Zion United Church of Christ
|Posted on November 17, 2022 at 10:10 AM|
What type of fruit are you bearing?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law” (Galatians5:22-23)
We have been given access to these traits because they are the products of the Holy Spirit of Christ working in them. Every believer has access to these traits, because they are products of the Holy Spirit of Christ working in them. Believers are not able to live out each of these traits or fruits without staying connected to Christ. Our flesh will fail us. For every fruit of goodness from Christ there is also the reality of our imperfect walk with the dark side and opposite of each of these fruits. If we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. We do Christ a disservice if we deny the reality of our imperfect walk with God in this life. (1John 1:8-10)
In a world where instant success and ambition often reign supreme, it is essential that we continue to live out each fruit of the Spirit with boldness and conviction. Each fruit reminds us there is another way to respond, behave, and live. Living out each fruit requires us to pause, pray to God for wisdom, and allow God to give us courage to choose differently. We have a responsibility to live out each fruit with a desire to choose a higher path and one that glorifies God and brings hope to others.
In a world of ongoing confusion and strife, living out the fruits of the spirit is necessary to continue to be men and women of strong character. Our character and how we respond to different situations as a testimony to others who are struggling with hope. Living with the fruits of the Spirit produces stronger character, endurance, and grace within us the believer. Where there is confusion, we desperately need to walk in peace. Where there is division, the overflowing love of Christ builds up and doesn’t tear down. Where there is anxiety, we seek God’s patience. Where there is hate, we seek to live out God’s goodness and kindness. In other words our walk needs to be like our talk. We need to be the person of good character when no one is watching. To represent Christ better when we respond with each fruit.
Patience is a quality you admire in the driver behind you and scorn the one ahead…..A man’s car once stalled in heavy Friday evening traffic just as the light turned green All his efforts to start the engine failed. A chorus of honking rose from the cars behind him. Feeling just as frustrated as those other driver’s eager to get home or to their weekend destinations, he finally got out of his car and walked back to the first driver and said,”I’m sorry, but I can’t seem to get my car started. If you’ll go up there and give it a try, I’ll stay here and blow your horn for you.”
The end of the matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. (Ecclesiastes7:8, 9)
So I will ask you again what type of fruit are you bearing?
Be Fruitful in Christ,
Rev. Walter Coy
|Posted on October 6, 2022 at 12:00 AM|
The Fisherman and the Businessman
I came across a story I thought you would enjoy. Once upon a time there was a businessman who was sitting on the beach in a small Italian village. As he sat, taking a brief break from the stress of his daily schedule, he saw a fisherman rowing a small boat back into the harbor. In the boat were a few large fish. Impressed, the businessman asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?” To which he replied” Oh, not so long.” The businessman was confused, “Why don’t you fish for longer to catch even more?” “More this is enough to feed my entire family and even offer some to my neighbors.” The fisherman said. “So what do you do for the rest of your day?” Enquired the businessman. The fisherman replied, “Well, I’ve usually have caught my fish by late morning, at which point I go home, kiss my wife, and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap and read. In the evening, I go to the village to have a drink with my friends, play guitar, sing and dance into the night!” Putting his entrepreneurial hat on, the businessman offered a suggestion. “I have a PhD in business! I can help you become much more successful. From now on, you should spend longer at sea and catch as many fish as possible. When you’ve saved enough money, buy a bigger boat to catch even more fish. From there, you’ll soon be able to buy more boats, set up your own company, build a production plant to can the fish and control distribution and move to the city to control your other branches.” To this, the fisherman asks, “And after that?” The businessman laughs,” After that, you’ll be able to live like a king, take your company public, float your shares and be rich!” “And after that?” Asks the fisherman once more. “After that, you can retire, move to a house by the sea, wake up early in the morning to go fishing, then return home to play with your kids, kiss your wife, take a nap in the afternoon and join your friend in the village to drink, play guitar and dance into the night!”
Puzzled, the fisherman replies, “But isn’t that what I am doing already?”
Sometimes more isn’t the answer. Sometimes life from another’s point of view is not of value. Sometimes we need to work at what we have. Be grateful for what we have been given. Not always be looking for the silver lining of something bigger and better. Count our blessings for all God has given us. Thank God for your spouse, your warm home, your children, your church, and the good fortune in your life. Be more concerned with what God thinks about you than what people think about you.
