Devotions from Conference 2024

Written by Cathy Duncan, International Vice-President/Spiritual Life Director

Opening Prayer

June 4, 2024
Theme: Passing Christ to the next generation
Text: Psalm 78:1-4

“Listen, dear friends, to God’s truth, bend your ears to what I tell you. I’m chewing on the morsel of a proverb; I’ll let you in on the sweet old truths, stories we heard from our fathers, counsel we learned at our mother’s knee. We’re not keeping this to ourselves, we’re passing it along to the next generation—God’s fame and fortune, the marvelous things he has done.”

Did you all get your “chewy bar” when you registered? I was going through the shopping ailes at B.J.’s and as I passed by the “chewy bar” snacks, a light went on in my head…I should get those for conference! We want you to “chew” on the information you learn at this conference and pass it to the next generation. When I looked up what it means to “chew” on something…this is what came up:

– To give serious and careful thought; to entertain
– To contemplate, ponder, consider
– To wrestle with, mull over, and dwell on
– To ruminate, question, and explore
– To weigh, review, and pore over

I hope and pray you will “chew” on what is presented at conference. And, not only that…

The phrase in the text, “We’re not keeping this to ourselves, we’re passing it along to the next generation—God’s fame and fortune, the marvelous things he has done,” brought up another of my memories…one about what happened
when I was substitute teaching after I had retired from the Air Force and the 5th graders had a show and tell that day.  One little boy, Billy, was his name, he brought in the little pocket bible that has been passed down through his family, to show to the class.  The pocket bible was given to all American soldiers who served during World War I and World War II.  The bible Billy brought in had President Woodrow Wilson’s preface:

The President’s Message

“The Bible is the word of life.  I beg that you will read it and find this out for yourselves, – read, not little snatches here and there but long passages that will really be the heart of it.  You will find it full of real men and women not only, but also of the things you have wondered about and been troubled about all your life, as men have been always; and the more you read the more it will be plain to you what things are worthwhile and what are not, what things make men happy, – loyalty, right dealing, speaking the truth, readiness to give everything for what they think their duty, and most of all, the wish that they may have the approval of Christ, who gave everything for them, and the things that are guaranteed to make men unhappy, – selfishness, cowardice, greed, and everything that is low and mean.
When you have read the Bible you will know that it is the Word of God, because you will have found it the key to your own heart, your own happiness, and your own duty. “
Woodrow Wilson

Chew on it and Pass it to the next generation…that’s the thoughtful take-away message of this our 2024 IOKDS Annual Conference.

Let us pray:

Almighty God,
Be with this gathering of members and friends as we come together at our 2024 IOKDS Annual Conference. Help us use this time to listen, learn, and discern Your will for IOKDS.


Opening Devotion

June 5, 2024

The text I want to share with you this morning is from Ephesians 3: 20-21: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever.”

As I was looking through all the IOKDS materials my mother had boxed up and saved, I found this pamphlet of New York Branch Devotions for 1994. The New York Branch spiritual life director at the time was Rosanna C. McIlwee. The devotions for 1994 were based on New Testament Doxologies. This was the June write up…based on the scripture reading:

“June is the month of graduations and weddings. We see young people passing from childhood to adulthood as they complete their education. With a mixture of joy and tears, we see them become the next generation when they marry and establish their own homes. With them they take our love and the fruit of our training. Most of all, they take the God who is Lord of succeeding generations.  Something passed down from our forebears has significance to us far beyond monetary worth. A trinket grandfather carved when he was a boy, an embroidered doily great grandmother made—these are treasurers. (I want to include in here a couple of things my mother passed on to me that has significance far beyond monetary worth. My Mom passed on to me IOKDS…I joined basically to help her in her duties as President of Omicron Circle. I’m so glad I did. Mom also gave me the gift of planting lilies of the valley at my home on the lake. I bought my house in 1989 when I was stationed at Griffiss AFB, Rome, N.Y. When I had to leave for another assignment in 1994 and until my retirement in 2002, Mom and Dad took care of my home and family got to enjoy their time at the lake. I’m glad Mom planted lilies of the valley…I learned that they are gifted to loved ones…and that they symbolize—purity, joy, love, sincerity, happiness, and luck. I also think she planted those because she knew I do not have a green thumb and they are easy to take care of!”)

