Something to Think About With Keith Lawder and Steve Waldorf 
 

Rev. Keith E. Lawder
President/CEO
770-449-6726
877-220-5664
404-906-1425 (Cell)
klawder@gumf.org
Rev. Stephen A. Waldorf
Regional Vice President
478-746-9688 #124 (Macon)
478-747-0042 (Cell)
swaldorf@gumf.org

 

January 27, 2020

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” – Matthew 25:40

We live in a world where we could give away clothes and goods all day to those without housing, wages, training, and connections, and still not fill the needs of where we live. But our calling is to “go out into the roads and lanes” (Luke 14:23) to take care of the lost. Where is Christ calling you to care for the least, the lost, and the last?


January 20, 2020

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son … ” – Galatians 4:4

So many things happen to fill up our time and space. We have the best of intentions. We want it all to work out perfectly in spite of our worry and stress. Go to a quiet place this week, take a deep breath, and find one thing to focus on when it comes to God's timing. I pray this brings you hope and a sense of God's presence amid your fullness!


January 13, 2020

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” – Exodus 20:2

May I encourage you to join me this week and the next in applying one of the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20:2-17 to your daily life? How can these spiritual rules of conduct shape your outlook and actions for the next two weeks? How does this change the way we think of God working in our lives, as we work in the world?


January 6, 2020

“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.” – The Apostles’ Creed

How do we stay spiritually and mentally strong while living out our Christian faith? Among United Methodists, The Apostles’ Creed and the sacrament of Holy Communion have been used for centuries to express and share our beliefs, and to shape our testimony we live for God's kingdom!


December 30, 2019

“Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King!” – The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 246

The presents have all been opened. Perhaps the guests have gone home. Exhaustion has set in. May we each take a few moments today to ponder the good news that Jesus has come to save us, yes, even us! Regardless of our situation, status, or earthly position, Jesus has come to save us. Joy to the world!


December 23, 2019

“O come thou Root of Jesse’s tree, an ensign of thy people be; before thee rulers silent fall; all peoples on thy mercy call.” – The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 211

The time is nigh. The services have begun. Regardless of our readiness or lack thereof, God comes to us in human form. Yet even the most powerful rulers fall to their knees before Jesus’ manger. O God, we too fall on our knees before you. Though we don’t deserve it, we ask for your mercy. O Come, O come, Emanuel!


December 16, 2019

“O come, o come, great Lord of might, who to thy tribes on Sinai’s height, in ancient times one gave the law in cloud and majesty and awe.” – The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 211

It is so easy to lose sight of God in our hustle and busyness. Yet the same God who came to the Israelites in the desert in spite of all their failures, comes to us anew. O Lord clear the blindness from our eyes that we might truly see you coming in all your glory!


December 9, 2019

“O come, thou Wisdom from on high, and order all things far and nigh; to us the path of knowledge show; and cause us in her ways to go.” – The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 211

For many, Advent is a confusing time. We want to celebrate, but the commercialization of the season saddens us. God, who is the source of all wisdom and order, help us to seek you amidst all the signs and then let us respond as you lead us in your way!


December 2, 2019

“O come, O come, Emanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lowly exile here until the Son of God appear.” – The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 211

The days indeed were dark in Israel before Jesus’ birth. The words of this hymn come from another dark time, the seventh century. In this season of Advent, which means “coming,” may we join with the faithful from across the ages who earnestly pray for the coming of the Messiah!


November 25, 2019

“… in every situation, … present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

It continues to amaze me that God wants to hear from me. He wants me to bring those needs, thoughts, and desires to Him! We learn from the Scripture that we can experience deep peace in times of turmoil because God focuses on protecting your heart and mind. Let Him have your complete trust this week!


November 18, 2019

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.” – Numbers 6:24-25

The face of Yahweh is seldom associated with divine judgment or punishment in the Old Testament. Because the face of Yahweh appears mostly in the context of blessing or divine favor, it seldom appears in the message of the prophets. The face of Yahweh is the gift of grace to His people. The shining of God’s face upon the people of Israel celebrates God’s saving power and deliverance in times of trouble.