If you are always looking for what you can get tomorrow you will miss what is right in front of you. Be more worried about following God’s way than the world’s way. Look to see the value of what you have. Take care of your life every day to be a better child of God.
If the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence start taking care of your own lawn. Put time in, water it, fertilize it spend time with it. Follow God’s plan!
There was a famous opera singer who during the most successful time in her career, with more money than she could ever imagine, just up and left the stage. One day a friend found her on the sea shore, her Bible in her hands and on her knees. She was looking out into the glow of a sunset. As they talked, the friend asked her,” how is it she came to abandon the stage at the height of her career.” The opera singer answered quietly, “When every day it made me think less of the Bible and nothing at all of the sunset, what else could I do?” The world may never understand your decision to follow God’s way. But then, perhaps God cannot understand a decision to pursue what the world offers!
Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)
In Christian Obedience,
|Posted on September 8, 2022 at 12:35 AM|
Do you hear Him calling?
What is your response to anything God asks of you? One of the amazing truths of Christianity is that we love and serve a God who is not far away but personal and intimately involved with every part of our life. He has pledged Himself to us by way of covenant. He provides, protects and guides us through life both individual and as families, including our extended family church.
Here is a story to ponder on. While working for a local volunteer ambulance corp, we were responding to a call with lights and sirens, when we approached an elderly woman in her car right in front of us. Much to our annoyance nothing we did would make her get out of the way, until my driver got on the PA and said, “PLEASE PULL OVER TO THE RIGHT SIDE.” Well she pulled over quite quickly to let us by.
Several hours had passed when returning to the base we saw the lady still pulled over at the side of the road. Thinking something was wrong; we jumped out and went to her. She just sat there smiling at us. When we questioned her as to why she was still sitting there, she Explained, “God told me to pull over, and he hasn’t yet said I could go. “ We explained to her that it was us who had told her to pull over because we had gotten a call. She was very insistent as to that it was God who told her. Seeing that we weren’t going to persuade her otherwise, we got back into the ambulance and pulled in behind her. My driver got back on the PA and said,” MADAM YOU MAY NOW CONTINUE ON YOUR WAY. She pulled off immediately and went on her way.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if even some of us were as dedicated to that calling of God as that woman was? We all think we are here as a fluke and there is no rhyme or reason to why God has put us here. We go along on our road of life not enjoying the journey or wondering about why we are here. I am sure most of us think we are here for
our own pleasures. We want what we want when we want it. Thinking there is no consequence to the choices we make. Maybe if we ignore Gods calling it won’t matter. Well think again. It all matters! Every choice we make good or bad matters. We are all here for a reason. We all have a job to do. We have been sent on a journey from God. What we do on the road of that journey is totally up to each of us. It can be a dedicated faith journey or it can be a journey of destruction. God is calling your name. He is asking you to follow His commands. If He tells to you pull over to the side of the road, will you?
Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. (Matthew 25:21
Blessings on your journey,
Rev. Walter Coy
|Posted on August 11, 2022 at 12:00 AM|
Attitude and Caring
All of us are surrounded by and benefit for the results of someone’s’ perseverance.
Above my head is a bright electric light. Thanks, Tom
On my nose are eyeglasses that enable me to focus. Thanks, Ben
In my driveway is a car ready to take me wherever I choose to steer it. Thanks, Henry.
There are many shelves of books full of interesting pages, Thanks, authors.
This list can go on and on. Because someone cared to dream, to pursue, to follow through and complete their quest, our lives are more comfortable, more stable. ( Swindoll, Great Attitudes)
When we get up every morning we choose the attitude that will guide us through the day. It comes from the understanding that God has a plan for us. A sense of deep purpose, a divine mission.
In this world we live in it is easy to get caught up in the negative lifestyle that is all around us. The devil is alive and at work in this world and each of our lives, whether we want to believe it or not. Things are not getting better they are getting worse. You just have to drive down any street and see this. We are without church, we are without each other and we are without God. Life is moving around us and we are often spinning out of control. The devil takes each of us down a dark hole and without each other, without church, without God we cannot get out. Even worse we don’t realize we need to get out.
