Archive for July, 2011

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Genesis 32:24 & Matthew 14:13

Friday, July 29, 2011 – Proper 13 & Ordinary 18, Year A

Genesis 32:24Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.

Matthew 14:13Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself.

These scriptures are tied together in that both Jacob and Jesus wanted to be alone. Jacob feared for his life, and Jesus had just learned of the death of John the Baptist. Through wrestling with a man, and through the miracle feeding of the 5,000, God’s presence with both men is made apparent. No matter how alone we might feel, God remains a steadfast presence in our lives.

Prayer: Eternal God, when we go through dark hours in our lives, may we be especially mindful of your constant presence. AMEN.

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

Thursday, July 28, 2011 – Proper 13 & Ordinary 18, Year A

Matthew 14:13-14Now 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. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.

This is the start of Matthew’s account of the feeding of the 5,000 miracle. In the verses prior to this one, Jesus has just learned that his friend, John the Baptist, has been killed, so Jesus was trying to get away, likely to grieve, but the crowds followed him. Duty often gets in the way in our own lives, and I take comfort knowing that Jesus had similar struggles.

Prayer: Compassionate God, thank you for moments of solitude when we can grieve or heal or rest. During those other times we are unable to separate from the world around us, thank you for being with us, giving us strength to continue. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 145:8-9, 14

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 – Proper 13 & Ordinary 18, Year A

Psalm 145:8-9, 14The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The LORD is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made. The LORD upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down.

I can’t help but notice the language of healing in the last verse. We can fall and be bowed down in so many ways, both physically and spiritually. God is there for us helping us toward health and wholeness.

Prayer: Gracious God of compassion, we give thanks to you for being by our side throughout our life journey. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Genesis 32:24

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 – Proper 13 & Ordinary 18, Year A

Genesis 32:24 Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.

Jacob had stolen his father’s birthright from his brother Esau, and he had just heard that Esau was approaching with 400 men. Fearing for his life, he sent his family away to face Esau alone. In what Jacob thought was his darkest hour, he learns that God was with him, just as God is with us.

Prayer: Steadfast God, may we always sense your presence in our lives, especially at those times we are feeling most alone. AMEN

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Genesis 32:24-26, 28, 29b

Monday, July 25, 2011 – Proper 13 & Ordinary 18, Year A

I hope you were able to keep cool over the very hot weekend. The lectionary selections for this week include: Genesis 32:22-31; Psalm 17:1-7, 15; Romans 9:1-5 and Matthew 14:13-21. The alternate readings include: Isaiah 55:1-5 and Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21.

Genesis 32:24-26, 28, 29bJacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go for day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.”…Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.”…And there he blessed him.

Have you ever wrestled with God? From simple choices to life-altering decisions, I would guess most of us have done just that at least once. The good news in this scripture is that even the great forebears of our faith have wrestled with God.

Prayer: Patient God, we often refuse to hear your voice, your direction. Continue to nudge us toward you despite ourselves. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from Church Health Center – Matthew 13:33

Friday, July 22, 2011 – Proper 12 & Ordinary 17, Year A

Matthew 13:33[Jesus] told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.

When I was young, you could make pizzas from a box. Warm water was added to the flour and yeast and set aside in a warm place. After a few minutes the dough had doubled in size. You only have to forget to add yeast once to realize that small things can have large impacts. It’s true in cooking and in the kingdom of heaven.

Prayer: Gracious God, may our individual actions work in wonderful ways to build your kingdom. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Matthew 13:31-32

Thursday, July 21, 2011 – Proper 12 & Ordinary 17, Year A

Matthew 13:31-32[Jesus] 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 makes nests in its branches.

We certainly work on big ideas at the Church Health Center, and big ideas are important. BUT, this passage reminds us that kingdom-work is also accomplished through all the little mustard seeds we plant each day, like kind words and patient ears that show our faith to those around us.

Prayer: God of mystery, we don’t know the impact our actions will have on those who come before us today, but we pray that our work will be fruitful for your kingdom. AMEN.


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