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Celebrating 30 Years of March Retreat Devotionals #7 and #8

We hope by now you have received your 30-Day Devotional Guide created by your Flourish Committee. If you haven't, we may not have a correct address for you. You can find a printable pdf version of the Devotional on our website or at Over the next several months, we will be posting each devotional on our blog as well, helping us to celebrate this milestone throughout the year. Today's blog post commemorates the seventh and eighthyear of the March Retreat.

#7 1998 Speaker: Dee Brestin We are Sisters

“A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”

~Proverbs 17:17(NIV)~

In the Old Testament, we see an emphasis on family and friendships. In the New Testament, we see that connection is even deeper—we are part of the same body. Our faith makes us sisters of Christ, heirs to the Kingdom of God.

Having a couple of close friends is so important, but having some who are sisters, family—those relationships will get you through times of adversity. Having a few close friends or sisters is important. It is easier to build those few close relationships than to have several surface acquaintance friendships.

We see this type of friendship with David and Jonathan. They were best friends, brothers even, although Jonathan’s father, King Saul, tried to murder David. Their friendship was stronger and deeper than a death threat. That is the type of relationship we are talking about, one that the bond is stronger than anything, one that can withstand any test that arises.

Thoughts to meditate on:

1. Who are your sisters? Who are your acquaintances?

2. What relationships are healthy, beneficial, and life-giving?

3. Do you have any that are not meeting this view of friendship and sisterhood?

4. What can you do to have a couple of close friendships with sisters-in-Christ who can stand with you in adversity, and love always?

Author: Molly Weaver, Flourish Intern, Winebrenner Theological Seminary

#8 1999 Speaker: Anita Renfroe Symphony of Joy

“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”

~1 Peter 1:8 (NIV)~

Joy can be found everywhere. We can trace the source of our joy to our relationship with Christ. In times of doubt and concern, we can always find joy if we look for it. I am not talking about being a “Pollyanna” who never acknowledges the trials of life and sees the good and the joy in everything.

“Pollyanna” is the name of the main character in a movie of the same (1960, starring Hayley Mills) and is based on a 1931 novel by Eleanor H. Porter. Pollyanna, a very pragmatic young lady, believes life’s most difficult problems can be overcome with a positive attitude. Ultimately, this outlook focuses on the positive and does not consider the difficulty that one faces. I support the idea that we can find something that is positive, regardless of the situation. Yes, there are situations where it will be extremely difficult to find a positive, but there are glimpses of God and His providence in everything.

We are still seeing the effects of COVID-19. While our lives may have stopped and 2020 may have been chaos, there were many positive aspects. We learned more about our families, new ways to care for our neighbors, and new ways to worship our Lord. In looking at this past year, for me, finding joy and living in the joy of Christ made the shutdown bearable. What was something good that happened each day, weekly, or even moment-by-moment? Many times, finding the joy, the positive, even something that is slightly better than “tolerable” is all that is needed. We see moments captured that are funny—taking a picture and catching someone in a sneeze or blinking—and it makes the image silly enough for that moment to turn something hard into something a little easier to handle. A well-timed joke or a penny on the ground can be God giving a little joy in our lives when we need it the most, a “silver lining” in the darkness.

Thoughts to meditate on:

1. Do you look for the joy in the hard times and the chaos?

2. Where do you find joy?

3. Where is Jesus in that joy?

4. How are you living in a symphony of joy?

Molly Weaver, Flourish Intern, Winebrenner Theological Seminary

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