We need to get back to why we are here. If you are unhappy with things that have been done to you, forgive and get back on track with yourself and others. Forgiveness is not so much for the person you are forgiving as it is healing for you. It doesn’t mean you forget what has happened but you unburden yourself. If you are the one who needs forgiveness ask for it, but mean it and God will forgive you. We need to get back with the attitude God has intended for us.
It is easy to lose ourselves in a storm. Rough seas, high waves. With God by our side putting His hand on our shoulder to guide us we can overcome anything. Are you ready to be led? Are you ready to not give in, not give up on a world that seems to be letting us all down? God is waiting and so are we at Zion UCC Church here in Steubenville.
But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. (Romans 8-25)
Rev. Walter Coy
|Posted on July 13, 2022 at 10:10 AM|
Riches from God
“Money can buy medicine, but not health.
Money can buy a house, but not a home.
Money can buy companionship, but not friends.
Money can buy entertainment, but not happiness.
Money can buy food, but not an appetite.
Money can buy a bed, but not sleep.
Money can buy a crucifix, but not a Savior.
Money can buy the good life, but not eternal life
God (alone) is able to supply us”with all things to enjoy.”
As Seneca, the Roman statesman once said: “Money has never yet made anyone rich.” (Great Attitudes, Charles Swindoll)
Another thing that money cannot buy is integrity. Those who have integrity possess one the most respected virtues in all of life. They stand out in any office or school or community. If you can be trusted, whether alone or in a crowd…. If you are truly a person of your word and convictions, you are fast becoming an extinct species. God is waiting for all of us to step it up and become the person He wants us to be. We all need to look at our lives. Are we living in the image of our Lord and Savior? Are we living with joy in our hearts? Are we happy with our lives? The pursuit of happiness is a matter of choice. It is not delivered to our door each morning. If we are waiting for FedEx to deliver joy and happiness to our door we will be waiting for that delivery forever. Joy and happiness cannot be bought. It can only be truly received through Jesus Christ. It starts with believing without seeing. It starts with being a better person that depends on God. Knowing that everything we have comes from Him. Step it up be the person that does the right thing when no one is looking. Spend time with Jesus alone and in church. Only by letting God reign in your life can you experience true excellence in your life. Start today. Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13b-14.)
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Walter Coy
|Posted on June 16, 2022 at 9:45 AM|
What are you doing with your hyphen?
Joyce and I attended a Memorial Service for the brother of one of her friends who had died suddenly at the age of 58. The American Legion did a service, since the man was a veteran and in the service was a poem about the hyphen. It was a very vivid illustration about our beginning or our birth, and our ending on earth, our death. Two very important numbers! But even more important was the hyphen between the numbers. How we spent the days between our birth and our death, that is what is very meaningful to us and to God. How we loved and were loved. How we enjoyed others and gave enjoyment to others. Every waking moment during the hyphen did we live…….? I know we were alive, but did we use wisely the life God granted us?
Every new day, no matter how old we become we get a new chance to decide what we will do with the days until we go to meet our Lord and Savior. None of us know how many days that will be, I for one would not want to know, but each new morning as I open my eyes I rejoice that I have been given another day to make a difference in my own life and make a difference in everyone I run into that day. Just think a new day to say I am sorry to someone I have hurt. A new day to start over, with the forgiveness of our Lord and Savior. A new day to become the person I was meant to be.
Start today, when you are finished reading story, write your birth date and birth year on a piece of paper. An example is mine: March 15, 1949 (now put a hyphen after it) March15, 1949- if you are as lucky as I am and there is no ending date after the hyphen then it reaffirms that I am still alive. There is still a chance to LIVE. Be joyful, live, laugh, and love like there is no tomorrow!
WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR HYPHEN?
To the glory of God,
Rev. Walter Coy
|Posted on May 4, 2022 at 10:20 AM|
A Cherokee elder was teaching his young grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil- he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt and ego. The other is good- he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. This same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too."
The boy thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The elder simply replied, "The one you feed.”
