Archive for June, 2011

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Romans 7:15, 19, 22-23

Thursday, June 30, 2011 – Proper 9 & Ordinary 14, Year A

Romans 7:15, 19, 22-23I do not understand my own actions.. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.

Remember cartoons where the character has a choice to make and a devil and angel appear on each shoulder? Our lives and our choices are like that sometimes aren’t they? This scripture reminds us that such is the case for all of us – even Apostle Paul.

Prayer: Patient God, living our lives involves so many choices. For all those times we made and will make the wrong choice, we thank you for your steadfast love for us. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 145:9

Wednesday, June 29, 2011 – Proper 9 & Ordinary 14, Year A

Psalm 145:9The LORD is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.

I remember a moving poster from my 1960’s childhood. A tear-streaked, young, African American boy is standing in front of a landfill. The poster has him saying, “God made me. God doesn’t make trash.” It never hurts to remind ourselves that everyone coming before you today is a child of God.

Prayer: God of compassion, you have asked that we take care of all you have created. Help us to remember that this includes one another. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 145:8

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 – Proper 9 & Ordinary 14, Year A

Psalm 145:8The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

God’s love is steadfast…unwavering, resolute, persistent, dependable, stalwart, and reliable. All this, and God is patient, too.

Prayer: Merciful God, thank you for loving us even when we struggle to love ourselves. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Zechariah 9:12

Monday, June 27, 2011 – Proper 9 & Ordinary 14, Year A

Scriptures abound in the lectionary selections for this week including Genesis 24:34-38, 42-29, 58-66; Psalm 45:10-17; Romans 7:15-25a and Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30. There are also some alternative scriptures including Zechariah 9:9-12; Song of Solomon 2:8-13 and Psalm 145:8-14.

Zechariah 9:12Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.

I love the phrase “prisoners of hope.” People come to the Church Health Center chained in so many ways. As people of faith, I believe our collective effort is to do our best to unbind the chains that hold them so that they might become captives of hope and the healing that follows.

Prayer: Loving God who sets the prisoners free, help us in our efforts to bring hope and healing to your children. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Genesis 22:13-14

Friday, June 24, 2011 – Proper 8, Ordinary 13, Year A

Genesis 22:13-14And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place “The LORD will provide:” as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”

I was in a meeting recently where someone said, “I have to believe that if we are successful, God will provide the financial support we need.” Many of us nodded at this comment. Together we laid claim to our faith that the Lord will, in fact, provide.

Prayer: Almighty God, bless our work to your service this and every day. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Matthew 10:40-42

Thursday, June 23, 2011 – Proper 8, Ordinary 13, Year A

Matthew 10:40-42 – [Jesus is talking.] Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple – truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.

A commentary on this scripture described “these little ones” as “ordinary” disciples. That sounds like most of us doesn’t it? We live out our faith in many ways. This scripture reminds us that one way is by simply practicing of hospitality.

Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for welcoming us. Help us be better at welcoming others. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Romans 6:17-18

Wednesday, June 22, 2011 – Proper 8, Ordinary 13, Year A

Romans 6:17-18But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

Slavery was something with which 1st Century Christians were all too familiar, so the use of the phrase “slaves of righteousness” was very descriptive for the readers of this letter. Paul was saying in effect, “You are now ‘slaves’ of justice, uprightness, decency and virtue.”

Prayer: Loving God, we come before you as imperfect beings. Help us in our daily struggle to serve you faithfully. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Genesis 22:6-8

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 – Proper 8, Ordinary 13, Year A

Genesis 22:6-8Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.

Trusting God isn’t always easy. For me, the more difficult the decision facing me, the more I tend to listen only to me. The story of Abraham and Isaac on Mt. Moriah reminds us that it is in those most difficult decisions where we need to listen for and trust God the most.

Prayer: Gentle God, help us be better at trusting in you, especially in those most difficult decisions that come before us. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Genesis 22:1-3

Monday, June 20, 2011 – Proper 8 & Ordinary 13, Year A

Our lectionary texts for this week include: Genesis 22:1-14, Psalm 13, Romans 6:12-23 and Matthew 10:40-42. Alternate passages include Jeremiah 28:5-9 and Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18.

Genesis 22:1-3After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” And [God] said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him.

Let’s Make a Deal was a game show where contestants would choose between doors #1, #2, or #3, and win prizes ranging from cars and trips to chickens and goats. It was a show about making choices with less than full information. Now I don’t think God treats us like game show contestants, but we are often asked to make choices and set out on life-journeys with leaps of faith that God will provide the answers and the means when needed.

Prayer: Loving God, help us better hear your voice in our lives so that all of our choices might be informed by you. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Genesis 1:3

Friday, June 17, 2011 – Trinity Sunday, Year A

Genesis 1:3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
And not in the lectionary selections but from Matthew 5:14, 16a – You are the light of the world…your light must shine before others…

This has been a week of kingdom-building and kingdom-tending…of God’s creative presence and of our role as God’s hands and feet on earth. Working at a place like the Church Health Center offers a unique opportunity for your light to shine before others.

Prayer: Loving God, thank you for the opportunity to serve your children. May they see you in the light we shine today. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – 2 Corinthians 13:11-13

Thursday, June 16, 2011 – Trinity Sunday, Year A

2 Corinthians 13:11-13Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

I grew up in churches where the pastor’s benediction was often the 13th verse. As our thought AND prayer today, I share my all-time favorite benediction which I first heard from Rev. Linda Jo McKim when she was the pastor of Buntyn Presbyterian Church here in Memphis:

As you leave this holy place and go out into the world,
Have courage.
Hold onto what is good.
Support the weak.
Strengthen the fainthearted.
Return no one evil for evil.
And may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion and fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you now and forever. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 8:1a, 3-6a

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 – Trinity Sunday, Year A

Psalm 8:1a, 3-6aO LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! I look at your heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and the stars you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor. You have given them dominion over the works of your hands…

I often use the phrase kingdom-builders to describe our role as God’s hands and feet on earth, but we are also kingdom-tenders. Think of one more thing you could do to be a better caretaker of God’s creation, then ask for God’s for help in making it happen.

Prayer: Trusting God, help us as we strive to be better stewards of your creation which you have entrusted to us. AMEN.


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