Archive for January, 2011

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Isaiah 58:6-7

Monday, January 31, 2011 – Epiphany 5, Year A

Being a light for others is a theme of the lectionary passages for the fifth Sunday of Epiphany. These passages include: Isaiah 58:1-9a (9b-12); Psalm 112:1-9 (10); 1 Corinthians 2:1-12 (13-16) and Matthew 5:13-20.

Isaiah 58:6-7Is this not the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

We are approaching the season of Lent when many Christians will consider some sort of fast. Fasts, when done for the right reasons, can help the participant feel a closer connection to God. These verses remind us that an important way to live in closer communion to God is by taking care of one another, especially those less fortunate than we are.

Prayer: Gracious God, guide us to be better sharers of the abundance you have provided. AMEN.

Picture for Epiphany 5, Year A – Isaiah 58:12b

…you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets to live in.

This picture is in the public domain.

Picture for Epiphany 4, Year A – 1 Corinthians 1:18

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Picture Citation

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Matthew 5:7

Friday, January 28, 2011 – Epiphany 4, Year A

Matthew 5:7Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. (New Revised Standard Version) You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you will find yourselves cared for. (The Message)

A wise manager of mine once told me that most people treat others as they wish to be treated themselves. Reflect on this idea throughout the day as you interact with others and consider the message you are sending.

Prayer: Merciful God, help us as we seek to be care givers to one another. AMEN.

Daily Devotional for the Church Health Center – Matthew 5:9

Thursday, January 27, 2011 – Epiphany 4, Year A

Matthew 5:9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (New Revised Standard Version) You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. (The Message)

Peace is so often thought of as the absence of war, that I found The Message’s translation helpful with this Beatitude. This is especially true for the workplace, where it is important to remember that we are working together as individual parts of a whole toward God’s plan, not ours.

Prayer: Loving God, help us keep the main thing, the main thing. AMEN.

Daily Devotional from the Church Health Center – Matthew 5:4

Wednesday, January 26, 2011 – Epiphany 4, Year A

Matthew 5:4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (New Revised Standard Version) How blest are the sorrowful; they shall find consolation. (The New English Bible)

When we have reached the pit of our sorrow, it is easy to feel alone. Yet Jesus is reminding his disciples and us, that God never leaves us. God is by our side waiting to comfort and console us in a way that only God can.

Prayer: Steadfast God, help us better sense your constant presence in our lives. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Matthew 5:3

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 – Epiphany 4, Year A

Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (New Revised Standard Version) How blest are those who know their need of God; the kingdom of Heaven is theirs. (The New English Bible)

I sometimes refer to myself as a driver’s-side Christian, an attitude that relegates God to the passenger seat. With God over there I am free to accept advice on an as needed basis. May God bless all of our efforts as we seek to give up control and exchange seats.

Prayer: Gracious God, help each of us be more open to your guidance. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Micah 6:7-8

Monday, January 24, 2011 – Epiphany 4, Year A

Two very familiar passages, one from Micah and Matthew’s version of the Beatitudes, are offered for the fourth Sunday after Epiphany. Selections include: Micah 6:1-8; Psalm 15; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 and Matthew 5:1-12.

Micah 6:7-8“Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

‘…carry out fairness, be devoted to compassion and move unassumingly with God…’ We live not as islands but as people in community, and the prophet is telling us that how we care for and live with one another matters more than empty ritual.

Prayer: Almighty God, bless our efforts as we seek to more closely do your will among our brothers and sisters. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Matthew 4:21-22

Friday, January 21, 2011 – Epiphany 3, Year A

Matthew 4:21-22As (Jesus) went from there, he saw two brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

Jesus called them. People of faith talk a lot about being called – missing your calling and fulfilling your calling. What I think we often miss is that to hear your call, you have to be listening. For me, calling is about developing an attitude of listening…listening for that still small voice of God.

Prayer: Loving God, help us to be better listeners in all aspects of our lives. Help us hear each other, but also help us hear you so that we might know your will for us. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Matthew 4:18-20

Thursday, January 20, 2011 – Epiphany 3, Year A

Matthew 4:18-20As (Jesus) walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

“Why do you suppose Jesus chose fishermen as his disciples?” was the question asked of the children at my church recently. There were several good answers. “What is an important characteristic of a good fisherman?” asked the woman talking to the children. “A good fisherman is PATIENT,” she said. Patience – a virtue we strive toward in our dealings with one another, and a virtue Jesus sought in his earliest followers, too.

Prayer: Patient God, our days are often hectic, leading us to take our frustrations out on those around us. Help us to show others the same patience you show with us. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – 1 Corinthians 1:10

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 – Epiphany 3, Year A

1 Corinthians 1:10I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.

The Church Health Center is a mission-driven organization. We talk about our mission frequently because we want “to be united in the same mind and the same purpose” even amidst the great diversity of our staff. But this is a call to all people of faith, and not just those of us who are members of a particular organization.

God who loves us all, be with us each day as we seek to reclaim the mission of your Church to care for people in both body and spirit. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 27:1

Tuesday, January 18, 2011 – Epihpany 3, Year A

Psalm 27:1The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Most of us prefer to drive rather than be the passengers. Yet as people of faith, we are asked to trust in God, and in a sense, let God do the steering of our lives. “Let go and let God,” exclaimed the woman at the coffee shop to me some time ago. “Easier said than done,” I replied.

Prayer: Protector God, we want to trust you more than our actions often suggest. Strengthen us; abide in us so that we might realize the fullness of our lives in you. AMEN.

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January 2011

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