― Tsalagi Tale
Every year the buds on the trees start blooming. A miracle in itself, if you are willing to notice. Some of us just notice the watering eyes, the sneezing, and stuffiness. But if you notice it is a forgiveness of the winter. The trees lose their leaves, the flowers drop their buds, and everything looks like it is dying. But alas a miracle of spring and everything starts to grow, starts to bud, and start to blossom. What a miracle! But we have to notice what is going on and not just think it is the same old, same old. We look at the world around us and believe all this happens on its own. I know some say it is just science and it happens because of certain things that cycle through time and space. But not me because I believe it is a miracle! It is supposed to be a reminder that life can start anew. So in nature, so in our lives! We can go down that path living and thinking that we are in control that nothing we do matters. We can have what we want when we want and it doesn’t matter. Living for yourself, money, and believing sin today and live again tomorrow. But can we? Is that all life is supposed to be? We can stay home on Sunday and then problems come we turn to God and the church when we are in trouble. What if God and church is there to help you keep your life in tune? What if spring is a new reminder to look at what and who should important in your life? What if it is a reminder to be thankful to our Lord and Savior and the gifts of the people he has given us in our lives? All our lives can be better! God is willing to lead you but you have to ask Him. Blossoms can happen in all our lives. We need to come out of the darkness of evil and go to the light of God.
So read the story at the top of this page again.
WHICH WOLF ARE YOU FEEDING?????????
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Walter Coy
|Posted on April 6, 2022 at 1:50 PM|
The Paschal candle is one of the most sacred and enduring elements in Christianity. Made of beeswax to represent the purity of Christ, the candle’s wick signifies Christ’s humanity, and the flame His Divine Nature. It is adorned with one or more Christian symbols, often the cross to represent His redemptive sacrifice; the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet - Alpha and Omega – to signify that He is the beginning and the end; symbols of wheat and grapes, or a chalice and host, for the Eucharist - the true presence of Christ and our spiritual strength; the 12 Apostles – witnesses and scribes to the passion, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ; and other symbols such as the Good Shepherd, the Lamb, the Sacred Heart, and the Risen Christ. The Paschal candle remains in the Sanctuary on its special candle stand during the full 50 days of the Easter season, and is lit for liturgical services during that time. After Pentecost the candle will be placed next to the baptismal font. The candle is lit during all baptisms throughout the year, passing the light of Christ to each person baptized, and each catechism class. The candle may also be used at funeral services, and placed next to the casket during a funeral Mass. At funeral services it is a reminder that the sacrament of Baptism is itself a death and resurrection in Christ, and testifies to Christian certainty in the resurrection of the dead and life with Christ in the world to come. With Christianity the word “paschal” took on a new meaning, referring to Our Lord’s passion, death, resurrection, and glorification. These events stand at the center of our faith. God's saving plan for us was accomplished by the redemptive suffering and death of Jesus. His resurrection and glorification are our assurances of eternal life - if we follow His words and His way.
When you next see the Paschal candle in your church, may you too think of its long and sacred past, the death and resurrection of Our Lord which it represents, and the faith, hope and eternal life it means for all of us
We have so much to be thankful for. We have so many wonderful traditions. In this troubled world we live in how can we live without the loving grace of God and His Son Jesus? Even though the journey to the cross was very emotional, is very emotional, it always hits home, to me, all Jesus went through for us! For the forgiveness of our sins and for our salvation. We are sinful by nature and God knew this. Because He knew this He knows we all need grace and a loving Father who will forgive us as long as we are sincere in our hearts as we repent. None of us are worthy but with the Grace of God we are loved and forgiven. With this great gift what does God want from us? Well there are 10 Commandments that would make Him very happy. Following these commandments will also make us live a happier life. God knew it would not be easy but what in life that is worthwhile is easy? So where are you on this Easter journey with the journey to the cross and wonderfully the empty tomb? God has kept his promises to us. Our hope is in Jesus our Savior! Look to the empty cross and tomb. Take into your heart all that Jesus is offering. Come to church on Easter and every Sunday this year; look at the wonderment of our risen Savior. He is Risen Alleluia!
Glory to God in the Highest,
Rev. Walter Coy
|Posted on March 10, 2022 at 1:15 PM|
Love is a choice, not a matter of destiny. It is a choice renewed each day!