November 11, 2019

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4

There is comfort in mourning because we know that Christ is with us. He has said, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Suffering is endurable if we do not have to bear it alone. And the more compassionate the Presence, the less acute the pain.


November 4, 2019

“Give, and it will be given to you. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Luke 6:38

I always remember this verse from Luke 6 was all about trust. My grandfather would often send us into the store to pick up something for him, usually giving us the cash in $1 bills. And more than once, we would pretend to forget that we had received any cash from the grocer. What hurt the most was when he did not ask us for the change in return. He knew the lesson we needed to learn was that trust and truth were much more powerful than a handful of coins.


October 28, 2019

“He breaks the power of canceled sin, he sets the prisoner free; his blood can make the foulest clean; his blood availed for me.” – The United Methodist Hymnal #57 Verse 4

Sin is such an unpleasant topic. I suspect that is because, at our core, we know we are sinners. Listen to what Charles Wesley is saying. God’s grace breaks the power of sin to hold us prisoner, regardless of our sin! Let today be a day to both accept and give forgiveness. Lord, I am beyond grateful for your saving grace. Help me to extend your grace to others who have hurt me.


October 21, 2019

Jesus! the name that charms our fears, that bids our sorrows cease; ‘tis music in the sinner’s ears, ‘tis life, and health, and peace.” – The United Methodist Hymnal #57 Verse 3

I’ve never known anyone who completely escapes fear, sorrow, and sin. Amazingly, some who disproportionately face more trials are the most peaceful and encouraging of others. These are folks of great faith and great hope in the face of great trials. Lord, purge me of my fears and doubts. Strengthen my faith in you that I may be a source of encouragement for others today.


October 14, 2019

“My gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim, to spread through all the earth abroad the honors of his name.” – The United Methodist Hymnal #57 Verse 2

Charles Wesley says that our task is not only to believe but to act as believers! When I find myself hesitant to share the good news with others, this hymn reminds me that this limitless gift of grace is meant to be shared, not hoarded. Lord, keep me aware that this precious lifesaving gift you’ve given me is not for my benefit alone, but for me to share!


October 7, 2019

“Oh for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise, the glories of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace!” – The United Methodist Hymnal #57 Verse 1

Charles Wesley penned the words to the first verse of this great hymn in 1739. There are 24 verses in our hymnal and many more in other repositories. One of my seminary professors held up the words to this hymn as a full outline of Wesleyan theology. Imagine for a moment that you are part of a 1,000 tongue choir enthusiastically singing God’s praises! Lord, let me begin each day by praising you with a full and grateful heart.


September 30, 2019

“For to us a child is born … and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6.

God's word to us today was spoken by the prophet Isaiah 700 years before it happened! And yet the child was born. We did not recognize who He was until we heard and accepted His coming into our daily lives. Renew your commitment to follow the Prince of Peace.


September 23, 2019

“Speak tenderly to Jerusalem. Tell her that her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned.” – Isaiah 40:2

The news is a constant reminder of what has gone wrong in our world. Yet with God's watchful care over us, let us never forget that “though the world seems oft so wrong, God is the ruler yet.” Do not focus on your failures, but on the promise of God's presence.


September 16, 2019

“The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together.” – Isaiah 40:5

With the rush of everyday life, is it any wonder that so many do not believe there is a God who cares? Our concern must not be for God to fix everything and make it right again. What if we went to God with life’s broken pieces and placed all of our fear and trust in His hands?


September 9, 2019

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord. Then I said, “I am doomed for I am a sinful man.” – Isaiah 6:1-5

Darkness does not have to produce fear. To those who have walked in darkness, we should seek the light in our lives and share it. How secure it feels when someone turns on a lamp, and you realize that you are not alone after all. God's love is there for you!


September 2, 2019

“Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord … that he may teach us his ways.” – Isaiah 2:3

When we acknowledge our heart’s jealousies and fears, we are reminded to listen, learn, and walk in the paths close to God. There He will teach us His ways.


August 26, 2019

“The mind of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil.” – Proverbs 15:28

Words matter! Have you ever reacted too quickly and said something you then immediately regretted? I sure have. The good news is that the Bible teaches us a better way. Lord, give me the patience and the wisdom to think before I speak!


