written by Peggy Greenawalt, WHPC Librarian
What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9
Some people think that the Book of Ecclesiastes expresses a cynical or pessimistic point of view. In a culture that prioritizes “what’s new” and “the next big thing,” the statement “there is nothing new under the sun” sounds negative, like something gloomy Eeyore might say to Winnie the Pooh. What I hear in these words, however, is a comforting, faithful realism. It is good to remember that what we are going through now is not unprecedented. The world has always known sorrow; it has also always known joy. Most important, God has always been in charge, holding all of reality together in holy love. We will get through the difficulties we face, just as many generations have before us, with God to help and guide us.
Prayer - Holy God, help us to trust that you are sovereign over all things, from the cosmic big picture to the hidden parts of our souls. Nothing is beyond your knowledge, control, or redemption. We give you thanks for your faithfulness and re-commit ourselves to love you and to love our neighbors today. AMEN.
Written by Claire Berry, Associate Pastor at WHPC.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
Parenting is the hardest thing I do in life—and I am not getting any better! This year I am trying to rely more on God for the wisdom I need and not on my emotions and impulses.
Prayer - Wise and loving God, help me trust you with my family and seek your face in all that I do. Amen
Written by Emily Wright, Senior Pastor at WHPC
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
I learned a lot about trusting in God during 2020, a year of life changes for me personally, and for the world. I also experienced the joy of Christ independent of my circumstances.
Who doesn’t want to be filled with joy and peace so that you will be filled with hope? Hope that the vaccines will be successful, hope that we will return to some sort of normalcy this year, hope that we will be worshiping with one another in person sometime in 2021, and the list goes on.
Prayer - God of hope, increase my trust so that independent of my circumstances I will continue to experience your joy and peace and share it with others.
Written by Teresa Ward, Director of Engagement at WHPC