-Dean Francis Alfar
We are starting into our journey of Lent. Lent is definitely a journey but as humans I sometime get the feeling that we work towards the completion of Lent rather than working on the journey through Lent to change our lives. Jesus’ life was predetermined. He knew what his purpose was and what his end would be. Unfortunately we as humans did not surprise Him. Yet it was the fulfillment of His life that made the difference. It was not only what we were to be given in the end that mattered, as miraculous as that is, it was the journey of lessons He was giving us that mattered so much but sometimes goes right by us. It was the change in our lives He was trying to achieve! As He walked among us we had a chance to see and believe. Now it can be a bit harder because we need to believe to see. We have a forty day journey to remind us to work on us. Even though the journey is about what God has done for us, it can be a preparation for what we can do to honor what has been given to us through grace alone .
Our tradition is usually to give up something for lent. In the end we just replace whatever we gave up with something else. Giving up is teaching us self-control. Maybe it would be better to try to take on something to honor God. Usually if you are taking on something else in your life daily you end up giving up something to fit it in so same end result. But in the long run it changes your life? Have you ever thought about adding something into your life for positive changes? Reading the bible daily, going for a walk or an exercise program, or start back to church. Buy someone a cup of coffee when they need it. Joyce and I love the pay it forward where you pay for the person behind you in line at Duncan Donut or in any fast food drive thru. You are gone before they can thank you. We have had this done to us, the feeling it gives you is wonderful. Remember lent is about God and a chance to get your heart in shape before Easter. The part we all play is to get us in practice for God honoring habits along the way.
If you feel the need to give up something go ahead. I always laugh when I think of my wife Joyce. She does not eat sweets, they don’t agree with her and she has been a vegetarian since 1995. For her to give up any more food would mean she would have only water left! She has always lived by doing things to make herself better tomorrow than she was today. Whatever you end up doing I hope it helps you to find your way closer to God and the Gospel this Lenten season as we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is waiting for us if we make the journey day by day to prepare our hearts for Him.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Walter Coy
|Posted on February 16, 2022 at 1:40 PM|
Story of St. Valentine
The story of Valentine's Day begins in the third century with an oppressive Roman emperor and a humble Christian Martyr. The emperor was Claudius II. The Christian was Valentinus.
Claudius had ordered all Romans to worship twelve gods, and had made it a crime punishable by death to associate with Christians. But Valentinus was dedicated to the ideals of Christ; not even the threat of death could keep him from practicing his beliefs. He was arrested and imprisoned.
During the last weeks of Valentinus's life a remarkable thing happened. Seeing that he was a man of learning, the jailer asked whether his daughter, Julia, might be brought to Valentinus for lessons. She had been blind since birth. Julia was a pretty young girl with a quick mind. Valentinus read stories of Rome's history to her. He described the world of nature to her. He taught her arithmetic and told her about God. She saw the world through his eyes, trusted his wisdom, and found comfort in his quiet strength.
"Valentinus, does God really hear our prayers?" Julia asked one day.
"Yes, my child, He hears each one."
"Do you know what I pray for every morning and every night? I pray that I might see. I want so much to see everything you've told me about!"
"God does what is best for us if we will only believe in Him," Valentinus said.
"Oh, Valentinus, I do believe! I do!" She knelt and grasped his hand.
They sat quietly together, each praying. Suddenly there was a brilliant light in the prison cell. Radiant, Julia screamed, "Valentinus, I can see! I can see!"
"Praise be to God!" Valentinus exclaimed, and he knelt in prayer.
On the eve of his death Valentinus wrote a last note to Julia, urging her to stay close to God. He signed it, "From your Valentine." His sentence was carried out the next day, February 14, 270 A.D., near a gate that was later named Porta Valentini in his memory. He was buried at what is now the Church of Praxedes in Rome. It is said that Julia planted a pink-blossomed
almond tree near his grave. Today, the almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and friendship. On each February 14, Saint Valentine's Day, messages of affection, love, and devotion are exchanged around the world."
Faith, love and devotion. All of these are needed in a human relationship. They are surely needed in a relationship with our Lord and Savior. You can find this story in books, and on the internet. It is very easy to find words of love in cards. You can write letters and say nice things to people you love. Now! Faith is believing in things you cannot touch or see. God answered Julia's prayers. God does what is best for us if we only believe!
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) May your Valentine's Day be full of love, happiness and know that God does what is best for Us if we only Believe.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Walter Coy