August 19, 2019

“The lips of the wise spread knowledge, not so the minds of fools.” – Proverbs 15:7

Words matter! In this age of Facebook, up to the second news, bullying, etc., what we say can cause unintended and unimaginable harm. Our words are akin to hanging picture hooks. We can change our mind and remove the nail, but the hole remains. Lord, help me to speak wisely rather than foolishly.


August 12, 2019

“A fool despises a parent’s instruction, but the one who heeds admonition is prudent.” – Proverbs 15:5

Words matter! Looking back, some of the wisest counsel I’ve ever received came in the form of admonition from my parents. What would happen if before I spoke, I first asked myself, “Would my parents be proud or disappointed by what I said?” Lord, let it be so.


August 5, 2019 Devotion

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

My mother sometimes admonished me, "If you don't have something nice to say, keep your yap shut!" Mother was a deeply spiritual woman who used scripture (in her own words) to teach. In this season of elections, debates, conferences, and councils, the Bible teaches us that words matter. Lord, keep me mindful of your words!


July 29, 2019 Devotion

“The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.” – Psalm 138:8

It is so easy to forget that God has a purpose and plan for our lives. Not only does God love us, but He is right beside us at every fear, every failure, every heartache. When you feel unworthy, or unloved, come back to God's promise: His love for you endures forever!


July 22, 2019 Devotion

“Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.” – Psalm 85:11

What a verse for us to memorize and apply throughout the summer! “Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.” I encourage you to meditate on these phrases individually throughout the day, and may they be like honey to you all day long. Let God bring them back to your spirit over and over again. No matter your immediate thought or need, at this moment may God ever surround you with His love and presence!


July 15, 2019 Devotion

“I will thank you forever, because of what you have done. In the presence of the faithful I will proclaim your name, for it is good.” – Psalm 52:9

I love this verse because it reminds me of how preoccupied I often become during the day. It is not frequently enough that I set aside work and frustrations for five minutes to compliment a coworker’s action that touched my heart. Or, often I will set something aside just long enough to forget where I put it, and I take my bad attitude out on another who doesn’t even know why I am so ill at ease.


July 8, 2019 Devotion

“Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.” –Psalm 82:3

Lord, please forgive me when I become so inwardly focused that I can become blinded to the orphan, the outcast, and the destitute. May I refuse to criticize others about their attitude, their anger, their fear. Help me this week, instead, to be the first to offer friendship and healing through my understanding and faith, and not be too busy to see in them the face of Jesus!


July 1, 2019 Devotion

“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” – Psalm 30:5

It is so easy to allow my feelings to run rampant over my indecision during the night. An argument, or a poorly chosen accusation, can mess with our minds, our feelings, and our self-esteem. God promises not to leave us, but to be with us through the weeping, and to receive the joy of knowing that He is beside us all through the storm.


June 24, 2019 Devotion

“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Keep straight the path of your feet, and all your ways will be sure.” – Proverbs 4:25-26

As a young boy learning to hit a baseball, my dad would coach me to keep my eye on the ball. I never was much of a hitter, but his advice has been good advice for life. When we keep our eye on our spiritual goal, we are less likely to slip and fall, regardless of the distractions. May today be the day our eyes look directly forward, so we do not fall!


June 17, 2019 Devotion

“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 your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

It is all too easy to trust our own instincts and insight in difficult situations. After all, we know ourselves better than anyone—right? … Wrong! God knows us better! Faith involves trusting God more than our own instincts and insight. As difficult as it may be only faith can keep us on the right path.


June 10, 2019 Devotion

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” – Proverbs 2:6

There are many sources of information available to us. Of course, not all information is wisdom. If we truly believe that God’s word is the source of true wisdom, shall we not double down on our search for true wisdom by deeper study of the Bible?


June 3, 2019 Devotion

“Hear, my child, your father’s instruction, and do not reject your mother’s teaching.” – Proverbs 1:8

As I have graduated from parenting to grandparenting, I have begun to think about what spiritual legacy I am leaving for my family. My parents didn’t speak about their spiritual legacy so much in words as by their actions. What wisdom are we sharing with future generations by what we do?


