Archive for April, 2011

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – John 20:26-30

Friday, April 29, 2011 – Easter 2, Year A

John 20:26-30A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God.” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples which are not written in this book.

Despite his doubt, Thomas was still a trusted disciple of Jesus at the end of this scripture. None of us have perfect faith. All of us have doubts. The good news of the story of Thomas is that God still accepts and uses us, doubts and all, to better the Kingdom.

Prayer (From a responsive Prayer for Faith written by Rev. Cheryl Cornish, Pastor, First Congregational Church, Memphis, TN): Take what faith we have, O God! Guide it, grow it, resurrect it, so that we might experience the signs and wonders of a life of faith. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – John 20:24-25

Thursday, April 28, 2011 – Easter 2, Year A

John 20:24-25But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

How do we know someone is getting healthier? Their blood pressure drops to normal levels. Their hemoglobin A1c is stable between 4 and 6. They have lost 10% of their body weight. Not unlike “Doubting Thomas” our visible proof of health often takes the form of quantifiable test results. BUT by taking the spiritual dimension of people’s lives seriously, we also look to other signs of health – a smile on a face that once showed sadness, patience rather than frustration shown to a child during homework time, or forgiveness offered to someone toward whom bitterness once ruled.

Prayer: Wonderful God, be with us in our daily efforts to make people healthier in both body and spirit. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – John 20:19-22

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 – Easter 2, Year A

John 20:19-22When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

I used to be a regular participant in aerobics. Invariably, at the beginning and toward the end of the workout, the instructor would admonish the class to take several deep, cleansing breaths. In the second chapter of Genesis, God breathes the “breath of life” into man to create a living being. In the scripture above, Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit into the disciples. Today, when you begin to feel a bit stressed, take a deep, cleansing breath and imagine you are filling your lungs with the Holy Spirit. Peace be with you.

Prayer adapted from a favorite hymn: Breathe on me breath of God. Fill me with new life, so that I may love what you love, and do what you would do. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 16:5-7

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 – Easter 2, Year A

Psalm 16:5-7The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage. I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.

Did you get a good night’s sleep last night? If I am actively dreaming through the night, I generally awake more refreshed, so I have associated dreaming with better sleeping. I don’t know if God speaks to me through my dreams, but this scripture reminds me that God can communicate with us in any number of ways. Practice listening for God.

Prayer: God of our days and our nights, thank you for this wonderful day and thank you for another opportunity to serve you more fully. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 16:8-9, 11a

Monday, April 25, 2011 – Easter 2, Year A

We are approaching the second Sunday of Easter. During Easter it is customary for the Hebrew lection (the Old Testament reading) to be substituted by a reading from Acts. Our lectionary readings for this week include: Acts 2:14a, 22-32; Psalm 16; 1 Peter 1:3-9 and John 20:19-31.

Psalm 16:8-9, 11aI keep the LORD always before me; because he is my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure. You show me the path of life.

I can’t help but see a connection between faith and health in this scripture. Living in intimate relationship with God, the Psalmist experiences spiritual peace (“…my soul rejoices”) and physical peace (“…my body also rests secure.”). We work daily to live in closer relationship with God, and at the Church Health Center we work daily to help those who come to us to do the same.

Prayer: Healer God, help us bring you into our lives more deeply so we can live life more fully. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 118:1-2, Psalm 118:24 & Matthew 28:5-8

Thursday, April 21, 2011 – Easter Sunday, Year A

Psalm 118:1-2O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever! Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”

Leading Cause #4 – BLESSING: “How are you doing today?” I asked one of our patients. “Fine and blessed,” was her reply. We give blessings to each other and we receive blessings from others. But blessing also occurs through the ages as we connect with our parents and their parents on through the years. Through blessing, we are connected to forever.

Prayer: Steadfast God of the beginning, middle and end of time, stand by us in our now. Help us be a blessing to those around us, and may we be blessed today. AMEN.

Friday, April 22, 2011 – Easter Sunday, Year A

Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. And from Matthew 28:5-8But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.”

Leading Cause #5 – HOPE: The final of the Leading Causes of LIfeTM is real, grounded hope. Such hope comes from the interaction of all the other causes discussed previously this week. How does one have hope in the midst of deep despair, for instance, if their life is not connection and coherence-filled? If one feels powerless to act and has no sense of blessing how can they experience hope? Today, take a moment to embrace that for which you hope most.

Prayer: Steadfast God of hope, even in our despair, we know you are by our side. Help us be better instillers of hope in those around us. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Acts 10:36-38

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 – Easter Sunday, Year A

Acts 10:36-38 – [Peter is still speaking.] “You know the message [God] sent the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ-he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”

Leading Cause #3 – AGENCY: “Just Do It” was the slogan of or the name of an organization that encouraged young people to do good…to act…to do something for the greater good that was within their power or skill set, even of something simple like planting a tree or picking up trash. Agency entails this ability to get things done. Can you begin to see how these Leading Causes of LifeTM tie together? The greater the sense of connection in our lives and the more coherence we feel, then the greater our ability to act effectively.

Prayer: Gracious God, it is easy for us to think globally. Give us strength to ACT locally. AMEN.

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April 2011
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