The devotion goes on to say that besides these gifted treasures passed down, “Of supreme value is the faith we have received and will pass on. The continuity of our relationship to God through the ages is a source of joy. So the doxology ascribes glory to Him from age to age, eternally, “to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout All generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Let us pray:

Almighty God,
Be with us today as we listen and learn from the presentations and reports being made by our leaders and members. Of supreme importance is our ability to pass Christ to the next generation.


Opening Devotion

June 6, 2024
Tweaks Can Be A Good Thing

When I graduated college with a teaching degree in Physical Education I thought my life was on track…I would have a career doing what I loved. However, when I graduated in 1978, there was a glut of teachers and I couldn’t find a teaching job. I substitute taught school and coached field hockey and volleyball as I looked for my dream job. With my job search going nowhere, I got this Godwink in my head that I should go to the Navy Recruiting Office and see if the Navy would accept me for officer commissioning. They didn’t…they said I could enlist and then later apply for commissioning. I declined. Then I went to the Army recruiting office. Same thing…they would have me enlist and then try for commissioning at a later date. Again, I declined. Then I went to the Air Force Recruiting office. As soon as I said I had a teaching degree, the recruiter interrupted me and said, “so you’re interested in going to Officer Training School”. I said yes. That’s how my Air Force career started in 1980. With a tweak! My first assignment was remote to Kunsan, Korea. Since they sent me on a remote tour first, I thought for sure I would get a follow on assignment to the East Coast my next assignment, but no…they sent me to Vance AFB in Enid, Oklahoma. Tweak. From 1986 to 1989, I was assigned to teach at Officer Training School at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX. I got to teach! Tweak!  In 1989, I was then suppose to go on an overseas assignment to Swiburkin, Germany, but a the very last minute my assignment was cancelled. Tweak…I ended up with my hometown assignment to Griffiss AFB, in Rome, New York, close to my family. While there, I bought my house on the lake. Tweak! In 1993, I was suppose to attend Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB in Alabama. However, I broke my ankle going into the base bowling alley at Griffiss AFB…that delayed my attendance at Air Command and Staff College for professional military education by a year. Tweak…the good thing was that I was still near family during my recovery; the bad thing is that it put me a year behind. However, with the year delay, when I did attend Air Command and Staff College, I was selected as a Seminar Leader. Tweak! Met wonderful friends…Ann, Joan, Holly, and Lori…fellow seminar leaders that I still stay in touch with and go on trips with to this day. Tweak! I got to teach again…as I then stayed on staff and taught at Air Command and Staff College. Tweak! My next military assignment was to Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, TX where I served as a Mission Support Squadron Commander. Got to live on base and my home was across from the base golf course. My Dad loved visiting me at that assignment! We got to golf together! Tweak!  From there, I moved to Shepherd AFB in Wichita Falls, TX…again I served as a Mission Support Squadron Commander. I was suppose to retire on Oct 1, 2001; however 9-11 happened. Tweak! I ended up serving an additional 9 months on rotating Command Post duty until my retirement in 2002.

IOKDS has had to deal with tweaks, too! A big one was moving International Headquarters to Chautauqua. Tweak! Other tweaks occurred following the dissolution of active Branches. My point in all this is that things change, but that doesn’t mean that is a bad thing because God is always with us as we move forward. Change does not always produce clouds. It gives us rainbows, too!

Closing Prayer

Almighty God,
Thank you for always being with us as we deal with tweaks that alter our path. With your direction and care, we always end up on the right path.

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