Walking to the Cross, A Lenten Devotional

Three years ago my first devotional was published, Walking to the Cross. The print version sold out last week, but if you are looking for a Lenten devotional, it is available online here. Have a blessed season of Lent. Butch

Walking to the Cross Cover 2012

Proper 13/Ordinary 18, 2014 – Matthew 14:21

Friday, August 1, 2014

Matthew 14:21And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

My mom has been an activist for women’s rights for as long as I can remember. As many times as I have read the story of the feeding of the 5,000, I never noticed that it was only the men who were being counted. It is appropriate I notice this today, on her birthday.

Ever-present God, help us to remember that each of us counts because all of us are your children. Amen.

Proper 13/Ordinary 18, 2014 – John 6:8-9

Thursday, July 31, 2014

John 6:8-9One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?”

All four Gospels tell the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000, but it is in the book of John that the person identified as having the bread and fish is a boy. If a boy’s packed lunch can have such an impact, imagine what you can do for others.

Creator God, mold us and use us in ways that only you can imagine, to build your kingdom here on Earth. Amen.

Proper 13/Ordinary 18, 2014 – Matthew 14:14

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Matthew 14:14When Jesus went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.

Despite the pain and sorrow Jesus must have felt for losing John the Baptist, he could not ignore the pain in front of him among the people. Jesus saw a need for healing, and he acted.

Almighty God, help us to take decisive action to help others in your name. Amen.

Proper 13/Ordinary 18, 2014 – Matthew 14:13

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Matthew 14:13Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns.

Despite Jesus’ knowledge of the everlasting kingdom of God, Jesus wanted to be alone, away from the crowds, after learning of John the Baptist’s death. We need to carve out time in our days to bring God our joys as well as our sorrows.

Loving God, help us to find times of solitude when we can be alone with you. Amen.

Proper 13/Ordinary 18, 2014 – Genesis 32:22-24

Monday, July 28, 2014

Several very familiar texts are a part of our lectionary readings for this week. The selections include: Genesis 32:22-31 and Psalm 17:1-7, 15, Isaiah 55:1-5 and Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21, Romans 9:1-5 and Matthew 14:13-21. I don’t do this often, but I would also like to include John 6:1-14 which is his version of the Feeding of the 5,000.

Genesis 32:22-24The same night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.

You will recall that Jacob later realized he was wrestling with God. Whether we need time to “wrestle” with God or simply to talk something out with God, finding time when we can encounter God alone is important.

Gracious God, help us to find intentional time in our schedules to talk to you. Amen.

Proper 12/Ordinary 17, 2014 – Romans 8:38-39

Friday, July 25, 2014

Romans 8:38-39For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We began the week with Genesis 29 where Laban breaks his covenant with Jacob forcing him to marry Leah rather than Rachel at the end of his seven years of service. The other passages for this week reminded us of God’s never ending love for us. This favorite pair of verses from Romans is a fitting way to end our reflections this week.

Steadfast and ever-present God, we face challenges from others every day. Help us to remember that your love for us never wavers. Amen.

Proper 12/Ordinary 17, 2014 – Matthew 13:31-32

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Matthew 13:31-32He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

I love the imagery of heaven as a tree where birds can make nests. As people of faith, I believe we are called to create shelter for one another, to watch out for one another and, in a sense, create heaven here on earth.

Gracious God, help us to know the needs of our neighbors so that we can offer them the help and the shelter that they need. Amen.

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