May 27, 2019

“Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul.” – Acts 16:14

Sometimes I feel that I need my heart opened so I will learn to be a better listener. We have such freedom to speak the Word of God, that I find I often do not absorb it into my spirit. May God open our hearts to eagerly listen and share it, instead of storing away the Word.


May 20, 2019

“But a second time the voice answered from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’” – Acts 11:9

How hard it is sometimes to “go higher up and deeper in,” to quote C. S. Lewis. God’s great desire is for us to continually see more fully and to understand more clearly, no matter our past. Instead of focusing on rigidity and human perfection, may our hearts focus on developing a true relationship with God.


May 13, 2019

“In Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity.” – Acts 9:36

Dorcas was known for her personality and actions so much so that people sought Peter’s help in bringing her back from death. Do my “good works and acts of charity” show that I am willing to offer love and acceptance, no matter the social status, no matter how busy I am, because of God’s love and forgiveness found in me?


May 6, 2019

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” – Acts 9:5-6

How often do I stop to pray, and reflect before I act, especially when it involves others? Saul was determined to do what he thought was right, without consulting God or others. Perhaps our world would be different if we began the day by asking, “God, show me who you would have me to bless today, especially if their lifestyle is radically different from mine.”


April 29, 2019

“I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.” – Psalm 23:6b

To dwell is to live in, to abide in, to pitch one’s tent in. The Israelites built a Temple as God’s dwelling place. I believe God’s dwelling place is not a physical structure. Rather God wants to dwell in our hearts. When we invite God to dwell in us, we enter into a sacred space of a Holy Communion, which transforms our lives. Where will you pitch your tent today? Where will you dwell?


April 29, 2019

“I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.” – Psalm 23:6b

To dwell is to live in, to abide in, to pitch one’s tent in. The Israelites built a Temple as God’s dwelling place. I believe God’s dwelling place is not a physical structure. Rather God wants to dwell in our hearts. When we invite God to dwell in us, we enter into a sacred space of a Holy Communion, which transforms our lives. Where will you pitch your tent today? Where will you dwell?


April 22, 2019

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil.” – Psalm 23:4

The resurrection confirms God’s promise to walk with us through our darkest valleys. God did not abandon Jesus in His darkest hour. God raised Him up! How does it change your outlook and your life to know for sure that God will walk with you in your darkest valleys? This is good news indeed. Hallelujah!


April 15, 2019

“He leads me in right paths for His name’s sake.” – Psalm 23:3b

Sometimes we do the right thing almost in spite of ourselves. We didn’t necessarily intend to do what turned out well, but just felt a nudge to go ahead. Perhaps you slowed down at an intersection and narrowly avoided an accident or just procrastinated making a decision and avoided making a bad one. Consider this! The more we learn to depend on God’s leading, the more we tend to take the right path!


April 8, 2019

“He makes me lie down in green pastures; He restores my soul!” – Psalm 23:2-3

How is your soul doing today? Can you take a minute to either physically or just mentally lie down? Can you think about a pleasant place, a place which refreshes your soul? Can you set aside all your troubles for just a moment and breathe in God’s Holy Spirit? The app on my cell phone reminds me to breathe several times a day. When it does, I remind myself that God is inviting me to breathe so that He can restore my soul!


April 1, 2019

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” – Psalm 23:1

Sheep were essential to life in David’s time. At the same time, they needed shepherds to protect them and keep them from wandering off into danger. We too need a shepherd. Consider where you have been wandering lately. Now close your eyes and think about how God has protected you from danger. Now give thanks for God is good!


March 25, 2019

"Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.” – Isaiah 55:6 

God's call to us is always to draw near to Him and to learn what it is like to live the life He has prepared for us with Him. Isaiah did not mean that God was not available at times. I think that like my father, God is ready to take us deeper the moment I will let go of the meaningless aspects of life in exchange for time with Him!


March 18, 2019

“And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’” – Luke 13:35

I worry about our country. We are like sheep without a shepherd. But it is not because Jesus is not up to the crisis. I wonder if Christianity is in the minority simply because we consider what we are doing to be more important than taking the time to deepen our relationship with God. Take the next five minutes to list your blessings as they rise above your hurts, and then finish by reading aloud Psalm 100!


