Hello Fellow Travelers!                                                                              Jan. 24, 2021

A person lying on a treadmillDescription automatically generated with low confidence“UNCLE”!!!  Did you ever just get to that point where you wanted to cry  “OK UNCLE!  I've had enough”!  OK, enough character-building I've learned enough now! I know I have those days and I am sure that you do too. 

Before COVID-19 hit I was going to the gym a few times a week with one of my friends. I am not one to naturally push myself to work out because I really hate sweating. I would set my goals and usually meet them. Usually.  More often than not though, when I worked out alone, I would allow for little excuses to creep in and not work as hard. I didn’t stretch myself and I always did better when I wasn't alone and was sharing the experience with a partner.

Going to the gym with a friend helped me to push myself further than I would go naturally on my own. She stretched me to go further. Walking the extra mile on the treadmill not only went faster but it was much more enjoyable with my friend walking alongside me. Not just that, but I noticed that the 20 minutes became 30 and 40 minutes. Having good fellowship, having a gooImage result for god stretching usd gym partner stretched me in areas that I normally would not have stretched myself. She pushed me because she knew I could do it and developed an endurance I didn't know I had in me. God does the same thing. He stretches us and He grows us because He knows the finished product and He knows that we are far more capable than we think we are. God helps us to develop endurance and strength we didn't know we had. God helps us to develop our character and find the undiscovered abilities God has given us; moving us closer to our very best self. 

“that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." 

God is on this journey with us friends, walking right next to us. At those times when we are ready to cry “UNCLE” because we're tired or discouraged, He stretches us and encourages us to keep going.  Haven't we all learned things about ourselves in this last year that we wouldn't have known before? Haven't we all grown spiritually, and haven't we grown together as a church? Isn’t your relationship with God stronger?

Image result for god stretching usIt is not our human nature to walk into adversity or trials. It is also not God's intent to throw us into them or to make our lives difficult. God does however promise to walk alongside us through the difficult times and help us to navigate adversity when it occurs. God will also help us to find our strength within, His strength within us, He will stretch us, and we will learn to trust Him during the process. We will come to learn that His “stretching us” always produces positive results.  

Sometimes we can't see the value of the trial until we're on the other side of it. Only then can we see the positive outcome and see that the stretching caused growth and that the growth was good.

Prayer will help us to persevere. In other words, daily conversation With God himselHelping Others Helps Yourself | ThePreachersWordf. Daily accepting Jesus’s invitation to walk alongside you. Daily trusting Him to push you in areas where you need growth. Daily conversation to encourage you at the times you want to give up. Prayer and daily conversation are how we learn to trust Him to carry us when we think we can't do more. 

And God has given us one another. If you need an encourager or you need prayer or if there is any need that you might have, we're all here. If you would like to spend time in the sanctuary just stop in.

Grace and peace to all of you,
Pastor Nettie

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