March 11, 2019

Jesus answered him, 'It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him. – Luke 4:12-13

Temptation often causes the first step toward a stumble into sin and self-imposed separation from God. Even Satan could not resist the challenge to put Jesus to the test. The Bible states that it was only after he had tried “every test” did he leave Jesus alone. When I am most tempted or feel like God is nowhere to be found, that is the most important time for me to stop everything else and give my trust back to Him!


March 4, 2019

From the cloud came a voice, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” – Luke 9:35

While hiking on a narrow mountain path in the intense fog that can so quickly overcome you, sounds and sudden appearances of other hikers can be quite unnerving. In this passage, we receive Jesus’ promise that “I will never leave you nor forsake you and God’s exhortation to “listen to Him.” Imagine what type of “transfiguration” might occur if we spent just 15 minutes in a serene place listening to Him today.


February 25, 2019

“Are any among you suffering? They should pray!” – James 5:13

When I was a Boy Scout studying First Aid, I learned about a universal antidote for poisoning accidents. James advocates prayer as a universal antidote for whatever suffering we endure. Prayer doesn’t eliminate our suffering, but prayer always invites God to share in it. O God you alone know all the suffering we face today. Come and be with us as we struggle through it.


February 18, 2019

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, willing to yield, full of mercy, and good fruits.” – James 3:17

As the leaders of our church gather for the Special Session of General Conference on February 23-26, 2019, let us pray for their safe travels, for their constructive conversations, and that God’s wisdom and mercy might pour over them like an endless stream.


February 11, 2019

“Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life.” – James 1:12

Temptation is fueled from our own desires. We are tempted to believe that we alone know what is best for ourselves, our families, our church, and the world. It truly is a blessing to withstand temptation and hear God’s word above all other voices and to earnestly pray, “Thy will be done, Lord.”


February 2, 2019

“Whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know the testing of your faith produces endurance.” – James 1:2-3

It is hard to think of the trials of our lives as a joy. Sure, we long for endurance for we know the race we run is long. But a joy? The athletes who won the Super Bowl trained long hours and were mightily tested along the path to the big prize. As difficult as it seems in the moment, James says we too must rejoice in our trials because they produce endurance for us. O God, help us through the upcoming tests and trials that we may endure, become mature in our faith, and win our race for you.


January 28, 2019

"This day is holy to our LORD ... for the joy of the LORD is your strength." - Nehemiah 8:9-10

It is a New Year. Have you taken inventory of your joy at what God is doing in your life? Do not mourn. Even in the midst of heartache, set aside some special time with God instead of pitying yourself because things have not gone the way you planned.


January 21, 2019

“You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.” – Isaiah 62:3

I read that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle missed the Queen's diplomatic reception. Why? The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent the evening attending a carol service in support of a fund which provides aid for children’s education in Uganda. You are, in the hand of God as a “crown of beauty” or a “royal diadem” when you allow God to use you to change a life, right a wrong or display His love to others!


January 14, 2019

Thus says the LORD, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” – Isaiah 43:1

No matter how discouraged you may get at times, never forget that there is One who knows your name, your heart, your fears. You are always on His mind! There is no hurt that He cannot heal; nor fear He cannot address. You are an intimate part of His plan!


January 7, 2019

“Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.” – Isaiah 60:1

There is much negative talk and disagreement that gets the attention of the media. But have you ever looked at the power of the sun when it rises in the morning and realized that the glorious plan of the One who created you, was to also leave you reminders that daily His glory shines on you?


January 1, 2019

And the one sitting on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new for the first things have passed away.” - Revelation 21:5

Welcome to 2019. We are grateful that you read our devotions and that you support GUMF. You are a blessing to us. Thank you!

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Will 2019 simply be more of the same? Or will you seize the opportunity to be deliberate about making constructive plans? Step one is to pray about what to resolve. Step two is to write down your resolutions on paper. Step three is locate your resolutions where you will see them regularly. Step four is to follow through. If you need ideas, please check out our Winter 2019 Faith & Money newsletter